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Archive for June, 2015

Glenn Beck Defamation Lawsuit Update

| June 18, 2015

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

weismanwriterBOSTON — The wheels of justice don’t turn particularly fast.  It has been two years since the Boston Marathon bombing and a year since Saudi Arabian student Abdulrahman Alharbi sued talk show host Glenn Beck for defamation.  At the time of the bombing and for some time thereafter, Beck was convinced that there was a conspiracy that extended beyond the Tsarnaev brothers that included another person who Beck publicly identified as an al Qaeda “control agent” and the “money man” behind the bombings, although the lack of sophistication involved in the crime did not appear to require any significant funding to bring about this attack.  Abdulrahman Alharbi , the man identified by Beck as the conspirator not only was present at the bombings, but actually was among those injured by the blasts.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

| June 18, 2015

weismanstevenUpdate: The Glenn Beck Defamation Suit.  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reports on the status of the defamation suit in which Premiere Networks talk host Glenn Beck is defending himself.  Saudi Arabian national Abdulrahman Alharbi is suing Beck for defamation after Beck continued to talk about his belief that Alharbi had a role in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing after authorities had investigated him and cleared him of any involvement in the crime.  Now, Weisman says the case has taken another legal step after Judge Patti B. Saris allowed Alharbi to amend his defamation lawsuit by adding a count for unjust enrichment.  In allowing this count to be added to the complaint, Judge Saris has significantly upped the amount of a possible judgment.  Weisman says the case is a long way from trial and that it’s in the discovery phase right now.  Read more here.

wccoaward15WCCO Honored by NAB for Service to Community.  On Tuesday (6/16), CBS RADIO heritage news/talk station WCCO-AM was honored by the NAB with the National Association of Broadcaster’s Education Foundation’s “Service to Community Award” for the station’s year-round outreach to help the hungry.  For the campaign, WCCO engaged listeners, celebrities and charity groups to collect food and replenish food shelves across 59 counties.  Pictured here are (from l-r): U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, CBS RADIO Minneapolis SVP and market manager Mick Anselmo, WCCO program director Bob Shomper, and U.S. Rep. Keith EllisonPhoto: CBS.

stigallCoulter15WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Hosts Sold-Out Book Event with Ann Coulter.  Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) brought author and conservative media icon Ann Coulter (left) to the Colonial Theatre near Philadelphia for a sold-out event on Monday, June 15 to talk about, among other things, her latest book, Adios America! (Regnery Publishing 2015).  Stigall reports to TALKERS that the conversation touched on a wide variety of topics including Coulter’s friendship with Bill Maher, and her real concern about the state of free speech in comedy and commentary today.

carrhowieLGHowie Carr: Presidential Kingmaker!  It is no secret that every four years in the weeks and months leading up to the high-visibility New Hampshire presidential primary, radio talk show hosts in the state take on an importance and influence in national affairs that exponentially outweighs what their market size and audience reach would normally deliver.  Taking that fact into consideration, regionally syndicated host Howie Carr, whose recently launched, independent Howie Carr Radio Network covers the six New England states like a blanket (and is starting to leak into neighboring New York), has become a potential presidential “king maker.”  Carr’s immensely popular afternoon drive program is now affiliated in seven top New Hampshire markets with an eighth reportedly on the way — giving him an unprecedented level of “local” presence in the strategic primary battleground that makes him a must-visit by all candidates hoping to have a shot at winning the crucial election.  Carr, who ranked 15th in this year’s TALKERS Heavy Hundred, is considered by many industry observers familiar with his impact in the Northeast as somewhat of a “sleeping giant of news/talk radio” just waiting to invade the nearby Empire State and beyond.  To hear a promo currently running on Carr’s network referring to his role in the primary, please click here.

