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Wednesday, April 21, 2021

| April 21, 2021

Round Two of March PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s March 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s March 2021 survey period covered March 4 – 31. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets and he reports that in the Washington, DC market Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM loses 2.1 shares from the February to March surveys and finishes with a 3.9 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) dropping from the #4 rank to #9, while Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM remains ranked #2, although it shed nine-tenths for a 9.0 share finish. In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO stays in the #8 rank while posting a 4.4 share, a decline of eight-tenths while sister all-news WBZ-AM slips 1.1 shares to a 6.4 share and slides from the #1 rank to #4. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle remains ranked #1 even though it lost nine-tenths and wrapped the survey with a 6.4 share. And Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle lost just two-tenths and stayed in the #5 spot with a 5.0 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets (and yesterday’s group of 12) here.

Tweet by KFAB, Omaha Talk Host Chris Baker Draws Criticism; Station ‘Reviewing it Internally.’ According to a story published by the Omaha World-Herald, KFAB-AM afternoon drive talk host Chris Baker is being criticized for posting an image of a small group of Black natives in loincloths and brandishing spears with the caption, “Guilty!” immediately following the verdict against Derek Chauvin. Although the tweet was removed, it was screen captured and iHeartMedia management was made aware of it. iHeartMedia area president C. Taylor Walet III, told the paper the situation is under review by the company. He stated, “We are aware of the completely inappropriate tweet that was posted late Tuesday afternoon. Please know that this does not represent our viewpoint or our values. We take this situation very seriously and are reviewing it internally in order to take appropriate action.”

Markley, Van Camp & Robbins Approach 100 Affiliate Stations Threshold. The Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley, Van Camp & Robbins” talk radio program is rapidly approaching the 100-affiliate station mark after adding some two dozen new affiliates including 17 live clears. The program – co-hosted by Jamie Markley, David Van Camp, and Scott Robbins – was recently added to stations in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot at stations such as: WLAD-AM, Danbury, Connecticut; KPNW-AM, Eugene, Oregon; KJNO-AM, Juneau, Alaska; KMED-AM, Medford, Oregon; WMBD-AM, Peoria, Illinois; WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw, Michigan; and more. WSGW-AM/FM operations manager Dave Maurer comments, “The live ‘Markley, Van Camp and Robbins’ show is making a positive contribution to the programming of 100.5 & 790 Newsradio WSGW! The guys get on the hot topics of the day, but they also know when to take the off ramp and add some entertaining elements to the show. I’m confident they are bringing us a broader audience including younger listeners and more women.” Alpha Media EVP of content Phil Becker adds, “‘Markley, van Camp and Robbins’ have achieved the perfect blend of chemistry and humor. This is the show news/talk stations have been looking for.”

WFAS-AM to Broadcast with All-Digital Signal. White Plains, New York talk station WFAS-AM receives permission from the FCC to broadcasting its signal in a digital format and eliminate the analog broadcast format. The Cumulus Media station posted the following on its website: “In October 2020, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a new rule allowing AM radio stations to operate using all-digital broadcast signals. 1230 WFAS-AM, licensed to White Plains, New York, has notified the FCC of its intention to switch from its current analog operation to all digital beginning on May 24th, 2021. Once WFAS has switched to an all-digital operation, only radios equipped with HD radio technology will be able to receive and play the station programming. WFAS will no longer be available on analog-only AM radios. Broadcasting in digital will eliminate annoying static and interference, improve the sound quality to equal FM radio and streaming and extend the range for clear reception.”

Political Voices Network and Counterpoint Partner to Provide Multi-Platform Home for Political Humor. A new partnership between Political Voices Network – an audio-and-video destination for political talk from popular hosts such as Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmannand Counterpoint – a source for the latest political humor from top opinion cartoonists such as Pulitzer recipients Nick Anderson, Darrin Bell, Michael Ramirez as well as the Washington Post’s Michael de Adder – are joining forces to provide news junkies a twice-weekly side order of cartoon humor alongside their political-talk diets. Cartoons will be presented every Tuesday and Thursday with text-based commentary from the artists. New York- and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales handles advertising and sponsorship sales for Political Voices Network. Political Voices Network co-founder Ron Hartenbaum says, “One of the most enduring and popular aspects of political opinion and commentary has been that great and especially American tradition of the political cartoon. The combined objective for Counterpoint and Political Voices Network is to expand both the audience for this top-flight creative content and fan sponsorship and support of this format. Thanks to this alliance we’ll be able to entertain fans with a service that blends seamlessly with our existing multiplatform offerings in a convenient destination for multi-format viewpoints on the day’s news.”

Three Award-Winning Content Creators Join New York Festivals Radio Awards Advisory Board. The New York Festivals Radio Awards announces the appointment of award-winning global storytellers Jennie Caltaldo, Helen Shaw, and Carole Zimmer to the Radio Awards Advisory Board. The 13-member Advisory Council provides NYF’s Radio Awards competition with ongoing knowledge of emerging trends and critical industry insights. Jennie Cataldo is an award-winning radio and podcast producer who serves as vice president of programming at BMP Audio in San Francisco. Helen Shaw is an award-winning producer/director who runs digital and broadcast storytelling agency Athena Media in Ireland. Carole Zimmer, reporter-at-large, is the host of the podcast “Now What?” about big life decisions, transitions and how you navigate all those curves in the road. The three also serve on the 2021 Radio Awards Grand Jury. This year is the eleventh year of NYF’s strategic partnership with NAB Show and all convention attendees will have access to the multi-day NAB event which is the world’s largest media entertainment marketplace and takes place in October 2021. The deadline to enter the 2021 Radio Awards competition is May 20. Find information about entering the competition here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Independent Broadcasters Association, Feeding America, and 375 radio stations partnered to hold the 2nd annual “Radio Cares – Feeding America Radiothon” on April 14 that raised $40,000 to provide 400,000 meals for individuals and families facing hunger in America. IBA president and Adams Radio Group CEO Ron Stone comments, “Hunger in America escalated because of the pandemic and there are families still struggling to put food on the table. I’m very proud of the stations that participated again. The work that Benztown, McVay Media, and Vipology put into this effort is unmatched – they truly define the word volunteerism!”…..The impactful mentoring message of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America will be highlighted on more than 850 live broadcast radio stations as the result of  a new partnership between the organization and iHeartMedia. iHM selected BBBSA for its Communities Spotlight Media Grant Program, the goal of which is to provide a platform for organizations to inspire, educate, and empower listeners to take a stand against systemic racism and promote social justice. Yesterday (4/20), a series of PSAs featuring voices of current youth (called “Littles”) began airing on iHeartRadio stations and the iHeartRadio app focusing on the need for Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors, and most especially Black men. The campaign runs through the end of the year…..The USA Radio Network-syndicated “Dan Sileo Radio Show” sports talk program is added to the lineup at KXEG-AM, Phoenix.

