ESPN Suspends Kellerman. There is yet more fallout related to the ugly domestic violence incident that led to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice‘s two-game ban for domestic violence. As we have already reported, ESPN suspended Stephen A. Smith for a week after the commentator suggested that women should be careful not to “provoke” domestic violence incidents. Smith labeled those comments the biggest mistake of his career and he apologized for making the inference. The network has now reportedly handed out a suspension to ESPN Los Angeles (KSPN) and “SportsNation” host Max Kellerman, who acknowledged hitting his girlfriend quite a few years ago. Kellerman was talking with Steve Mason & John Ireland, whose radio program precedes the one co-hosted by Kellerman and former NFL player Marcellus Wiley (“Max & Marcellus,” weekdays 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm). Kellerman was recollecting a college-era incident involving his then-girlfriend. She and Kellerman had been drinking and according to Kellerman, they slapped each other. Kellerman stressed that the two have been happily married (for roughly 20 years). In a statement ESPN released last Friday (8/8), the network would not confirm the suspension, but stated, “Max Kellerman will return to ESPN Los Angeles Radio and SportsNation on Thursday [8/14].” In addition to his ESPN duties, Kellerman is an HBO Sports boxing analyst. As you might recall, Rice and his then-fiancée, Janay Palmer, who is now his wife, were involved in a physical altercation with each other this past February. Rice was suspended by the NFL for violating its personal-conduct policy.
Cumulus Rumored to Be Eying Dan Snyder’s Red Zebra DC Properties. The story is reported by Dave Hughes’ DCRTV.com that Cumulus Media is interested in the four signals that make up the Red Zebra Washington, DC-area cluster, including WTEM, Washington; WSPZ, Bethesda, Maryland; WWXT-FM, Prince Frederick, Maryland; and WWXX, Buckland, Virginia. The station group has been on the block for a while and DCRTV.com speculates that Cumulus would like to get its country “NASH FM” format into the Washington metro.
Joe Pags to Be Interim ‘America Now’ Host. The 130 affiliates of Premiere Networks’ “America Now” program will be getting San Antonio-based talk personality Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo. Joe Pags tells TALKERS magazine that the syndicated program – which until recently featured Andy Dean as host – will carry his daily show based at WOAI and that is also heard on Clear Channel-owned stations KPRC, Houston; KEX, Portland; KHOW, Denver; and KTLK, Minneapolis, for the foreseeable future while a new host for the show is sought.
Saga Communications Reports Flat Q2. On 2014 second quarter operating revenue of $33.8 million, Saga Communications announces it was compared to the same period a year ago. Other figures reported include: operating income from continuing operations was $8.2 million; net income for the period was $4.8 million; and free cash flow was $5.9 million. Station operating expense was $23.5 million (station operating expense includes depreciation and amortization attributable to the stations). Net operating revenue for the period ended June 30, 2014 increased 0.7% to $63.3 million compared to $62.8 million for the same period last year.
WRHD, Greenville Flips to Sports Talk. Dropping the adult contemporary format for sports talk is Inner Banks Media-owned AC WRHD, Greenville, North Carolina “Star 94.3” which begins a new life as “94.3 The Game.” The station is using regional sports talk from Capitol Broadcasting’s Raleigh-Durham sports stations “ESPN Triangle” and Fox Sports Radio content. Morning drive features WDNC, Durham personalities Mike & Mark (Mike Maniscalco and Mark Thomas) and WCMC, Raleigh afternoon drivers Adam Gold and Joe Ovies. Middays include FSRN’s Andy Furman and Mike North followed by Jay Mohr. Evenings and weekends feature FSRN programming.
New Production Facility to Coincide with Kim Komando TV Show Evolution. As the Kim Komando program continues its evolution from a pure radio program to a combo radio/digital TV show, WestStar MultiMedia Entertainment announces it is procuring a new 24,000 square foot live facility in central Phoenix to be the new home of the company. WestStar president and CEO Barry Young says, “Over the past year, we have been experimenting with a live HD video production of the Kim Komando show. While we cannot envision any scenario whereby we would move away from our core product, radio, we also realize that the ‘core product’ is changing rapidly. Radio producers who rely on a ‘one-camera web-shot’ video product will be caught short of the new standard. For this reason, we believe that nothing less than a full digital HD video production, suitable to network and broadcast syndication, is appropriate for an established benchmark program such as the Kim Komando show. That level of production, together with future projects still under wraps, is not possible with anything less than a major-league production facility, such as the one we are building here in Phoenix.” The company says that the new facility (seen in the artist’s rendering here) will be fully operational by May of 2015 and will serve as the new home to WestStar Corporate Offices, broadcast, digital sales, entertainment, film operations, 24-hour network broadcast operations center and all online operations. The plant will incorporate five digital radio broadcast studios, two voice-over studios, two digital radio production rooms, three digital video production edit rooms, radio master control, television master control, a 2,500 square foot television sound stage and a high-security server hosting facility.
Setting Up WordPress and PodPress for a Podcast. Syndicated talk show host Michael W. Dean began his radio program as a podcast. He writes a brief column for TALKERS today (8/11) that introduces his philosophy of podcasting and provides a link to a step-by-step video that shows talk show producers how to navigate WordPress and the PodPress plugin to get their programs up and running. Check it out here.
Kenny Loggins Guests on ‘The Saturday Café’ on WABC, New York. Music icon Kenny Loggins was Laura Smith’s guest on WABC’s “Saturday Café” this past weekend. The show aired at 7:00 pm on Saturday during which Loggins talked about writing songs as a teen, touring the world with his new shows, and his passion for music. He also promoted his latest project – a new album with a country/rock trio called The Blue Sky Riders – that is being released through a Kickstarter campaign. Pictured here are Loggins (left) and Smith (right).
Los Angeles Radio Mourns George Nicholaw’s Passing. Owing to the fact that George Nicholaw was among a rare group of radio general managers who passionately and regularly delivered on-air editorials, listeners to Los Angeles all-news operation KNX were very familiar with his name and voice. The longtime Southern California broadcaster was 85 when he passed away this past Saturday (8/9). Nicholaw had been with CBS Radio-owned KNX for 36 years (1967-2003), including when the station adopted its all-news format in 1968. Exiting the station at the age of 74, he filed what proved to be an unsuccessful lawsuit against KNX ownership for age discrimination. Regarding Nicholaw, veteran KNX business anchor Frank Mottek commented, “He was a fine gentleman and a broadcast pioneer. He took an enormous amount of pride in journalism, and in excellence in broadcasting.” On his Facebook page, former KNX anchor Larry Van Nuys notes, “I am saddened by the passing of broadcasting giant George Nicholaw. While I can’t claim to have known him well, I can say it is a great loss to all of us who admired him. I, along with so many others, benefitted from his journalistic integrity, broadcasting courage and lasting legacy. He had talent, great understanding, and class.” Nicholaw died at his home after being hospitalized with an infection.