How Is Talk Radio Handling the 9/11 Anniversary? The 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2011 is Sunday and – indicative of the important role those attacks and their aftermath have played in the programming of American news/talk stations over the past decade – many of these stations are treating this Sunday as if it were a weekday, with their top talent broadcasting live and special programming pre-empting the usual Sunday schedule. Read on as talk radio programmers, content providers and talent express what this tragedy means to, not only the broadcast outlets, but to talk media’s P1’s and the genre’s practitioners. More here.
Talk Media Mega-Star Sean Hannity Celebrates 10 Years in National Syndication. Hannity began his foray into national syndication the day before September 11, 2001 and he went on to become an extremely important media figure broadcasting to a newly expanded audience in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks that would consume the American consciousness in the weeks and months that followed. Initially syndicated via the old ABC Radio Networks and now by Premiere Networks, 10 years later Hannity’s show is heard on more than 500 stations across the country by more than 14 million listeners each week, according to the most recent ratings research from TALKERS (see that data here.). In a statement, Sean Hannity says, “After 10 years in syndication and nearly 25 years on air, my love for radio continues to grow. I’m grateful to be working with some of the best people in the business — from my staff, to affiliates, to my radio partners and sponsors; I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished together. Thank you to the listeners and fans who join me on this radio journey each day and help make this one of the best jobs in the world.”
Fox Sports Radio’s Pat O’Brien Featured in 9/11 TV Documentary. The program is titled “The Love We Make” and airs tomorrow (9/10) at 9:00 pm ET on Showtime. It is a collaboration between Paul McCartney and filmmaker Albert Maysles. Maysles followed McCartney around New York a month after the horrific attacks on the city, and Pat O’Brien interviews McCartney as part of the documentary. McCartney was on a plane on the tarmac at LaGuardia preparing to take off when the first plane hit the World Trade Center. O’Brien is co-host of FSR’s midday program “Loose Cannons” alongside Steve Hartman and Vic “The Brick” Jacobs.
WAXY, Miami Host Dan LeBatard’s TV Show Set at ESPN2. The half-hour TV show that has been in development titled, “Dan LeBatard Is Highly Questionable,” finds its home from 4:00 to 4:30 pm ET on ESPN2 beginning Monday (9/12). The development of a TV show for LeBatard – who is a regular fill-in host on ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” – was announced earlier this summer. According to ESPN VP of production Marcia Keegan, LeBatard’s 72-year-old father Gonzalo LeBatard will also be part of the program. She states, “Given the popularity of our afternoon lineup of discussion and debate shows, we know that our audience is drawn to accessible and engaging personalities so we expect Dan’s smart-yet-irreverent take on sports combined with the often diverting and occasionally thoroughly pointless interaction with his father to make for an oddly compelling program. If nothing else, don’t say we never take chances.” In addition to his radio and TV work, Le Batard is a columnist for the Miami Herald.
Tony Bruno Exits FSR; Mike North and Rob Dibble to Fill In. Sports talk host Tony Bruno is leaving his “Into the Night” nationally syndicated sports talk show produced by DirectTV and airing on Fox Sports Radio Network to return to the air at Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia in middays. Filling in that shift on the network are Chicago-based sports talker Mike North and former Cincinnati Reds “nasty boy” Rob Dibble for the show “FSR Evenings” airing from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. North has been hosting a weekend show for FSR and Dibble has worked for ESPN and the Washington Nationals on the TV side.
WTKK-FM, Boston’s Doug Meehan Begins Segment Honoring First Responders. Doug Meehan is debuting a new weekly segment on Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston called “First Responder Friday” that acknowledges the efforts of first responders in New England. This segment – airing its debut at a time when first responders involved (and in too many cases killed) in the 9/11 attacks are being honored – according to the station “is a way of saying ‘thank you’ to the firefighters, police officers and emergency medical responders who make the necessary sacrifices to put other’s needs above their own.” Meehan states, “I feel this is a unique opportunity to recognize those in our community who often go unrecognized for their service to the community on a daily basis.” The first recipient of the First Responders Award will be today on Meehan’s program. Then beginning October 7, Meehan’s show will honor an individual or group of first responders in the region. Nominations are accepted by their community or chosen based on an event that affected the lives of individuals.
ESPN Combines TV Simulcasts of Radio Shows. ESPN moves the “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and “The Scott Van Pelt Show” from The U and ESPN2 respectively to its ESPNews where they’ll air back-to-back from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.
