By Holland Cooke
LAS VEGAS — April? Here? I’d come to Vegas just to shake off the relentless winter that brutalized us back home in New England. But there’s zero pool time with THREE conventions underway: one about broadcasting, one about podcasting, one about streaming. That one was yesterday, and funsters surrounding me had already set the stage.
While big radio’s chess kings are swapping stations over at the gaudy Wynn, your frugal consultant is surrounded by Corona-tall-toters at The Flamingo, a working class oasis where every…single…one of the people Sean Hannity calls “great Americans” is also toting an iPhone. Whether it’s live or on-demand, your work needs to be on that thing.
LAS VEGAS — Historically, broadcasters and podcasters have been dismissive of each other. If you make your living talking on transmitters you might regard webcasters as a shadow medium, minor league hobbyists talking topics of insufficient appeal to warrant AM/FM distribution.
Conversely, some internet self-publishers regard AM radio’s snap-crackle-pop and any transmitter’s geographical and audio-only limitations – and radio’s homogenized programming – as old school (though they sure do envy broadcasters’ advertising sales).
That thing-in-your-pocket-we-used-to-call-a-phone is the hardware; and the burgeoning, enthused community that populates this particular convention is the software. As continuously as that hardware evolves, so does the software, and this event. A dozen years ago, in hard-copy TALKERS magazine, I reported from “The Podcast and Portable Media Expo,” then the “Blogworld” it morphed into before re-branding as “New Media Expo” (“NMX”).
Iconic Talk Show Host Bob Grant Dead at 84. Just months after retiring from his weekend talk show at WABC, New York, Bob Grant passed away on New Year’s Eve after what’s being described as a brief illness. Grant began his talk radio career at KABC in Los Angeles in the mid-1960s but rose to fame when he came to New York and began a regular talk show at WMCA in 1970. Grant’s career saw him move around the New York radio dial; he worked at WABC and WOR and – for a time – WWDB-FM, Philadelphia. He is regularly cited by today’s conservative talk radio practitioners as the man who pioneered the opinionated, call-it-as-you-see-it style of issues-oriented talk radio upon which the modern era of the format was built. Read more about his legendary career here.
Curtis & Kuby Return to WABC, New York. Cumulus Media names Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby midday talk hosts at WABC, New York – returning one of the most popular local talk teams to the station where they first worked together more than 13 years ago. The Curtis & Kuby show aired on WABC from 2000 to 2007 pairing the conservative Sliwa with the ultra-liberal Kuby for a show that was very successful. Cumulus COO John Dickey says in a statement, “We’re delivering on our pledge to invest in localized content that will entertain, inform and engage listeners while also providing advertisers unique opportunities to reach their customers on a sustained basis. Sliwa adds, “Ever since I left 77 WABC, everywhere I go people have asked me if and when I would ever reunite with Ron Kuby, because that was a great show! At a time when New Yorkers are starved for information and entertainment, I’m thrilled that we’ll be able to offer it to them on the greatest news/talk station this country has ever seen.” And Kuby comments, “I am thrilled to be back at legendary 77 WABC radio with the Curtis & Kuby show — it is a new day for New York City and a new afternoon for New York radio!” Sliwa has most recently been hosting both morning and afternoon shows at Salem’s crosstown WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.” In addition to the Curtis & Kuby show, Cumulus is adding a local hour from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm hosted by NY1 TV anchor Pat Kiernan. Kiernan states, “My first broadcasting job was in radio so this is a natural way for me to extend my connection with New Yorkers. I see this as a great way for listeners to reconnect after the workday. We’re going to hit the big local stories, but we also want to plug into the conversation of the day. That can include anything from pop culture to sports to the hot topic on Twitter.” These moves come as the station transitions the late morning Geraldo Rivera show to local content and adds the Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated Michael Savage for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm slot.
