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Monday, February 2, 2015

| February 2, 2015

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge ‘Programming’ Beasley’s WBRN, Tampa.  Those new calls are for the old WHFS-FM (most recently sports talker “The Fan”) in Tampa at which Bubba the Love Sponge has set up camp as his new flagship station.  And with the call letter change comes news from Beasley Media Group that the station is airing a new format called “Bubba 98/7, No Rules Radio.”  Carl Harris serves as the station’s program director but Beasley reports that the station – which will include musical artists such as AC/DC, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Led Zeppelin, Stone Temple Pilots, Linkin Park, Green Day and Foo Fighters – will also include songs chosen by Bubba himself.  Those range from artists like Eminem, Notorious B.I.G., Dr. DRE, Jerry Reed, Public Enemy, C.W. McCall, LL Cool J and many others.  Additionally, “Bubba 98/7, No Rules Radio” features parody bits from the legendary Bubba The Love Sponge archives.  Beasley EVP of operations Brian Beasley says, “Beasley has entered new territory with today’s announcement.  The music, personalities and bits will all be the creative responsibility of the station’s morning show host, Bubba the Love Sponge.  We hope the listeners will be thoroughly entertained by the new direction of the station.”

bohannonjimBohannon, Westwood One Agree to Multi-Year Pact. Owing to a Westwood One contract extension, Radio Hall of Famer Jim Bohannon will continue hosting both his nightly eponymous program and “America in the Morning” for the Cumulus Media-owned syndicator. Westwood One executive vice president of news and talk Bart Tessler comments, “Jim may be in the Radio Hall of Fame, but he is just getting started. With new show resources and his contagious energy and enthusiasm, Westwood One and our affiliates and clients can look forward to many more years of Jim hosting his franchise programs.” Bohannon remarks, “I am so pleased to have the honor of continuing my career with Westwood One – my home for over half my time in radio. Now that we have added reports from Westwood One News correspondents, ‘The Jim Bohannon Show’ and our news magazine ‘America in the Morning’ are about to enter their best days yet. With all the challenges of the day, from partisan battles inside the Beltway to the war on terror, I’m eager to keep the discussion going.” Self-described “militant moderate, voice of reason” Bohannon appears at #20 of TALKERS’ “Heavy Hundred” of 2014.

medvedmichaelMedved Takes Hiatus To Fight Throat Cancer. In 18 years as a syndicated talk host, Salem Radio Network‘s Michael Medved has not missed more than four consecutive days of regularly scheduled broadcasts. This past Friday though (1/30), he revealed that in mid-December he was diagnosed with stage three throat cancer. Owing to that reason, Medved is taking a medical leave. “I always knew it would take something serious to keep me away from the microphone I cherish for an extended period of time,” he comments. “My prognosis for full recovery is very good. In the great majority of cases, this is a highly-curable form of cancer.” Medved broadcast every day while completing more than half of his daily radiation and weekly chemotherapy treatments. He will receive his last scheduled radiation treatment in just over three weeks (2/26). “Shortly thereafter, I hope to return to regular broadcasting,” he remarks. “The exact time of my return will be determined by my medical progress, but I will be straining to get back to work as soon as humanly possible. I know how fortunate I am with my loyal and marvelous audience, so I wanted to provide full transparency and direct explanations – you’ll be hearing from me soon.” KSKY, Dallas morning talent Mark Davis will be Medved’s primary fill-in; Davis hosts the Friday edition of Salem Radio Network’s “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America.” Other guest hosts for Medved will include KTTH, Seattle’s morning drive personality David Boze, and American Enterprise Institute president Arthur Brooks. Listed at #25 of TALKERS’ “Heavy Hundred” of 2014, 66-year-old Seattle-based Medved was chief film critic for The New York Post in the mid-1990s.

mannellypatrickPatrick Mannelly Reportedly Exiting WSCR, Chicago.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, midday personality – and former Chicago Bears long snapper – Patrick Mannelly will announce his exit as midday co-host on today’s program.  Mannelly joined co-host Matt Speigel back in September after the CBS RADIO sports talker could not come to terms with Dan McNeil to stay with “The Score.”  It’s believed that Mannelly will remain a part of Bears pre-game shows on the station.  Once again there is an opening at WSCR and already there are rumors this could open the door for Dan McNeil’s return or, as DaWindyCity reports, David Kaplan and David Haugh might be candidates since they exited Tribune Media with the shutdown of crosstown sports talk WGWG-LP “87.7 The Game.”