President Obama’s Jobs Speech Most-Talked-About Topic on News/Talk Radio for Week of September 5-9. President Obama’s much-anticipated speech to a joint session of Congress and the nation was #1 on the Talkers Ten™ chart of the top talk topics this week. At #2 was Wednesday’s GOP candidate’s debate and the 2012 presidential election. Following at #3 was financial markets activity and severe weather across the nation and its financial implications came in at #4. The Talkers Ten™ is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View all 10 topics and the 10 most-talked-about people by clicking the banner below.
Walter Sabo Says Merlin’s FM News Operations in New York and Chicago off to Good Start. In an exclusive interview for TALKERS TV conducted this past Friday in New York City (right before Hurricane Irene made its way up the coast to the Big Apple), Merlin Media COO Walter Sabo praises his company’s talent roster, sales staff, and CEO Randy Michaels for creating and marketing all-news FM products in New York and Chicago strategically targeted for 25-54 year old working families. These are WEMP-FM, New York (FM News 101.9) and WWWN-FM, Chicago (FM News 101.1). When asked to further define the term “working families,” Sabo responds, “Families in which mom and dad go to work.” He says compared to the audiences of today’s traditional all-news stations, 25-54 represents the younger demographic. “They need the same information as everyone else but the key to reaching them is to understand they are extremely busy.” He explains, “They are busy running to their jobs, going to day care, picking up the kids. Their day is a series of high-pressure points regarding the clock. They don’t have time to listen to any information that isn’t right to the point.” He credits the impressive list of advertisers already signed up for these relatively brand new stations to the competence of their sales department and the fact that advertisers “immediately embrace” the concept of all news targeted to a young working audience. TALKERS monitors on the ground in New York City report that FM News 101.9 delivered “superb coverage” of Hurricane Irene throughout all phases of its assault on the region. View this must-see interview, “Lunch with Walter Sabo,” on TALKERS TV on this page.
CBS Aggressively Leads Sports Talk Invasion of FM. The FM band is quickly being populated by sports talk radio and it’s not a stretch to say CBS is leading the charge. TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian writes that when the company launched WXYT-FM, Detroit four years ago, it wasn’t planning beyond that station. But as CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero tells TALKERS, “We realized this is a road we should go down from a programming, as well as a general radio business standpoint. We love the format and think we are good at doing it.” With the simulcast of WIP, Philadelphia beginning on September 6, CBS will have nine sports outlets on FM in the top 30 markets. Read Mike Kinosian’s in-depth look at CBS Radio’s FM sports initiative here.
Josefa Salinas of Hot 92.3 to Speak at Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011. Well-known Los Angeles radio personality Josefa Salinas who hosts a widely-heard weekend community affairs talk program on Clear Channel’s urban oldies “Hot 92.3” (WHHT-FM) will join the growing all-star roster of speakers at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum. Salinas will participate on the panel titled “The Issues Facing Southern California: Challenges and Solutions.” Moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison it will be the only panel at the event which focuses entirely on public issues outside the industry. (The rest of the event will address inner-industry issues.) Panelists include Charles Feldman of KNX, Los Angeles; Roger Hedgecock of KOGO, San Diego and Radio America; Stephanie Miller of KTLK, Los Angeles and Dial Global; Doug McIntyre of KABC, Los Angeles and Citadel Media; Patt Morrison of KPCC, FM Los Angeles and Southern California Public Radio; and John Phillips of KABC, Los Angeles. TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey states, “We have an amazingly well balanced panel of stars coming together here and the addition of such a community-involved radio broadcaster as Josefa Salinas really rounds it out beautifully. Considering the intensely controversial issues facing the region and the firepower that’ll be sitting up there on that stage, we should be in for an explosive session in the tradition of our most exciting Talk Rumbles.” The Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum 2011, presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club, will take place on Thursday, October 20 between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm. It features a lineup of more than 30 leading talk broadcasters including keynote speaker Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles and most of the top program directors from the major talk stations in Southern California. For the complete up-to-the-minute agenda and registration information, please click here.
