Emmis Extends Walsh. A contract extension given to Patrick Walsh will keep the Emmis Communications president and chief operating officer in-place through July 2019. As far as particulars of the pact that officially began the first day of this month are concerned, Walsh will earn $625,000 a year with annual increases of up to 2.5%; Emmis can allocate up to 10% of the base in its common stock. He will be entitled to annual incentive pay, with the target for each year 100% of the base salary. In addition, Walsh will be eligible for a performance bonus at the end of the contract with a fair market value of $300,000; $500,000; or $700,000 based on stock price. Other perks are included as well for Walsh, who joined Emmis from iBiquity Digital in 2006 as chief financial officer; he was promoted to chief operating officer and chief financial officer two years later (2008). Emmis owns three radio properties in New York City; four in St. Louis; four (and Network Indiana) in its Indianapolis hub; and seven stations in Austin. The sale of Emmis Los Angeles’ KPWR “Power 106” to Meruelo Media became final just last week. The rhythmic CHR had been programmed by Meruelo Media since July 1 under a Local Marketing Agreement.
NYMRAD Names Morgan Treasurer; Hopeck Boosted to Secretary. In a pair of executive committee moves, the New York Market Radio Association (NYMRAD) appoints Emmis New York’s Charlie Morgan treasurer, and promotes iHeartMedia New York president Scott Hopeck to secretary. NYMRAD chairman/CBS Radio New York senior vice president and market manager Marc Rayfield notes, “I am very excited about working with Charlie in this seamless transition of the executive committee. Charlie has brought energy in his contributions to board meetings. Under his leadership, we will continue to develop initiatives that will advance radio in the vibrant New York marketplace.” Morgan comments, “Working with [executive director) Deborah Beagan and my talented New York radio peers in this period of time where radio has more to offer advertisers than ever before is invigorating. It is a privilege to play a role in advancing radio’s profile and value proposition.” Prior to joining Emmis New York in January 2016 as senior vice president and market manager, Morgan performed the same duties for eight years at the company’s Indianapolis stations and spent more than 21 years before that as vice president and market manager for Susquehanna’s Indianapolis cluster. He succeeds Univision New York vice president and general manager Ramon Pineda, who becomes senior vice president and regional general manager for that company’s stations in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Puerto Rico, Cleveland, and Raleigh.
“ESPY Day” Raises $5.2 Million. This marked ESPN’s fourth annual such “ESPY Day” that solicits funds for the V Foundation cancer charity. ESPN president John Skipper notes that he is “grateful to Bristol-Myers Squibb, whose charitable contribution to the V Foundation, including support of the Sports Humanitarian Awards, helped push this year’s fundraising efforts to be one of our best ever.” The 2017 total of $5.2 million is a 32% increase from last year’s event. Half the money ($2.6 million) will go to the Stuart Scott Memorial Cancer Research Fund. The event included ESPN Radio’s ESPY Day Auction, the 17th annual ESPY Celebrity Golf Outing, and the third annual Sports Humanitarian Awards. Elsewhere at ESPN, senior writer Seth Wickersham receives a contract extension, while Buzzfeed News senior writer Joel Anderson and ESPN The Magazine/“ESPN Insider” college football contributor Phil Steele are added to its reporting and analyst staff. The three will appear on ESPN Radio, as well as ESPN’s linear television and digital platforms. ESPN vice president/editorial director, domestic digital content Chad Millman comments, “Seth has long been one of our most talented journalists whose stories on the inner-workings of the NFL have elevated our coverage and delighted fans. Re-signing him as well as adding Joel and Phil increases what’s possible for our editorial team and elevates our ability to serve fans.”
