By Steven J.J. Weisman
BOSTON — A recently story published here in TALKERS magazine described the problems coming from an advertisement on Tampa radio station WHPT “102.5 The Bone” on which talk host Drew Garabo endorsed a private investment fund that the Securities and Exchange Commission has deemed a fraud. The SEC obtained a temporary restraining order halting the marketing of the investment and has frozen the assets of Patrick O. Howard and the two companies he used to sell the private funds at the core of what the SEC is calling a scam. According to the SEC, Howard and his companies not only promised huge profits with minimal risk, but also represented that almost all of the money paid by investors would be used to purchase interests in the portfolio companies’ revenue streams and that all of the promised profits were backed by insurance.
CBS Radio Partners with Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. In what is being called “an exclusive multi-year entertainment and sports initiative,” CBS Radio announces a partnership with the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center. This sounds like a big sports deal from the language in the press statement but it also allows for non-sports entertainment that could benefit CBS music stations. The companies say they have formed a “strategic alliance that combines the strengths of the powerful media and entertainment brands, resulting in increased coverage on WFAN Sports Radio 66AM and 101.9 FM of the popular NBA team, select college basketball games under the BROOKLYN HOOPS presented by Ticketmaster franchise, and select BROOKLYN BOXING powered by Golden Boy Promotions bouts, as well as the creation of first-class concert events, and exposure of the landmark arena to audiences across the country.” Further they state, “A unique aspect of the agreement calls for Barclays Center and CBS Radio to develop and jointly program a new concert series and live events hosted at the arena. These events will be promoted using the nationwide scale of CBS Radio’s 126 stations, the majority of which are located in the top 50 radio markets. These co-produced events will offer out of market consumers the chance to experience Barclays Center firsthand through customized promotions and fly-away contests.”
FTC Gives Thumbs-Up To Nielsen Acquiring Arbitron. The much-discussed acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen Holdings gets regulatory clearance from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The deal now becomes subject to usual closing conditions, but it is expected to become reality next Monday (9/30). According to a statement released by Nielsen, “The combined company will expand advertising effectiveness for radio clients and be better able to solve for unmeasured areas of media consumption, such as streaming audio and out-of-home.” It was at this time last year (September 2012) when Arbitron – working with ESPN and comScore – announced a cross-platform project. The FTC decision effectively means that project will continue. Reuters reports that, “The cross-platform services tell advertisers in a holistic way what customers watch on television, listen to on the radio, look at online and see on their mobile devices.” If an FTC-approved third-party agrees to licensing terms and other requirements, Nielsen would make available for license Arbitron PPM and related data as well as software and technology currently being used in the ESPN project for the sole purpose of cross-platform measurement for up to eight years. Nielsen chief executive officer David Calhoun comments, “We are looking forward to providing all of the benefits of the combined company to our new clients in the radio industry and their advertisers, driving incremental value for them as well as our shareholders. This is a highly acceptable outcome for us as it doesn’t change the market landscape.” This past December, Nielsen agreed to acquire all of the outstanding common stock of Arbitron for $48 per share, for a total purchase price of $1.3 billion.
New Opportunities for Radio in Social Media Marketing. Digital media consultant and Talkers columnist Chris Miller says he firmly believes that for radio sales people “a social media arrow in your quiver would help open doors to more potential interactive clients.” Miller writes that it’s understandable that radio sales people are concerned with selling their own inventory but it’s important to realize that advertisers are concerned with moving their products or selling their services. Most will admit to wanting to use social media but don’t know how to go about it. That, says Miller, is where you should come in. Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.
RAB/NAB Radio Show a Success. Six senior members of the TALKERS/RadioInfo editorial team attended and provided in-depth coverage of last week’s NAB/RAB Radio Show in Orlando, Florida. The consensus among them is that this year’s installment of the conference was one of the most successful and productive in recent history. This report card is based on the following criteria: 1) significant attendance during difficult economic times, 2) a well-balanced agenda that covered the most important bases of interest to radio broadcasters – namely programming, marketing, sales, and technical concerns, and 3) a reasonably realistic attitude toward the challenges facing the medium and business of radio relatively undistorted by the wishful thinking or mindless cheerleading that often comes along with the territory at conferences presented by trade associations. In assessing the convention, TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “This was the best Radio Show we’ve attended in many years. It wasn’t watered down by the interests of its sponsors but rather really focused on what was best for its attendees – plain and simple – and the most important achievement being that it was targeted like a laser on the radio industry taking into account its most pressing existential concerns.” Harrison’s special address at the TALKERS-sponsored “info-session” discussing the 10 things radio needs to do to remain vital to 21st century popular culture was delivered to a standing room-only crowd. It will be re-broadcast on TalkersRadio as well as TALKERS TV and RadioInfo TV within the next several days. Stay tuned for details.