WQXI, Atlanta Adds Dave Archer to PM Drive Show. Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback and current Falcons Radio Network analyst Dave Archer is named co-host of the Lincoln Financial Media station’s PM drive show alongside Mike Bell. Archer replaces David Pollack who becomes co-host of the new Palmer and Pollack show on the station. WQXI general manager Andrew Saltzman states, “There is no question that Dave Archer is the perfect guy to co-host our afternoon drive show. As an eight-year veteran of the Atlanta Falcons Radio Network, along with his six-year career as a NFL quarterback, Dave truly understands the intricacies of collegiate and professional sports. Most important is his tremendous chemistry with Bell. These guys have a lot of fun together and so will our listeners.”
Changes in PM Drive at KTSA, San Antonio? Nothing confirmed by owner Border Media Partners yet but TALKERS hears PM drive host Kevin Wall is out at KTSA, San Antonio and Sean Rima takes over his show. Rima worked for BMP in Austin at KXBT-FM before the company flipped it from talk to oldies. There was a report Rima was going to host a program at an online talk venture BMP was developing but the status of that is unclear.
Stephan Multi-Media Producing “Different” 9/11 Special. Doug Stephan, host of the nationally syndicated morning show, “Good Day,” is producing a September 11 anniversary special available for broadcast the weekend of September, 9-11. Media Management Group’s Craig Whetstine says, “We think it is different from most of the specials. It is a three-hour special, entitled, “Stronger Than Ever: Ten Years Past September 11.” Doug isn’t going to be looking back at the events of 9/11/01; he’ll be focused on where we are today and looking forward.” The program is being made available to non-affiliates of “Good Day” providing the program is not already heard in the market. Contact Whetstine at 212-545-8383.
Clear Channel Changes Market Managers in Seattle. Michele Grosenick is suddenly out as market manager of Clear Channel’s Seattle-Tacoma stations that include sports KJR. In is former CBS Radio manager Lisa Decker who left that company earlier this year. CC EVP of operations for the Western Region Susan Karis says of Decker, “Lisa is an amazing addition to the Clear Channel team. She has proven success with an impressive track record in delivering results in a highly competitive field.”
WDFN, Detroit Personality Tom Kowalski Dies Unexpectedly at 51. Known as Tom “Killer” Kowalski, he wrote for the Oakland Press and co-hosted PM drive at Clear Channel’s sports WDFN with Sean Baligian and Ryan Terpstra. His beat was the Detroit Lions and he got his nickname for his dogged pursuit as a reporter. CC Detroit market manager Til Levesque posted the following on WDFN’s website: “It is with a very heavy heart that I share with you that Tom Kowalski passed away this morning. Tom was a tremendous talent and his passion for all things Lions and the NFL never faltered. He was a tremendous asset to us on WDFN AM. His presence will be greatly missed in afternoons not to mention in the hallways and around the building. Having him on our team made us a better sports talk station and for that I will always be thankful of his time with CCD.”
Former WCCO, Minneapolis Talk Host Brad Walton Dies at Age 60. Walton was a Twin Cities media figure who spent 11 years at CBS Radio’s WCCO handling weekend overnights and fill-in shifts beginning in 1997. Walton wrote a book in 2004 titled, How Does the Heart Know Love?, a personal story about his life after open heart surgery.
Fox Sports Radio Hits 400 Affiliate Mark. The addition of CBS Radio’s new Cleveland FM sports talk outlet, “SportsRadio 92.3 The Fan” (WKRK-FM), on August 29 gives Fox Sports Radio 400 affiliate stations 11 years after its debut in August of 2000. FSRN vice president and general manager Don Martin says of the milestone, “This is a proud moment for the FSR family, as we welcome Cleveland’s WKRK 92.3 ‘The Fan’ and eclipse the 400-affiliate mark. None of this would be possible without the tremendous product that our talent delivers every day and, most importantly, the relationships we have with our incredible affiliates. Fox Sports Radio and our affiliates are the true definition of a team.”
