NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM, Washington, DC. The new episode titled, “Can I Get a Witness?” looks back at this past week of January 27-31, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Chris Stigall, talk show host, WNTP, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer”; Howard Monroe, talk show host/owner WKKX/WVLY, Wheeling, WV; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Joshua Philipp, senior investigative reporter, The Epoch Times; Pamela Garber, counselor and therapist, New York City; and Bali Samra, human resources consultant/commentator, Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
iHeartMedia Re-Brands Sports WTSO, Madison; Cancels Two Local Shows. In Madison, Wisconsin, iHeartMedia makes changes to sports talker WTSO-AM, re-branding the station from its current “The Big 1070” to “1070 The Game,” and altering the daily lineup. Effective Monday (2/3), “The Crossover with Ted Davis & Dan Needles” and “Drew & K.B.” are gone from the lineup. Longtime Wisconsin sports media personality Mike Heller moves from mornings to afternoon drive (without current morning co-host Dolphin), and Steve Czaban takes over the 6:00 am to 9:00 am daypart. Czaban also hosts the afternoon drive show on Radio One’s WTEM, Washington, DC “The Team.” In middays, “The Dan Patrick Show” airs from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, followed by FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. iHeartMedia Madison market president Drew Lautner says, “Wisconsin has a strong and diverse sports fan base. We believe we have assembled the best of the best to deliver news, commentary, differing opinions, on-field insight and an occasional laugh to our loyal listeners.”
Townsquare Media Begins Operating Duluth Sports Talk Station. Ahead of its intended purchase of WWAX-FM, Duluth, Townsquare Media enters into a time brokerage agreement with owner Twin Ports Radio and will move the sports format to its own WEBC-AM. It will also move its classic rock format from translator W293CT to WWAX-FM as “Sasquatch 92-1.” the changes are expected to take place the week of February 17. WWAX “92.1 The Fan” airs content from iHeartMedia’s The Fan Radio Network” emanating from KFXN, Minneapolis. Townsquare has acquired the Duluth-Superior radio broadcast rights for the Minnesota Vikings for the next four seasons. Townsquare Media Duluth market president and chief revenue officer Mary Niemeyer says, “All of these programming moves greatly improve the experience for our local listeners and the marketing solutions we can provide for our local advertising partners, enhancing our position as a premiere local media company in the Northland. We are thrilled to bring ‘The Fan’ back home to WEBC along with the Minnesota Vikings, while providing our rabid ‘Sasquatch’ audience extended reach on 92.1 FM.”
Report: Changes on Tap for Sports Talk KFNS-AM, St. Louis. According to Dan Caesar’s story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, KFNS-AM, St. Louis co-owner Randy Markel has reached an agreement to sell a 50% interest in the station to local attorney Mark Goldenberg and Archford Capital Strategies CEO Jim Maher. The story indicates that lineup changes are a possibility as the newly constituted ownership group considers the station’s future. Markel tells the paper that afternoon host – longtime St. Louis talk radio figure – Frank O. Pinion currently hosts the afternoon drive show but his general interest show is not as sports intensive as the new ownership may desire. Other St. Louis sports talk personalities mentioned as possible additions to the station include Kevin Slaten, Brian McKenna, and Jeff Gordon.
PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on the all-news format. Not surprisingly, 87% of all-news stations saw their weekly 6+ AQH share decline from the December survey to the Holiday survey. Sixty percent of all-news stations lost weekly 6+ AQH share from Holiday 2018 to Holiday 2019. Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco was the highest ranked all-news station during the Holiday PPM survey, ranking #2 in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.
