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Archive for March, 2014

Monday, March 17, 2014

| March 17, 2014

cclogoClear Channel Creates Major Markets Operating Group. Executive vice president Hartley Adkins, executive vice president Tom McConnell, senior vice president Kelly Kibler and Greg Ashlock are the MMOG’s four division leaders.  The latter is Clear Channel Los Angeles’ former president, who adds president of Clear Channel Southern California duties.  Each leader reports to chairman/chief executive officer Bob Pittman, who states, “As a company, we continue to assess every aspect of our operations to make sure we have the right structure in place to efficiently and effectively leverage our position as the country’s leading multi-platform media and entertainment company.  Our Major Markets Operating Group will collaborate with our local market management to oversee our entire spectrum of media and entertainment platforms in our largest and highest revenue-generating markets.  These include everything from our core broadcast radio and its strong digital platform, whose traffic has doubled in the last year, and theschurrtom extremely successful iHeartRadio digital platform, to events and our expanded coordination with Clear Channel Outdoor – all of which we are increasingly mobilizing to benefit our national and local advertising partners.”  President of regional markets Matt Martin continues in his position; however, president of operations for major markets Tom Schurr departs the company. Regarding Schurr, Pittman notes, “During his tenure with us, Tom played a big role in Clear Channel becoming the media and entertainment leader it is today.  All of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment joins me in thanking Tom for the many contributions he has made to our company.”  Meanwhile, Pittman states Major Markets Operating Group will increase empowerment and accountability of the company’s individual market leaders.

sullivanrichSullivan Takes Over Middays on WGST, Atlanta Today.  Less than two years after exiting the afternoon drive slot on CBS RADIO’s then-triple A WZGC, Atlanta, Rich “Sully” Sullivan returns to the air in the market as the new 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm host on Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s news/talk WGST.  Station program director Matt Shiflett says, “We are excited to have Sully join our team.  His knowledge of the city and ‘man-on-the-street’ attitude will solidify 640 WGST as Atlanta’s compelling talk radio station.”  Sullivan was the afternoon drive personality on WZGC “Dave FM” for six years from 2006 through 2012 before the station flipped to sports talk.

wkrklogoCleveland’s “Fan” Continues as Gladiators Flagship.  For the third consecutive season, CBS Radio Cleveland’s WKRK “Sports Radio 92.3 The Fan” will be the Arena Football League team’s radio outlet.  According to CBS Radio Cleveland vice president/market manager Tom Herschel, “The intense, hard-hitting games of the AFL fit perfectly into our lineup.”  Gladiators’ chief operating officer Mike Ostrowski comments, “We are extremely excited to continue our relationship with ‘The Fan.’  They do a great job of delivering football-related stories, updates, and content to our fans.  We look forward to working with them again this season with the on-going goal of growing the Gladiators brand in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.”  Doug Plagens enters his third successive year handling play-by-play, while current “Fan” personality/former National Football League player Dustin Fox will provide analysis on home games.  In addition to game broadcasts and pre- and post-game shows, the station will air daily Gladiators reports each afternoon.

theblaze radio networkNew Weekend Shows Added to TheBlaze Radio Network.  Beginning next Saturday (3/22), TheBlaze Radio Network is expanding its lineup including new programs featuring cable news/talk personalities Will Cain and S.E. Cupp; KFMB, San Diego talk host Mike Slater and long-time radio and television producer Mike Opelka.  TheBlaze Radio Networks VP of programming Dom Theodore says, “This new Saturday lineup underscores TheBlaze Radio Network’s commitment to original programming.  We are absolutely thrilled to add Mike Opelka, Will Cain and SE Cupp, and Mike Slater to our already successful Saturday talent roster of Chris Salcedo and Joe Pags.  This is just another great step in our continued growth as a network.”

ryderturiOdds & Sods.  Radio pro Turi Ryder is on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago in the 11:00 pm to 2:00 am slot all this week (3/17-21).  Ryder, who worked a six-month stint on WGN last year from her home studio in the Bay Area, has relocated to Chicago.  She appears this week in the unsettled slot between evening host Pete McMurray and overnight personality Nick Digilio…..Results Radio’s new FM signal in Rhinelander, Wisconsin signs on as a sports talk outlet branded “Sports Radio 96.5” using programming from CBS Sports Radio Network plus Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick and regionally syndicated personality Bill Michaels.  The company won WHOH at 96.5 FM in an FCC auction in 2013.

nielsen logoNielsen: 68% of Americans Heard a Network Radio Commercial During Average Week.  That figure is for Americans 12 and older, according to the Nielsen March 2014 RADAR Radio Network Ratings report which says more than 181 million persons heard a network radio commercial during an average week.  Other bulletpoints from the survey designed to illustrate the reach of network radio include Nielsen’s conclusion that commercials aired on the 46 measured networks reached: 71.2% percent of persons aged 18-49 (95.8 million listeners) and 71.9 % of persons aged 25-54 (90.0 million listeners).  In the top 25 DMAs, network radio reached: 70.7% of persons aged 12+ (95.1 million listeners); 74% of persons aged 18-49 (51.1 million listeners); and 74.6% of persons aged 25-54 (48.6 million listeners).  View the study here.

