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Another Breaking News Weekend…

| February 23, 2016

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — It’s been a few years now since I worked on the editorial side of the business, but my adrenaline still starts pumping anytime news breaks.

Weekend before last, it was the unexpected passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Network radio and TV were all over it – smart local stations used those resources, and were all over it, too.

But local radio stations WITHOUT a network news affiliation likely found themselves behind the eight ball – unable to meaningfully respond beyond whatever they were able to pass along from social media and news websites.  Better than nothing, but not good enough.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

| February 23, 2016

SC Primary Aftermath/Presidential Race, Apple-FBI iPhone Controversy, Scalia Replacement Battle, Syrian Civil War, Kalamazoo Killer Case, Nebraska-Kearney Chick-fil-A Flap, and Ke$ha-Dr. Luke-Taylor Swift Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/22).  The effects of the South Carolina primary election on the field of candidates for president; the fight between Apple and the FBI over gaining access to the iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino terrorists; the political battle over the process for replacing deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; the Syrian civil war, a potential ceasefire and Russia’s involvement in the matter; a gay student group nixes Chick-fil-A as on campus restaurant at University of Nebraska-Kearney; and the legal case between singer Ke$ha and producer Dr. Luke plus Taylor Swift’s cash donation to Ke$ha were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

price howardPrice: Another Breaking News Weekend.  With the recent spate of weekend news events fresh in the minds of news/talk practitioners, ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes that he believes too many local stations are missing the opportunity to prove their worth as media outlets.  Addressing this past weekend’s hair-raising story of a gunman on the loose in Kalamazoo, Price reports streams from local stations indicate most appeared to be on automation.  “If there were ever a reason to get someone in, break format and go live on a developing story, this was it. Lives were at risk, and the circumstances were such that radio, in particular, could have played a big role in keeping people who were most at risk, safe.  Does your station have a plan for instituting breaking news coverage after hours, on weekends and holidays?  Do you have protocols in place to at least get your air personalities up to speed and on the air with meaningful, vetted information while newsgathering resources are assembled?  Is there a list of emergency contacts and authoritative government sources in your air studios – with after-hours contact information for each one?  Are there TVs in your air studios so your talent can monitor local and network television for breaking news?”  Read more from Price here.

Odds & Sods.  Former Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Brandon Stokley joins Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN-FM, Denver “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan” to work with Sandy Clough on therootTrumprally midday “Sandy & Stokley Show.”…..Capitol Broadcasting is preparing to flip Spanish sports WCLY, Raleigh to a simulcast of its WCMC-HD3 “99.9 HD3 The Ticket.”  That station – 1550 The Ticket – will air a mix of CBS Sports Radio, Fox Sports Radio and ESPN Radio programming…..KBET, Las Vegas talk show host Wayne Allyn Root is pictured here addressing the more than 8,000 people who recently attended a rally for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump at South Point Arena.  Root was the opening speaker and master of ceremonies for the event.

alandavaeKSCO, Santa Cruz Mourns Passing of Air Personality Dave Alan.  Iconic station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO “Station Santa Cruz” and KOMY, Santa Cruz informs TALKERS that long time personality Dave Alan (legal name David Duarte) has passed away.  Alan’s air talent was “discovered” by Zwerling back in 1992 when he was a contractor engaged in painting the KSCO building.  The then-host of the 3:00 pm air shift abruptly quit leaving a vacancy that needed to be filled quickly.  Zwerling liked the quirky personality of the man painting his building and coaxed him into going on-air and hosting the show. The rest, as they say, is history.  Zwerling tells TALKERS, “The amazing, very engaging character went on the air and became a big hit on KSCO, regardless of where we put him in the program schedule.”  Alan was on his way to fame as a nationally syndicated talk radio host when tragedy struck in 2000 – 16 years ago this week.  According to Zwerling, “While on a trip to Marin, Dave suffered a small stroke and made his way to the hospital where he had a massive brain stem stroke from which he was not expected to recover.  But, thanks to his strong will and indomitable spirit, recover he did… and lived the rest of his life from a wheelchair with the left half of his body paralyzed. He continued to do his KSCO radio shows and did podcasting on his own, got very involved with online research for his shows, and continued to be one of the most creative chefs and quality food connoisseurs I have ever known — always stuffing me with great food every time I visited him.  God, I’m going to miss you Dave… you were the greatest!”   Broadcasters interested in donating to Dave Alan’s Last Honors should click here.

