Archive for May, 2016
Cumulus v Johnny and Blondie Gets Underway in Michigan. Another non-compete case involving Cumulus Media is in the courtroom, this time in Michigan. Cumulus is suing former WHNN, Saginaw, Michigan morning personalities Johnny Burke and Bonnie Belger-Holzhei, a.k.a. Blondie, alleging they violated the non-compete and non-solicitation clauses in their contracts after being fired by the station earlier this year. As reported in MLive.com, this comes after the pair sued Cumulus for age discrimination. Cumulus is asking the court to prevent the duo from continuing to host the internet show they launched shortly after leaving the station. Interestingly, Cumulus is not after Burke for the non-compete violation since it would then have to pay six months of his $125,000 salary but is pursuing the non-compete matter with Belger-Holzhei as her salary was just $31,200. What Cumulus really appears to want is the court to find that they have been going after Cumulus clients to sponsor their internet show and force them to stop. Read the MLive story here.
Dave Ramsey Interviews George W. Bush at Dallas Appearance. At Dave Ramsey’s EntreLeadership Summit – held May 23 – 25 at the Omni Dallas Hotel – the nationally syndicated superstar interviewed former President George W. Bush (pictured at left with Ramsey). The three-day conference also included speakers Seth Godin, Jim Collins, Pat Lencioni, Dr. Henry Cloud, Chris Hogan and Christy Wright, providing attendees with knowledge on leadership, building company culture, communication, work/life balance and organizational health.
The Presidential Race/New Mexico and California Trump Protests, SC Abortion Ban, Hillary Clinton Email Investigation, Texas Restroom Law Suit, China Naval Activity, Katie Couric Gun Doc Controversy, Thiel-Hogan Gawker Suit Connection, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25). The activities of the candidates for president and the violent anti-Trump protests in New Mexico and California; the new South Carolina law banning abortion after 20 weeks; the FBI’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for State Department business; Texas and 10 other states file suit against the Obama Administration over transgender restroom laws; growing concern over China’s naval activities including its patrolling the Pacific with nuclear-armed subs; allegations Katie Couric edited the statements of gun rights activists in a new documentary; the revelation that billionaire Peter Thiel is funding Hulk Hogan’s suits against Gawker; 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 magazine.
Odds & Sods. At the Toledo operations of iHeartMedia, WSPD program director and afternoon talk show host Scott Sands is promoted to SVP of programming for the station group. In addition to programming news/talk WSPD, he now has oversight of CHR WVKS, country WCKY, adult contemporary WRVF, rock WIOT and sports talk WCWA. Sands assumes the role previously held by Nathan Reed who recently exited the company to join Cox Media Group’s hot AC KRAV, Tulsa “MIX 96.”…..In advance of President Obama’s historic visit to Hiroshima on Saturday (5/28), the Japanese TV network TBS interviewed CBS Radio News reporter Pam Coulter (pictured at left in yellow) about the president’s decision to go to Hiroshima. Coulter is the only U.S. radio network reporter in Japan covering the event.
