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Friday, August 27, 2021

| August 27, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the 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. This new episode titled, “Holding the Bag of Blame,” looks back at this past week of August 23-27. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Andrew Langer, talk show host, WBAL, Baltimore; Larry Elder, (on leave) talk show host, Salem Radio Network/gubernatorial candidate, California; Phil Valentine, (deceased) talk show host, WWTN-FM, Nashville; Scott James Matheson, talk show host, WDDQ, Valdosta, GA/Mayor of Valdosta; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The 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 WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, 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.

WEEI, Boston’s Glenn Ordway Does Last Regular Show with the Station. Boston sports talk radio legend Glenn Ordway did his last regularly scheduled show with Audacy’s WEEI-FM on Thursday (8/26). Earlier this summer he announced he would be retiring from his regular afternoon drive hosting role with the station after some 50 years on the air on the market. (He will do some fill-in and special projects for the station going forward.) In addition to being one of the most-listened-to sports talk hosts in Boston radio history, Ordway was the programmer responsible for building WEEI-AM into a sports talk station when then-owner American Radio Systems flipped it in September of 1994. He launched his radio career as a commentator for Boston Bruins and Boston Celtics games. The WEEI website has some of the comments Ordway received during yesterday’s farewell show from sports luminaries, including New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who said, “You’re a true sports radio legend and professional. I know you had everybody’s respect, including mine. I was very fortunate to have the amount of opportunity to work with you that I did. You’re one of the real trailblazers in the industry.”

TALKERS News Notes. Broadcasting company Connoisseur Media worked with the Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater, Hartford HealthCare, and the City of Bridgeport to provide free COVID vaccinations on Wednesday (8/25). The free COVID vaccination clinic was hosted at the brand-new Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater in Bridgeport where listeners who received their vaccination were given a $25 gift card courtesy of the radio stations, funded by Connoisseur Media CEO Jeff Warshaw. In addition, attendees had the opportunity to win free concert tickets to shows at the new amphitheater. This came after a number of recent clinics in the area struggled to even administer 10 vaccines in a day, Connoisseur Media says it stepped up to utilize radio and its team of personalities to get the word out. The “Shot to Win” Vaccination Clinic administered 135 vaccines…..C13Features, the new scripted audio movie division of leading premium podcast studio Cadence13, an Audacy company, announces that award-winning actress Kiernan Shipka has signed on to star in “Treat,” the first feature-length project from the newly created studio. “Treat” is in production now and will premiere on Monday, October 25, as a Halloween week worldwide release and will be available on all podcast platforms. It tells the story of a seemingly perfect American town that makes a deal with a mysterious outsider possessing supernatural powers to help it recover from social turmoil. When the town falls behind on its payments, a trio of teenagers must unlock the secret of his powers. Shipka will play protagonist and narrator Allie West…..SiriusXM is offering subscribers an extensive play-by-play schedule for the 2021 college football season’s opening weeks, airing 86 live games from August 28 through September 6. Throughout the season, SiriusXM’s college sports coverage will feature dozens of live college football games each week from the SEC, ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, American Athletic and other conferences, plus Notre Dame, Army, Navy, and more. SiriusXM is also expanding its HBCU coverage and will air multiple HBCU football games every week on the SXM App.

Former WKBN-AM, Youngstown Host Pete Gabriel Dies. Former longtime WKBN-AM, Youngstown, Ohio talk host and programmer Pete Gabriel has died. Gabriel worked in the Harrisburg, Kansas City, and Columbus markets before joining WKBN. He was responsible for the station’s transition from a music outlet to a talk radio station. The WKBN website says Gabriel brought talent to WKBN such as Dan Rivers, Ron Verb, Rich Morgan and the late Dan Ryan. Gabriel is known for starting the local St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It began with an on-air conversation in 1979 and has continued each year since. Gabriel was inducted into the Ohio Broadcasters Hall of Fame after his retirement in 2005.

Afghanistan Withdrawal Chaos Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 23-27. The deadly withdrawal of U.S. troops, civilians and Afghanis from Afghanistan was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and mask & vaccine mandates. Following at #3 was the January 6 investigation tied with the ongoing claims by Donald Trump and some supporters that the 2020 election was fraudulent. 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