Delmarva Radio Personality Wayne Cannon Dies at 72. Longtime Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland music radio personality and talk show host Wayne Cannon died on Monday (4/19) at the age of 72 after a battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis. After a stint in the Army, Cannon got his start in the early 70s at WETT-Ocean City, Maryland. He moved to WWTR, Bethany Beach, Delaware, then WSEA-AM, Georgetown, Delaware before returning to WETT. He joined WGMD, Rehoboth Beach in 1993 and served there for 20 years but continued to make contributions for another seven years.

Chauvin Guilty Verdict, COVID-19, Border Crisis/Immigration Policy, and EU Climate Deal/U.S. Climate Summit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The guilty verdict against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the exploding rate of COVID cases in several countries and the rollout of vaccines in the U.S.; Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s deploying of National Guard troops to the Mexican border to respond to the migrant crisis and the Joe Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the EU agrees to a climate deal ahead of Biden’s Thursday climate summit that will include China’s Xi Jinping were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Pens Lyrics to Animal Welfare Anthem – Appears on New Gunhill Road Album and Video. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has been an outspoken supporter of the animal welfare movement for most of his adult life. Now he has the opportunity to express his views on the subject through his lyrics and performance of a song titled, “I Know You’re Real,” on the latest album by the historic group, Gunhill Road, that has roots going back to the golden age of album rock. The album is titled, What Year Is This! and it was produced by the band with remote technology during the pandemic year of 2020. In the process, Harrison has become an official member as a vocalist and songwriter of the long-lived band that has been in existence since 1969. Harrison tells TALKERS, “I go all the way back to 1971 with this great NYC-based ensemble when I played them every day on my morning show on WNEW-FM. They had two albums in that era that received critical praise and lots of airplay on FM album rock stations. They also had a hit single on top 40 radio – ‘Back When My Hair Was Short’ – in the early 70s. They had the reputation in those days as being the ‘best opening act’ in the NYC album rock club scene and appeared on the bill with some of the biggest names in music at such historic venues as the Bitter End.” Since then, the members of the group kept its spirit (and fan base) alive by continuing to record, release new material and play occasional concerts. Their longevity was the subject of a documentary feature film about the group that made a splash on the film festival circuit and was carried on Amazon Prime. Although the founding members eventually went in different directions (and successful careers) in their private lives, they kept the spirit of Gunhill Road alive through the decades by remaining very close friends and appearing sporadically at special events and charity concerts. The lyrics of the song “I Know You’re Real,” written by Harrison and performed by him in a spoken-word presentation on the new album and video, take an emotionally uplifting view of the connection between humans, animals, and the entire universe. There are two versions of the song on the album and video. The other features band member Brian Koonin singing the lyrics. Both versions have been posted to YouTube. The version spoken by Harrison can be viewed below

Harrison says, “The song is a spiritually uplifting tribute to animal welfare… which has long been one of my main interests and guiding themes of my life. If you have love and respect for all of Earth’s sentient creatures, please take a look and listen to the song and share the link with friends who might enjoy and appreciate them as well.” Harrison is available to appear as a guest on talk media shows to discuss the subject of animal welfare (not to be confused with animal rights) as well as what it was like to record with a band via Zoom during the pandemic. To book Michael Harrison on a talk show please call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS, 413-565-5413. To read a feature story about Gunhill Road and this experience written by Harrison, please click here.

Friday, July 17, 2020

| July 17, 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 “Hackers, Hucksters, Harassers, and Hooligans!” looks back at this past week of July 13-17, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; Paul Vandenburgh, talk show host /owner, WGDJ, Albany, NY; Matt Battaglia, talk show host, “Business Roundtable” / business manager, KFNX, Phoenix; Rob Carson, talk show host, “What in the World is Going On?” Newsmax TVDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / physician; Lincoln Ware, talk show host, WDBZ, Cincinnati; and John Lodge, musician, the Moody Blues.  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 (posted Friday 6/3 at 3:00 pm ET),  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.

Ramsey Solutions Seeks Talent to Become Ramsey Personalities. Nashville-based Ramsey Solutions announces that it is growing its team of speakers, writers, and broadcasters – referred to as Ramsey Personalities. Current Ramsey Personalities are thought leaders and communicators, headlining national events and media appearances, while sharing a message of hope through original content published in books and streamed on various platforms. Ramsey Solutions says, “Ramsey Personalities recognize their public platform is a privilege. They are passionate about sharing biblically based, commonsense education to empower the real heroes – audience members, show listeners, and book readers – to take control of their lives. That shared mission of life change drives the company forward, and Ramsey Personalities lead the charge.” Ramsey Personalities EVP Jeremy Breland says, “Ten years ago, I joined the team to train and grow speakers to take Dave Ramsey’s message even farther. Now we have six Ramsey Personalities that help people in all areas of life, like money, relationships and careers.” Dave Ramsey’s passion to help people with their money problems quickly expanded into giving advice in other areas of life. He comments, “I’m in the legacy stage of my career where I now get to share my success and platform with this next generation of speakers, authors, and thought leaders and help them be successful. It’s deeply satisfying to pour into our Ramsey Personalities as we are growing their brands and messages, which ultimately scales the impact and helps more people.” Qualified candidates should be currently working to build their brand through speaking engagements, podcasting, YouTubing, broadcasting or blogging. The team is specifically looking for experts in topics like marriage/parenting, leadership/business, money, careers and personal development. You can apply here.

Entercom and Twitch Partner for Sports Talk Live Video Simulcasts. This deal between Entercom and interactive digital platform Twitch will “bring live video simulcasts of market-leading sports talk programs to Twitch and its 17.5 million daily users.” Entercom says that “initially, live video streaming of leading RADIO.COM sports stations from six major markets across the country will be accessible to Twitch users via individually tailored, branded station channels, providing the Twitch community a full week’s worth of appointment viewing from some of the nation’s most iconic sports talk stations” – starting with WEEI, Boston; WFAN, New York; KRLD-FM, Dallas; WSCR, Chicago; WZGC, Atlanta; and WXYT-FM, Detroit. Entercom VP, corporate business development David Rosenbloom says, “Twitch has built a substantial platform for audiences to connect through video content and we’re looking forward to working with them to bring our unrivaled sports programming to millions of viewers. This partnership will expand how listeners can connect with our on-air talent through real-time engagement on Twitch and introduce a new generation of sports fans to legendary sports brands like WEEI, WFAN 101.9 FM/660 AM, and ‘92.9 The Game.’” Twitch director of new verticals Jane Weedon adds, “Over the last several years, there has been a growing sports community on Twitch. With the addition of sports radio, on-air talent, and fans will be able to interact and discuss their favorite athletes, teams and leagues with one another in real time. Through features like Twitch Chat, now the entire audience will be able to participate in the coveted ‘call ins’ and ‘hot takes’ that have come to define sports talk radio.”