Radio’s Hot New (Old) Format: ‘The Puddle’

| January 8, 2016

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — What do we learn from the nearly 20,000 people worldwide who’ve been watching a puddle on Periscope?

Well, if we’re historically conscious and observationally astute – we should be saying, “they have rediscovered the magic of radio.”

Say what? These are people watching a PUDDLE. In the UK. Visually. On social media. What does that have to do with radio?

Think about it. If you really believe all radio is local – and GREAT local radio is all about making compelling content out of the everyday events and observations in the communities it serves — then “the puddle” can be seen as a metaphor for what radio’s core mission has always been, and which it used to execute better than any other medium.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

| December 16, 2015

price howardPrice: Weighing Public Safety vs Risk of Assisting Threatmongers in Reporting to Your Listeners.  The recent terroristic threats against the New York City and Los Angeles public school districts – which turned out not to be true – present a bit of a potential problem for radio stations and news organizations.  ABC Television director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes today in TALKERS, “Critical to the discussion is the hard reality that those who make these threats are banking on a response from both authorities AND the media.  Thankfully, even in these troubled times, most threats are hoaxes made to seize on public fear.  The hoaxers find out about that response the same way the rest of us do – through the media.  SO what to do?  As with most professional challenges, the process begins with an internal conversation, specific to your station and market.  For example, do you have a policy document to guide your decision making in such dynamic breaking news situations?”  Read more here.

grimessuzanneCumulus Media Names Suzanne Grimes to President of the Westwood One Division and EVP of Corporate Marketing Roles.  According to Cumulus Media, this new role of president of the Westwood One Division “creates a unified structure that maximizes opportunities across the division’s national content and sales platform.”  Steve Shaw, president of Westwood One, will continue to lead ad sales, and Charles Steinhauer, COO of Westwood One, will continue to lead operations, both reporting directly to Grimes, who in turn reports to company CEO Mary Berner.  Grimes was most recently president and COO of Clear Channel Outdoor.  Berner states, “When it comes to anything in media, Suzanne’s the full package.  With 30 years of experience building content businesses into high-performing brands, she brings valuable perspectives from leadership roles in outdoor, mobile, social, digital, print and experiential sectors for both public and private companies, so she’s a natural choice for these important roles.  I look forward to her contribution as we build a stronger, more operationally focused organization.”

Newly Re-Organized Corporate Structure at Cumulus Includes Tommy Page and Mike McVay Taking on New Responsibilities.  As part of her memo to Cumulus Media staff of Suzanne Grimes’ new role, CEO Mary Berner also explained some of the other changes atop the corporate structure at the company.  Working forbouvardpierre Grimes will be the company’s chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard and VP of social media Lori Lewis.  Berner announces Tommy Page’s new title will be SVP of brand partnerships & NASH in which he’ll continue his role as leader of platform events initiatives and brand partnerships, corporate mcvaymikemarketing function, and new duties including the development and execution of the NASH brand strategy.  Berner says the company is creating a new Office of Programming in which SVP of content & programming Mike McVay will operate to “lead our content strategy across the platform, including talent recruitment and development and label relations.”  Tom Schurr, SVP ofschurrtom operations, will work with McVay in a new role overseeing the business aspects of programming, including organization and prioritization, resource allocation, and budget responsibilities.  Berner concludes, “Our belief with regard to ratings is that more local insight and more effective corporate support will result in an improved outcome.  The new Office of Programming will be responsible for executing this strategy to drive ratings growth and will be rolling out more details in the coming weeks.”

