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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

| September 19, 2012

NAB/RAB Radio Show Opens in Dallas Today.  Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).  The theme of this year’s event is ‘Hear What’s Next.”  The entire conference, which runs from this morning until the closing Radio Show Luncheon on Friday afternoon, is devoted to the medium of radio and its commercial industry with an eye on the future — from the music royalties issue to the general challenge of integrating into the digital era.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason served as chair of this year’s Radio Show Steering Committee.  TALKERS has correspondents on the scene and will provide coverage of the key events as they unfold.

Michael Harrison to Deliver Address This Morning:  “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?”   TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will be presenting an “info-session” at the Radio Show this morning sponsored by this publication in which he addresses the question, “Can terrestrial radio thrive in the digital era?”  Harrison says, “Survival is not enough.  Survival is just a form of slow death.”  In an accompanying article he writes, “Survival is already happening and it isn’t as much fun as it’s cracked up to be as a spectator sport on the Discovery Channel.  In the reality show called terrestrial radio, sooner than later, survival will run out of gas.  For terrestrial radio, ‘survival’ is simply a slower form of imminent death.  It should be the goal of terrestrial radio to thrive in the digital era. Thrive? Is that even possible? Of course it is — but only if the medium’s players, from the very top on down, muster up the will to conquer the daunting obstacles standing before them.  It will take vision and courage fueled by bold ideas and action to slay the five-headed dragon threatening terrestrial radio with premature obsolescence.”  To read the entire article, click here.  If you are in Dallas, you can attend Harrison’s presentation in the Emerald Room at 10:15 am CT.

Entercom Announces Deal with ESPN to Split WEEI, Boston’s AM and FM Signals.  Beginning October 5, ESPN Radio’s national sports talk lineup will be heard on WEEI-AM at 850 in Boston and the local talk of Entercom’s Boston sports brand will broadcast solely on WEEI-FM at 93.7.  This is a great deal for ESPN, which gets a Boston clear for its sports talk programming and play-by-play, including the entire MLB schedule (including this year’s playoffs), the NBA and college hoops and football.  The AM side is being re-branded “ESPN on WEEI.”  On the FM side, the Boston sports talker will still be the exclusive home of Red Sox baseball, Celtics basketball and NFL play-by-play.  For WEEI’s web presence, ESPNBoston.com will power WEEI.com’s video player with ESPN video content.  Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “We are excited to be expanding our partnership with ESPN in such a meaningful way.  Combining Boston’s leading sports station, WEEI-FM, and the new ESPN on WEEI 850 AM, together with our ability to cross promote content through our existing mobile and digital platforms, gives passionate Boston sports fans the very best in local and national sports content.”

WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin Give Political Candidate Free Air Time in Equal Time Deal.  Pat Snyder is the morning drive host on Midwest Communications news/talk combo WSAU-AM/FM, Wausau, Wisconsin.  He’s also a Republican candidate for State Assembly but his popularity with listeners meant the station didn’t want to take him off the air until it had to.  The Wausau Daily Herald reports that since Snyder worked until August 30 – almost two weeks after Democrat Mandy Wright became his opponent on August 14 – Wright became eligible for equal time compensation.  So the station will give Wright five-and-a-half hours of time in the form of commercials to air between now and election day.  She tells the paper she’s happy with the deal and that the station was “amicable” in dealing with her.

Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead to Sell Cluster to Midwest Communications.  The six-station cluster of Jim Ingstad’s Radio Fargo-Moorhead will be sold to Wausau, Wisconsin-based Midwest Communications, pending FCC approval.  The stations are: news/talk KFGO-AM, sports KVOX-AM, classic hits KBVB-FM, Top 40 WDAY-FM, talk KRWK-FM and CHR KMJO-FM.  Six years ago Ingstad bought the stations from Clear Channel – the company that had purchased the stations from him several years prior.  No purchase price has been announced.

Bill O’Reilly and Jon Stewart to Debate Prior to the Election.  Dubbed “The Rumble in the Air-Conditioned Auditorium” and taking place at Washington, DC’s George Washington University on October 6, Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly (also heard on news/talk radio stations via his daily feature distributed by Courtside Entertainment) and “The Daily Show” host Jon Stewart will mix it up in a 90-minute debate about election issues.  O’Reilly and Stewart have a friendly but adversarial relationship and have both appeared on each other’s shows.  According to Deadline.com, the debate will be broadcast over the internet in a pay-per-view model.