Sports Talk KWFN-FM, San Diego Deploys GeoBroadcast Solutions’ MaxxCasting System. San Diego’s KWFN-FM is now using the MaxxCasting system from GeoBroadcast Solutions to improve its signal. GeoBroadcast Solutions says “the four-node single-frequency network (SFN), which represents the first commercially deployed HD Radio Single Frequency Network (HD SFN), extends clear FM and HD Radio coverage up and down the busy Interstate 15 and State Route 78 corridors. The improved signal also increases penetration with Nielsen PPM Portable People Meters (PPMs) to help broadcasters accurately measure audiences and set advertising rates.” The FCC is currently looking at a rule change for radio broadcasters that would allow them to air geo-targeted programming and GeoBroadcast Solutions says, “This successful implementation of an HD SFN through MaxxCasting also demonstrates that geo-targeting for radio will work when the boosters are equipped with GeoBroadcast Solutions’ ZoneCasting technology. ZoneCasting will eventually owe its success to MaxxCasting, the foundational architecture that is currently boosting FM and HD signals from the Boston market’s [adult contemporary] WXLO-FM to KWFN in San Diego.” Entercom San Diego market technical operations director JR Rogers says, “There is no question that the commuter listening experience has improved, as the holes in the signal coverage have been greatly diminished. The community was previously served by a massive AM signal originating in Mexico. We especially wanted to provide the Padres and their fans as close to 100% coverage as possible. While high-power AM has a much broader coverage pattern, FM offers far superior sound. The MaxxCasting system will provide the community with higher quality game coverage, and better penetrate the entire market.”

TALKERS News Notes. This year marks the 10th edition of Brock Huard’s Football Camp, led by KIRO-AM, Seattle personality Brock Huard. However, this year the camp will be a virtual one. Bonneville Seattle Media Group says the football camp for youth ages 8-18 will take place July 27-31 with a series of daily training videos hosted by former University of Washington and Seattle Seahawks quarterback Brock Huard and featuring former Seahawks players Michael Bumpus, Paul Moyer, and Dave Wyman…..Entercom announces the radio team for broadcasts of Kansas City Chiefs football for the 2020 season. Games are to be heard on the company’s country WDAF, Kansas City “106.5 The Wolf” – the flagship station – in addition to the 70 affiliate stations that make up the Chiefs Radio Network.  The broadcast team will feature play-by-play announcer “Voice of the Chiefs” Mitch Holthus, entering his 27th season, and newcomers Danan Hughes and Josh Klingler…..SiriusXM names Nicole Hughey its new vice president, diversity & inclusion. The company says, “Nicole joins us today with an impressive and extensive career focused on creating a culture for people to be appreciated, respected, and valued for the diversity they bring to the table. We couldn’t be more excited to have her on board.”

WGN-AM, Chicago Names Steve Tarpley GSM. Chicago news/talk WGN-AM promotes local sales manager Steve Tarpley to the general sales manager position. Mary Sandberg Boyle, general manager for the Nexstar Media Group outlet, says, “I am delighted to name Steve Tarpley as general sales manager of WGN Radio. We had our choice of top candidates and Steve proved to be the best person for the job. He’s had incredible success as a seller in his career here at WGN, and he’s excelled as a manager since 2014. Steve knows how to drive results for our advertisers and lead a team of sellers successfully.” Tarpley joined the station in 2010 as a local account executive. In subsequent years, he assumed more responsibilities including the roles of national sales manager, and most recently, local sales manager.

The COVID-19 Statistics & Projections and the Related Schools Opening Debate Tied for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The rampant outbreak of COVID-19 in Southern and Western states and the debate over opening schools in the fall tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of July 13-17, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was health care, the mask wearing debate, and the CDC-HHS reporting switch. Coming in at #3 was the presidential race, politics, and the Trump campaign shuffle, followed by the Black Live Matter movement, urban violence, and police defunding 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Connecticut, Hall Communications cuts two full-time staffers and two part-timers in budget-related moves. Full-time news staffer Kevin Gordon, part-time reporter Bernie Loubier as well as DJ Glenn O’Brien were let go from nostalgia WICH, Norwich and full-time air personality Josh Matty was released from country WCTY-FM, Norwich.….Condolences to the family and friends of country WOKO, Burlington, Vermont air personality Amy Lynn, a.k.a. Amy McGovern, who died on Wednesday (7/15) from injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash in Georgia, Vermont. Hall Communications VP Dan Dubonnet tells WCAX-TV, “We miss her already, dearly. Our station, our employees are pretty much in shock about it. And we’ll always remember her crazy laugh, her bounce up and down the hallway and just her passion for the radio station.”

PPM Analysis: Alternative. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on alternative rock. In this report you can see how stations’ weekly, 6+ AQH shares fared compared to the May 2020 survey, compared to the June 2019 survey and how alternative stations ranked in their respective markets. See the complete report here.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

| April 8, 2015

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia to Unveil Programmatic Ad Buying Platform.  Enlisting Jelli to help devise the new platform, iHeartMedia announces it’s set to debut the programmatic radio ad-buying platform for its 850-plus radio stations in addition to making the technology available to other industry operators via its sales subsidiary Katz Media Group.  Using cloud-based technology from Jelli, the platform will offer automated broadcast radio ad buying which it says is “the foundation for iHeartMedia to be able to offer its ad inventory to advertisers and agencies looking to leverage programmatic and automated technology including private market place and exchange environments to improve the buying process and reduce administrative hurdles and delays.”  Further, the company asserts, “the new,jelli logo programmatic solution will also allow iHeartMedia to apply its rich data and insights to the planning process and will utilize data sets to enable unique forms of targeting, such as music-based psychographic groups, weather and traffic patterns, purchase behavior and other environmental, population and consumer trends.”  Additionally, Katz Media Group, the top national sales firm katz mg logorepresenting more than 275 radio broadcasters including iHeartMedia, Cumulus, Entercom, Cox Media Group and others, will launch ‘Expressway from Katz,’ the first industrywide programmatic buying ad exchange at scale for the radio industry’s most important players, which also uses the same technology.   Katz Media Group president Mark Rosenthal says, “As the top national sales firm representing many great radio companies, we felt it was critical that radio take the lead.  Expressway from Katz will deliver the capabilities and speed of automation and programmatic to all of our radio companies as we bring the power of radio to advertisers, providing unprecedented scale and customer knowledge.”  Entercom president and CEO David Field comments, “This partnership is an innovative milestone for the radio industry.  Radio has always provided unmatched value, and now we can bring today’s data sources, targeting at scale and the speed, ease and precision of programmatic buying to our advertising partners, matching or exceeding the capabilities of any other media sector.”

