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Monday, April 26, 2021

| April 26, 2021

Monday Memo: Help Wanted, Local Host. “Radio’s best years were between network programming that ended at the end of the 1950s and syndicated longform that now dominates talk programming and robotic music formats that displaced local DJs.” And, in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke suggests how that same business model can restore the local programming “which will always be broadcasters’ silver bullet against digital competitors.” Read it here.

Pending Business: Pack Your Bags. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says the demand for summer travel is very high and this category of advertiser is still adjusting to new protocols. “Consider the total packaging concept you can deliver. Many marketers in the travel industry look for strong inquiry and booking accountability. Be prepared with multiple options always considering easy access for your audience to respond. As categories regroup from pandemic business paralysis new opportunities will emerge. Adjust your thinking, planning and preparation now.” Read his column here.

KVI, Seattle Names Ari Hoffman Afternoon Drive Host. After joining Sinclair Broadcast Group’s news/talk KVI, Seattle earlier this year to fill in after Kirby Wilbur’s retirement, Ari Hoffman is officially named the permanent afternoon drive host, effective today (4/26). The station says Hoffman is a local businessman and civic activist who ran for Seattle city council in 2020 who has also appeared on FOX News, Newsmax, “The Dr. Drew Show,” “60 Minutes,” and the KOMO News documentary “Seattle is Dying.” He also reports regularly on Northwest issues in The Post Millennial. He says, “I am thrilled to be joining the amazing team at KVI. If I had known how much fun this gig would be, I would have started 20 years ago. I look forward to bringing common sense ideas and a fresh take on news, politics, and the culture wars to our listeners.” KVI program director Rick Van Cise says, “Our new afternoon host was right under our nose. What’s important to you is important to Ari. He has an engaging and entertaining perspective on local and world issues that’s enlightening and fun to hear!”

Rhode Island News/Talk Pro Ron St. Pierre Launches New Podcast. A story at RINewstoday.com highlights the new podcast being launched by Rhode Island talk radio pro Ron St. Pierre (right). The new program, “Ron and Jen’s Great Escape” – co-starring Jen Brien (left) – launches on May 3. St. Pierre was most recently hosting the morning drive show on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHJJ, Providence until the company declined to renew his contract back in December and, in an effort to save money, put the WTAG-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts-based Jim Polito show in WHJJ’s morning drive slot. During his career, St. Pierre has also served with crosstown WPRO-AM and WABC, New York, among other media outlets. Of his new podcast, St. Pierre says, “Our goal is to provide an escape from the negativity that can overtake conversation about the day’s hot topics…an escape from the banal repetition all too often associated with talk radio. Our goal is a positive approach to news and lifestyle topics with an infusion of humor across the board.”

Westwood One’s Hoops Coverage Generates 19.2 Million Listeners. Citing an IPSOS national audience study conducted April 9-11, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says its exclusive live coverage of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship generated 19.2 million listeners to the play-by-play action from all 66 men’s basketball games, including eight first-round and second-round games, plus regional semifinals and finals. WWO president Suzanne Grimes comments, “We are thrilled that audio audiences for our NCAA March Madness audio coverage returned so strongly. College basketball fans were excited to experience NCAA Men’s basketball and listened across our streaming, smart speaker, and broadcast platforms.” The IPSOS study also found that listening audiences were equally distributed across demographics with 31% of listeners aged 18-34, 41% 35-64 and 27% over the age of 65. Additionally, the coverage attracted a highly educated audience that was 6% more likely than average to be college graduates and 46% more likely to have an advanced degree. 56% of the audience was employed and nearly half (47%) had household incomes of $75,000 or more.

