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Monday, August 16, 2021

| August 16, 2021

iHeartMedia Launches News/Talk Outlet in St. Louis. Urban contemporary KMJM “Majic 104.9” is gone (now available on KTLK-HD2) as iHeartMedia flips the signal to news/talk with new call letters KTLK-FM and the brand “104.9 The Patriot.” The station launches today and features market media pro Jamie Allman in morning drive and the much of the slate of conservative talk programming from Premiere Networks, including: Glenn Beck, Clay Travis & Buck Sexton, and Jesse Kelly, plus “The Ramsey Show” and Westwood One’s “Red Eye Radio.” iHeartMedia St. Louis market president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “St. Louis is excited to welcome a talk radio station featuring the latest news, opinions, and discussions from a conservative point of view that isn’t afraid to engage with the other side. ‘104.9 The Patriot’ will deliver all of that and more every weekday.” Allman hosted mornings at crosstown news/talk KFTK-FM until 2018 when he exited in the aftermath of his social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of that year.  Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Allman joined Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM, St. Louis in early 2019 but Salem subsequently sold the signal, along with a number of others, to Relevant Radio later that year.

Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco. As school bells ring – or don’t – angst is amplified, and employers’ vaccine mandates and renewed mask mandates echo a 2020 we’d like to forget. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke cautions that “the pandemic protocol resistance narrative is approaching its ‘use-by’ date.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: The Feedback & Agreement of Sales. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communcations Corp, writes in today’s column about the deadly effects of the “assumptive close.” He says, “What’s really going with these poorly timed assumptive closers? It’s all part of a fast track sell-by-email culture. When a seller bypasses key steps in any sales flow, the result is typically pushback. When an assumptive close is pushed too early in the sales flow, rapport and ease of access are stressed and difficult to reignite.” Read his piece here.

How Do the Dominion Lawsuits Affect Talk Hosts? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a column today (8/13) about the recent rulings allowing the lawsuits by Dominion Election Systems against Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Lindell to go forward and the recently filed suits by Dominion against One America News Network, Newsmax, and FOX News. In denying the motions to dismiss by Powell, Giuliani, and Lindell, Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote, “It is true that courts recognize the value in some level of ‘imaginative expression’ or ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ in our public debate…But it is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.” Weisman notes that the landmark NY Times v. Sullivan recognizes the importance of the media being able to report on newsworthy topics without the threat of being sued for minor errors in reporting. However, he says, “There is a responsibility that comes with the microphone and camera and that responsibility is to not make statements that you know to be false or to make statements of fact when you have not properly investigated the basis for making those statements.” Read his column here.

Jeff Sottolano to Take Over for Pat Paxton as Audacy Chief Programming Officer. Late Friday (8/13), Audacy announced that 21-year corporate programmer Pat Paxton is exiting the company and he’ll be replaced by company programmer Jeff Sottolano, who rises to executive vice president, head of programming. Audacy CEO David Field says of Paxton, “Pat has been a key leader in the organization for the past 21 years, spearheading programming and playing a critical role in helping us build many of the industry’s greatest brands. Pat’s steady, decisive leadership and thoughtful insights have made him a valuable and trusted voice on Audacy’s leadership team. Pat has left an outstanding legacy at Audacy which will stand the test of time. We deeply appreciate his many important contributions to our success and everything he has meant to this company. Please join me in thanking Pat for all of his excellent work at Audacy and wishing him all the best for the future.” Addressing Sottolano’s rise within the company, Field states, “Like Pat, Jeff is a veteran team member, having spent his entire career at Audacy, Entercom, CBS Radio and Infinity. Since the merger, he has played an important leadership role overseeing a number of initiatives and many key elements of our programming.  Over the past year, Jeff led our news transformation efforts and the launch of the BetQL Network. In addition, he expanded our programming data and analytics capabilities, managed our network content partnerships and contributed to our Audacy Exclusive Station launch strategy. In his new role, Jeff will be responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across both broadcast and digital distribution platforms. He will oversee our outstanding programming leadership team, including SVP, programming Dave Richards; VP, news Bill Smee; VP, sports Matt Volk, and Audacy’s team of experienced format VPs.  He will also work closely with our Music Initiatives and Live Events team led by SVP, music initiatives Michael Martin and SVP, promotions and experiences Chad Fitzsimmons, as Audacy curates amazing experiences for its listeners in-person and online. Finally, he will collaborate with digital leadership to ideate new and exclusive features and content on the Audacy app and distribution platform as the company expands its capabilities and offerings.”

