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Friday, June 10, 2020

| July 10, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled, “Statues, Statutes, Face Masks and Facebook!” looks back at this past week of July 6 – July 10, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital TalkJamie Metzl, consultant, World Health Organization; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Westwood One News to Cease Operations on August 30. TALKERS magazine has learned that Westwood One News affiliates have been notified that the company will cease operations of the Westwood One News service after the 11:30 pm newscast on Sunday, August 30 due to “extraordinary circumstances in the current marketplace.” In the memo, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “As you can imagine, this was an extraordinarily difficult decision not only given the strength and quality of our award-winning news product, but also the depth and experience of the impeccable Westwood One News team.” Westwood One EVP Bart Tessler adds, “Thank you to our 962 stations and the Westwood One affiliate sales team. It has been a pleasure leading this division of great broadcast journalists. In just 5 and ½ years, Westwood One News went from launch to winners of leading industry honors, including Edward R Murrow, Sigma Del Chi, National Headliner, New York Radio Festivals, and Golden Mike awards. We are very proud of the coverage and programming we provided, as well as your support and participation in our success.” The memo further adds that “Westwood One remains enthusiastically committed to our strong portfolio of talk personalities including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, Michael Savage, Jim Bohannon, Chris Plante, Dan Bongino, Clark Howard, and Red Eye Radio.”

Outer Banks Rocker WZPR-FM Flips to Talk. WZPR-FM, Nags Head, North Carolina will flip from classic rock to news/talk, effective July 13. Station owner Jam Media Solutions says the station will feature a live and local morning drive show called “The OBX Today” hosted by Sam Walker. He says, “I’m excited to be able to bring to the Outer Banks a news-oriented radio show every morning that will be able to expand on our coverage at OBXToday.com of what’s happening not only locally, but across all of North Carolina.” The rest of the lineup includes: FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Westwood One’s Chris Plante and Ben Shapiro, The Dave Ramsey Show, Ramsey SolutionsKen Coleman, and WWO’s “Red Eye Radio.” Jam Media Solutions owner Jonathan Mason adds, “We are very excited to introduce the all-new, news/talk WZPR to the Outer Banks. We believe it is exactly what the market needs. Our on air lineup will be informative and engaging from the time you get up to the time you go to bed.”

Midway Broadcasting Announces Launch of VON-tv. The acquisition of an OTT digital streaming platform by Midway Broadcasting Corporation gives the company a video component when it launches VON-tv in August. Midway says VON-tv “will deliver culturally relevant content to its new television audience. With the launch of VON-tv, the company will conduct a nationwide search for a new morning host. The newly designed live morning show will originate from Chicago and will be simulcast on VON-tv and WVON Radio.” Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper comments, “We are excited to be in the digital space, originating from our hometown of Chicago. Having earned a reputation for cultivating nationally recognized programs and talent, Midway Broadcasting Company will continue to use its expanding platforms to showcase the many voices throughout Black America.”

Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings info from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this batch of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM inches up four-tenths to finish ranked #3 with a 6.4 share. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds three-tenths to finish with a 6.0 share and the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio loses six-tenths to wrap June with a 6.5 share and the #2 rank in the market. Although dropping a half share for an 8.9 share finish, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento remains ranked #1 in the market. As the result of Bonneville news/talk KSL-AM/FM’s half-share dip to a 5.5 share and #6 rank, there’s a close race between it and iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM (5.3 share, #7 rank). See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

Talk Host Jay Severin Dead at 69. TheBlaze reports that longtime conservative talk radio personality and Republican operative Jay Severin has died at age 69 after a battle with cancer. After years of working as a Republican political consultant, Severin began his talk radio career in the mid-1990s filling in for Gene Burns on the WOR Radio Network, eventually becoming the afternoon drive host, calling himself the “rock ‘n’ roll Republican.” He briefly hosted evenings at WRKO, Boston before joining crosstown news/talk WTKK-FM, where he would work hosting afternoons until 2011. In 2012, he joined Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network where he would host a program until 2016.

TALKERS News Notes. After a 14-hour fundraiser for the families of a fallen officer and a second injured officer Cox Media Group Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department, and the Tulsa Police Department Foundation announce they raised more than $515,000 dollars for the Johnson-Zarkeshan Family Fund. Cox Tulsa’s news/talk KRMG, its four music-formatted sister radio stations and sister TV station KOKI-TV “FOX23” broadcast live from LaFortune Park on Wednesday to encourage donations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting Company has hired former KADN-TV, Lafayette, Louisiana reporter Hannah Neely as the new morning news anchor for news/talk WVON, Chicago. Neely is a Chicago native who is taking over for Annette Flournoy, who resigned from the position…..ABC Audio announces that in the aftermath of the arrest and charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse, it is releasing a bonus episode of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” featuring details about Maxwell’s arrest and charges. The podcast is hosted by ABC News’ Mark Remillard.

IBA Says It Will Be Active Within Two Weeks. Broadcasters spearheading the foundation of Independent Broadcasters Association say they will officially form the organization within the next two weeks. Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone has been leading the movement to form the IBA. He says that there will be a conference call scheduled for all members in the next few weeks with him and the initial board to discuss the mission and goals. Issues that have already been broached are revenue generation, digital services, shared resources, proprietary systems and services, and group employee benefits. Stone says, “We have 496 owners/operators representing just under 3,000 stations that have signed up supporting the idea of the organization. The next step is the actual formation of the IBA into a legal entity, forming an initial board and getting to work on all the elements we have been discussing that will benefit independent operators choosing to be members of the IBA.” Cromwell Group president Bud Walters says, “Independent broadcasters outside the major markets have a lot in common as we seem to be in a different business than large market broadcasters. There is good reason to explore this idea of working more closely together.” Interested owners/operators can sign up here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 6-10. The spiking cases of COVID-19 in many states and projections for future infections remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was health care, the mask debate and the search for COVID-19 meds. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s school opening order and the CDC’s guidelines, followed by the economy and the re-opening of America at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, police abuse, race relations, psychology, doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Monday, March 27, 2017

| March 27, 2017

Hannity and Koppel Clash on ‘CBS Sunday Morning.’  Radio and television talk star Sean Hannity is calling for CBS News to release the raw, 45-minute video of his conversation with CBS correspondent Ted Koppel, from which a highly charged segment on news/talk media was culled for a piece that aired on the “CBS Sunday Morning” program.  In the report, which also featured White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, New York Times editor Dean Baquet, and Norm Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute, Koppel expresses his view that news/talk shows like Hannity’s are widening the divide among Americans.  At one point, Hannity asks Koppel, “You think I’m bad for America?”  And Koppel responds, “Yeah…You have attracted people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts.”  Hannity told Koppel he was not giving Americans credit for being able to discern between an opinion show and a news show.  After the show aired, Hannity Tweeted complaints about the editing of the program.  “Fake ‘edited’ news. I gave a example after example of why I say ‘journalism is dead’. I also gave many examples of how liberalism has failed.”  Hannity is calling on CBS News to release the full, 45-minute video “so people can see the BS games you play in the edit room. I dare you!” See the CBS story and link to the program segment here.