Impeachment Trial Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 27-31. The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the status of the Wuhan coronavirus, tied with U.S.-China Relations and the economy. Coming in at #3 was the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November, followed by the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Kal Rudman Shutters FMQB. After almost 52 years in business, founder and publisher Kal Rudman is shutting down the radio industry tip sheet Friday Morning Quarterback, better known as FMQB. Rudman has sold the assets of the publication to Deane Media Solutions. In a statement, Rudman says, “I am retiring from the music industry, but not the radio business. For a long time, I have focused much of my philanthropic efforts in the medical world, and now I am merging that with radio. For over 50 years, I have been the specialist in predicting countless hits for numerous artists, and I’ve received unique recognition by the music industry as not only a tastemaker but a star maker. However, times have changed drastically, along with the industry, and it was time for me to move on to my original passion, medicine.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Waterloo Media’s classic rock KLBJ-FM, Austin shifts the “Dudley & Bob with Matt” show from morning drive to afternoon drive, effective Monday (2/3). Station program director and PM drive host LA Lloyd moves to mornings. Waterloo SVP and market manager Scott Gillmore states, “Austinites listen to the radio in their cars. Afternoon traffic is worse and afternoon commutes are longer. Now, the drive home just got way more fun with ‘Dudley & Bob with Matt’ – and the boys get to sleep in for the first time in decades, too. Everybody’s talking in the mornings. But now there’s a true Austin pro playing great classic rock and getting you to work in a great mood. LA Lloyd on 93.7 KLBJ-FM.”…..iHeartMedia launches a classic hits station on translator W265CV, Madison, Wisconsin as “U-100.9, Madison’s Super ‘60s and ‘70s Station, effective tomorrow (2/1). iHeartMedia Madison market president Drew Lautner says, “I’m extremely excited to be part of this new station launch. Madison missed having a station that is dedicated to airing top ‘60s and ‘70s music – so we’re excited to step up and give listeners what they want with the new ‘U-100.9.’”…..NRG Media flips KPTY-AM/K297BS from CHR to country as “107.3 HANK FM – Playing the Legends of Country.” NRG Media operations manager Jeff Winfield says, “Country music is about great stories. In addition to playing classic county on ‘HANK’ we will go behind the music and share those stories with our listeners. We’ll have features like ‘HANK’s Music Vault,’ ‘Stories Made the Music,’ ‘HANK Artist Spotlight’ and ‘Rewind County.’”
Milwaukee’s ‘97.3 The Game’ Brings Steve Czaban in for AM Drive. Sports talk radio personality Steve Czaban is the new morning drive host on iHeartMedia’s WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game, Milwaukee’s Sports Talk That Rocks.” “The Steve Czaban Show” debuts on Monday (5/6) and will air from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. With the arrival of Czaban, the current “Drew & KB” program moves to afternoon drive. Czaban, who also hosts afternoon drive at Radio One’s WTEM, Washington, DC, most recently was a cast member at crosstown rock WHQG’s “Bob & Brian” show. He’s also served with Sporting News, ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio, Yahoo Sports Radio, and SB Nation Radio. He comments, “The chance for me to do more in Milwaukee was too good to pass up. This is exactly the style and attitude of sports radio that I love to do. Nobody hustles in front of a winning parade better than me! I plan to celebrate the highs, curse the lows, and laugh at all the absurdity in between – just like I’ve always done. The program lineup at ‘The Game’ is amazing and I’m humbled to be a part of it.”
WICC-AM, Bridgeport Announces New Local Shows. Yesterday, TALKERS magazine reported the departure of programmer Mike Bellamy from WICC-AM, Bridgeport, Connecticut as well as the pairing of Melissa Sheketoff with incumbent morning personality Tony Reno for the new morning show. Connoisseur Media, now operating the station under an LMA as it waits to close on the swap with Cumulus Media, also announces it’s going local in afternoons with well-known market personality Paul Pacelli hosting the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Joining Pacelli to produce the show and provide local sports content is former Waterbury Republican and CT Post writer Aaron Johnson. Pacelli states, “I’m thrilled and honored to be on board at a heritage powerhouse like WICC, a station synonymous with greater Bridgeport and Southwestern Connecticut. My goal is to present a passionate, entertaining, and vital platform for local newsmakers, personalities, and residents.” Station OM Keith Dakin adds, “For a station like WICC to have continued success on the AM dial it needs to fully embrace the community. We want to make this station come alive on all levels from podcasting to social to an on-air product that the Bridgeport community can be proud to call their own.”