Gen Media Partners Unveils G Networks. This new radio network sales and affiliates sales division of Gen Media Partners debuts as G Networks. The company says, “Rising in tandem with the Gen Media Partners successful umbrella of other radio divisions, G Networks will stand alone as a full-service audio network company that is already engaged with over 250 million listeners each month through over 4,000 affiliated radio stations. G Networks has an existing and extensive portfolio of high-quality audio services, produced features, research services, entertainment, sports, news, and programming.” Gen Media Partners managing partner Warren Friedland adds, “Evolution isn’t possible without change. It is with this ethos that we have upped the commitment and engagement for our G Networks radio division and are focusing on what is now vitally important to advertisers and stations in the current media environment. With an eye to the future, we intend to both invest and transform the future of audio.”

Big Joe Staysniak Exits Sports Talk ‘The Fan’ in Indy. Longtime Emmis Communications air personality Big Joe Staysniak has exited “The Fan Morning Show.” The company says in a statement, “Big Joe Staysniak is no longer with Emmis and ‘The Fan.’ We would like to thank Big Joe for his many contributions to Emmis since he joined WIBC in 1998. He was always a fan favorite, and his knowledgeable insights and affable nature will be missed by his coworkers and listeners. We wish him nothing but the best in his next chapter.” Staysniak had been co-hosting the morning show with Jeff Rickard but Rickard recently left “The Fan” to take the brand manager position at Audacy’s WEEI, Boston. Meanwhile, Kevin Bowen continues as morning host at “The Fan” and it’s unclear at this time if Emmis will hire a co-host to work with him. The company recently took “The Fan” off WFNI-AM and shut the signal down after selling its transmitter property for development. “The Fan” is currently heard on WIBC-HD2 and translators W228CX at 93.5 FM and W298BB at 107.5 FM.

TALKERS News Notes. In the wake of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti early Saturday morning (8/14) the Salem Radio Network announces that it is using its network-wide resources to generate food donations for victims. The quake Saturday was worse than the 2010 earthquake that left 220,000 dead across the island nation. SRN’s 24/7 news service SRN News and its news/talk counterpart TOWNHALL News have immediately launched a campaign to generate donations for Florida-based Christian non-profit relief organization FOOD FOR THE POOR. SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “For over 35 years FOOD FOR THE POOR has had boots on the ground in Haiti, and their teams are uniquely qualified to distribute food to earthquake-devastated areas of Haiti through their network of local churches.” The Haiti earthquake relief effort will be joined by SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts Mike GallagherEric Metaxas, Sebastian Gorka, Hugh Hewitt and Carl Jackson (who is guest-hosting Larry Elder’s national talk show while Elder runs for Governor of California in the state’s September 14th Recall.)…..“Bar Fights: Taking on Issues that Matter,” a new podcast hosted by advocate, survivor and preeminent sexual abuse attorney Sarah Klein makes its debut today. Klein is also a former gymnast and the first known survivor of former Olympic women’s gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In 2018, she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs for the bravery that she and her sister survivors exhibited to bring Nassar to justice. On “Bar Fights,” Klein goes after the issues that matter to protect children and vulnerable adults from perpetrators of sexual abuse, the institutions that enable them, and the laws that protect them. “Using my voice and platform to create awareness and positive change has been a huge part of my healing journey. It is an honor to bring on such an incredible line-up of guests who will inform, inspire, and challenge our listeners. To affect real change, we all have to do our part. That’s what we are doing here on ‘Bar Fights.’”…..Pictured below is Tom Griswold, host of the nationally syndicated “The BOB & TOM Show” in an Indianapolis hospital recovering from heart valve replacement surgery. It will be several weeks before he returns to his microphone at the studio, but a home studio is being assembled so he can get back on the air quicker. Those wishing to send well wishes to Tom may send them to: getwell@bobandtom.com.