Osgood to be Honored with NATAS Lifetime Achievement Emmy. The host of Westwood One’s long-running “The Osgood File” (which airs on 386 radio outlets throughout the United States) – Charles Osgood – will be honored by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences with the 2017 “News & Documentary Emmy Award for Lifetime Achievement.” The honor is given to a journalist or filmmaker who has “made a lasting and distinguished contribution to broadcast journalism or documentary film.” After a 22-year run as anchor of CBS-TV’s “Sunday Morning,” Osgood retired from that role in September 2016. His special recognition will take place in New York City in approximately two months (10/5). Charles Osgood Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/CBS©2009 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
WYDE Shuffles Its Weekday Lineup. Modifications on Crawford Broadcasting Birmingham news/talk WYDE “Superstation 101.1” start in morning drive (6:00 am – 10:00 am), where Michael Hart and Jessica Borklund team up for “AM with Michael & Jessica,” produced by Mickey Bell, who hosts “The Dixie Gospel Caravan” on sister gospel property WXJC-FM. Scott Beason segues from 9:00 am – 11:00 am to 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, while “Yellowhammer Radio” moves from 11:00 am – 1:00 pm to 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm. Airing from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm is Andrew McLain and Jim Moore-hosted “The Line with Andrew & Jim.” WYDE operations director Josi McCurdy remarks, “We are excited to introduce our new lineup to the Birmingham listening audience. In keeping with our tradition of bringing the best in conservative talk radio, we are always looking for ways to build on our team of amazing talent. The new show host combinations have a powerful dynamic, which we feel will prove to be both informative and entertaining. As always, we will continue our focus on being local, relevant and current.” None of Crawford Broadcasting’s five Birmingham stations appeared in Nielsen Audio’s spring 2017 book for that Alabama market.
WRNN-FM and Coastal Carolina University Athletics in Partnership. The agreement reached between Alpha Media Socastee-Myrtle Beach, South Carolina’s WRNN-FM “Hot Talk 99.5” and Coastal Carolina University is through the 2019 – 2020 season. It will include the school’s football, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball contests, with some games bumped to sister sports talk WRNN-AM “ESPN Myrtle Beach.” Alpha Media Myrtle Beach general manager Josh Gertzog comments, “We are thrilled to be part of the growth happening at Coastal Carolina University. Being the radio partner of one of only three NCAA Division I [Football Bowl Subdivision] FBS programs in South Carolina is an honor. With a wonderful athletic pedigree, including a baseball national championship, it is great to be able to broadcast [CCU] Chanticleer games and to partner in other ways. Our motto is ‘Live and Local,’ and there is no more local university to the Myrtle Beach-Grand Strand than CCU.” Coastal Carolina University director of corporate sales and sponsorships Rhett Graham adds, “We are excited about this new partnership and the opportunity for Chanticleer student-athletes to be featured across the strong signal and market-leading listenership of WRNN.” Sister Alpha Media Myrtle Beach outlets (CHR) WMYB “Energy 92.1,” alternative WKZQ “96.1 New Rock,” and classic rock WYAV “Wave 104” will promote Chanticleer games as well.
Recent Station Sales. The previously announced $2 million transaction of Radio One news/talk WCHB, Detroit to Crawford Broadcasting is now complete. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2017 PPM sweep, WCHB finishes at #23 (.3). Meanwhile in Reno (Nevada), Times-Shamrock Communications has agreed to sell three stations to Lazer Broadcasting and one to John Burkavage’s Bighorn Media. Lazer will acquire CHR KWNZ “All Hit Radio”; FM news/talk KNEZ; and KZTI “Z-105.3 Rock Hard,” while Bighorn will purchase KRZQ “The Real Alternative.” Lazer president Alfredo Plascencia states, “We are delighted to be acquiring these fine stations from our friends at Times-Shamrock as an addition to our existing cluster to better to serve the Reno market.” Previously the general manager of Times-Shamrock Reno, Burkavage remarks, “Station ownership is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream for me and I am excited by the opportunity.”
Young and Younger. KGO, San Francisco Gen X midday talk host Ethan Bearman (l) recently invited Westwood One syndicated Millennial music radio host Zach Sang of “Zach Sang and the Gang” (r) into his studio for some inter-generational on-air chat. Heavy Hundred member Bearman tells TALKERS, “Zach is deeply connected to what Millennials are thinking about culturally. There has been so much talk about Justin Bieber cancelling his tour because of his newfound religion and I needed to get to a source who knows Bieber. Best of all, Zach is one of the nicest guys around and is simply magical behind the mic!” The two up and coming broadcasters met at a TALKERS convention in New York, stayed in touch and work together when they can for the benefit of their audiences.