41st Annual Gracie Awards Held in Beverly Hills. The annual Gracie Awards took place last night at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Awards were handed out in both television and radio categories. Some of the women working in commercial radio who were honored include: Loren Raye, co-host of “The TJ Show” on WODS, Boston “103.3 AMP Radio”; Marla Diamond, reporter/correspondent with WCBS, New York; Nina Hajian, co-host “Shoboy in the Morning” at WBMP, New York “92.3 AMP Radio”; Rita Cosby, WABC, New York; Joan Hamburg, WABC, New York; Felicia Middlebrooks, WBBM, Chicago; Suzyn Waldman, WFAN, New York; and Jane Tillman Irving, WCBS, New York. See the entire list of winners here. Pictured above is the Alliance for Women in Media board at last night’s awards ceremony. They are: (l-r, front) Kristen Welch, AWM/F chair, SVP, Global Content Operations, Discovery Communications; Christine Travaglini, AWM/F treasurer-elect, president, Christal Radio; Karla Ballard Williams, AWM/F director and Gracies chair, founder and chief executive, Ying Bank; Josie Thomas, AWM director, EVP and chief diversity and inclusion officer, CBS Corporation; Heather Cohen, AWM/F director and Gracies chair, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Annie Howell, AWM/F director and Gracies chair, founder & co-president, The Punch Point Group. Back row: Sarah Foss, AWM/F chair-elect, vice president, product management, media, Imagine Communications; Kimberly Maki, AWM/F director, Bright House Networks, corporate vice president, Corporate Communications; Keisha Sutton-James, AWM/F treasurer, vice president, ICBC Broadcast Holdings. Photo: Hamilton Photography
Michael Harrison Conducts Candid ‘Fireside Chat’ with Sean Hannity. One of the highlights of last week’s TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations was a “fireside chat” conducted by Michael Harrison with Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity. They tackled a variety of hot industry topics, including ratings in the digital era and Hannity’s ongoing critical assessment of the progress being made by Nielsen in providing accurate metrics reflecting talk radio’s numbers both on air and online. They explore the dynamic and volatile relationship between politics and talk radio – focusing on the Trump phenomenon. Harrison asks Hannity to spill some behind-the-scenes gossip about the impact of this year’s presidential election on the relationships between his high-profile colleagues at Fox News Channel. In addition, they discuss lowering the demos and make very positive predictions about the future of talk radio and talk media in general. Hannity reveals that he has just re-signed contracts with both Premiere and Fox through 2020. To listen to the entire conversation within the context of this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box in the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
The Presidential Race, McAuliffe Investigation, Battle Against Islamic State, Obama Vietnam Trip/China Military Expansion, EgyptAir Flight 804 Investigation, Bill Cosby to Stand Trial, and NBA-NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/24). The activities of the candidates for president; the FBI investigation into fundraising by Virginia Governor and longtime Clinton ally Terry McAuliffe; heightened attacks on the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa in Iraq; President Obama’s trip to Vietnam, the change in policy allowing U.S. weapons to be sold to the country, and Vietnam’s concerns over China’s military expansion onto islands in the South China Sea; the ongoing investigation into the cause of the crash of EgyptAir flight 804; entertainer Bill Cosby to stand trial in Pennsylvania on sexual assault charges; 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 magazine.
Odds & Sods. Marketing pro Dayne Damme is named marketing director for Entercom’s Austin station group that includes news/talk KJCE “Talk Radio 1370,” adult contemporary KKMJ “Majic 95.5,” hot AC KAMX, “Mix 94.7,” and urban AC KKMJ-HD3 “96.3 RnB.” Damme moves to Texas from Entercom’s Sacramento cluster where he held a similar position…..The Siga Broadcasting-owned signal KGBC, Galveston, Texas is no longer airing programming from China Radio International. The station is now airing programming from BizTalkRadio…..CBS RADIO Pittsburgh and Allegheny County Parks are presenting “Family Fitness Fest,” a free interactive day of activities and information focused around fitness and wellness Saturday, June 4. The radio station group is organizing a Family fun run and allowing attendees to participate at various sports stations, among other activities…..KHTE, Little Rock “96.5FM The Answer” afternoon personality Dave Elswick is recovering from quintuple bypass surgery. As you can see at right, the longtime Little Rock market personality received get-well wishes from a couple of the servers at the local Twin Peaks restaurant that he frequents. Elswick says he should be back on the air next Tuesday (5/31).
NextRadio: Interactive Experience Results in More Tune-Ins. Research from NextRadio indicates that stations providing a “more visually appealing and interactive in-app experience” realize more listener tune-ins and more time spent with those stations. NextRadio is the app that allows users to listen to free, over-the-air FM radio on their smartphones. It reports that when comparing NextRadio usage in 2015 to 2016, radio stations creating enhanced in-app experiences – such as program schedules, social media interactions, contest entries or other visuals – experienced three times the growth in tune-ins when compared to those stations that only displayed a station logo or nothing at all. Tune-ins refers to the number of times a unique listener listens to a FM radio station broadcast through the NextRadio mobile app. NextRadio also says stations with enhanced content also saw 1.6 times the growth in time spent listening when compared to non-enhanced stations.