WFOY, St. Augustine Owner Kris Phillips Dies. Lifelong broadcaster Kris Phillips, whose Phillips Broadcasting owns news/talk WFOY-AM, St. Augustine, has died at age 61 after a long illness. The station’s Facebook page features her obituary. Phillips, a native of Chicago, worked in the TV news and weather business for most of her career. She settled in St. Augustine in 2008 and formed the company that would buy WFOY and sister WAOC. Phillips had lived with Type 1 diabetes since she was a child and battled cancer twice.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines & Mandates, Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Haiti Earthquake, COVID Benefits Cyberfraud, Western Wildfires/Drought, Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases on some parts of the U.S. and the controversy over vaccines and mask mandates; criticism of the Biden administration’s response as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake that hit Haiti; the report indicating that “tens of billions” of dollars of COVID relief benefits were stolen by cyberfraudsters abroad; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Great News Opportunities at Saga Communications. The company is expanding its NEWS presence in several markets. Group program director Scott Chase says, “We are looking for news people who are more than just news people. If you’re a storyteller with a news mindset; if you’re charismatic and have a sense of humor; if you’re active in your community; if you’re interesting; if you’re an elite communicator, we’re looking for you. We want someone who understands how to reach the local listeners and make a story interesting. We want an individual who loves to connect with listeners and the leaders of their respective community. Are you still with us? If so, APPLY NOW. We are expanding our news footprint in South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and the New England area, and we would love to talk to you about your ideas on news in a world that thinks the media delivers fake news. Saga Communications is a great company to work for and an equal opportunity employer. Apply Now!” Contact group program director, Scott Chase at schase@sagacom.com. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

| November 5, 2019

Townsquare Media Q3 Net Revenue Up 6.2%.  Third quarter 2019 net revenue for Townsquare Media was $112.6 million, an increase of 6.2% over the same period in 2018.  (Net revenue was up 7.9% excluding political revenue.)  The company also is reporting year-to-date figures (the first three quarters of the year) and says that net revenue was up 6.7% over the same period in 2018.  Net income was up $29 million during the first three quarters of 2019 compared to the same period in 2018.  Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says in a statement, “Townsquare’s third quarter results exceeded our expectations, with ex-political net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA increasing 7.9% and 12.9%, respectively, over the prior year.  In addition to the continued strong results of our digital marketing subscription business, Townsquare Interactive, which increased net revenue by 26.0% over the prior year, our Advertising business grew net revenue a very impressive 7.3% excluding political revenue over the prior year.  Both segments also achieved strong profit margins in excess of 30% in the third quarter and year to date periods, which as a result increased Adjusted EBITDA by a strong 11.5% in the first nine months of 2019.  Continued momentum in our revenue growth, coupled with our disciplined expense management, allowed us to reduce net leverage to 4.7x as of September 30th, a reduction of 0.6x year over year and the lowest net leverage level in our history.  The ongoing strong performance of Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite, our proprietary digital programmatic advertising platform, is contributing to digital revenue being 35% of our total net revenue and reinforces our belief that each of those digital divisions will generate $100 million in annual net revenue within the next two to four years.  We believe that our strong financial performance, talented teams, broad product suite of high quality, locally focused multiplatform offerings, and the size and strength of our digital businesses, further prove that Townsquare is not a traditional radio broadcaster, and has evolved to be a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company.”

‘ESPN Tucson’ Adds New Morning Show. The new, two-hour morning drive show on Arizona Lotus Corp’s sports talk KFFN-AM/K285DL in Tucson is hosted by Jeff Dean.  He’s a 20-plus year broadcast pro who has served as the PA announcer for University of Arizona Wildcats football and men’s basketball for the past six years.  Station operations manager Larry Mac says, “We are excited to have someone with the level of expertise that Jeff Dean will bring to the airwaves here in Tucson.  His love of the Wildcats, and his passion for sports will help make ‘ESPN Tucson’ the destination for local morning sports talk radio in the Old Pueblo.”  Dean, whose show will air Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to 9:00 am, says, “It’s such an amazing feeling to be able to return home.  I really hope to strengthen the relationship between the University of Arizona athletic department and the great sports fans of Tucson.  It’s time for these fans to know the real U of A and I hope that I can help facilitate that.”