brunotonyTony Bruno and Josh Innes to Host Afternoons on WIP-FM, Philadelphia.  As reported by Molly Eichel in the Philadelphia News, Tony Bruno will return to the airwaves in Philly on CBS RADIO’sinnesjosh WIP-FM alongside current WIP personality Josh Innes for the afternoon daypart formerly occupied by Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis.  Gargano exited the station but Ellis remains under contract and it’s not known what role Ellis might play at the station.  Bruno was heard in middays on Greater Media’s crosstown WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” until he resigned from the station last June.  He’s been podcasting via BlogTalkRadio recently.  At one time, Bruno worked on the WIP morning show hosted by Angelo Cataldi.

Odds & Sods.  Just named the new White House correspondent for CBS News Radio is Pam Coulter, who replaces the recently retired Peter Maer.  Coulter rejoined CBS in 2011 after working as a correspondent for NPR and ABC Radio News for 12 years where she covered, among other things, the White House, Congress and the Pentagon…..Longtime Sioux Falls radio newsman Gene Hetland retired from Townsquare Media’s news/talk KSOO after a career that spanned 38 years.  The Associated Press reports that the 63-year-old Hetland started at KSOO in August of 1976 and retired on January 30…..The new morning news anchor at Midwest Communications-owned news/talk WHTC, Holland, Michigan is Mary Ellen Murphy…..San Antonio Magazine is out with its “Best of the City 2015” and it names former San Antonio Spurs point guard Antonio Daniels “Radio Personality of the Year.”  Daniels hosts “The Hardline” on Alpha Media’s KZDC “ESPN San Antonio.”

greshamtomTom Gresham’s ‘Gun Talk’ Clears WRKO, Boston.  The Entercom Boston news/talker adds Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” to the program schedule airing Sunday evenings at 8:00 pm.  Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary says, “Over the last few years, Tom Gresham’s ‘Gun Talk’ has emerged as the definitive voice of rational, responsible gun owners across America.  It just makes sense that his program be heard on one of the most powerful radio signals here in the cradle of the American Revolution.”  Gresham comments, “Massachusetts is full of gun owners who continue to fight for gun rights.  I’m proud to lend my voice to those who preserve the tradition of freedom in Boston and the entire area.”

businessrockstars radioBusiness Rockstars Hits 100 Affiliate Mark.  With the addition of KTLR, Oklahoma City, the nationally syndicated “Business Rockstars” show arrives at the 100 affiliate plateau.  The programming is hosted by Ken RutkowskiBusiness Rockstars chairman Steve Lehman says, “Radio is an important part of our multi-media and social platform.  We couldn’t be more excited to add KTLR to our consistently growing list of affiliate stations.  The rock stars of today no longer play guitar and blast through your speakers.  The new Rockstars are Business Rockstars: the Mark Zuckerbergs, Elon Musks and Mark Cubans of the world.”  In describing its programming, the company says “entrepreneurship is on fire.  It’s not political, it’s not controversial, it’s all about empowering listeners with the right tools and information so that they become Rockstars too.  Business Rockstars is the only daily, long-form show on the air that drills into the core of starting, growing, and funding a business.  The show is attracting a younger audience to AM radio.  There are 30 million hungry ‘Wantrepreneurs’ in the US and Business Rockstars is here to feed them.”