| June 30, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – “Welcome to the ‘20s” and “A Fireside Chat with Bill O’Reilly.” The third video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11 is posted. This installment contains two consecutive sessions conducted by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison. The first segment features a greeting from Harrison in which he reflects upon his 54-year career in radio and his view of the state of the industry. The second segment features a one-on-one conversation (“fireside chat”) he conducted with Key Networks commentator and talk media icon, Bill O’Reilly. Both segments are chock full of interesting and productive takeaways. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Townsquare Media Consolidates Digital and Programming Teams; Jared Willig Named Chief Content Officer. Leading the newly consolidated radio and digital platforms is Jared Willig, who has been serving Townsquare Media as digital leader. In his new role as chief content officer, Willig will oversee all content for the company across all its radio and digital platforms and consumer touchpoints, including all platforms for 322 local radio stations, over 350 local websites and mobile apps, and national music and entertainment brands XXL Magazine, Taste Of Country, Loudwire, Ultimate Classic Rock, ScreenCrush, and PopCrush. He will also continue to oversee AMPED, the monetization of the digital platforms of the company’s owned and operated local and national brands. Willig will oversee the newly created Townsquare content team, consisting of team members with varied expertise across platforms, formats and disciplines, in order to drive the company’s 360-degree strategy in radio, digital, on demand, mobile apps, social, and video. Additionally, longtime Townsquare radio programming head Kurt Johnson expands his role across all media to become SVP, content and programming, while continuing to lead the company’s music industry relations. Jackie Corley, who had been overseeing Townsquare’s digital content team, also widens her purview to become the VP of local content and programming. Willig says, “For over 10 years now, I’ve had the great privilege of running Townsquare’s digital content strategy and operations, and while our company is Digital First, radio has always been at our core. So, by merging all platforms into one content team, we are simply making official what we’ve already been doing for over a decade. There is no better programmer in the industry than Kurt Johnson, and no better local digital content expert than Jackie Corley, so with their expanded roles, I couldn’t be more excited and confident for our continued success in audience and brand growth across all forms of media.”

Lee Habeeb’s ‘Our American Stories’ Joins Premiere Networks. The nationally syndicated “Our American Stories” franchise is joining the Premiere Networks radio lineup, effective August 2. The program, created and hosted by radio pro Lee Habeeb, will continue to be available to stations Monday through Friday for two hours to air between 7:00 pm and 12:00 midnight. Additionally, the show will feature separate two-hour Saturday and Sunday options for weekend clearance. “Our American Stories” will also be available as a podcast on the iHeartRadio Podcast Network. The program is currently heard on some 200 affiliate stations across the country. Habeeb says, “We have spent the last five years telling stories about all that is good and decent in America, and why millions of people from around the world still wish to call our country home. The show has grown because Americans want more than conflict and bad news: they crave positive, redemptive stories from our past and present – many from our listeners – that lift their spirits and inspire them, and that’s what we do each and every day on our show.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “We’re excited to offer this entertaining and compelling program to even more stations nationwide. Lee and his team are masterful storytellers and they’ve created a unique and inspiring program that resonates widely with audiences.”

WEEI, Boston’s Glenn Ordway Retires from Afternoon Show. Boston sports radio personality Glenn Ordway – one of the architects of the station when it flipped to sports in 1991 – announces he’s retiring from the afternoon drive show after 34 years. Ordway will leave the show he currently hosts with Christian Fauria and Lou Merloni but will remain with the Audacy station as host of “The Real Post Game Show” following every Patriots’ game in the fall, in addition to making other station appearances and developing a podcast. He says, “To be able to do something I’ve loved doing daily for nearly five decades has been a blessing, but to do it in the best sports city during the best championship run in the history of sports…what more can you ask for. I’ve had the opportunity over the years to do it with some of the best talent in the business on a legendary radio station. Though I’m walking away from the daily hosting role, I’m excited about new opportunities and my continued presence at WEEI and maybe a little free time every once in a while.” Audacy regional president Mark Hannon says, “Glenn has been an ever-present force at WEEI, both on air and off air, for over three decades. He was the station’s first program director and oversaw some of the most dominant years in Boston radio. He has been an enduring on-air presence and has been side-by-side talking to Boston sports fans through the best and worst times. Glenn will go down as one of the most influential players in sports radio format history, and thankfully his presence will continue on the station into the future.”

Bill O’Reilly Announces New Book, Killing the Killers. The next book in Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing” series is slated for release in November and it titled, KILLING THE KILLERS: The
Secret War Against Terrorists
(St. Martin’s Press, 2021). Co-authored with Martin Dugard, this 11th book in the series “reports on America’s intense global war and manhunt against the terrorist extremists that not only carried out the attacks on 9/11 but also executed hundreds of others both on American soil and globally. The authors trace America’s efforts to defeat Al Qaeda and ISIS worldwide. In addition, O’Reilly and Dugard have gained access to top secret national security documents as well as interviewed the highest national security officials in the United States.” St. Martin’s says the current book in the “Killing” series, Killing the Mob, topped the New York Times hardcover nonfiction best-seller list for six weeks and sales of the series are approaching 19 million copies worldwide. O’Reilly’s radio program – “The O’Reilly Update” – is syndicated nationally via Key Networks.

