Changes at Tribune Media as ‘The Game 87.7’ to End; Garry Meier and Jonathon Brandmeier Exit. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune Media will soon announce that its nine-month old sports talk venture on WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7” will shut down by the end of the year. At the same time, Feder reports that Chicago radio legends Garry Meier – whose program was heard only on wgn.com – and Jonathon Brandmeier, heard in mornings on WGWG-LP, are both out effective immediately. Brandmeier and Meier were both moved off WGN-AM when president and GM Jimmy de Castro began re-tooling the heritage news/talker with personality changes. Steve Cochran was brought in for mornings and Meier was replaced by Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder in afternoons. It remains to be seen how the other WGWG-LP staffers will be affected by the change.
Radio Rising to Occasion as Snow Buries Tight Knit Buffalo Community. No doubt, the Winter of 2014-15 is off to a quick start and no region has felt its fury this past week more than Buffalo, New York where “lake effect” bands of snow have piled up more than eight feet of the white stuff in some parts of the city leaving others relatively unscathed. TALKERS is receiving reports that Buffalo radio stations and personnel have been rising to the occasion helping those directly impacted by the harsh weather conditions with information and support. WBEN afternoon drive host Tom Bauerle is a longtime market icon who recognizes the important role radio plays during such challenging situations. He tells TALKERS, “One of the great aspects of live, local programming during a weather emergency is that we often help people in the here and now. Our host David Bellavia [an Iraq war hero] took a stranded motorist named Liza under his wing last night, and even after his show made sure that rescue workers reached her and her small children. Buffalo is a city of longtime residents, generally, and our roots run deep. Western New York, in my opinion, is blessed with genuinely caring people who show their best attributes during a common calamity. Frankly, many of our listeners were desperate to volunteer to help remove, shelter and feed stranded motorists, but seem to have been rebuffed by the authorities. It really is an honor to host during a time when we can actually make a difference in real-time safety.”
WPGG, Atlantic City Helps Raise Funds for Thanksgiving Relief. At Townsquare Media-owned news/talk outlet WPGG, Atlantic City, morning personality Harry Hurley led yesterday’s effort to raise money to feed Thanksgiving dinner to more than 950 families in the area with the “Feed a Family Radiothon.” The company’s five radio stations brought in more than $23,000. The station notes that with more than 12,000 people out of work because of the recent casino closing debacle in Atlantic City, this emergency fundraising campaign was even more important.
Hubbard Expands ‘2060 Digital’; Names James Bryant President. Cincinnati VP and market manager James Bryant is heading up Hubbard Radio’s new in-house, digital company called 2060 Digital, LLC. The new digital media services company will expand from Hubbard Interactive in Cincinnati and begin serving Hubbard Radio clusters in the Chicago, Washington, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Seattle, Phoenix and Cincinnati markets. 2060 Digital will “provide digital solutions for clients, including website and mobile site build out, SEO, SEM, retargeting, social media management, content and video.” Two years ago, Bryant was instrumental in launching 2060 Digital in Cincinnati. Hubbard chair and CEO Ginny Morris comments, “We have long looked to Jim for leadership in this space and we feel fortunate that his full attention will be focused on helping us find comprehensive solutions for our advertising partners. We look forward to bringing Jim’s entrepreneurial approach to 2060 Digital to the rest of our company.” At the same time, with the promotion of Bryant, Hubbard announces Mike Fredrick also moves up from his VP/general manager/DOS for the Cincinnati operations to VP and market manager.
CBS RADIO Detroit One of Motor City’s “Best Places to Work.” The annual feature from Crain’s Detroit Business names CBS RADIO Detroit one of the best places to work in the city. Some of the reasons for the local station group being such a great employer include: Annual company party, tickets to local events, rewards site to allow employees to send thank you and birthday cards and award nominations, and child care assistance. Pictured here in the all-news WWJ studio delivering a newscast is anchor Jackie Paige. The still is from a video created by CBS Detroit that is found on the Crain’s Detroit Business website. You can check out the cool video here.
Odds & Sods. TALKERS SoCal sources notice iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles has stopped using the “More Stimulating Talk” slogan that’s been part of the station brand for so many years and simply refers to itself as “KFI640.”…..Former “Judge Alex” television personality Alex Ferrer is beginning a legal analysis program on the digital platform ConnectPal….. The NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals re-sign with iHeartMedia in the Queen City for another five-year run airing its games on news/talk WLW, sports talk WCKY “ESPN 1530,” and rock WEBN…..CBS RADIO Tampa sports talker WHFS-FM “Sports Radio 98.7 the Fan” is presenting “Tickets for Turkeys” to benefit Feeding America Tampa Bay. Listeners who donate a turkey will pick from sealed envelopes which contain tickets to Tampa’s hottest events and attractions such as: Busch Gardens, The Who, Black Keys, Tampa Bay Lightning, Universal Studios, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, WWE, Monster Jam, Arena Cross, Tampa Bay Rays and more. The live broadcast takes place tomorrow (11/21).
CBS Boston Addresses Political Relevance of Talk Radio in Recent Election. In a piece published online by WBZ-TV political analyst Jon Keller, whether talk radio in Boston had something to do with the state getting its first Republican governor in eight years is the topic. Keller writes that some local talk show hosts, including market ratings king Howie Carr (left) and WBZ-AM evening personality Dan Rea (right), say their shows were part of the reason Charlie Baker won the race and an automatic gas tax increase was defeated. The piece comes at a time when the news/talk format is taking its punches for being anything from “predictable” to “only relevant to old white men.” It also comes after an election cycle that political ad buyers will be analyzing to more accurately apportion among the various media the next campaign’s ad buy. Believers in the news/talk format as one that attracts a large percentage of those who actually vote will be eager to see if ratings data confirms the effectiveness of the format. Read the WBZ-TV piece here.
Golden Mike Award Ceremony Moved to March 16. The annual Golden Mike Award fundraiser presented by the Broadcasters Foundation of America will take place at the Plaza Hotel in New York on March 16. Next spring, NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith is being honored with the award. Earlier this week the announcement was made but the date has moved from February 23 to March 16.
Obama Immigration Action, ObamaCare-Gruber Controversy, Ferguson Tensions, Battle Against ISIS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Buffalo Record Snowfall/Early Chill, and Bill Cosby Rape Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/19). The promise by President Obama to enact amnesty for illegal aliens by executive order; the simmering controversy over ObamaCare architect Jonathan Gruber’s video-taped speeches; the growing tensions in Ferguson, Missouri as the grand jury decision on whether to indict officer Darren Wilson is awaited; the battle against ISIS and the U.S. military’s need for more drones; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the record eight feet of snow received in Buffalo and the early cold snap much of the country is experiencing; and renewed allegations of rape against Bill Cosby were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.