Thursday, February 20, 2014

| February 20, 2014

stephanbarnSyndicated Host Doug Stephan Suffers Devastating Loss in Dairy Farm Disaster.  Early yesterday morning (2/19) Eastleigh Farm — located in the suburban Boston community of Framingham, Massachusetts – suffered a winter-related natural disaster in which one of the barn roofs collapsed under the weight of snow trapping, killing and injuring some of the dairy cows at the historic facility.  The farm is owned by nationally syndicated talk show host Doug Stephan, whose long-running morning program “Good Day” is heard on hundreds of stations across the country and is consistently ranked one of the most-listened-to talk shows in the business.  According to reports from the scene (pictured here where a cow is seen being hoisted to safety), at least three cows have died and many others are injured.  The trauma to the cows is immeasurable.  Dairy cows are very sensitive and this has potentially long-term consequences for the health of the farm and the remaining herd.  Stephan is somewhat of a local folk hero in the “Metrowest” region of Massachusetts where the Eastleigh Farm – already beleaguered by economic issues challenging small family farmers across America – has been engaged in a high-profilestephandoug struggle to exist and continue to bring healthy, raw locally raised dairy products to the community.  Eastleigh Farm is the last historical dairy land in Framingham.  A fund-raiser has been launched to help with the formidable veterinarian bills, the care of the cows and the rebuilding of the barn.  For information about the fundraiser, please click here.  To see local video news coverage of the story, please click here.  Ironically, Doug Stephan recently launched a new, weekly one-hour show on TALKERS magazine’s experimental talk radio platform, TalkersRadio titled, “American Family Farmer with Doug Stephan,” designed to bring information, inspiration and a political voice to the hard-pressed, small farmers battling the powerful interests of the mega-corporate-government-supported farm industrial complex that has been systematically squeezing them out of existence.  The show airs with a new installment on TalkersRadio every Saturday morning at 8:00 am ET with repeats throughout the week at 11:00 am ET.  Clearly, this disaster and its aftermath will provide Stephan with a tremendous amount of compelling material and content for the show. (Image: WCVB-TV, Boston)

kasemkerriRadio’s Kerri Kasem to Appear with California Assemblyman Mike Gatto to Introduce Parental Access Legislation.  Industry pros and the radio-loving public have been following the tragic story of radio legend Casey Kasem and his second wife’s refusal to allow Kasem’s adult children to visit him as his health deteriorates due to advanced Parkinson’s disease.  Now a California legislator is introducing a bill that would “provide reasonable accommodations for adult children who want to visit their parents, and provide children the right to know when an ailing parent’s health becomes worse or if the parent dies.  The proposed legislation seeks to protect children from previous marriages from being denied access to a kasemcaseyparent by a parent’s future spouse or child.”  State Assemblyman Mike Gatto will introduce the bill and “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” co-host Kerri Kasem, daughter of Casey from his first marriage, will appear alongside Gatto when that happens today at 2:30 pm PT at the Los Angeles Superior Court.  In explaining the reason for the bill, Gatto’s office states, “Currently, adult children are not afforded the legal right to visit an ailing parent.  With divorce and remarriage becoming more prevalent, there is a greater possibility of conflict between a subsequent spouse and an ailing parent’s children from a previous marriage.  These conflicts can become exacerbated when a parent becomes incapacitated or dies.  In some cases, elderly parents are not even informed that their children wish to see them.  Such conflicts are very painful for those involved and can mean that certain adult children do not get to see their parent(s) before the parent(s) pass away.”

cclogoClear Channel Issues Q4 and 2013 Revenue Numbers; CCM+E Up 3%.  The parent company of Clear Channel Media + Entertainment – Clear Channel Media Holdings LLC – is reporting figures for the fourth quarter of 2013 and for the whole of 2013.  It reports revenue for the CCM+E division was up 3% — 8% excluding political advertising – and it notes that the reason was “due primarily to stronger national and digital advertising, as well as promotional and event sponsorship with the expansion of the Jingle Ball tour, iHeartRadio Music Festival and album release events.”  For all of 2013 CCM+E was up 2%.  The company states that “increases across multiple advertising categories were led by the telecommunications, retail and entertainment advertising markets.  Digital revenue benefited from higher total listening hours, which were up 29%, and from investments in a digital sales organization.  Promotional and event sponsorships also moved higher, driven by special events, such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, Jingle Ball tour, iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party and album release events.”

wgwg logoTribune’s WGWG, Chicago Grabs Finfer for Daily Role.  The Tribune sports talk format airing on WGWG-LP at 87.7 FM adds another local talent as Ben Finfer jumps aboard from CBS RADIO’s crosstown WSCR.  Finfer served as producer for the late morning McNeil & Spiegel show before joining Tribune’s new “The Game 87.7” on Wednesday.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that he’ll be part of the midday shows hosted by David Kaplan and Howard Griffith and Alex Quigley.  While all of the media eyes may be on the new guy in town, WSCR and ESPN O&O WMVP have a healthy head start on WGWG.  Data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM indicates WSCR enjoyed a 5.0 share with Men 25-54 and WMVP racked up a 3.6 share, according to Feder.