pizzapatronColloquial Spanish Term Kills Ad Deal for CBS RADIO and Univision in Texas.  The Dallas-based Pizza Patron chain’s ads for its new pizza with jalapenos in it won’t air on CBS RADIO or Univision stations in Texas.  According to a story published on NorthCountryPublicRadio.org, the name of the product and the content of the ad are too controversial for the broadcasters.  The radio campaign for La Chingona implies that only chingones are able to handle its spiciness.  What is a chingone?  A search of urban dictionaries indicates a chingone is what Americans would call a “bad-ass,” but the root of the verb is the Spanish slang for f**k.  Younger Hispanics say there is nothing inherently bad about the word but they admit it’s not a word they would use in front of their grandmother, either.  According to the NorthCountyPublicRadio.org piece, this isn’t the first time the company, whose target audience are Mexican immigrants, has ruffled feathers.  Several years ago it did a “pesos for pizza” promotion that offered discounts for customers paying with Mexican pesos.  The company received a lot of flak but business jumped 34%.  The most recent promotion apparently has CBS RADIO and Univision fearful of the FCC due to the use of the chingona term.

brennerdavidBrenner’s Run At Radio Royalty. By now, you most likely know that popular comedian David Brenner passed away over the weekend.  The Philadelphia native succumbed to cancer at the age of 78.  What you might not be aware of, however, especially if you read any one of at least a dozen or so different obituaries is that Brenner holds a relatively high-water mark in radio history.  Nowhere though was it mentioned in any account we saw.  It was as if radio was magically expunged from Brenner’s past.  Lest anyone doubt it though, David Brenner did, in fact, replace Larry King when the bespectacled talk show veteran quit his syndicated radio show nearly 20 years ago (June 1994).  Perhaps part of the confusion is that King was a nighttime fixture for years and in January 1993, Jim Bohannon – King’s regular fill-in – took his slot.  King though did not disappear – he segued to afternoon drive.  Most will remember Bohannon directly replacing King at night – which is true.  It is also correct though that Brenner then succeeded King in PM drive.  Unlike King, who transferred his Mutual Broadcasting show from Washington, DC to Westwood One in Los Angeles, Brenner based his program from New York.  According to Claudia Puig – then a superb writer for the Los Angeles Times (6/24/1994) – Brenner’s afternoon drive program was carried “in more than 100 markets” and the comedian did not attempt “to emulate King or to discuss weighty topics.”  Puig opined in her piece that to many in talk radio at the time, the move represented, “a clear-cut example of the heightened emphasis being given to entertainment in their format, as opposed to information.”  Regarding the succession, iconic Los Angeles talk radio personality Michael Jackson commented to Puig that it was, “sad when you see a Larry King replaced by a David Brenner.  Let’s see what kind of staying power Brenner’s show will have.  If you equate entertaining with telling jokes, I’m not that good at it, but if you equate it with hospitality and building a bridge with an audience, that’s what I do.”  Rewinding 20 years and witnessing how the industry viewed this choice to take over for Larry King is certainly a fascinating exercise.  Esteemed talk show host Bruce Williams chimed in back then by saying, “Brenner is an unknown quantity.  He is certainly a very funny comedian.  I don’t think he has exhibited as yet an interview capability or a radio capability, but then all of us were unknown quantities before we got into this.”  Taking a somewhat different tact – and as a reminder – this is from a 20-year-ago Claudia Puig column in the Los Angeles Times, KABC and KMPC, Los Angeles’ then general manager George Green commented, “Larry King was tired and they replaced him with a pure entertainer in hopes of drawing younger people.  As talk radio has become a very hot medium, you start looking at the word ‘entertainment’ as being more important than it was before.  ‘Entertainment’ does not necessarily mean a program that makes you laugh.  There can be many ways to entertain.”  King producer Pat Piper did similar duties for Brenner.  “There have always been attempts in radio to make people laugh,” Piper mentioned to Puig.  “It is good to hear some guys having fun.  When people call in, they say, ‘David, this is such a breath of fresh air.’  Not all of talk radio has to be what you see on ‘Crossfire.'”  Brenner had a two-year contract with Westwood One.  As it turned out, that was exactly how long the experiment lasted, as the syndicator pulled the plug on Brenner’s PM drive effort in June 1996.  Notwithstanding a limited two-year radio run, Brenner was as adept at observational humor as anyone else was.  His 1983 album “Excuse Me, Are You Reading That Paper?” is a comedy classic.  Most, of course, will remember the Temple University honors graduate from a slew of “Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson” appearances that began in 1971.  Many published accounts have the number of visits at 158 – the show’s most frequent guest and fifth most popular guest host (75 times). The five-time author (his latest – “I Think There’s a Terrorist in my Soup” – was published in 2003) headlined four HBO specials.  Prior to getting into comedy, Brenner helped write, produce, and direct 115 television documentaries. Longtime Brenner friend Joan Rivers tweeted, “RIP David Brenner. I adored him, and laughed more with him than anybody.  Sad, sad, sad.  Knowing David, he’s now making the devil laugh.” The funniest Brenner-related note we came across was relayed by family representative Jeff Abraham who points out that Brenner’s final request was to have $100 in small bills tucked in his sock, “just in case tipping is recommended where I’m going.”  Brenner’s gravesite will read, “If this is supposed to be a joke – I don’t get it.”