Zito to Host ‘Main Street Meets The Beltway’ on SiriusXM.  A joint production of the Washington Examiner and SiriusXM is presenting the new, weekly show, “Main Street Meets the Beltway,” Tuesdays from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on the satcaster’s non-partisan POTUS channel.  The program is being hosted by Washington Examiner reporter Salena Zito.  She’s been with the Examiner since 2016 as a Pittsburgh-based columnist and reporter.  She is also a columnist at the New York Post and serves as a contributor for CNN.  She spent much of the last 12 years with the Pittsburgh Tribune Review as both a reporter and columnist covering national politics.  On the radio show, “Zito will prioritize the stories and opinions of Americans across the country over politicians and bureaucracy.  Having travelled across the heartland extensively throughout the 2016 campaign, Zito gathered countless stories from people of all backgrounds, leading her to correctly predict President Trump’s victory in November.  ‘Main Street Meets The Beltway’ will focus on these individuals – their needs, concerns, and hopes for their futures – and what their expectations are from both local and federal government.”  Zito will host the new weekly program live from the studios of Point Park University in Pittsburgh.

‘AM1280 The Patriot’ in Twin Cities to Presents Trump 100 Days Event.   Twin Cities news/talk outlet WWTC “AM 1280 The Patriot,” along with Salem Media Group’s fellow Minneapolis-St. Paul stations – business talk KYCR-AM “Twin Cities Business Radio 1440” religious KKMS “AM 980 The Mission,” and talk KDIZ “Twin Cities Wellness Radio 1570” – are co-presenting the live event, “President Trump: The First 100 Days” on Sunday, May 21.  It features Salem Radio Network hosts Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager with moderator Ed Morrissey from HotAir.com.  The event is one of 18 that will be taking place in markets including: Los Angeles, Dallas, Denver, and Philadelphia.

Cooke: Radio’s Biggest Star Is Back.  No, not Orson Welles…baseball!  Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today that the evidence of how beneficial baseball play-by-play is to radio is overwhelming.  But, now the games are available in numerous other places.  So, “stations need to play defense to exploit the franchise.”  Read Cooke’s advice here.

WGN, Chicago’s Steve Cochran Returns to the Air After Being Treated for Blood Clots.  WGN, Chicago morning drive personality Steve Cochran returned to the air this morning after spending two days in the hospital being treated for blood clots in his lungs.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes that Cochran had been under care for bronchitis and shortness of breath.  Feder reports that the source of the clot was behind Cochran’s left knee.  Cochran is quoted saying, “Serena Williams, Regis Philbin and me — what do we have in common?  Not much…but we’ve all had blood clots.  DVT (deep vein thrombosis), PE (pulmonary embolism) — all quite serious, but I’m lucky as mine are meds controlled.”

GOP Health Care Bill Failure, Trump-Ryan Relationship, Gorsuch Nomination, London Terror Attack Aftermath, Russia Anti-Corruption Protests, Cincinnati Nightclub Shootings, and March Madness Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The failure of the GOP-authored health care plan designed to replace the Affordable Care Act and speculation about what it means for the Trump Administration; chatter about the working relationship between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan; the status of the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the Supreme Court; the aftermath of last week’s London terror attack that killed five and injured 50; Russia cracks down on anti-Putin and anti-corruption protesters, drawing condemnation from the U.S. and other Western nations; the slaying of one and injuring of numerous others after a gun battle at a Cincinnati night club; and the weekend’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Diane Look, Wife of WFHR PD and AM Host Bob Look Slain in Wisconsin Shootings.  The shootings in Wausau, Wisconsin last week that stemmed from a marital dispute claimed the life of Diane Look, the wife of Bob Look, the program director and morning host at Seehafer Broadcasting’s news/talk WFHR, Wisconsin Rapids.  Diane Look, a staffer at Marathon Savings Bank, died along with fellow bank worker Karen Barclay after Nengmy Vang showed up at the bank looking for his estranged wife, Naly Vang, who was not injured in the attack.  Nengmy Vang also killed Naly Vang’s divorce attorney, Sara Quirt Sann, at her office, and police officer Jason Weiland after barricading himself in his apartment.

Covering the White House Health Care Issue.  Pictured above in the Oval Office on Friday (3/24) is Salem Radio Network White House correspondent Greg Clugton (standing, second from left) covering the president’s remarks after the decision not to put the GOP health care bill to a vote in the House.  Clugton was in the Oval Office as part of the White House radio pool and was one of only four reporters to question President Trump directly.

KIDO, Boise Morning Host Kevin Miller Guests on Harrison Podcast.  This week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is the hard-working morning host and brand manager of Townsquare Media’s 580 KIDO, Boise – Kevin Miller.  Miller is a seasoned veteran who paid his dues in the trenches of local radio in such markets as Pittsburgh, Nashville, Raleigh, Birmingham, Nashua and more before landing in Idaho’s Treasure Valley where he has dug deep and meaningful roots into the community for the better part of a decade.  Harrison and Miller discuss the nuts and bolts of doing local radio with all its many challenges and rewards in the era of Donald Trump…and then some.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Roasting to Benefit the American Diabetes Association.  KABC, Los Angeles morning personality Doug McIntyre (standing) is pictured above emceeing the 20th Los Angeles Political Roast at the Beverly Hilton Hotel last Thursday (3/23).  The “roastee” for this year’s event was Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell.  Pictured with McIntyre here is Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Busciano.  The event was expected to raise $500,000 for the Los Angeles chapter of the American Diabetes Association.

 

 

Drew Bland to Lead Programming at Entercom’s ‘Wolfe’ in Seattle.  Country KKWF, Seattle “100.7 The Wolf” has a new program director as Entercom announces Drew Bland assumes the role, effective April 12.  Entercom Seattle VP of programming and operations Dave Richards states, “After a nationwide search, it was very clear that Drew was the right person for the job.  ‘The Wolf’ is one of America’s great country stations and it deserves a great leader like Drew.”  Bland comes to Entercom from Cox Media Group where he was director of programming and branding for country WWKA, Orlando “K92.3 FM.”

