TALKERS ‘2015 Heavy Hundred’ Published — Annual Feature Ranks 100 ‘Most Important’ Talk Radio Hosts. Today (3/25) marks the publication of the annual feature from TALKERS magazine titled, “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – known informally as the “Heavy Hundred.” This edition marks the 20th consecutive year that this talk media trade journal (that is about to mark its 25th anniversary) has been compiling and publishing the list. TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey says, “As people can see by perusing this year’s list, it includes a number of familiar faces (and voices) as well as new up-and-comers, plus several veterans whose continuing, successful careers our editors believe need acknowledgement on this list in 2015. The task of compiling this annual feature is extremely challenging – especially since it draws upon both objective and subjective factors – and is the source of heated debate every year among our editors for months leading up to its release.” View the 2015 Heavy Hundred here.
FCC Issues Biggest Fine Ever. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes today about the landmark FCC fine levied against WDBJ-TV, Roanoke, Virginia. Though the fine is for a violation of indecency standards by a television outlet, this story gives a glimpse into the mindset of today’s FCC. The station was hit with the maximum $325,000 allowed by law. Weisman writes, “Many are questioning the size of the WDBJ fine particularly when it was an obvious mistake rather than an intentional exercise of pushing the indecency envelope as has been the case with indecency fines from years past when hosts such as Howard Stern were often singled out for indecency charges. WDBJ has indicated that it will oppose the proposed fine.” Read Weisman’s entire story here.
What Radio Personalities Want and Need Most from a Coach. According to noted talk radio consultant Bill McMahon, it’s not easy being a radio personality. They work in relative isolation far from their listeners. They can’t see or hear them. Most radio studios don’t even have an outside window. The only immediate feedback personalities get on their performance is from those working with them in the studio. If they work alone, there is no feedback in the moment. McMahon, CEO of consulting firm The Authentic Personality, goes on to say, “Oh, radio personalities get plenty of delayed reaction to their work, but it often does more harm than good. The phone lines light up or they don’t. Texts, Tweets, Facebook posts, and emails deliver all kinds of mixed messages. Some are glowing with praise and love. Others state clearly and unequivocally, ‘you suck!’ After the show, the confusion continues. An enthusiastic PD might proclaim he loves a bit the personality hated, usually without offering specifics about what made it so good. Later, the GM weighs in saying, “I didn’t get that phone segment you did in the 8 o’clock hour and I don’t think it was relevant to our listeners.” Problem is the personality thinks it’s the best thing he did all morning and his followers on Twitter and Facebook seem to agree. This is the real world of a radio personality where everyone has an opinion on what they do and the opinions are anything but unanimous. It’s no wonder even the most successful radio personalities with consistently high ratings can be very insecure.” In a new article posted today (3/25) that is a must-read for PDs, McMahon details some of the things he has learned that radio personalities need from their talent coaches. To read it in its entirety, please click here.
Much Ado About Nothing? You Decide. When it comes to New Jersey politics and Governor Chris Christie, controversy is never far away. But recently, Townsquare Media-owned talk giant WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” found itself in the political spotlight – if only for a moment – after a spur-of-the-moment bit during the “Ask the Governor” show involving a “gift” for news director Eric Scott was picked up by the mainstream media. In summary, the International Business Times wrote about Christie’s spontaneous request to show sponsor Lester Glenn Auto Group to get show host Eric Scott something for his work on the program. Christie is quoted saying, “How about a new car from the Lester Glenn Auto Group for Eric Scott? Right, can we do that? Are the Lester Glenn Auto people listening? Eric Scott is getting the shaft here, and what we need is a little love for Eric Scott. So maybe it could be coming from the Lester Glenn Auto Group.” Read the IBT piece here. After getting Scott the use of a Corvette from Lester Glenn Auto Group for a week, Townsquare EVP Alex Bekett sought to calm those crying ethical foul over the matter by issuing the following statement to PolitickerNJ.com to clarify: “Eric Scott was offered free use of a 2015 Corvette Stingray by ‘Ask The Governor’ sponsor Lester Glenn Auto Group from March 17, 2015 – March 24, 2015 as a result of an unsolicited humorous comment made by Governor Christie on February’s award-winning monthly ‘Ask the Governor’ program on ‘New Jersey 101.5.’ Neither ‘New Jersey 101.5’ owner Townsquare Media, nor Mr. Scott, paid for use of the automobile. The car belongs to Lester Glenn Auto Group. Neither Townsquare nor Mr. Scott were given a car, but rather Mr. Scott was given brief use of a car. Neither Townsquare nor Mr. Scott have knowledge of the political contributions of the ownership of the Lester Glenn Auto Group. The Lester Glenn Auto Group is a valued Townsquare Media advertising partner. A portion of a conversation during February’s ‘Ask the Governor’ program on New Jersey 101.5 led to the unsolicited provision of free use of a car for Mr. Scott from Lester Glenn Auto Group. None of the parties involved believe anything that transpired was inappropriate. Nothing that transpired will affect continued objective coverage of the governor on ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ as was evidenced by last night’s ‘Ask the Governor’ program.”