gallianimelissaGalliani Elevated to KGO, KSFO GSM.  Three-year KGO and KSFO, San Francisco senior account manager and “team leader” Melissa Galliani is boosted to general sales manager of the Cumulus Media talk siblings. Cumulus vice president of sales for news/talk Jaysson Reno comments, “Melissa’s long-term association with KGO and KSFO makes her an invaluable asset within our company. Her high level of integrity, dedication, and track record made her the perfect fit for this well-deserved promotion.” Galliani – who possesses a San Francisco State University Bachelor’s degree and a Dominican University MBA in Team Leadership – states that she is “excited” and “pleased to be a part of the management team of KGO and KSFO, two brands that I hold close to my heart. I appreciate the opportunity to work with the radio stations in this new capacity. I will continue to value the team spirit for reaching our goals individually and collectively, and for meeting the needs of our marketing partners and advertisers.” After beginning her media career at KGO in 2000 as an account executive, Galliani was in business development at San Francisco’s KNTV-TV; local sales manager for KFRC, San Francisco; and KSFO’s local sales manager.

frebergstanStan Freberg Dead at 88.  TALKERS magazine mourns the passing of radio and advertising legend Stan Freberg, who died Tuesday in Santa Monica, California at the age of 88.  Freberg’s career covered just about all of the media bases – radio, television, publishing, records and advertising – and his humor was deemed as effective no matter into which medium he delved.  TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey observes, “For those who may be under the impression that the video age has diminished the effectiveness of the audio arts, one need only look to the supremely creative work of Stan Freberg to see how wrong that impression is.  He was, and still is, an inspiration to any who are working to create attention-grabbing audio.”  See The New York Times’ obituary of Freberg here.

weismanstevenCan and Should You Censor a Political Ad?  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes today about the case involving Chicago’s ABC TV outlet and its refusal to run a political ad from a PAC.  The case raises the issues of just what are the legal responsibilities of a broadcast outlet when I comes to political advertising?  Does a station even have to accept political advertising at all?  These and more questions are addressed by Weisman in the murky arena of political advertising on broadcast stations.  Read it here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Chats with Dr. Joy Browne on Podcast “Up Close and Far Out” – Also Discusses the Relationship Between Information and the Fabric of Reality.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison engages in a fascinating, candid dialogue with syndicated radio psychologist Dr. Joy Browne on the fifth and latest installment of his weekly podcast series “Up Close and Far Out” on the platform, PodcastOne.com.  Harrison and Browne tackle a variety of issues including the impact of the digital age on human thinking and social relationships, as well as the past, present and future of advice-giving in talk media.  They talk about the importance of credentials, transparency and credibility in “doctor” shows, generational differences in the modern era and the state of the cinema and live theater in America.  The podcast also includes Harrison’s ongoing observations about the relationship between media, technology and the wiring of the human nervous system.  He boldly suggests that the “digital era,” in which we are rapidly becoming immersed, will not last as long as the “analogue era” from which we are exiting and that an even larger, more important era of human technological development is waiting in the wings, perhaps only 20 years down the road.  Harrison states that this next era (that he cites on the podcast) will create changes in humanity that will make the current digital period seem quaint and primitive by comparison.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” player located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS and RadioInfo websites.

HD Radio LogoUpdate: HD Radio Passes Benchmark. Several more car models – including the Mazda Miata MX-5, Nissan Maxima, and the Scion iA and iM – will have iBiquity Digital‘s HD Radio as standard equipment. That brings HD Radio’s total to over 200 vehicle models and iBiquity Digital chief operating officer Jeff Jury comments, “This is a tremendous milestone. More listeners are tuning in than ever before. Millions of new vehicle owners will get to enjoy HD Radio broadcasting. A record number of HD Radio-equipped vehicles have been sold this year. This is another step toward complete standardization of digital radio across North America.” The announcement was made at last week’s New York International Auto Show. Other vehicles that will offer HD Radio are the Honda Civic, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Optima, Lexus RX, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Toyota RAV4. More than 100 vehicle models are integrating digital radio technology as standard equipment.

boldgoldfounationBold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation Names Board of Directors.  In an effort to “help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators,” Bold Gold Media – operator of nine commercial radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York – is establishing the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation.  The foundation will focus its efforts on providing funding and resources to educational organizations that train tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders.  Now, Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto announces the board of directors for the foundation.  It includes: Benedetto; Ashok Divecha, business manager, Bold Gold Media Group; Bob Soper, president, Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority; Justin Moon, president, Kahr Arms; Mike Bean, president, Mohegan Sun Pocono; Doug Fink, president, Pennsylvania Paper & Supply Company; Kevin Tinkelman, owner, Kevin’s Worldwide; Doug Thomas, president, Gateway Ford; Josh Sheard, president, Sage Investments; Bud Williamson, president, Digital Radio Engineering/ Neversink Media Group; Michael Harrison, publisher & editor, TALKERS and RadioInfo; and Jimmy Wayne, musician/writer/performer/author, president, Barbershop Tours, Project Meet Me Half Way.

meterpareljonFormer WEEI, Boston Personality Jon Meterperel Debuts Podcast.  Former longtime WEEI, Boston personality Jon Meterparel is debuting his new sports talk podcast with ONE World Sports on April 10.  Dubbed, “The Meter Is Running,” the program promises to “deliver to fans insightful, lively – and occasionally controversial — conversations with some of the top influencers and stars in global sports.  The show will be distributed on iTunes, social media platforms and ONEWorldSports.com.”  Guests appearing for the first show are Sports Illustrated senior writer and MLB Network analyst Tom Verducci, offering his take on the 2015 MLB season’s hottest teams and players; and, reflecting on his NHL days, Stanley Cup-winning former New York Rangers coach “Iron” Mike Keenan, now coaching the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) 2014 championship team Metallurg MG.  Future guests are to include: ESPN baseball analyst Buster Olney, actor and producer Mike O’Malley and former “Saturday Night Live” writer and “30 Rock” executive producer Robert Carlock.

