Benz To Depart WEEI-FM. Revealing on Twitter that he “underestimated the difficulties that go along with working a job in one city while trying to maintain a home and marriage in another,” Entercom sports WEEI-FM, Boston mid-day “MFB” co-host Tim Benz will return to Pittsburgh early next month. Boston-born Benz joined WEEI-FM approximately 14 months ago from iHeartMedia Pittsburgh. In addition to being sports director of that company’s six-station “Steel City” cluster, Benz did morning drive on alternative WXDX “The X.” According to Benz, Boston was “every bit the city” he wanted to experience; however, he notes that it is best for him “personally and professionally” to be back in Pittsburgh with his wife Kate. No details were released about his new assignment in Pittsburgh, where the two sports outlets are iHeartMedia’s WBGG “970 ESPN” and KDKA-FM “The Fan,” owned by CBS Radio – the parent of WEEI-FM format rival WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub.” Benz – who angered many locals by remaining partial to the Pittsburgh Steelers – will do his final “MFB” show tomorrow (Thursday, 7/30). The other members of “MFB” are former Boston Red Sox super-sub Lou Merloni, and ex- New England Patriots tight end Christian Fauria. Benz’ father is Dr. Edward Benz Jr., the president and chief executive officer of Boston’s renowned Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
WW1’s Bouvard: What If Brand Advertising Were Based on ‘Cost Per Awareness?’ In the current edition of his regular blog post, Westwood One chief marketing officer Pierre Bouvard uses recent data from an Ipsos study of the media campaign for the July 15 Amazon Prime Day Sales event to illustrate the effectiveness of radio versus TV and online in this campaign. Bouvard notes (as TALKERS published last week) that Ipsos reports “radio advertising was the most effective at converting awareness into Prime Day purchases when compared to TV and online. Of those exposed to radio ads, 52% made a purchase versus TV (39%) and online (48%).” He goes on to say that, contrary to what one might expect, radio did a better job of targeting 18-34s than TV or online. But what Bouvard really gets at is how much was spent by Amazon on each medium and he posits that if brand advertising were sold on cost-per-awareness basis, radio would have come out on top in this case. Here’s why: Amazon spent $6 million on TV for a 34% ad recall (among 18-34s), resulting in a $177,000 cost-per-awareness point, while it spent $1.4 million on the radio campaign for a 14% ad recall that results in just $100,000 for each cost-per-awareness point. Read Bouvard’s entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. Radio consultant Kipper McGee’s new book, Brandwidth: How Big Broadcasting Missed the Mediamorphosis, is out and ready for shipment. McGee describes the book saying he “reveals the common traits of the biggest failures and offers powerful takeaways for ANY brand planning to thrive in the ever-changing digital world order.”…..Former North Carolina State tight end and NFL player Mark Thomas is leaving sports talk WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 FM The Fan” after almost eight years to join the marketing and ad firm Krash Creative. Thomas hosts the Mark and Mike show with Mike Maniscalco…..The NHL’s Florida Panthers radio play-by-play broadcasts will continue to be heard on flagship WQAM, Miami after CBS RADIO reached an agreement to extend their deal. “Red Deer” Randy Moller will continue to call the action from the booth. As part of the partnership, WQAM will air a 30-minute pregame show and a 15-minute postgame show. The station will also broadcast weekly updates, and exclusive interviews with Panthers head coach Gerard Gallant, Panthers players and other hockey personalities. A 60-minute “Panthers Insider” program hosted by Moller will air on Saturday mornings. The Panthers will also receive comprehensive promotion on CBS RADIO stations country WKIS and hip hop WPOW…..Greater Media sports talker WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” will be the radio outlet for the Arena Football League’s 2015 East Division Champion Philadelphia Soul as it enters the playoff round of competition. The station’s Joe DeCamara and Soul general manager Tom Goodhines will provide color commentary…..Univision takes over Spanish-language broadcasts of Chicago Bears games from SBS as its WVIX and WVIV simulcast and WRTO-AM have acquired the rights in a new multi-year deal. Hector Lozano and Omar Ramos will be in the booth for play-by-play duties.
Former WWL and WRNO, New Orleans Host Andre Trevigne Dead at 66. Longtime New Orleans TV and radio personality Andre Trevigne got her start in radio in Chicago but rose to prominence after moving back to her hometown of New Orleans and shifting from radio to television. She worked at WWL-TV where she partnered with Eric Paulsen to co-host that station’s morning news program. She went back to radio as a talk show host at WWL-AM in 1999 and stayed there through 2004. She hosted a radio talk show on WRNO from 2006 through 2009. Trevigne died in hospice after a long illness.
