Archive for May, 2015
Profile: John Ziegler of the ‘John & Leah Talk Show.’ TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a profile of talk radio pro John Ziegler, whose weekend program with co-host Leah Brandon is busting out on stations across the country (recent adds include WNYM, New York; WNTP, Philadelphia; and WHAS, Louisville). In this piece, the Envision Networks-syndicated personality talks about his frustrations with the corporate radio business, his work producing documentary films as well as his philosophy of radio entertainment. Ziegler says about this new program, “Our show is about what Leah and I can add to the public conversation that particular week and we are completely unafraid. All we care about is providing three hours of informative entertainment. Our business model allows us the freedom to do things other shows would never do. I am the CEO of the corporation, so this time I cannot get fired and that gives us a huge advantage. No one is over my shoulder telling me not to do something, or that I have to do something a certain way.” Read the entire piece here.
Alpha Media Names Stefan Brock Corporate VP, Interactive. There’s a corporate vice president now in charge of the digital space for Alpha Media as the company announces Stefan Brock is named corporate VP of interactive. Alpha says Brock will “oversee digital strategy, initiatives and the current corporate digital team. Brock’s experience includes time working for Disney Interactive Media Group, Disney ABC Television Group and most recently, Super Mackerel where he served as executive director of product and operations. Alpha says the award-winning exec “has a passion for development of original cross platform digital media products and experiences that unite classic storytelling, original video and the latest in interactive social media technologies.” Alpha Media CEO/president Bob Proffitt adds, “After a long search, we are very lucky and excited to have Stefan relocate to Portland and join our team. Stefan’s experience, intelligence and customer focus was a perfect fit for our live and local strategy, and also the continued evolution of our interactive choices for listeners and customers.”
Monday Marks 10-Year Anniversary of FOX News Radio. On June 1, the FOX News Radio service will be 10 years old. The company says, “When FOX News Radio launched our full-service network on June 1, 2005, we had 24 stations, half a dozen reporters and a plan to bring ‘Fair and Balanced’ news coverage to radio. Now, a decade later, that same full-service network has almost 600 affiliated stations. We have 11 full-time radio reporters spread across the country and around the world, and our podcasts and our presence on the social networks are unmatched by any commercial radio network. And we are still growing.”
Odds & Sods. Beginning Monday, June 1, Radio Spokane-owned KJRB-AM, re-launches as “FOX Sports 790AM.” The station will carry the network’s 24/7 lineup including: “Jay Mohr Sports,” Dan Patrick, Rich Eisen, “Steve Gorman SPORTS!,” “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North,” and JT “The Brick,” as well as the network’s weekend programming…..Beasley Broadcast Group is declaring a $0.045/share quarterly dividend payable July 10 for shareholders of record as of June 30.
Judge Andrew Napolitano to Be Honored at NJBA Conference. At the New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference June 17-18 at Caesars in Atlantic City, FOX News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano will receive the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year Award. Napolitano has been the senior judicial analyst for FOX News since 1998. He appears regularly on both FOX News Channel and on FOX News Radio. The NJBA says Napolitano is “a fierce champion of the First Amendment, particularly freedom of speech, and is nationally known for watching and reporting on the government as it takes liberty and property.” NJBA president Paul Rotella adds, “To be sure, Judge Napolitano’s impressive career and public service include several major accomplishments, but I am most proud of his fearless defense of our industry, the First Amendment, and his ability to bring the law to life for his audience. The Judge will receive this honor at our Awards Luncheon during our Annual Conference in Atlantic City on June 18.”
ISIS Progress in Iraq Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 25-29. The success of ISIS in taking the Iraqi city of Ramadi and the Syrian city of Palmyra and questions about the U.S.’s military policy in Iraq was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the 2016 presidential prospects and former New York Governor George Pataki’s entering the race. At #3 was the Clinton Family Foundation’s finances tied with the FIFA corruption scandal followed by the Hillary Clinton emails probe and the Benghazi case at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on talk radio during the week. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Especially when summoned up to describe talk radio personalities, certain words such as “controversial” and “colorful” have a pronounced tendency to come across as a crutch or a hackneyed cliché.
It is simply unrealistic to paint every single talk radio talent as controversial or a genuinely colorful character.