wachsdaliahTalk Host Dr. Daliah Wachs Organizes Fundraiser.  Las Vegas-based talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs is organizing a fundraiser to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Dubbed “FROST” (Fundraising Radio Host), Wachs says the contest will involve a challenge to radio hosts.  The radio host who brings in the most proceeds will be awarded a prize valued $1000, a plaque, and recognition as the 2014 FROST winner.  Runner ups will be recognized as well.  It’ll start April 14 and end May 10.  Interested radio hosts can message Dr. Daliah Wachs at doctordaliah@hotmail.com before April 1.

Friday, March 14, 2014

| March 14, 2014

salkmikeMike Salk Returns to KIRO-AM as Program Director.  The year-long return to his hometown and the afternoon drive co-host slot on Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston didn’t pan out and now sports talker Mike Salk is returning to Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle “ESPN 710” to serve as the program director.  He’s also expected to pick up an air shift that will be announced in the future.  Salk worked with Brock Huard on the station before exiting last spring to partner up with Michael Holley at WEEI.  In a statement, Salk says, “I could not be more excited about this unique kiroopportunity and the new challenge of running the programming at ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’  Even though I left Seattle last year, it never ceased being home.  ‘710 ESPN Seattle’ is a nationally renowned sports station and this opportunity to lead it is an honor.  The people in that building are special and I can’t wait to reconnect with all of them.”  Station VP/GM David Pridemore adds, “It is gratifying to have Mike return to ‘710 ESPN Seattle’ and 710Sports.com as the program director and eventually as an on-air host.  Mike knows the market, our people, the sports talk format, the art and business of radio, and the power and influence of digital media. We are privileged to have Mike at the helm of ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’”

youngbarryKFYI’s Barry Young Announces Retirement.  Talk radio pro Barry Young has been a host at Clear Channel’s KFYI, Phoenix for much of the past 27 years but he’s announcing that he’ll retire from the station in November.  Young has held down the mid-morning slot at the station for more than a decade.  Young served as the station’s program director from 1988 to 1998.  It was during that time he met his future wife, computer expert and talk host Kim Komando.  In addition to his work with KFYI, Young is also president and CEO of WestStar TalkRadio Network which syndicates the weekend program hosted by Komando, as well as other radio programs.  Young started his career at WGAC, Augusta, Georgia at the age of 14.  He went on to work at WRNG, Atlanta; WFAA, Dallas; WNWS, Miami; and WJNO, West Palm Beach before arriving at KFYI in 1987.

rabRAB: Radio Revenue Flat in 2013.  The Radio Advertising Bureau is releasing its report on revenue for the fourth quarter of 2013 and the year as a whole and on revenue of $17.6 billion for 2013, the radio business was essentially flat compared to 2012.  Spot revenue dipped 3% in the fourth quarter of 2013 but the industry was lifted by digital (up 18%), off-air (up 11%) and network comp (upfarberericanew 7%).   For the total of 2013, spot revenue was down 1% but buoyed by digital (up 16%) and off-air (up 5%).  The source of the figures is accounting firm Miller Kaplan Arase based on a pool of more than 100 markets extrapolated for the entire nation.  RAB CEO Erica Farber states, “Digital continues to gain momentum among advertisers looking to maximize their use of all radio platforms.  Based on the recent Borrell Associates forecast of a 22% rise in digital spending on radio in 2014, this category is poised to surpass the $1 billion mark.”  Automotive remained the number one ad category.  Ad sectors that gained during 2013 were professional services (up 23%), communications (up 18%), and concerts/theatre/movies (up 12%).

