Michael Harrison and Hugh Hewitt Talk About Last Week’s GOP Debate. Last Wednesday’s CNN broadcast of the Republican presidential debate was one of the most-watched non-sports cable television programs in history (although Michael Harrison describes the spectacular as a cross between “American Idol,” “Sunday Night Football,” and “Meet the Press” on steroids) with an audience of some 24 million viewers. Salem Media Group participated in the production as CNN’s “partner” and the company’s syndicated talk star Hugh Hewitt (describing himself as a presidential debate’s first “designated conservative”) had a coveted place at the panelists’ table as one of the three questioners. What was it like to be there? Was he nervous? Were the questions all prepared and rehearsed in advance? Did the candidates know what to expect? What were the candidates like from an up close perspective? How did the technical operation of the production go? How did Salem achieve the partnership and how did Hewitt land in one of the panel chairs? What’s the real story behind his relationship with Donald Trump? These questions and more are posed to Hewitt by Michael Harrison and he answers them in candid detail on the newly posted (9/22) installment of Podcast One’s international hit, “Up Close and Far Out.” Harrison says, “Hewitt’s role in this widely watched forum was of tremendous importance to the talk radio industry, as well as the conservative movement, and being the steady, seasoned pro that he is, he rose to the responsibility and opportunity like a champ.” To listen to the entire conversation between Harrison and Hewitt, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Two Sales SVPs Join Westwood One. These two positions are newly created ones the company calls multi-platform sales efforts. Rafe Damico and Payton Raymond join the company as SVPs, National Sales, East Coast and West Coast, respectively. They will manage East and West Coast national sales operations. They will also work with the complete Westwood One platform, including the Westwood One network and Rdio. Damico is based in New York City and Raymond is based in San Francisco. Damico was most recently with Beasley Media Group where he was VP of strategic partnerships. Raymond comes to Westwood One from his most recent gig as director of national and regional sales for Entercom Communications in San Francisco.
Alpha Ups Salierno to Market Manager in Fredericksburg. The four-station Alpha Media-owned cluster in Fredericksburg, Virginia promotes Ralph Salierno from director of sales to market manager in which he’ll oversee the overall strategic, managerial, programming and sales functions in the market. Salierno has been with the Fredericksburg cluster that was purchased by Alpha from Free Lance-Star Publishing for the past three years in his DOS position. During that time, the company says he “grew revenue, instituted a sales training and strategic account management system, and developed the first ever cross media sales program, the Sports Animal. Salierno comments, “We are all thrilled to be part of the Alpha Media group of stations and I’m really excited to have the opportunity to lead a great group of programming, sales and business professionals. Our plans are to continue to serve the community and provide top-notch entertainment and advertising choices for the Fredericksburg market.” The cluster consists of country WFLS-FM, news/talk/sports WNTX-AM, CHR WVBX-FM “99.3 The Vibe” and classic rock WWUZ-FM “96.9 The Rock.”
Nielsen’s Q2 Total Audience Report: Radio Wins 7:00 AM Hour. According to data from Nielsen’s Total Audience Report for the second quarter of 2015, radio captures the largest audience during the 7:00 am hour. When tracking the media usage of persons 18+ (May 2015), radio leads the percentage share of audience with 39.8% compared to television’s 36.3%. Smartphone use comes in third with 12.3%. Not surprisingly, television dominates the evening and overnight periods. Nielsen audience insights VP Glenn Enoch states, “Knowing how many consumers are connecting to both traditional and digital platforms, as well as the share these platforms have during each hour of the day, really highlights the fact that ALL of them are put to use. Consumers don’t see media use as an ‘either/or’ proposition. They leverage all ways to connect with content at different times of the day. Knowing these usage patterns this can really give the industry a clear line of sight on being able to take advantage of these patterns.” Read the whole report here.
TopLine Matters Inc. Acquired by Futuri. Cleveland-based Futuri Media acquires sales organization TopLine Matters Inc. and the founder of the Washington-based company – Tracy Gilliam – joins Futuri as senior vice president of sales. Futuri president and CEO Daniel Anstandig announces a number of industry pros have also joined his company or been promoted. Here’s the rundown: VP/development & support Craig Bowman is promoted to SVP/technology; Laura Griffith is upped from director/finance to SVP/finance; joining the company is former Comcast Spotlight senior manager/digital traffic and longtime broadcast executive Todd Thomas who becomes SVP/operations; Jason Robinaugh is named VP/support; Jamie Arseneault moves from director/mobile development to director/TopicPulse product development; Joe Tranchita shifts from creative technologist to director/user interface development; and president/broadcast services Victor Caballero and operations manager/TopicPulse Sarah Davis have transitioned to a newly formed operations team reporting to Thomas; and joining Futuri are Tim Loughry as TopicPulse operations manager and Amanda Williams as assistant development manager. Anstandig states, “Tracy Gilliam’s company provides the sales excellence and the continuity we’ve depended on in our partnership for the past five years, and we’re thrilled to have her organization as a permanent part of our company.”
Odds & Sods. The next round of presidential debates will take place in October and Westwood One is the exclusive radio partner. The third GOP primary debate will take place in Boulder, Colorado and CNBC is the cable TV partner. The first Democratic primary debate will air on CNN and happen on October 13 in Las Vegas with the cable channel’s Anderson Cooper moderating…..Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) is pictured receiving her BIBO Award from Beauty In/Beauty Out at the 2015 Las Vegas Awards. Beauty In/Beauty Out’s mission is to “provide true beauty education (not just limited to external attributes) and to celebrate and honor the great works, community contributions, and entrepreneurial successes of real female role models in local communities nationwide.” Upon receiving her award, Dr. Wachs told TALKERS, “I was so honored to win a BIBO award. Obviously I could have only won for the ‘in’ so I’m grateful to my sexy intestine!”
2016 Presidential Candidates, Pope Francis Visits U.S., Afghanistan Child Rape Controversy, Alarm Clock Case, Volkswagen Emissions Scandal, and Russian Syria Military Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the flap over Ben Carson’s statement he couldn’t support a Muslim president; Pope Francis’ visit to the United States; the controversial case of two U.S. servicemen ousted from their post in Afghanistan for trying to prevent the systematic rape of boys by Afghan military commanders; President Obama and Hillary Clinton reach out to the Muslim boy whose home built alarm clock caused authorities to suspect it was a bomb; the emissions scandal plaguing Volkswagen; and Russia’s ramped up military involvement in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.