Odds & Sods.  Alabama talk hosts Matt Murphy and Dale Jackson are now heard in multiple markets after Cumulus Media made the move to expand their presence.  Murphy is based at the company’s news/talk WAPI, Birmingham, in middays and is now also heard on WLWI, Montgomery, Alabama and WVNN, Huntsville.  Jackson is based at WVNN, Huntsville and is now also heard in mornings on WAPI…..Derek Fogel is promoted from executive producer to program director for Max Media-owned sports talker WXLT, Marion, Illinois “103.5 ESPN Southern Illinois.”  Fogel will also serve as morning drive sports anchor for Max Media’s sister news/talk WJPF.

Rand Paul Announces Bid for President, California Drought, Iran Nuclear Negotiations, Religious Freedom Act/Indiana Pizza Joint Case, Russia Hacks White House Allegations, Yemen Military Action, SC Cop Charged with Murder, Rahm Emanuel Wins Re-Election Runoff, and MLB Season Opens Among Top News Stories Yesterday (4/7).  Kentucky Senator Rand Paul officially announces his bid for president in 2016; the debate over the reasons for the California drought; the negotiations with Iran over the progress of its nuclear program; controversy over the various religious freedom acts and the case of the Indiana pizza joint threatened for supporting that state’s law; allegations the Russians are responsible for hacking the White House’s computer system; the Saudi-led military action taking place in Yemen; the case of the South Carolina police officer charged with murder for shooting a black motorist in the back as he fled a traffic stop; Rahm Emanuel survives a runoff election to remain mayor of Chicago; and the start of the 2015 baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, February 14, 2014

| February 14, 2014

fccnewFCC Appears to Back Off of Newsroom and Issues Study.  When it was announced last May, the proposed Multi-Market Study of Critical Information Needs the Federal Communications Commission would be undertaking rankled many lawmakers and broadcasters as it was perceived as an intrusion into broadcasters’ First Amendment rights in addition to being outside the bounds of the FCC’s jurisdiction.  Now, according to a piece in Ad Week, the FCC appears to be backing off, or at least re-defining, the research intended to “study entry barriers” to informationpaiajit media to determine if there are small businesses unable to break into broadcasting.  This would have been determined by quizzing news broadcasters about how they choose their stories.  Last year, some GOP lawmakers termed it an “end-around” the Fairness Doctrine and heavily criticized the study as well as the jurisdiction of the FCC to getting into content matters.  Earlier this week FCC commissioner Ajit Pai penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal arguing that the study is not necessary to filing its required report to Congress every three years on eliminating barriers to entry in the communications industry.  He writes, “This claim is peculiar.  How can the news judgments made by editors and station managers impede small businesses from entering the broadcast industry?  And why does the CIN (critical information needs) study include newspapers when the FCC has no authority to regulate print media?”  Whether or not the first field study slated for Columbia, South Carolina this spring gets underway as proposed or not remains to be seen.  Ad Week reports it was told by an FCC rep that the agency “has no intention of interfering in the coverage and editorial choices that journalists make.  We’re closely reviewing the proposed research design to determine if an alternative approach is merited.”

wgnlogoWGN to Program WKQX 87.7 Beginning Monday.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Tribune’s WGN will begin an LMA operation of WKQX-LP at 87.7 in Chicago starting Monday, February 17.  Feder reports that under terms of the LMA with license holder Venture Technologies Group, the deal commences Monday atbrandmeierjonathon 1:02 pm on the 17th, a minute after Cumulus Media drops the alternative rock simulcast with 101.1 FM.  President and general manager Jimmy de Castro tells Feder, “We’re outgrowing WGN with great talent.  Everything we have said we wanted to do is based on the strength of WGN and our personalities.  It’s all about getting the best spoken-word talent and getting more bandwidth.”  Vice president of creative content for WGN, Todd Manley, will announce a full lineup soon but mornings will begin with Jonathon Brandmeier who’s been doing a morning program on WGN.fm since last September.  Read Feder’s full story here.

hendriephilPhil Hendrie Exits AM/FM Radio.  Talk radio host and satirist Phil Hendrie announces he’s leaving the production and syndication of his daily AM/FM radio program after March 14 in order to fully focus on his podcast and other media ventures.  He’ll continue doing “The World of Phil Hendrie Show” on TuneIn, iTunes, the Sideshow Network and www.philhendrieshow.com.  He says that “Due to the tremendous positive growth this past year owing directly to his fans,” he’s decided that is the area where he should focus all his energies.  He adds, “The digital world is where we have made our living the last seven years so as radio attempts to find itself we’ll put our energy in our digital and online product, our animation project, my one man show and of course TV and film opportunities wherever they may occur.  To our fans, we haven’t gone anywhere!  Our daily show will continue” on digital platforms.

callahangerryGerry Callahan Remark Irks Dunkin’ Donuts; Company Cancels Ads on WEEI Affiliate Stations.  The Boston Globe is reporting that Canton, Massachusetts-based Dunkin’ Donuts has cancelled ad buys on stations in the region airing WEEI, Boston programming after WEEI morning co-host Gerry Callahan made a “disparaging comment,” presumably about the company’s donuts.  In the Globe piece, Entercom Boston VP and marketdunkin logo manager Phil Zachary says Callahan admits he “screwed up badly” with the off-the-cuff remark and that Zachary understands how Dunkin’ Donuts feels.  “You just don’t call somebody’s baby ‘ugly,’ even if it’s unintentional.”  Zachary wouldn’t say what Callahan’s words were.  He says the ad buy was not a lot of money but that’s not the point.  Dunkin’ Donuts has separate ad buys for WEEI, Boston, Callahan’s endorsements and WEEI’s O&O affiliate stations in Providence, Worcester and Springfield.  The Boston deal ended in January before Callahan’s comment.  Dunkin’ Donuts has been a long-time advertiser with WEEI, especially on Red Sox broadcasts which are ready to resume in a few months.  How the incident will affect that remains to be seen.

hhnewsteaserTALKERS to Publish 2014 Heavy Hundred on Monday, March 3.  The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – is being readied for publication Monday, March 3, 2014.  Also known as “The Heavy Hundred” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board.  It includes local and national hosts from a variety of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer tech, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and separate Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk two years ago.)  Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”).   According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation.  Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up and comers has never been greater.  Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!”  Companies interested in sponsoring segments of this widely-discussed and read (by hundreds of thousands of broadcasting industry members and consumers/listeners) feature should call 413-565-5413.