bernsteindanWSCR, Chicago’s Dan Bernstein Suspended for Tweet.  The Chicago sports talk host sat out yesterday’s show (without pay) and will return to the “Boers & Bernstein” show today.  This, reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, came after Dan Bernstein revisited rumors that WLS-TV meteorologist Cheryl Scott was romantically involved with one or more Chicago Blackhawks players when he Tweeted: “And the real award for this year’s close connection to the @NHLBlackhawks is @CherylScottWX!!”  Scott had vehemently denied the rumors via social media and after Bernstein’s Tweet, Feder reports that WSCR was contacted by WLS-TV management and Scott’s agent protesting the Tweet.  This is the second recent Tweet that’s got Bernstein into trouble.  Earlier this year he apologized for sexist comments made about Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal.

zieglerbrandon‘The John and Leah Show’ Lands on WHAS, Louisville.  It’s a return to WHAS, Louisville for talk host John Ziegler, whose new Envision Networks-syndicated weekend show with co-host Leah Bandon is being heard every Sunday night at 10:00.  Ziegler was a daily personality on the station earlier in his career and iHeartMedia Louisville senior vice president of programming Kelly Carls says, “John Ziegler is already well known to many fans around Kentuckiana.  We’re glad they’ll once again get to hear his well-thought-out, unique take on major events and the news.”

Odds & Sods.  The nationally syndicated political weekend show “Beyond the Beltway with Bruce DuMont” celebrates its 35the anniversary next weekend (6/28) with a special program on Sunday preceded by a private gathering on June 24 with frequent program guests from over the years.  The show began in 1980 as a 13-week experiment on WBEZ-FM, Chicago to cover the 1980 presidential campaign.  In 1991 it went into syndication on public radio.  In 1992 it switched to commercial WLS-AM, Chicago and its national profile grew.…..Financial talk host Robert “Bob” Hardcastle – host of the weekend “Money Talk” program on KTRS, St. Louis – has written a memoir of his days as a college baseball player at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1959 titled, College Baseball and Other Shenanigans.  Hardcastle is an honored SIUC alumnus from the Class of 1962 and a member of the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Hall of Fame.

2016 Presidential Prospects/Trump Enters Race, Rachel Dolezal Case, Pope Francis’ Global Warming Encyclical, U.S.-Russia Tensions, SCOTUS ObamaCare Subsidies Case, Woman to Be on $10 Bill, ISIS Military Progress, EU Uncertainty Over Greek Debt, and Golden State Warriors Win NBA Title Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/17).  The candidates for president in 2016 and Donald Trump’s entrance into the GOP primary; the ongoing talk about former Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal’s “identifying” as black; the leaked encyclical in which Pope Francis calls for global governmental action on climate change; the military tensions between Russia and the U.S.; the Supreme Court to hear arguments over federal ObamaCare subsidies; the Treasury Department’s announcement that a woman will replace Alexander Hamilton on the $10 bill in 2020; the progress of ISIS in Iraq and the U.S. military’s policy there; the state of the European Union as Greece warns it can’t pay its debts; and the Golden State Warriors’ victory over Cleveland in the NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

| June 17, 2015

salcedochrisLate Morning Changes at WBAP, Dallas.  Talk show host Ben Ferguson exits the late morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP, Dallas after three years and is replaced by Chris Salcedo in thefergusonben 9:00 am to 11:00 am shift.  Salcedo is a contributor to Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com and has sat in for Beck on his Premiere Networks-syndicated show.  Chris Salcedo has worked in the market in television news as an anchor at KTVT-TV “CBS11.” He’s the executive director of the Conservative Hispanic Society.  Ben Ferguson’s nationally syndicated weekend program is still airing on WBAP from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Sundays.

abcnews logoKanani and Moton Join ABC News as Multi-Platform Reporters.  In a memo to the Washington, DC news staff, bureau chief Jonathan Greenberger announces Bazi Kanani and Kenneth Moton are being added to the team of multi-platform reporterskananibazi based there.  He says the two “will be joining the team, reporting on breaking stories, news of day and features for all platforms, including television, radio, digital and social media.  Using immersive storytelling motonkennethand the newest technology, they will draw on their years of domestic and international experience to create original content.  The multi-platform reporters complement our ongoing initiative to unify the D.C. bureau around content-based teams instead of platform-specific teams.  Investing in these journalists will contribute to the incredibly well-sourced Global Affairs Team, Pennsylvania Avenue Team, Transportation/Regulation/Consumer Team, Justice Team and General Assignment Team.”  Bazi Kanani is an experienced journalist whose reporting has taken her around the world.  She joined ABC News in 2011 as a digital journalist based in Nairobi, Kenya.  Kenneth Moton comes from ABC TV O&O WPVI-TV, Philadelphia where he was a general assignment reporter.