Rather than having either or both of those labels affixed to him, one well-known talk radio entertainer prefers to be called “authentic,” and this Southern California-based personality continues the process of taking a weekend show he co-hosts to a national stage.
Rush Limbaugh’s Boston Situation Has the Industry – and the Media – Talking. After Entercom’s WRKO, Boston announced it would end its relationship with Rush Limbaugh and Premiere Networks when the current contract expired this summer, the show was thrust into the spotlight as radio industry watchers and special interest groups wondered aloud why Entercom is letting Limbaugh go and where the show might land in the nation’s #10 radio market. Recently, Boston media reports have crosstown WMEX management saying that it will not pick up the show. As TALKERS noted during its initial coverage of this story, the list of quality AM signals in Boston likely to add a news/talk program are few and many wonder if the show will end up on a suburban AM. While organizations such as Media Matters might like to take credit for the Entercom decision – that they successfully showed advertisers the show is “toxic” – without detailed comments from Entercom or Premiere Networks, no one can say for sure. However, it’s likely the decision was more financial and less politically judgmental in nature. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “Politics is a double-edged sword for talk radio. Taking ownership of it in the era following the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine has proven to be a magic elixir that has given additional life and longevity to not only spoken-word programming but, by osmosis, the entire medium of radio itself. The downside, of course, is the reality that politics – unlike its conceptual cousin, sports – is more than a ‘game’ and people do get hurt. It is a dirty, ruthless business – a blood sport – that often brings out the worst in people that seek victory rather than truth. This mindset has splashed over into the armchair analysis of events in radio. Limbaugh – being the political poster child of the medium – is the target of so much vitriol, from both within and outside the industry, that any bump in the road that he suffers on a business or economic level is seized as evidence of his complete demise directly due to his alleged ‘wrongness’ and ‘toxicity.’ Also fueling the fires of anger seeking to burn Rush at the stake is widespread resentment toward Clear Channel – that runs much deeper than its rebranding as iHeartMedia can sidestep – being the primary symbol of the so-called evils of consolidation. The truth is – just like almost everyone and every company in this business – Rush has an economic set of difficulties and hard choices to make, based on the financial realities of the radio business in 2015 and the fact that his act is more than a quarter century old. Cut him some slack… yes, he has a problem in a couple of major markets — he ain’t the only one. In their zeal to destroy the guy who has lots of miles left in his treads, I hope his critics don’t castrate radio of its greatest asset – the courage to be controversial, irritating, politically incorrect and even ‘wrong.’”
‘The John & Leah Show’ Lands New York Affiliate WNYM. The syndicated weekend talk show “The John & Leah Show” is now being heard on Salem Media Group-owned news/talk WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.” Hosted by radio pros John Ziegler and Leah Brandon, the Envision Networks-syndicated show that deals with “the week’s news focusing on media, politics, sports and pop culture” airs Sundays at 10:00 pm. Salem Media Group New York VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “‘AM 970, The Answer’ in New York is excited to air the ‘John and Leah Show’ each Sunday night…John Ziegler and Leah Brandon provide our listeners with up-to-date news and opinion and New Yorkers have a chance to call-in and let them know how they feel about it.”
Cumulus Names Sutherland to Providence VP Market Manager Post. Taking over the VP/market manager position in Providence after Barbara Haynes’ exit last week is John Sutherland, who moves up from his VP of sales position with Cumulus Media’s Worcester, Massachusetts cluster. Prior to joining Cumulus in 2013, he was chief visual officer for Sutherland Marketing Group. He was also a vice president with iHeartMedia. Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati says, “Placing John at the helm of Cumulus Providence is a perfect fit for that dynamic group of stations and will maximize our position in the market. John has many years of broadcast history in the Northeast and his tremendous track record speaks for itself. This is another example of the opportunities for advancement and growth Cumulus offers to our employees. We congratulate John and are pleased to present him with this well-deserved battlefield promotion.”
