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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

| January 14, 2015

savagemichaelMichael Savage and Westwood One Renew Deal; College Scholarships to Be Awarded.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage and syndicator Westwood One are announcing the two sides have come to terms on a new, multi-year contract to keep “The Savage Nation” with the company.  In a press release, Savage and WW1 say he is “ushering in a new era of talk radio with his groundbreaking ‘Unprotected Talk’ format that he will use to interact with listeners on topical current events and lifestyle issues – with politics of course remaining an important part of the show.  Savage is challenging the talk radio industry with his one-of-a-kind program by combining timely political content with the real-life issues that his millions of listeners are talking about every day, including topics such as health, science, religion, culture and more.”  At the samewestwood one NEW time, Savage says he’s set up a $100,000 scholarship fund “for conservative college students,” that will grant five recipients two-year awards totaling $10,000 annually.  The scholarship winners will be selected through an essay contest opening January 15 titled, “What Does It Mean to Be an American?” with “the intention of promoting traditional American values.”  Savage comments, “I am uniquely positioned to discuss a wide range of topics while maintaining an authentic, unapologetic voice because of my academic background. While others focus on Obamacare, I discuss health issues.  I’m not shying away from politics and I’m not running for office like others in the media.  Cumulus has allowed me to expand my reach, but my goal has remained the same – to deliver the best, most comprehensive commentary on radio and ‘edutain’ the world in the process.  With my new scholarship fund I can now help inspire the next generation by encouraging education and conservative values.”

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craneedEd Crane Exits KFBK, Sacramento as Morning Host.  From a story in the Sacramento Bee, morning personality Ed Crane is out at the iHeartMedia news/talk outlet after serving in the post since 2008.  The station recently announced it hired talk programming pro Bill White – most recently with Journalkfbk logo Broadcast Group’s Tucson stations – who assumes his new position on Tuesday, January 20.  What the station’s plans for AM drive might be is pure speculation at this point.  White handled mornings at KQTH, Tucson.  Whether he’s headed for the morning show at KFBK or the station wants him to lead the search for a new morning host is unknown.  Back to Crane, he tells the Bee that he’s not happy with how his departure was handled saying, “Some untrue things were said that weren’t nice.  I don’t get it.  We were number 1.”

wmca logoWhither Christian Talk WMCA, New York?  The Salem Communications Christian talk outlet is airing promos on the station promising a change of some sort, but what the legendary NYC signal might morph into is unknown.  The promos state, “Beginning Monday, January 19th, WMCA New York’s Christian talk, will be no more.  Find out what we will become, Monday, January 19th.”  It’s likely that there will be no real format change, just a re-branding of the Christian talk format since ratings are not usually a concern for such a station.  Salem already serves the market with secular news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”

pragerdennisDocumentary Film Debaters to Include Prager, Father Morris. This coming Monday (1/19), Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager will join archdiocese of New York’s Father Jonathan MorrisEric Metaxas; and Anne Graham Lotz to discuss “Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus.”  Their panel discussion will be shown in 650 U.S. theaters through Fathom Events’ digital broadcast network and is slated to follow the theatrical premiere of the Timothy Mahoney award-winning documentary, which chronicles an in-depth archaeological investigation in Egypt as his team attempts to corroborate the biblical text.  Twelve years in the making, the film explores the fundamental question if there is any evidence the Exodus story actually happened.  Prager has been broadcasting on Los Angeles radio since 1982; his 9:00 am – 12:00 noon (PT) program has been in syndication since 1999.  Father Morris is currently the program director of “The Catholic Channel” on SiriusXM Radio.  The daughter of Billy Graham, Christian evangelist Lotz founded AnGeL Ministries.  Metaxas co-hosts the syndicated weekly Sunday morning program “100 Huntley Street.”  Prager’s SRN colleague Michael Medved appears on-camera in the documentary.  Fox News Channel‘s Gretchen Carlson will moderate next Monday’s debate.

snlkaganRabid Mobile Media Consumption Drives SNL Kagan $9 Billion 2014 Revenue Estimate. The research firm SNL Kagan is reporting that its estimate for 2014 revenue for the mobile entertainment sector is $9.14 billion – up from $2.71 billion just three years ago.  The frenetic growth of the mobile media industry is well documented in the radio trades and shouldn’t surprise anyone in this industry, but the figures that SNL Kagan breaks out are interesting, nonetheless.  It reports that the mobile music segment was the third largest, contributing 19% to the entertainment sector’s revenue.  However, the games category was tops – delivering 59% of the entertainment sector’s revenue in 2014 – with video in second place bringing in 20% of the sector’s revenue.  SNL Kagan estimates that the mobile music biz – led by players such as Pandora, Spotify, iTunes and others – accounted for $1.76 billion of the $9 billion total.