WZAT, Savannah Flips to Hot AC.  On Friday afternoon (3/24), Cumulus Media flipped WZAT-FM, Savannah from classic country as “NASH Icon 102.1” to hot AC, rebranding the station “102.1 The Sound.”  The station is using syndicated morning program “The Bert Show” with Bert Weiss.  Cumulus Media Savannah vice president/market manager Eric Mastel says, “We are all very excited to debut Savannah’s newest radio station, ‘102.1 The Sound.’ After extensive market research, it was overwhelmingly evident that Savannah was asking for a radio station they could call their own. ‘102.1 The Sound’ is not only named for the music, but also for the beauty of our home and the water that surrounds us.  With artists like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd and Lorde, and featuring ‘The Bert Show’ in the morning, we have given Savannah exactly what they asked for ‘102.1 The Sound!’”

Monday, January 5, 2015

| January 5, 2015

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Returns to Tampa on WHFS-FM.  Via an official press statement issued today (1/5), Beasley Broadcasting confirms the news a local advertiser spilled on Friday about the return of Bubba the Love Sponge to the market on the company’s newly-acquired Tampa signal WHFS-FM.  The former FM sports talk outlet will make public its new format at some point in the future but after signing on this morning at 6:00 am, Bubba the Love Sponge announced the station would air his program continuously for the next few weeks or so before debuting WHFS-FM’s new format.  Bubba aired in the market on Cox Media’s crosstown WHPT “102.5 FM The Bone” before being ousted from the station in August and replaced by then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta.  The move pits former station-mates Calta and Bubba against each other in mornings.  Last week, Ker’s WingHouse debuted Bubba Style Wings and announced Bubba’s return to the market on WHFS-FM.  Beasley says listeners are still voting for their format choice at the station’s website — thenew98.7.com — and the new format is expected to be announced within weeks.

carrhowieHowie Carr’s New England Regional Juggernaut Keeps Gaining Steam – New Stations Signed and GSM Brought Aboard.  The independent talk radio network recently launched by Boston-based, multi-media icon Howie Carr continues to gather major affiliates throughout the six New England states and sets a shiningly optimistic model for what can be created and accomplished in the often-tenuous arena of regional spoken-word syndication.  The latest stations joining the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) include WCAP, Lowell, MA (which started last week); WBEC, Pittsfield, MA (which starts tomorrow 1/6); and WFEA, Manchester, NH (which begins on 1/19), bringing the total number of affiliates to 19.  Also, HCRN VP of sales & marketing, Kathy Carr announces the hiring of sales heavyweight Ross Holt as the company’s new general sales manager.  Holt, who is moving back to his home in New England, was most recently part of the sales team at CBS O&O WINS, New York and has sold Carr in the past while at WGAN, Portland.  The sheer power of the loyal-listener-generating Carr program in market after market across the Northeast segment of the US has proven to be a strong advertising lure for such regional blue chip sponsors as Subaru of New England and a long list of others.  Commenting on the growth and impact of the Howie Carr show in its independent regional incarnation (since the host left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston this fall and replaced it as his flagship with Beantown’s reconstituted WMEX) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is not easy doing what Howie and Kathy Carr are accomplishing with this network – and that is creating a pertinent local flavor that resonates with listeners across a very large and diverse expanse of markets and works in terms of both ratings and revenue.  There are lessons for the industry to learn from this extremely interesting endeavor.  Of course, you must have the right host to pull this off and this guy is a true rarity.  If New England were to suddenly declare itself a single state, Howie Carr would be elected its first governor.”

cohenshattuckBoston Herald Radio and WMEX, Boston Share New Morning Show.  The morning drive show on the Boston Herald’s digital platform – Boston Herald Radio – is now hosted by Adriana Cohen and Tom Shattuck (pictured here).  The program airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and is also being heard on Blackstrap Broadcasting-owned and Wallis Communications-operated WMEX.  Shattuck, who also serves as executive producer of Boston Herald Radio, says in the compay’s paper, “We’ve always been straight with our audience.  This is the city of Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and David Brudnoy.  We are lucky enough now to have an opportunity to be custodians of those same airwaves and we will do it humbly, tirelessly and with the utmost respect for the listener.”  WMEX grabbed longtime Boston afternoon personality Howie Carr after his contract with Entercom’s crosstown WRKO expired in November.

proftdanWLS-AM, Chicago Breaks Up Proft and Wolf Morning Show.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago will be hosted by Bruce Wolf solo after the company parted ways with Dan Proft.  Wolf and Proft had worked together at the station, first in middays, before moving to mornings after longtime duo Don Wade and Roma exited due to Don Wade’s health issues.  (Wade later died from complications from a brain tumor.)

dealgordonNEWbannerFormer WSJRN Programming Evolves and Continues as Compass Media Networks Content.  As TALKERS reported last month, Compass Media Networks is advancing the business news radio programming abandoned by the Wall Street Journal after the latter chose to get out of the radio business at the end of 2014.  Today, Compass debuts breaking business and money news under the “Your Money Now” brand.  The one-minute reports are fed to affiliate stations twice per hour at :20 and :50 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday.  Anchors for the reports are former WSJRN morning drive anchor Jennifer Kushinka, former CEO Radio, WSJRN and BusinessWeek Radio anchor Ray Hoffman in middays, and former WSJRN evening anchor Bruce Vale in afternoon drive.  Also, Compass is continuing the morning drive program hosted by Gordon Deal for the WSJRN as the show is renamed “This Morning, America’s First News with Gordon Deal.”  Compass says the show continues to air on some 250 affiliate stations as well as on numerous digital platforms.

salemcommunicationsSeven Salem News/Talkers Assume ‘The Answer’ Brand.  Adding to the number of Salem Communications news/talk stations already using “The Answer” brand are seven more of the company’s like-programmed outlets, including:  KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KLFE, Seattle; KZNT, Colorado Springs; WGKA, Atlanta; WGUL, Tampa; WGTK, Louisville; and WLSS, Sarasota. WNYM, New York began using the “Answer” brand in 2012.  Salem SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce comments, “We discovered that our listeners are information seekers, always craving the answer to every possible question, from why am I stuck in traffic to who won the November election.  This branding allows our stations to cut through in markets where they are competing with more established stations that only need their call letters as a brand.  We needed something more, and this works.”

union edge logo‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Releases New App.  Pittsburgh-based radio talk show “The Union Edge,” hosted by Charles Showalter with executive producer and co-host Angela Baughman and co-host/communications director Brittany Sheets, unveils its new app created with partner Jack of Trade Apps.  The new app allows listeners to stream the daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program live as well as listen to podcasts on demand and “demonstrate some serious solidarity by sending in photos showing their everyday union actions.”  Listeners can also use the “speak out” voice recorder function to react to the show and expand on their thoughts and feelings about issues that impact their lives.  Jack of Trade Apps president Andrew Davis says, “What this app does is allow union families to organize in a way that surrounds this already great programming that heralds issues that directly impact them.  We are excited to be able to give them such a valuable tool, to help them achieve their growth and spread their message in a new way.”