Kim Komando’s Cryptocurrency 101 eBook Tops Amazon Best-Sellers List. The
new ebook Cryptocurrency 101 by digital technology radio host and entrepreneur Kim Komando hit the #1 position on Amazon’s Money & Monetary Policy best-seller list. According to Amazon, the book “breaks down the basics of the cryptocurrency boom. If you want to invest in cryptocurrency, it can be very complicated to know where to even begin. Kim goes through your options when it comes to buying and storing digital currency and gives you pro tips to keep you safe from hackers and scammers. In this quick, thorough guide, you’ll learn what you need to know to get started, the safe way.”

Salem’s David Santrella Elected NAB Joint Board Chair. Broadcasting executive David Santrella – president of broadcast media for Salem Media Group – has been elected chairman of the NAB Joint Board of Directors. He assumes the role previously held by Hearst Television, Inc. president Jordan Wertlieb. At the same time, Bill Wilson, chief executive officer of Townsquare Media Group, has been elected Radio Board chair by the NAB Radio Board. John Zimmer, president and owner of Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri, Inc., was elected Radio Board first vice chair, while Kevin Perry, vice president and chief operating officer of Perry Publishing and Broadcasting Company, was elected Radio Board second vice chair. Collin Jones, senior vice president of corporate development & strategy for Cumulus Media, was elected to the Radio Board’s major group representative seat on the NAB Board’s Executive Committee.

Newsmax Adds Eric Bolling to Talent Roster. Television host and best-selling author Eric Bolling joins the talent roster at Newsmax. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “Eric Bolling is a consummate media professional who isn’t afraid to ask tough questions, get provocative answers and challenge establishment thinking. His background in business and politics separates him from the competition.” Bolling has begun his work with Newsmax as a guest host for shows and is slated to host a new program in July with details to be announced soon. Most recently, Bolling hosted “America This Week With Eric Bolling” airing on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s 200 television stations. He’s also served with FOX News Channel, having filled in for Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity. Bolling says, “Like myself, Newsmax is concerned with the direction that Big Tech and Big Corporate Media have taken journalism and our nation. I’m excited to join an organization that delivers programming you can trust.”

COVID-19, Condo Collapse, Northwest Heatwave, NYC Mayoral Voting Snafu, Big City Gun Violence Spike, House January 6 Investigation, and Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/29). The spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the rate of vaccinations in the U.S., and mask controversy; the search for victims of the Florida condo collapse and the building’s safety history; the deadly heatwave affecting the Pacific Northwest; the New York City mayoral race is hit by a voting counting problem; the spiking gun violence in America’s large cities; the U.S. House moves to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack; and the bipartisan infrastructure deal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, December 2, 2016

| December 2, 2016

Art Bell and Wife Suing Michael Savage and WW1 for Defamation.  In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, radio talk host Art Bell and his wife Airyn Ruiz Bell are suingsavagemichael Michael Savage, Westwood One and parent company Cumulus Media for defamation, defamation per se, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.  The Bells are seeking damages “in the amount to be proven at trial.”  The bellartcomplaint stems from a September “Savage Nation” broadcast in which Savage said, “I generally avoid gun questions. I know this from the first day in radio. I learned you never do certain topics where you can destroy your show. Third rail… You say UFOs, you wind up in the Philippines with a 10-year-old hooker and you are off the radio after a number of years. You can’t do UFOs. That’s an in joke, by the way, for people who understand the business. There are other topics you can’t do…”  The Bells argue that to anyone who knows the business, it was obvious Savage was referring to Art Bell and further, that the “10-year-old hooker” remark refers to his wife, Philippines national Airyn Ruiz Bell.  The Bells say they petitioned Westwood One for a retraction but their request was not honored.

WEEI, Boston Names New Leadership Team.  The Entercom sports talker announces its new programmingzarbanojoe management team.  It is promoting assistant program director Joe Zarbano to PD, taking over for Kevin Graham, who announced his exit from the station back in June.  This comes after a six-month search that resulted in the station promoting from its “in-house talent bench.”  In addition to Zarbano’s kichenbenpromotion, senior producer Ben Kichen rises to executive producer.  He’s been lead producer for both the Glenn Ordway and “Dale & Holley” programs.  He also produces Kirk Minihane’s “Enough About Me” podcast and hosts “Soccercast” for WEEI.com.  Carlson Mozdiez, currently director of integrated marketing strategies for Entercom Boston, assumes the director of operations role for the cluster with special emphasis on the company’s WEEI.com digital platform.  Entercom New England VP/marketmozdiezcarlson manager Phil Zachary says the search was necessarily long and intensive.  “With its massive broadcast reach and associated digital assets, the WEEI brand is arguably among the most influential and complex in all of broadcasting.  Many of our outside candidates simply couldn’t get their arms around all of it.  As each month passed, it became clear to me that we had the talent right here in Ben, Carlson and Joe.  Plus they each have that inimitable DNA of the true Boston sports fan.”