radiomercuryawardsRadio Mercury Awards Final-Round Judging Panel Announced. Chief judge Matt Eastwood helped assemble the jury for the 23rd annual Radio Mercury Awards.  The panel represents radio’s top advertising categories including automotive, communications, financial services, packaged goods, over-the-counter, retail, spirits, and quick-serve restaurants.  Final-round judging panel consists of JWT New York group creative director Jill Applebaum; BBDO New York executive creative director Chris Beresford-Hill; Cog NYC founder Wayne Best; Grupo Gallegos chief creative officer Pablo Buffagni; Young & Rubicam Group New York chief creative officer Jim Elliott; DDB Chicago executive vice president/executive creative director Mark Gross; Publicis New York executive creative director Joe Johnson; and Deutsch New York chief creative officer Kerry Keenan.  “This list is a ‘who’s who’ of well-established creative executives, and perennial award-winning agencies with a long history of creating exceptional, noteworthy creative executions,” remarks Eastwood, who is chief creative officer of DDB Worldwide Communications Group New York.  “More importantly, our panel consists of brilliant thought leaders who have a true love and appreciation for the greatest writer’s medium of all time, radio.”  Radio Creative Fund chair – and Radio Advertising Bureau president/CEO Erica Farber – adds, “We feel so incredibly privileged to have gathered such a pinnacle group of creative ambassadors for this year’s competition.  The bar has been set high, but I am confident this group will help ensure that the mission of the Radio Mercury Awards lives on as we award the best creative audio commercials over the past year.”  Prizes will be handed out in a variety of categories such as “Agency Production,” “Radio Station Produced,” “Student,” “PSA,” “Spanish Language,” and “Best of Show.”  Deadline for submissions is April 1, with the awards event taking place June 4 at New York’s Le Poisson Rouge.

scba logoSouthern California Broadcasters Association to Provide Quarterly Guidance Report. Planning and research material is for California advertising agencies, clients and its members. Southern California Broadcasters Association president Thom Callahan notes that, “The SCBA Quarterly Market Guidance Report fulfills a growing need among California ad agencies and clients to look ahead to the next quarter to learn, plan, create, and execute even more effective radio advertising campaigns based on market conditions, trends, and the upcoming quarter’s business environment.  As an additional service to the advertising community, the SCBA will encourage face-to-face planning and development meetings with advertising agencies and major clients to provide full-year guidance and customization of our extensive market research.”  The QMG report will give current and predictive regional economic data, radio category growth, and commentary on advertising and business trends.  The report uses regional economic development corporation reports, member reports on market trends, Miller Kaplan Arase data, and audience measurement data.  It will be posted late next month for second quarter 2014 guidance on the SCBA’s website (www.scba.com).

hdradio logoS-Class Mercedes-Benz to Have HD Radio. Mercedes-Benz of Mexico is launching its S-Class with HD Radio.  iBiquity Digital is the developer of the digital technology and its chief operating officer Jeff Jury states, “We are very pleased to achieve the key goal of North American standardization with Mercedes-Benz.  With this expansion, Mercedes-Benz drivers across Canada, Mexico and the United States have access to HD Radio technology in their cars.  This coincides with our continuing efforts to bring HD Radio broadcasting to all markets across North America.  By offering the technology as standard, Mercedes-Benz is ensuring that all their customers can enjoy the current services and be ensured of enjoying the coming ‘all-digital’ future.”  The 2014 S-Class is now at dealerships across the United States and Mexico. More than 2,230 digital stations are on-air; over 1,480 HD2 and HD3 digital-only channels broadcast content that can only be heard with an HD Radio receiver.

brunotonyOdds & Sods.  WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” sports talker Tony Bruno is scheduled to begin making weekly appearances on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN 2 program.  The first appearance will be tonight (2/14) live from ESPN’s Times Square studios in New York City…..Cumulus Media’s KOH, Reno is holding a radiothon today at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa to benefit the Veterans Guest House which provides temporary housing for vets and their families while they are being treated at the Reno VA.  This is the 11th annual radiothon the station has produced for the cause…..CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the winners of its first annual Food & Wine Awards.  CRN Digital Talk Radio ishornmike celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is home to several food and beverage-oriented programs.  It asked listeners to decide 2013’s Best Chef, Restaurant, Sommelier, and Winemaker.  President and CEO Mike Horn says, “Food and wine are best enjoyed with good company.  Our listeners deciding the year’s best of the best in the culinary and beverage arenas was very much akin to sitting down, honoring some great people, enjoying a fun meal.”  This year’s winners are: Best Chef of the Year – Andrew Sutton – Napa Rose, Anaheim; Best Restaurant of the Year – Gary Danko – San Francisco; Best Sommelier of the Year – Paul Coker – St. Regis, Monarch Beach; and Winemaker of the Year Jeff Stewart – Hartford Family Wines…..Broadcasts of New York Yankees baseball on new flagship sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York will debut with the February 27 exhibition game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Yankees games moved from CBS RADIO‘s all-news WCBS after a new contract was negotiated in the fall.

floresdanielWichita Police Make Arrest in Case of Slain Radio Station Staffer.  Police in Wichita have a suspect in custody in the early Monday morning slaying of Steckline Communications employee Daniel Flores.  Authorities say that in responding to a Crime Stoppers tip, they pulled over Antwon Banks who proceeded to stab himself in the stomach.  He’s in a local hospital under police guard and will be booked on felony murder charges when he’s recovered.  He was apparently the ex-boyfriend of Steckline office manager Lisa Bryce, leading authorities to conclude that Flores was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

cclogoClear Channel Commits to Campaign for ‘American Heart Month.’  For the purpose of educating the public about heart disease, its risks and preventative measures, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is committing more than $1 million worth of on-air media to that end.  Today (2/14), Clear Channel is kicking off a two-week public service announcement campaign across its 840 radio stations to educate listeners on the symptoms of heart disease and stroke in honor of American Heart Month.  Certain Clear Channel stations will air a comedic yet informative public service announcement voiced by Emmy-nominated actress Elizabeth Banks that highlights the signs of heart attack in women, while all other Clear Channel radio stations will air a second PSA, created by the Ad Council and the American Heart Association, to help people recognize and respond to the sudden warning signs of a stroke.

savagemichaelTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  New station affiliations for Cumulus Media Networks programming this week include: for Michael Savage – WTAR, Norfolk; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; WQSI, Tuskegee, Alabama; and WWBA, Tampa; Phil Valentine – WCOA, Pensacola; Mark Levin – WGKA, Atlanta; KMPT, Missoula, Montana; and WVOC-FM, Columbia, South Carolina…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated “Freedom Feens” with Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi is added to the program schedule at KNOX-AM/FM, Grand Forks.

ramseybonesDave Ramsey Counsels Bobby Bones’ Staff and Listeners.  Nationally syndicated financial talk superstar Dave Ramsey (right) sits in on the Premiere Networks-syndicated Bobby Bones show based at WSIX-FM, Nashville, right down the road from Ramsey’s home base of Brentwood.  Ramsey appeared with Bones (left) after Bones show producer Ray lost his truck in a Super Bowl bet and is some $8,000 in debt.  Ramsey talked to the crew and audience about various topics including the terrible odds of gambling, tax withholding, and even the psychology behind using the debt snowball to pay off debt.

