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Covering Breaking News

| August 13, 2012

How news/talk radio stations can take ownership of breaking news events

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Managing Editor

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — News/talk stations covering breaking news have a challenge in this era of shrinking news departments and pared-back staffs.  In order to be the place to which people turn for coverage of breaking news and then the talk about the news, stations must have a pre-planned approach and use their people creatively in order to compete for the consumer’s attention.  With the recent case of the Aurora shootings last month, stations beyond Denver woke up to a major breaking story from out of market that was the only thing people were talking about that morning.

The Rolodex of the well-run news room can help the station respond to such complex cases where gun law experts, psychology practitioners, crime experts and others are used by stations to bring local analysis to the story.  How stations prepare for and execute coverage of breaking news and the talk about that news determines how “on top of the story” a station and its talk hosts sound.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

| May 10, 2012

FM Talk Winning in PM Drive with Alan Cox Show on Cleveland’s Legendary Rocker WMMS-FM.  The Alan Cox show is quietly defying the conventional wisdom about what talk targeting younger demos on FM is all about.  Ensconced in afternoon drive on Clear Channel’s legendary rock outlet WMMS-FM, Cleveland, Cox’s success is not a widely told tale in the radio industry, in part because it doesn’t appear to be a piece of a corporately directed programming puzzle with companywide ambitions.  Cox credits local management for daring to be innovative with spoken-word programming outside the realms of news/talk and sports talk.  “’MMS, everybody knows, is a legendary station and management had the foresight to realize music on FM is kind of going away and to see if it can work with two talk products and it has worked amazingly well.  The foresight that brought them to try this hybrid station also makes them realize that you have to honor the heritage the station has but everything has to move forward.”  Read this entire story here.

Gil Gross Replaces Gene Burns in PM Drive at KKSF, San Francisco.  Talk radio legend Gene Burns is not going away from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment San Francisco as he continues to rehab from a stroke he suffered last December but cluster director of operations Don Parker gives the PM drive slot to Gil Gross, who’s been one of those filling in for Burns since January.  Parker states, “I’m thrilled to have Gil Gross aboard full time for the Bay Area’s only live and local afternoon drive talk show.  With his extensive background in network news, everyone in news/talk radio knows the name Gil Gross.  I couldn’t be happier to have KKSF be his new home.  NewsTalk 910 has been very fortunate to have the highest caliber of talent filling in for Gene Burns since January.  I’d like to thank John Rothman, Ed Baxter and Rosie Allen for their contributions and for continuing to play a role on NewsTalk 910 moving forward.”  Burns will continue to blog at newstalk910.com and his Saturday “Dining Around” program will remain on the program schedule with Joel Riddell hosting .  Additionally, John Rothman is named the station’s political analyst.  He’ll contribute to the station’s talk shows and newscasts as well as serve as host for KKSF’s 2012 election coverage.  Baxter and Allen will remain with the station for fill-in and blogging duties.  On his new position, Gross states, “I am thrilled to keep the live, local talk flame alive in the Bay area.  From the Occupy movement to Oscar Grant or the struggles of our economy, it’s important for the Bay area to have a platform to discuss today’s most pressing topics.  I look forward to having my friend and colleague, Gene Burns, back in the line-up.  I also look forward to building the future at NewsTalk 910, a unique station that will not be one point of view all day long.”

Tony Kornheiser Negotiating for Long-Term Deal to Remain on WTEM, Washington.  Washington, DC-based sports media personality Tony Kornheiser tells his audience he hopes to be assured his radio talk show will be heard on Red Zebra’s WTEM – ESPN 980 for “another two years, at least.”  The Washington Post reports director of programming Chuck Sapienza hinted the two sides are negotiating, quoting him saying, “Our goal has always been to have Tony with ESPN 980 long term, and we hope to have an official announcement soon.”  Kornheiser will take much of the summer off from his radio show telling his audience he will do a few weeks of ESPN’s “Pardon the Interruption” but will not do radio in July or August.

Terry Gross Celebrates 25 Years of National Syndication for “Fresh Air.”  Tomorrow “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross will celebrate her 25th anniversary in national syndication via NPR.  Gross began the program on WHYY-FM, Philadelphia – where the show is still based – in 1975.  Gross tells the Philadelphia Daily NewsDan Gross (no relation), “I fell in love with radio the moment I started doing it.  I still find it a privilege to be able to talk to and engage in a pretty personal level with people whose work I respect.”  Surprisingly for some, Gross tells the paper she counts Howard Stern among those whom she’d like to interview but has not.  She says she’s a fan of his radio show.