WJJG, Chicago Flips Calls to Historic WCKG.  Talk outlet WJJG (licensed to Elmhurst, Illinois) is taking the calls of the former CBS Radio hot talk outlet WCKG-FM – once home to Howard Stern, Steve Dahl and others during its heyday.  The station says in a statement, “WCKG has boasted Chicago and national radio stars the likes of Bob Sirott, Steve Dahl, Howard Stern, Kevin Matthews, Jonathon Brandmeier, Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky, Garry Meier, and Stephanie Miller.  Now, WCKG fans can add Mancow Muller, Alex Jones, and Michael Savage to the list of radio superstars linked to WCKG, on AM 1530.  General manager Matt Dubiel has been operating the station for the past year and has re-tooled the station’s programming lineup, marketing, studios and engineering.  He says he has plans to add live and local talk shows and a suburban showcase studio next.  “My mission is to bring WCKG to a worthy DuPage County suburb.  It’s high time for DuPage to have a marquee radio station with top-level talent serving our communities and Main Street businesses.”

Managing the Tight Sports Talk Playlist.  Sports talk hosts wishing to depart from the small number of stories in which their audience is interested on any given day do so at the risk of massive tune out.  WFAN, New York host Richard Neer writes that today’s sports talk host must work that much harder to keep those few topics fresh to serve both the new listeners coming in and the ones who’ve been along for the ride for some time.  Doing that and avoiding the temptation to veer off into uncharted waters are two of the biggest challenges for sports talkers.  Read Richard Neer’s column here.

Morning Host Hank Bonecutter Let Go from WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee.  The twist here is that Hank Bonecutter, host of “The Bone Show” on news/talk/sports WJZM, Clarksville, Tennessee, is the former owner of the station and he just completed the sale of it to new owners Dave Loos Jr., Greg Walker and Mike Parchman in August.  He’d been affiliated with the station since 1973 and bought it in 1994.  He tells The Leaf Chronicle, “I have no ill will.  They have to do what they have to do.  I wasn’t sure I’d stay on to the end of the year anyway…My reporting and all we were doing was not in their whole scope of what the station would be about.  I don’t think there’s any question I’ve rubbed a lot of people the wrong way for several years.  I’m sure they were taking a lot of heat from some folks in town, but I can’t speak to whether that was part of their decision or not.”

Critics Slamming NBC TV’s Ouster of Ann Curry from “Today.”  In a story in the New York Post, many industry watchers are saying the network’s move to bump Ann Curry from its morning news/talk show “Today” is not getting the intended result: improved ratings.  In the three months since Curry was replaced by Savannah Guthrie, the ratings have slid further.  According to the story, with Ann Curry in the lineup the show averaged 4.94 million total viewers and 2.1 million viewers in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks before she left.  Since then, “Today” has dropped to 4.6 million total viewers and 1.9 million in the 25 to 54 demo in the 10 weeks after she was replaced.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio gears up for the 29th NewsRadio 1020 KDKA Spaghetti Breakfast being held this Friday from 5:00 am to 9:00 am at the Heinz Hall Garden Plaza in downtown Pittsburgh.  The breakfast feast features “KDKA Morning News co-hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway…..WHO, Des Moines PM drive host Simon Conway sits in today through Friday for Premiere Networks’ “America Now” with Andy Dean…..Corporate Turnaround partners with Broadcast Affiliate Sales to debut its new daily radio feature that consists of intriguing stories about ways business can improve and grow.  BAS’ Mike Tyler says, “Corporate Turnaround’s daily feature discusses many ways small business can improve their financial condition.  This feature will help radio stations get new advertisers.  The listeners will enjoy the feature and small business will get much needed information.”

Romney ‘Reliant on Government’ Comments, Media Matters-DOJ Relationship, and Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Aftermath/Muslim World Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/18).  The fallout from a secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney speaking to donors about the 47% of President Obama’s base who are “reliant on government”; questions about whether Media Matters for America has a working relationship with the Department of Justice; the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and the ongoing anti-America protests in the Muslim world were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

| December 28, 2011

Iowa Political Ad Money a Sign of Things to Come?  Radio and television broadcasters sure hope so as the Republican candidates for president spent some $10 million in Iowa this month in advance of the state’s caucuses next month.  Jennifer Jacobs’ article in the Des Moines Register doesn’t give a complete breakout of TV and radio ad spending so it’s difficult to know exactly how much radio has benefitted from the blitz, but here are some of the totals:  Rick Perry spent $2.86 million on TV; the super PAC pushing Mitt Romney spent $2.85 million on radio and TV; Ron Paulspent $1.37 million; a pro-Perry PAC spent $1.33 million; and Romney’s campaign spent $1.1 million.  That tally is not a complete total of all money spent but keep in mind that more cash will come to radio and TV in the days leading up to January 3.  The photo of Mitt Romney reading TALKERS in New Hampshire depicted above appeared on the February 2008 cover of TALKERS magazine’s print edition reflecting polticians’ strong interest in the election-charged medium of talk radio.  Let us hope that 2012 brings even more such interest as talk radio looks to precious campaign money as a form of relief from the financial struggles still facing most advertising-based media.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for continuing coverage and analysis of the advertising/financial component of Election 2012 all the way through November.

