Alpha Media Names Bruce Collins OM for Portland Talk Stations and Radio Northwest Network. Talk programmer Bruce Collins comes to Alpha Media’s Portland station group after his most recent gig with iHeartMedia serving as a programmer and news/talk/sports format captain. At Alpha, Collins is talk operations manager for news/talk KXL-FM “FM News 101,” sports talk KXTG/K275CH “750 The Game,” news/talk KUFO “Freedom 970,” and the Radio Northwest Network. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Bruce is a star programmer and talent mentor with a great sense of news, sports, and entertainment. He is the perfect fit for our talk brands in Portland.” Collins says, “What a wonderful opportunity Alpha Media has given me to lead their talk stations in such a beautiful city as Portland, Oregon. Alpha truly believes in staying connected to the community with their stations and they believe in being informative through live and local programming. I am looking forward to working with the great teams at FM News 101 KXL, Sports 750/102.9 The Game, and Freedom 970 and calling Portland home.”
FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly Emphasizes Need for Action Ownership Issues. A recent court decision struck down a 2014 FCC rule affecting joint sales agreements. At the same time, the court chided the commission for its failure to complete not one, but two congressionally mandated Quadrennial Reviews. Republican Commissioner Michael O’Reilly writes in a blog post that the time is now to move on eliminating cross-ownership bans. He writes, “Consumers are demanding 24/7 access to media content on numerous platforms, but artificial silos created by the cross-ownership bans are keeping broadcasters and newspapers from innovating into multi-platform entities that could better serve these needs. Evidence of synergies already exists in the form of grandfathered combinations and giving the opportunity for more, with additional outlets and platforms, could generate a boom in local content or perhaps prevent a further erosion from occurring in some markets.” Prepared for the possibility that the cross-ownership ban won’t be repealed, O’Reilly suggests that, at the very least, provide more waivers and grandfathering. He says the Commission should “reform [the] current waiver processes to make them clear and realistically obtainable, provide more opportunities for waivers, and allow grandfathering of existing combinations. The market size waivers proposed by various parties could mitigate the constrictive impact of these outdated rules on broadcasters in smaller markets.” Read the entire blog here.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Retired CBS RADIO President Dan Mason. In this week’s new episode of the PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out,” retired CBS RADIO president/CEO Dan Mason joins host Michael Harrison for a wide-ranging dialogue about the state of radio broadcasting in the digital era. The discussion focuses on Mason’s recent change of career direction that includes assuming the chairmanship of the 60-year-old, non-profit charity, the Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFOA) as well as putting on the headphones again and becoming a CBS Sports play-by-play announcer for college athletics. Mason discusses his passion for women’s basketball as well as his roots in radio programming going back to his days as a teenage top 40 fan (a “contest pig”) in Louisville, Kentucky. The two talk about the fine work being done by the BFOA on behalf of broadcasters in acute need and the satisfaction Mason is getting by being able to “give back” to the industry. The discussion covers the viability of the “stick” as a business going forward, HD radio, and the role of the computer screen in digital audio media. Not to be missed! To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” players located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KIRO-AM, Seattle Expands Local Programming; Gee Scott to Host Nightly Show. Beginning June 13, Gee Scott will host the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show on Bonneville’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle.” The station says, “Scott will also deliver unique perspectives from inside the locker room in a new, comprehensive role for 710sports.com. After developing close, personal relationships with many Seahawks players, coaches and staff, Scott will be able to connect Seattle sports fans with their favorite athletes like no one else can.” Program director Mike Salk says, “This show will be a great complement to the rest of the 710 ESPN Seattle lineup. Gee has a special relationship with both listeners and players. He is so adept at bringing those two worlds together in a compelling way.” Scott’s journey into the Seattle sports scene began in 2003 cleaning the vehicles of Seahawks’ players and coaches. After a decade developing valuable relationships within the local sports community, Scott worked on “The Barbershop” radio show alongside former local football stars Marcus Trufant and Terry Hollimon. Since then, Scott has become a prominent motivational speaker, auctioneer and emcee, in addition to his duties with 710 ESPN Seattle.