Brandys Promoted to Baltimore SVP/Market Manager for CBS RADIO.  From her most recent position as VP, director of sales, Tracy Brandys is elevated to senior vice president, market manager and director of sales for CBS RADIO’s Baltimore stations, including sports talk duo WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan,” WJZ-AM “CBS Sportsbrandystracy Radio 1300,” adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9,” CHR WWMX “Mix 106.5,” as well as the CBS RADIO Up Close Performance Studio that hosts local and national sports figures and musicians.  She replaces former Baltimore market manager Bob Philips who was recently named chief revenue officer for CBS RADIO.  Company COO Scott Herman says, “Tracy’s years of sales and management experience, coupled with her intimate knowledge of our Baltimore stations and the overall market, made her the natural choice to take on this important role.  Throughout her tenure with CBS RADIO Tracy has proven to be a powerhouse salesperson who has led and grown our revenue and market share in Baltimore and has been a trusted leader to our valued employees.  We are delighted to reward her accomplishments with this well-deserved promotion.”

The News Media Alliance and National Association of Broadcasters Seeking Review of FCC’s Cross Ownership Rules.  The News Media Alliance is going straight to President-Elect Donald Trump with a white paper that lays out its case for abandoning the 1975 rule that makes cross-ownership of electronic and print medianewsmediaalliance illegal and the National Association of Broadcasters is petitioning the FCC for nab-logoreconsideration of the 2014 Quadrennial Regulatory Review’s conclusion to maintain the ban (as well as other policies).  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the argument that the current state of media looks nothing like it did in 1975 and current regulations should reflect the current business conditions.  News Media Alliance president and CEO David Chavern states, “While news organizations are innovating and adapting to a vastly different media landscape, antiquated government regulations and imbalanced policies are unnecessarily hindering investment and growth at news media companies.  We encourage the new administration to revisit these regulations and policies as it charts a new course for our nation’s economic growth.”

Al Peterson to Cease Publication of NTS MediaOnline in New Year.  After 10 years serving the spoken-word radio business, radio pro Al Peterson is announcing he’ll stop publishing his NTS MediaOnline Today andpetersonal NTS MediaOnline Monthly come January.  In a press release, Peterson says, “After serving as the News/Talk/Sports editor for 10 years at the top industry newspaper Radio & Records, to then creating NTS MediaOnline and building it into a reliable hub for news, information and conversation about talk radio for the last decade, it just feels right to start a new chapter in my life – one where I’m not waking before sunrise to a blank page and a daily deadline.”  Working with Peterson during the last 10 years (and before that with R&R) has been his sales and marketing partner Brooke Williams.  The statement says Peterson plans to enjoy more time with his family and pursue other interests outside the industry.

siriusxmsmallReport: Pandora and SiriusXM Talking Acquisition.  According to CNBC, digital music pure play Pandora is talking with SiriusXM about being acquired by the satellite radio company.  The report indicates that the talks arepandoralogo very preliminary but that this shows a change of heart after Pandora dismissed an informal offer of $15 per share from SiriusXM parent Liberty Media back in July.  Liberty CEO Greg Maffei is quoted saying, “We think that the free space, whether it be commercial, terrestrial radio or Pandora, is still a very attractive space.  And we talked about how we’d like to find a way to participate.  I think the streaming business, which Pandora seems to have doubled down on, is a very unattractive business.  So there are parts of Pandora that could be attractive.  And there’s parts that we’d have questions about.”  Read the CNBC piece here.

talkersten-logoTrump Cabinet Nominees Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 28 – December 2.  The growing list of cabinet nominees for the Trump Administration was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the election recount tied with Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Carrier deal, followed by Trump’s flag burning comments 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Odds & Sods.  News/talk WHBY, Appleton, Wisconsin is broadcasting in FM as well now with the addition of translator W287AU at 103.5.  Woodward Radio Group brand manager Justin Hull states, “We are thrilled to be taking WHBY to the FM side of the dial.  The new frequency, along with our revamped website and app, gives listeners another way to experience WHBY in all aspects.”…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation, the parent company of WVON, Chicago is hosting its 26th Annual Seniors Breakfast tomorrow (12/3) at the House of Hope.  Seniors will enjoy a hot breakfast and live entertainment from three-time Grammy nominee Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues and Christmas carols from musical artist Uneqka…..Both satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM and digital platform TuneIn will be broadcasting live from the Baseball Winter Meetings starting this Sunday, December 4, through Thursday, December 8.

gracies-logoSix Days Left for Gracies Early Bird Deadline.  The deadline for early bird entries for the 2017 Gracie Awards is Thursday, December 8.  The annual awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, recognize “exemplary programming created by, for and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individual achievement.”  All submissions must have been released, posted or aired between December 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016.  Please note, this is a change from previous years’ timeline for eligibility.  The final deadline for submissions is January 12, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET.  See how to register submissions here.