rosinlarryTalking Point: Edison’s Larry Rosin Explores ‘Nationalization’ of Radio.  The question of just how far Clear Channel and Cumulus Media will go in eliminating the costly local programming elements from their O&O stations to be replaced by nationally syndicated programs (which they own) is one that’s been discussed much by people in the industry as well as written about in such publications as this.  Edison Research president Larry Rosin spoke about it openly at the recent CRS in Nashville and follows that up with a blog piece on the Edison site.  Rosin suggests that Clear Channel’s full-steam-ahead move to brand its stations iHeartRadio and Cumulus’ stratagem in the country realm with “NASH FM” are manifestations of the “nationalization” of radio programming by those companies and, while that may save some money and give corporate a monolithic control over programming, ultimately, he believes it’s not going to work.  Rosin says the results of his research lead him to that conclusion particularly with regard to younger people and the use of AM/FM radio.  “We pretty much hear the same things over and over – they do and will continue to go to radio for unique compelling content – and to be in-the-know on what is happening locally.  Young listeners talk to us about the chance to actually meet the personality they hear on the radio and the announcements of local events or concerts.  They understand their local radio stations are providing them with something that Pandora and Spotify don’t.  So the question is: Will the nationalized radio content be so great, so amazing, so compelling, that the consumers of tomorrow will stay loyal to FM?”  So the argument about local versus national programming continues.  Perhaps Clear Channel and Cumulus are banking on their reach and relationships with labels and artists to deliver what they consider the best content.  Other operators are going the “live and local” route.  Time will tell who wins this one.  But the cost could be heavy.  Read Rosin’s entire piece here.

cubs logoCubs Broadcasts Could Leave WGN After 2014 Season.  The Chicago Tribune’s Ed Sherman writes that sources indicate Tribune’s WGN, Chicago – broadcaster of Chicago Cubs play-by-play since 1925 – put the rights to carry the games after this season on the market and that CBS RADIO appears to be the most interested.  According to the Tribune, CBS is putting together a package that would include airing games on news WBBM and include coverage on its other radio properties.  The Cubs reportedly have a current deal that pays the team $10 million per season – per perennially losing season, that is – and the story reports WGN is losing money on the broadcasts.  Interestingly, local industry sources in Chicago tell Sherman someone will eventually fork over a lot of cash for Cubs rights.  Just which company that is remains to be seen.

wkzologoOdds & Sods.  When the NCAA Division I Men’s tournament begins on Tuesday, March 18, WeswoodOne will offer play-by-play action from 67 games, including the First Four, games from all eight second-round and third-round sites, four regional semifinals and finals venues, and all three games from the NCAA Men’s Final Four at AT&T Stadium in North Texas…..SiriusXM is also presenting coverage of the March Madness tourney and says it’s providing “uninterrupted access to live play-by-play” of all the games.  Additionally, On Selection Sunday, the satcaster will provide up-to-the-moment coverage as tournament teams and first round match-ups are announced.  Chris “Mad Dog” Russo and Steve Torre will host live from 5:00 to 9:00 pm ET on March 16…..Midwest Communications-owned news/talk WKZO, Kalamazoo is honored with five Excellence in Broadcasting awards from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters.  The station won Best in Category awards for Community Involvement and Promotional Materials.  In addition, Merit Awards were achieved for Play-by-Play from a hockey game that featured Western Michigan University as well as for Best Morning Personality for an interview conducted on “Kalamazoo’s Morning News.”  Another highlight for the station was a win of the Best in New Media Award for the coverage of the 2013 Kalamazoo Marathon.

gallaghermikeTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Salem Radio Network-syndicated Mike Gallagher show is added to the program schedule at KLO, Salt Lake City…..Two new affiliates in Arkansas join the Yahoo! Sports Radio network: KVRC, Arkadelphia and KBOK, Malvern are carrying the full schedule of programming…..KNOX, Grand Forks is the newest affiliate station for GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs.

ObamaCare Criticism Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM.  Scrutiny of the rollout and the effects of the Affordable Care Act was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of March 10-14.  Coming in at #2 this week was the 2016 presidential race tied with the Republican special election victory in Florida.  At #3 was Obama vs. Putin and the political tensions brought about by the Ukraine and Crimea instabilities.  Following at #4 was the lower job approval ratings for President Obama.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

| March 13, 2014

francesamikeWFAN, New York’s Mike Francesa Gets Video Deal with Fox 1.  After exiting the YES Network for the TV simulcast of his radio show in early February when his contract ran out, New York sports talk icon Mike Francesa’s WFAN show will land on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2 in a deal just announced.  The companies say they’ve reached foxsports1a “multi-year, multi-media agreement.”  Fox Sports 1 and 2 general manager and COO David Nathanson says, “We are thrilled to add Mike Francesa to our Fox Sports family of channels.  Mike is without question one of the most popular sports personalities in New York and has maintained a significant national reputation through his syndicated NFL show and his WFAN program…He’s knowledgeable and opinionated with an ability to attract top-name guests who appeal to sports fans everywhere.  This is a fantastic addition to FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports 2.”  The simulcast begins on March 24 when it will air from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on Fox Sports 1 and then from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Fox Sports 2.  It will also be streamed live via Fox Sports GO through participating video providers.  Francesa will deliver the Sports Keynote Address at the Talkers New York 2014 conference on Friday, June 20, 2014.