E.W. Scripps Acquires Stitcher for $4.5 Million. This is another addition to its on-demand portfolio. Stitcher doesn’t have a huge number of registered users – about 8 million – but it aggregates some 65,000 podcasts and is included in the digital dashboard of more than 50 auto models. Last July, E.W. Scripps acquired Los Angeles-based podcast platform Midroll Media. The company says that Stitcher will operate as part of Midroll Media. Scripps chief digital officer Adam Symson says, “The Stitcher brand is recognized to be an early mover and innovator in on-demand audio, especially with connected cars. Stitcher’s data-driven technology has made it a leader in podcast discovery and audio distribution, which will complement Midroll’s leadership in content creation and advertising sales.” Founded in 2008, Stitcher was purchased by French music streaming service Deezer in 2014. Now, Deezer agrees to sell Stitcher to Scripps. Twelve Stitcher staffers will join Scripps as part of the deal.
The Presidential Race, Stanford Rape Case Sentencing, Muhammad Ali Death, Battle Against Islamic State, IRS Conservative Groups Scrutiny, Immigration Bureaucrat Cited in San Bernardino Report, Weak U.S. Job Growth, and NBA and NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/6). The activities of the candidates for president and media reports that Hillary Clinton has clinched the Democratic nomination ahead of today’s California primary election; the controversial light sentence for a Stanford student convicted of raping a fellow student; the death of Muhammad Ali; the intensifying war in Iraq against Islamic State; the information pulled from the IRS about its targeting conservative groups; the case of an Immigration bureaucrat who prevented Homeland Security Agents from detaining the man who allegedly provided the San Bernardino terrorists with weapons; the recent report of weak job growth during the last month; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Analysis: Final Hivio Highlights. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a wrap-up of his analysis of the recent Hivio 2016 conference in Los Angeles. It includes a different view of contesting from Omaze co-founder Ryan Cummins; Red Seat Ventures founder (and former Mercury Radio Arts president/CEO) Chris Balfe speaking about AM/FM broadcasters truly seizing the digital opportunities available to them; and MaximumFun.org chief Jesse Thorn presenting his philosophy of operating a podcasting platform. Read the entire story here.
Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal – Of Me I Sing! Published in Paperback Format. The ebook memoir written by nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller is now being published in paperback format by Gival Press. The publisher says Sexy Liberal! Of Me I Sing, is “both deeply personal and hilariously political. But most of all it is Stephanie’s unique voice, her jokes, her happy clappy optimism, and her truth that they tune into day after day, that they download as a subscription podcast, that they buy tickets for, to see her unbleeped and in person. That’s what Sexy Liberal! delivers. Like an uncensored comedy drone right to your door!” Miller’s Sexy Liberal comedy tour has been wildly successful as have her comedy albums. She has recently had her second and third #1 comedy albums in the country with her Stephanie Miller’s Happy Hour, Volume One and Stephanie Miller’s Happy Hour, Volume Two.
Talk Radio Reacts to Death of Muhammad Ali. The death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali dominated the talk radio and sports talk radio discussions over the weekend and it will continue into this week. Ali’s status as a cultural icon from the 1960s and 1970s made him much more than a former athletic legend. Westwood One News reports it began airing special reports at 12:30 am on Saturday and continue twice an hour through Saturday afternoon. Westwood One News also made CNN correspondent Pablo Sandoval in Louisville available for station one-on-ones. This week correspondent Steve Kastenbaum reports from Louisville for coverage of Ali’s funeral and surrounding events. This evening, the Jim Bohannon show is airing the Westwood One-Mutual live broadcast of the second Ali-Sonny Liston fight from 1965 when Ali retained his championship with the “phantom punch” first-round knockout. Pictured at left is ABC News Radio correspondent Ryan Burrow interviewing a mourner at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville.
