James Crystal Radio Misses Payroll. According to a report in Jose Lambert’s column in the Miami Herald, staffers at the James Crystal Radio Group stations in West Palm Beach – news/talk WFTL and sports talk WMEN – have not been paid since January 1 due to the holder of a $17 million loan to the company freezing its account. The company is operated by Jim Hilliard and when contacted by the paper, general manager Steve Lapa stated that Hilliard is working from “6:00 am to 10:00 pm daily to resolve the situation.” Lapa reports the staffers have missed only one pay period up until this point. Between the two stations it’s estimated there are approximately 75 employees.
Clear Channel Creates Networks Group; Names Davis President. In a corporate re-alignment move, Clear Channel Media + Entertainment creates a new unified Networks group to take full advantage of its “power, reach and scale to deliver more compelling content opportunities to its partners, affiliates, advertisers and consumers, as well as providing a unique platform to its content partners and talent.” Darren Davis, most recently EVP and GM for the national programming platforms, will lead this effort as president, Clear Channel Networks Group. The company says that in his new role, Davis will oversee and ensure the success and close integration of the networks — Premiere Networks, Total Traffic and Weather Network, the 24/7 News Network and the iHeartRadio Network. This new position underlines Clear Channel’s continued commitment to further expanding and transforming its business, introducing innovative new products, moving onto exciting new platforms and delivering even more unique opportunities and content to its audiences and its talent. Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman states, “This new unified Networks group will enable us to better capitalize on our powerful relationships, creative talent and unparalleled capabilities across all platforms and maximize our infrastructure in an entirely new way to take these networks to a higher level, as well as develop new ones. Darren is an innovative and effective leader of teams and has been a success at every role he has played at this company from the beginning as a programmer through his role as EVP and GM for the National Programming Platforms (NPP) group with Tom Poleman. His extensive and diverse experience makes him the perfect candidate for this important new leadership role.”
Phil Grande to Appear at Rumsfeld Book Event. In conjunction with news/talk WLSS, Sarasota, Florida, nationally syndicated financial talk personality Phil Grande – host of the “Phil’s Gang” program – will make a presentation and appear with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld at Rumsfeld’s special event and speech at the Hyatt Regency on February 13. Rumsfeld is touring the country promoting his new book, Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War and Life (Broadside 2013).
Sports Talk: How Important Is Civility? Unlike the Seattle Seahawks’ Richard Sherman, sports talk hosts “need to be liked.” That’s what WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer says in his column published today (1/28). Neer writes (while referencing the notoriety being enjoyed by Sherman in the aftermath of his recent rant), “If you are talented or lucky enough to win that lottery by catching the public imagination at precisely the right moment, you can thrive by being what polite society deems ‘uncivil.’ But you’re treading a narrow line and making a lot of enemies in the process. One misstep could end your career as suddenly as a torn ACL could end Sherman’s.” Read Neer’s entire column here.
CRN International Debuts Events Division; Names Kelly Travers Director. Integrated radio marketing solutions company CRN International is establishing a new Events Division for the growing number of live functions it manages as part of client campaigns. The company says the move will allow it “to execute with optimum efficiency for the many events it coordinates for consumer brands, ranging from local radio station appearances to high-profile nightclub galas.” To head up the new venture is Kelly Travers who is named director of retail strategies and activation. CRN president and founder Barry Berman states, “Live events are used when they help solve a client objective, and they have to be well executed in every detail if they hope to deliver the expected business outcome. Establishment of this new operating unit will allow our clients to sleep at night knowing all logistics are being addressed thoroughly.” Travers notes that CRN International orchestrated more than 300 events as part of client marketing strategies last year alone. Among the companies that have used live events engineered by CRN as an offshoot of their radio-triggered campaigns are Fiat and Petco, to name a few.
Red Zebra’s WXGI, Richmond to Simulcast on WZEZ-FM. In a deal that will begin on February 1, Red Zebra-operated sports talk WXGI, Richmond “ESPN 950” will expand its reach by simulcasting on WZEZ at 100.5 FM. The agreement between Red Zebra Broadcasting and Delmarva Educational Association gives “ESPN 950” reach to the northwest of the market. General manager Buck Albritton states, “We could not be more excited to move our dynamic on-air lineup onto the FM frequency. Most importantly, we are increasing our signal reach to serve more sports listeners.” The stations will begin their relationship with the broadcast of Super Bowl XVLIII on Sunday. Program director Mitchell Bradley states, “Not only is this an opportunity to serve a greater number of listeners, we will increase the number of games that we can broadcast. We’ll be able to carry one play-by-play lineup on our AM station while featuring another program event on the FM signal.” Red Zebra is controlled by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.