weei logoSalk Exits WEEI-FM, Boston After a Year.  The homecoming for Boston-bred sports talk personality Mike Salk lasted just about a year.  Salk has left the station for a new gig elsewhere (reportedly back to KIRO-AM, Seattle where he was co-hosting with Brock Huard).  The changes at WEEI-FM since former afternoonsalkmike drive personality Glenn Ordway was forced out have been numerous: program director Jason Wolfe exited and the general manager who brought Salk to WEEI – Jeff Brown – abruptly left in September of 2013.  Boston Globe writer Chad Finn analyzes the situation and states that although Salk was raised in the area and worked at other Boston AM signals for a time, “his homogenized style, honed during his time at ESPN radio, made him seem like an outsider.”  Finn reports the station will begin pairing up a rotating cast of co-hosts for Michael Holley in the PM drive slot as is works to find a permanent replacement for Salk.

ktth logoKTTH, Seattle Produces ‘Panel Series’ to Debate Policy Issues.  Seattle news/talker KTTH is beginning a panel series aimed at “encouraging robust discussion of important issues in Western Washington,” and it will start with an April 9 debate over the proposed $15 minimum wage.  Afternoon talk host Ben Shapiro will take part in the debate and morning drive personality David Boze will moderate.  Also taking part in the debate will be Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, National Employment Law Project deputy director Rebecca Smith, and Washington Policy Center vice president for research Paul Guppy.  The debate is open to the public.

catsimatidisWNYM, New York to Air ‘The Cats Roundtable.’ New York business mogul and former mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis begins hosting an hour-long Sunday morning program on Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” this weekend.  The station says the show will feature interviews, listener call-ins and John’s unique take on the news affecting New York.  Catsimatidis is CEO of The Red Apple Group and Gristedes Foods.  His first guests on the 3/16 program will include former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former New York Governor George Pataki.  Catsimatidis comments, “I’m incredibly excited about this.  After the mayor’s race, I was struck by how many New Yorkers from all walks of life were anxious to continue the conversation about how to improve our city.  As a lifelong fan of local radio, I’m convinced that this is the best way to do that.”

smithrandySmith to Named to GSM Post at Cox Tulsa.  Moving over from the television side of Cox Media Group’s Tulsa operations is Randy Smith who is named general sales manager for the group that includes classic rock KJSR, AC KRAV, news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, and country KWEN.  Cox Tulsa general manager Gene Vidler says, “I am excited to have Randy join our radio cluster.  I have known Randy for many years, first as a competitor and more recently as a colleague with our sister TV stations.  Randy’s knowledge of the market and his relationships in Tulsa will be a great fit to help our radio cluster continue to grow.  Randy is very well respected and well known in the media community.”

knxgridlockKNX, Los Angeles to Air Daylong Programming on Region’s Traffic Problems.  Southern California’s traffic problems are legendary and CBS RADIO’s all-news KNX “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting what it calls a “comprehensive and unprecedented examination of Southern California’s infamous traffic congestion that often turns the region’s freeways and streets into a continuum of parking lots.”  It’s a day-long series titled, “Driven to Gridlock: L.A.’s Never-Ending Sig Alert,” airing on Thursday, March 27 from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm.  The station says, “Producers Charles Feldman and Laraine Herman, along with KNX 1070’s award-winning news staff, will explore the past, present and future of SoCal’s traffic situation with help from urban planners, civic leaders, technology experts, law enforcement and commuters.  Among the topics to be covered in 26 special reports will be the evolution of our region’s car culture; why traffic congestion will likely worsen before it improves; the future of mass transit; the financial impact of traffic jams on business; coping with an aging infrastructure and growing population; the impact of past ‘solutions’ such as signal synchronization, car pool lanes, ridesharing, and toll lanes; and more-recent ideas like congestion pricing popular in Europe and flexible work schedules.”

conwaysimonOdds & Sods.  Hard-working talk radio personality Simon Conway – afternoon drive host at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines – is continuing his fill-in work subbing for Premiere Networks nationally syndicated host Andy Dean.  Iron-man Conway is used to double-duty having hosted the morning show at WFLF, Orlando for six days earlier this month…..Public radio WNYC, New York welcomes Sean Bowditch to the organization as executive editor.  Bowditch has served in the past as senior producer for “Marketplace Morning Report,” and producer at NPR and WBUR, Boston…..ESPN Radio is expanding its “SportsCenter All Night” program to seven nights a week.  Joining veteran ESPN Radio “SportsCenter” host Jay Reynolds, who will continue to host SportsCenter All Night Sunday into Monday through Thursday into Friday, will be John Brickley, who will serve as host of the late Friday and Saturday shows.