obriencolleenColleen O’Brien Joins KIRO-FM, Seattle for Mornings.  At Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle, former KXLY-TV, Spokane news anchor Colleen O’Brien is named morning drive news anchor, filling the role held by Linda Thomas prior to her exit from the station to join Starbucks as managing editor for online news and content strategy.  O’Brien is no stranger to Seattle or the radio side of the business.  Prior to her work in Spokane, O’Brien served at crosstown KOMO-AM/FM.

imusdonThe 4th Annual ‘Imus on Broadway’ Fundraiser ‘Opens’ Monday.  For the fourth year in a row, Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York teams up with “The Great White Way” to present “Imus on Broadway” at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square.  The evening’s event – a benefit for the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer – is a one-night-only production hosted by New York Post theatre columnist Michael Riedel and features performances from the casts of: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” “After Midnight,” “Avenue Q,” “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical,” “Chicago,” “Mamma Mia,” “Motown the Musical,” “Kinky Boots,” “La Soiree,” “The Lion King,” “Pippin,” “Phantom of the Opera,” and “Wicked.”

ObamaCare Criticism, Ukraine Unrest, Sochi Olympics, ‘Smart Gun’ Bill, Jay Leno-‘Tonight Show’ Controversy, and Hillary in 2016 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/19).  Scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the violence and political unrest in the Ukraine; the Winter Games in Sochi; the Democratic proposal for new guns to only fire in the hand of the owner; the accusation by a former ‘Tonight Show’ writer that Jay Leno was ousted for picking on President Obama; and the prospect of Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, February 17, 2014

| February 17, 2014

wgwg logoWGN-Programmed FM Debuts Today as Sports Talk ‘The Game 87.7.’  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the scoop following Friday’s announcement that Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will LMA WKQX-LP at 87.7 beginning today.  Last week Feder tipped us that Jonathon Brandmeier would do mornings when Tribune begins programming the station, but now he informs us the station will be thewgnlogo market’s first FM sports talk station branded “The Game 87.7.”  In addition to Brandmeier in mornings, the rest of the lineup will be: current WGN evening sports host David Kaplan and Chicago Tribune sports columnist David Haugh in middays, followed by WGN’s Alex Quigley and Big Ten Network’s Howard Griffith hosting an early afternoon show.  Former WMVP personality Harry Teinowitz and Spike Manton will host late afternoons with WGN’s Mark Carman hosting the evening show.  Overnights will feature programming from NBC Sports Radio Network.  WGN’s Jordan Bernfield will serve as full-time sports reporter.  Making the move over to the FM from WGN, Kaplan is giving up his “Sports Central” show on WGN and late night host Pete McMurray is bumped into the 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm slot.  Read Feder’s entire column here.

vitalejill‘Flirty Flipper’ Returns to WABC to Produce ‘Curtis & Kuby.’  It’s a return to the studios at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York for Jill Vitale (a.k.a. Flirty Flipper) who served as Sean Hannity’s producer beginning in 1999 when he was a local NYC-only show.  During her time there she also produced John Gambling’s program before leaving in 2011.  Now, she returns to produce the midday show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Ron Kuby.

kevt logoTucson Talk Personality Jim Parisi to LMA KEVT.  Market talk radio pro Jim Parisi is taking over the operation of One Mart Corp.-owned KEVT under an LMA and is re-branding the former Spanish music station as news/talk radio outlet “Power Talk 1210.”  Tucson Weekly reports Parisi will serve as general manager in addition to hosting the 7:00 am to 10:00 am program.  Other personalities will include Providence, Rhode Island-based Steve Kass for 5:00 am to 7:00 am and John C. Scott for the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program.  Fox Sports Radio Network programming will air in evenings and on weekends.  Parisi tells the paper, “I’ve come to a point that the only way to be happy is doing what I believe in.  I’m not doing anything that doesn’t reflect how I truly feel, so it will be the most genuine station I can be a part of.  We should have more local programming than most anyone in town.  We want to be as local, but as budget conscious, as we can so that we don’t go away.”