New Programming Announced for Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports. Two new, original shows are debuting on Entercom’s RADIO.COM Sports. Both “Big Time Basketball” and “Big Time Baseball” are twice-weekly shows that “feature expert analysis from RADIO.COM Sports insiders providing the most up-to-date news, commentary and happenings.” “Big Time Basketball” is hosted by former NBA player, coach, and Celtics television commentator Brian Scalabrine and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco personality Matt Steinmetz. “Big Time Baseball” is hosted by Jon Heyman, veteran play-by-play voice Josh Lewin, and a rotation of guest hosts, including Joe Girardi, Bob Nightengale, and others to be announced. RADIO.COM Sports is also adding new football insiders, including Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger, and Philadelphia Eagles insider Eliot Shorr-Parks. Shorr-Parks and Baldinger will host a weekly football digital show on May 14. Entercom president of sports Mike Dee comments, “With the addition of these three new shows, RADIO.COM Sports continues to expand our digital content offering for fans across the country. We look forward to continuing to build the RADIO.COM Sports digital platform with more native content in the weeks and months ahead.”
Michael Harrison and TALKERS Debut New Weekend Radio Show on iHeart’s Washington’s WONK-FM. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has agreed to host a one-hour, weekend magazine-style program on the recently launched iHeartMedia project WONK-FM, Washington, DC “Washington’s WONK-FM,” beginning tomorrow (5/4). The program titled, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” features interviews and commentary by the heritage broadcaster that provide a politically even-handed and balanced analysis of the most prevalent points of view being discussed each week in talk media per the research gathered by TALKERS. Interviews are conducted with newsmakers, pundits and, of course, talk show hosts from around the country and subject matter reflects the information published each week on the TALKERS top topics charts. Harrison, who was a major market and nationally syndicated air personality in both music and talk formats during the pioneering days of album rock and then the modern talk era, has been back on the air hosting shows for the past two years as a fill-in on such stations as WRKO, Boston; WMAL, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz; and several others, in addition to anchoring the weekend syndicated ensemble program, “A Touch of Grey: The Talk Show for Grownups” (hosted by Carole Marks). Harrison says, “It all began when I started doing the weekly podcast, ‘The Michael Harrison Interview,’ with PodcastOne four years ago. People in the business would say things like, ‘I didn’t know you could actually do radio like that!’ My juices began flowing again and not only have I been enjoying the experience as if I were 19 years old breaking into radio again, but the first-hand knowledge I have gained working in the trenches of the modern industry has significantly enhanced my understanding of how it actually operates in the real world and has helped me do my job at TALKERS with an even keener perspective.” Harrison adds, “I love being part of this new WONK-FM experiment because it encourages me to follow my natural inclination to remain ideologically objective and independent and avoid the hyper-partisanship that comes with seeking victory at the expense of truth whereby you simply target audiences to affirm their preconceived notions. I like what iHeartMedia is doing with this station and I love having the opportunity to collaborate with the station’s PD Michael Czarnecki (who is also PD of the iHeart Podcast Channel) – a young up-and-coming programming star with whom I happily crossed paths at WRKO over the past couple of years.” “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation” airs on WONK-FM Saturday mornings at 9:00 am ET. It is a production of Goodphone Communications in association with TALKERS magazine.
Griffin Communications Appoints Randy Smith Director of Radio Sales. Oklahoma media firm Griffin Communications announces Randy Smith joins the company as director of radio sales. Griffin owned just television stations and digital platforms in Oklahoma City and Tulsa prior to acquiring five Tulsa radio stations – including news/talk KFAQ – from Scripps last summer for $12.5 million. Griffin director of radio operations and programming Steve Hunter says, “Randy brings years of experience, an abundance of local connections, and a can-do spirit to our already winning team. He is a clear standout in motivating people to maximize their potential and bottom-line impact, a skill that will prove invaluable as he joins our Griffin family.” Prior to joining Griffin, Smith served as director of sales-radio for Cox Media Group.