KMOX, St. Louis’ Charlie Brennan Spearheads Ferguson Clean-Up. As the one-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri approaches, KMOX, St. Louis mid-morning personality Charlie Brennan came up with the idea of a community clean-up to help the community bounce back. Almost 400 volunteers turned out for a massive clean-up of West Florissant, the street that became ground zero for the protests, looting and fighting that would occupy the area for weeks. Pictured here is Brennan (standing) broadcasting from the station’s remote base during the clean-up.
2016 Presidential Candidates-Trump Criticisms, Obama’s ‘Could Win Third Term’ Comment, Planned Parenthood Videos Scandal, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Minnesota Dentist Lion Hunt Controversy, Iran Nuclear Deal, Immigration Policy-Syrian Refugee Influx, Tom Brady Suspension Upheld Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/28). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the intense scrutiny of Donald Trump; President Obama’s statement that if he could run again, he’d win; the ongoing controversy over the videos showing Planned Parenthood doctors haggling over the price for body parts from aborted fetuses; the ballooning allegations of rape against Bill Cosby; the case of a Minnesota dentist who paid to kill and African lion; the uncertain state of the nuclear deal with Iran; ongoing debate over America’s immigration policy and concerns over an influx of Syrian refugees; and the upholding of the four-game suspension of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Pursuing Truth Amid Civil Unrest. Media outlets have experienced a number of situations recently that qualify as true “danger zones” in which to send their reporters and tech crews if they choose to cover the event first hand. ABC TV director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes today about the hazards radio news staffers are facing in situations similar to what’s been happening in Baltimore and – not too long ago – Ferguson, Missouri. He presents a plan for broadcasters to follow in preparing for coverage of such news events in the future. Read his entire piece here.
Lew Dickey, Cumulus, Agree to Continuation. The co-founder of Cumulus Media will be remaining in-place for at least another three years: Lew Dickey extends his employment agreement as the company’s president and chief executive officer. In addition, he will carry on as a board member through 2018. According to board member Jeff Marcus, “We are grateful that Lew Dickey, who has built Cumulus into a leading national media business, has renewed his commitment to lead the company into the future. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Lew to build value for our shareholders.” In other news at the Atlanta-based company, Ridgemont Equity Partners‘ Robert “Trey” Sheridan, III, will retire from Cumulus’ board when his term ends at this year’s annual stockholders meeting; Association of Magazine Media (MPA) president and chief executive officer Mary Berner will be nominated to fill Sheridan’s vacated seat. Dickey comments, “We are fortunate to be adding Mary Berner to our board. Her insights and experience will be valuable as we continue to position the company for long-term success in the changing media landscape.” Elsewhere, Cumulus lead director, Jeffrey Marcus, is appointed non-executive board chair. Marcus has been a Cumulus board member since 2011. He is a partner with Crestview Partners, Cumulus’ largest stockholder.
Red Zebra Officially Names Dan Zampillo to PD WTEM, Washington. The company owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announces former WXYT-FM, Detroit and SiriusXM program director Dan Zampillo is taking over the programming reigns at its sports talk WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” The PD position opened up after Chuck Sapienza exited in the middle of the on-off-on again addition of the new “Man Cave” morning show hosted by Chris Paul and Jason Reid. Red Zebra Broadcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “When it comes to sports, we have the best on-air talent in the area. We look forward to having Dan join our team. He brings great leadership, experience and fresh insight.”
What News/Talk Fans Are Doing When They’re Not Listening To Your Station. In a piece prepared for TALKERS magazine by Jacobs Media based on data from the company’s recently released Techsurvey 11, company president Fred Jacobs presents a media and tech profile of news/talk P1s. He notes that while news/talk P1s tend to lag behind younger demos in the tech and social media areas, that’s changing. “Fans of the format are more likely to own a tablet, listen to podcasts, and subscribe to satellite radio. They are less apt to be social networkers. Compared to just a few short years ago, news/talk devotees are catching up tech-wise with their kids. The data show that six in 10 stream video at least weekly while nearly eight in 10 own a smartphone.” See how news/talk P1s choose to use social media and why they turn to broadcast talk radio. Read the entire piece here.