Odds & Sods.  Former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gives up his weekend talk program at Fox News Channel.  Huckabee – still heard on the radio via his “Mike Huckabee Report” dailyhuckabeemike commentaries now distributed by WYD Media – says he’ll make an announcement about whether he intends to run for president in 2016 sometime in the first part of this year…..Salem Communications expands the “Cats Roundtable” program heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  The Sunday morning show, hosted by New York City businessman John Catsimatidis is now heard from 8:30 am to 10:00 am…..KBGG, Des Moines sports talk host Larry Cotlar exits the station as it transitions from “The Zone” to “The Champ.”  Cotlar’s show is being replaced by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gotleib…..Dr. Frank Wright exits Salem Communications where the former National Religious Broadcasters chief served as president and chief operating officer.  Dr. Wright will receive his salary in the form of severance for the next six months…..Beasley Broadcasting’s WHFS-AM, Tampa drops the CBS Sports Radio Network-programming on the station and flips the station to business talk using programming from the company’s WSBR, Boca Raton, Florida.  Beasley acquired the station from CBS RADIO in a swap.

St. Joseph, Missouri’s KFEQ Joins “Market Rally”Affiliate Network. The daily analysis of farm commodity markets airs 4:06 pm – 5:00 pm on the Eagle Communications-owned talker. KFEQ general manager Gary Exline comments, “Ever since Farm Journal launched ‘Market Rally’ [in March 2014], we have taken a wait-and-see attitude [but] when farmers in our region started asking for it – we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. ‘Market Rally’ is the perfect programming solution as we set out to reboot our afternoon drive lineup.” According to Farm Journal Radio vice president and general manager Mark DePrez, “Market Rally” host Chip Flory “already has more than 6,500 Twitter followers, a clear signal that farmers and ranchers are highly engaged in his entertaining and educational approach to the markets.” When Illinois outlets WRHL, Rochelle and WAIK, Galesburg begin carrying the program early this year, “Market Rally” will be heard on 42 affiliates in nine states.

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2015 International CES; What Next?  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the huge 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.  As Cooke notes, video and pictures are paramount to viral media.  “Major recent news stories demonstrate how profoundly technology impacts our lives.  More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras.  When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful.  When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, The Interview was released on YouTube.”  Read more here.

sabowalterSabo: Biggest Trends Affecting Radio.  Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a piece published in TALKERS today (1/5), writes about seven trends in media that have been influential over the past year and will continue to be so through 2015.  From NextRadio to sports talk on FM to online audio platforms, Sabo suggests avenues radio practitioners can explore to build new and profitable content ventures.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

| May 29, 2013

trn logoCalifornia Judge Sends TRN Anti-Trust Suit to New York; Courtside Interference Allegation Dismissed.  There’s been some action in the suit filed by Talk Radio Network against the 14 defendant entities as United States District Judge Jesus G. Bernal moves the case from the Central District of California to the Southern District of New York.  At the same time, Judge Bernal grants Courtside Entertainment Group’s motion to dismiss based on Lack of Subject Matter Jurisdiction.  In a nutshell, the judge ruled that since the bulk of the defendants are headquartered in New York, that’s where TRN’s case arguing anti-trust practices against Dial Global, Compass, and WYD should be heard.  As for the suit against Courtside for allegedly interfering with talk hosts Michael Savage and Laura Ingraham (then under contract to TRN), the judge ruled that allegation is not related to the anti-trust case and he dismissed it without prejudice.  TRN could file a separate suit against Courtside in that matter if it so chooses.

talkersradio logoTALKERS Magazine to Launch TalkersRadio – Debut to Broadcast Entire “Talkers New York 2013” Live.  TALKERS magazine announces the launch next week of “TalkersRadio” – a 24/7/365 streaming spoken-word internet radio station that will be available to listeners on the trade publication’s website, www.talkers.com and feature a unique brand of stationality that, as publisher Michael Harrison describes, “views the world through the lens of the talk media industry.”  TalkersRadio’s mission will be to serve as 1) a laboratory for interesting new concepts and talent in talk; 2) a farm system to help develop deserving up-and-comers; 3) a real-time stage for talent to audition for specific jobs and opportunities; 4) a platform for “bridge shows” – a new device by which suddenly terminated AM/FM talk show hosts can do a series of final shows to say goodbye to their listeners and/or announce their upcoming plans within a radio show context; 5) a vehicle for “orphan shows” – programs that do not conveniently fit into prevailing AM/FM station format categories; 6) a showcase for new and adventurous programming concepts and ideas; and 7) a medium to exclusively broadcast TALKERS magazine live events such as the annual convention next week and Talk Radio Day at the United Nations the following day.  TalkersRadio will also carry several “regularly scheduled” programs to give it, as Harrison describes, “the feel and consistency” of a real radio station.  Some of these will be talk shows about the industry and others will just be talk shows about life in general.  “The key,” according to Harrison, “is most of the programming will be the type that is unavailable elsewhere.”  TalkersRadio has been in development for the past year and a half and is a joint project between TALKERS parent company Talk Media, Inc. and Westborough, Massachusetts-basedbackboneMH communications firm Backbone Networks Corporation.  It will feature a leading-edge concept in broadcasting technology developed by Backbone that makes it extremely convenient and affordable for talk show hosts to do a fully produced program – with live callers and guests – from an amazingly simple technical remote and portable set up.  According to Harrison, “Our partners at Backbone are technical wizards.  Having them power this operation will give us the flexibility and means to really make a significant contribution to talk radio as both a cultural art form and a 21st century-rooted business — the ongoing mission of TALKERS magazine.”  Further developments about TalkersRadio will be posted in the coming days and weeks.  Pictured at the recent deal signing are (l-r): Richard Cerny, Backbone CEO/president; Michael Harrison, TALKERS publisher; George Capalbo, Backbone VP/CTO; and Paul Kamp, Backbone VP/business development.