Valentine Podcast Sponsors NASCAR Driver. The picture above shows the logo of talk radio host Phil Valentine’s podcast, “PodGOATs,” on the hood of NASCAR driver Tommy Joe Martins’ Toyota Supra. “PodGOATs” is co-hosted by Valentine and his son, Campbell. Valentine says they talk about everything from the history of alcohol to dating to advertising to the history of the mob – a unique blend of a wide array of topics from two different perspectives, from a Baby Boomer and a Millennial. Valentine explains the sponsorship, “I know this may sound rather random, but Diamond Gusset Jeans – one of our main sponsors – approached us with this opportunity and it was just too good to turn down. Somebody has to be a pioneer in podcast sponsorships in this arena. It’s fertile ground.” The PodGOATs will be in the pit tomorrow (5/4) in Dover, Delaware for the Allied Steel Buildings 200. Valentine’s radio talk show is heard daily on Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville “99.7 WTN” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
WGFX-FM, Nashville’s Jonathan Hutton Named ‘Man of the Year.’ Sports talk personality Jonathan Hutton was recently honored by the Tennessee Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as its 2019 Man of the Year. Hutton led the effort by WGFX “104-5 The Zone” that raised $152,499.31 during the 10-week fund drive that included: an off-the-record event with Tennessee Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk, a HORSE-style basketball tournament, a Masters-themed golf competition at Top Golf, and a chalk talk draftee breakdown and dinner with NFL Films’ Greg Cosell. Pictured above at the “Evening with Amy” event are (from l-r): Kenneth Adams, Titans Ownership Group; Eddie George, former Titan; Logan Ryan, current Titan; Hutton; Strunk; John McClain, Houston Chronicle/WGFX analyst; Blaine Bishop, former Titan and WGFX morning host; Kevin Byard, current Titan; David Quesenberry, current Titan.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WSCR, Chicago “The Score” producer Eli Hershkovich is taking on a role with Entercom’s RADIO.COM as a producer/sports gambling analyst. WSCR operations manager Mitch Rosen is quoted saying, “This is truly a great example of someone building, growing, and advancing their brand into a new, innovative position within Entercom and Radio.Com Sports, which is growing and expanding into the content creation business rapidly.”…..The Duluth News-Tribune reports that KDAL-AM/W280FB, Duluth, Minnesota talk host Kenneth Kalligher has been charged with misdemeanor domestic assault. Kalligher, who hosts the “Midday Live” show on the Midwest Communications-owned station, pleaded not guilty. The story reports that court documents indicate the female complainant said she and Kalligher “were arguing when he struck her in the right temple, causing her to ‘see stars’ and fall to the ground.” Kalligher was off the air for two days but returned to his program yesterday (5/2). He’ll be back in court later this month…..B’nai B’rith International produces a podcast and on the current episode, Pamela Nadell, the Patrick Clendenen chair in Women’s and Gender History at American University’s Department of History and the author of America’s Jewish Women: A History from Colonial Times to Today, is the guest with B’nai B’rith CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin for a discussion on the history of Jewish women in American life. In this episode, Nadell and Mariaschin discuss the societal roles of Jewish women across classes, professions, and time periods, as well as their roles in pivotal social movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, such as the labor movement, women’s suffrage and the feminist movement. Check out the podcast here.