Odds & Sods. From the podcast genre comes news that PodcastOne is unveiling a new series featuring TV personality and entertainment reporter Katie Wagner, and international celebrity psychic Voxx Voltair. Dubbed, “InnerView with Katie and Voxx,” it promises to combine “the hottest news in Hollywood with astrology, clairvoyance, numerology, and Tarot readings and features the latest gossip, fashion trends, and secrets from celebrity guests.”…..At the same time CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announce some new on-demand programming on its Play.it platform. New shows include podcasts from SHOWTIME Boxing Commentator Paulie Malignaggi, ELLE Style correspondent Alia Ahmed-Yahia, TED.com speaker Julian Treasure, former CNN senior executive producer Michael Schulder’s “Wavemaker Conversations,” “The Marilu Henner Show”; and “Boomer & Carton” producer Al Dukes’ interview series with media moguls called, “Al’s Boring Podcast.”…..SiriusXM is launching “Let’s Talk with Abby and Ari,” a live, one-hour weekly, call-in show hosted by MSNBC The Cycle’s Abby Huntsman and Ari Melber. The show will entail Huntsman and Melber examining the news of the day first, and welcoming tastemakers and newsmakers for interviews in a relaxed, casual style. “The show will be a conversation at the cross-section of current events, politics and entertainment.”…..ESPN 2 “First Take” moderator Cari Champion is now hosting a new weekly ESPN Audio podcast called, “espnW Presents: Be Honest with Cari Champion.” It will feature the “straight-shooting, always-honest Champion talking sports and more with A-list athletes and celebrity guests.”
Salem Radio Network to Organize Aid Drive for Nepal Earthquake Victims. Via its Washington-based SRN News, Salem Radio Network launched a campaign on its 1,600-plus affiliates nationwide to encourage donations on behalf of victims of last Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal. The network is working with Oklahoma City-based nonprofit relief organization Project HOPE. SRN will generate funds to rush food and emergency supplies to the stricken area. The effort includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Eric Metaxas and Hugh Hewitt.
Fisher House Foundation Offers Memorial Day Special to News/Talk Outlets. As it has done in the past, Fisher House Foundation is offering news/talk radio stations a three-our Memorial Day Weekend program titled, “A Hero’s Best Medicine.” Fisher House says this year’s program contains “all-new, compelling and diverse storytelling. The show shares the role that Fisher House plays in military heroes’ recovery, giving family a safe place to stay just steps from their hospital rooms.” Some of the stories told include that of Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, a Medal of Honor recipient, and his family in South Carolina. Carpenter threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan to save a fellow Marine’s life. His parents spent nearly three years in a Fisher House; and Marine Cpl. Jake Schick, a wounded warrior who attracted the attention of Clint Eastwood and landed a role in the blockbuster film “American Sniper.” Schick met his wife in a military hospital. Throughout his recovery she stayed in a Fisher House. The program is hosted by KARN, Little Rock afternoon host Doc Thompson. For affiliation details on “A Hero’s Best Medicine,” news/talk stations should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the word “radio” in the subject line.
Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, Nepal Quake Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iranian Navy Intercepts U.S. Ship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28). The tactics to curb the violent protests in Baltimore and the political aspects of the event; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging the anti-gay marriage laws in four states; the ongoing scrutiny of the financial operations of the Clinton Foundation; the aftermath of the earthquake that’s taken more than 5,000 lives in Nepal; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including new possibilities Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley; and the interception of a U.S-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian Naval vessel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Six Tips for Success in Syndication. The syndication game in the radio business has gotten so much more competitive over the years that today one must have a well-thought out and almost flawlessly executable plan in order to successfully bring a radio show to a national audience. That warning doesn’t mean it can’t be done – it’s just gonna be real hard. But Global Media Services principal Tony Garcia – a veteran of the radio and syndication businesses – writes in TALKERS magazine that a quick rundown of his six-point checklist can let you know whether or not you have a reasonable shot. Point #1 is Know Your Product. Sound easy? Read more here.
Dave Ramsey Does Dallas. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author, Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Verizon Theater in Dallas where he hosted his “Smart Conference.” This day-long event took place on Saturday, March 28 and included Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. providing attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers. Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Dallas on Friday, March 27 during which Ramsey and Hogan spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees. Ramsey partnered with CBS RADIO-owned local affiliate KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080” to promote the appearances.
Mike Gallagher to Play Roles in Ferguson: The Play. Nationally syndicated talk radio pro Mike Gallagher – whose program is heard around the nation via Salem Radio Network – will take part in a controversial stage production in Los Angeles based on the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson. Regular TALKERS magazine readers are aware that Gallagher is, in addition to his radio work, an accomplished stage actor. He appeared on Broadway in the musical Memphis and who took home a TONY Award as one of the investors in the 2014 Broadway revival of Pippin. In this production, based on the Grand Jury witness testimony, Gallagher will play three roles: a lawyer, a forensic toxicologist and a medical examiner. At the end of the production, the theatre audience will be asked to judge whether or not Darren Wilson should have been indicted. The play will be presented at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles for four nights – April 26-29. The producers of the Phelim McAleer-written and Nick DeGruccio-directed play hope to bring it to the stage in Ferguson itself.