TALKERS News Notes. An 11-part series of reports in honor of the men and women who’ve served in the U.S. military is available from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One.  The Veterans Day report is approximately one minute long and features the men and women who make up the U.S. veteran population.  They include perspectives from national leaders and veterans of varying ages about how veterans view their service and the day set aside to honor it.  The series is reported and produced by Westwood One News reporter Chas Henry, himself a combat decorated veteran of the 1991 Gulf War…..A special episode of “The Adam Carolla Show” on PodcastOne was released yesterday (11/4) featuring Ford v Ferrari co-stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale.  PodcastOne notes that “perhaps the most ‘candid’ moment came after they finished recording the podcast as Carolla and Damon were overheard talking about Carolla’s longtime friend and colleague, and Damon’s long-time public nemesis, Jimmy Kimmel.”  Check it out here…..PBS is presenting a Christmas special that will air  a number of times in  this month and in December featuring some of the traditional popular holiday music written by such composers as Johnny Marks, who wrote “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”  Serving as associate producer of the project is Chick Pallotta, who specializes in producing mini-radio programs for the holiday season using the voices of that era to introduce the recordings of their well-known compositions.  Some 300 PBS stations will be airing the special…..SiriusXM announces host changes to its SiriusXM Progress channel leading up to the 2020 elections.  First, “Signal Boost with Zerlina and Jess,” co-hosted by Zerlina Maxwell and Jess McIntosh will expand to two hours, airing from 7:00 am to 9:00 am ET.  Wrapping up the day’s news will be SiriusXM’s John Fugelsang, who joins the Progress channel’s primetime schedule from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET.  Fugelsang previously hosted a show on SiriusXM’s Insight channel.  In addition to regular appearances as a political expert on MSNBC, CNN, and FOX News, Fugelsang recently co-hosted the nationally syndicated television entertainment program “Page Six TV.”

Celebrating Brian Kilmeade’s New Book. Crews from New York news/talkers WABC, WOR, and FOX News were at Del Frisco’s steakhouse in New York City to celebrate the publishing of FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade’s new book, Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers: The Texas Victory That Changed American History (2019, Penguin Publishing).  Pictured above are (from l-r): FNC’s Bill Hemmer, WABC executive producer Jill Vitale, WOR host Mark Simone, famed defense attorney and fill-in radio host Arthur Aidala, FOX News Radio affiliate relations account manager Tamara Karcev, Kilmeade, WABC program director Dave LaBrozzi, and WABC APD Matt Dahl.

Premiere Networks Offers ‘Early Edition’ of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ An additional three-hours of “Coast to Coast AM” is being offered by Premiere Networks beginning this week.  The company says that “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory – Early Edition” is a partial re-broadcast from the previous night that is available to existing affiliates to air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET, Monday through Friday.  In the same press release, Premiere reminds affiliate stations that “Coast to Coast AM” is continuing its long-standing tradition of providing live programming throughout the holidays, including music, special guest appearances, open lines and surprises on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

Impeachment Process, Trump Tax Returns Ruling, Roger Stone Trial, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S. Withdraws from Paris Climate Deal, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, and Popeye’s Chicken Stabbing Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/4). The impeachment process against President Trump and the speculation about who will testify; a federal appeals court rules President Trump must turn over 8 years of tax returns; longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone federal trial on obstructing a congressional investigation looking into Russian hacking during the 2016 campaign begins this week; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the U.S. begins the final stage of exiting the Paris Climate Accord; the U.S.-China trade negotiations, and the death of a Maryland man as the result of an argument at a Popeye’s Chicken restaurant were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Hail to the… Chef!  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher as he broadcast his nationally syndicated program on Monday (11/4) from Famous Hamburger Joe’s restaurant in Surfside Beach, South Carolina to thank owner Tony Cherney for a large donation to Gallagher’s “Food For The Poor” campaign.  Gallagher says it was “magical” to have a restaurant provide such a major donation to feed hungry children through “Food For The Poor.”