Walter Sabo Honors Lynn Samuels with Exclusive TALKERS Tribute.  Noted spoken-word programmer, radio executive and broadcast consultant Walter Sabo played a significant role in the discovery and career of the late Lynn Samuels filling in some of the information missing in most of the press coverage of her untimely death and further analyzing her unique talent.  He writes, “Lynn Samuels died and you will never hear anyone like her. That’s why she was a star…You could pull ANY part of her show and make a promo.  You know how long you have to hunt for a quote for a promo from most airchecks?  No trouble with Lynn; pick a random minute and you’d have a promo…”  Read the entire Walter Sabo tribute to Lynn Samuels here.

Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Adjust Weekend Schedule in the New Year.  Chicagoans will hear more of WGN’s daily stars on the weekends in 2012.  Program director Bill White tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that, when the station is not airing sports, highlights of Jonathon Brandmeier’s and Garry Meier’s programs will air on Saturday afternoons while Sunday afternoons will feature the week’s best of John Williams and Mike McConnell.  “We think it will be a great alternative to the infomercials and paid programs that air on Chicago’s other talk stations.  Of course we continue to provide live and local news, weather and traffic reports 24/7,” White tells TOC.  Other new weekend fare includes a 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday program hosted by Brian Noonan and “WGN Weekend Late Night” featuring weekly highlights from Bill Leff’s overnight program.  “Legally Speaking,” hosted by attorney Karen Conti, is one casualty and has already aired its last program.  White says Conti will still contribute to the station but her show has ended at WGN.  Conti hosted the program with her late husband Greg Adamski for years.  Adamski passed away suddenly last February.  Conti tells Feder she’s disappointed but is exploring other local media opportunities.

Cumulus Des Moines Swaps Morning Shows; Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside to FM News/Talk.  The current AM drive shows at Cumulus Media’s classic rock KGGO-FM and news/talk KWQW-FM are trading places on January 2.  Premiere NetworksBob & Tom move to KGGO-FM while Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside move across the hall to the company’s news/talk “98.3 Wow FM” (KWQW) to host “The Des Moines Morning News with Lou and Heather.”  Cumulus Media SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re excited to be able to bring 20-plus years of morning success to our news/talk station and can completely eliminate the music on their show in favor of more of why Des Moines-area listeners want to listen to Lou and Heather.  It’s for them and what they have to say.”

CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington, DC Airs Rock History Prior to All-News Flip.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes notes CBS Radio Washington began airing the special “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” after the Christmas music ended.  Just when the all-news format debuts is not known, but it’s expected to hit the air in mid- to late-January.   Hughes also reports the rumor that WJLA-TV, Washington senior assignment editor Gregg Micklos is taking the position of assistant news director at the soon-to-be FM news outlet.

2012 Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Run-up, al-Qaeda Iraq Attacks, Kim Jong Il Funeral and Bill Maher Tebow Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/27).  The run-up to the Iowa Caucuses for the GOP candidates for president, the Christmas Day bombings in Iraq whose responsibility was claimed by al-Qaeda, the funeral of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and the flap over Bill Maher’s criticism of Tim Tebow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

| September 20, 2011

WGN Informal Tour Now Playing on TALKERS TV.  While TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was in Chicago last week attending the NAB/RAB Radio Show, he ducked out briefly and headed across the street to the headquarters of the Tribune Company to pay a visit to his friends at WGN.  With video camera in hand, and upon extremely short notice, Harrison was graciously given an informal, off-the-cuff, tour of the facility by the station’s program director Bill White.  The video of that tour makes its TALKERS TV debut today.  Although it offers just a quick and limited slice of the rich world that is WGN – a radio station with a historic pedigree stretching back to the early 1920s – it does capture a provocative glimpse of the heritage station’s unique specialness.  Bill White takes us into the locked and almost forgotten — but still intact – record album and 45 rpm singles library, a fascinating reminder of big time radio as it was back in the day.  We visit the green room where today’s news/talk radio air guests are greeted, seated and offered beverages…a room that has hosted an endless list of the powerful and famous including heads of state.  We watch Leslie Keiling of WGN Traffic Central doing traffic reports and share a few words with her.  We talk with Jackie Paulus, WGN director of marketing & digital strategies about the station’s digital sales initiatives.  We meet assistant program director Alex Quigley in the WGN radio newsroom — situated against the dynamic backdrop of the main newsroom of the Chicago Tribune, located in the same building.  We peek in on the huge main studios of the iconic radio station.  A highlight of the visit is chatting with John Williams during a break during his midday show in the WGN street level Showcase Studio and barging in on the staff prep meeting conducted by afternoon drive star Garry Meier. View this must-see video in the TALKERS TV box on this page.