Charlie Hebdo Aftermath/Islamic Extremism, ISIS Hack of Pentagon and Centcom, Obama Cyber Security Speech, Bartender Accused in Plot to Kill Boehner, Romney Promises 2016 Run, and Ohio State Wins National Football Title Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13).  The political aftermath of the deadly attack on Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo and the larger topic of Islamic extremism; the hacking of the Pentagon’s and Centcom’s social media; the cyber-security speech delivered by President Obama; the plot by an Ohio bartender to kill House Speaker John Boehner; the promise by Mitt Romney to run for president in 2016; and Ohio State’s run to the National Championship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, January 8, 2014

| January 8, 2015

price howardHoward B. Price: Preparedness, Vigilance and Training Important in Wake of Charlie Hebdo Attack.  The horrific assault on French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo serves as a sad reminder that attacks on media outlets are not only possible, they happen on an all-too-frequent basis.  In a piece published in TALKERS magazine, ABC Television Network director, business continuity Howard B. Price writes that “even with the best security resources and procedures in place, no broadcast facility is immune from criminal acts or terrorism.  And being in a small place doesn’t necessarily reduce the risk.  But, there are common sense things we all can do to help deter such incidents, mitigate their impact and help assure an investigative trail in the event one takes place.”  Read Price’s very important piece here.

whitebillBill White Named KFBK and KSTE, Sacramento Program Director.  It’s official: news/talk programming pro Bill White is the new PD at iHeartMedia’s KFBK and KSTE in Sacramento, effective January 20.  White – who’s programmed such storied talk outlets as WGN, Chicago; KDKA, Pittsburgh; and WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte – most recently served as PD at Journal Broadcast Group’s KQTH and KFFN in Tucson.  White comments, “These legendary stations inform and touch listeners in the Sacramento area every day.  I’m honored to be joining the talented team at KFBK/KSTE and look forward to building on their successes.”

frantzbobBob Frantz Adds Cleveland News/Talk Duties.  Longtime WTAM, Cleveland personality Bob Frantz exited that station in July of last year and in October began hosting an afternoon sports talk show for Cumulus Media on WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket.”  Now, Frantz is adding a daily news/talk program on Salem Communications-owned WHK, Cleveland “AM 1420 The Answer” to his responsibilities.  Frantz has been producing commentaries for the Salem station and now begins the daily 9:00 am to 11:00 am talk program.  Salem Cleveland GM Mark Jaycox comments, “There has been a very loud cry from Clevelanders to hear Bob Frantz on the air once more, since his mic went silent five months ago.  His straightforward, honest approach to news, sports and politics has earned him a strong following among conservatively minded listeners who want more in-depth perspective on news stories that affect our daily lives.”

charleskenKen Charles Exits iHeartMedia.  News/talk pro Ken Charles – after a long career with iHeartMedia programming stations in Houston, Miami and Sacramento, to name a few – exits the company.  Charles had been serving as the company’s national brand manager for news/talk and sports before his sudden exit.  iHeartMedia has been very quiet about this and has, so far, not announced any plans to fill Charles’ corporate post.

podcastone logoHollywoodLife Signs with PodcastOne.  What it calls “another, in a series of previously announced partnerships, merging editorial and audio media,” PodcastOne unveils the arrival of the HollywoodLife podcast to its roster of advertiser-supported, on-demand digital audio programs.  The weekly podcast is hosted by HollywoodLife.com’s renowned president and editor-in-chief Bonnie Fuller and delivers “discussion, debate and the inside scoop on all the biggest, breaking celebrity news.”  It will also feature candid conversations with top TV, music and movie stars.  PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Bonnie’s track record of success in editorial content and audience engagement is extraordinary, and we are excited to expand that from the website to the podcast.  Providing the best in entertainment and celebrity news, she knows how to connect with the female demographic and affect lifestyle interests in ways no one else can.”

cookehollandCES 2015: Is Your Station Merely ‘the Linear Feed?’  Radio consultant Holland Cooke continues his reporting for TALKERS magazine from the giant Consumer Electronics Show 2015 in Las Vegas and today (1/8) he focuses on the disruption TV is feeling at the hands of technology that has made about half of television program viewing delayed or on demand.  “The linear feed” means live programming in the order that it’s broadcast and Cooke writes that as consumption of media continues to change, radio must address that “the linear feed” only isn’t going to be good enough.  Read his piece here to find two ways radio stations can deal with this conundrum.

flintaaronAaron Flint Continues to Build State-Wide Montana Talk Show.  Thirty-four-year-old Montana National Guard officer Aaron Flint began hosting Northern Broadcasting System’s “Voices of Montana” radio talk show five years ago.  Since then the KYYA, Billings-based program has expanded from 10 signals to more than 20 with KLTZ, Glasgow being the latest station to begin airing the program.  Flint states, “It’s pretty clear that listener and station demand for local, interactive, engaging content on both AM and FM radio is strong.  I went on another military deployment back in 2012, and I was, frankly, a little worried that we may lose some affiliates due to the disruption.  But the support for all service members shown by our radio affiliates has just been incredible.  The fact that the show has doubled is a strong testament to the support for the community and local programming by independent and corporate-owned stations alike.”  Flint has served three tours of duty: in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa.  A former staffer on The Hill, he is also a political blogger publishing The Flint Report – a blog the Washington Post has listed as one of the best state-based political blogs.