ObamaCare Criticism Tops Talkers TenTM.  The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of February 10-14 was the scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act and the delay in the employer mandate, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Coming in at #2 on this week’s Talkers TenTM was the debt ceiling issue.  At #3 was speculation about Hillary Clinton running for president in 2016 and at #4 was immigration reform.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Eight Realities of 2014: Perspective and Predictions

| January 16, 2014

By Walter Sabo
Sabo Media
CEO

sabowalterwriterNEW YORK – Here are some thoughts that I hope you find useful as we begin another pivotal year:

1. HD radio is going to explode. The management of iBiquity has achieved remarkable acceptance for HD by the auto industry with over 16 million installs.  HD is radio’s best real estate grab for the connected dash. The key, as always, is the show. (Sorry, the word “content” remains disgusting. It’s a show.)  HD is not about fidelity or graphics – it’s a new stage for new, audience captivating shows.

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

| December 4, 2013

sargentchrisClear Channel Programmer Chris Sargent Departs. Clear Channel Portland vice president of programming Chris “Sarge” Sargent leaves the cluster effective immediately.  In addition to his VP duties, Sargent for the past 20 months was the cluster’s operations manager.  He programmed classic hits-oldies KLTH, news/talk KEX, progressive-talk-turned-sports KPOJ and classic rock KFBW. Sargent joined the Portland cluster over four years ago from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

loganbruceBruce Logan Named VP of Programming and Ops at CBS Radio Houston.  Programmer Bruce Logan exits his regional programming manager role at Clear Channel’s Greensboro, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina clusters and his national country brand coordinator post to join CBS Radio as vice president of programming and operations manager for the six-station Houston cluster that includes: hot AC KHMX, sports talk KIKK, country KILT-FM “The Bull,” sports talk KILT-AM, CHR KKHH “Hot 95.7,” and Spanish KOLO.  He’ll also have day-to-day programming responsibilities for “The Bull” and “Hot 95.7.”  CBS Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “Bruce has a reputation as one of the premier country radio programmers in America.  We have admired his work for some time and are thrilled we have an opportunity to bring him into the division.  I am equally excited about his leadership skills and ability to build teams which is so important in today’s cluster environment.”

jericho show logoPro Wrestler Chris Jericho Joins PodcastOne.  World champion wrestler Chris Jericho – also a New York Times best-selling author and lead vocalist of the metal band Fozzy – is launching his podcast on PodcastOne.  The program, “Talk Is Jericho,” premieres today (12/4) with Steve Austin as Jericho’s first guest.  Jericho dishes out his unique take on all things pop culture and life in general as he interviews some of the biggest names in entertainment from wrestling and music to TV and film with new episodes delivered every week at PodcastOne.com.  Jericho comments, “I’ve been considering doing a podcast for years now, but wanted to find the right people to work with.  Now after being hooked up with the fine folks at PodcastOne, I know I’ve found the right place!  I’m stoked to bring you the biggest names in show biz every week to discuss all things pop culture, music, pro wrestling and kumquats.  Get ready Jerichoholics…The Pod Of Thunder has arrived!”  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “As an entertainer, Chris is so much more than a world champion wrestler.  He’s an actor, an author, lead singer in a rock band and radio broadcaster.  With a package like that and the proven success of PodcastOne programs like the Steve Austin show, this is clearly a great bet.  Actually, more like no bet at all.  We’re thrilled with our new partnership.”

carsonjonCarson and Beckman Promoted at Idaho Broadcasting Groups.  The Moscow, Idaho-based broadcasting companies IdaVend BroadcastingInland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc. announce two promotions.  The company’s current promotions director – Jon Carson – is upped to executive director of promotions for the nine-stationbeckmanamberly radio group beginning January 2014.  Carson has been with the company for more than two years and commutes between the station groups’ two locations in Moscow and Lewiston, Idaho.   Carson recently earned designation as CRSM, Certified Radio Sales Manager, from the Radio Advertising Bureau.  With the expansion of his team, Carson is overseeing a team of two promotions directors.  The Moscow promotions director will oversee promotions for the six-station group, Inland Northwest Broadcasting, and KRPL, Inc.  The Lewiston promotions director will oversee promotions for the three-station group, IdaVend Broadcasting.  Additionally, Amberly Beckman is promoted to promotions director for the Moscow-based group from her most recent position as promotions director at the Lewiston-based stations.  She has served with the company for the past two years.

raytomThe Sad State of Radio Broadcast Engineering – Part 2.  Around Labor Day, TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray wrote a  powerful article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?”  He was inundated with responses — not just from across the country – but from around the world!  Obviously, he hit a nerve with everyone.  Ray reports, “I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland.  Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed.  Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses.  Broadcast engineers are a unique group.  It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business.  We take it personally.  The station becomes part of us and is what we do.  And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally.  I can relate.”  In a long-awaited follow-up to that article, Tom Ray posts a powerful and informative “Part 2” today (12/4) that goes into even more depth on this complex and important topic – raising issues and offering solutions – that lies at the very foundation of the state of today’s radio station business. It is must reading for anyone who cares about the present and future state of radio station operations.  To read it in its entirety, please click here.

homewizards‘Home Wizards’ Show Partners with Media Management Group.  KFWB, Los Angeles-based weekly home improvement show “Home Wizards” – hosted by Cindy Dole (left) and Eric Stromer (right) – joins the New York-based MMG Radio Network.  Home Wizards is a nationally syndicated radio show and multimedia content brand.  The show feeds live from KFWB Saturdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET.  In addition to Dole’s and Stromer’s work on the radio on digital platforms, Eric is a regular on NBC‘s “Today Show.” MMG president Jeff Schwartz comments, “Cindy and Eric are familiar to millions of Americans who enjoy home improvement and decorating.  They have a great on-air chemistry that resonates with both men and women while creating an inviting environment for sponsors.”  Cindy Dole adds, “Home Wizards is a true multimedia opportunity to engage with your audience every day!  We needed a team that excels in that space and are so impressed by how MMG masters the art of turning sales and marketing into a higher-level connection that delivers meaningful results!”