bernadettestudio16The Yappy Tour Rolls Through WABC, New York.  The recently published book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books), by veteran talk radio producer Bernadettehamburgjoan Duncan (left), continues to burn up the airwaves.  The coast-to-coast book tour rolled through New York City yesterday (12/1) as the author was interviewed by the legendary talk radio grand dame Joan Hamburg for her Saturday show (12/3) on the legendary WABC.  Duncan tells TALKERS, “It was one of the highlights of my career being interviewed by the great Joan Hamburg.  Not only is she one of my personal idols, but I can safely describe her as one of the best radio talkers of any era and a national treasure.  Being on her show and the airwaves of WABC is deeply gratifying to me and hopefully to the thousands of radio enthusiasts who have been giving this book such wonderfulbernadettebooksmall support.”  Yappy Days recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry KingSally Jessy RaphaelLou DobbsTom SnyderGil GrossCharles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.”  Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature.  The interview is already posted as a podcast on the WABC website and can be heard by clicking here.   Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the first quarter of 2017.  Duncan has already appeared on more than 40 local and syndicated programs.  Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

| June 25, 2014

townsquare logoTownsquare Media to Go Public with IPO Hoping to Raise $144 Million.  The negative spin on this story is that by going public, Townsquare Media becomes another company that must serve shareholders first – with all that that implies.  But the reality is that Townsquare’s backers – Oaktree Capital and GE Capital (with 62% and 18% stakes, respectively) – have poured a lot of cash into building the company’s portfolio of 312 radio stations and number of digital publications.  The company is sitting on $645 million of outstanding debt and the IPO would help put a dent in that if it raises the $145 million it hopes for.  The one aspect of the company’s balance sheet that is turning radio industry watchers’ heads is that, according to its S1 filing, 26% of its revenue is coming from the non-radio end of its operations.  At this point, there is no timetable for the IPO or any report of how much shares will be sold for.

shepardsullivanNew England Radio Pro Brad Shepard Exits WHYN, Springfield.  For the past 11 years, Brad Shepard (left) has co-hosted the morning drive program alongside Bo Sullivan (right) on Clear Channel’s news/talk WHYN, Springfield, Massachusetts.  Now, the station appears to be going with Sullivan alone in the driver’s seat as CC’s Jennifer Powers confirms to Masslive.com that “Brad Shepard is no longer part of WHYN mornings.  We appreciate all of his contributions during his time with us and wish him well.”  Prior to joining Clear Channel Springfield in 2000, Shepard was morning host at crosstown AC WMAS-FM for seven years.  The move appears to be budget related like most of the talent cuts taking place at Clear Channel that TALKERS and RadioInfo have reported this week.

hummtomTALKERS Career Moves.  Las Vegas radio pro Tom Humm inks a new, five-year deal to remain in his vice president and market manager role at Beasley Broadcast Group’s station group there that includes four music stations and news/talk KDWN…..Nicky Sparrow is named the director of sales for the Clear Channel New Orleans station group that consists of six music outlets and news/talk WRNO-FM “Rush Radio 99.5.”

wgn logo newWGN, Chicago to Unveil ‘Walk of Fame.’  This Friday is the day Tribune Company’s WGN Radio will hold the WGN Radio Walk of Fame Induction Ceremony at Pioneer Court in front of Tribune Tower on Michigan Avenue.  The ceremony will be broadcast live on WGN with hosts Steve Cochran and Bob Sirott introducing the 2014 Walk of Fame inductees and interviewing them or their family representatives.  Being inducted this year are: Spike O’Dell, Orion Samuelson, Kathy O’Malley, Wally Phillips (represented by wife, Barbara Phillips), Judy Markey, Quin Ryan (represented by his cousin, Justin O’Brien), Milt Rosenberg, Jack Brickhouse (represented by wife, Pat Brickhouse), Roy Leonard, and Bob Collins (represented by wife, Christine Collins).

nyfest smallThe New York Festivals Announces International Radio Program Award Winners.  Monday evening in New York City, the New York Festivals handed out honors to the winners in the 2014 competition The New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards.  The broad competition included entries from all over the world in a wide spectrum of categories.  Some of the winner from the United States included the American Forces Network; WGBH, Boston; Bloomberg News; and Gary Theroux Productions.  Follow this link and you can search for winners based on country or category.

PodcastOne Targets Young Demos with Brody Jenner Show.  The half-brother of the Kardashian sisters – Brody Jenner – is entering the world of podcasts with co-host andpodcastone logo relationship expert Dr. Mike Dow for a weekly podcast titled, “The Brody Jenner Podcast with Dr. Mike Dow.”  Brody – star of MTV’s “The Hills” – will focus on the love lives of celebrities and the podcast’s audience as they engage them through social media.  PodcastOne founder and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Brody Jenner has an amazing connection with exactly the target audience we want to build at PodcastOne. We’re now doing business with over 100 of the nation’s biggest brands. We know where we need to go and we’re betting that Brody and Dr. Mike Dow can help get us there.”