sharpejimUSA Radio Networks Adds Jim Sharpe to Lineup.  The latest addition to USA Radio Networks’ “rapidly growing syndicated programming lineup” is media pro Jim Sharpe who will host “AMERICA CONTINUES,” airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET beginning February 2.  USA says the show “will advance the significant news stories of the day with a different insight: the kind of insight that only comes whenusaRadioNetworks America has had a chance to digest the events of the day and put them into true perspective.”  Sharpe’s resume includes winning awards for his work as a war correspondent, and hosting radio shows in markets including: Los Angeles, Dallas, and Phoenix.  Sharpe says of his new syndicated show, “The name of the program serves two purposes: We will continue to update America’s truly important stories even as people put their workday behind them.  And, we will continue to work on this grand experiment called America.  Too many people have given up on the ‘American Dream,’ but ‘AMERICA CONTINUES’ will acknowledge and honor that America is still the planet’s best hope.”

wwwe logoAtlanta’s WWWE Converts to Women’s Radio Network. After having aired Spanish-language music and religious programming as well as sports, Beasley Broadcast Group‘s WWWE, Atlanta transitions to the Women’s Radio Network as “1100 WRNW1.” WWWE general manager Greg Cooper remarks, “Beasley and WWWE are committed to serving the concerns of the Atlanta community. A format focused on the lifestyle of today’s woman gives us a great opportunity to drive our vision for the market forward.” The Women’s Radio Network was previously available only as an online stream: The WWWE affiliation represents the company’s first experience in delivering content on an over-the-air broadcast facility. Hapeville, Georgia-licensed Class D WWWE has not appeared in a monthly Atlanta Nielsen Audio PPM ratings report in recent memory.

nyfest smallEntries Being Accepted for “World’s Best Radio Programs.” Several new categories have been added to the 30-plus-year-old international competition, including “Best Innovation,” “Best Journalist,” and “Best Music Program Host.”  New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards executive director Rose Anderson remarks, “Our categories for ‘Sound Art’ and ‘Best Innovation’ recognize the limitless advances of creativity.  Our ‘Best Journalist,’ and ‘Best Music Program Host’ categories honor the artistry and dedication of the individuals at the mic.”  Advisory board grand jury member/Geller Media president Valerie Geller works with broadcasters in 35 countries “to become more powerful storytellers and communicators.”  Geller comments, “Stories are how we track our lives, learn about others, and develop empathy and understanding of the world.  At its best, broadcasting informs, entertains, inspires, and persuades. Most importantly, it connects people to one another through our stories.  It is satisfying on every level to have the opportunity and honor to hear the amazing work that news, documentary and program teams throughout the world are producing/creating.”  NYFIRPA entries are received from radio stations, networks, and independent producers.  Among the 2014 winners were the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“Broadcaster of the Year”) and TBI Media UK (“Production Company of the Year”). Deadline for entering the competition is a little more than two months away (3/19); the awards ceremony will take place Monday, June 22 at New York City’s Manhattan Penthouse.

cadeauxavierpaulCreative Talent Inc. Signs Xavier Paul Cadeau.  The voice of the Brooklyn Nets – Xavier Paul Cadeau – signs with talent agency Creative Talent Inc.  The firm, founded and led by radio pro Steve Gallagher, announces the inking of the actor, comedian and voice-over artist to a management contract encompassing broadcast on-air hosting, live sporting events announcing and corporate and industrial hosting and voiceovers.  Cadeau will be appearing on the upcoming HBO television series, “Crime.”  Gallagher says, “You’ve heard his promo voice on HBO Sports, narrating on the History Channel‘s ‘UFO Files’, ‘Planet of the Apes’ week on SyFy and he’s been multiple characters on the ‘Grand Theft Auto’ video game series.  Xavier Paul is an incredible talent.”

lowysloanewendyTalk Host Wendy Lowy Sloane Celebrates Radio Show’s Fifth Anniversary.  The nationally syndicated “What’s Up with Wendy” radio show – hosted by Wendy Lowy Sloane – prepares to celebrate its fifth anniversary tomorrow (1/9).  The BizTalkRadio program is based at WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and “showcases interviews with the biggest names in television, movies, music, comedy, fashion, literature, and sports, in addition to self-help segments.”  Celebrity guests who will help Lowy Sloane recognize the anniversary include “Parenthood” actress Monica Potter, “Awkward” star Greer Grammer, and Michael Dinan, owner and editor of NewCanaanite.com.  The program airs from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon on Fridays on WGCH and nationally on BizTalkRadio Fridays at 7:00 pm ET.

harrisonCCraneradio15C. Crane Catalogue for 2015 Chock Full of Interesting “Radio” Units.  As the role of the AM/FM “airwaves” appliance (commonly referred to as a “radio”) continues to struggle for a place of prominence within contemporary 21st century digital society, the remaining manufacturers and distributors of traditional radios – and still out there aggressively marketing them — play a very important role in the fabric of the broadcasting industry and hold a largely untapped key to its longevity.  That being stated, the TALKERS editorial board continues to pore through the annual catalogue of products released by Fortuna, California-based C. Crane, an independent provider of radios who champions the concept of using the airwaves as a ground for mass communications.  As C. Crane president Bob Crane puts it:  “The freedom of radio listening is truly magical with its huge educational and entertainment benefits.”  Crane continues, “Traditional radio and cell phones are dependent on radio waves.  The invisible waves deliver mobility without a connection to wires.  Radios will be here forever because they are devoted to the act of listening.”  Crane sums it up: “When we started this company over 30 years ago, radio waves were broadcast over the air.  For the most part, no matter what you listen with, they still are.  Receiving radio waves better is what we specialize in.  We are here to build the best radios we can to serve [our customers] now and in the future.”  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (pictured here) adds, “Ever since someone asked the audience of radio professionals at one of our recent New York Seminars, “How many of you have a small AM/FM radio in your possession at this moment and the only one who raised his hand out of several hundred in the room was Art Vuolo, I resolved that as long as I am in the business of serving the radio industry, I will always have a simple AM/FM unit nearby – like my keys, cell phone and wallet… if for nothing more than just principle.”   One of the C. Crane units in Catalogue 2015 that Harrison has been carrying around lately is a neat little 5.5 ounce device dubbed the “CC SKYWAVE.”  It is a travel pocket radio that features intuitively easy on/off AM, FM, Shortwave, Weather and Aviation bands (you can listen to pilot/control tower conversations to amuse or inform yourself while waiting for a plane) that retails for $89.95.  For more information about C.Crane visit www.ccrane.com.

