Senate Commerce Committee Chair Thune Seeks Communications Act Overhaul. Speaking before an audience at the American Enterprise Institute, Senate Commerce Committee chairman John Thune (R-SD) said he will kick-start the process of reviewing and updating the country’s communications laws, last done in 1996. From a story at The Hill, Thune admits his efforts will require support from Democrats but says it’s very early in the process. He told the crowd the very legal framework that could allow broadband internet to be classified a utility is obsolete. He criticized the FCC’s rulemaking process with regard to “net neutrality” and said its agenda is being nudged by “an increasingly imperious president.” He said, “With the FCC poised to reclassify broadband due to a lack of clear statutory authority, we can readily see the consequences of that obsolescence and the need for action.” Getting support from Democrats prior to the 2016 election may be all but impossible but Thune says trying to update the Act that was last modernized when the Internet was in its infancy is necessary.”
Westwood One Locks-In Levin. A contract extension between Westwood One and Mark Levin will keep the talk show host with the Cumulus Media-owned syndicator through 2020. Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey states, “Mark has established himself as a pillar in talk radio with his sharp and witty commentary. We look forward to expanding his program’s reach.” Levin comments, “I am delighted to continue working with Cumulus and Westwood One. I look forward to further developing the show over the next five years. I am passionate about challenging the mainstream media and educating the public on the most pressing political and legal issues of our time and maintain my commitment to doing so.” Flagship WABC, New York launched Levin’s 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm show in 2003; a third hour was added six years later (2009). Previously an advisor/administrator to several members of president Ronald Reagan‘s cabinet, Levin is president of the Landmark Legal Foundation, a non-profit Washington, DC-based advocacy group.
LeBon Named to Co-Host ‘America Continues’ on USA Radio Networks. Joining host Jim Sharpe on his “America Continues” program – to be syndicated live nightly from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET beginning February 2 – is Cherylyn Harley LeBon. She is president and CEO of public relations firm KLAR Strategies and is national co-chair of the leadership network, Project 21. On joining USA Radio and working with Sharpe, LeBon says, “It is a wonderful opportunity to co-host with Jim Sharpe on ‘America Continues’ to share with our audience the unique stories happening around our country. We want to talk about the stories that are not being told and highlight reasons why America is still so great.” LeBon previously served as a political appointee in the George W. Bush Administration; as a spokesman at the Republican National Committee; and as senior counsel for the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee. She is also a contributor to BlogHer, TheBlaze, and She Owns It.
WEEI.com Benefits from DeflateGate Controversy. Fans of the New England Patriots may be sick to death of the “deflategate” flap but the story has been a boon for Entercom’s WEEI, Boston and its digital destination, WEEI.com. The station reports that the story has “crushed all previous engagement records for ‘Sports Radio WEEI’ and its digital assets. Between January 19, the day the allegations of tampering with some of the AFC Championship footballs were first announced, and January 25, WEEI.com racked up the following eye-popping statistics: Over 1 million unique users to WEEI.com; over 4.3 million page views in that same time frame; The WEEI Facebook page reached more than 6.1 million people in one week with more than 1 million of those engaging and participating in a WEEI post; on Thursday, January 22, more than 280,000 unique visitors and 1 million page views were tallied for the Tom Brady and Bill Belichick press conferences, the largest day in site history; and those press conferences peaked at over 22,000 users on the WEEI audio stream. The station’s previous record-setting day for streaming was a peak of 15,000 for a Tom Brady interview last fall. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham comments that “you don’t post numbers like that unless sports fans know you’re the digital destination for timely and credible information. I’m very proud of the combined efforts from our on-air and digital content teams in reporting this ever-changing story. We have been at the forefront of coverage from the beginning and been the go-to station for national media outlets such as ESPN, The CBS Evening News, FOX News and CNN, to name a few.”
Odds & Sods. At non-commercial triple A and news/talk hybrid KCRW, Santa Monica, California, Matt Miller puts the wraps on his “Left, Right & Center” program, producing the last episode on Friday, January 30…..This evening is the official “weigh-in” broadcast on WIP-FM, Philadelphia prior to Friday’s Wing Bowl 23 – the annual chicken wing eating contest, this year being held at the Wells Fargo Center. The 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm broadcast today takes place at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia. The station’s Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes are hosting the broadcast…..WGN, Chicago will air the memorial service for Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks on Saturday, January 31 from 10:00 am until its conclusion. Sports director Dave Eanet will host the broadcast. The station will make the Kathy & Judy show available via wgnplus.com and will join that show in progress after the Banks memorial service…..The medical talk show “Mayo Clinic Radio” is now being represented for national syndication by Chicago-based Syndication Networks Corp. The program is a weekly, one-hour show hosted by physician and longtime broadcaster Dr. Tom Shives with veteran radio host Tracy McCray.
Talk Personality Ethan Bearman Co-Founds Government Watchdog Site. The new organization and its website – Community Action for Government Efficiency, or CAGE – is a Santa Cruz, California-based one that seeks to help keep politicians accountable, according to co-founder and talk radio personality Ethan Bearman. He’s pictured here (center) appearing on KSCO, Santa Cruz’s “Good Morning Monterey Bay” program with host Rosemary Chalmers (right) and CAGE co-founder Vincent Perez (left) to announce the debut of the site Cagesc.org. Bearman says, “Our goal is to provide a clear and simple pathway of information to the people and business community of Santa Cruz County. CAGE provides a forum for a common-sense approach to impacting change in economic, political and social issues.” He says, “Users of the site can find information on relevant topics that impact our business community; share concerns that impact our community; participate in the discussion forums related to these issues; and influence positive behavior from our local politicians by holding them accountable.” Bearman is host of the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program on KSFO, San Francisco on Saturdays and Sundays.
ISIS Captives/Threat to President Obama, Obamas Saudi Visit, Obama Administration Tax Plan, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Immigration Reform/Amnesty Issues, and Super Bowl Hype/DeflateGate Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The potential swap of captives between Jordan and ISIS and the group’s threat to President Obama in beheading video; Barack and Michelle Obama’s visit with the Saudi royals; the administration plan to hike taxes on top earners; the potential candidates for president in 2016; immigration reform proposals and the amnesty policy championed by President Obama; and the build-up to Super Bowl XLIX and the deflategate flap were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.