WABC, New York Names Craig Schwalb PD; Tony Mascaro Takes WPRO, Providence Programming Post. Along with the programming changes announced above, Cumulus Media announces Craig Schwalb is being promoted to program director of WABC, New York from the company’s WPRO, Providence. At the same time, Tony Mascaro moves from his operations manager post at WABC to program director of WPRO and sister business news outlet WPRV. The company states that Schwalb has nearly two decades of news, talk and sports programming experience with roles held in markets including New York City, Detroit, St. Louis and Raleigh. Prior to joining Cumulus, Schwalb was the senior director of talk programming for SiriusXM. Schwalb says, “WABC has inspired countless broadcasters over the years and to now lead WABC into its next phase will be an absolute pleasure. Without a doubt, working alongside Cumulus NYC market manager Kim Bryant, COO John Dickey, SVP programming Mike McVay and corporate program director Randall Bloomquist, will be an honor.” Speaking about his return to Providence, Mascaro comments, “I am thrilled to be returning to Providence where it all started for me. WPRO-AM is a legendary radio station with an amazing line-up of talent. I wish everyone at WABC continued success for the future. Thanks to John Dickey, Mike McVay, Randall Bloomquist and Providence market manager Barbara Haynes for this opportunity to program a heritage radio station in a great radio market.”
Sean Hannity to Air Live on KVI, Seattle. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated superstar Sean Hannity returns to Seattle’s “Talk Radio 570” KVI today airing live in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. This marks a reunion with the station on which his show debuted in 2001. Program director Paul Duckworth states, “We’re thrilled to bring Sean back to KVI. Listeners deserve to hear Sean’s program live and get the most up-to-the-minute news, information and analysis.” Hannity adds, “From the very first day I went on the air and that red light went on, I have been in love with radio. I’m thrilled, excited, ecstatic, exuberant to be back on America’s original conservative talk station, ‘Talk Radio 570 KVI.’” In addition, “The Hannity Encore” will air on the station Sundays from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
WIND, Chicago Expands Morning Show; Adds Sean Hannity. Salem Communications-owned news/talk WIND, Chicago announces the expansion of the morning drive show co-hosted by Big John Howell and Amy Jacobson plus the addition of Premiere’s Sean Hannity show to the lineup. Beginning Monday, January 6, Bill Bennett‘s “Morning in America” returns live to the station for the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour. Howell and Jacobson will air in the expanded 6:00 am to 11:00 am slot. Westwood One’s Dennis Miller remains in the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot but now airs live. Sean Hannity also airs live from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm. WIND general manager Jeff Reisman comments, “Sean Hannity is an ideal fit on ‘AM 560 The Answer.’ Sean is one of the premier news/talk personalities and his style will fit nicely with our outstanding lineup of local and national hosts.”
WGN, Chicago Gives David Kaplan New Contract. Talk host and reporter David Kaplan inks a new, multi-year contract with Tribune’s WGN, Chicago. Kaplan hosts the eponymous nightly sports talk show that airs from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm and serves as afternoon drive sports reporter as well as host of the Cubs and Blackhawks Confidential programs. Kaplan comments, “It’s a thrill to continue my career at WGN Radio where I have spent the last 18-plus years. I’m thankful to work for the best mind in radio, Jimmy de Castro, and I’m blessed to be able to talk sports in my hometown of Chicago on the best radio station in America.” De Castro adds, “We are driven to deliver live and local programming to our listeners. Kap has his finger on the pulse of Chicago sports and we’re excited for him to be a part of our multi-dimensional future.”