Charlie Hebdo Massacre, New GOP Controlled Congress, Bitter Cold Across U.S, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Sinking Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7).  The murder of 12 at the Paris satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo presumably by Islamic radicals and the world’s reaction; the agenda of the new GOP-controlled Congress and reports of John Boehner’s revenge on those who voted against him for House Speaker; the extreme cold hitting much of the U.S.; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the sinking oil prices, euro concerns and the effects on the world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

| April 16, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150By Popular Demand, “Talkers New York 2014” is Bringing Back the Talk Rumble!  After several years on hiatus, the legendary (and original) “Talk Rumble” will return to the annual TALKERS conference at Talkers New York 2014.  The session features a large group of local and national talk show hosts – representing a variety of ideologies, genders and ethnicities — in a fast-paced, smokin’ debate of the hottest issues of the day.  It is moderated by an individual sworn to uphold the principles of political non-partisanship and philosophical even-handedness.  This year’s choice to serve in that capacity is WPIX-TV Channel 11, New York commentator (and TalkersRadio host) Lionel.  Rumblers include (in alphabetical order):  Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio, Mike Gallagher of Salem Radio Network, Thom Hartmann of WYD Media, Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami, Kevin McCullough of XtreMEDIA, Lincoln Ware of WDBZ, Cincinnati, and David Webb of Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.    Talkers New York 2014 will take place on Friday, June 20 at the India House Club located at One Hanover Square in the heart of New York City’s financial district.  More than 60 speakers will be participating in this year’s 17th annual installment of the talk radio industry’s longest-running and most important convention.  The event is always an early sellout and only open to communications industry professionals working in or closely associated with talk media.  Registrations ($249 per person) are only taken with credit card by phone.  Call 413-565-5413.

justicejonJournal’s KQTH, Tucson Re-Brands; Shifts Jon Justice to Late Mornings.  Leaving the station brand “The Truth” behind, Journal Broadcast Group news/talk KQTH, Tucson is making a few adjustments to its air schedule as well.  As per John Schuster’s piece in Tucson Weekly, the station is taking the slogan “104.1 KQTH, Tucson’s News and Talk.”  Jon Justice, who’s been heard in morning drive since the station debuted on the FM dial seven years ago, is moving to the 8:30 am to 12:00 noon slot where he’ll compete with Rush Limbaugh, heard on Clear Channel’s KNST from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.  Taking over the morning show on KQTH is program director Bill White, who will host a news wheel show.

ramseyRaleighDave Ramsey Presents Live in Raleigh.  Nationally syndicated talk superstar Dave Ramsey was in Raleigh on tax day presenting his “Legacy Journey LIVE!” event to a sold-out crowd at the Durham Performing Arts Center.  Ramsey’s presentation focuses on how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined him on stage.  Ramsey worked with Clear Channel affiliate WTKK “106.1 FM” to promote his appearance.  WTKK program director Brian Taylor comments, “When Dave comes to town it’s a reminder that our format is not inherently niche.  Build it and they will come.  Listeners turn out for Dave.  Identifying issues and concerns is one thing — it’s quite another to offer practical and actionable solutions we can all accomplish.  At WTKK Raleigh, all three numbers are solid: Ratings, revenue and attendance.”  Pictured here are (from left to right): Cruze, Clear Channel Raleigh market manager George Allen, Ramsey, program director Brian Taylor and general sales manager Dave Beecher.

krxa logoKRXA, Carmel Valley Signs Consent Decree in Sponsor ID and Indecency Case; to Pay $15,000.  Progressive talk radio outlet KRXA, Carmel Valley, California is owned by Harold S. Ginsberg and is currently in negotiations to be sold to El Sembrador Ministries (which has filed a contingent application to convert it to a non-commercial station).  The Consent Decree which will have Ginsberg pay $15,000 revolves around a brokered show that aired in 2009 that the FCC ruled was not properly identified as a sponsored program.  Also, the Commission ruled that the same program violated indecency regulations.  Though Ginsberg initially argued against both allegations, he reversed course and, due to financial hardship, is paying the fine and exiting the broadcasting business.

millerhannityWelcoming Sean to Boise.  KIDO, Boise morning drive personality Kevin Miller (right) poses for a photo with Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity (left) at the recent 2014 Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia.  Both Miller and Hannity worked at WVNN, Huntsville early in their careers and now are both part of the lineup at Townsquare Media’s KIDO, Boise as Sean Hannity’s program is heard there in afternoon drive.  Miller tells TALKERS, “Sean has always been great to me since our days at WVNN.  It was a pleasure to welcome him to KIDO.”

