FCC Commissioner O’Rielly: Future of AM Decided by ‘Demands of Listeners.’ Speaking at a luncheon of the Association of Federal Communications Consulting Engineers, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly addressed the issue of AM revitalization. He noted that the changes allowing the relocation of FM translators is something of which a number of AM operators are taking advantage. However, he said there’s still more work to do. “For instance, I’d personally like to see us split off the relief for the main studio rule from the FNPRM so as to complete it before year’s end, and you are likely to hear more from me on this soon. In addition, I am carefully considering the Commission’s proposal to reduce the protected daytime primary service contour for certain AM stations, and of course when doing so, the actual areas and levels of additional interference are of primary interest.” But, O’Rielly also said that, in the final analysis, the “future of AM radio will be decided in the market by stations seeking to meet the demands of listeners, as it should be. No amount of Commission action or government involvement is going to save the medium from irrelevancy if listeners and advertisers abandon stations, although I don’t see that happening in the immediate term. From my conversations with AM radio license holders, that’s exactly how they see it too: they just want the Commission to eliminate some of the barriers to competition so they have the tools to win the hearts and minds of listeners and then let the chips fall where they may.”
Kitchin to Consult The Mix Group. Radio exec Kraig Kitchin is entering into a consultant relationship with radio imaging and production firm The Mix Group. Kitchin is co-president of SoundMind LLC, which manages the businesses of high-profile broadcast personalities and companies. He’s also the chairman of the National Radio Hall of Fame. On joining The Mix Group, Kitchin says, “Once stations discover The Mix Group, there’s no turning back. Jason [Garte] and his team of talented producers create an exceptional sound that differentiates a station from all others in the market. The individual attention to detail for each station client is really remarkable.”
TalkersRadio Launches New International Talk Show Hosted by Award-Winning British Host Graham Mack. The name of the show is “London Calling with Graham Mack” and it is the newest featured program exclusively heard on the TALKERS magazine experimental radio platform, TalkersRadio. Graham Mack hosts a daily morning program on BOB-FM in London’s “Home Counties” region. In this new program, Mack tells TALKERS, “I will present a weekly look for American listeners at what’s happening across the Atlantic – from princesses to prime ministers, from ‘Dr. Who’ to ‘Downton’ and from Beckham to Brexit – things that matter and some things that just don’t.” The debut installment of the show features an exclusive interview with the legendary English actor, comedian, writer, and film producer – John Cleese. According to TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein, “We are very excited about this fabulous new show debuting on our experimental talk radio platform. This show is totally major league right out of the box and I expect that it will have a major impact not only here in the states but around the world as well. Graham Mack is an outstanding broadcaster and this show sizzles with information and entertainment.” Mack has been awarded a number of honors over the years. They include: “Best Radio Personality” New York Festivals International Radio Awards – 2013 Bronze; “Best Talk Show Host” New York Festivals International Radio Awards – 2012 Finalist; “Breakfast Show of the Year” Sony Radio Academy Awards – 2011 Gold; and “Best Programme Presenter” Gillard Award – 2011 Gold among others. TalkersRadio was launched several years ago to serve as an experimental workshop to develop new types of radio talk shows as well as provide a showcase for new concepts worthy of broadcast radio consideration. “London Calling with Graham Mack” joins current TalkersRadio programs “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” and “Good for You Radio with Claire Carter.” Past TalkersRadio programs have included “Vox Animali with Lori Lundin,” “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan,” and others. To follow the latest “London Calling with Graham Mack” show info and guests on Twitter: @GrahmMack. Got a question about life in Britain and Europe? Send your question as an MP3 to firstname.lastname@example.org. To listen to “London Calling with Graham Mack,” click here.
Odds & Sods. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Eddie Volkman – half of the highly successful, former Windy City radio duo “Eddie & Jobo” – is leaving his talk show gig with suburban WCKG-AM. Volkman’s been doing a 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on the station since earlier this summer but declares he’s ready to try to get back on the air on a big Chicago signal…..“Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts is producing a podcast series based on her book, Robin Roberts: Everybody’s Got Something (Grand Central 2014). Her production company Rock’n Robin Productions and ABC Radio are working together on the project. Each show will be a 45-minute episode in which listeners will hear Roberts and her guests share “their incredible, real-life challenges that will inspire everyone to face their ‘somethings’ and believe in the power of resilience.”…..Westwood One News is providing live, anchored coverage of all three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate in late September and October, plus is providing live, special reports on each night the debates are held. Coverage will be anchored by Chas Henry, with on-scene reporting by correspondents Bob Costantini, Steve Kastenbaum, Jim Roope, and Karin Caifa. The first presidential debate is September 26 at 9:00 pm ET from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
NJBA President Paul Rotella Reiterates Call to Activate FM Chip in Smartphones. Citing the importance of receiving crucial information during emergencies, New Jersey Broadcasters Association president Paul Rotella is asking senators and congressman to again urge Verizon to activate the FM chips in smartphones that it sells. Referencing the bombings in New York and the bombs found in New Jersey over the weekend, he writes, in part, “One year ago to the day, I wrote to you to urge the adoption of a mandate to light up the FM chip in all smartphones. The tragic events this past week in our state and in New York now make this request a matter the highest urgency, as well as a matter of national security. For almost a century, New Jersey’s radio broadcasters have been the primary source of critical information to the public in the event of disasters such as tornadoes, hurricanes, tropical storms, floods, snowstorms, earthquakes, tsunamis, solar storms, terrorist violence, mass transportation accidents, and industrial or technological catastrophes. This important role can be both before an impending event, to warn the public as we did before Hurricane Sandy, or help law enforcement through life saving AMBER Alerts, but most importantly, after a catastrophic event. In an emergency, the role of broadcasters is even more important because they serve local communities with essential, fact-checked, reliable information, and they distribute it to all within the broadcast signal. Today, the most common battery operated device readily available to our citizens may be a smart phone, but it is useless without cell service. However, with an activated radio chip, a smart phone will function similar to the time-proven reliable transistor radios found in emergency kits around the globe, providing our citizens with information essential for survival. This includes where food, water and shelter are available; where FEMA and other humanitarian assistance are located.” Rotella is asking that bill be filed to make chip activation a reality.
The Presidential Race, Terror Attacks in NYC/NJ/Minn., Syria Civil War/U.S-Russia Tensions, Sunday’s Emmy Awards, NFL Action and MLB Playoffs Push Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19). The activities of presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the investigation of the terror bombings in New York, the pipe bombs found in New Jersey and the stabbings in St. Cloud, Minnesota; the resumption of violence in Syria and the military tensions between the U.S. and Russia in the region; chatter about the political speeches at Sunday’s Emmy Awards show; the weekend’s NFL action; and the Major League Baseball playoff push were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.