Radio Show Wrap-Up. Radio consultant and Talkers columnist Holland Cooke offers some final thoughts from the Friday edition of the 2013 Radio Show in Orlando. Included in this column are some salient tidbits from the “Adventures in Copyrightland” panel dealing with some of the industry’s most common legal questions as well as takeaways from the Radio Show Luncheon. Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.
Entercom to Add Local Talk to Re-Imaged Sports Talk WWWL, New Orleans. Entercom prepares to change the programming on WWWL, New Orleans from straight sports talk from ESPN to what it is calling “3WL 1350 – a hybrid sports and local talk station. The company says it “is an extension of the Gulf South POWERhouse, WWL AM/FM. 3WL builds on the success of this legendary New Orleans station by offering a ‘branch’ focused on the passions of New Orleans. 3WL will go live Monday, October 14.” Entercom New Orleans GM Chris Claus states, “3WL 1350 celebrates the three greatest passions of New Orleanians: sports, food and fun! Think of 3WL as a radio station as tasty as gumbo, as fun as Mardi Gras and as passionate as Saints fans on Sundays. 3WL will build on the tremendous success of WWL, but have a focus all its own. This is an exciting time for Entercom New Orleans and our clients. There is no city like New Orleans in America and there will be no station like 3WL in New Orleans.” WWL PD Diane Newman is programming the station that will feature: T-Bob Hebert and Kristian Garic in morning drive; NBC Sports Radio’s Erick Kuselias in late morning; “The Food Show with Tom Fitzmorris” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; “The Lighter Side of the Spud Show” with John “Spud” McConnell of sister WWL from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and NBC Sports Radio the rest of the evening and overnight.
Johnny D. Exits WSPD, Toledo. Talk show host Johnny D. took over the afternoon drive program on Clear Channel’s news/talk WSPD, Toledo on a part-time basis after the departure of Brian Wilson from the station last November. In February, Johnny D. was named permanent host of the program. Now, the station moves on without him as program director Scott Sands takes over the program. Clear Channel regional market manager Kellie Holeman confirms Johnny D.’s exit from the station to the Toledo Blade and says the replacement show will be “a new talk show featuring lively conversations about pop culture, breaking news, money, politics, technology, and sports with host Scott Sands and a ‘think tank’ of regular contributors from the local and national stage.”
Rumors Indicate WEEI, Boston is Courting Curt Schilling for On-Air Gig. In published reports in both the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe, there are rumors in the Boston sports talk radio scene that Entercom is making overtures to former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling to bring him aboard as a host – possibly on the PM drive show. The Globe states that the station may be seeking to pair Schilling up with PM drive co-host Mike Salk and that Salk’s co-host Michael Holley is looking to get out of his contract with the station to join ESPN. But Holley’s statement to the paper doesn’t indicate he’s ready to leave. He said, “I haven’t heard anything. I haven’t been informed that they’re looking to move on or change the show. I think when we started in March, I think the acknowledgment was, it takes a while. It takes a while for the new show to get its identity and for the co-hosts to develop chemistry. I had never met Mike before March. We’re getting to know each other on the air and off. I’d be surprised [if Entercom made a change] based on what I’ve been told, but you never know.’’ Writer Chad Finn wonders if Schilling – who obviously knows baseball – would be comfortable talking football, hockey and basketball. The paper also reports WEEI has been trying to bring Comcast Sports Net New England’s Joe Haggerty for on-air work at the station.
AL HERSKOVITZ: To Beat the Devil. Sale maven and H&H Broadcasting president Al Herskovitz says that radio sales people can take their stations to higher revenue plateaus with a little creative thinking in the areas of marketing, remote events and contesting. Herskovitz writes that, yes there are concerns for anyone working in radio because “we live in a fast-paced, quickly changing society. But until the day the mountains erupt and bolts of lightning come crashing out of the sky simultaneously, there still are things under our control that can be done. And sales reps have one such tool in their hands at which they are supposed to be the experts. It’s called “ADVERTISING!” Sales departments that strive to creatively put radio’s unique attributes to work for them will survive longer than those that forget about what radio does best. Read Herskovitz’s column here.
