Senators Request Hearing on the State of the News Media. As reported at Multichannel.com, two U.S. senators – Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Tom Udall (D-NM) – have written to Senate Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-SD) and Ranking Member Bill Nelson (D-FL) requesting a hearing on the state of the news media. The two also reached out to the FCC requesting information on the May 18 incident in which a reporter was roughly handled by a security guard for trying to ask an FCC commissioner a question after a public meeting. The letter to Chairman Thune says, in part, “The journalism industry is grappling with a changing media landscape: from the changing dynamics of how people access news, to changing financial calculations, to the proliferation of so-called ‘fake news’ (both actual disinformation campaigns and the use of the term to slander legitimate news reporting), to a challenging relationship between news media and the Executive branch. There have been a series of recent incidents in which hostility has been exercised against members of the press by members of the Administration, including just last week when a reporter was allegedly manhandled and threatened by security guards after a news conference at the Federal Communications Commission headquarters.” The last time the Commerce Committee held a hearing on the state of the media was 2009.
PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. Of all the subgenres of spoken-word talk radio, public radio news/talk appears to have benefitted the most from the election of Donald Trump, according to data from Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents this analysis of the performances of public news/talk stations based on data from the April 2017 PPM survey. Kinosian notes, “Well over half the stations showing year-to-year (6+) growth do so by at least one full share, including Boston University’s WBUR (2.4 – 4.3, +1.9, 6+), which jumps by nine rankers (#17 to #8).” Additionally, nine public news/talk stations ranked in the top five in their respective markets during the April survey. See the whole report here.
Rob Whiteside Named Digital PD for iHeartMedia’s Virginia/Carolina Region. This is an internal move as iHeartMedia names Rob Whiteside digital program director for its Virginia/Carolina Region. He’s been serving as digital operations director for the company’s Central Region. In this new position, Whiteside’s responsibilities will include growing digital resources and reach for the region’s 54 radio station brands, as well as day-to-day digital programming for the Raleigh market. Whiteside and his team “will work closely with the programming and sales departments to deliver key messages on digital platforms, including station and on-air personality websites, mobile and social media.”
Kuby Confirms Departure from WABC, New York a Budget Move. As TALKERS magazine speculated yesterday, the firing of Ron Kuby from WABC, New York’s “Curtis & Kuby” show was financially motivated. Kuby issued a statement that reads, in part, “Yesterday I was informed by WABC management, after my show, that I had just done my last show. Those of you who know the business know this is a standard (if unpleasant) way of discharging people. I was told that the reason was budgetary, and I no reason to doubt that explanation. I had already made the decision that this year would be my last, and I informed management in December. The election of Trump and the threats he poses to civil rights and liberties requires more of me than being a part-time lawyer. I feel a moral compulsion to be the best and hardest working advocate I can be, using the skills I have been taught for over three decades. Thanks to WABC management for giving me the opportunity that I have (mostly) enjoyed for the past three 1/2 years.”
Westwood One Brings Aboard Sales Pros Lang and Johnston. Two radio biz sales pros are joining Westwood One as director, national partnerships. Delanne Lang was most recently with AdLarge as a national accounts manager. She’ll be based in New York and will report to EVP of Northeast sales Ron Russo. Diane Johnston comes to WW1 from Premiere Networks. She’ll be based in Detroit and report to EVP of Midwest sales Doug Johnston.
TALKERS News Notes. Dallas sports talkers “The Musers” – George Dunham, Craig Miller and Gordon Keith – heard on Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM “Sportsradio 1310/96.7 FM The Ticket” – interviewed President George W. Bush on Monday’s program broadcast live from the Warrior Open at the Prestonwood Golf Club in Dallas. The Warrior Open is a competitive golf tournament for America’s wounded warriors established by the Bush Institute in 2011 that honors U.S. service members and heralds the organizations that support men and women of the U.S. military and their families…..Tomorrow (5/25), WGN, Chicago will induct 10 honorees into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame. The induction ceremony will be broadcast live with hosts Wendy Snyder and Steve Bertrand. The inductees – three sports legends, four renowned traffic reporters, one story chaser and two present-day voices, consist of: Leonard Baldy, Lou Boudreau, Nick Digilio, Lincoln Hampton, Vince Lloyd, Mike Mathis, Anne Maxfield, Judy Pielach, Jack Rosenberg and Larry Schreiner.