danielsonchrisemileeChris and Emilee Show Debuts on USA Radio Networks. The new early evening show featuring Chris and Emilee Danielson will launch on the USA Radio Networks on July 20 and air from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET.  Chris Danielson is a 30-year comedy veteran, a seminary trained teacher, and public speaker.  Emilee has been an accomplished speaker and presenter for more than 15 fifteen years andusaRadioNetworks they’ve even spent several years as missionaries in rural western Alaska.  Chris has pastored several churches.  He comments, “We really feel like USA Radio Networks is the right place for us.  We don’t take ourselves too seriously, we know who we are, and we try to honor Christ in all that we do, but we do have a really good time.”  USA Radio Networks says the pair describes themselves as “not ‘radio hosts’ but real people who bring a different vibe to their Christian-based variety talk show.  Chris and Emiliee have been on the air for over a decade and tremendously grown their audience in the various markets they’ve worked.”

milhavenKTRSsizzle15McGraw Milhaven’s KTRS Sizzle Reel Now on Talkers TV.  Attendees at the 18th annual Talkers New York conference in Manhattan’s Financial District last Friday (6/12) saw a special presentation of a sizzle reel for St. Louis media pro McGraw Milhaven’s KTRS morning show.  The three-minute-and-fifteen-second video is interesting in that it illustrates how Milhaven is incorporating internet video and digital elements into his morning “radio show” to present a multi-media news and talk program that goes far beyond the old “studio-cam-on-the-host” model.  Milhaven spoke on the “Navigating a Talk Host Career” panel at Talkers New York 2015 and discussed some of his strategies.  The video of that panel will be available via Talkers.com in the coming weeks.  View the KTRS video in the Talkers TV box on the upper right-hand side of this page.