knbrlogoKNBR, San Francisco Takes Beating Over Olympics Coverage.  When Cumulus Media-owned sports talk outlet KNBR, San Francisco cut away from its coverage of the U.S.A.-Russia men’s hockey game during the shoot-out (which the U.S.A won!) to air “Hooked on Golf,” critics took to the internet to blast the station for the move.  The sports media critique site AwfulAnnouncing called the station out and posted a series of Tweets from fellow critics.  One Tweet came in from a Ryan Covay, who appears to be a KNBR staffer, saying, “I’m @ryancovay at home, not at station.  I imagine it’s because there are specific shows that need to air.  Apologies.”  It’s not been confirmed by KNBR but it appears the “Hooked on Golf” show is a brokered show that broadcasts live from a golf course in San Mateo.  That could explain the decision to cut away.

johnsondaniXtreMEDIA Expands Dani Johnson Show to Daily Format.  More than two years ago, the Dani Johnson show debuted on weekends on premier affiliate WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  Now, the program moves to a daily format beginning today (2/17) and Johnson’s program will be available seven days per week.  XtreMEDIA states that “Johnson’s brand of ‘No Excuses, Just Results’ is now heard/seen in more than 66 million television householdsXtreMedialogo nationally, heard in more than 112 terrestrial radio markets, cleared on SiriusXM, and streamed/accessed by hundreds of thousands of social media users on her wesbite, social media pages, and her proprietary smartphone app.  And now she is accessed seven days a week.”  Johnson adds, “I can’t believe how much fun I’m having doing a daily show.  My true desire is to continue to help push people to achieve results in all areas of their lives, so that they can take back control, build financial resources, build stable marriages and families, and ultimately feed orphans and help those who need it most.”  XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough comments, “Dani connects with people — especially in this hyper-partisan environment — in ways that few people can.  The beauty of her show is that it doesn’t matter where you are on the spectrum of success, if you apply exactly what she shows you, you achieve better results.”

nrb logoMichael Harrison to Speak in Keynote Session at National Religious Broadcasters Convention.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will serve as a keynote speaker next week at the NRB International Christian Media Convention 2014 in Nashville.  The event, which runs February 22-25 and is preceded by a one-day Digital Media Summit on February 21, is billed as an event that networks thousands of Christian communicators, from program producers to authors, pastors to engineers, directors to vendors presenting outstanding internationally known speakers and musicians and giving attendees the opportunity to attend numerous educational sessions on radio, TV, film, church media, internet and leadership, and receive helpful industry training.  Harrison, whose two-hour session will take place on Monday, February 24 at 2:00 pm, states, “I am really looking forward to participating in this event and spending time getting to better know people from the faith-based sector of the radio and media industries.  It will certainly give me the opportunity to embellish one of the key points of my own personal view of what radio needs to do to be a viable and productive entity in the digital era – and that is to never miss any opportunity to be a hero…to literally serve the community… to spread hope and inspiration…to talk about the many crisis and challenges facing people in everyday life and help them cope.  I recommend this course of action to all broadcasters – but this is a community where it is already proven to be a winning strategy.  I am honored to be a part of this event.”  The conference will take place at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville.  For more information please click here.

rothmanloriOdds & Sods.  On the Fox Business News cable TV simulcast of Cumulus Media NetworksDon Imus show, Lori Rothman is the new business news update reporter.  TVNewser reports that Rothman is moving into the morning role after serving as part of the early-afternoon “Markets Now” crew.  She’s joining FBN’s Connell McShane and Dagen McDowell…..Clear Channel names Brent Henslee operations manager for the company’s six-station Macon, Georgia cluster that includes sports talk WPLA “Fox Sports 1670” and all-comedy WIBB…..KCRW, Santa Monica personality Matt Miller announces he will run as a Democrat for the seat in Congress being vacated by the retiring Henry Waxman.  Miller is co-host of “Left, Right & Center” on the public radio station.  He’s also a columnist for the Washington Post.  Several Democrats are competing in the primary for the party’s nomination to run in the general election.

hendersonangeloDetroit Media Personality Angelo Henderson Dead at 51.  WCHB, Detroit talk show host Angelo Henderson passed away on Saturday (2/15) at age 51 after an illness.  The Radio One Detroit cluster issued the following statement on the WCHB website: “We at Radio One Detroit are devastated by unexpected news today.  We regretfully must confirm the passing of one of our on-air icons Angelo B. Henderson.  Henderson has been with Radio One Detroit for 15 years and was the host of the popular talk show “Your Voice with Angelo Henderson” on Newstalk AM1200/99.9FM WCHB for the past 6 years.”  Vice president and general manager Kathy Stinehour adds, “Angelo was a strong pillar in the community, I am saddened by his untimely passing and he will be greatly missed by the entire Detroit community and his Radio One Detroit family.”  In addition to his broadcasting work Henderson was a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer.