ccme horiz logoClear Channel Study of Consumers Indicates Media Attitudes.  A recent study of about 1,000 Americans conducted by Vision Critical for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment came to a number of conclusions about how consumers view media and media devices.  Some of the takeaways from this study include:

  • Media multitasking is now mainstream across all media channels.  65% of respondents have been online while watching TV at the same time; 59% have been online while listening to music; and even 25% of respondents watch TV and listen to music at the same time.
  • When it comes to smartphones and tablets, women are actually more likely than men to own these gadgets — 52% of women have smartphones vs. 43% of men; and 31% of women have a tablet or e-reader compared to 25% of men.
  • Only one in ten consumers (11%) think it is “no big deal” if they accidentally leave their smartphone at home for the day.  A large majority (78%) keep their smartphones in the bedroom at night, with 60% keeping their phones within arm’s reach on the nightstand.
  • Respondents would rather keep their computer and give up their TV, smartphone and tablet if they could only use one device for a year.

parksandyAndy Parks’ Washington Times Radio Show Moves to Salem’s WRC, Washington.  The talk radio initiative between The Washington Times and longtime DC talk radio personality Andy Parks moves from Metro Radio-owned WTNT where it aired in afternoon drive to Salem Communications’ crosstown WRC for an 11:00 am to 1:00 pm air time.  In a statement, Parks says, “The combination of the resources of The Washington Times and WRC 1260 provides a greatwrc logo opportunity to explore the news of the day, examine the big issues and break stories.  I look forward to bringing those elements of the show to the listeners at WRC.”  Salem Washington DC market manager Thomas Moyer states, “The Washington Times is the only Washington-based newspaper that is committed to conservative American values.  WRC 1260 is the only Washington-area talk radio station committed to similar conservative American values.  This is a partnership that makes sense.  This is a unique opportunity coming to our lineup.”  Parks was a fixture for many years on Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WMAL.

focus 360 logoFocus 360 and Radio America’s Dr. Joy Browne Agree to Exclusive National Ads Sales Deal.  The sales and marketing firm Focus 360 has signed a deal with Radio America nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Joy Browne to serve as exclusive national ad sales representative.  Focus 360 ad sales VP Dick brownejoySilipigni states, “An alternative to political talk radio, Dr. Joy’s dynamic personality, combined with her no-nonsense advice on issues ranging from relationships, marriage, finance, work and career, has garnered her millions of devoted listeners.  The addition of Dr. Joy’s show to our repertoire creates more opportunities for our advertisers to reach engaged listeners.”  Based for many years at the WOR Radio Network, Dr. Joy Browne’s program is now syndicated by Radio America whose chief operating officer Mike Paradiso says, “Dr. Joy’s show has been a successful ratings winner for over 15 years.  Partnering with Focus 360 will increase our revenue from national advertisers.  We look forward to working with them as we continue to grow the Dr. Joy Browne radio program.”

kuhnerjeffWRKO, Boston Adds Hour to Jeff Kuhner’s AM Drive Show.  Entercom’s Boston news/talk outlet WRKO announces it is adding an hour to morning drive host Jeff Kuhner’s program and shifting “The Financial Exchange” with Barry Armstrong to the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  Previously, “The Kuhner Report” aired from 6:00 am to 9:00 am with Armstrong’s show airing from 9:00 am to 11:00 am and Kuhner returning for an 11:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Vice president of programming and operations Jason Wolfe states, “Jeff Kuhner is one of the hottest talents to hit Boston talk radio in years.  He’s got great energy, passion and tremendous credibility discussing the issues that matter most to this community and to the country.  Barry Armstrong is Boston’s foremost financial expert and since he’s started with us, has provided top-notch commentary on a program that provides important information to our audience.  Adding another hour to ‘The Kuhner Report’ in morning drive and shifting ‘The Financial Exchange’ to start at 10:00 am allows the station a seamless transition from show to show throughout the day.”

hunterrobKTAR-FM, Phoenix Moves Rob Hunter to Middays with Karie Dozer.  The Bonneville news/talk station announces long-time producer and weekend talk host Rob Hunter moves into the midday slot on KTAR-FM alongside Karie Dozer for the newly named “Rob & Karie Show.”  The station says Rob and Karie will be an opinionated and interactive look at the most topical and locally relevant news stories of the day.  The show will include listener calls and heavy social media integration.  Bonneville Phoenix vice president of content and operations Ryan Hatch states, “Rob is a rising star.  He and Karie will have diverse and interesting points of view that will bring a thought provoking jolt of energy to the KTAR middays.”  Hunter takes over for current midday co-host Chuck Powell who takes his creative talents to a new digital content position in which he will contribute to all three Bonneville Phoenix media brands.  He will also host a sports podcast with his former sports radio partner Vince Marotta on arizonasports.com.

kingRTLarry King to Join Cable News Channel RT for Political Show.  Russian news/talk cable TV network RT America announces the debut of a new Larry King program that is scheduled to begin airing in June called, “Larry King Now.”  The program is described in a press release as a “mold-breaking political talk show.”  In a video accompanying the release featuring King himself talking about the new show, he says, “I would rather ask questions of people in positions of power instead of speaking on their behalf.”  The program is being produced by King’s own Ora.TV and will be recorded in RT’s Washington, DC and Los Angeles studios.

bott logoBott Radio Network Joins CC’s iHeartRadio.  Christian talk radio content creator Bott Radio Network announces it is providing its programming to Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio for distribution on the digital audio service.  Bott Radio Network shows are heard on approximately 90 stations across the country.

Odds & Sods.  ABC News Radio names Scott Goldberg staff correspondent.  He will split his time between reporting and anchoring newscasts.  ABC says Goldberg’s work has taken him around the globe, from the U.S. to Latin America, Western Europe and Asia.  For several years Scott was a freelance correspondent for NewsOne after spending nearly a decade covering business, political and breaking news for local stations in the South and Midwest…..SiriusXM teams with Relevent Sports to bring the 2013 Guinness International Champions Cup to its listeners.  The tournament opens on July 27 and will feature eight club teams – including Inter Milan, Juventus, Los Angeles Galaxy, Real Madrid and others – that will compete over seven days at different venues across the United States.