TALKERS News Notes. After a 36-year run, anchor/reporter Barbara Boylan exited CBS Radio Pittsburgh news/talk KDKA-AM last Friday (8/4). Boylan joined KDKA-AM in July 1981 from crosstown WKTQ (now WJAS) as a reporter-producer-talk show host ….. Very sad to note the passing of Darren “Dutch” Daulton, who died yesterday (Sunday, 8/6) after a battle with a recurrence of brain cancer. The former Philadelphia Phillies and Florida Marlins catcher hosted “Talkin’ Baseball” on Beasley Media Group Philadelphia sports talk WPEN “97.5 The Fanatic” from 2010 – 2013. After surviving the first round of brain cancer, he established the Darren Daulton Foundation, which provides financial assistance to brain cancer patients. According to Phillies chairman emeritus Bill Giles, “Darren was a true leader of men. The Phillies would not have gone to the 1993 World Series without his leadership. In addition to being an outstanding clubhouse leader, he was also a fighter. I really enjoyed watching him for 14 years in uniform. Darren was a super human being. His teammates loved him and I loved him like he was one of my own.” Glioblastoma has also claimed the lives of other notable baseball players, including Gary Carter, Tug McGraw, and Johnny Oates. Daulton was just 55 ….. Hole-by-hole coverage of the PGA Championship, co-produced with Westwood One, will be broadcast later this week (8/10 – 8/13) from 12:00 noon – 7:00 pm (ET) each day on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. The broadcast team from Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club will include: Fred Albers, Doug Bell, Mark Carnevale, John Maginnes, Dennis Paulson, Bob Rosinski, Charlie Rymer, and Taylor Zarzour ….. As detailed in The Chicago Tribune and RobertFeder.com, former Chicago talk radio host Ted Lauterbach, 70, died July 31 after battling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. Lauterbach’s on-air “Windy City” credits include WIND (1982 – 1983); WCFL (1984); WLS-AM (1989 – 1990); and co-hosting WMAQ’s “Sports Huddle” with Steve Olken and Tom Greene in 1994. In addition, he was general manager and program director of Tele-Communications, a cable system.
Univision Q2 Radio Revenues Down 8.6%. Compared to $73.1 million for a similar period in 2016, second quarter revenue for Univision Communications’ radio division declined 8.6% to $66.8 million. National, network, and local advertising dips led to radio’s advertising revenue falling by 9.2% to $64 million from $70.5 million in 2016. Univision Communications president and chief executive officer Randy Falco notes that for the company as a whole, total revenue in the quarter was nearly $765 million and core revenue was up 5%. “Net income increased $31 million and we continue to deliver as evidenced by our reduction of net debt by approximately $200 million over the first half of the year.”
Westwood One Hall of Famers. Last night (8/6) in Canton (Ohio), Kurt Warner (left) and Jason Taylor (right) were enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Warner is one of Westwood One’s “Monday Night Football” analysts and Taylor was just named the new “Sunday Night Football” analyst. The NFL season kicks off in just over four weeks (Thursday, September 7).
Washington-Based Executive Producer and Radio Engineer Sought by Courtside Entertainment. Two positions are currently open at Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment. The first is an executive producer position based in Washington, DC. This position is with “one of the nation’s most popular conservative talk radio programs” and requires a “driven, intelligent, and organized person to oversee the day-to-day production of the show.” For application information and to see more about this position, click here. The second opening is for a radio engineer. That person “shall install, configure, and maintain radio broadcasting equipment as needed.” The candidate must have “relevant technical knowledge with good people skills and have excellent written and verbal communication skills.” For application information and to see more about this position, click here.
KEGL Announces “The Freakers’ Ball.” The annual concert sponsored by iHeartMedia Dallas rocker KEGL “The Eagle” will take place October 15 at Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie (Texas). Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Dallas Patrick Davis notes, “Freakers’ Ball has become one of fall’s best rock lineups around the country. We couldn’t have asked for a better lineup around Halloween than to include Marilyn Manson, In This Moment and more [including Beartooth, and Greta Van Fleet].” Program director Don Davis comments, “Our Eagle ‘Rockaholics’ have come to expect a great themed show for our annual Freakers’ Ball. Who better to headline our annual event than Marilyn Manson?” A special ‘Rockaholic’ pre-sale will take place this Thursday (8/10) from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. Listeners can also win tickets for a “Win It Before You Can Buy It” promotion today (Monday, 8/7) through Friday (8/11).