Vox Animali Posts New Installment on TalkersRadio. The online experimental talk show “Vox Animali,” heard on TalkersRadio, posts a brand new installment today (5/25) featuring an interview with animal rights activist Scotlund Haisley, president/founder of Animal Rescue Corps. Listen to it here. “Vox Animali” is hosted and produced by award-winning radio journalist Lori Lundin. Lundin is a news reporter heard on the Voice of America and NPR. TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “We are fortunate to have a radio broadcaster of Lori Lundin’s experience, quality and dedication participating in this great talk radio ‘workshop’ known as TalkersRadio – a platform for talented broadcasters to work on new ideas and programming concepts without the pressure of ratings or commercial considerations. Since we launched this experimental platform a few years ago, TalkersRadio has spawned some exciting new concepts that have gone on to find opportunities in syndication and more formal platforms. For example, American Family Farmer – a weekly show hosted by Doug Stephan dedicated to serving the needs of beleaguered small, independent farms in America – is now thriving on more than 120 terrestrial radio stations across the nation. The Brent & Meg Show (starring the husband/wife team of Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald), that got its start on TalkersRadio, also made its way onto the airwaves of broadcast radio and national syndication before Brent’s recent tragic and untimely death. Plus, there are more.” In addition to “Vox Animali, TalkersRadio is presently home to “Healed Planet,” starring Alan Colmes, and “Good for You Radio” starring Claire Carter. For information about being considered to participate in TalkersRadio, contact David Bernstein at 413-565-5413.
Longtime White House Correspondent Ann Compton to Contribute to ABC News Radio’s Election Coverage. News pro Ann Compton – who recently retired from full-time news duties with ABC News Radio – is joining the company’s team covering the Republican and Democratic 2016 conventions. Compton served covering the White House for 41 years prior to her retirement. ABC News Radio president Steve Jones tells his staff in a memo, “Few people have witnessed as much history first hand as Ann Compton. Her blend of experience and wisdom gained from decades covering politics make Ann uniquely suited to put today’s political developments in perspective and to offer context that will best inform our listeners and distinguish our coverage in Cleveland and Philadelphia.” ABC News’ Aaron Katersky will anchor nightly convention coverage with Compton at his side. Also working the conventions will be ABC News political analysts Steve Roberts and Trey Hardin along with ABC News’ Alex Stone, Brad Mielke, Jim Ryan, Ryan Burrow, Mark Remillard and Cheri Preston. (Compton and Katersky are pictured above.)
HEMPSTEAD, NY — One of the great added personal advantages I enjoy by attending TALKERS conferences is that I can meet face-to-face with numerous broadcasters who are responsible in their markets for advertising in the talk media. In the halls, between the panel sessions, we bat around the major challenges we currently are facing and exchange ideas as to how we can deal with them.
It’s the food that feeds the beast! And two topics dominated Hall Talk 2016: #1 – Political advertising in this election year….#2 – Climbing the daunting mountain of our new digital era.