Record Number of American’s on Disability, Justice Department Journalists Investigations, Radical Islamist Attacks, and Chinese Hack U.S. Weapons Systems Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/28).  Data indicating that more than 10 million Americans are on disability; the Justice Department’s investigation into journalists; the recent spate of attacks on soldiers by radical Islamists; and the alleged hacking of U.S. weapons systems by Chinese hackers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

BQparadeBlanquita Cullum Emcees National Memorial Day Parade.  Veteran radio talk show host, former member of the U.S. Broadcasting Board of Governors and host of the television program “The Hard Question,” Blanquita Cullum is pictured here (c) with National Memorial Day Parade marshalls Gary Sinise (r) and Joe Mantegna (l) on Constitution Avenue in Washington, DC on Monday, May 27.  Cullum served as an emcee for the parade alongside Mark Kesseler, who serves as the Washington Redskins stadium announcer.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

| May 28, 2013

burnsgenePioneering Talk Radio Host Gene Burns Dead at 72.  Longtime talk radio host and broadcasting pioneer Gene Burns has died, succumbing to a long illness marked by a series of strokes.  In the words of TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison, “Gene was one of the greatest of the great and classiest of the classy – a true ‘wordsmith’ and gentleman who symbolized everything good about talk radio and served as one of the major engines that drove the ascent of its modern era.”  Until recently forced by illness into retirement from on-air performing, Burns had spent a decade and a half as a key host on KGO, San Francisco where he did a general news/talk program as well as a very popular restaurant and entertainment show.  The veteran of a number of great stations, he made his mark in the late-1980s and early-1990s as a member of the legendary lineup at WRKO, Boston that also included the late Jerry Williams. That was followed by a brief but high-profile stint at WOR, New York and national syndication on the WOR Radio Network.  Harrison adds, “Gene Burns practiced a brand of libertarian-based, intellectual populism in his approach to political news/talk that set the standard for the format’s emergence as a voice for the average person to stand up to big government, big business, big media and big anything.  Although ‘conservative’ in his orientation, he eschewed blatant partisanship, avoided banal cookie-cutter left-versus-right talking points and dealt with each issue in an academically probing and credible manner.”  Burns’ ground breaking work in the early-1990s stood as the inspiration for TALKERS magazine’s annual Freedom of Speech Award and the tradition of the annual State of the First Amendment Address delivered at the publication’s conventions. He is ranked the 23rd most important radio talk show host of all time by TALKERS in its “Heaviest Hundred” feature which is updated twice a decade.  Harrison concludes, “His rich, baritone voice coupled with the artistry of his word selection and ability to construct a logical argument was about as close to music as one could hear within a spoken word context.”  A special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns aired on Sunday, May 26 on KGO hosted by David Weintraub and a special tribute will be presented honoring his legacy at Talkers New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.

millerchrisAdult Contemporary is a Relatively Low-Involvement Format on Facebook.  According to digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, “There are several major-market adult contemporary stations on Facebook who have a ton of followers, but very little interaction going on.  As a former AC programmer, I absolutely feel their pain; AC is a low-involvement format.  At the same time, most of these stations have fallen into a rut about what they post.  The quality of the post is in the level of engagement you get from it.  When thousands or tens of thousands follow you, and you get two or three ‘Likes’ on your posts, you gotta shake up your thinking.”  In a new column posted today (5/28) Miller suggests that although consistency is basically a good and necessary thing, there is a dark side to it and to avoid falling into a rut, radio broadcasters of all formats should make changes to approximately 10% of their posts on a regular basis.  To read the details and Miller’s entire piece, click here.

sterlingkentKent Sterling Returns to Indy on Sports Talk WFNI.  News/talk and sports radio pro Kent Sterling re-surfaces on the air at Emmis’ sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis for a weekend program with Chris Hagan called, “Ahead of the Curve with Hagan and Sterling.”  He most recently served with Bonneville at its St. Louis sports talker WXOS but exited that post to return to Indianapolis.  Prior to his work at WXOS, Sterling served as program director at Emmis’ news/talk flagship WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Sterling’s and Hagan’s weekend program airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm on Saturdays.

nba logoNBA on Radio Is a Different Breed of Sports Play-by-Play.  Major League Baseball is the sport that could be called radio’s best friend and the NFL’s astounding popularity makes its games and surrounding programming popular with listeners.  While the NBA’s regular season games are not generally thought of as “programming gold” across the country, it appears that having even a moderately successful team combined with a flagship station with a strong nighttime signal, can be a recipe for success with basketball play-by-play.  According to information from Arbitron based on PPM data from 27 NBA teams in 25 PPM markets, certain places are simply basketball towns – the Los Angeles Lakers rule Los Angeles on KSPN with average game estimates larger than the Dodgers, Angels, Kings and Ducks grabbing a 4.0 share with Men 25-54 (average of all 82 games).  And perennial contenders the San Antonio Spurs dominated on WOAI with a 9.8 share with Men 25-54.  However, less successful teams on strong flagships performed well during the regular season:  the Milwaukee Bucks just squeaked into the playoffs but on heritage WTMJ garnered a 10 share with Men 25-54; the Cleveland Cavaliers missed the playoffs yet grabbed a 9.7 share (M 25-54) on WTAM; and the Detroit Pistons also missed the playoffs but notched an 8.0 (M 25-54) share on the highly rated WXYT-FM.  Considering games in the East and Midwest air in the evenings, numbers for the stations cited above – and others not cited here – are impressive nighttime ratings.

pendlchrisFlagship Stations Should Capitalize on Cross-Promotional Opportunities within Baseball PBP.  According to Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl, “If you’ve made the investment on play-by-play sports on your station, it’s important to maximize the return on your investment by trying to recycle that audience to another daypart on your station.”  Arbitron reports that MLB drives cume increases as much as 50% to 65% during baseball season.  Pendl tells TALKERS, “This influx of audience is one of the reasons we pay rights fees, share revenue, or give up inventory to carry this programming.  In a climate with little or no external marketing dollars, I’ve often joked that our promotional time within baseball play-by-play is the closest thing we’ll get to an interstate billboard or TV campaign.”  In an exclusive article posted today (5/28) Pendl describes and shares a production/promo technique conducted by Bonneville to cross-promote the station via the baseball audience that he calls “situation baseball return liners.”  To read the entire piece and hear examples of its execution, click here.

kyzz logoBuckley to Sell KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters.  Buckley Communications announces it is selling sports talk KYZZ, Salinas, California to Mt. Wilson FM Broadcasters.  The price is yet to be announced.  KYZZ is the FM side of the sports talk simulcast that also airs on Buckley’s KIDD, Monterey and Buckley says it will continue with its ESPN Radio affiliation on KIDD.  Mt. Wilson has not announced its format plans for KYZZ.  Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson also owns country KKGO, Los Angeles and classical simulcast KMZT-AM, Beverly Hills and KMZT-FM, Big Sur, California.

weismanstevenWTOP Hacking: Why You Should Worry.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes about the recent hacking of the websites of Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED “Federal News Radio.”  Weisman is one of the nation’s foremost experts on scams, he operates the website Scamicide that presents up-to-date information about scams, fraud and identity theft, and is the author of The Truth About Avoiding Scams (FT Press 2008).  In this column, Weisman explains the methods used by the WTOP hackers and explains the steps users can take to avoid becoming the victim of similar attacks.  Read Weisman’s entire piece here.