TALKERS Institutes New Annual Award to Recognize College Radio Broadcasters. The editorial board of TALKERS magazine has instituted a new annual award designed to shed light on the burgeoning world of college radio and emphasize the important role it plays in providing 21st century broadcasting with fresh talent and management prospects. The award is titled “The Alan Colmes Memorial Award for Outstanding Achievements by a College Radio Broadcaster” – named after the late radio and TV talk personality Alan Colmes who passed away earlier this year. Colmes was a student at Hofstra University in the late 1960s and is a charter inductee in the school’s WRHU Hall of Fame. WRHU-FM/WRHU.org recently received the NAB Marconi Award as Best College Radio Station in the nation and is widely recognized by leading authorities as one of the leading outlets in American college radio year after year. The first recipient of this award (also dubbed TALKERS “College Radio Broadcaster of the Year”) is Hofstra University student Maria Santana. Santana is a sophomore who, as student station manager of WRHU, manages a staff of 277 at the radio station. She hosts and produces a morning drive, magazine-style talk show and a weekly half-hour women’s topics talk show. She also co-hosted a half-hour special talk show on education during Debate 2016 and produces news packages for the station’s live, local half-hour newscast, “Newsline.” Her on-air work was recognized by the Society of Professional Journalists Press Club’s Long Island Chapter. She earned the Jeffrey C. Kraus Endowed Radio Award for her leadership skills. Her stellar work ethic helped her emerge from over 110 other staffers to be named WRHU rookie of the year in 2016. Hofstra Entertainment Access TV named Santana its assistant general manager. She currently holds the two highest student media leadership positions at Hofstra in both its radio and TV divisions. WRHU operations manager John T. Mullen describes Maria Santana as “a true example of a young, converged media executive with a bright future.” Maria Santana will be presented the award at TALKERS 2017: A New Era on Friday, June 2 in New York.
Joe Pyne the Subject of Smithsonian Magazine Piece. A story published in Smithsonian Magazine titled, “Joe Pyne Was America’s First Shock Jock,” tells the story of the man who set the stage for what would become the contemporary television and radio talk show that featured heated arguments led by an aggressive, name-calling host. Joe Pyne’s vituperative style comes off as campy in this day and age, but most media historians agree that Pyne was the first in-your-face, issues-oriented conservative talk show host. But more interesting to talk radio fans and industry insiders is the work being done by a man named Charles Churchman. He’s currently attempting to digitally archive more than 100 episodes of the old Joe Pyne television show. The shows were recorded on 2-inch videotape that is quickly decaying from age. For a summary of Pyne’s career, a look at who was influenced by him, and the story of the preservation of the TV show tapes, read the Smithsonian piece here.
Manchester Terror Bombing, Trump Visits The Vatican, the Trump-Russia Investigation, Trump Budget Proposal, Philippines Martial Law, Seth Rich Controversy, Roger Moore Dead at 89, and MLB, NBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/23). The aftermath of the Manchester terror bombing; President Donald Trump visits Pope Francis on his international tour; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia; the Trump administration’s federal budget proposal; Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s martial law order and his praise from President Trump; controversy over theories that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich leaked information to Wikileaks; actor Roger Moore dies at the age of 89; and MLB, NBA, and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS magazine Publishes 2017 Heavy Hundred. The 2017 edition of TALKERS magazine’s “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – known as the “Heavy Hundred” – has been published. This 23rd edition of the Heavy Hundred consists of a ranking of radio talk show hosts by the editors of TALKERS magazine based on a number of hard and soft factors, including: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. Regular TALKERS readers and talk radio aficionados will recognize a number of personalities who are perennial members of the list. But there are some newcomers as well as some hosts who’d made the list in years past and are making a return. Yes, this list – like many that are created by editors of industry publications – is subjective to some degree or another. It will raise questions as to who is on the list, who is not, and where those on the list are ranked. But, that’s part of the fun of it! Regardless, TALKERS editors take this project very seriously and wish to congratulate all the members of the 2017 TALKERS Heavy Hundred. See it here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Chicago, CBS RADIO’s triple A WXRT officially names John Farneda music director. He’s been serving in the post in the interim since early last month, succeeding Kelly Ransford after she moved to iHeartMedia Denver. This is a return to WXRT for Farneda who worked at the station from 1983 through 2014 – the last 13 years as music director. WXRT OM/PD Greg Solk says, “Christmas has come early to WXRT. John’s rich history here and his unequalled knowledge of the Chicago rock market make him the perfect programming partner. John is WXRT.”…..At Mountain Dog Media’s WFON, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin “107.1 The Bull,” afternoon personality Big Al moves to morning drive to co-host with incumbent morning jock Stef Z for the newly renamed “The Morning Radio Rodeo” show…..Cumulus Media’s New York hot AC WPLJ is presenting the Pepsi Summer Kick Off at Jenkinson’s Pavilion in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey this Friday (5/26). The event will feature live performances from Andy Grammer, The Band Perry, LP and Wrabel.