Yahoo! Sports Radio About to Score in Vegas. The affiliation between Kemp Communications’ KMZQ “The Score,” Las Vegas and Yahoo! Sports Radio will start next Monday (6/1). Yahoo! Sports Radio chief executive officer David Gow states, “We have had a significant presence in Las Vegas through our great partnership with the [Las Vegas hotel and resort] Palazzo. It is so exciting to welcome our newest Las Vegas partner and to build on our deep connection with the market through a terrestrial signal. It’s going to be a big win for everyone.” KMZQ executive vice president and general manager Marty Basch comments, “Yahoo! has built locally-rooted connections with its national programming across the country. We are excited to be an integral part of its Las Vegas presence. From special events to nightly broadcasts, this is a great opportunity for KMZQ and its listeners to connect locally; get their national sports information; and be represented nationwide.” The lineup on KMZQ will include: Steve Czaban; “Prime Cut” with Sean Salisbury and John Granato; Leigh Steinberg; and “Sports X Radio” with Ken Thomson, who originates his Yahoo! Sports Radio show from the Palazzo. KMZQ is currently a Fox Sports Radio affiliate; the station did not appear in Nielsen Audio‘s April 2015 PPM report for Las Vegas.
Odds & Sods. Talk pro Michael Bower (WUCS, Hartford and SiriusXM’s Maxim Radio) will fill in for WINZ, Miami’s Jeff “Defo” DeForrest on June 8 and 9…..New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. will be a weekly contributor to WEPN, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM” on the Michael Kay show. Beginning September 3, Beckham will join Kay and co-host Don LaGreca each Thursday to talk Giants football and the NFL.
WGN, Chicago to Induct ‘Walk of Fame’ Class. In a ceremony that will be open to the public (and broadcast live on WGN, Chicago) and hosted by personalities Steve Cochran and Bob Sirott, the station will honor 10 broadcast legends. The WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction and Ceremony will take place tomorrow (5/29) on Pioneer Court in front of Tribune Tower from 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm. The 2015 inductees include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack (represented by Rick Kogan), Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal (represented by 2014 Walk of Famer Orion Samuelson), Ron Santo (represented by his wife Vicki) and Eddie Schwartz (represented by his brother Hal Ross).
Conservative Commentator Krauthammer to Join Salem Conference. On Wednesday, June 17, Salem Radio Network talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher and Michael Medved will host a V.I.P. “Preview Dinner” in Washington, DC to kick-off the 2015 Road to Majority conference and conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer (pictured here at right with SRN VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup at left) will be a special guest. Former SRN talk host and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum will also be featured at the conference, along with Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee and others.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Rubio Claims Assault on Christianity, FIFA Scandal/Clinton Donations, Deadly Texas and Oklahoma Floods, ISIS Military Progress, Baltimore Violent Crime Wave, Hillary Clinton Emails Issue, IRS Data Theft Case, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/27). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and Marco Rubio’s assertion that Christianity is under assault in America; the FIFA corruption scandal and its donations to the Clinton Family Foundation; the continuing, deadly heavy rains and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; ISIS’ military successes in Ramadi and Palmyra; the increase in violent crimes in Baltimore since the Freddie Gray case; the ongoing scrutiny of Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the theft of data from IRS computers that is suspected to have been Russian in origin; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Former Dial Global/WW1 Execs Launch Program Sales and Distribution Firm. Former Dial Global and Westwood One executives Spencer Brown and David Landau announce they are partnering with Michael Rolnick to form the firm DGital Media. They describe it as “an audio engagement company that partners with media brands to create, distribute, and monetize spoken-word audio products.” The company’s first venture will be the creation of the Re/code Radio network in partnership with Revere Digital LLC. Re/code is a tech news web destination founded by journalists Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. The first program to be rolled out will be “Re/code Decode” with host Kara Swisher, expected to go live in June. Revere Digital COO Lorenzano Kennett comments, “With the proliferation of mobile devices and the popularity of podcasts, we want to make sure our content is available to our audiences wherever they are – in the car, in the office, etc. By partnering with DGital Media, Re/code will be able to leverage our authoritative content and brand with outstanding audio programming, distribution and monetization.” DGital Media co-founder David Landau adds, “Partnering with Re/code as a brand accomplishes exactly what we set out to do – which is to amplify media brands through audio. The Re/code Radio network will bring the same excellence in reporting and analysis to readers through the spoken word.” Also joining the company as chief content officer is Chris Corcoran, former EVP for content at Dial Global/Westwood One, and as executive vice president for sales and strategy, Grace Carrick, formerly vice president of sales at Dial Global/Westwood One.