talkersny15MHJDJohn Dickey and Michael Harrison Discuss the Big Issues at Talkers New York 2015.  World Debut Replay Now Available on “Up Close and Far Out” Audio Podcast in Advance of Video.   Billed as a “Fireside Chat” in one of the keynote sessions of the just-concluded Talkers New York 2015 convention, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) conducts a one-on-one conversation with Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming John Dickey (right).  In a series of what Dickey describes as “really tough questions,” Harrison asks him about a wide variety of subjects including how he handles the stress of being significantly responsible for the operation of one of the largest and most complex radio broadcasting companies in the history of the medium; whether or not the platform of radio can ever be accurately measured in terms of ratings; what position talk radio occupies within the overall Cumulus plan going forward; whether or not there is room for qualitative selling and non-traditional revenue generation at large, corporately owned stations; and if there is a future for the personality-oriented disc jockey in music radio, among other topics.  Dickey responds with thoughtful and candid answers before a fully engaged, packed house of professionals from all segments of the industry in a room so quiet, one could hear a proverbial pin drop.  On the subject of stress, Dickey says it is a matter of “balance…balance in life” putting work and family into their proper perspectives.  He ties that into programming — repeatedly stating that successful radio formats must maintain anharrisonUpCloseFarOutsmall effective balance of elements as they evolve forward with their “natural life cycles.”  Dickey discusses the importance of “branding” in today’s commerce, underscoring his company’s commitment to and “heavy investment” in the talk format stating, “We are the ‘custodians’ of some of radio’s greatest brands,” making it clear that Cumulus takes that responsibility very seriously in the talk arena.  He makes the point, “We must, however, arrive at an understanding of what constitutes the talk format today” pointing out that talk radio needs to “broaden the conversation” because “people talk about a lot of things.”  On the subject of ratings (immediately following a powerful panel discussion about the state of audience measurement moderated by Sean Hannity during which Nielsen’s feet were held to the fire), Dickey is measured and fair in his criticism of Nielsen stating, “The ratings are accurate… but only to a point.”  He says, “Nielsen needs to be [more forthcoming] about the ‘margin of error’ [in their metrics] – they owe us more than they are giving us.”  Looking back at the conversation, Michael Harrison says, “John Dickey is one of the brightest young men I have ever met in this business and I have no doubt in my mind about his love for and commitment to radio.  Neither he nor his brother Lew have easy jobs…and, like all human beings, they are far from perfect, not to mention the entire radio industry is challenged by the circumstances of the times… so operating the second largest ownership group in the history of the medium in the second decade of the 21st century is an extremely daunting task.  Unlike so many of today’s powerful executives in both business and government, they admit their mistakes and are always trying to learn and improve.”  To immediately hear the conversation between John Dickey and Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out” in advance of the video being posted within the next two weeks, please click here or click on the player located in the right hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Odds & Sods.  Missouri heritage news/talker KFRU, Columbia-Jefferson City is named Missouri’s first-ever “RadiokfrustaffSM Station of the Year” by the Missouri Broadcasters Association.  This is the organization’s top community service award and Cumulus-owned KFRU was honored among all Missouri radio stations for excellence in delivering community-centered programming through broadcast time used to benefit the community, station resources used to benefit the community, and individual involvement in the community by the station’s on-air talent.  KFRU staffers pictured (from l-r) here are: David Lile, Simon Rose, Renee Hulshof, George Young, and David Gaines…..Florida-based talk show host Burnie Thompson’s program is now insidethelines posteravailable in video format on the Internet.  Thompson tells TALKERS magazine that his 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET live show is available on his YouTube MyFreedomRadio channel as well as via the free app Periscope for Android and iPhone…..WZVG, Charlotte-based sports talk hosts Marty Hurney and Lanny Ford are in national syndication with the program “Inside the Lines.” The show airs live daily from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and “goes beyond the headlines to explore the themes and the behind-the-scenes stories from the perspective of the players and the front office and makes it relatable to the typical sports fan.”

nyfest smallNew York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Gala Takes Place on Monday.  The June 22 presentation of the winners of the 2015 New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards will take place at New York’s Manhattan Penthouse (80 Fifth Avenue at 14 St & Union Square).  The juried awards competition “honors the most diverse, creative, and innovative programming in radio broadcasting from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from around the globe.”  Each year the New York Festivals, in collaboration with the United Nations, appoint a panel to select work that exemplifies the aims and ideals of the United Nations.  Their selections are awarded the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI) Award.  The ceremony will present awards including: the Grand Trophy, Broadcaster of the Year, Production Company of the Year, UNDPI, Gold, Silver and Bronze trophy-winning programs.

piscopoBergen15Fire Alarms Add Color to WNYM Remote Broadcast.  During the live remote broadcast of the morning drive Joe Piscopo show on Salem Media Group’s WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer,” fire alarms at Bergen Community College in Paramus, New Jersey went off not once, but twice.  The business breakfast event was about to get underway when the fire alarm forced all 300-plus attendees to exit the building.  Then, two hours later, smoke from an omelet station set the alarms off again prompting Piscopo to take the stage to thank all the attendees for coming armed with a fire extinguisher which he then discharged, as you can see in the photo here.

Donald Trump Enters GOP Race/2016 Presidential Prospects, Rachel Dolezal Case, Russian Sabre-Rattling, Pope Francis on Global Warming, TTP Trade Deal Fate, ISIS Military Progress, Missing ObamaCare Subsidies, St. Louis Cardinals Investigated for Hacking, Blackhawks win Stanley Cup, Game 6 of Cavs-Warriors Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/16). The 2016 presidential candidates and the entrance of Donald Trump and Jeb Bush into the primary race; ongoing chatter about former Spokane NAACP leader Rachel Dolezal’s claim that she identifies as black; Russia’s statement it will add ICBMs to its military arsenal and the U.S.’s response; Pope Francis to issue climate change encyclical; the troubled TPP trade deal; ISIS military success in Iraq; allegations of $2.8 billion in missing ObamaCare subsidies; the MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals are investigated for allegedly hacking into the Houston Astros’ database; the Chicago Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup; and game six of the NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