It’s Official: George Plaster Exits WGFX-FM, Nashville.  Speculation over whether sports talk host George Plaster would stay with the company he sued for his freedom eight years ago (Cumulus) when it became owner of WGFX-FM is over.  Plaster tells The Tennessean he made the decision on Friday, “It’s the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make in radio.  It was very emotional for me because of the people that I’ve worked with.  The people at 104.5 The Zone are as professional as any radio station that I have ever dealt with.  These are friends and we’ve had unbelievable success at this station.”  The new crosstown sports talk station owned by Cromwell Group – WPRT-FM – is a possible destination for Plaster but he says he’ll take some time to decide what he’s going to do next.  There is probably a non-compete that Plaster will have to wait out before going back to radio in Nashville.  At WGFX-FM, “The Allstate Sports Zone” continues on with Willy Daunic and Chad Withrow.

Premiere Networks Announces Goldline Exclusive Precious Metals Dealer Sponsor of Sean Hannity Show.  Sean Hannity’s nationally syndicated radio show – heard on more than 500 affiliate stations – reaches an extremely dedicated core group of conservative talk radio listeners.  That target demo must be exactly what Goldline International Inc. is looking for as it announces it is the exclusive precious metals sponsor of the Sean Hannity show.  Goldline CEO Scott Carter states, “Sean Hannity clearly represents the pinnacle of talk radio with millions of loyal listeners following Sean’s unique take on politics, culture and current events.  Goldline is thrilled to be a sponsor of the Sean Hannity show and help Americans across the country learn more about diversifying with precious metals.”  Speaking about the exclusive advertising deal, Sean Hannity says,I am looking forward to working closely with a gold company that has such a stellar reputation in the industry.  For those who are thinking about investing in gold, the place I highly recommend is Goldline.”

KIRO, Seattle Extends Contracts of Kevin Calabro and Jim Moore.  Bonneville’s 710 ESPN Seattle (KIRO) adds an hour to the Kevin Calabro show – now airing from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily – and gives contract extensions to host Kevin Calabro and co-host Jim Moore.  Station GM Dave Pridemore notes the program is currently the #1-rated show in the Men 25-54 demo and says, “We are thrilled to have Kevin and Jim continue to anchor our afternoon drive into the future.  Kevin’s connection to the Seattle sports audience, dedication to the craft and loyalty make him a true professional and advocate for this entire region.”

WTKK-FM, Boston Adds Pollster Scott Rasmussen for Weekly AM Drive Appearance.  Rasmussen is the founder of Rasmussen Reports – the public opinion polling firm – and a frequent guest on cable news/talk TV shows as well as a talk show host in his own right.  Now, Greater Media’s WTKK-FM, Boston announces Rasmussen will make a weekly appearance on its AM drive show with Jim Braude and Margery Eagan every Wednesday at 7:45.  Braude says, “Scott Rasmussen is as good as they come, his insight on topics that Bostonians and New Englanders care about is unmatchable.”  Eagan notes, “He knows what Americans are thinking about, everything from politics to laundry detergent.”

Pop Culture AM Drive Hosts Chaz and AJ Simulcast in New Haven and Norwalk, Connecticut.  Cox Media Group gives talk-intensive rock WPLR, New Haven morning drive hosts Chaz and AJ another market as the duo’s program begins a simulcast on the company’s classic rock WFOX, Norwalk, Connecticut.  The show is described as a mix of humor, politics and water cooler talk.  Keith Dakin, who programs both stations, says, “This move just makes sense.  I am extremely excited to extend the reach of Chaz and AJ to the residents of Fairfield County who have never been able to hear the show.  These guys really deliver for Connecticut and I expect big things from them on WFOX.”

Marty Basch Joins CBS Radio Las Vegas as VP/Director of Sales.  Basch has worked for CBS Radio in the recent past.  He left two years ago to take the EVP/GM position with Kemp Broadcasting.  Now he returns to the company as vice president and director of sales for the six-station cluster that includes news/talk KXNT-AM/FM.

Obama Deficit Reduction Plan, Palestinian-U.N. Issue, European Economic Jitters and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19).  President Obama’s plan to cut the nation’s deficit, the Palestinian plea to the U.N. for statehood, continued jitters in Europe over Greek debt and the GOP contenders for president in 2012 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.