Monday, January 6, 2014

| January 6, 2014

longbrianLong Set To Program Clear Channel, San Diego Combo.  Former senior director of programming for Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN,Brian Long, has been tapped to program Clear Channel, San Diego’s news/talk KOGO-AM and KLSD “Xtra Sports 1360.” Vice president of programming John Peake comments, “Brian will bring a diverse perspective from multiple markets and stations to our spoken-word brands.  We are excited to add Brian’s management and broadcasting experience to the San Diego programming team.  We are confident that KOGO-AM and ‘Xtra Sports’ will prosper under his tutelage.”  Long previously was assistant program director and “In the Zone” host on Los Angeles’ KSPN “710 ESPN.”  Prior to that, the Kansas City native programmed in Palm Springs, California for KXPS “The Team 1010,” KFUT “Fox Sports 1270,” and KNWZ “K-News.”  Long begins his San Diego assignment in two weeks (1/21).

caplisdanCaplis to Host Late Morning Show on KNUS, Denver.  Salem Communications-owned news/talk KNUS, Denver adds local TV and radio personality Dan Caplis to the program lineup in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot.  Caplis – an attorney – most recently worked in radio at Clear Channel’s crosstown news/talk KHOW with co-host Craig Silverman.  KNUS general manager Brian Taylor says, “With the upcoming election cycle, plus the compelling local issues that have put Colorado in the forefront recently, it is significant for us to offer another powerful local voice like market veteran Dan Caplis.  Combined with Peter Boyles and Steve Kelley, 710 KNUS will now offer more daily, live local conservative talk programming than any other station in the Denver market.”

millerchrisNew Year Changes at Facebook That Affect You.  Digital media consultant Chris Miller informs us that Facebook recently made some important changes that affect how users get to show the content they do.  Miller writes, “The news and entertainment site Buzzfeed first picked up on it before Facebook made it official.  The folks at Buzzfeed noticed that, all of a sudden, online content publishers were getting a huge increase in hits.  That group of publishers includes a wide variety of content providers, but the way to think about it is ‘sites that find and write about stuff that others should find interesting.’”  Miller says that all social platforms are getting more sophisticated about how they determine what their users will see.  Facebook has adjusted their formula that determines what content we all get shown, emphasizing the interesting over the merely silly and self-serving.  Here’s how to help insure that more of your posts get shown to your fan base.  Read Miller’s column here.

cookehollandAnalysis: 2014 NMX Podcasters Conference.  Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas this week covering the New Media Expo and the enormous 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show.  First up, Cooke reports from the weekend’s happenings at 2014 NMX.  Cooke says the standing-room-only crowd was replete with people focused on talking targeted, passionate interests with its audience.  “And they’re not just talking to your geographical area.  And they are not merely, as clichéd station imaging assures, ‘talking-about what-you’re-talking-about,’” says Cooke.  “Instead of belaboring Benghazi, they’re bonding with ‘ovewhelmed adoptive moms, by telling the truth about the post-adoption journey, so they feel validated and encouraged for the road ahead.’  If more station websites offered narrowcast content that’s specifically appealing, and used transmitters to invite those moms to engage, new digital revenue would follow.”  Read Cooke’s entire report from 2014 NMX in Las Vegas here.

rantzjasonJason Rantz Promoted to Daily Evening Show at KIRO-FM, Seattle.  Bonneville Seattle news/talk KIRO-FM ups Jason Rantz from his year-old weekend show on the station to the daily 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program effective this evening.  KIRO-FM program director Pete Gammell says, “Jason is an extremely knowledgeable and thoughtful host who always seeks opposing views to further listeners’ understanding.  We always strive to connect entertainment to value and discussion to understanding.  This is Jason’s strength and I’m sure listeners will agree.”   Speaking about his new gig, Rantz states, “I’m excited by the opportunity to talk with Western Washington as a part of KIRO’s weekday team.  I’ve enjoyed interacting and engaging the KIRO Radio listeners during my previous weekend show and now I’m thrilled to bring this same dynamic to weeknights.  There are so many important issues affecting our community and the nation, and it is vital that we come together to have a civil but challenging and vigorous discussion.  I hope my evening show will become that forum.”