Carmichael Dave Out at KHTK, Sacramento.  The producer and sidekick to morning host and PD Don Geronimo and host of his own midday show exits the CBS Radio sports outlet.  His tweets about his exit are vague but it appears Carmichael Dave is the victim of a budget-related maneuver.  He tweets, “As of today I am no longer a part of CBS Radio…I’m getting a lot of response that this was contract related.  I asked for nothing.  I can’t go into details.  Just know that I love the station and the people.”  The station is airing DirecTV/Premiere’s Dan Patrick show in middays.

Analysis:  The Legal Basis for the Bob Lonsberry Decision.  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman reviews the recent ruling by the Appellate Division, Fourth Department of New York in the defamation case filed against WHAM, Rochester talk show host Bob Lonsberry.  Weisman writes that for talk hosts who make a living expressing their opinions, it’s important to note that “not all opinion is protected, but when it is made about a matter of public concern, the speaker is protected by the First Amendment.”  Read Steven J.J. Weisman’s piece here.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  CBS Radio names Brian Thomas vice president of programming for its Tampa cluster that includes sports talk WQYK – 1010AM Sports…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc. begins distribution of Chuck Woolery’s “Save Us Chuck” political commentary feature on June 4.  The game show legend states, “I started in radio and just love it!  During all my years on television, I’ve come to realize that radio is truly the only medium where I can connect one-on-one with the audience and help to create real change.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles visits the foothill cities of the San Gabriel Valley as part of its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series.  The broadcast will emanate from the Monrovia Coffee Company in the heart of Old Town Monrovia on June 1…..WTKK-FM, Boston midday talk host Doug Meehan’s listeners are launching a campaign to get the host an on-air audition with Kelly Ripa on ABC TV’s “Live! With Kelly.”  Meehan has recorded his pitch to be on the show and posted it on WTKK’s website.  He’s encouraging listeners to visit the “Live! With Kelly” website touting Meehan for a shot at a guest host appearance…..Former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte regular fill-in host Wayne Powers wins his primary contest for a seat on the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners.

First Caller Puts Curse on New Talk Show Host.  What a way to start a new gig!  Gregg Henson, the station’s program director who replaced afternoon drive host Pat Miller on WOWO, Fort Wayne, was greeted with a first call that sounded like something out of a Steven King novel.  Not only did the listener with a heavy accent voice his disapproval of Henson and insult him by saying he is “a snake” who “doesn’t bring anything to the table” — he went on to actually put a curse on him!  Check THIS out.  Listen to the audio here.

2012 Presidential Race, Obama Gay Marriage Issue, Feds to Sue Arizona Sheriff Arpaio, and Putin Snubs Obama Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9).  The 2012 presidential campaign, President Obama’s change of heart on the gay marriage issue, the federal lawsuit being filed against Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s backing out of meeting with President Obama and the G-8 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Media Veteran and Fenway Park Announcer Carl Beane Dies in Auto Crash.  Fenway Park’s voice of the Boston Red Sox, Carl Beane, died Wednesday at age 59 after suffering a heart attack and crashing his car while driving.  Beane won the Fenway Park gig after the 2002 season.  He was a radio sports announcer, talk host, news reporter and more during his long career.  In addition to stringing for AP, ESPN and SiriusXM, Beane had worked at WBZ, Boston and spent many years in the 1990s working at then talk/music hybrid WESO, Southbridge.

 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

| February 22, 2012

Clear Channel Media Holdings Reports 2011 Revenue Up 5%. The entire company’s full-year revenue was $6.16 billion.  For the former radio division – now known as Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – revenue for the year 2011 grew 2%. That number would have been a negative one had it not been for the acquisition of Westwood One’s Metro Traffic. During yesterday’s conference call, CFO Tom Casey indicated the company is very bullish on its iHeartRadio app. He noted it had 48 million downloads last year and stated the Pandora-like custom music feature will remain commercial free for the foreseeable future.

KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Addresses Traffic Incident/Gay Bar Issue.  Former Houston city councilman and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry spent the better part of an hour on the morning leg of his talk program yesterday (2/21) addressing his alleged hit-and-run of a parked car outside a bar in Houston on January 31 – sort of.  Berry did not address the actual hit-and-run issue in detail stating he couldn’t talk about that – Berry has not been charged with any crime.  But he did say he was in the bar, drank a beer and used the restroom.  He went on to excoriate KPRC-TV for making his patronage of a bar where some of the patrons “happen to be gay” an issue.  He spoke at length against anti-gay sentiment in the conservative and religious communities and took his critics to task for rushing to judgment without the facts.  Still, the Houston police are investigating to see if the officers looking into the hit-and-run complaint did a thorough job before concluding there was no reason to charge Berry.