Marc James Goes Solo at “The Fan” in Charlotte. CBS RADIO announces WFNZ, Charlotte “Sports Radio 610 The Fan” afternoon drive personality Marc James begins hosting the afternoon drive slot on the station solo as former co-host Taylor Zarzour leaves the show to host “Bleacher Report Radio” on SiriusXM‘s sports zone channel. James and Zarzour had been co-hosting “The Drive” since they were paired up in 2011. The station says Zarzour will continue to remain a part of the WFNZ family by calling into the show with Marc weekly. Zarzour says, “I’ll be forever grateful for the opportunity that OM DJ Stout and market manager Bill Schoening gave me at WFNZ. I am extremely proud of the success that we had in my three years on the show and have no doubt Marc and the crew will continue to grow the audience. I am excited about my next opportunity but will continue to be a part of the WFNZ family.” The show’s other cast members include The Q.C.B., Hitman, and Jayweezie. Stout says, “Although it is bittersweet to see Taylor go, he has done a great job for us and we will miss his talent and professionalism. We’re excited for Marc to take on this opportunity. He is a top notch talent and we look forward to him taking The Drive to the next level.” James comments, “Taylor Zarzour is probably the hardest working person in sports talk radio. He made me a better host, but more importantly a better man. I look forward to taking ‘Sports Radio 610 WFNZ the Fan’ to unparalleled heights in the future. Charlotte is hands down one of the best sports towns in America and we will continue to make Charlotte proud to call WFNZ THE best sports talk station in the city.”
The Miracle of “A Christmas Story.” Ever the radio historian, noted media consultant Walter Sabo reminds us about the power of story-telling as an audience-building device. In a new column posted today (1/2) Sabo discusses the movie “A Christmas Story” which was based on the synthesis of dozens of radio monologues created and delivered by the late and legendary talker Jean Shepherd. Shepherd broadcast on WOR, New York from 1958-1975. His nightly monologues were not bedtime stories. According to Sabo, they were subversive proclamations, challenging authority wrapped in imagery of American traditions. Shepherd worked without a script, but with massive prep. Some of his shows took months to come to fruition in his imagination. He recorded every show. The importance of Shepherd’s work is that it was not on NPR or an obscure station. WOR was the number one station in audience and revenue in America through most of his reign. It was a talk station that appealed primarily to women—about 70% of the cume was female. About 70% of the hosts were women. There were many other dominant talk stations at the time that appealed primarily to women such as KMOX, WCCO, WGN and WBZ. Shepherd’s audience was young, more male. His show often presented a youngster’s perspective on the idiocy of authority, success, day-people and capitalism. He bashed advertising, radio, television and anything that was mainstream or plastic. In other words he trashed, on every level, the success of his employer: The number one radio station in America owned by General Tire and Rubber. He did that every night. There is much contemporary talk broadcasters can learn from this slice of radio history. To read Sabo’s entire piece, please click here.
Nieslen Audio December PPM Data Released. The December 2013 PPM ratings data has been released by Nielsen Audio. Numbers for all 48 PPM-rated markets have been made public and that information can be found at the site of TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo. Check out the main page for managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” here or go straight to the full ratings data here.
Coming Next Week: The 2014 International CES. Media consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke will report from next week’s 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. He teases the event asking, “How dizzying is the-pace-of-change?” Media are now asked NOT to refer to this massive, mind-boggling event as “The Consumer Electronics Show,” because whassup here has transcended hardware.
Sure, there’ll be gadgets aplenty in an exhibit hall bigger than 30 football fields, many of ‘em obsoleting whatever seemed so-cutting-edge last year. But many of the ways technology is changing our everyday lives are…invisible, “The Internet of Things.”
Yes, the Amazon drone story was a publicity stunt.
But 62% of Internet traffic is now robots.
Maybe your refrigerator isn’t (yet) auto-ordering milk; and none of us are riding driver-less cars.
Yet already, patients can enable doctors to monitor real-time vital signs.
Soon, your alarm clock could wake you earlier if the route you commute has a traffic tangle. And your thermostat will auto-adjust, based on the changing weather forecast. Traditional radio information hooks are no longer franchises. If you think I’m exaggerating, look at your iPhone.
Come along, virtually…
Look for my coverage here next week in TALKERS and RadioInfo; and follow my real-time Tweets @HollandCooke. I’ll also be reporting for the Jim Bohannon show and “America in the Morning,” and on my client stations.
And it’ll be a ‘Vegas convention two-fer. Again this year, I’ll also be covering NMX, the New Media Expo, formerly “Blogworld,” before-that “The Podcast & New Media Expo,” which, a decade ago, already drew twice-as-many attendees as radio conventions.