Entercom Miami Schedules Riptide Music Festival. More than 20 alternative, pop, rock, and adult contemporary acts will perform (Saturday) December 2 and (Sunday) December 3 at Entercom Miami’s Riptide Music Festival at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. Marketing director and Riptide executive producer Von Freeman states, “It was an incredible success last year with over 25,000 festival-goers. There is just nothing better than seeing people hanging out in December on the sands of Fort Lauderdale [as they] sing every word to every song. The festival embraces the brands of our four top notch radio stations that reach over two million listeners per week and we will be giving away trips all over the United States and the world.” Riptide is produced by the staffs of alternative WSFS “104.3 The Shark”; classic hits-oldies WMXJ “102.7 The Beach”; adult contemporary WLYF “101.5 Lite FM”; and sports WAXY “790 The Ticket.”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Having already launched this summer’s “World of Dance” starring Jennifer Lopez – and with Carson Daly-hosted “The Voice” a mainstay on its roster – NBC-TV is reportedly developing a music reality series for 2018. The new program will be one of at least two more music reality genre series scheduled for next year, along with “American Idol” (moving from Fox to ABC and with KIIS “Kiss-FM,” Los Angeles morning talent Ryan Seacrest remaining in-place as host) and Fox developing an adaptation of the singing competition format “The Final Four” ….. Jury selection begins today (8/7) in the trial between former KYGO, Denver air talent David Mueller (air name “Jackson”) and singer Taylor Swift in Denver. Mueller filed suit against Swift in U.S. District Court two years ago (September 2015), seeking lost wages for allegedly getting fired from the then Entercom-owned country station (now a Bonneville property) after the singer claimed that he lifted her skirt and grabbed her during a meet-and-greet before her June 2013 concert. Swift filed a countersuit claiming sexual assault against Mueller; she is expected to testify. The case is expected to last two weeks, with opening statements beginning as soon as tomorrow (Tuesday, 8/8). Swift is seeking damages of $1, “serving as an example to other women who may resist publicly reliving similar outrageous and humiliating acts,” while Mueller – also expected to testify – is seeking $3 million in lost wages ….. Changes at Entercom San Diego adult contemporary KXSN “Sunny 98.1” find midday talent Dawne Davis and evening personality Nick Upton leaving their on-air shifts to focus on production and digital, respectively. Program director Brooks O’Brian segues from morning drive to take over for Davis in middays, while Dorothy Tran replaces Upton at night. Until a successor to O’Brian is found in morning drive, part-timer Dave Mason will cover that daypart ….. Morning show co-host Melissa Moran will depart Hall Communications country WPCV, Lakeland (Florida) this Wednesday (8/9) in order to focus on her voiceover business, which she started three years ago. Operations manager and program director Mike James comments, “Melissa is a phenomenal radio and voice talent. It is no surprise that her audio book and voiceover career has become so successful. We will miss her greatly and wish her the absolute best.” Moran joined WPCV in 2008.
CBS Sacto Raises Rufer to VP/Programming. Hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5,” Sacramento program director Chad Rufer is boosted to vice president programming of CBS Radio‘s five-station cluster – which includes “Now 100.5” – in California’s capitol city. CBS Radio Sacramento senior vice president and market manager Steve Cottingim comments, “I am looking forward to working with Chad on cluster-wide programming initiatives. He has consistently delivered outstanding results. I am confident that he will have a significant impact growing ratings for the cluster.” Rufer remarks, “I am very humbled by the trust that Steve Cottingim and the executive team at CBS Radio has in me. Taking on this new role and being surrounded by such an all-star programming team is truly a dream come true.” Prior to joining CBS Radio Sacramento six years ago, Rufer was director of programming for Fort Myers Broadcasting Company; programmed KKMG, Colorado Springs; and operations manager of Saga Communications Clarksville, Tennessee. With each station’s July 2016 6+-share and 6+-rank in parentheses, the CBS Sacramento cluster consists of adult contemporary KYMX “Mix 96” (7.6, #2); hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5” (4.7, #5); country KNCI (4.4, #7); rhythmic CHR KSFM “KS-102.5” (3.5, #10); and KHTK “Sports 1140” (1.3, #20).