Hivio 2016 Day Two Coverage: Commercial Radio’s Changing Model. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reports from Los Angeles and day two of the Hivio 2016 conference. Among the media pros who spoke with conference organizer and presenter Mark Ramsey were Panoply Media chief content officer Andy Bowers, Recode senior editor for media Peter Kafka, ESPN general manager Traug Keller, and Lapides Entertainment CEO Howard Lapides. The focus was on podcasting, monetizing the nascent audio format, and podcasting’s ultimate effect on AM/FM radio. All of the aforementioned media figures are working at the ground level in the podcasting business and strongly believe in its power as a news and entertainment medium and as a revenue generator. Read Kinosian’s complete coverage here.
The Death of Muhammad Ali, the Presidential Race, Tepid Job Growth Report, the Looming ‘Brexit’ Vote, the Battle Against Islamic State, and the NBA and NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The death of boxing legend Muhammad Ali; the activities of the candidates for president; the recent report indicating the growth of new jobs in the U.S. has slowed; the June 23 vote in which Britons will decide whether to exit the European Union; violence in Iraq as the battle for control of Fallujah continues; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.
Odds & Sods. Sports radio play-by-play pro Josh Lewin adds radio broadcast duties for UCLA football and men’s basketball beginning with this fall’s football season. Lewin is a busy man, already doing play-by-play for the MLB’s New York Mets and the NFL’s San Diego Chargers. Lewin takes over for longtime Bruins voice Bill Roth. iHeartMedia’s KLAC, Los Angeles serves as the flagship station for UCLA’s IMG College-licensed broadcasts…..Speaking of IMG and iHeartMedia, the two companies agree to terms for the latter’s WRNL, Richmond to serve as flagship for Virginia Tech football and for the school’s men’s basketball to air on Richmond classic rock signal W241AP “96.1 The Planet.”…..A new weekend outdoors program launched over the weekend (6/4). The show, “America Outdoors Radio” with host and producer John Kruse, aired on 21 affiliates in five states. Kruse also hosts “Northwestern Outdoors,” which is heard on 56 stations in the Northwest. Talk Media Network is handling satellite distribution.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — “Radio isn’t radio; radio is life.” Noted international talk radio consultant Valerie Geller stressed that point yesterday (6/2) during the kickoff of the two-day Hivio confab in Los Angeles. The “labor of love” event organized by San Diego-based media advisor-strategist/research analyst Mark Ramsey and Slacker Radio director/content initiatives Jaime Solis concludes today (6/3).
Ten people – including Geller – were interviewed in one-on-one “Q&A” sessions with Ramsey, or they made individual presentations. Emphasizing that on-air talents and podcasters are all in the story business, Geller states, “It is all about how to powerfully communicate your story. The real secret is how does it matter to you?” She reasons that, if the talent does not care, there is no reason to think the audience will either. “You are an actor playing the part,” she remarks. “Radio – audio – is magical – you are in someone’s head.”
Kornheiser to End Long Run on WTEM, Washington. Sports media personality Tony Kornheiser is announcing he’s exiting his midday talk show on Red Zebra Broadcasting’s WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.” Kornheiser was part of the sports talk outlet’s original lineup when the station debuted in 1992. In a statement, Kornheiser says, “I have loved every minute on the radio at WTEM. But I felt it was time to pursue a new and appealing challenge. I will be launching a podcast this September. I am excited that this endeavor will allow me to continue to work with so many of the people who have been a part of my radio show for over the past 20 years. But I will miss all of my friends and colleagues at WTEM.” Kornheiser’s final show will air later this month and WTEM will announce his replacement at a later date.
iHeartMedia Grand Rapids Eliminates Reese Rickards WOOD News Director Role. As reported by MLive.com, longtime Grand Rapids radio personality Reese Rickards has been let go by iHeartMedia after 24 years in the market. Rickards was a high-profile morning personality (along with Neal Dionne) on country WBCT “B93.7” until being named news director at news/talk WOOD in 2014.