Barr Hearing/Mueller Report Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 29 – May 3. Wednesday’s appearance by Attorney General William Barr before the Senate Judiciary Committee and the related release of the Mueller Report were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and related politics. Coming in at #3 was the San Diego synagogue shooting and the rise of anti-Semitism, followed by the UNCC shooting and gun violence at #4. The Talkers TenTM is weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Rising Radio Star and Master Storyteller Lee Habeeb Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The host and producer of one of the fastest-growing, syndicated properties in talk radio, Lee Habeeb, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The nightly, two-hour program is called “Our American Stories” and since its launch three years ago, the spoken-word juggernaut is making waves on commercial news/talk stations as well as music formats across the nation. Habeeb was inspired by public radio shows such as “This American Life,” which tap into the art of storytelling, in conceiving the highly researched and meticulously produced “Our American Stories.” Although conservative in its values, the program is distinctly non-partisan and strives to bring Americans of all political ideologies together based on our cultural commonality. It explores popular culture, politics, business, science… the spectrum of topics, people and angles that make up the rich and intricate fabric of America, its history and its people. The program is breaking new ground on many levels, not just in its programming approach, but in its business model as well, again tapping into the public radio paradigm. It is set up as a non-profit and investing a tremendous amount of capital in the quality of its original content programming. Habeeb describes “Our American Stories” as an innovation in the commercial talk radio sphere – no politics, no opinions, just stories. He says, “We tell a story and the audience tells us their stories — with raw emotional power. Daily bringing the campfire scene to your ears.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the daily TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com. Meet Lee Habeeb at Talkers 2019: Telling the Story in New York on Friday, June 7 where he will be discussing storytelling as a key component of successful radio.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The owner of classic rock WWRR, Scranton says the station has made radio history by accumulating more than 1 million Likes on Facebook. Bold Gold Media Group says the Northeast PA station “has become a social media juggernaut over the past decade, mastering the art of leveraging on-air and social to rapidly grow its following. The station has become the most-followed social media page based within Northeast PA and one of the most-followed radio station social sites in the entire United States.” Bold Gold president & founder Vince Benedetto says, “We’ve really enjoyed watching our stations become online influencers. Our stations have always been unique… from our highly visible studio inside the Mohegan Sun Pocono casino, our state-of-the-art RadioBOLD mobile platforms, and with our engaging social media, we’ve tried to be a different and more entrepreneurial media group. We’re thrilled to make some radio history and also bring some attention to the combined power of radio and social media.”…..Connoisseur Media announces that Storm N. Norman is returning to Westport, Connecticut adult contemporary WEBE to host mornings, beginning Monday (5/6). Norman served on-air on WEBE for 30 years. He says, “WEBE 108 has been my radio home for most of my adult life and I am thrilled to again wake up families in Southern Connecticut. It’s a great opportunity to work with Jeff Warshawand the incredible folks at local Connoisseur Media.”…..Programming pro Miggy Santos joins Midwest Communications Battle Creek, Michigan station group as brand manager for country WNWN “WIN 98.5.” He was most recently with Neuhoff Media as operations manager for CHR duo WWHX, Bloomington “HOT 100.7” and WSOY-FM, Decatur, Illinois “Y103.”…..iHeartMedia Milwaukee announces the deal with local furniture franchise Steinhafels in which the latter is sponsoring iHM’s new performance lounge (pictured below). The new Steinhafels Relax Lounge is located in the iHeartMedia Milwaukee station headquarters and will showcase musical talent, live broadcasts, viewing parties, and more. It will also be furnished by Steinhafels, allowing the store to showcase the latest contemporary furniture it offers.
TRN Companies and Cumulus Media Announce Amicable Westwood One Settlement. TRN Companies and Cumulus Media announced late Friday afternoon (3/7) that they have agreed to settle outstanding claims arising during previous ownership of WestwoodOne, acquired by Cumulus Media in December, 2013. Lew Dickey, president and CEO of Cumulus Media, said, “While Cumulus Media had no role in the lawsuits filed by TRN Companies, we are pleased to resolve these claims and move forward together. We remain supportive of each other and are optimistic for the future.” Mark Masters, CEO of TRN Companies, said: “We are pleased to ‘turn the page’ with the new owners of WestwoodOne and have put past issues behind us. As we build bridges together, we look forward to a mutually beneficial future working with our affiliated stations, customers, Lew and John Dickey and Cumulus Media.”
Emmis to Reward Employees with Stock. The company states that as part of its 2012 Employee Retention Plan, roughly 75% of its full-time employees are being notified they are eligible to receive what it is saying is “a sizeable stock award.” The company further states, “Emmis prides itself on being a destination employer in the media and digital industries, and as such, places a high value on cultivating a culture that allows us to attract and retain the best talent in our industries. The third of Emmis’ Eleven Commandments states: Be good to your people – get them into the game and give them a piece of the pie.” Eligible employees will receive a pro-rata share of approximately 976,000 shares of Emmis Communications common stock. Using Friday’s closing price, the 976,000 shares in the Retention Plan will deliver $3,240,000 in value to the 598 employees who qualify for the plan. To ensure a broad-based distribution, the Plan excluded executive officers and capped the level of salary credit at $50,000. As an example of the award size, a full-time employee of Emmis who has been with the company since April 2, 2012, with a salary of $40,000 per year will get approximately 1,480 shares. That equates to a market value of $4913.60, using the closing price last Friday, March 7 of $3.32. The awards will vest on April 2, 2014 and will be distributed to employees shortly thereafter. It will be their choice whether to hold or sell the stock.