mhruddygroupPosh Palm Beach Pow Wow!  Noticing that more than a handful of his talk radio pals were in Florida’s Palm Beach County at the same time, Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy invited them all to dinner and conversation last evening (3/12) at Donald Trump’s palatial Palm Beach Island estate, Mar-A-Lago.  The result was a real yak-fest.  Among the many topics of conversation — which ran the gamut from industry gossip to the future of radio in the digital age – was inside-information about Newsmax’s forthcoming plunge into the news/talk television wars.  Pictured (l-r): Rush Limbaugh show producer James Golden; WRKO, Boston personality Howie Carr; WFTL, Fort Lauderdale VP/GM Steve Lapa; former U.S. Rep. (R-AZ), talk show host and Newsmax TV contributor J.D. Hayworth; TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison; and Ruddy.

katz mg logoKatz Media Group Helps Raise $170,000 for Broadcasters Foundation of America.  After its 5th annual membership drive to support the Broadcasters Foundation of America, Katz Media Group announces this year’s contributions bring Katz’s total support to more than $170,000.  The BFoA provides financial assistance to those in the radio and television profession who find themselves in acute need.  Katz Radio Group president Mark Gray states, “The Broadcasters Foundation does incredible work for those in need.  Every year, our company looks forward to the opportunity to come together and make a difference.  I’m enormously proud of our employees continued dedication, which to date has raised more than $170,000 over the past five years.  The contributions have even more meaning for Katz as it supports the Stu Olds Memorial Fund, in honor and memory of our former president and CEO.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Obama vs. Putin/Crimea-Ukraine Crisis, 2016 Presidential Race, Winter Weather/Global Warming, and Overtime Pay Hike Proposal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane and the theories of its disappearance; President Obama’s standoff with Vladimir Putin over the Crimea-Ukraine crisis; speculation about possible candidates in the 2016 presidential election; the latest bout of winter weather hitting the East and debate over global warming; and President Obama’s proposal to enact mandatory hikes in overtime pay were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

| March 12, 2014

2014header - final for KCTALKERS Posts 2014 Heavy Hundred.  The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – debuted on March 11.  Also known as “The Heavy Hundred,” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board with input from a wide variety of industry leaders.  It includes local and national hosts from an array of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer electronics, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and completely separate annual “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” two years ago.)  Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”).   According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation.  Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up-and-comers has never been greater.  Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!”  To view the entire 2014 Heavy Hundred, please click here.

kgmzlogo‘Game’ Changes in San Francisco.  KGMZ “95.7 The Game” is modifying its weekday on-air lineup.  Among the adjustments at the Entercom-owned San Francisco Bay Area sports outlet are the importing of former cross-town KNBR talent Damon Bruce to afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and shifting current PM drivers Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (below left, respectively) to mornings, replacing “The Rise Guys” — Whitey Gleason, Mark Kriedler and Dan Dibley.  Entercom San Francisco vice president and market manager Steve DiNardo states, “This is a brucedamongreat day for our station and for Bay Area sports fans.  For years, Damon Bruce has been one of the strongest, most opinionated, and passionate personalities in Bay Area sports.  He understands what it takes to compete and win in this market.  Just as exciting is moving Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend to morning drive.  In just 14 months, they have developed strong chemistry and a loyal following.  We feel like we have the perfect team in the perfect time slot to grow ‘The Game.'” According to Bruce, “The Bay Area has a one-of-a-kind sports scene, one of the hottest and most exciting buchertownsendin the country today.  Bay Area fans are some of the most passionate fans in the country. I can’t wait to start and kick off a new drive-time experience for Bay Area sports fans.”  Bruce was with KNBR from 1998 – 2000, and returned in 2005.  He gained national exposure hosting “Sports Overnight America,” before leaving to become a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN Radio. Bruce has filled in for Jim Rome and has hosted SportsCenter for ESPN International. His other credits include fill-in host on Fox Sports Radio; Sporting News Radio; CBS Sports Network; and hosting pre and post-game shows for the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers.  The revised KGMZ lineup – which begins in just over two weeks (3/31) – will include “Bucher and Towny” with Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Haberman & Middlekauff (10:00 am -12:00 noon); “The Wheelhouse” with John Lund & Greg Papa (noon – 3:00 pm); and “The Damon Bruce Show” (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).

salemcommunicationsSaga’s Ed Christian “Hoping for a Little Better” in Q4.  The 2013 fourth quarter and full year fiscal reports for Saga Communications saw the company’s net operating revenue dip 5% in Q4 of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012.  But gross revenue increased 3.8% during the quarter excluding political.  For the full year, the company’s gross revenue was up 3.3% (ex-political).  In a conference call with investment analysts, Saga CEO Ed Christian christianedstated, “I was hoping for a little better in Q4, we can always do a little more, we can always do a little better but I’m not disappointed.  We’re just pleased with the results.”  Christian said it’s hard not to put some blame on the winter weather for the economic sluggishness.  “Saga operates in a lot of mid-America markets and a lot in New England and I really don’t have to tell you what the last four months have been like.  In those markets it’s just outright miserable…I was talking with one of our managers the other day and he said people are irritable and it’s gloomy and people are lethargic.”