With media consumers now in on-demand pick-N-choose mode — and with advertising and marketing money flowing to the digital platform — these internet content creators’ work is now instructive to what TALKERS and RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison has termed broadcast stations’ “survival and ‘thrival.’”
Norm Pattiz to Keynote NMX 2014. Speaking of the New Media Expo, Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz will be among the three media execs keynoting the conference when it gets underway this weekend in Las Vegas. Speaking alongside tech expert Leo Laporte and Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok, Pattiz – Westwood One founder and CEO of Podcast One – will address the former Blogworld conference at 9:00 am on Monday, January 6. The title of the keynote address is “The Future of Podcasting.”
WMYT, Wilmington Adds Programming. Talk Media TV-owned news/talk WMYT, Wilmington, North Carolina announces program additions to is schedule beginning with its “Super Saturdays” lineup. The station says the new addition to its “Super Saturdays,” which consists of eight local shows, is “The Car Doctor with Val Boudreau.” Also, the station announces it is bringing the new “The Blaze News” regular news updates to listeners airing every 15 minutes, saying “’The Blaze News’ spots, in addition to our Fox Business News spots, will expand our national news content and coverage!” WMYT is also adding Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean to the daily schedule airing weeknights from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.
Austin Sports Talker KTXX-FM Purchased By Local Group. The Austin American-Statesman reports that longtime market media personality Bob Cole heads up an ownership group that is purchasing sports talk KTXX-FM “The Horn” and its sister AM signal KWNX from Total Austin Sports Radio for an undisclosed sum. Cole – who serves as the Texas Longhorns stadium announcer and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Texas Radio Hall of Fame – tells the paper the station will remain sports but that “We’re going to do something a little different, that fills a hole that no one else in the market is filling.” Earlier this year the group purchased country outlet KOKE where Cole hosts the morning show.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel changes the call letters of KTLK, Los Angeles to KEIB – a nod to its new centerpiece, Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh, whose Excellence in Broadcasting network moniker is often shortened to EIB. The station flipped from progressive talk to conservative talk as of today (1/2) and the station’s brand is “The Patriot.” Limbaugh moved over from sister news/talk KFI…..CBS RADIO’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94 WIP” is giving away a pair of tickets to Saturday night’s Eagles-Saints NFC Wild Card game at Lincoln Financial Field to the person “who needs them the most.” The station is telling listeners to make a banner that says “94WIP I Need Eagles Playoff Tickets,” make it big, creative and hang it where WIP can see – as long as it’s legal. On Friday afternoon, the station will send its spotters out to select the best banner and will award the tickets accordingly…..ESPN Radio returns to the Columbia, South Carolina market after a 17-month absence on L&L Broadcasting’s WOIC “ESPN Columbia 1230 AM.” WOIC flipped from news/talk on January 1 and is carrying much of the ESPN Radio lineup. It will also air local programs “The Zone” hosted by Duane “The Shot Doctor” Everett from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm and “Sports Hotline” with Bobby Gist and Ernest Robinson from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm…..The “Positive Business with Patricia Raskin” show announces the addition of new co-host Lynda Adams. “Positive Business” airs every Friday from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on business talk WPRV, Providence where it’s been heard for the past four years.
Ralph Barbieri Sues KNBR, San Francisco. Longtime San Francisco sports talk host Ralph Barbieri is suing Cumulus Media’s sports talk outlet KNBR claiming the station fired him in April based on his age and disabilities. Barbieri’s attorney tells the San Francisco Chronicle station officials told Barbieri he was being let go for coming to work late and not preparing. Barbieri had co-hosted the PM drive show with Tom Tolbert since 1996 as “The Razor and Mr. T” and attorney Angela Alioto says, “If you look at the ratings, Mr. Barbieri and Mr. Tolbert were number one or two until the day he was terminated. The fact is, before they knew he was sick, those excuses didn’t exist – and they renewed his contract.” In late 2011, Barbieri announced he’s been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and the station renewed his contract a month later. Barbieri, who is seeking $10 million in damages, went on crosstown sports talk outlet KGMZ-FM to explain the suit and said Cumulus market manager Bill Bungeroth and OM Lee Hammer expressed to him he sounded tired on the air and chastised him for having to use the restroom often because of his medications. He says he was also criticized for being late because of medical appointments. The Chronicle reports Cumulus Media has not responded to requests for comment.