KSFO, San Francisco Names Hughes Late Morning Host. Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco has been trying out talk show hosts in the late morning slot (billed on the station’s website as “KSFO Talk Show”) for the past several months. Now, the station names Spencer Hughes permanent host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Hughes’ resume includes stops at talk stations across America including WRKO, Boston; KGO, San Francisco; KTKZ, Sacramento; and KSRO, Santa Rosa.
WGN VP/GM Jimmy de Castro Talks Radio and More. The vice president and general manager of Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago and the new sports talk WGWG “The Game 87.7” spoke candidly with the Chicago Sun-Times for its online video feature “The Sit Down.” In the interview, de Castro throws out a number quips that’ll interest industry watchers. For example, he’s not trying to bring young listeners to WGN, “I don’t want a younger audience for ’GN. I want 35- to 65- or 70-year-old people.” He says he hasn’t committed a lot of money to his staff. “I don’t have one contract with one person on our station. Not one. They’re all here because of how they feel. Any time they want, they can walk out the door.” The one-time WLUP-FM leader also talks about his career and how he views life after all of his success. See it here.
Jack Roberts Dies at 62. Radio executive/on-air personality Jack Roberts died this past weekend in Los Angeles. Over the course of his career, the 62-year-old Roberts was a general manager, program director, on-air talk host, and producer. Most recently, the Boston College graduate and Massachusetts native was executive producer for CRN Digital Talk Radio programming, including “What’s Cookin’ Today.” CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn comments, “Jack truly understood and loved radio. He became an instant, caring friend to everyone he encountered.” Roberts thought he could get any guest or celebrity, and Horn remarks, “He almost always booked them. Guests and talent, but most especially the listeners, enjoyed what they heard. Jack’s legacy will live on through them and all of us. That would make him very proud.” Roberts was a senior producer on syndicated radio programs hosted by Dick Cavett, and Colonel Oliver North. He was in charge of production for “The Jerry Williams Show” and “The Doug Stephan Show.” His on-air experience includes stops at Boston’s WRKO, WMEX and WXKS; WPRO, Providence; and WDRC, Hartford – where he became general manager and program director. Roberts held those titles at WWRC, Washington, DC as well. Programmer Ron Jacobs writes, “Jack Roberts is great at shining the spotlight on others and not blowing his own horn.” Funeral services are pending for Roberts, who wrote a radio-themed blog – “HollywoodHillsGroup.com” – that highlighted industry achievements and gave publicity to on-air talent.
Twin Cities Star Tom Barnard Talks Podcasting in Profile Piece. Morning radio personality Tom Barnard – a 43-year Minneapolis-St. Paul market icon – is profiled by the Minneapolis Post. The star of Cumulus’ rock KQRS speaks about numerous topics – the death of the voice-over business, his rise to fame, and his decision to get more political after 9/11 – in the story and explains his separate business producing and selling ad time for his daily two-hour podcast. Barnard tells the Post that although he billed roughly $250,000 in 2013, the show is not in the black due to expenses including salaries and the cost of bandwidth. Barnard and partner Don Shelby (former WCCO personality) are not collecting a salary at this point. Barnard’s decision to sell ad time and not charge for subscriptions as well as to go after local ad dollars, flies in the face of the way many of the high-profile podcasters are doing it (think Tom Leykis and Adam Carolla). Read the entire Post story here.
Odds & Sods. In the Duluth market, Midwest Communications flips standards WGEE, Superior, Wisconsin to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio programming…..Sports radio pro Seth Everett becomes part of the New York Mets broadcasts on Clear Channel’s WOR, New York this season where he’ll be hosting the pre- and post-game programs…..Charlotte Knights minor league baseball will air on Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte this summer as the station will carry 10 Saturday night home games and two Friday evening home games.
Chris Stigall Broadcasts from CPAC. The annual Washington, DC gathering of conservative politicians dubbed the Conservative Political Action Conference involves an active radio row and WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) was in the middle of all the action last week as he broadcast his show from the event. He’s pictured here interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (left).