Odds & Sods.  Martz Communications’ WPDM, Potsdam, New York flips from a simulcast of FM sister WSNN to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio Network…..Wilks License Company’s sports talk WZOH, Columbus becomes part of the Cleveland Browns radio network based at CBS Radio’s WKRK, Cleveland…..WTOP, Washington crowns Nathan Stanford from Harrington, Delaware the 2013 winner of “Commuter Idle” – an “extreme commuter” competition for listeners experiencing the daily horrors of commuting in and around Washington.  Stanford’s commute begins with a 3:00 am alarm and a one-hour drive.  He then boards a commuter bus for a 90-minute ride from Kent Island to Foggy Bottom, rides the Metro, and hustles on foot to his office in Rosslyn.  Stanford’s travels from Delaware to Virginia average more than five hours a day, though the commute can be much longer in the summer months with Friday beach traffic.  He receives $1,000 in gas money and will enjoy a limo ride to and from work from Reston Limousine.  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “The question that we hear most often is, ‘Why do these people do it?’  It’s fascinating to hear their personal stories and accompany them on their crazy commutes.  We feel their pain, and as DC’s traffic authority we’re here to help.”

koilmulberryKOIL, Omaha’s Mulberry Lane Meets the Beach Boys and John Stamos.  Musical act Mulberry Lane opened for the Beach Boys (which includes actor and musician John Stamos) in Council Bluffs, Iowa on Saturday, May 25.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Bo Mulberry, Bruce Johnston, Rachel Mulberry, Mike Love, Allie Mulberry, and John Stamos.  The Mulberry sisters – based in Nebraska – also host a weekend talk show on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha called the “Mulberry Lane Radio Show.”  The station describes the ladies’ program saying the sisters “decided to bring their busy lives to live radio with a show based on sisterhood, womanhood, motherhood, and the humor and mishaps of trying to juggle it all – woven together with music, harmony and a dash of wit.”  It airs Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Longtime KNX, Los Angeles Anchor Harry Birrell Dies.  Longtime Los Angeles news personality Harry Birrell died on May 26 after a battle with lung disease at age 85 in Thousand Oaks, California.  Birrell was an anchor at all-news KNX, Los Angeles for more than three decades – beginning in 1968 when the station flipped to the all-news format and ending with his retirement in 1999.  Birrell switched from his anchor role at the station to Ventura County correspondent in 1993.

millerbeckKevin Miller Stops By TheBlaze.  KIDO, Boise morning drive talk show host Kevin Miller was visiting Dallas – home of Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze – and took some time to stop by the studios to check out the production of the Glenn Beck program.  Here’s a shot of Beck (l) and Miller (r) inside the spacious former movie/TV studios that are home to Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts production facility.

Friday, July 20, 2012

| July 20, 2012

Sports Talk King Mike Francesa Credits Colleagues at WFAN for his Success with Special Salute to Former Partner Chris Russo.  In a special statement issued to TALKERS, afternoon drive superstar Mike Francesa – named the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America in the recently released “2012 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” — expresses his gratitude to “all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become.”  He congratulates his teammates at the station that also made the list and particularly credits his former on-air partner Chris Russo (currently at SiriusXM Satellite Radio) saying, “I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.”  The TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk has generated enormous mainstream press and internet chatter propelling the Big Apple mainstay into the national spotlight. Here is Francesa’s complete statement: “I commend Talkers for recognizing the importance of sports talk as a viable and efficient format in radio programming.  In this the 25th year of WFAN, there are over 600 sports talk stations across our nation.  I am honored to have been chosen by your editorial board to top the list.  It is a special distinction to be cited by professionals who understand our medium so well.  I accept this honor for all the people who have helped make WFAN the iconic station it has become and congratulate my FAN colleagues who made the list – Boomer Esiason, Craig Carton, Joe Benigno, Evan Roberts, Steve Somers, and especially my partner of almost 20 years, Chris Russo.  I wouldn’t be commanding the top spot in the Hundred without his enormous contribution to my career.  Again, I am very grateful for the honor and wish you continued success. 

All the best

Mike

2012 Marconi Award Nominees Announced; CBS Radio Sports Talk Hosts Mike Francesa and Angelo Cataldi Up for Major Market Personality of the Year.  The winners of the 2012 NAB Marconi Awards will be announced on September 20 at The Radio Show in Dallas.  This year’s nominees include sports talk radio personalities Mike Francesa of WFAN, New York and Angelo Cataldi of WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia for Major Market Personality of the Year.  Both Francesa and Cataldi were named to the 2012 TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk this week – Francesa at #1 and Cataldi at # 10.  DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio Network personality Dan Patrick is the lone sports talk figure up for Network/Syndicated Personality of the Year.  He’s up against talk hosts Neal Boortz and Dial Global’s Dennis Miller and music radio hosts Elvis Duran of Premiere Networks and Reach Media’s Tom Joyner.  Other spoken-word nominees include: KYW, Philadelphia; WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte; and WFAN, New York for Legendary StationJan Mickelson from WHO, Des Moines is the lone talker up for Medium Market Personality of the YearHubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington is nominated for Major Market Station of the Year.  News/talk WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville and sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit are up for Large Market Station of the Year.  WHO, Des Moines and WTIC-AM, Hartford are nominated for Medium Market Station of the Year.  The nominees for News/Talk Station of the Year are: KCBS-AM, San Francisco; KFGO, Fargo; WBBM-AM, Chicago; WGN, Chicago; and WTOP, Washington, DC.  Nominees for Sports Station of the Year are: KTCK, Dallas; WEEI, Boston; WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia; WSCR, Chicago; and WXYT-FM, Detroit.