mccollummaryMcCollum Promoted at Idaho Media Group.  Local sales manager Mary McCollum is promoted to director of regional and national sales at IdaVend Broadcasting, Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc.  McCollum began her career in media as a marketing manager for Ubiquitel (Sprint Wireless), in 2000.   She moved to neighboring Clarkston, Washington in 2009, taking a position in Lewiston as sales manager at Pacific Empire Radio Corporation.  In 2011, McCollum moved to nationally recognized IdaVend Broadcasting as the sales manager for Inland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL, Inc. in Moscow.  In addition to national and regional sales, McCollum also specializes in political advertising and sponsorship promotions.

Tax Day, ObamaCare Criticism, Boston Marathon Bombing Anniversary, Russian Ukraine Aggression/Obama-Putin Talks, and Harry Reid and Nevada ‘Cattle Battle’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/15).  The deadline for filing federal and state tax returns and the increased tax rates many Americans are facing; the anniversary of the deadly bombings at the Boston Marathon; the ongoing tensions in Ukraine as pro-Russian factions press for return to Russian rule and President Obama’s talks with Vladimir Putin; Harry Reid’s involvement in the controversy between a Nevada rancher and the Bureau of Land Management were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

| August 22, 2013

cclogoSeven AEs Sue Clear Channel Claiming Civil Rights Violations.  In a suit filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana by seven current and former AEs working at Clear Channel’s New Orleans stations, the group charges that after the economic downturn of 2008, accounts were redistributed at a meeting in Gonzales, Louisiana in February of 2009 in such a way that helped ease the financial hit Caucasian AEs were taking through the redistribution.  The complaint alleges many of the redistributed accounts had been built up by African American AEs.  The complaint – filed jointly by Wil Watson, Gary Watson, Prixie Montgomery, Ave Gaines, Darnetta Mahaffy-Nelson, Dinah Campbell, and Brandin Campbell – details salaries before and after the redistribution and concludes, “As a result of the redistribution of accounts, whether intentional or negligent, African-American account executives were disparately, and negatively, impacted, to their severe economic detriment as compared to their Caucasian counterparts…Overall, African-American account executives lost on average more than 40% of their 2008 income in 2008-9.  On information and belief Caucasian account executives lost no more that about 15% of their 2008 income, on average, during the same period of time.”  Three of the seven were fired, they allege, after complaining about the practices.  The seven seek relief, punitive damages, general damages, attorneys’ fees and statutory remedies.

weei logoIt’s Official: Kevin Graham Named Brand Manager at WEEI, Boston.  As rumored late last week, sports talk programmer and personality Kevin Graham is leaving his PD and co-host role at Cumulus Media’s KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” to become brand manager at Entercom’s WEEI.  According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the architects of KFNZ as the station was built in 1996.  He’s worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets.  In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the “Gunther & Graham” PM drive show with Kyle Gunther.  Graham has extensive experience in the digital sports arena assisting in building grahamkevinArizonaSports.com in Phoenix and as the founder/editor of SportsMashup.com.  He’ll begin work at WEEI in September, taking over for longtime programmer Jason Wolfe.  Entercom Boston GM Jeff Brown states, “WEEI is more than a radio station; it is an entire sports ecosystem.  From our on-air talent to Red Sox play-by-play to WEEI.com, where we had 1.4 million unique visitors just last month, WEEI is a more complete sports brand than ever before.  We are thrilled to announce today that Kevin Graham will lead WEEI as our new brand manager.  His background both in front of and behind the mic, along with his years of digital sports experience made him the best choice to lead WEEI.  Kevin will bring a fresh perspective to the entire WEEI team and our complete package of digital sports assets.”  Speaking about his new gig, Graham comments, “I am honored and excited to join the WEEI team.  WEEI is one of the most recognizable and powerful sports radio brands in the country.  With great resources, amazing talent, and one of the best digital brands in sports, the sky is the limit.  I can’t wait to get started, especially with the Red Sox in the midst of such a great season.”

TalkersLA2013“The State of News/Talk/Sports Programming” Panel Set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  A diverse and powerful panel of front-line programmers has been set for Talkers Los Angeles 2013 that will explore the major issues of programming within the present-day news/talk/sports realm.  Participating panelists include (in alphabetical order): Robin Bertolucci, PD, KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, director of news programming, KNX/KFWB, Los Angeles; Don Martin, senior VP sports programming, Fox Sports Radio/Clear Channel Media & Entertainment; Chuck Tyler, PD, KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles; and Bill White, PD, KQTH-FM/KFFN-AM/FM, Tucson.  The panel will be moderated by TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey who states, “This will be a fast-moving discussion that will really capture the flavor of today’s talk radio programming scene and do so with a solid Western states perspective – which makes this California edition of our two-part national conference so valuable.  It will present a diverse array of formats including news/talk, all-news, and sports talk, as well as company types ranging in size and varied styles of corporate culture.”  This third annual installment of TALKERS magazine’s West Coast convention is set for Thursday, October 10 and is already shaping up to be a blockbuster.  The gathering is closing in on being an advance sellout some six weeks before the event so it is advisable for media professionals interested in attending to register now.  It is again being presented in association with the Los Angeles Press Club and held at the historic Steve Allen Theater on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. Registrations – $149 per person – can only be taken over the phone.  For sponsorship information or to register, call 413-565-5413.  More agenda details coming in the immediate days ahead.