LA Rams Ready NFL Return with Radio Team. The city of Los Angeles welcomes back the NFL with the return of the Rams from St. Louis. As TALKERS reported last Friday (8/5), former Rams player D’Marco Farr announced that after seven years, he is leaving Hubbard Broadcasting-owned WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” and the afternoon drive “The Fast Lane” show for “new opportunities.” From the “That Didn’t Take Long” file, the “new opportunity” for Farr is handling sideline reporting for the team’s English-language radio broadcasts on flagship ESPN Sports KSPN “ESPN LA 710” and simulcast partner Entercom classic rocker KSWD “100.3 The Sound.” Set to call game action and analysis are J.B. Long from the Pac-12 Network and former UCLA, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Oakland Raiders running back Maurice Jones Drew. KNBC-TV (channel 4), Los Angeles weekend sports anchor Mario Solis and Fox Deportes’ Troy Santiago will call the games on the team’s Spanish-language flagship – Lotus Spanish sports KWKW “ESPN Deportes 1330.” KSPN vice president and general manager Scott McCarthy states, “We could not be more thrilled about the broadcast team who will be bringing Rams games to life for listeners in Southern California and beyond. J.B., Maurice, and D’Marco are experienced and outstanding play-by-play broadcasters. We look forward to hearing them on ‘ESPN LA 710’ during Rams games and also during the week.” KWKW director of programming Juan Rodriguez comments, “Mario Solis and Troy Santiago are admired by the Latino sports enthusiasts for their professionalism and the profound emotion which they bring to each and every broadcast.” Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff remarks, “We are excited these two dynamic teams will bring our games to fans across the region in our first season back in Los Angeles. All of these announcers combine unique experience, passion for the game, and ties to Southern California, which will help connect our fans to Rams football during this historic year.” KSPN midday co-host Steve Mason; former Raiders, Jaguars, and Buffalo Bills linebacker Kirk Morrison; and former NFL cornerback Eric Davis will do KSPN’s three-hour pre-game show. Meanwhile, KSPN morning co-host Travis Rodgers will host the two-hour post-game show, while Jeff Biggs will report at halftime. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s July 2016 PPM report for Los Angeles, KSWD ranks #16 (2.6); KSPN #32 (1.0); and KWKW is unlisted.
Max Media Norfolk Cuts Ties With Nielsen Audio. When Norfolk PPM ratings information was released last Thursday (8/4), five Max Media outlets were noticeably absent and the reason was a financial decision. In a message to clients and agencies, Max Media Norfolk general manager Dave Paulis explained why the cluster is no longer a Nielsen Audio subscriber. “This decision is one we have been discussing for many years,” he writes, “and it comes down to one simple issue – return on investment. Since the advent of PPM in this marketplace in 2008, ratings have dwindled to the point where even the leading stations are not in the position to price [themselves] to match their market position. The elimination of this burdensome subscription will allow Max to diversify, make our products better, and free up dollars to market the radio stations.” Noted with June 2016 6+-rank and 6+-share in parentheses, Max Media Norfolk includes classic hits-oldies WVBW “92.9 The Wave” (#3, 6.0); country WGH-FM “Eagle 97.3” (5.0, #7); CHR WVHT “Hot 100.5” (#9, 3.8); sports WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1″ (#12, 2.3); and gospel WGH-AM “Star 1310” (#15, 1.9).
Turnbeaugh Takes Over As iHM Nevada/Central California Programmer. Senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Las Vegas JoJo Turnbeaugh is elevated to senior vice president of programming for the company’s stations in Nevada and central California. According to Nevada/central California region president Glynn Alan, “JoJo’s broad scope of both format and multi-market experience – combined with his winning attitude and track record – will bring extensive benefits to our region.” The region’s executive vice president of programming Steve Geofferies comments, “JoJo has a history in the central California region and he knows the brands in each of those markets. He added new duties earlier this year and created exceptional results in Las Vegas. We expect more of the same for our region.” Turnbeaugh remarks, “I am honored by the faith and trust that Glynn Alan and Steve Geofferies are placing in me. I am also very excited to work with the great team of leaders already in the region.” Turnbeaugh previously programmed KCCY, Colorado Springs; was assistant program director for KKFN “104.3 The Fan,” Denver; and was an on-air talent at KYGO, Denver.