beasley logoBeasley Declares Cash Dividend.  The company’s board of directors is announcing the company is declaring a quarterly cash dividend of $0.045 per share of its Class A and Class B common stock.  The dividend is payable on April 10, 2014, to shareholders of record on March 31, 2014.

linnmanpaulKEX, Portland Personality Accused of Assault.  Morning show personality Paul Linnman – host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland – is being accused by a co-worker of assault after he allegedly groped her buttocks and licked his lips as he stared at her breasts.  Kailee Kinney is bringing the suit against Clear Channel and Linnman in Multnomah County Court.  Kinney is a producer and account executive at CC Portland.  She’s seeking $325,000 in damages.  The complaint alleges Linnman “came up behind plaintiff and groped her buttocks, a sexually intimate part of her body.  Linnman used an open palm to slap Plaintiff’s buttocks and then grabbed and squeezed plaintiff’s buttocks.”  It further alleges that “Linnman approached plaintiff for a second time, stating, ‘I should apologize but that black dress…you look great in that black dress,” during which he “licked his lips and stared at Plaintiff’s breasts as he made this comment to plaintiff.”

postbillSalem, Oregon Talk Host Suspends Show After Equal Time Complaint.  In the Salem, Oregon market, Willamette Broadcasting employee Bill Post has suspended his daily talk show on KYKN due to his campaign for state representative and a complaint from a primary opponent about violation of equal time rules.  Post announced his campaign for the seat in December.  Last month, Barbara Jensen announced her bid for the seat but Post continued to work on the air.  Jensen complains that Post and the station have been violating FCC rules and election laws but also asserts Post has violated other campaign laws but did not specify what they are.  In a story in the Statesman Journal, Post says the station was prepared for Jensen’s complaint and that he believes the station and his campaign manager have operated within the law.   Jensen’s complaint implies that once Post worked on air after opponents joined the race, the station must then provide equal time.

journalcommunicationsJournal Communications Shows Off New Brand.  The parent company of radio and TV station firm Journal Broadcast Group unveils a new company brand with three cohesive new logos representing Journal Communications and its two major business segments, the Broadcast Group and Journal Publishing.  As part of the new brand, the company also launched a fully redesigned corporate website atjournalbroadcastgroup www.journalcommunications.com.  Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith comments, “When we look at our company, we see quality, focus and effective teams in our local markets – all part of a business that is moving forward.  However, many people outside of Journal often have no idea that, in addition to their favorite local station or publication, we have a total of 13 television stations, 35 radio stations and a major daily newspaper with a variety of supporting local publications, all with complementary digital products.  As such, we believe our new brand better represents our company to investors, employees and the public and positions us as a national media company with diverse brands united under a common identity.”  The redesigned company website includes links to all of Journal’s digital products and Journal Broadcast Group live streaming sites, as well as a “What’s Trending Now” feature that highlights Journal’s most recent content across its Broadcast and Publishing websites.

entercomEntercom Kansas City Takes Action Against Delinquent Client.  It’s not unusual for radio stations to put a past-due account into collection but Entercom Kansas City is seeking a court’s assistance in getting more than $52,000 it claims it is owned by Vinson Mortgage Services Inc.  In a story in the St. Louis Business Journal, Vinson apparently advertised on news/talk KMBZ, alternative KRBZ and rock KQRC.  This is not the only action involving Vinson.  St. Louis television station KMOV-TV is filing a suit claiming it is owned more than $68,000.

wdrc-amOdds & Sods.  The recent FCC filing for Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of its Connecticut stations to Connoisseur Media announced last week shows the price is $7.9 million.  The stations include classic hits WDRC-FM, Hartford; talk WDRC-AM, Hartford; WWCO, Waterbury; WSNG, Torrington; and WMMW, Meriden…..Talk radio pro Mark Wainwright is sitting in on Clear Channel’s WSYR, Syracuse for Joe Galuski on the morning program next week, March 17 – 21…..Alpha Broadcasting announces Jeremy Scott and Brian Perkins will be the radio announcers for the Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder when games air on the company’s KXTG, Portland “Sports Radio 750 The Game.”  Scott serves as a reporter for sister news/talk KXL.  Perkins is a reporter and air personality on KXTG…..XtreMEDIA nationally syndicated talk host Steve Deace is talking to New Englanders today as he sits in for Boston talk icon Howie Carr on Entercom‘s WRKO.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Winter Weather/Global Warming, Republican Wins Fla. Special Election, ObamaCare Criticism, CIA Monitoring of Senate Staffers/Snowden Video Appearance, and Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Tensions  Among Top Stories Yesterday (3/11).  The ongoing mystery concerning the whereabouts of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet; a new round of winter weather hits the East and renewed debate over the case for man-made global warming; Republican David Jolly defeats Democrat Alex Sink in Florida Congressional special election; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Senator Diane Feinstein’s allegation the CIA monitored Senate staffers and Edward Snowden’s commentary on surveillance cases; and President Obama’s faceoff with Vladimir Putin and the case of Russia’s incursion into Crimea and Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