Odds & Sods. The syndicated public affairs program “Radio Health Journal” is celebrating the airing of its 1,100th episode this week. The program began in 1992 and is now heard on more than 480 stations across the country. Produced by MediaTracks Communications and hosted by Reed Pence, the show provides listeners with a wide variety of health topics, including consumer safety, healthcare, drug abuse, mental illness, food safety, and youth at risk. Pence states, “From the start, we cared about the information that we were providing to the listener. We’ve always concentrated on providing important and useful information in a consumer friendly way.”…..SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison will attend tonight’s State of the Union Address as a guest of Congressional Black Caucus chair Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH). On Wednesday, Fudge will appear on Madison’s program to discuss the president’s address…..The NFL’s Baltimore Ravens will be heard on Clear Channel’s classic rock WBIG, Washington, DC next season. Last season the team’s games were heard in the DC market on Hubbard Radio’s WFED, Washington.
Sports Talk Frenzy in NYC. It’s Super Bowl week in New York City and ESPN – along with the other major sports radio networks including Fox Sports Radio Network, CBS Sports Radio Network and NBC Sports Radio Network – is there. Pictured here is Fox Sports analyst Terry Bradshaw (right) on ESPN’s Mike & Mike show this morning with Mike Golic (center) and Mike Greenberg (left). ESPN enjoys the advantage of its fabulous Times Square studios for this year’s Super Bowl. All this week at the nearby Sheraton Hotel in Manhattan, some 90 radio stations are broadcasting from the Super Bowl XLVIII radio row.
Down on Main Street. Always getting out into the community, KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (center) takes his show out to Ed’s 50 Café where he hosts a roundtable breakfast chat with Idaho Governor Butch Otter (right) and EntreLeadership director of coaching and community John Felkins. EntreLeadership is part of talk superstar Dave Ramsey’s organization. Felkins’ job involves meeting with business leaders from across the country and helping them generate improvements to their companies by applying the EntreLeadership way of doing business.
Comrex Rolls Out Switchboard Traversal Server. Don’t get freaked out by the engineer-speak, this is a very cool new feature for Comrex’s ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs. This major upgrade to the company’s popular BRIC Traversal Server (or BRIC-TS) service for ACCESS and BRIC-Link IP audio codecs allows for presence notification, status and connection help (NAT Traversal) via a cloud-based service which is free to use for Comrex ACCESS IP codec customers. The feature is included in all Comrex ACCESS IP Audio codecs and can be unlocked on Comrex BRIC-Link codecs for a small license unlock fee. The company states that it will be migrating all existing BRIC-TS accounts to the new Switchboard TS today (1/28) and the changeover will be seamless for existing users. While customers will experience an improved graphical user interface, they should note two main improvements to the management tools in Switchboard. Specifically, “Contact Lists” and “Shares” have simplified the task of managing a large fleet of ACCESS and BRIC-Link codecs. What this all really means is that Switchboard TS is designed to allow your BRIC codecs (such as ACCESS) to connect with each other without having to have an IT guy onsite everywhere you go! To contact Comrex by phone, call 800-237-1776.
Cool Job Opportunity. Heritage News/Talk station in the northeast has a rare opportunity in a top 100 market. Now accepting applications for a combo News Director/Program Director. Great company and a great opportunity for the right person with strong forward thinking programming ideas and strategies. Must have experience in both news and programming with a multi-platform distribution approach to include on-air, online and mobile. Please email a resume along with any supporting materials to Gabe Hobbs at email@example.com. Or you can place your materials in my DropBox at https://www.hightail.com/u/GabeHobbsMedia. No calls please. EOE/MF
State of the Union Address, NSA Spying Controversy, Hillary Clinton in 2016, More Icy Winter Weather, 56th GRAMMYs, and Super Bowl XLVIII Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/27). The president’s annual State of the Union address to be delivered tonight; more revelations about the extent of the NSA spying operations; speculation about Hillary Clinton’s 2016 political ambitions; the next round of frigid winter weather set to hit the Midwest, East and South this week; the 56th GRAMMY awards held Sunday; and the run-up to Super Bowl XLVIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.