Talkers New York 2015 to Mark 25th Anniversary of TALKERS Magazine. The forthcoming 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2015 – will also serve as the publication’s 25th “birthday party.” TALKERS was launched by publisher Michael Harrison in June of 1990 with the first issue of TALKERS: The Information-Radio Newspaper hitting the streets on July 23rd of that year. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is an important milestone, not only for us, but for the talk radio and media industries as well. That little trade publication provocatively named ‘Talkers’– that dared to refer to the relative handful of spoken-word stations that existed at the time as an ‘industry’ — has chronicled, championed and inspired one of the most colorful and historically significant chapters of American broadcasting ever gathered and archived in one continuous collection. This year’s conference will serve as a milestone honoring that achievement and rich body of work.” Casey adds, “Not only will Talkers New York 2015 have features that make note of this history but we will be publishing a number of retrospectives looking back at the past quarter-century in the days and weeks surrounding the conference and leading up to the official anniversary date in July.” Talkers New York 2015 is sold out but a few choice sponsorship opportunities remain available. For information, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.
Alpha Media to Pay $38,250,000 for Morris and JMJ Stations. From a filing with the FCC, we learn the price for the 36 stations that Morris Communications and JMJ operate in Topeka and Salina, Kansas; Amarillo, Texas; Palm Springs and Victor Valley, California; Anchorage and Wasilla, Alaska; Grays Harbor-Hoquiam, Washington and Wenatchee-Columbia River, Washington: $38,250,000. This is not an all-cash deal. Morris will receive $20 million worth of Alpha Holdings private stock (8,196,722 units in the aggregate), $6,585 worth of Alpha Holdings II private stock, and $18,250,000 in cash.
Kate Delaney Joins NBC Sports Radio for Weekend Shows. Sports and news/talk radio pro Kate Delaney is adding weekend talk duties at NBC Sports Radio to her plate as she takes over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm Saturday and Sunday shows from Anita Marks, who left the network to join WEPN-FM, New York “ESPN New York 98.7FM.” During the week, Delaney is host of the GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” late night news/talk show. NBC says Delaney’s show will feature “players, coaches, experts and analysts…from the locker room to the playing fields and beyond.” Delaney’s sports pedigree includes being the first woman to host a solo sports radio talk show on WFAN, New York City and KRLD, Dallas. She’s covered 15 Super Bowls, 10 U.S. Opens, and 15 Final Fours. She has also been to the Kentucky Derby 10 times along with the other two Triple Crown races, the Preakness and the Belmont. NBC Sports Radio program director Jack Silver comments, “It’s a major coup for us to have Kate with us on the weekends. She connects really well with sports fans. She’s smart, funny, and she knows her way around the world of sports. Kate brings great energy, insight, and opinion to our weekend lineup.”
Odds & Sods. Joining the lineup of weekend talk shows at Talk Media Network is the “Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline” program. In welcoming the almost-20-year-old program to the company’s roster, Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “The ‘Into Tomorrow’ team travels the globe to deliver the most comprehensive technology discussion available on radio, each and every week. Talk Media Network is proud to offer radio stations this valuable program via satellite, for easy automation and scheduling.”…..Journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee – formerly with Entercom’s WRKO, Boston – is the new afternoon drive personality at WMEX, Boston, the daypart held briefly by Howie Carr before WRKO again became his syndicated program’s Boston affiliate.
2016 Presidential Prospects, ‘Is FOX News Bad for GOP?’ Flap, Hillary’s Role in Benghazi, Clintons Finances Scrutiny, ISIS Successes in Iraq and Syria, Amnesty Order Loses Round in Court, Obama Accuses Russia of Aggression, FIFA Scandal, Deadly Texas and OK Floods, and NBA/NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/26). The activities of the potential candidates for president in 2016; reaction to historian Bruce Bartlett’s contention that FOX News is “self-brainwashing” conservative voters; more debate over Hillary Clinton’s role in the deadly Benghazi attack; ongoing scrutiny of the Clintons’ financial dealings and income reporting; the success of ISIS in Iraq and Syria and questions about America’s Iraq policy; President Obama’s amnesty order loses round at the Appeals Court level; Obama accuses Russia of military aggression; a report of widespread corruption at FIFA – soccer’s governing body; the deadly flooding in Texas and Oklahoma; and the NBA and NHL playoff action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.