TALKERS News Notes. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden will deliver his first speech to a Joint Session of Congress marking his 100th day in office. Salem Radio Network News is covering the speech for affiliate stations. SRN coverage will be anchored by SRN News U.S. Senate correspondent Bob Agnew and he’ll be joined by TOWNHALL News Capitol Hill correspondent Bernie Bennett…..Coverage of this year’s NFL Draft begins this week and ESPN“SportsCenter” anchors Elle Duncan and Kevin Negandhi are kicking off the network’s coverage on their “Get Up” morning show on April 29 and 30. They will also lead ESPN Radio’s NFL Draft broadcasts alongside NFL Front Office Insider Mike Tannenbaum, ESPN Radio’s Bart Scott and reporter Ian Fitzsimmons. ESPN Radio’s coverage will continue Saturday, May 1, with host Jason Fitz, NFL Draft analyst and Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy, Tannenbaum and Fitzsimmons…..C13Originals, a division of Audacy’s Cadence13, has signed on critically acclaimed bestselling author Shawn Levy for “Glitter and Might,” a documentary podcast franchise about power and influence originating from Hollywood. Season One will explore the relationship between legendary Hollywood mogul Lew Wasserman, a young actor named Ronald Reagan, and notorious labor lawyer Sidney Korshak, and the story of how they came together, and rose to become, respectively, the most powerful executive in Hollywood, the most powerful man in the world, and the most powerful lawyer in the country, forever changing the entertainment industry and the country itself.….The Independent Broadcasters Association is supporting COVID Remembrance Day on May 25 as a day of honor and reflection for those who have been lost to the pandemic. A special IBA members-only webinar is set for 2:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 29 to provide how-to instructions and outline the tools and resources that will be available to participating radio stations. COVID Remembrance Day is being produced by Paige Nienaber and CPR Promotions, in conjunction with partners MannGroup Radio, Benztown and P1 Media Group. Nienaber, who will host the webinar, says, “On COVID Remembrance Day participating stations and their listeners can reflect on the events of the past year, honor and give tribute to the victims, heroes, and people in their communities who have stepped up and been a part of the response effort. We hope every radio station in America will join us.”

Free-Form Radio Pioneer Bob Fass Dies at 87. The New York Times has the obit for legendary free-form radio personality Bob Fass, who died on April 24 at his home in Monroe, North Carolina. Fass hosted the “Radio Unnameable” overnight program on WBAI, New York for more than 50 years. Fass’s program could include any program element – avant-garde music, political talk, calls from listeners, and drop-in guests. He would have guests such as Abbie Hoffman or a young, still-largely unknown Bob Dylan.  He once told an interviewer, “I’d put anyone on, because the idea was if you didn’t like what I was doing, three minutes later I’d be doing something else.”

COVID-19, Biden’s First 100 Days, Chauvin Verdict Aftermath, Border Crisis, and Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the severe outbreak in India; President Joe Biden’s administration approaches its 100-day mark; the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict and the larger issue of race relations in the U.S.; the crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; and Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

| December 8, 2020

Howard Stern Signs Renewal with SiriusXM for Five More Years. During previous investor conference calls, outgoing SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer said he believed Howard Stern and SiriusXM would come to terms on a new deal and today’s announcement bears that out. Under the new agreement, Stern will continue to produce and host “The Howard Stern Show” exclusively for SiriusXM for the next five years, and the Howard Stern archive of audio and video will continue to be licensed to SiriusXM for an additional seven years. Stern says, “Fifteen years ago, I joined SiriusXM, a fledgling group of broadcasters. I had been in a toxic relationship with terrestrial radio. And no matter how well I treated the medium, no matter how successful I made them, they abused me. Going to SiriusXM liberated me. I felt like Tina Turner freeing myself from Ike. And despite the naysayers and the ridicule, we have persevered, and are thriving. I’ve been proven right about satellite radio over and over again. With this contract renewal, I can’t wait to see what else I’ll be right about. Certainly, I have a lot more to say about Metamucil crackers and stepmom porn. Plus, now that I can work from home, I simply don’t have an excuse to quit.” Meyer says, “As the leading audio entertainment company, we couldn’t be happier to have Howard, the leading host in all of radio and audio, continue to make SiriusXM the home for his show, channels, and archives while at the peak of his broadcasting career. Howard’s home has been SiriusXM and it will remain that way, but we’ve expanded SiriusXM in recent years too, and we are excited about finding the right ways that select content from Howard can find audiences on additional platforms. May I add, I consider Howard a close friend and look forward to listening to him for years to come.”

Ron St. Pierre Out at iHeartMedia’s WHJJ, Providence; Jim Polito Takes Over Morning Show. Longtime Providence air personality and programmer Ron St. Pierre has exited iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHJJ-AM, Providence where he hosted the morning drive show. Filling the programming gap is WTAG-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts-based morning personality Jim Polito. In 2016, iHeartMedia dropped the local morning show hosted by Adam Wright and Bo Sullivan on WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts and began simulcasting Polito’s show there. The WHJJ move puts the Jim Polito show in three of iHeartMedia’s New England markets.