wctc logoNew Jersey’s WCTC, New Brunswick Makes Big Local Moves.  Saying “there is a thirst for local content in this market,” WCTC, New Brunswick “The Voice of Central New Jersey” PD Bert Baron announces that the longtime news/talk station will debut a new and completely revamped on-air lineup starting Monday, August 26.  The Greater Media-owned station is making mass changes to its weekday programming, moving Baron from his two-hourbaronbert afternoon slot to morning drive, where he will host “Jersey Central with Bert Baron” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am.  Baron says his show will include “everything you need to know in New Jersey – news, sports, events, entertainment, politics, lifestyle, traffic and weather.”  Following Baron will be the Courtside Entertainment-syndicated Laura Ingraham, who moves up one hour from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm.  From 12:00 pm to 3:00 pm, WCTC will carry “The Tommy G Show,” the first time a terrestrial radio station will simulcast a daily internet radio show in New Jersey.  “Tommy G is very unique and brings a Jersey angle to what is happening here.  He’s a radio name with a great presence in the market.  He gets Jersey,” says Baron.  Tommy G, who was also named to this year’s TALKERS magazine Frontier 50 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters – tommygtells TALKERS his show is “all about New Jersey and what Jerseyans are talking about,” and says his show could change the face of local talk radio.  “I’m introducing ‘syndi-local’ to talk radio and consulting others on the process, showing thatingrahamlaura companies can save money while talent can build their own business and brands.  It’s a win-win,” says Tommy G, who will be joined on Mondays by the New York Times best-selling author of “The Soprano State,” Bob Ingle.  Following Tommy G and replacing the syndicated Mancow is another new show hosted by longtime New York metro area talent Steve Malzberg.  Malzberg’s show is syndicated by Newsmax, and will be carried live from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Says Baron, “Steve is a name in the area,” and despite being a national show, it’s expected Malzberg will discuss “a fair amount of local and regional news and topics.”  From 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm, WCTC, which is the flagship malzbergstevestation for Rutgers University sports, debuts “BTN Live,” a sports talk show about the Big Ten, the NCAA conference Rutgers begins competing in this fall.  Baron, who along with Tommy G, is well known for his community involvement, says he believes the changes are not only necessary but that stations must embrace how local content will make them stronger.  “We will be much more local in our approach to serving our listeners – from our shows to remote (broadcasts) and our community involvement.  For us it will be cost effective.  We will make noise in the radio landscape.”

feinburgtoddTodd Feinburg Subs in Boston and Louisville.  Boston-based talk show host Todd Feinburg is filling in for WBZ-AM, Boston’s Dan Rea on the evening program tonight and tomorrow (8-22/23).  Next week he’ll be heard 829 miles away on Clear Channel’s WHAS, Louisville sitting in hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on both Thursday and Friday, August 29 and 30.  The multi-faceted Feinburg spent many years working full time at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston.

wiplogoWIP-FM, Philadelphia Announces Howie Roseman Show.  CBS Radio sports talk outlet “SportsRadio 94 WIP” is announcing Philadelphia Eagles general manager Howie Roseman will make weekly appearances on the afternoon drive show with Anthony Gargano – accompanied by Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese – every Monday from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm live at Chickie’s and Pete’s in South Philadelphia.  The station states, “In addition to discussing each week’s game with Gargano and Reese, Roseman will take calls and talk with fans on site at Chickie’s and Pete’s.  The show is the first of its kind.  It is the only live weekly interactive radio show with an NFL general manager.  The show, sponsored by Miller Lite, can be heard live on 94WIP, online at www.cbsphilly.com and via the Radio.com application for a variety of mobile devices.  The show will debut on Tuesday, September 3 due to the Labor Day holiday and be heard on Tuesday, September 10 due to the Eagles-Redskins Monday Night Football debut on September 9.  From 5:30 pm to 6:00 pm a leading Eagles player will join the show each week.

mohrtysonHangin’ with Mike Tyson.  Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr (l) poses for a shot with former boxer Mike Tyson (r) in the Fox Sports Radio studios in Los Angeles.  Tyson visited Mohr’s program to talk about his life after boxing, being a dad and much more.  They also chatted about a recent run-in at a frozen yogurt shop, as well as Tyson’s upcoming FOX Sports 1 cable TV show, “Being Mike Tyson.”

losttrailersCountry Act The Lost Trailers Cuts Custom Theme Music for Dial Global’s “Sunday Night Football.”  The theme music to Dial Global’s “Sunday Night Footbal” this season is a tweaked version of The Lost Trailers’ single “It’s Goin’ Down Tonight” that features football highlights, sound bites and customized lyrics.  The company announces, “The new theme music, performed by The Lost Trailers and powered by Early Shares Music, will debut during the first regular season NFL broadcast on Thursday, September 5 which kicks off at 8:00 p.m. ET.  The highly anticipated season opener between the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens and the Denver Broncos will feature Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason behind the microphones.”  The band’s founding member Stokes Nielson states, “We are truly excited to be a part of the NFL broadcasts on Dial Global.  We are huge sports fans and we can’t wait to help the announcers kick off every Sunday night game, because it’s goin’ down tonight, every Sunday night, all over America!”   The band previously collaborated with Dial Global Sports, customizing their top 10 single “Holler Back” for the network’s opening montage in Super Bowl XLIII.