WVBR Returns To Collegetown (Ithaca) in New, High Tech Studio Station to Hold March 15th Dedication Ceremony — Keith Olbermann Makes Major Donation. Proving that grassroots terrestrial radio is alive and well, WVBR-FM is returning home to Collegetown (a proud name sported by downtown Ithaca, New York – home of Cornell University and Ithaca College — per its reputation as being one of the best college towns in America) after a 14-year absence, with a newly-built, state-of-the-art studio. The new studio is located at 604 East Buffalo Street in Ithaca, next to the Carriage House Café and across from The Connection, Loco Cantina, and the Chapter House. WVBR has operated out of 957 Mitchell Street near East Hill Plaza after leaving its longtime home at 227 Linden Avenue in Collegetown in 2000. It will be officially dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to take place this coming Saturday (3/15). WVBR-FM is a commercial, non-profit radio station that is owned and fully operated by the Cornell Radio Guild, a group of Cornell University students. Since 1935, this group’s stated mission has been running a radio station with the goal of training students in broadcasting. Since 1968, WVBR has been serving Ithaca and Tompkins Counties playing an eclectic mix of classic and modern rock under the banner, “Real Rock Radio.” WVBR broadcasts over 93.5 FM and 105.5 FM to Tompkins County and the surrounding area. The newly named Olbermann-Corneliess Studios was purchased with donations from station alumni, most notably ESPN host Keith Olbermann. Olbermann gave what has been described by station management as “a generous donation” with a request that WVBR’s new home studio be named in honor of his late father Theodore Olbermann, as well as the late Glenn Corneliess, his colleague during his years at WVBR who passed away in 1996. Olbermann, the Corneliess family, and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will be among those on hand for the dedication, as well as many station alumni, current staff, and management. A brand new set of professional equipment, a large vinyl library, a live performance space, three soundproof production booths, and two advanced on-air studios are some of the many highlights of the new space. “There is no doubt in my mind that 604 East Buffalo Street will feature the best college radio setup in the country,” says Drew Endick, president of the Cornell Radio Guild, Inc. and general manager of WVBR, telling RadioInfo, “We have been trying to expand our content production operations and provide better services for the local community, and we now have the facilities to meet these challenges.” The new studio will be home to two radio stations – WVBR, which broadcasts with a rock format over FM, as well as CornellRadio.com, which is being launched as a more student-centric, freeform online station. CornellRadio.com will feature pop, hip-hop, dance, and alternative music, as well as talk shows, comedy programming, and sports content provided by a partnership with the Big Red Sports Network. Each station will have its own cutting-edge studio within the building. “This move is extremely important to the goals of our station,” says Michael Mallon, senior vice president of communications. “The latest technology will not only allow us to create better content for our listeners, but it will also allow the students of Cornell University to learn and train on the same equipment as is used in the big stations in major cities.” The move is also significant as the station will now be a close walk for most students. “It’s a perfect location for us, both physically and symbolically,” Mallon continues, “The station is right between the students who operate the station, and the Ithacans who make up most of our listenership.” ASI Renovations managed the huge project. The space was already in great condition, but the design presented some big technical challenges. Sherpa Technologies wired the building for radio operations. Students and weekend staff led the move, bringing over the entire vinyl and CD collections, as well as other important articles from the old station.
Chattin’ with a Legend. WFTL, Fort Lauderdale late morning talk host Rich Stevens (right) entertains legendary disc jockey Cousin Brucie (left) in the station’s studios. Stevens tells TALKERS the pair chatted about numerous topics and took calls from listeners. While speaking with callers, a 92-year-old local listener phoned in to tell Cousin Brucie he remembers winning a contest 40 years ago that Cousin Brucie executed that sent him on a vacation. Brucie asked him if he was still there and needed money to get back!
Sittin’ in on WMAL, Washington. Former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (left) is pictured here in the WMAL, Washington studios as she served as guest co-host on the “Morning On The Mall” program today (3/10). O’Donnell worked with co-host Larry O’Connor (right) while subbing for Brian Wilson.