Alex Luke Appointed SVP of Digital Content for SiriusXM and Pandora. Music and media executive Alex Luke joins SiriusXM to take on the newly created position of senior vice president, digital content for SiriusXM and Pandora.  In this role, Luke will lead programming for Pandora and editorial content on the Pandora and SiriusXM digital platforms.  Most recently, Luke was global head of programming and content strategy at Amazon Music.  He’s also served with Napster and Apple.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “Alex is an expert in shaping the digital content experience for listeners, and we are excited to have him join us as we continue to advance and evolve how we create and present content for our listeners across our digital platforms.  It is vital we ensure that the great content we produce today, as well as what we create in the future, is done in the most attractive and consumer-friendly manner so that it drives growth in usage across our digital platforms.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Jack Shell exits the midday show at Cumulus Media’s country WFMS, Indianapolis after almost two years there.  He moved north from the company’s adult contemporary WLYF, Miami “101.5 Lite FM” in December of 2017.  In a Facebook post, Shell says, “Would like to thank those who listened to my show on 95.5 WFMS in Indianapolis, and I am proud to have accomplished quite a bit during my brief time here in terms of ratings and connecting with this audience.  Thanks to Cumulus for getting me back into country music radio and giving me a great station on which to perform these last two years.”…..Also leaving a Cumulus Media country outlet is Nathan Fast.  He leaves his morning gig at KPLX, Dallas “99.5 The Wolf” after a little more than a year there.  He’d been co-hosting the morning program with Lisa Taylor, who remains on the air in AM drive…..Entercom announces that 2019 CMA Awards nominee Luke Combs is hosting its exclusive one-hour “CMA Red Carpet Countdown” immediately preceding the televised CMA Awards beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET on Wednesday, November 13.  The show will feature Luke Combs introducing additional content and a curated playlist from Nashville…..The lineup for night two of Entercom‘s RADIO.COM event “KROQ Absolut Almost Acoustic Christmas 2019,” taking place on Sunday, December 8 at the Honda Center in Anaheim is revealed.  Taking the stage that evening will be: Mumford & Sons, Twenty One Pilots, The 1975, The Raconteurs, Of Monsters and Men, The Interrupters, lovelytheband, Matt Mason, and DJ Jeremiah Red.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of tickets benefits Para Los Niños and the Al Wooten Jr. Heritage Center…..Pictured below is “NASH Nights Live” co-host Elaina Smith (left) with country star Miranda Lambert (right) after Lambert appeared as a guest on Smith’s podcast “Breaking Thru with Elaina.”  The interview will also be heard as part of Smith’s “With Elaina,” the Westwood One syndicated two-hour weekend country program for pop culture junkies, entertainment fans and country music lovers!

Monday, February 25, 2013

| February 25, 2013

nms2013logoMike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013.  The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important francesamikeannual convention.  Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.”  He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world.  Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects.  He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon.  One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe.  Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things?  We are delighted!”  More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference.  The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person.  An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations.  Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Complete agenda details are being posted daily.  Stay tuned.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit.  The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem).  The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to awardbubba Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli.  Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial:  Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it).  That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit.  How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees.  Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network.  Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families.  Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe.  The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming.  From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future.  Politics is important – but so is the culture around us.  As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes.  Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”

constantinilynneVeteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development.  In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives.  She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant.  Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze.  TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web.  I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”

cookehollandListeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked.  That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question:  “RU@Speed-of-Life?’  In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo.  For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends.  He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner.  Never stop the action through over-explanation.  Don’t miss this timely and informative piece.  Read it here.

baileyralphTalk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday.  After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN.  Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!!  I signed a contract today to join American General Media.  I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4.  I could not be happier!  I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch!  I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder.  It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”

californian logoKERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor.  Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian.  The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built.  While KERN will coxscottprovide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments.  Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers.  That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.”  The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website.  Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news.  The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year.  So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving.  Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”

millerchrisNot All That Glitters is Gold.  According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.”  He advises, “The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning.  In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!”  Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.

benandskinESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin.  Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station.  They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal.  We’re parting ways with them for now.  Future is unwritten.  Thank you for your support throughout the years.  We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure.  Stay tuned.”

sweeneyjohnJohn Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany.  The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station.  The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant.  Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.

raytomTECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio.  Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec.  Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape.  Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate.  These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city.  This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems.  These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality.  The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service.  With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations.  This has been the norm now for close to 20 years.  Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids.  IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium.  Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus.  Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.

tradupguatemalaSalem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.”  SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.”  Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away.  And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there.  We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.”  Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere.  The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.

bloomlisaOdds & Sods.  Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser.  Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors.  Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.

kdkaharlemshakeHarlem Shake Takes Over KDKA.  The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.