| March 11, 2014

nielsen logoNielsen’s March 2014 RADAR Report Says Radio Listening Up.  According to the soon-to-be-released March 2014 RADAR 120 National Radio Listening Report from Nielsen, total radio listening has increased in the past 12 months by 1.2 million weekly listeners.  Stating that radio now reaches 244.4 million Americans, Nielsen also breaks it down a bit adding that “the national audience aged 18 to 34 grew by more than half a million compared to the previous year, reaching 91.9% of all 18 to 34 year-olds.”  As far as time spent listening is concerned, the report indicates the average total time spent listening to AM/FM radio is 2 hours and 41 minutes (persons 12+), a figure that remains steady from the time documented last March.

geronimodonDon Geronimo Teases Fans About New Show.  Radio pro Don Geronimo is Tweeting teasers to his followers about his next radio venture and it appears to include some old friends.  Geronimo, who is still under the employ of CBS RADIO for another three weeks or so after exiting both KHTK, Sacramento and WJFK-FM, Washington, reports that his new show will also include  former “Don & Mike” show newsman Buzz Burbank, “Slow Joe” Ardinger, and Drew Hoffar, with whom Geronimo worked at KHTK.  Due to contract issues, Geronimo is keeping quiet about where the show will be available until April.  It’s not certain the show will be aired on AM/FM radio and may be an internet venture.

parkertheman‘Parker and The Man’ Returns to WDFN, Detroit.  The sports talk duo of Rob Parker and Mark Wilson is coming back to its original Detroit signal on March 24 when “Parker and The Man” will take over the evening slot on Clear Channel’s WDFN, Detroit.  Parker, who works for WDIV-TV, Detroit on its “Sports Final Edition” show, made the announcement of the pair’s return to AM/FM radio on Sunday.  The duo have been hosting an internet version of their show since last summer but now, through Woodward One Media, the show is being reborn on the radio.  It will also be available online via Premier Sports Talk Network.  Parker and Wilson left WDFN in 1999 and jumped to CBS RADIO’s WXYT-FM and held down the evening slot through 2006 when they exited the station.  Woodward One CEO Weston Silver tells the Detroit News, “‘Parker and the Man’ is a proven commodity in Motown.  We’re thrilled to be able to put them back on the air.  Sports fans will flock back to them because their show is both fun and informative.”

Odds & Sods.  When the Big 10 Men’s basketball tourney begins on Thursday, all of the games will be made available to radio stations via Compass Media Networks.  Compass says two of its crews will be in Indianapolis calling the games.  Matt “Money” Smith (co-host of KLAC’s “Petros & Money,” NFL Network host, and Compass play-by-play man) and former NBA star Rick Mahorn will partner up and Drew Bontadelli and former Cal Poly star and Compass analyst Mike Wozniak will serve as the second crew.  KLAC producer and host Tim Cates will announce the broadcasts and serve as studio host from Compass’ Los Angeles broadcast facility…..Clear Channel’s Minneapolis-based KFAN network has inked a deal with Learfield Sports to air University of Minnesota football for another three seasons…..American Public Media Group announces Morris Goodwin is the new senior vice president and chief financial officer for the corporation that is made up of Minnesota Public Radio, American Public Media, Classical South Florida, and Southern California Public Radio.

UnivisionAmerica“Univision America de Costa a Costa” Debuts.  The morning program is from Univision Radio‘s AM arm Univision America.  Translated as “Univision America from Coast to Coast,” the Ricardo Espinoza, Tsi Tsi Ki Felix, and Ricky Lopez-hosted show is a combination of news and talk programming, mixed with finance, health, and entertainment information. Univision America vice president/general manager Felix Perez comments, “These personalities reflect the diversity of their listeners’ world.  Audiences crave 24/7 engagement with radio personalities who they can relate to – and – this team delivers.”  Miami-based Espinoza was most recently co-host/news announcer for “Buen Dia New York” on WADO, New York.  Chicago-based Felix is an air personality with “Al Aire con Tsi-Tsi-Ki,” her daily show on Chicago’s WRTO.  New York-based Lopez is the voice of New York City’s WQBU.  “Univision America de Costa a Costa” premiered yesterday (3/10) at 6:00 am on KTNQ, Los Angeles; WRTO, Chicago; KFLC, Dallas; KLAT, Houston; WQBA, Miami; KCOR, San Antonio; KLSQ, Las Vegas; KGBT, McAllen; and KQBU, El Paso.

Missing Malaysian Jet Mystery, Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Case, Snowden SXSW Appearance, and Global Warming All-Nighter Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/10).  The mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370; the criticism of President Obama’s handling of Russian president Vladimir Putin and Russia’s incursion into Ukraine and Crimea; the appearance of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden via video at the SXSW festival in Austin; and the all-night session held by Congressional Democrats on the topic of global warming were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.