ktar-am logoBonneville Gives Sports Talk KTAR-AM, Phoenix FM Simulcast.  Shuttering adult hits KPKX “98.7 The Peak,” Bonneville Phoenix gives sports talker KTAR-AM an FM signal on which to simulcast.  The company has been building multi-platform sports content destination “Arizona Sports” using the AM radio station and a local sports content-heavy website and now adds an FM signal to the mix.  Vice president and market manager Scott Sutherland states, “Putting ‘Arizona Sports’ on FM is an opportunity too big to ignore.  Our live, local and exclusive sports content has never been better.  We have world-class local talk personalities who deliver powerful opinions and insights that engage, entertain and positively impact the communities we serve.  We also have amazing team partners.  And all of this attracts a passionate and loyal audience, which in turn, attracts a lot of marketing interest from small and medium business owners, major brands and C-Suite decision makers.”  The stations serve as flagship broadcaster for the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Coyotes, Arizona State University and broadcasts Arizona Interscholastic Association prep sporting events from around the state.

czabansteveRed Zebra Re-Ups with Steve Czaban at ‘ESPN 980’ in Washington.  Red Zebra Broadcasting and sports talk host Steve Czaban have agreed to terms on a new three-year deal that will keep the afternoon drive co-host with WTEM, Washington, DC “ESPN 980” through 2016.  Czaban has been co-hosting the afternoon drive time slot for WTEM for the last 13 years.  Vice president of programming Chuck Sapienza comments, “Czabe is integral to the success of our station.  We look forward to three additional years of Czabe, Cooley and Galdi.”  Steve Czaban co-hosts “The Drive with Cooley & Czabe” from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm and also hosts the golf program “Sunday Tee Time,” at 8:00 am on Sunday mornings during golf season.

theblaze logoGlenn Beck’s ‘TheBlaze Radio News’ Launces Today.    “TheBlaze Radio News” – the latest AM/FM program offering from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – hits stations on the AM/FM dial today after debuting on SiriusXM’s Patriot channel several months ago.  The service offers hourly newscasts from anchors and reporters around the nation providing news and information specifically targeted to talk radio listeners.  The casts draw on the reporting from TheBlaze television network and its website TheBlaze.com which it says “generates over 20 million unique visitors per month and is one of the 100 most trafficked websites in America.”  The service is airing today in markets including Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, Denver, Las Vegas and Birmingham, Alabama.

ingolddougCompass Names Ingold Sales Exec.  Compass Media Networks brings Doug Ingold aboard as senior director of affiliate sales for entertainment & music programming beginning January 20.  The company says Ingold “will be based in Los Angeles and assume a vital role in the expansion of Compass’ long-form entertainment and music shows including Big D & Bubba, “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” “Off The Record,” “Out of Order,” Rick Dees and “Skratch N Sniff.”  Compass VP of affiliate sales Adam Wilbur comments, “Our entertainment portfolio is growing rapidly and the time is right for us to add someone of Doug’s caliber to spearhead day-to-day affiliate marketing.”

mcmurraypeteMcMurray Show Expands at WGN.  According to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, late night talk show host Pete McMurray’s show will expand with a new earlier start time at 10:00 pm (and end at 2:00 am), shaving an hour off David Kaplan’s evening sports talk program.  Feder quotes WGN vice president of creative content Todd Manley saying, “Pete has become our all-purpose star in a variety of fill-in roles.  I think he gets what we’re trying to do very well, especially in providing lots of video content.  Between Pete and [producer] Scott Miller, they do an amazing job of booking great guests and being about the city.”  Read the story here.