| June 16, 2015

talkersnyc15RatingspanelRave Reviews Mounting for Talkers New York 2015.  Complete Agenda Videos to be Posted Here in Coming Weeks Beginning Monday (6/22).  The sessions at the recent Talkers New York 2015 are being widely praised as some of the best in the colorful 18-year history of the annual event.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The panels and presentations at this conference were just packed with non-stop takeaways.  We are extremely gratified by the positive response and feedback that we have been receiving from so many of the hundreds of people who packed this SRO event.”  Casey adds, “Now through the technology of being an online ‘media station’ we will be able to share this information with everyone in the world interested in what was said in New York this past Friday (6/12).  We will kick it off with the blockbuster panel, “The State of Radio Ratings” moderated by Sean Hannity that already has the entire industry buzzing.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Salem Media SVP Phil Boyce, E.W. Scripps Milwaukee VP/GM Tom Langmyer, Amplifi Media CEO Steve Goldstein, Moceri Media CEO Greg Moceri, Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber, Nielsen Audio VP Jon Miller, and FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks host Sean Hannity (not pictured: Richard Harker of Harker Research).

crenshawmillsMills Crenshaw New PM Drive Host at KLO, Salt Lake City.  Station general manager Matt Webb says, “Our audience has been asking for a local host in our afternoon drive time slot and we think we’ve landed the best in the business when it comes to local talk radio.  Mills is a true icon in Utah radio and we’re pleased to have him as part of our radio family.”  Mills Crenshaw has been in talk radio since 1965 and now is hosting “Drive Time Live with Mills Crenshaw” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  He comments, “I am thrilled to be part of such a prestigious radio lineup on a legacy station such as KLO.  To be on the same station with Bill Bennett, Laura Ingraham, and Michael Medved is a true honor.”

cooperleanderCooper to Manage Beasley’s Atlanta Religion and Talk Outlets.   This is a promotion for LeAnder Cooper who moves up from the assistant business manager post to general manager for Beasley Media Group’s religion WAEC and talk WWWE in Atlanta.  Company EVP of operations Brian Beasley states, “We are deeply impressed with LeAnder’s commitment to WAEC and WWWE, and we have great confidence she is the ideal professional to serve as general manager of two historically successful AM stations in the Atlanta radio market.”

nielsen logoNielsen’s RADAR June 2015 Released; 167 Million Americans Reached.  The June 2015 RADAR from Nielsen is out and the ratings giant reports that this survey indicates more than 167 million Americans age 12 or older listened to a network radio commercial during an average week.  As industry pros are aware, Nielsen RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks.  RADAR audience estimates do not account for listening to all network radio programming.  RADAR delivers data for the entire country but it also breaks out numbers for reach into the top 25 DMAs.  That data shows network radio reaches 64.6% of persons aged 12+; 68.5% of persons aged 18-49; and 69.3% of persons aged 25-54.  Nielsen’s RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) June 2015 Report is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 43 individual radio networks.  These networks are operated by AdLarge Media, American Urban Radio Networks, Crystal Media Networks, Premiere Networks, United Stations Radio Networks and Westwood One.