Obama Economic Policy, 2012 Presidential Race, Irene Aftermath/Global Warming and Libya Turmoil Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/29). President Obama’s plan to fix the ailing economy, the 2012 presidential race, the aftermath of Hurricane Irene and global warming and the state of Libya as the Gaddhafi family flees were among the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Al Sharpton Gets MSNBC Talk Show. Dubbed “Politics Nation” and airing in the 6:00 pm time slot, Rev. Al Sharpton’s news/talk cable TV program officially debuts on Monday, August 29. We say officially because Sharpton has been subbing at the network this summer. In a statement, MSNBC president Phil Griffin says, “I’ve known Rev. Sharpton for over a decade and have tremendous respect for him. He has always been one of our most thoughtful and entertaining guests. I’m thrilled that he’s now reached a point in his career where he’s able to devote himself to hosting a nightly show. ‘PoliticsNation’ is going to be an incredibly strong kick-off to our evening schedule.” Sharpton also hosts a daily syndicated radio talk show distributed by Syndication 1 that airs live from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET on about 20 affiliates. That’s cutting awfully close to his 6:00 pm TV airtime but there’s no word from Syndication 1 if Sharpton will continue his radio show or not. (August 25, 2011)
Philadelphia Talk Radio Friend Joey Vento Passes Away Unexpectedly. Vento, who died of a massive heart attack on Tuesday (8/23) at age 71, was not a talk show host but was very friendly with a number of Philadelphia-based and nationally syndicated hosts. He made national news – and many conservative media friends – after posting a sign at his famous Geno’s Steaks restaurant in South Philly that reads, “This is America. When ordering, please speak English.” The move caused cries of racism from critics but Vento stood fast and made many appearances on talk radio since that time and included among his talk radio friends WPHT host Dom Giordano and Salem Radio Networks host Mike Gallagher. (August 25, 2011)
ABC Radio News Offers 9/11 Anniversary Programming. The 10th anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 takes place in less than three weeks. Among the news organizations offering long-form programming to mark the event is ABC Radio News. ABC airs a three-hour program that Sunday morning from 8:06 am to 10:58 am. ABC Radio News correspondents Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky will anchor from Ground Zero in New York City; Ann Compton reports from the White House; Steve Portnoy reports from Shanksville, Pennsylvania (the site of the downing of Flight 93); and Vic Ratner reports from the Pentagon. (August 25, 2011)
WDSM, Duluth Talk Host Lew Latto Dies at 71. Latto was more than just a talk host at MidWest Communications’ WDSM, Duluth. Latto had worked in radio since his high school days in the 1950s. He went on to own stations, manage stations and remained a “radio guy” his entire career. Latto was hosting his daily morning show, “Talk of the North,” on WDSM and was reportedly getting dressed to prepare for his show there when he passed away suddenly. (August 25, 2011)
Clear Channel Buys FM Translator for WIOD, Miami. Way FM Media Group sells W228BY, Allapattah, Florida to Clear Channel for $200,000. The signal is close to downtown Miami and will serve as a second FM signal for news/talk WIOD. Currently, WIOD can be heard in Broward County on 100.3 FM as well. (August 25, 2011)
United Stations Radio Networks Names Sue Falco Director of Affiliate Relations. USRN announces Sue Falco becomes director of affiliate relations for the company. Falco most recently served as national director of affiliate sales at Westwood One where she was responsible for long- and short-form programming. USRN VP Dan Brassem says, “Sue brings a vast knowledge of both the radio network business and an understanding of what our radio clients need and expect from a program supplier. We’re excited that she’s on board and we anticipate that her experience, her contacts and her overall know-how will be assets that will help us grow our networks.” (August 25, 2011)
KNBR, San Francisco Adds Oakland Raiders Coach Hue Jackson to “Coaches Tuesday.” Cumulus sports talk outlet KNBR, San Francisco announces Oakland Raiders coach Hue Jackson will join Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey each Tuesday morning at 7:00 am. Jackson is followed by San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh who becomes part of the show at 8:00 am. OM and PD Lee Hammer states, “We’re excited to have both 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and Raiders coach Hue Jackson on KNBR 680 every week. The head coach in football is the decision maker, and Bay Area football fans will now be able to hear directly from both of them, on the same station every Tuesday morning.” (August 25, 2011)
Libya Status, 2012 Presidential Race, Iran, Nukes and Hurricane Irene Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/24). The status of the Libyan government and whereabouts of Moammar Gaddhafi, the 2012 presidential race, Iran’s nuclear weapons program and Hurricane Irene’s anticipated path were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS. (August 25, 2011)
15 Years of Jim Rome. Premiere Networks celebrated 15 years of the nationally syndicated Jim Rome program at W Hotel in Westwood, California recently. Rome’s program was the first sports program to be syndicated nationally by Premiere Networks and today it remains one of the most-listened-to national sports programs heard on 230 affiliates each week. Pictured here are Rome (l) and Premiere Networks president, content and affiliate relations Julie Talbott (r). (August 25, 2011)