TALKERS 2016 Conference Wraps; Coverage of Annual Talk Media Event Forthcoming. The 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention took place at Hofstra University on Long Island on Friday (5/20), drawing a sell-out crowd of several hundred talk media professionals. TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations was presented by TALKERS magazine in association with Hofstra University’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU Radio. The full day of panel discussions and speaker presentations was video streamed live by Livestream. Detailed coverage of the event, including archived video from the Livestream content, will be presented here on Talkers.com in the coming weeks. Reflecting on the event, TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This was one of the smoothest and productive content-laden installments of this historic convention in its storied 19 years of service to the radio industry. We are grateful to all the speakers, panelists, displayers and sponsors for making it so. We are especially grateful to Dean Evan Cornog of Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication and WRHU (Radio Hofstra University) station manager Bruce Avery and operations director John Mullen for their phenomenal support as partners in the successful event.” Pictured here are: (top, left) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity engaging in a “fireside chat”; (top, right) Westwood One star Mark Levin accepting the annual Freedom of Speech award; (above, left) Hubbard Radio CEO Ginny Morris accepting the 2016 TALKERS Woman of the Year Award; and (bottom, right) WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa addressing the attendees.
Donald Trump Seeks to Build Support from WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes. Milwaukee talk show host Charlie Sykes and several other Wisconsin talk radio personalities were publicly chastised by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump during that state’s primary election for their opposition to his candidacy. Now, Trump is seeking to bring the influential WTMJ host around. The image you see here is a copy of The New York Times with a hand-written note from Trump to Sykes. It references an article in the paper about groups that’ve previously been against Trump reversing their course. The note to Sykes reads: “Charlie, I hope you change your mind. Looking forward to coming back on your show. I WILL WIN!” WTMJ posted the photo and an accompanying story in its website. Sykes comments, “He’s reaching out. I’m surprised that he would reach out to somebody who has been as critical. Obviously, he understands the need to unify the Republican party and reach out to some conservatives. I figured maybe there would be some conservatives who would be beyond the pale, including #NeverTrump guys like me, but apparently he’s doing that. I will give him credit for reaching out to people that I did not think he was going to reach out to.” Read the WTMJ piece here.
The Presidential Race, EgyptAir Crash Investigation, TSA Efficiency Issues, Facebook Anti-Conservative Bias Allegations, Islamic State Calls for Civilian Attacks, and NBA and NHL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The activities of the candidates for president; the investigation into the downing of EgyptAir flight 804; efficiency issues plaguing the TSA in screening airline passengers and statements from the agency that lines will get worse this summer; the controversy over allegations that Facebook manipulates its trending stories to downplay conservative issues; a high-ranking Islamic State official’s call for renewed attacks on European and American civilians; and the NBA and NHL playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. KBET, Las Vegas-based talk show host Wayne Allyn Root will appear on this Friday’s edition of HBO’s “Real Time” with Bill Maher. Also on the show will be Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders. Root tells TALKERS his role will be to defend Donald Trump…..Two Fox News Radio programs are being made available on the CRN Digital Talk Radio platform. “Kilmeade & Friends” with Brian Kilmeade and the Alan Colmes show are both the CRN 2 “Bulls and Bears” channel…..The GCN-distributed “Freedom Feens” show with host Michael W. Dean adds new affiliate KZLS, Enid, Oklahoma.
Herskovitz: Hall Talk 2016. Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today in the aftermath of last Friday’s TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations conference. He says the sales pros attending the conference with whom he spoke all agreed that political advertising and digital sales were the hot topics this year. He says, “The unusual circumstances surrounding the current national candidates are posing unique sales problems. Yes, just about all with whom I spoke, acknowledged that they benefited from the ad wars affecting the primary season. But now local and regional battles are upon us. And numerous aspiring candidates are not allying themselves with the traditional wings of their political parties. Some candidates with no clearly defined affiliations are emerging.” Read Herskovitz’s column here.