deanandyOdds & Sods.  “America Now” host Andy Dean will appear on this Friday’s edition of “Real Time with Bill Maher” on HBO at 10:00 pm ET.  The Premiere Networks-syndicated talk host will be on with journalist Bobby Ghosh and MSNBC anchor Joy Reid…..Former WEEI, Boston sports talk host Glenn Ordway’s digital effort “The Big Show Unfiltered” makes a move on its SiriusXM platform where it is also heard liveordwayglenn from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  The show moves from channel 108 to channel 220 for Sirius subscribers but remains on 206 for XM subscribers.  A press release from Ordway’s organization reports the show’s podcasts (which debuted on March 17) “have generated nearly 312,000 listener hours, up from over 252,000 individual listening sessions.  Each of those individual listening sessions, on average, has lasted 1:14, a critical factor in developing listener loyalty.”…..The internet video sports entertainment project 120 Sports debuts this evening at 6:00 pm ET.  120 Sports is collaboration between Time Inc./Sports Illustrated, MLB.com, the NHL, Campus Insiders and Silver Chalice.  120 Sports is described as “a first-of-its-kind network partnership involving multiple leagues and media properties created for the digital generation and the devices it uses most.  In 120 Sports, today’s fans will have access to unauthenticated video programming through a new platform built to intuitively integrate video and data in ways they haven’t experienced before.  The 120 Sports product will debut as free native applications for mobile and tablet devices as well as a web experience at 120Sports.com and other distribution outlets.

Iraq Turmoil-U.S. Military Role, IRS Scandal Testimony, Influx of Illegals in Southwest, Primary Races/State of the GOP, Hillary Clinton Memoir-Financial Status, News Corp Phone Hacking Trial, LeBron James Watch, and World Cup Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24).  The continuing march of ISIS toward Baghdad and the U.S. military’s potential role in the country’s security; the testimony surrounding the loss of Lois Lerner’s emails by the IRS; the massive influx of minor illegals in the Southwest and concerns about health problems and criminal activity; the primary races for the fall’s mid-term elections and debate over the state of the GOP; Hillary Clinton’s latest memoir and her statements about her financial status; verdicts in the News Corp phone hacking scandal; speculation about the future of NBA star LeBron James; and the hoopla over World Cup action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

| April 2, 2014

theblaze logoGlenn Beck’s TheBlaze.com Claims Increased Unique Visitors.  The website that’s a part of Glenn Beck’s digital efforts is growing rapidly, according to the company.  TheBlaze.com reports that, according to data from Omniture, it had its best month ever in March, attracting more than 35 million unique visitors and becoming the 43rd most trafficked site in the U.S.  Further, the company claims the site generated 198.7 million page views in one month.   TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood comments, “TheBlaze.com’s mix of original reporting and curation has quickly made it one of the leading sites in America.  Editor-in-chief Scott Baker and his team have done a tremendous job and we are proud of how the site continues to grow alongside our TV network.”

opieanthonyOpie & Anthony to Celebrate 20 Years Together at Carolines on Broadway.  The hot talk duo of Greg “Opie” Hughes and Anthony Cumia will celebrate 20 years together on the radio as Opie & Anthony with a special edition of its “Unmasked” comedy series broadcast live from Carolines on Broadway – New York City’s premier stand-up comedy nightclub.  The program – “O&A20: Unmasked” – will air on SiriusXM live at 4:00 pm ET.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We want to toast Opie & Anthony on reaching this milestone and for being one of the most outrageous and daring duos in all of talk radio. SiriusXM has been proud to give Opie & Anthony the freedom to give fans and listeners their intense, edgy talk and uncensored comedy.  We are thrilled to have SiriusXM listeners across the country celebrate their decades in radio with an evening that will be without a doubt an outrageous and unpredictable show.”

daleholley picWEEI, Boston to Stick with Dale Arnold and Michael Holley in PM Drive.  Well, for as long as anything is stuck with in radio these days.  Those are our words, not those of Entercom Boston vice president and market manager Phil Zachary, who tells the Boston Globe that the station is “going forward with Dale and Holley” several weeks after parting ways with Mike Salk, who returned to his adopted hometown of Seattle to serve as program director at KIRO-AM.  Salk and Holley were paired up in afternoon drive for almost a year after Glenn Ordway was ousted from the station (Ordway has subsequently begun his own digital venture SportsTalkBoston that features his “The Big Show Unfiltered” also airing live in PM drive).  Michael Holley and Dale Arnold had been partners in middays on WEEI for almost six years before their show was broken up in 2011 to bring Lou Merloni into middays.  Boston radio observers speculated that WEEI management felt the knowledgeable-but-not-very-hip Arnold is the antithesis of what CBS is doing successfully at rival WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” so they took him out of the daily lineup.  Arnold stuck around WEEI hosting weekend shows, sports pre-game programs and doing fill-in work.  Now, Zachary tells the paper, “We will continue to evaluate and enhance the program as we start to get some Nielsen feedback.”