edisonresearchEdison Research to Work with Triton Digital on ‘Infinite Dial’ Study.  Arbitron’s absorption into the Nielsen fold has had an impact on the annual “Infinite Dial” study that Edison Research has been producing in partnership with the radio ratings firm.  Edison announces that it will be conducting the long-running study of consumer media usage with Triton Digital when the new study is released in March of next year.  Edison states that the study has been “one of the most widely cited and well-regarded studies on digital media usage, eagerly awaited each year and used by advertisers and content providers.  Hundreds of start-ups, advertising agencies, established businesses, financial analysts, and academics all make extensive use of the study each year.”  Edison Research president Larry Rosen comments, “We’re hard at work making the 2014 version of ‘The Edison/Triton Infinite Dial’ the best ever.  Edison has always sought to provide thought leadership and Triton Digital is the recognized leader in digital audio measurement with its MRC-accredited Webcast Metrics platform.  Our two companies have come together to continue the tradition of ‘The Infinite Dial’ and the tracking of consumer media trends in the digital economy.”

deptrojohnWPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Files Police Complaint Alleging Threat.  WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro filed a complaint with the Providence Police alleging that he was threatened outside the radio studios on Tuesday morning by two men he did not know.  The men apparently took issue with his comments about a labor union protest that happened in September.  According to a report in the Providence Journal, DePetro expressed his opinion of union leaders after a union protest at a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo allegedly served to intimidate attendees and prevent others from attending.  DePetro reportedly said, referencing a female union leader, “What a disgrace.  You are an embarrassment…You are parasites.  You are cockroaches.  You lie.  You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S.  See if they can spell that.”  Labor unions have since called for a boycott of WPRO until DePetro is fired.  DePetro has said that if the men who threatened him are caught, he will press charges.

sunbroadcastgrouplogoSun Broadcast Group Contracts with Jelli for Cloud-Based Ad Platform.  SBG CEO Jason Bailey announces that his company is investing the resources necessary to affect the “much-needed change to measurement and accountability in network radio” that he’s been publicly calling for as it will deploy Jelli, Inc.‘s cloud- based adjelli logo platform across its entire network that will make it easier and faster to buy and run radio advertisements.  The change will start immediately across all of Sun’s Hispanic products including CNN en Español, Fox Deportes, AccuWeather en Español and its national Latino Advantage network.  Sun Hispanic content partner, Stardome Media Group, has also committed to the platform change.  A roll out to Sun’s general market offerings will begin in early 2014.  Bailey comments, “I have been asking leaders large and small to stand with me and implement true change in how we conduct business across our industry.  Radio has been living in the dark ages when it comes to baileyjasonsunaccountability.  We’re being eaten alive by the real-time metrics of digital audio competitors and our best answer, RADAR, still requires busy planners and buyers to go back months after a campaign to see what should have run.  Today we stand proud to put our entire sales and programming schedules on the line and make a real change for this great industry.”  In a statement, SBG says it is agreeing to finance equipment and installation costs for each affiliate they service.  It has also been working with Jelli’s team of engineers to enhance the ad platform and include delivery of short-form content and features, allowing for real time measurement of sponsorships and integrated product placement in addition to relieving local affiliate workload in scheduling and running network content and ads.

vulpifrankVulpi Joins USRN as VP/GM Content Affiliations. Former My Traffic Department vice president of sales Frank Vulpi is tapped to become vice president/general manager of Content Affiliations for the United Stations Radio Networks (USRN). Vulpi will oversee roughly one-dozen staffers marketing the network’s programming services. “Frank’s wealth of experience on both the station and the network side of the business is an incredible asset for our company,” comments USRN executive vice president Charlie Colombo. “He understands the needs of our clients; he knows the new platforms; and he knows how to develop and maintain those essential relationships with our affiliates. He is joining an already successful team.” Vulpi’s approximately 30-year industry background includes being general sales manager of New York City’s WYNY. In addition, he spent 15 years with Bloomberg‘s media division, ultimately running its radio and television syndication departments.

hdradio logoHD Radio to be Standard on the 2015 K900. The seventh Kia-made vehicle to have HD Radio as a standard feature will be its 2015 K900. The luxury sedan will join the recently-launched Cadenza, along with the Forte, Optima, Sorento, Soul, and Sportage as other Kia vehicles to offer the digital AM & FM format. HD Radio is – or will be – available as a factory-installed feature from 33 automotive brands including Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI USA, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Ram, Rolls-Royce, Scion, SRT (Chrysler), Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. The 2015 Kia K900 is expected to arrive at dealers during the first quarter of 2014.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Helps Raise More Than $554,000 for Tornado Victims.  In response to the widespread damage of the November 17 storms throughout Illinois, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago partnered with the McCormick Foundation, WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune to host the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort on Tuesday, November 26.  The fundraising initiative took place over a 24-hour period, with WGN Radio hosts rallying listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Effort.  WGN listeners, in addition to major donations from Medline Industries Inc., Cadence Health, Wintrust Financial Corporation and the FDC Foundation, contributed to a total of $554,087 raised.  The McCormick Foundation matched the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents to the dollar, providing an additional $250,000 in funds and bringing the total amount available to grant to $804,087.  WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “The Illinois Tornado Relief Effort continues the WGN Radio tradition of reacting quickly to take care of our listeners in need.  It’s also another example in a long list of generous giving from the Chicago community.  We thank our partners at the McCormick Foundation, WGN TV, and the Chicago Tribune as well as generosity of our listeners, viewers, and readers for helping rebuild the lives of those impacted by the devastating storms.”

wrsb logoUpstate New York Business Talker Flips to Sports.  Genesee Media Corp.’s WRSB, Canandaigua (plus translator W286AE, Fairport) and WASB, Brockport flip from business talk as “Business 1310” to sports talk using programming from CBS Sports Radio Network.

bigjohndogparkDaytona Beach Talker Gets Dog Park Re-Opened.  WELE, Ormond Beach, Florida – being operated by Goliath Radio under an LMA – recently put its community-oriented philosophy to work to help re-open a closed dog park in Daytona Beach.  Goliath Radio talk show host Big John, a former member of the Volusia County Council, came to the rescue when resident Mary Nichols (pictured here) found herself and her dogs locked out of the park that had been open since 2001.  It turns out Big John had helped create the park when he was on the County Council.  When Nichols showed up at the radio station to complain about the closure, Big John put her on the air and took calls about the park that had become the center of a dispute between the county and the suburban city of Holly Hill.  Big John urged the sides to find a compromise.bigjohn  Within 20 minutes of the broadcast, the outline of an organization of dog owners/lovers that might operate the park came together; a local veteran’s club offered a meeting room and support to bring it together and support for maintaining the dog park was offered.  By the following Thursday, the Friends of the Holly Hill Dog Park was formed and able to show a broad base of support to the County Council which voted to reopen the park for 90 days while officials and the newly-formed support group work out details for ongoing operation.  Big John tells TALKERS, “People are ready and willing to do good things if we just give them a chance to figure out how.  Radio can be the bridge to coming up with answers and actions in our communities that benefit everybody.”