Westwood One, Dr. Gupta Extend Their Partnership. Practicing neurosurgeon and CNN‘s multiple Emmy award winning chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta signs a multi-year agreement to continue hosting Westwood One’s “A Better Life with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.” Westwood One chief operating officer Charles Steinhauer comments, “Dr. Gupta is one of the most trusted voices on health issues. We are delighted to extend our relationship so that we can continue to meet the demand of listeners who want to live better lives.” Dr. Gupta notes, “I am tremendously excited about the opportunity to share the secrets of a happier and healthier life that I have learned as a doctor and as a roving reporter who has traveled the world for the last 15 years. There are little things we can do to live a better life and I will teach you how to make them a part of your life.” The weekday, 60-second feature airs on 400 stations, including nine of the top ten markets.
The Presidential Race, US Cash Payment to Iran, Rio Olympics Troubles/Action, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend (8/6-7). The activities of presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump; the controversy over the US’ payment of $400 million to Iran the day Americans were released from that country; the problems facing Rio De Janeiro (as well as the actual action of the games) as it entered its opening weekend; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this past weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Odds & Sods. Returning for its second season this Thursday (8/11) is “Undeniable with Joe Buck,” a weekly show produced for radio by AT&T/DirecTV, and Vince Vaughn‘s Wild West Television. Affiliates include Entercom sports outlet KGMZ “The Game,” San Francisco; CBS Radio Washington, D.C.’s WJFK “106.7 The Fan”; iHeartMedia-owned KGME, Phoenix; and CBS Radio St. Louis talker KMOX. Among those Buck will interview in season two are Brett Favre, Sugar Ray Leonard, Joe Torre, Joe Theismann, and Kerri Walsh Jennings ….. Oldies WKVA, State College-Lewistown (Pennsylvania) becomes the 38th affiliate of “Animal Radio News Update,” a minute-long, weekday segment featuring worldwide pet news. Host Hal Abrams comments that, “America’s love affair with their pets is growing at breakneck speed. With the pet industry nearing $63 billion dollars yearly, more and more stations are realizing a new way to increase revenue with our weekday offerings.”
“Secret Weapon” Reveals Radio’s Greatest Ally. As vice president of talent development, iHeartMedia‘s Dennis Clark is often referred to inside the company as its “secret weapon.” Interviewed in Los Angeles by Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey during hivio 2015, Clark emphasizes that talent is the “difference maker of what radio is today” and what the medium could be in the future. “At iHeartMedia, we realize that our point difference is the talent we have on our radio stations,” he acknowledges. It is up to an individual talent though to have personal drive and that starts, Clark suggests, when they raise his or her hand. “They might become super-irritating or annoying, but we really love it,” he comments because it shows that a person “has the energy and the spirit.” At that point, the person has most likely researched the station for which they want to work, or what their “act” could be. “It has to be a great show inside what the station is,” Clark states. “The person has to really know [that particular] station’s brand, its overall, 24-hour mission, and where [he or she] fits into that package.” That philosophy of Clark’s, which he readily admits is not easy-to-teach, applies to all day-parts, not simply morning drive. In order to get his point across to talent, Clark uses examples of other people “who have built a brand.” For example, Bobby Bones – who formerly did mornings on iHeartMedia Austin CHR KHFI “Kiss-FM” – approached (iHeartMedia’s Premiere Radio Networks) with the idea of syndicating his 6:00 am – 11:00 am morning drive program to country stations. “We listened to his show as-is and felt it could fit,” Clark recounts. “The opportunity came for him in Nashville” on iHeartMedia’s country WSIX-FM “The Big 98” and “he went all-in. His CHR experience has been very helpful for him. He understood – and was a great student of – branding. It is very important that talent [get] that.” While iHeartMedia has quite a number of talented on-air personalities at its hundreds and hundreds of stations, no one has a higher profile than “American Idol” host and television production mogul Ryan Seacrest. Not only does the man spearheading morning drive with Ellen K on CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” accept direction, he welcomes it. That, Clark stresses, is a characteristic of a great talent. “It goes to show his drive. Really great personalities have many ideas, but they also know when something is not working. Each show is unique and the ideas have to come from them. Ryan seizes the opportunity to have the conversation at the right time.” Years ago on Seacrest’s show, there was a producer whose nieces and nephews were big fans of “Hanna Montana,” the 2006-2011 Disney Channel television program starring Molly Cyrus. Seacrest played a few of her records, even though the label – Hollywood Records – was not actively promoting them. “At the time, it was a fad and it became a phenomenon,” Clark explains. It might be said that one particular social media platform is also “a fad that has become a phenomenon” and Clark declares, “Twitter has been the best thing for radio. It is now; it is in the moment; and it is interactive.” Among the beliefs at iHeartMedia is that the more ears that hear their company’s shows the better – regardless of method of distribution. “This is a cume business,” Clark puts forth. “The more you invite – the more people will come. The more that they hang into a show, [the greater the chance that] they could become raving fans and disciples of the brand you are developing.” The two-day hivio 2015 conference was held Thursday (6/4) and Friday (6/5) at Hollywood’s Improv.