hotchkisskeithHotchkiss Transfers to Charlotte as Director of Sales.  As of today (1/6), Keith Hotchkiss is Clear Channel Charlotte’s director of sales.  He joins that operation from Cleveland where he was general sales manager of Clear Channel-owned CHR WAKS “Kiss-FM,” news/talk WTAM, rock WMMS, and WMMS-HD2 “99X.”  Regional Market Manager Charlie Wilkinson remarks that, “Keith’s proven sales leadership will have an immediate impact in Charlotte.  I’m confident he will be an integral part of our success now and well into the future.”  Clear Channel’s five-station Charlotte cluster consists of alternative WEND “The End,” CHR WHQC “Channel 96-1,” country WKKT “The Kat,” adult hits WLKO “The Lake,” and classic rock WRFX “The Fox.”

smithlauraOdds & Sods.  WABC, New York radio personality Laura Smith is sitting in for the first few shows with new 5:00 pm program host Pat Kiernan starting today.  Smith currently hosts two weekend programs on WABC – “Living Better with Laura Smith” and “The Saturday Café.”  Kiernan is an anchor on cable’s NY1 and his show is part of the newly revised program lineup at the station…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Blackhawks Live” live broadcast promotion on Thursday, January 13 featuring defenseman Duncan Keith at the Old Town Pour House in Chicago.  “Blackhawks Live” is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the year featuring current Blackhawks players, legends and management. Blackhawks radio broadcasters John Wiedeman and Troy Murray host the event that includes a question-and-answer format between the hosts and the featured Blackhawks guests.

iheartradioFour New Integrations for iHeartRadio.  Clear Channel announces its iHeartRadio digital entertainment platform is headed to dashboards in three auto makes, including Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo and Kia.  In addition to these OEMs, iHeartRadio will also be available via platform solution provider Bosch.  The company states that in 2014, Jaguar Land Rover vehicles equipped with Bosch SoftTec’s innovative InControl Apps platform, Volvo vehicles equipped with the Sensus Connect infotainment solution and Kia vehicles with UVO will have access to iHeartRadio.

colemanjerry“Oh Doctor!” – Jerry Coleman Passes Away.  That was one of the favorite on-air expressions uttered by the 89-year-old Jerry Coleman, whose death was confirmed Sunday night (1/5) by the San Diego Padres, the MLB team for whom he called games since 1972.  A portion of the team’s prepared statement read, “On behalf of Padres’ fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a Marine who was truly an American hero as well as a great man, a great friend and a great Padre.”  He played parts of nine seasons with the New York Yankees (1949 – 1957).  After retiring, he began a broadcasting career with CBS-TV (1960 – 1962), where he conducted pregame interviews on the network’s “Game of the Week” broadcasts.  He did play-by-play for the Yankees on WCBS-AM and WPIX-TV (1963 – 1969), Angels (1970 – 1971), and Padres (1972 to this past season).  He also called regular-season and postseason broadcasts for CBS Radio from the mid-1970s to the 1990s.  For three years of Coleman’s tenure with the Padres, his on-air partner was sitcom writer par excellence-music radio on-air talent Ken Levine, who writes on KenLevine.blogspot.com, “I loved Jerry.  He was your favorite uncle – always cheerful, always there for you.  His passion for the game of baseball was infectious and his zest for life was inspiring.  Other than having to broadcast meaningless spring training games, I cannot think of anything Jerry Coleman didn’t view in a positive light.  He was also incredibly humble.  When we were on the road, I picked his brain for hours, and he graciously and patiently answered all of my questions.  Jerry Coleman worked Padres games up until his death.  He led a rich full life and he would often point out how lucky he was.  So many of his friends had died young in a war – he lived to be 89 in relatively good health.”  In 2005, Coleman received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcasting excellence; two years later, he was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.  As of the 2010 season, he reduced his broadcast schedule to approximately 25 home day games.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

| January 2, 2014

grantbobIconic 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.

sliwakubyCurtis & 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 Newkiernanpat 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.

wabcWABC, 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 thewpro logo 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.”

hannityseanSean 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.

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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.”

kaplandavidWGN, 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.”

jamesmarcMarc 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.”

xmas story albumThe 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.

nielsen logoNieslen 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.

ces2014Coming 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 transcendedcookeholland 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.’”

pattiznormNorm 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 logoWMYT, 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 NetworksAndy Dean to the daily schedule airing weeknights from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

ktxx logoAustin 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.

keib logoOdds & Sods.  Clear Channel changes the call letters of KTLK, Los Angeles to KEIB – a nod to its new centerpiece, Premiere NetworksRush 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 iswiplogo 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.