Marilu Henner Profiled in TALKERS Tomorrow. Actress and healthy lifestyle advocate Marilu Henner’s new talk radio show is being produced and repped by Sun Broadcast Group as she ventures into the business. TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian recently spoke at length with Henner about her acting career, her work as an advocate for healthy lifestyles and her new talk radio show initiative. About the latter, Henner says, “I knew radio would feel intimate, but I had no idea just how intimate. I never realized how much fun it would be.” You can read Mike Kinosian’s profile of Marilu Henner tomorrow at Talkers.com. You can also meet Henner in person if you’re already registered for the sold out Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference taking place on Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood as she will be addressing the industry there. For information about the conference, including remaining sponsorship opportunities, please call 413-565-5413. To see the latest updated agenda, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage is added to the schedule at Entercom’ WRKO, Boston in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET time slot.. This is a return to the station for Savage whose show aired there until he left syndicator TRN last fall. Savage says in a statement, “The people in Boston are realists, we understand each other. I appreciate the city.”…..News director and program director Adam Chappelle exits Black Crow Media’s news/talk WVGA, Valdosta, Georgia…..WJR, Detroit-based weekend talk show host Glenn Haege – host of “The Handyman Show” – is publishing an expanded version of his Fix it Fast and Easy publication as an eBook. Haege has published 11 books and writes a column for the Detroit News.
Mel Wheeler’s Roanoke and Lynchburg Stations Add Skywatch Traffic. The Mel Wheeler Radio Group stations – country WSLC, Roanoke; news/talk WFIR-AM & 107.3, Roanoke; urban contemporary WVBE, Lynchburg; CHR WXLK, Roanoke “K 92,”; and adult contemporary WSLQ, Roanoke “Q99” – add Skywatch Traffic for traffic reporting. In a press statement, Skywatch Traffic CEO Chuck Johnson says, “Both areas have grown in population and with the construction going on up and down I-81, it warrants the need for this partnership between all of these companies. This type of service is very common in all major and medium size radio and TV markets. Now Roanoke and Lynchburg has the service in place. SML Aviation who also serves both cities has also jumped on board.” Skywatch Traffic says it is now the third-largest traffic reporting company in the United States behind Total Traffic/Clear Channel and Radiant Traffic/Cumulus and serves 157 radio stations and 4 television markets.
KTRS, St. Louis at Center of Skirmish Over Texas Governor Rick Perry’s Industry Recruitment Blitz. CH Holdings-owned news/talk stations KTRS, St. Louis is making national news after station manager Mark Dorsey canceled an ad campaign bought by the state of Texas that sought to convince Missouri businesses they’d be better off moving to the more industry-friendly Texas where “businesses flourish and jobs are created.” Dorsey posted a statement on the KTRS website saying, in part: “When the order was placed, KTRS was under the assumption these commercials were going to promote tourism to Texas. Once we, the management of KTRS realized these commercials were instead focused on stealing locally owned companies away from St Louis, we suspended airing these commercials immediately. We understand people have different viewpoints on public policy and we welcome that debate everyday on our airways. But as one of the few remaining locally owned radio stations in the country, we feel the need to stand strong with other small locally owned businesses and defend our region. Governor Rick Perry, Don’t mess with Missouri, and don’t mess with St Louis.” In the ad, Perry criticizes policies of the Missouri governor and state legislature, accusing them of being less friendly to business. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the ads are running on radio and TV stations in St. Louis and other Missouri markets as Perry prepares to visit the region this week.
Report: ESPN at Center of Nielsen-Arbitron Deal. The New York Post reports today that Disney-owned ESPN could be the media company that has the biggest say in whether the Federal Trade Commission approves Nielsen’s $1.26 billion purchase of Arbitron. At issue here is the multi-media use of Arbitron’s PPM in which – via Project Blueprint – ESPN is licensing the technology to measure audience consumption of its product over television, radio, smartphones, tablets and computers. The Post reports that sources tell it, “The license expires soon, and the ability of ESPN to squeeze a promise from Nielsen that it will be able to continue to license the software is likely integral to the merger getting federal approval.” The FTC’s concern is that if the new Nielsen-Arbitron owns both the old set-top box methodology for rating television and the PPM technology for on-the-go measurement, there will be little ability for competitors to emerge. The FTC is expected to decide this week whether to challenge Nielsen’s purchase of Arbitron.