Glenn Beck Plans Major Expansion at TheBlaze.  The talk media superstar and digital media pioneer tells WXKS-AM, Boston morning drive host Jeff Katz during a recent appearance on his program that he intends to hire as many as 200 new staffers for TheBlaze in the coming months.  TheBlaze – the multi-media news and programming initiative of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts – already has approximately 120 employees.  The news came within the context of an on-air conversation between Katz and Beck about the state of business in America under the Obama administration.  Beck also alluded to the ease with which he’s been able to build his business – and create jobs – since moving away from New York City to the Dallas, Texas area.

Tai Irwin Hosts Final Morning Show on Alternative Rock WFNX, Boston.  Radio personality (and faculty member at The New England Institute of Art) Tai Irwin reprising the role he played for 10 years at alternative rock WFNX, Boston today (7/20) as the station broadcasts its final day of alt-rock before Clear Channel takes control later in the day.  Irwin and other personalities were invited to do one last show and Irwin tells TALKERS WFNX “launched me into the national talk scene due to my talk show and industry convention presence where I met and befriended Gene Burns and Jerry Williams, before I eventually left to work for Kevin Straley at WRKO.  During my time there I interviewed everyone from Noam Chomsky and Jerry Brown to Mitt Romney.”  In addition to his work at the NEIA, Irwin is involved with tom Leykis’ New Normal where he’ll debut a new podcast called, “The Tai-rade” very soon.  As for what Clear Channel will do with the new FM signal, speculation runs the gamut from an FM signal for news/talk WXKS-AM to a brand new classic hits format.  We’ll know soon enough.

Washington, DC Talk Host Andy Parks Gets Multi-Media Marketing Initiative.  Washington talk radio personality Andy Parks – a long-time figure on crosstown WMAL – is heard in PM drive on Metro Radio Inc.’s WTNT as well as on WashingtonTimes.com.  The show is called “Andy Parks Live from the Washington Times” and the paper is devising a multi-media marketing ploy to create awareness of the show.  Using the line, “Online.  On the Air.  On Your Doorstep.”  The Times is promoting Parks’ show with a reference to President Obama’s controversial statement about jobs creation not belonging to builders of small businesses and employs the phrase, “Andy Begs to Differ” in bold print in an ad in the newspaper.  The Times says it plans to begin a digital initiative using the same campaign technique in the near future.

Flip to Talk for Florence, South Carolina FM; Station Nabs Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh.  Miller Communications moved its plans to flip to talk up a couple of weeks when Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh became available after crosstown WJMX-AM/FM dropped Limbaugh’s program.  WFRK-FM added Limbaugh to the schedule three days after WJMX dropped the show declaring to SCNow.com that decreased listenership, advertiser skittishness and increased costs associated with the show forced the decision.  WFRK-FM CEO Harold Miller says the station will launch as a talk outlet officially on August 1 but could only say “Kinard and Koffee in the Morning” will be part of the lineup as other deals for programming are still in the works.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group names Ben Reed vice president and market manager for its Atlanta station group that includes news/talk WSB-AM/FM.  He takes over for Dan Kearney who moved south to become VP/market manager for Cox Media Group Miami…..Houston talk radio personality Matt Patrick hosts the final live debate between Texas Senatorial candidates Lt. Governor David Dewhurst and former Texas State Solicitor Ted Cruz on his PM drive show on The 9-5-0 KPRC this afternoon at 3:20.  The primary election is July 31…..New England Patriots football great Gino Cappelletti announces he is retiring from his post as color man for radio broadcasts of Patriots football games – a job he’s held for the past 32 years.  Cappelletti has worked alongside Gil Santos for the past 28 years.  Comcast SportsNet is reporting WBZ-FM, Boston – 98.5 The Sports Hub – host and former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak will likely be named Santos’ partner in the booth…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation’s WVON, Chicago hosts the 2nd Annual Taste of WVON neighborhood festival tomorrow from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm at Lorraine Dixon Park in Chicago.  The event features more than 60 food and craft vendors and live entertainment…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago has a weekend full of special broadcasts planned to celebrate the induction of Cubs legend Ron Santo into the Baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday.  WGN’s Dave Eanet will report from Cooperstown throughout the weekend and a special Ron Santo Hall of Fame edition of Cubs Confidential will air Sunday from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm featuring broadcast clips from the Ron Santo Cubs Legend CD.  The station will also delay broadcast the induction ceremony after Sunday’s Cubs game…..ESPN Deportes brings Mexican soccer great Francisco Gabriel de Anda aboard to join the network’s team of expert analysts.  De Anda will be integrated into Futbol Picante’s table of analysts Fridays and Saturdays, and become part of ESPN Futbol Center, the program dedicated to Mexican and International soccer.

Talk Host Tom Becka Calls on Nebraska Listeners to Protest Penn State.  November 10 is the date of the Nebraska Cornhuskers vs Penn State and Fargo, North Dakota-based talk host Tom Becka is rallying his listeners who hear his show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm on KKAR, Omaha to donate their tickets for the game to local kids who may never get the chance to see a big game.  Becka says, “I am calling on my listeners in Nebraska to donate their Penn State tickets to any children’s group or give it to some kids in the neighborhood that normally wouldn’t be able to go.  I’d love to see the stands loaded with children for any Penn State away game.  That way kids get to see a game and the fans get to protest in a civil manner the neglect of Joe Paterno and the Penn State program.”  The NCAA is currently reviewing the Penn State situation and although the “death penalty” is a possibility for the football program, it probably would not go into effect until next season.

2012 Presidential Race Remains Atop Talkers TenTM for Second Straight Week.  The various storylines relative to the November presidential election were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of July 16 – 20.  Coming in at #2 this week was the report of increased jobless claims.  At #3 was Fed chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress about the state of the U.S. economy and at #4 was President Obama’s unveiling of the $1 billion Master Teacher Corp program.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is the result of ongoing research from Talkers.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View the entire chart here.

Mike & Mike on David Letterman.  ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic recently made their 9th appearance on CBS TV’s “Late Night with David Letterman” and the day was documented by Greenberg’s wife Stacey – aka Mrs. Greeny – for ESPN Front Row, where fans get a behind-the-scenes look at their favorite personalities.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Mike Greenberg, Stacey Greenberg, actress Kyra Sedgwick, and Mike Golic taken backstage.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Wall Street Journal Radio Network’s “The Daily Wrap from The Wall Street Journal with Michael Castner” is added to the program schedule at Clear Channel’s WRDU, Raleigh and WERC-AM/FM, Birmingham…..The “Motley Fool Money” radio show featuring host Chris Hill adds affiliates WPLM, Plymouth, Massachusetts; WBNW, Concord, Massachusetts; and WESO, Southbridge, Massachusetts.