Odds & Sods.  Nashville-based, Westwood One-syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine has a role in the new film The Secret Handshake, starring Kevin Sorbo (Hercules, God’s Not Dead), pop star Amy Grant and countryvalentinephil music singer Mark Collie.  The film was written and directed by Howie Klausner, who co-wrote Space Cowboys starring Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones.  In the movie about a young boy who starts down the wrong path and is taken on a camping trip by three concerned men, Valentine plays the role of a novelist pitching another book idea to Sorbo’s character.  Valentine says, “Hey, I got to do a scene with Hercules.  It doesn’t get much better than that.”…..Three of FOX Sports Radio’s talk shows will broadcast from the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay in University Place, Washington as part of the network’s coverage of the tournament.  “Jay Mohr Sports,” “Steve Gorman SPORTS!” and JT “The Brick” will air from Washington June 17-19 and the network’s coverage will continue through the weekend with national anchor Dan Breyer providing live updates during play…..Sports USA announces its 2015 NCAA football schedule, kicking off the season with an opening week doubleheader featuring Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines facing Utah on Thursday September 3 and Washington Huskies head coach Chris Petersen’s return to Boise State on Friday September 4.  The 2015 schedule consists of 16 regular season games plus four bowl games.

rtdna logoRTDNA/Hofstra University Survey Indicates Local News Content Stabilizing.  That study by Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper summarizes local news content for TV and radio.  Looking at the radio numbers, Papper reports that “66.2% of radio stations in the survey run local news — 71.9% of AM stations and 63.9% of FM stations.  The overall percentage running local news is down around 4 points (3.8) compared to last year — which was down 7.7 from the year before.  AM and FM stations were down about the same amount.”  The report shows, among other things, the number of minutes of news stations in different size markets air and one thing that pops out is the dip in minutes aired from major market stations to large market stations.  The weekday average number of minutes of news aired on major market stations was 129.3.  Large market stations aired much less news – 35.8 minutes on average during the week.  That number shoots back up for medium markets – 70.7 minutes and remains almost level in small markets at 68.9 minutes.  Read the study report here.

theblaze radio networkTheBlaze Radio Network’s Independence: An American Story Distributed by Premiere Networks.  The Fourth of July special “Independence: An American Story” – from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network – is being distributed to stations by Premiere Networks.  The show is hosted by TheBlaze’s Doc Thompson and Skip LaCombe and features appearances by several Blaze hosts, including Andrew W.K. and Sheriff David Clarke.  “The special highlights stories and conversations about the American Dream being achieved; the renewal of national pride and the accomplishments only possible in an independent, free nation; and why, despite the challenges facing Americans, this is the greatest nation on Earth.”  It’s available for news/talk stations to air from July 3-5, 2015.  Stations interested in this special should contact Premiere Networks’ affiliate relations department at 818-377-5300.

2016 Presidential Race/Jeb Bush Announces, Rachel Dolezal Case, Drone Strike Kills al Qaeda Leader, ISIS Military Activity, EU-Greece Tensions, TTP Trade Deal, and NHL and NBA Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15).  Republican Jeb Bush officially enters the race for president in 2016; the case of Spokane NAACP head Rachel Dolezal who resigned from the post after questions about her identifying as black became a major news story; the U.S. military uses a drone strike to allegedly kill al Qaeda leader Nasir al-Wuhayshi; the United States’ policy in Iraq as ISIS continues its military campaign there; the state of the EU and Greece’s place in it as the Greek government fights the EU’s efforts to affect its policies; the tenuous state of the TTP trade deal; and the NHL and NBA Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, June 15, 2015

| June 15, 2015

2015 NYC 150Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees.  Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference.  The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radiokilmeadeHannityFrancesa15 superstar.  WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech.  Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.”  The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS quiversTalbott15Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.”  Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone.  This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!”  Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week.  Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke.  Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).

limbaughrush15iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX.  Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him.  WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signalwkox logo covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs.   iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming.  Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights.  iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston.  We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”

voltair imageCanada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice.  Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains.  The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening.  As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here.  Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.”  Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.

hessbillCumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energizedCumulus by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).

wrkologoNew Course Set at WRKO, Boston.  In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step inharrisalison its evolution.  He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society.  We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate.  I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.”  Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales.  The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.

Odds & Sods.  Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her beingmcpheemichele arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer.  McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney.  She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston.  The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.”  He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”

Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data.  The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

njba logoNJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week.  The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has  New Attitude.”  NJBA president  & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which  will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.”  During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year.  Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.

hobbsgabe‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs.  Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back.  He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks.  He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks.  My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since.  I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days.  I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth.  Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.