Johnny B’s ‘Talk Unhinged’ Debuts on Westwood One Today. Stating that the program is debuting on 100 affiliate stations across the country, Westwood One announces the new Jonathon Brandmeier show is called “Talk Unhinged,” and the company says it’s “an entertaining, offbeat look at news, pop culture, and sports–from the big trending topics to the stories about to fall through the cracks–combined with celebrity interviews and free-wheeling audience interaction.” It airs live from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET and launches on such Cumulus Media stations as: home base WLS-AM Chicago; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KLIF-AM Dallas; WWBA-AM, Tampa; KKAT-AM, Salt Lake City; WPRV-AM, Providence; and KTBL-AM, Albuquerque; among others.
Cumulus Media Recruits Tommy Page for New Executive Role. Former Pandora, Billboard and Warner Bros. Records exec Tommy Page is now with Cumulus Media as senior vice president of brand partnerships where he’ll focus live events for that division of the company. In this position Page will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey, who comments, “As an artist and marketer, Tommy is a natural choice to create meaningful connections between artists, brands and their passionate fans through immersive and measurable marketing experiences. Tommy has a deep understanding of the live experience and helping advertisers bring their brands to life with unique partnerships.”
Vea Promoted at KSL in Salt Lake City. The new title for Tanya Vea at Bonneville International’s KSL radio and TV is vice president and general manager of KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio. She has served as vice president station manager at KSL since April 2014, overseeing news, programming, marketing, operations and engineering. According to a story in the Deseret News, she now assumes responsibility for all operating departments, including sales. Bonneville president Darrell Brown comments, “Tanya will be an outstanding general manager. She has been a key contributor to many of the cross-platform initiatives, including the groundbreaking DMC combined newsroom for KSL and the Deseret News. Her expanded role as general manager of KSL will now allow her to have a greater impact on the entire organization.”
Ex-WJR Leader Fezzey Passes. Former WJR, Detroit president and general manager Mike Fezzey died of a heart attack on March 27 while on a business trip in Naples, Florida. The 58-year-old native Detroiter had been president/general manager of heritage talker WJR from 1994 to 2011, but for the past four years, was president of Huntington Bank‘s southeastern Michigan region. According to a WJR statement, “Mike Fezzey was a community leader; active in many charities and nonprofit activities in Michigan; and he was a leader in his church. Under [his] leadership, [Cumulus Media-owned] WJR maintained [its] position as Detroit’s preeminent radio station, and it became one of America’s leading news-talk stations.” Cross-town CBS Radio market manager Debbie Kenyon comments, “Mike was a leader in our industry for years. He was an inspiration to many in the way he transcended his career. He will be sorely missed by all of us.” Huntington Bank released a statement, which describes Fezzey as “an extraordinary member of the Huntington family who was highly committed to the Detroit area and making it a growing, vibrant community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family.” A former president of the Detroit Advertising Association, Fezzey received a Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence from the University of Georgia and the Neal Shine Award for philanthropy in journalism. In July 1996, Feezey selected Paul W. Smith to succeed the late J.P. McCarthy as WJR’s morning drive talent. On Saturday (3/28), Smith voiced a WJR commentary regarding Fezzey. Prior to being elevated to president/general manager at WJR, Fezzey was an account executive and sales manager there. His wife, Suzy, and their three adult children survive Fezzey.
Brent & Meg Receive the Coveted ‘Poopy’ Award. Nationally syndicated husband/wife duo Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) were recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for their role in the “Studio City Beautification” program instituted by the Studio City Resident’s Association and the City of Los Angeles to keep the streets free of unwanted dog droppings. They are pictured at a special dinner honoring their community-mindedness at Carla’s Café, surrounding LA City Councilmember Paul Kerkorian of the second district (which includes major studios such as Universal and CBS). Meg and Brent are animal lovers and make sure that plastic mitt bags are available to “help dog owners keep our streets clean…not our movies…just our streets.” The Brent & Meg Show now airs Monday through Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on the Genesis Communications Network (GCN) as well as on its anchor affiliate WWPG 1450, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Brent & Meg will be serving as Official Masters of Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. To register, call 413-565-5413 before it, again, sells out.