Nick Digilio New Overnight Host on WGN, Chicago. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that longtime WGN, Chicago part-time personality Nick Digilio will assume the overnight talk host position beginning September 4. Digilio takes over for Bill Leff who moves to the daylight hours co-hosting the new 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. Digilio will also host the 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight Saturday show. As Feder reports, Digilio first appeared on WGN in 1985 on Roy Leonard’s midday show to talk about movies. It developed into a regular segment and then into part-time work. As a way of paying back his mentor, Digilio will have the now-retired Leonard on his Saturday program in a regular segment to talk about movies. About his new position with Tribune’s WGN, Digilio tells Feder, “I couldn’t be more thrilled. And I really want to thank everyone who has supported me through the years.”
Rush Limbaugh Announces New Deal with Cumulus; Will Move to WOR, New York in January. Confirming what many in the industry have been expecting all along, Rush Limbaugh announced on his radio program Friday that Premiere Networks, EIB and Cumulus Media agreed to terms earlier this week to renew his program for three more years beginning in January of 2014 and running through the end of 2016. He told listeners that the one change would be his move from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York to Clear Channel’s crosstown WOR, New York beginning in January. Limbaugh’s program is currently heard on 35 Cumulus Media-owned stations.
WHO, Des Moines Newsman Dick Layman Dies Suddenly at 59. Morning drive news anchor Dick Layman served with Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines for the past 16 years. He died Friday, August 23 suddenly and at this time it is not known publicly what the cause of death was. WHO news director Jim Boyd posted the news of Layman’s death on the WHO website and wrote about Layman, in part: “Dick was also from the old school of broadcast journalism. The school that said ‘confirm and reconfirm the facts’ before they would be put into a story for you to hear. He cared about content and quality. But he also was someone who could take the most complicated of stories and boil them down to the bare fact so you could understand it…and to do so at times in 20 seconds or less…There is a hole right now in the WHO Radio Family…a hole that won’t close easily and there is a chair in our newsroom that will be very, very difficult to fill. That’s what happens when you have a man the caliber of Dick Layman on your team. Our prayers go out to his wife, Janet, and daughter Meredith.”
Tyler Media to Debut Sports Talk ‘107.7 The Franchise’ Today. According to Oklahoma City online publication The Lost Ogle, Tyler Media’s plans to bring a new sports talk outlet to the city will become reality today around 2:00 pm when KRXO flips from classic rock to sports talk. The lineup will be largely local and is reportedly as follows: “The Show” with Steely, Lump and (John) Rohde; “The Mid-day Mayes” with Sam Mayes; “The Gee Men” with Kelly Gregg and Erik Gee; and “Casillas & Company” with Tony Casillas and David Garrett in PM drive. The station will be an NBC Sports Radio Network affiliate. Oklahoma City has about seven other sports talk outlets in and around the market including Cumulus Media’s WWLS-FM “The Sports Animal.”
WHO, Des Moines PM Drive Host Simon Conway Producer Changes. Afternoon drive host Simon Conway (r) reports that his long-serving producer Andrew Downs (l) is moving to the cluster’s sister sports talk station KXNO where he’ll serve as assistant program director. Taking over for Downs is Des Moines native Jenna Wizenburg who moves back to the market from Florida. Conway states, “I always said I had the best producer in the building. Andrew has rightly been recognized and although I will miss him, he richly deserves this opportunity. I have worked with Jenna before at WFLA, Orlando and I’m excited as we begin this adventure together.”
Mike Gallagher to Shave His Head for Fallen Officers Fund. Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher is preparing for his role in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre Production of “Annie” (he’s pictured here in the Greenville Journal with lead actress Georgia Kay Wise). Gallagher decided that instead of going with a skull cap for the role as the chrome-domed Daddy Warbucks, he would shave his head on Wednesday at Frank’s Gentleman’s Salon on Coffee Street in Greenville if listeners put up $5,000 or more via his Gallagher’s Army Fallen Officers Fund which provides grants to families of police officers killed in the line of duty. The goal was reached and Gallagher will play the role with an authentic pate when the show opens on September 6. Photo courtesy of the Greenville Journal.
Odds & Sods. Retired NFL coach and executive Mike Holmgren will make regular in-studio appearances on KJR, Seattle’s Mitch Levy program this season. Holmgren, who left his general manager position with the Cleveland Browns after the team changed owners, still resides in Seattle after coaching the Seahawks for 10 seasons…..Blaine Thompson’s Indiana Radio Watch reports Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne adds the “Casey Hendrickson Weekend” program to its lineup in place of “Fox News Sunday.” Hendrickson hosts the PM drive show on Federated’s WTRC-AM, Elkhart, Indiana and WTRC-FM, Niles, Michigan.