Glenn Beck Merges GBTV Under “The Blaze” Banner. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio star Glenn Beck has been operating two of his pioneering digital initiatives – The Blaze website and internet video station GBTV – under separate names. Now, Beck is moving GBTV and the new Marketplace by Markdown, under The Blaze umbrella. He states in an interview with CNN, “I didn’t like the name GBTV from the very beginning for a couple of reasons; one, it’s a little egocentric, and two, it’s television, which doesn’t describe necessarily what we do.” So Beck is merging the three properties in to what he calls “a world-class multimedia network” – The Blaze. Asked about Beck’s move by the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “There are cases in which a personal name becomes a platform brand –such as Trump, Forbes and Ford – and they worked out well. But NBC wasn’t named Sarnoff, CBS wasn’t named Paley and Playboy wasn’t named Hefner. I think Beck is refining his approach to continuing his successful journey as a 21st century media pioneer.”
Dave Ramsey Jumps to News/Talk KRLD, Dallas. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey is now heard on CBS Radio’s news/talk KRLD, Dallas from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm nightly. Ramsey’s program had previously been carried by Cumulus Media’s crosstown KLIF. CBS Radio Dallas VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert, states, “We are thrilled to have Dave Ramsey join our team at Newsradio 1080 KRLD. His wisdom, knowledge and passion have garnered him many fans in North Texas and we’re proud to be the new home for his growing and successful program.”
iPad Era Creates Opportunities for News Writers. Consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from Blogworld/New York and says opportunities for writers adept at concise delivery of information are everywhere. “As iPod and iPhone have, stable mate iPad is, once again, demonstrating how facile new devices change the way we consume information/entertainment content, and how we interact.” Read more from Holland Cooke at Blogworld here.
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Darren Davis to EVP of National Programming Platforms. Darren Davis has worked his way up from programming Clear Channel’s WASH-FM, Washington to his new post as executive vice president of national programming platforms for the company. CC states Davis “will work closely with Tom Poleman (president of national programming platforms) to oversee all aspects of the division and the ongoing development and execution of Clear Channel’s national advertising and programming integrations. He will continue to manage the Programming Operations Center; the Brand Management in-house format team; and the company’s highly effective Premium Choice network.” Poleman says of Davis, “Over the past few years, Darren has been instrumental in transforming everything from our systems of communication to the way we maximize our best programming assets. His efforts continue to give Clear Channel the competitive advantage and resources to be even more relevant and effective in the evolving market place, offering our listeners, partners and advertisers, products and content that nobody else can. He has clearly earned the opportunity to grow within our company and he will continue to be an integral part of our team and our future.”
JT the Brick Featured on Las Vegas Newscast. Fox Sports Radio Network late night talk host JT the Brick was recently featured on local television station KLAS-TV, Las Vegas in a piece on the effect of social media on sports talk radio. JT broadcasts his nightly FSRN program from studios in Las Vegas. In the piece, JT explains the pros and cons of using social media – Twitter, Facebook and others – to bring content to his show and to interact with fans.