bohannonjimJim Bohannon to Exit ‘America in the Morning’; Continues Late Night Show.  Hall of Fame broadcaster Jim Bohannon is cutting back on his duties for Westwood One and is leaving the hosting role for “America in the Morning” after the December 18 broadcast.  He is continuing his work as host of the late night Jim Bohannon show.  He signed a multi-year contract extension with Westwood One in February of this year.  Bohannon has been the sole host of “America in the Morning” since its firsttroutjohn broadcast in 1984.  The morning magazine program airs on more than 250 stations nationwide.  Taking over for Bohannon is the show’s regular guest host John Trout.  He officially begins on Monday, January 18, 2016.  Bohannon comments, “It’s time for me to cut back the daily schedule a bit and focus my attention on the research, interviews, and calls for my weeknight Jim Bohannon show.  But I’ll still be contributing my daily feature, the ‘Offbeat,’ and my newsmaker interviews to ‘America in the Morning.’  Listeners will love John Trout as host.  He’s got a stellar track record and he’s been a terrific fill-in.  The show is in great hands and I wish him much success.”

leykistomTom Leykis’ New Normal Projecting Another Profitable Year.  New Year’s Eve will be the sixth anniversary of The New Normal – the audio content company founded by radio legend Tom Leykis after exiting his CBS RADIO talk show in 2009.  Leykis has long been a vocal proponent of the digital delivery system for taking audio content into the future.  Today, he reports that as 2015 winds down, The New Normal is financially continuing on an upward trend.  Leykis tells TALKERS that revenue is up for the third straight year.  Profits will increase from $23,000 in 2014 to almost $100,000 in 2015.  He adds, “This means that, for the second year in a row, we will be more profitable than the top two radio companies combined.”

Odds & Sods.  Are there wrinkles in the future of the Bob & Tom Show post-Bob KevoianTALKERS sources arebobandtom labeled hearing that negotiations between the syndicated program’s management and staff are hitting snags.  Kevoian announced his retirement at the recent Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony and although the show is moving forward with Tom Griswold continuing his role, rumors are that negotiations for contract renewals with longtime cast member Kristi Lee and contributor Ron Sexton are facing challenges…..Software platform provider Mediaocean announces it is integrating iHeartMedia within its Spectra platform.  As a result, within one central system, ad agencies are able to seamlessly manage, research, and buy local digital audio inventory across the iHeartMedia digital platform.  Mediaocean says users will be able to compare iHeartMedia’s audience data side-by-side with other digital audio platforms to better plan campaigns and engage the right audiences at the local level.

tradupTrump15Covering the GOP Debate.  Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen here gesturing as he makes a point while speaking with Salem Radio Network personalities Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager and Michael Medved (who are out of the picture to the right) while SRN VP news & talk programming Tom Tradup holds the mic.  The exchange took place during SRN’s exclusive radio distribution of the Republican presidential debate.  SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt appeared on the CNN debate panel asking questions of the GOP hopefuls.

Run-Up to Last Night’s GOP Debate/2016 Presidential Race, Refugee and Immigration Policy, Los Angeles and New York Schools Terror Threats, Battle Against Islamic State, Freddie Gray Trial, Government Shutdown Threat, and New Star Wars Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The build-up to last night’s GOP primary debate in Las Vegas and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; debate over policy regarding refugees from Syria and over immigration in general; terror threats against the New York and Los Angeles public school districts and criticism over LA’s decision to cancel school; the battle against Islamic State; the wait for the verdict in the case against the first of six Baltimore police officers in the death of Freddie Gray; the move in Congress to avert a government shutdown; and the hype over the new Star Wars film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Where’s the Line Between Giving Threatmongers What They Want…And Citizens What They Need?

| December 16, 2015

By Howard B. Price
ABC Television Network
Director, Business Continuity

 

pricehowardbwriterNEW YORK — The nation’s second largest school district was shut down Tuesday by a terroristic threat.  Several other school districts, most notably New York City’s (the largest in the country) also received similar threats – but did not close schools, take buses off the road, or tell staff and students to stay home.

Why the different responses? Simply put, specificity and credibility as judged by local law enforcement and other officials.  The proverbial “abundance of caution.”  Important because all of these concepts also guide broadcasters as to how, when – or even IF – threats should be reported.

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