Bradley Manning Verdict/Gender Issues, OK Thrill Kill Case, Averted Georgia School Shooting, NSA Surveillance Program, U.S.-Egypt Tensions, Syria Chemical Weapons Allegations and ObamaCare Implementation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/21).  The 35-year sentence handed to Bradley Manning and his desire to begin gender change procedures; the case of three Oklahoma teens suspected of slaying Australian college baseball player Christopher Lane; a Georgia School staffer talks an armed man out of firing and averts a tragedy; the scope of the NSA surveillance program; the U.S. policy regarding Egypt; allegations Syria is using chemical weapons against citizens; and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

| June 5, 2013

cumulusCumulus Names New Market Manager, Sales Chief for San Francisco.  Cumulus Media announces Steve Sklenar has been appointed market manager for the company’s San Francisco stations and Kevin Crespo has simultaneously been installed as national and regional sales manager for the cluster.  Sklenar comes to Cumulus Media from his most recent post as assistant vice president and director of sales at Lincoln Financial Media’s San Diego stations.  Sklenar says in a statement, “To be tapped as the leader of Cumulus San Francisco is both exciting and humbling.  This is without question one of the most coveted positions in all of broadcasting, not just radio.  The history and prestige of these stations in the San Francisco community comes with great responsibility.  We will not take that lightly.”  Sklenar is in charge of talk KSFO, news/talk KGO, sports talk KNBR and KTCT, triple A KFOG and KFFG and classic rock KSAN “The Bone.”  Cumulus EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch says, “Steve and Kevin are well-suited to take leadership and sales development roles at this legendary cluster of stations.  They will round out a solid team that’s contributing significantly to our growth in San Francisco.  After meeting with numerous qualified candidates, John Dickey and I are confident that these two gentlemen will have immediate positive impact on our business moving forward.”

moodys logoMoody’s Cumulus’ Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating to SGL — 2 from SGL – 3.  Moody’s Investors Service announces it has upped Cumulus Media’s Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating from SGL – 2 to SGL – 3 “reflecting improved access to the senior secured revolver due to the recent amendment of the 1st lien credit agreement. The amendment reduces the revolver commitment to $150 million from $300 million, but replaces the total net leverage test with a 1st lien net leverage requirement enabling full access to the cumulusrevolver.”  Moody’s says the B2 Corporate Family Rating remains unchanged and explains why: “Leverage remains elevated due to revenue and EBITDA falling below expected levels for the six months ended March 31, 2013 which prompted the downgrade in the corporate family rating earlier this year. Management indicated that pro forma revenues decreased $5.6 million or 2.5% in 1Q2013 compared to 1Q2012 reflecting lower political revenue, the winding down of unfavorable legacy Citadel barter transactions, and challenges related to its syndicated talk segment.”  However, Moody’s cites the turnarounds of a number of Cumulus’ “10 underperforming stations” for the upgrade and goes on to state, “Looking forward, revenue growth is expected to be flat in 2013 due in part to the absence of significant political advertising.  Moody’s expects Cumulus to generate roughly $175 million of annual free cash flow versus our prior estimate of $200 million to reflect management’s comments that it expects to invest roughly $25 million annually in CBS Sports Radio, Nash FM and related country format branding, its Traffic network, as well as SweetJack.”

steinhauercharlesCharles Steinhauer Ascends to Chief Operations Officer at Dial Global.  Moving up from his most recent position as president of operations with Dial Global, Charles Steinhauer is promoted to chief operations officer.  The company states that in this new position, Steinhauer will be responsible for overseeing the management of the company’s day-to-day operations — including technology, distribution, research, compliance, and strategy.  He will continue to be located in New York City and will report directly to CEO Paul Caine.  In his previous post, he managed all sales support divisions for Dial Global.  The company also notes that Steinhauer “is one of the leads on an industry-wide research initiative working to improve how radio is incorporated into Marketing Mix Models, which are widely used by advertisers to evaluate how product sales are influenced by advertising.”  About his promotion, Steinhauer says, “I’m very excited to be working with Paul Caine and to continue to move the company forward with all of the Dial Global family.  I look forward to working even more closely with our staff and our outstanding content and distribution partners to create optimum value for our audiences and advertisers.  I couldn’t be more fortunate.”

