By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — If you saved back issues from when TALKERS was a print tabloid, dig-down about 20 years into the stack. A couple times a year beginning then, I was reporting from conferences then called The Podcast and New Media Expo, which later evolved into NMX and BlogWorld and other incarnations.
As I was typing-as-fast-as-I-could in the back row, I was hearing a new medium take shape.
FCC Chairman Pai Asks Apple to Activate FM Chips. In a statement issued today (9/28), Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai is asking Apple – the lone major smartphone manufacturer holdout – to agree to activate the FM chips installed in phones. Pai says, “When wireless networks go down during a natural disaster, smartphones with activated FM chips can allow Americans to get vital access to life-saving information. I applaud those companies that have done the right thing by activating the FM chips in their phones. Apple is the one major phone manufacturer that has resisted doing so. But I hope the company will reconsider its position, given the devastation wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. That’s why I am asking Apple to activate the FM chips that are in its iPhones. It is time for Apple to step up to the plate and put the safety of the American people first.” There has been no public response to Pai’s statement by Apple.
Price Tag for Entercom-EMF Deal: $57.75 Million. We know the price for the three Entercom radio stations sold to Educational Media Foundation after Entercom filed with the FCC. These three stations are the first of the divestitures required to facilitate the merger of Entercom and CBS RADIO. Educational Media Foundation is paying Entercom $57.75 million for KSWD, Los Angeles; KSOQ, Escondido (San Diego market), and WGGI, Benton, PA (Wilkes-Barre/Scranton market).
WSB, Atlanta’s Condace Pressley Receives Local Honor. The Atlanta Business League has just announced its 2017 list of “Atlanta’s Top 100 Black Women of Influence” and WSB Radio manager of program operations and community affairs Condace Pressley is honored as a member of this year’s list. Pressley was recognized during the “Women of Vision” breakfast on Tuesday (9/26) at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel. Since 1994, the list has reflected the names of black women in the metro Atlanta community who have reached senior level positions within their profession, are leading entrepreneurs in their industry, or have attained the ability to influence large public bodies politically and in government. WSB-AM/WSBB-FM director of branding and programming Pete Spriggs comments, “Condace quietly and humbly moves through Atlanta’s communities and serves, mentors and leads every day. And, she’s done that throughout her entire career with WSB and ‘KISS 104.’ I am so proud and pleased that she gets this kind of due fanfare.”
Financial Talker Ray Lucia Seeks Supreme Court Ruling to Get Back into Investment Business. Financial talk radio host Ray Lucia is taking his ouster from the securities industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission to the U.S. Supreme Court. The San Diego Reader has a lengthy story on the matter here. The short version is that Lucia was banned in 2013 after the SEC ruled that his “Buckets of Money” investment plan was not “backtested.” He has appealed the ruling to no avail. Now, he’s arguing that the administrative law judge responsible for the decision to kick him out of the industry was appointed unconstitutionally. Lucia’s attorney tells the paper he believes the SCOTUS will hear the case. Lucia’s program is syndicated via the Biz Talk Radio network.
TALKERS News Notes. As part of its “Community Conversation” series, Scripps’ Milwaukee news/talk WTMJ’s news department is presenting a program addressing the controversy surrounding player protests during the national anthem at NFL games. The uninterrupted, one-hour special takes place this afternoon (9/28) at 4:00 pm CT. The conversation will lead directly into WTMJ Radio pregame coverage of the Green Bay Packers vs Chicago Bears game at Lambeau Field. WTMJ director of programming and news Eric Brooks states, “The protests by NFL players during the national anthem have sparked debate and raised awareness of the issues of social justice in the country. WTMJ Radio is the flagship station of the Green Bay Packers and the de facto town hall for the state of Wisconsin. We feel it’s our duty to provide a high-profile place for all sides of the conversation to be heard.” WTMJ hosts John Mercure and Melissa Barclay will moderate the special that is also being streamed at wtmj.com and via Facebook Live…..Dallas talk show host Jon-David Wells announces via Facebook that his talk show “The Wells Report” is soon to be heard in the market on Salem Media Group’s KVCE-AM, Highland Park as it flips from a simulcast of Christian teaching KWRD-FM to news/talk as “1160 AM KBDT – Big D Talk.” Wells says his program, previously heard on Salem’s news/talk KSKY, is also being distributed via USA Radio Network…..Pictured at right is Salem Radio Network East Coast affiliate relations manager Jim Bligh in a still shot from a promo for this weekend’s season premiere of “Saturday Night Live.” Bligh plays a security guard who won’t let guest star Ryan Gosling upstairs without a guest pass. See the video here. When Bligh is not scratching his acting itch (he’s appeared in motion pictures such as Man on a Ledge and Ricki and the Flash), he’s securing new affiliate stations for SRN’s Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Larry Elder and others.
PodcastOne and Former Staffer in Legal Tangle. Former PodcastOne producer Raymond Hernandez and company founder and chairman Norm Pattiz have very different views of the issues surrounding Hernandez’s claims against Pattiz. As reported first in Variety, Hernandez is suing PodcastOne for unlawful termination, claiming that he was let go for protesting instructions from Pattiz to “inflate download numbers” of the company’s podcasts. PodcastOne attorney Marvin Putnam, however, says, “Mr. Hernandez was fired for stealing intellectual property from PodcastOne — a theft he has admitted to committing.” In the complaint, Hernandez says Pattiz, who is a reserve sheriff’s deputy, set his revolver on a desk with the barrel pointing toward him in order to intimidate him. Pattiz reponds, “This guy must be crazy. I’ve never met alone with him. I didn’t hire him or fire him. I barely know who he is. The fact that I’m a law enforcement reserve is well known as I have public service awards in my office. I didn’t and would never act in the manner that’s been described… His allegations are absurd.”