sabowalterSABO: Introverts Are Taking Over the Business World.  Media consultant Walter Sabo asks what kind of workforce are you building with respect to the personality types of staffers?  Are they introverts or extroverts?  Or a mix of the two?  According to Sabo, the different personality types prefer to communicate in different ways – extroverts, verbally and introverts, with the written word.  “An interesting fact about radio stars is that they are shy as hell.  They thrive working alone in a room where they have absolute control of their environment.  They hate to meet new people.”  With emails and texting taking over the way people – yes, especially young people – communicate, it may just be that introverts are taking over the business world.  Read Sabo’s entire column here.

topicpulse logoLDR Interactive Adds Two to TopicPulse Executive Team.  The growing firm LDR Interactive announces two executives join its TopicPulse leadership team.  Hank McMonigle is named vice president, sales for TopicPulse and Dana Hall joins as TopicPulse support and client services manager.  The company says in a statement that McMonigle and Hall will lead client development and service for TopicPulse, its real-time, social media monitoring system for local newsrooms and content producers.  TopicPulse scans social media including Twitter and Facebook, blogs, comment/message boards, and news sources to track trending topics in a local market.  McMonigle comes to LDR Interactive with more than 30 years of experience in the media industry, most recently serving as vice president/general manager at NextMedia Group in Dallas.   Dana Hall is a broadcast and music industry journalist who’s covered formats ranging from urban, hip-hop, gospel, rhythmic, and top 40 for Radio & Records, Billboard, Airplay Monitor, and RadioInfo.  She also programmed urban outlet WILD, Boston.  LDR Interactive CEO, Daniel Anstandig comments, “Hank and Dana bring exceptional talent and perspective to our growing team.  They are media industry thought leaders and relationship builders.  Their enthusiasm for innovation and forward-thinking mindset is already driving TopicPulse’s growth in the days since they’ve joined our team.”

herskovitzalThe 2014 Hersky Award Winners Are Announced.  For the 7th year running, TALKERS magazine is proud to deliver news of the winners of the annual Hersky Awards for talk radio advertising excellence.  Okay, so maybe the Herskys aren’t as big as some other industry awards, but radio pro Al Herskovitz is an accomplished sales pro and a serious observer of today’s radio advertising landscape and, even though we have a little fun with it, his accolades are delivered with utmost sincerity.  Check out his story and why Fox Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr, Compass Media’s Todd Schnitt, Cumulus Media and others are being recognized this year by clicking here.

Lionel largeCatching Up with Lionel:  One of Talk Radio’s True Originals Performing at the Top of His Game in Experimental Radio Space.  One of the most unique and original performers to grace the airwaves during talk radio’s modern era is a quirky former trial lawyer, prosecutor and talk show caller from Tampa, Florida named Michael William Lebron who is known in his many media-related activities (radio, television, books, live performances) by the professional name “Lionel.”  As Lionel, he has enjoyed a stellar career as a talk show host on such great call letters was WABC and WOR in New York, WFLA, Tampa as well as in national syndication on such networks as the WOR Radio Network and Air America.  He even hosted a cool show on Court TV.  These days he is familiar to New York television viewers as a commentator and legal analyst for WPIX-TV Channel 11 and to the elite audience of industry professionals and hard core talk show fanatics glued to TalkersRadio – the “experimental talk radio space” operated by TALKERS magazine on its website (www.talkers.com) as a laboratory for new ideas and formats for the industry.  It is within this endeavor that Lionel has begun raising eyebrows and is receiving praise fortalkersradio logo having delivered some of his most remarkable spoken-word performances to date.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “When Lionel is left to his own on-air devices and not squished into an existing talk ‘format,’ ‘formula’ or cookie-cutter political ideology, he is capable of creating a level of compelling content the quality of which we haven’t heard since the days of Jean Shepherd.  All we have done at TalkersRadio is encourage him to do whatever he wants and as a result we have benefited from the brilliant results of that strategy.  What he does for us would fit any talk format out there today if the programmers didn’t ‘try to make it fit’ what they think is the only way to make talk radio work.”  In a new feature story written by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian posted today (3/31), we look back at the amazing career of this most unusual talk show host, tap into his views and opinions about the state of the format, and reveal his hopes for the future.  To read the entire piece, please click here.