Local Combo Serves Florida Panhandle Market During Flood Emergency. Program director Paul Stadden tells TALKERS magazine ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP, Pensacola and sister country FM were on the scene keeping local residents informed when 13 inches of rain fell on Escambia County last weekend causing widespread flooding and some $150 million in damage. Stadden says, “Using the staffs of both stations, employees covered the flooded streets and reported full time from the Escambia County Emergency Operations Center until the state of emergency was lifted Monday morning.” Pictured here is WNRP news anchor Cooper Davis on the air during the marathon coverage of the disaster.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news WCBS, New York takes home three New York State Broadcasters Awards at ceremonies held last night in Bolton Landing, New York. The station won for “Outstanding Local Newscast” (Hurricane Irene), “Outstanding Feature Story” (The Sock Lady-10 Years Later) and “Outstanding Local Sporting Event” (The New York City Marathon)…..WBZ, Boston’s Joe Mathieu will host Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo on today’s monthly “WBZ NewsWatch” hour-long interview program as the Massachusetts legislature finalizes its new fiscal year budget…..Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee show will gain a major market affiliate as it joins the lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix. The program will air live in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm daypart…..Las Vegas-based syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is being honored by the UNLV Honors College with her selection as the “2012 Honors College Alumna of the Year.” The school states it is the “highest and most prestigious award given by the college and recognizes Wachs’ impact on UNLV through the significant contributions she’s made to society in your professional field and through her personal achievements.”
2012 Presidential Race, Russia Sends Warships to Syria, Rodney King Dies, George Zimmerman Legal Issues and Roger Clemens Acquitted Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/18). The 2012 presidential campaign; Russia’s announcement it will send warships to Syria; the death of historical figure Rodney King at age 47; the growing legal troubles for George Zimmerman and his wife; and baseball great Roger Clemens’ acquittal on perjury charges were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Woodhead in The Zone. That’s New England Patriots running back (and Nebraska native) Danny Woodhead (c) in the booth with KOZN, Omaha’s Damon Benning (l) and Mike’l Severe (r). The NRG Media sports talk station is broadcasting live from the 2012 NCAA College World Series – six hours daily for 14 days – and had the chance to catch up with Woodhead as he stopped by The Zone’s broadcast booth.
Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS from Blogworld/New York
By Holland Cooke
MCVAY/COOK & ASSOCIATES
NEW YORK – “Internet attention span?” That’s dang near an oxymoron, we’ve learned, via piles of research, and by observing our own behavior. Thus the tips we’ve heard about writing short, keyword-rich sentences and paragraphs. Keep the eye moving, for just…another…sentence.
It’s familiar lore to radio talent, especially with PPM demonstrating how on-air programming needs to be relevant, one…moment…at…a…time. Heck, Twitter trains us to keep it down to 140 characters! A useful discipline – quite applicable to writing anything for radio.
But, as iPod and iPhone have, stable mate iPad is, once again, demonstrating how facile new devices change the way we consume information/entertainment content – and how we interact.
For several years, Michael Harrison has urged radio talk hosts to migrate to what he terms the “media station,” and these new devices are, in radio parlance, “receivers.”
Clearly observable trend: Longer-form internet content is gaining in popularity for two reasons:
1. iPad – and Kindle/Nook/other tablet devices – make longer text content easier to consume than on small smartphone screens, or less-portable desktop computers, or even less-instant-on notebooks and netbooks.
2. “Internet advertising” for consumer products is becoming the next oxymoron. As a society, we’ve become banner-blind; and we can set our browsers to block ads. That controversial Facebook IPO exposed its vulnerability as an ad medium.
Accordingly, co-founder of the crowd sourcing market place for professional writers Contently.com, Shane Snow, told Blogworld attendees that brands are shifting from online advertising to sharable content of interest to their customers; and they’re spending to create “really good, high-quality content,” done by freelancers he called “real journalists.”
Example: Pepsi.com. Think “the kind of stories you’d see in the BACK of magazines.”
Snow’s company feeds this beast, with the banner atop its web site proclaiming: “Contently empowers professional journalists and bloggers to build careers doing what they love.”
Radio news people — now such an endangered species — might investigate www.Contently.com/network and other similar opportunities online.
As Contently’s Manifesto trumpets: “Quality is king. Freelance is the future. Anyone can be a publisher.”
News/Talk consultant Holland Cooke covers conventions for Talkers. See/hear/read more atwww.HollandCooke.com; and follow HC on Twitter @HollandCooke.