WFAN, New York Personality Richard Neer Publishes Second Mystery Novel. Did you know that The Martian began as a self-published book? As did Still Alice and Legally Blonde. Do you think you’ve written a great book but the publishing industry won’t give it the attention it deserves? Richard Neer of WFAN, New York has just released the second of his Riley King series of mysteries through Amazon and CreateSpace — cutting out the middleman. Both are selling briskly without a traditional publisher. “Publishers are skeptical that radio, other than a few syndicated giants, can sell books. I’m happy to be proving them wrong,” Neer says. His traditionally published book, FM, the Rise and Fall of Rock Radio was released in 2001 by Villard, and Neer believes that it wouldn’t stand a chance with a major publisher today. “I’ve had radio friends with great stories to tell inform me that their manuscripts have been rejected because there aren’t enough sordid tales of sex and drugs. They’re not interested in great writing — just sensationalism and what seems trendy today.” The Master Builders is the title of Neer’s latest effort. As a result of promoting it on his WFAN sports talk radio show, his first novel, Something of the Night, is also selling well. Both are murder mysteries featuring private investigator Riley King and his radio sidekick Rick Stone as they battle crime and corruption up and down the Eastern Seaboard. “Just like with the music and film industry, there’s a revolution in publishing where traditional gatekeepers are less important. People can be introduced to fine work that otherwise might be ignored. It’s a lot more democratic. Sometimes those books can be as important or entertaining as the big blockbusters,” Neer says. “As much as I lament the demise of many great bookstores, most readers are buying online these days.” Richard is available for interviews about the business of publishing your own work and can be contacted at Rneer@wfan.com. All his books can be purchased at Amazon.com here.
National Radio Hall of Fame 2016 Nominees Announced. Today, industry voting begins for the 2016 National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. The 24 nominations in six categories were determined by the organization’s nominating committee. Four of those categories will be voted on by a voting participant panel comprised of 400 industry professionals, while the other two will be voted on by the public. Public voting commences June 20 for eight nominations for Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. National Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig Kitchin says, “The sheer depth of talent in our industry never ceases to amaze me. After much discussion and deliberation, our nominating committee is very proud of this year’s class of nominees. We’re all looking forward to seeing the voter outcome from our industry peers and listeners nationwide.” Inductees will be announced July 11. The induction ceremony will be held Thursday, November 17 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago. Nominees are: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more): Jeff & Jer (Jeff Detrow & Jerry Cesak), San Diego; Charles Laquidara, Boston; Bobby O’Jay, Memphis; and Garland Robinette, New Orleans. Active Local/Regional (10 years or more): Tom Barnard, Minneapolis; BJ & Migs (BJ Shea & Steve Migs), Seattle; Eric & Kathy (Eric Ferguson & Kathy Hart), Chicago; and Preston and Steve (Preston Elliot & Steve Morrison), Philadelphia. Networks/Syndication (10 years or more): American Top 40 & On-Air With Ryan Seacrest, Ryan Seacrest; The Fabulous Sports Babe, Nanci Donnellan; The Steve Harvey Morning Show, Steve Harvey; and Wait, Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal. Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more): Delilah, Delilah; Gospel Traxx with Walt “Baby” Love, Walt “Baby” Love; The Jim Rome Show, Jim Rome; and The Kim Komando Show, Kim Komando. The following are to be voted on by listeners. Music Format On-Air Personality: Sean “Hollywood” Hamilton; Tom Kent; The Kevin & Bean Show (Kevin Ryder & Gene Baxter); and Bob Kingsley. Spoken Word On-Air Personality: Diane Rehm; Mike Francesa and Chris Russo; Michael Savage; and Sean Hannity.
Gracies Awards Ceremony Take Place Tomorrow in Beverly Hills. The 41st annual Gracie Awards are taking place tomorrow (5/24) in Beverly Hills and actress Marika Domińczyk will serve as host. Also, Grammy Award-nominee Andra Day will perform her hit, “Rise Up.” The Gracie Awards honor outstanding individual achievement and programming by, for and about women. Alliance for Women in Media Foundation chair and SVP, Global Content Operations at Discovery Communications, Kristen Welch, says, “The talent that Marika holds, along with her contagious energy and sense of humor, makes her an ideal host for the Gracie Awards Gala. In the spirit of The Gracies, our host, presenters and performances will be unapologetically diverse, loud, personal, funny, emotional and bold.” The Gracie Awards Gala will be live streamed in partnership with Cumulus on websites nationwide.