Hivio 2016 – Day One Coverage. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian is in Los Angeles at the Andaz Hotel covering the Hivio 2016 conference organized and presented by San Diego-based media advisor-strategist/research analyst Mark Ramsey and Slacker Radio director/content initiatives Jaime Solis. Among the media experts Ramsey interviewed during Thursday’s day one of the two-day event were radio consultant Valerie Geller and Pandora SVP of ad product sales & strategy Lizzie Widhelm. Geller explained to attendees that whether one is doing on-air radio or a podcast, “It is all about how to powerfully communicate your story. The real secret is: How does it matter to you?” Interestingly, what Pandora is trying to achieve is what AM/FM radio has going for it: ease of use. Widhelm said, “Discovery, ease of use, and personalization have to be in the DNA of everything we do. Pandora lovers want to stay on the platform: It is easy; it is in your pocket; and it is an app that is integrated in cars and homes. We want things to be frictionless.” Read more of Kinosian’s report here.
The Presidential Race and Clinton Email Case Top Talkers TenTM for Week of May 30-June 3. The most-talked-about topic discussed on news/talk radio this week was the presidential race. Following close behind at #2 was the Hillary Clinton email case. At #3 was the euthanizing of a rare gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo because a child had entered the animal’s enclosure. 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. Minneapolis morning drive personality Jason Matheson is getting a four-week test run of his daily “The Jason Show” television program on three stations outside the Twin Cities market. Matheson co-hosts the morning drive show on Hubbard Radio’s female-targeted talk station KTMY, Minneapolis “myTalk 107.1” with Alexis Thompson. His TV show is produced by Fox Television’s KMSP-TV. During the test it will also air on KTTV, Los Angeles; KDFW-TV, Dallas; and KSAZ-TV, Phoenix…..Former Mexican president Vincente Fox appears on WABC, New York on “Election Central with Rita Cosby.” During the conversation, Fox said he’d like to have an “official debate” between him and Donald Trump. Fox told Cosby the debate would serve the purpose of having Trump “listen to our arguments” about the economy, jobs, the value of Mexico, his views on the wall, and more…..There’s a new baseball show on ESPN O&O WEPN, New York “ESPN New York 98.7” called “Balls & Strikes with Matthews and Rubin.” The show promises “the most complete baseball show in New York, bar none,” with hosts Wallace Matthews and Adam Rubin each Sunday from 7:00 am to 9:00 am…..Salem Media Group is announcing it is paying a quarterly dividend of $0.065 per share payable June 30 for shareholders of record as of June 16.….Minnesota Public Radio staffers voted to join SAG-AFTRA. The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for MPR News, American Radio Works, and the newly formed Investigative Unit. This election allows them to move forward to negotiate a first contract…..Centerpost Limited – the parent company to Youtoo America, BizTV and BizTalkRadio – announces the hiring of Kelly Kantz as vice president of programming. Kantz was most recently SVP of programming sales for Rural Media Group – parent company of RFD-TV, FamilyNet and Rural Radio.
Stuttering John Launches Show on PodcastOne. Comedian, longtime Howard Stern show personality and former “Tonight Show” emcee John Melendez, a.k.a. Stuttering John, launches a new podcast on the PodcastOne platform. PodcastOne says on this show, Melendez “delivers his daring style with celebrity interviews, in addition to his funny banter with comedians, rock stars and politicians on any topic that comes to mind. Throughout the series, Melendez will discuss, in depth, his life after divorce, bizarre online dating experiences and untold stories from behind the scenes of the Howard Stern show and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” In the first episode, he speaks about making up with Stern after a very public rift. The first show also features an interview with Howie Mandell.
UFC Partners with DGital Media for Podcast Series. Global sports brand UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and DGital Media are working together to produce and monetize an exclusive, on-demand audio series called, “UFC Unfiltered with Jim Norton and Matt Serra.” The program will be hosted by veteran comedian Jim Norton and former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra. UFC says that, effective June 21, it will publish two episodes per week, available each Tuesday and Thursday on-demand via multiple outlets and apps, including UFC.com, iTunes, GooglePlay, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn and others. DGital Media chief content officer Chris Corcoran comments, “There is no fan base that craves and consumes insider content more than the loyal followers of UFC, and we feel this new partnership will help bring them even closer to the athletes and stories they love.”