comrexpilotComrex to Unveil New Streaming Appliance at NAB Show.  For broadcasters involved in streaming content and who may be attending the NAB Show in Las Vegas, a visit to the Comrex Corporation booth will be informative.  There, the company will introduce the new P1L0T IP Streaming Server.  The company states that P1L0T is a dedicated streaming appliance designed with hardened Linux-based hardware and software.  There are no moving parts…not even a fan. AES3 and analog balanced inputs, special audio processing options enhanced for streaming and an intuitive web-based interface are included.  P1L0T can deliver your source stream to any SHOUTcast/lcecast-based streaming server and, given enough bandwidth, can deliver 100 streams directly to listeners.  Listeners connecting to your audio stream have a choice of formats, either HE-AAC, Opus or MP3 because P1L0T is capable of encoding in each mode simultaneously.  P1L0T is a compact unit occupying 1/2 U of rack space, at a very low cost.  The Comrex booth will be #C2221 in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

foxCDBOdds & Sods.  A new album featuring the songs of Bob Dylan has been released by the Charlie Daniels Band titled Off the Grid and Charlie Daniels visited the Fox News Radio studios in New York City to promote the record.  Daniels (right) is pictured here with Fox News Radio morning anchor Dave Anthony (left) who is sporting Daniels’ hat for the photo…..Last week TALKERS announced CBS News Radio was recognized with National Headliner Awards.  This week, we have two more to announce.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington wins seven National Headliner Awards including first place in the Newscast, News Series and Website categories.  Also The Wall Street Journal Radio Network is honored with two National Headliner Awards.  “Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal” takes 3rd place in the Breaking News Category and MarketWatch.com Radio is recognized with a 2nd place finish in the Radio Affiliated Website category…..Chicago Public Media, which operates WBEZ, Chicago, announces Goli Sheikholeslami is named the new president and CEO of the organization.  She most recently served as chief product officer at Everyday Health but also served with the Washington Post, leading the digital division.

kars4kidsSometimes It Is Fool’s Gold.  Despite how perceptive you might think you are, or the conscientious pains you take to be aware, there is still a better-than-average chance you were duped about something yesterday – even if it was for a split-second.  It is a national pastime and we are not talking about the beginning of the baseball season.  Hopefully, the intention is always harmless, yet inevitably, something a bit wonky can happen when the calendar flips to the first day of April.  Okay – more specifically – countless on-air April Fool’s Day pranks were hatched yesterday; here is a quick look at two of them – one nationally and the other on a local level. Registered 501(c)3 nonprofit car donation charity Kars4Kids changed their long-running radio jingle, although listeners of more than 50 stations in 14 markets wondered if they were hearing correctly when they heard the new “message.”  The radio spot indicated Kars4Kids is launching a new division – Kids4Kars.  The kid donation program supposedly provides free pickup of all donations of kids and offers a free lifetime vacation to donors in return.  Kars4Kids spokesperson Morris Franco alleges that, “We had been getting requests for this service on social media and from callers for years. People would call up saying they have a kid they would like to donate and wondered what they can get in return.  After we got enough of these parents calling, we realized that there was a real need for kid donation that wasn’t being filled by anyone else, so we decided to step up to the plate.”  Prospective donors were directed to the charity’s website, where they could “submit a donation” by using an online form.  The website stated the program could “accept kids up to age 12 in any condition, provided the donor is the child’s legal parent.” Anyone getting to the confirmation part would receive an “April Fool’s” statement, followed by, “Your kids are worth more than you think.”  According to a Boston Medical Center study, 73% of parents pay more attention to their mobile phones than to their children during mealtime.  The Kids4Kars campaign encourages parents to ignore their devices during times reserved for their children.  “We felt we needed to hit hard to get the gravity ofchazandaj the message across,” Franco states. “With the increasing temptations of our mobile devices, it is harder and harder to stay focused on our children.  The shock value of an April Fool’s prank allowed us to wake parents up to the damage they can do to their children by focusing on their devices instead of their kids.”  It is estimated that this particular stunt reached at least 50 million people.  Meanwhile in Connecticut, Chaz & AJ – the morning team at Connoisseur Media‘s WPLR, New Haven “Connecticut’s #1 Rock Station” and co-owned classic rock WFOX, Stamford-Norwalk “The Fox,” reported that state taxpayers could double their tax rebate check from $55 to $110 by registering with a new database program instituted by the Department of Revenue Service.  According to Chaz, it was difficult to establish the exact number of calls the stations received, especially since, “The high volume that came in ultimately caused the phone system to crash.  We did not think it would generate that many calls.”  Shortly after 9:00 am, the morning duo fielded a call from the Governor’s office and Chaz points out, “They complained that the revenue department was overwhelmed with phone calls – they were not happy.”  A voicemail message declared it was an April Fool’s Day joke, but the Department of Revenue Services received calls about the supposed “rebate” throughout the day.

ObamaCare Criticism, Global Warming Debate, Ryan Budget Cuts, Benghazi Hearing, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Investigation, Russian Aggression, and MLB Season Opens Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1).  Scrutiny of the White House’s claim that the Affordable Care Act has reached its stated goals; renewed debate over the theory of man-made climate change; Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposal to cut $5 trillion from the proposed federal budget; today’s House Intelligence Committee hearing at which former deputy CIA director Michael Morell will testify on the Benghazi case; new conflicting information about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s last communications and a renewed criminal investigation; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine; and the opening of the 2014 Major League Baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.