Odds & Sods. A new, nightly lineup is unveiled at ESPN Radio, effective Monday, March 30. The sports content giant says “the new shows will be hosted by three distinct ESPN voices with disparate takes on the sports world – Jorge Sedano, Bomani Jones and Freddie Coleman. The new lineup will kick off at 7:00 pm ET with ‘The Sedano Show,’ followed by an evocative new program ‘The Right Time with Bomani Jones’ at 9:00 pm and continuing with the three-hour ‘Freddie Coleman Show’ at 11:00 pm.” VP, ESPN Audio network content David Roberts comments, “The new weeknight lineup underscores our commitment to serve sports fans by offering the most compelling, interesting, informative and entertaining content from an on-air team that is dynamic, distinctive and diverse all week long.”…..Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs tells TALKERS magazine she’s thrilled that Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval recently honored the request she made – along with Assemblyman Chris Edwards – to make a Proclamation that Nevada Blood Donation Day will this year be April 25. She says, “I am so ecstatic that Governor Sandoval and Assemblyman Chris Edwards were so quick to assist us in making a statewide day for blood donation! This will help save so many lives!”
Cool Job Opportunity. Saga Communications’ Portland, Maine radio group is seeking a brand manager and news director for news/talk WGAN. Saga reports it has an opening to lead its top news/talk outlet WGAN and its sister brands in the beautiful Portland market. Successful candidates will exhibit an ability to lead a five-person news department, develop and coach local talent, direct programming, develop and curate a contemporary sound for the entire station in delivery and production. Please send your resume and supporting material to Bob Adams, General Manager, Portland Radio Group: Badams@portlandradiogroup.com. EOE/MF.
The Obama-Netanyahu Relationship, Iran’s Nuclear Program, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Russian Military Aggression, the Crash of Germanwings Flight 9525, Scott Walker Voter ID Law Victory, Google-White House Relationship, and Angelina Jolie Cancer Prevention Surgery Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The political relationship between President Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu and the U.S. and Israel; the controversy over negotiating a nuclear policy with Iran; the growing list of potential candidates for president in 2016; increased military aggression by Russia and the West’s response; the mystery of the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps; Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s high court victory in that state’s voter ID law battle; suggestions of a cozy relationship between Google and the White House; and the flap over Angelina Jolie’s decision to have her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed for the purposes of cancer prevention were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — Earlier this week, the FCC announced that it intends to fine television station WDBJ of Roanoke, Virginia $325,000 for broadcasting an image of a penis in a corner of the television screen for three seconds in a story that WDBJ ran on its six o’clock news on July 12, 2012. The story was about a retired porn star, Harmony Rose, who was now working as an EMT. In the broadcast of the story, a visual image of a porn website for which the star had worked was shown in a corner of the screen. While putting the story together, no one who worked on the story noticed a penis was viewable on the image of the website. According to WDBJ, which has never been fined in the past, the image was not even viewable on the editing machines used to create the story. According to WDBJ president and general manager Jeff Marks, “We are surprised and disappointed that the FCC has decided to propose to fine WDBJ for a fleeting image on the very edge of some television screens during a news broadcast. The story had gone through a review before it aired. Inclusion of the image was purely unintentional.” This fine, if it stands, would be the highest fine the FCC has ever issued for a single incident broadcast on one station and ten times higher than previous single broadcast fines for indecent material.