nms2013logoTora Fisher to Perform at Talkers New York 2013.  At the tender age of 23, she is both a rising pop star and a humanitarian.  Tora Fisher of the Fisher family that spearheads Fisher House Foundation – the charitable organization that provides housing around the country for the visiting families of hospitalized American servicemen and women wounded in battle – will be appearing at Talkers New York 2013 tomorrowtora (6/6).  The young singer/songwriter, whose heartfelt song “Finally Free” currently sits at number 29 and number 21 on the RadioInfo pop songs and rock songs charts respectively, will open the event’s Freedom of Speech Award Ceremony with an a cappela performance of the Lee Greenwood anthem “Proud to Be an American.”  Ms. Fisher, who is a spokesperson for Fisher House, will be backed up in the performance by two female cadets from West Point, Mary Kay Messenger and Alexis Cole.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Even though this annual event is geared to talk radio, we have a tradition of presenting some of the world’s greatest up-and-coming singers performing inspirational music at key moments in the proceedings.  Having Tora Fisher perform this powerful song at Talkers New York 2013 is extremely meaningful and certainly in keeping with this tradition.  Not only is this beautiful young woman one of the most talented female singer/songwriters I have heard since the golden days of the great ones like Joni Mitchell and Laura Nyro – she has a powerful personal story of courage and will that is both touching and compelling.  As a child of 13, she survived a terrible plane crash that took the life of her father and set her on the road to becoming mature beyond her years and a powerful artist of both words and music.  Add to that her dedication to the families of America’s brave young service people and…well, you have a very, very special young lady indeed.  Everyone who sees her perform at this event will be touched and certainly remember where they first heard and saw Tora!”

trn logoTRN Sues Former Attorney in Anti-Trust Case.  Talk Radio Network has filed suit in Oregon against California attorney Joseph Alioto alleging that he did not move with the speed promised and in a time frame that would prevent TRN from suffering further damages in its anti-trust suit against numerous sales rep firms and radio programming syndicators.  TRN is seeking more than $10 million in damages and relief.  In the claim, TRN alleges that after making a $125,000 retainer payment, Alioto repeatedly failed to file the complaint in a timely fashion and when Alioto decided to withdraw from the matter, he caused TRN further losses due to the time that had passed.  TRN claims Alioto did not have good cause to withdraw from the matter.  Allegations include fraud and legal malpractice.

whitebillProgrammer Bill White Exits WGN, Chicago.  One of the first moves on the part of WGN, Chicago’s new president and general manager Jimmy de Castro is to make a change in program directors for the heritage news/talk station.  Talk programming pro Bill White leaves the station after two years in the director of programming and news position.  White states, “Having the opportunity to work with such a tremendous team at one of America’s legendary radio stations has been a privilege and an honor.  I wish the staff and WGN Radio much success in the future.”  Bill White can be reached at wwhite989@aol.com.  In a memo to staffers, de Castro wrote, “Sometimes managers have to make difficult decisions on behalf of a few to build a brighter future for many.  Today, we are losing the services of a friend and delightful professional, Bill White.  Please join me in wishing him the best in his future endeavors.”  There’s no word who will replace White but industry watchers believe de Castro will go with someone who either currently works in the Chicago market or is very familiar with it.

newsmax logoNewsmax Reports #1 Online Reading Status.  Conservative media firm Newsmax announces that according to digital measurement firm comScore, during April, of the 65 million Americans using all digital platforms, Newsmax sites led all other sites in web traffic with over 14 million monthly unique visitors.  comScore notes that Newsmax exceeded such competitors as HuffPost Politics and Fox News Politics with these recent April numbers.  Newsmax also was #1 in the same category for personal computer users who read News/Politics online.  According to comScore, Newsmax received 14.4 million monthly unique visitors in April — up from 13.3 million the previous month.  HuffPost received 14 million monthly unique visitors from the News/Politics category and Fox News received 10.9 million monthly unique visitors in April, respectively.  comScore’s top 10 breaks down this way:  Newsmax Sites – 14.4 million monthly unique visitors; Huffington Post Politics – 14 million; Fox News – 10. 9 million; CNN Politics — 9 million; NBC News.com Politics — 7.5 million; Politico.com — 6.5 million; Current TV — 6.3 million; The Economist Group — 3.7 million; The Hill.com — 3.2 million; and Mother Jones.com — 2.9 million monthly unique visitors.  Speaking about Newsmax’s achievement, CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “We are once again honored to be the number one digital political news site for the second month in a row.  It is a testament to quality of our digital content that consumers online, on smartphones and on tablets continue to look to Newsmax for the latest political news.”

fccnewFCC Has New Acting Chief of Enforcement Bureau.  The Federal Communications Commission announces that FCC acting chairwoman Mignon L. Clyburn has appointed Robert H. Ratcliffe to the position of acting chief of the commission’s enforcement bureau.  Currently, Ratcliffe is the deputy chief of the media bureau.  The position opens as P. Michele Ellison moves to the chief of staff post.  Ratcliffe is a longtime staffer at the FCC having spent more than 35 years at the agency including as acting chief of the media bureau and as deputy chief of the enforcement bureau.  In a statement, Clyburn says, “I am pleased that Mr. Ratcliffe has agreed to serve in this critical role.  Bob is a top-flight lawyer who will bring his vast experience, sound legal judgment, and overall sense of fairness to this effort.”

Sexual Assaults in U.S. Military, Looming MLB PEDs Suspensions, Lung Transplant Controversy, Susan Rice National Security Adviser Nomination, and IRS Targeting of Conservative Groups Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/4).  Testimony of military chiefs addressing the high rate of sexual assaults in the U.S. military and Senator Saxby Chambliss’ associated comments; the reports of numerous suspensions coming from Major League Baseball for PED violations; the controversy over a 10-year-old girl’s need for a lung transplant and the government’s transplant program; Susan Rice’s nomination for national security adviser; and the IRS’ targeting of conservative non-profit groups were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.