Wisconsin Talk Host Pat Snyder to Run for State Office.  WSAU, Wausau, Wisconsin talk show host Pat Snyder announces he will run for state assembly in the fall on the Republican ticket.  Already one of his potential opponents is challenging Snyder’s decision to announce his intention to run and remain on the radio.  Democrat Jeff Johnson tells WSAU he believes station owner Mid-West Communications is making a mistake, “I think they are opening themselves up to some liability.  The case could be made very easily that they are providing an in-kind donation every time they let him on the air.”  The station reports equal time rules do not allow a political candidate to work as a radio announcer within 60 days of a general election and within 45 days of a primary election.  Radio station managers have said Snyder will leave the show at the end of July if he does have a primary opponent or at the end of August if he does not.

WOWO, Fort Wayne Strikes News and Weather Deal with Indiana’s News Center.  Federated Media news/talk outlet WOWO, Fort Wayne announces it has entered into a partnership with Indiana’s News Center to have the operation’s meteorologists Chris Daniels, Curtis Smith and Jason Meyers do weather reports on WOWO and go live on the station with reports during severe weather situations.  WOWO provides live traffic reports for INC as well as a simulcast each morning between WOWO personality Charly Butcher and INC anchors Ryan Elijah and Mary Collins.  WOWO and INC will also share web stories and news reporters.  WOWO operations manager Gregg Henson states, “All of our talent are now multi-platform digital journalists so it only makes sense that the WOWO and INC newsrooms would work together to generate and gather the most relevant content for our customers across all platforms.  Viewers and listeners in Fort Wayne can now receive all of our content wherever they want it – radio, TV, mobile and online.”

Compass Media Marketing Client POP Radio Adds Stores.  This isn’t a talk radio story but an interesting note about marketing at the point-of-purchase.  Radio marketing and syndication pro Peter Kosann’s new venture, Compass Media Marketing, is handling ad sales for client POP Radio – a service that provides in-store audio and advertising for stores.  POP Radio recently added the Roundy’s food store chain to up its reach to 18,465 stores.  In an age when digital marketing gets so many of the headlines in business and trade publications, it’s interesting to note how popular and effective audio advertising still is for certain types of products – in this case packaged goods.  Often the same product will be marketed in the home via TV or radio, in the car on terrestrial radio and again through the use of audio at the point of purchase.  POP Radio notes its audience estimates are based on data conducted by Edison Research.  An annual update to this data is planned for later this year.  Until then, advertisers currently utilizing POP Radio will enjoy a significant bonus in their audience delivery due to the addition of the Roundy’s stores.

Red Wolf Broadcasting to Sign on New FM News/Talk Station in Connecticut.  The New London Day is reporting Red Wolf Broadcasting is preparing to sign on a new FM news/talk station next week to serve the markets of New London, Connecticut and the eastern end of Long Island, New York.  WJJF-FM at 94.9 is licensed to Montauk, New York.  The station is bringing WXLM, Groton, Connecticut talk host Lee Elci aboard to host the AM drive show and will air programming from Talk Radio Network including Laura Ingraham and Michael Savage as well as Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.  Station owner John Fuller tells the paper they intend to deliver local content to the region.  The station will be positioned as “94.9 News Now and Stimulating Talk.”  In addition to hiring Elci, the station is hiring a local news staff. “We’re going to be out at town hall meetings and out at news conferences.”

The Life of WBZ, Boston Legend Dave Maynard to Be Celebrated Feb. 29.  Boston radio personality Dave Maynard passed away on February 9 in Citrus Hills, Florida after a long battle with Parkinson ’s disease.  His life is being celebrated Wednesday, February 29 at 11:00 am at Saint Cecilia’s Parish, 18 Belvidere Street in Boston’s Back Bay and his family is inviting the public to attend.  Maynard was a long time WBZ radio and TV personality and member of the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Election, Corporate Tax Reform Plan, Iran Tensions, Rising Gas Prices, and Koran Desecration-Afghan Protests Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/21).  The issues surrounding the GOP primary race and the 2012 presidential election; the clash between President Obama and congress over corporate tax reform proposals; Iran’s nuclear ambitions and its oil strategies; rising gas prices in the U.S.; and the reported Koran desecration at a U.S. military base in Afghanistan and the resulting protests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.

Joe Madison and the First Lady Talk Fitness.  SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison recently interviewed First Lady Michelle Obama about the second anniversary of her “Let’s Move” fitness campaign at the “Faith and Community Groups Leading the Way” event in Longwood, Florida on February 11.  Mrs. Obama’s campaign to eliminate childhood obesity was the subject and the two spoke at length about the importance of physical activity.   Pictured here are (from l-r): First Lady Michelle Obama, Sherry Madison and Joe Madison.