Are Television Ratings No Longer Relevant? A production of Chicago public radio station WBEZ, “Serial” was a hot topic of conversation during the two-day (Thursday, 6/4 and Friday, 6/5) hivio 2015 seminar in Los Angeles. Among those invoking the Peabody Award-winning podcast was TV Guide Magazine Los Angeles bureau chief Michael Schneider, who possesses more than 20 years covering the television business. Regarding “Serial,” he points out to Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey that, “It is a game-changer and has television people talking, and you don’t hear television people talk too much about audio. You can see the impact of ‘Serial’ on television, which is ironic because ‘Serial’ reminded television people of ‘Dateline NBC‘ and ’48 Hours.'” the most Perhaps the most important issue in television these days is ownership. In announcing their fall lineups, TV network executives indicated they are picking up more of their own in-house productions. “That’s the way [the networks] still make money,” Schneider explains. “They are not making it on advertising anymore because ratings are going down.” NBC and Fox are in the distribution space; however, as the former 12-year television editor of the trade publication Variety points out, people no longer consume programs on those networks live. “They are watching their shows time-shifted, on Hulu.com, or someplace else.” It is Schneider’s contention that television ratings no longer matter. “Look at Netflix – look at Amazon,” he stresses. “We constantly bug Netflix to have them tell us who is watching, but they will not do it. I have no idea who is watching ‘Orange is the New Black.’ All they say is that it is their top-rated show, but that does not help me at all.” Given they do not sell advertising, there is no need to disclose that information – and they are not doing so. Several of Schneider’s friends work at Netflix. Their feedback is that Netflix has figured out just what the audience wants and the company has it down to a science. A strong partisan of CBS Radio Los Angeles alternative outlet KROQ morning drivers Kevin & Bean, Schneider downloads their four-hour show each day. “They do a fantastic job and I love them,” he proclaims of the recent Radio Hall of Fame inductees. “When you take out the music and commercials, they do about two hours of content every day. I have a ridiculous one-hour [one-way] commute.” By the time Schneider leaves for work and then returns home, he has listened to all two hours of the “Kevin & Bean” content. “In the ‘old days,’ I would have heard bits and snippets of their show going in, but nothing on the way home,” he states. “Now, I get a concentrated two-hour dose of that show every day. I am more in-tune to what they are doing.” As a result, he has become even more of an “avid fan” of their daily broadcasts since he feels a greater investment in the program. On the flipside, he no longer listens to the terrestrial station (KROQ). Particularly this time of year, which is Emmy campaign season, Schneider is moderating panel discussions with major television stars and producers. Relevance to a radio audience is that Schneider is a podcaster for Los Angeles public outlet KCRW (Santa Monica Community College). He brings along a digital recorder to his panel sessions and is able to have a “bonus edition” to his “The Spin-Off” podcast. “Suddenly, I am doing four podcasts a month,” Schneider explains. “All I have to do is ask my pals at KCRW to edit it down a little bit. We are in the early experimental stages of podcasts where we can get away with doing something like that. People are hungry for content so they dig it. The more I give, the more I hear from people.”