Alliance for Women in Media ‘Women Who Lead’ Honorees Named. At this November’s Women Who Lead luncheon, five women media executives are being honored by the Alliance for Women in Media at the Marriott Marquis in New York City. The event “recognizes and celebrates women who have had a significant impact on the media industry, as trailblazers and extraordinary leaders in their chosen field.” This year’s honorees are: Caroline Beasley, CEO, Beasley Broadcast Group; Amy Emmerich, chief content officer, Refinery29; Kathleen Finch, chief programming, content & brand officer, Scripps Networks; Susan Swain, co-CEO, C-SPAN; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. For more information about the event or to reserve your seat, click here.
Trump Tax Reform Plan, Roy Moore Victory, NFL Protests, Cost of Illegal Immigration, Puerto Rico Devastation, ObamaCare Repeal Efforts, Hugh Hefner Dies, Rick Pitino Corruption Case, MLB Playoff Push, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/27). The outline of President Trump’s tax reform plan and his speech promoting the effort in Indianapolis; controversial former judge Roy Moore wins the GOP primary in the Alabama U.S. Senate race; ongoing debate over NFL players protesting during the singing of the national anthem; the FAIR study concluding illegal immigration costs taxpayers almost $116 billion per year; the lack of power, potable water and food in Hurricane Maria-stricken Puerto Rico; the efforts by the GOP to repeal the Affordable Care Act with the Graham-Cassidy Bill; Playboy founder Hugh Hefner dies at age 91; the federal investigation into corruption in Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino’s program; the final week of the regular season in Major League Baseball; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool News Radio Opportunity. WNRP seeks a morning drive news anchor/reporter. “NewsRadio1620 ▪ FM92.3” in Pensacola, Florida has an immediate opening for an experienced AM drive radio news anchor. Join the team that local newspaper readers have twice voted “Best Morning Show.” Includes news on sister station “CatCountry98.7.” Strong writer, fast audio producer, conversational style, plus a passion for local news gathering. Seven Edward R. Murrow awards for local news coverage. FOX Radio News affiliate. Independent and locally owned. Excellent employee benefits, including 401k plan and health/dental/vision insurance. Great lifestyle near beaches in NW Florida panhandle. EOE. Send audio with resume here.
Clive Davis Visits ‘Jonesy’s Jukebox.’ Music biz legend Clive Davis visited Cumulus Media’s classic rock KLOS, Los Angeles on Tuesday (9/26) to chat with “Jonsey’s Jukebox” host Steve Jones about his new documentary film, Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives, that opened in LA at Cinerama Dome/ArcLight Hollywood. From KLOS, Davis also spoke with Matt Pinfield for “Flashback”; with WKQX, Chciago’s Brian & Lou; and WLS-AM, Chicago’s Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano. Pictured above are (from l-r): Evan Saxon of film distributor Abramorama, Davis, Jonesy, and film and music promoter Elliot Kendall. Photo: Mark “Mr. Shovel” Sovel.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Baltimore, rock programming pro Steve Huber moves from Hearst Communications’ WIYY “98Rock” to Times-Shamrock’s crosstown classic rocker WZBA “100.7 The Bay.” The move lifts him from assistant PD to program director and takes effect on October 2. WZBA general manager Jefferson Ward states, “We had a tremendous response to our open PD position and I had the chance to talk to a number of excellent programmers, people that might have easily been hired had Steve not come into our picture. Steve is deeply passionate about radio and has a broad and strong skill set. Those qualities along with his understanding of radio’s opportunities today and his vision about where radio can go made Steve a perfect fit for ‘100.7 The Bay.’”…..Alternative rock WRMR, Wilmington, North Carolina “Modern Rock 98.7” names Laura Lee program director and afternoon drive host. Sunrise Broadcasting sought to replace Paul Cannell, who exited last month to join Cumulus Media’s New Orleans operations. Lee was most recently with Adams Radio Group where she handled promotions director duties in Salisbury-Ocean City in addition to programming classic rock WGBG “BIG 98.5” and serving as music director and midday personality…..As reported in Billboard, Apple is now saying that it has hit the 30 million paid subscribers mark. That compares with Spotify’s 60 million paid subscribers. Neither service offers a free tier as do Pandora and iHeartRadio. The story notes that income from the service is part of Apple’s larger Services segment that reported third quarter 2017 revenue of $7.3 billion, a year-over-year increase of 22%…..Superadio Networks announces an affiliation and sales agreement with Marvin Sapp’s Praise Place, LLC to syndicate his eponymous weekly Gospel radio show. All affiliate and national advertising sales will be handled by Superadio and American Urban Radio Networks.
By Holland Cooke
For radio, “the camera” is iPhone; and nobody knows that better than WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein, a true digital newsgathering pioneer. His first iPhone is in the Newseum!
I left WTOP in 1991 and Neal got there in 1997, so he was amused to hear that, when I did the expense budget there way-back-when, we had a line item for batteries for cassette recorders. And our newsroom’s one portable phone was the size and shape of a lunchbox. And despite how expensive it was to make a call on that contraption, I couldn’t resist, in 1985, when – as I accompanied one of our reporters — I called my parents just to tell ‘em I was calling from the White House lawn.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The midday host at a station I work with asks: “Should I move from Facebook to Twitter?”
Wisely, stations and personalities are prioritizing Twitter, a darn opportune tool which listeners have adopted as-fervently as they did Facebook…and MySpace, in its day.
If you’re thinking that “The Next Shiny Object” is your very own iPhone app, STOP. Save the money, for reasons I will explain on June 6 in my Talkers/New York presentation “Resourceful + Remarkable.”