Salem’s KRLA and KTIE Cut Ties with Brian Whitman. Southern California radio pro Brian Whitman exits Salem Media Group’s morning drive show “The Morning Answer” that he co-hosted with Jennifer Horn that was simulcast on KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino. Whitman shared the news on his Facebook page on Friday (12/4). He wrote, “I was provided the following from folks at Salem/KRLA this morning. The announcement was sent by the general manager to their kind and hardworking staff, making this news public. I’ll have very personal thoughts to share with members of the ‘Morning Answer Listening Family’ (as I came to know and regard you over many years) very soon. It will be in this space at a time that is more appropriate and comfortable. With all of my love and with the warmest gratitude for every moment that we’ve shared together, I offer words that I know fall far short of my heart’s sentiment. Thank you, thank you, thank you guys.” The message from management was as follows: “After eight years hosting ‘The Morning Answer,’ Brian Whitman will no longer be with us. We wish Brian all the best in the future. Chuck [Tyler] and I echo Phil Boyce who said, “Brian has been a hard-working and extremely talented employee for us for many years. We will always cherish his friendship, and our opportunity to work together at KRLA and KTIE.” Whitman was the liberal counterpart to conservative Horn.

Hubbard Radio Drops Sports Talker Chris Rongey; Re-Aligns Host Lineup. According to a report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar, afternoon drive sports talk personality Chris Rongey has been let go from Hubbard Radio’s WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Rongey had been part of “The Fast Lane” afternoon show since replacing D’Marco Farr in 2017. The station moves midday host Jamie Rivers into afternoons alongside Anthony Stalter and Brad Thompson and promotes Alex Farrario to the midday show co-hosting with Brandon Kiley.

Talk Radio Host Michael Berry’s Good Month Includes Raising $1.3 Million for PTSD Foundation. KRTH, Houston-based, nationally syndicated talk host Michael Berry had a very good month in which his program helped raise $1.3 million for Camp Hope, the residential treatment center run by the PTSD Foundation of America, of which Berry is the national spokesman. The organization was laying off staff, including the vital folks who counsel suicidal veterans who struggle with re-integration after war. Berry teamed up with sponsor Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale, owner of the Gallery Furniture chain, to raise funds. During the whole of 2020, Berry’s efforts have raised $3 million for the organization, almost its entire budget. Additionally, Berry made national news on Monday (12/7) for his interview with Houston-based Goya Foods CEO Bob Unanue, during which Unanue said he gave U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez the company’s “employee of the month” award. This came after Ocasio Cortez called for a boycott on Goya products because Unanue publicly praised President Trump. However, Unanue says the boycott call produced a counter-protest in which supporters flocked to buy Goya goods. On top of that, Berry has added new affiliates, WPNN, Pensacola, Florida, and KNUW, Silver City, New Mexico and hopes to roll out seven new affiliates before the New Year. In case you missed it, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled Berry back in October. Read it here.

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. The Nielsen Audio PPM ratings survey in the month prior to the November election (October 8 – November 4) was not as generous to sports talk radio stations as it was to news/talk, still TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reports that 46% of sports talkers were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the October 2020 survey. Gainers from October to November were led by RadiOhio’s WBNS-FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” (+0.7, 6.2 share) and Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville (+0.7, 6.0 share). Due to the pandemic’s effect on live sports, year-over-year comparisons have not been kind to the sports talk format and November 2019 to November 2020 is not different. 68% of sports talk outlets in PPM markets were down. However, 23% of stations gained with Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas leading the pack (+1.6, 2.8 share). While no sports talkers claimed the #1 rank in their market during the November survey, iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis came close, posting a 7.6 share good for the #2 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

WJR, Detroit News Director Dick Haefner to Retire. After a 51-year career in radio news, WJR, Detroit news director Dick Haefner is retiring. Haefner, an award-winning newscaster, reporter, and news director, has been WJR news director since 1989. Cumulus Media says that “his tenure is unmatched by any other Detroit broadcast news director. He is one of the most recognizable news voices in his hometown of Detroit, signing on to radio news in 1969 and signing off on December 11, 2020, Haefner’s last day on-air.” The company goes on to note that “under Haefner’s leadership, WJR News has been honored with nearly every national and local news award in the broadcast business, including: the Peabody Award, Associated Press national award for Best Broadcast Reporting, Edward R. Murrow Awards, and numerous state news awards… Some of Haefner’s projects have changed laws. A series on suburban toxic waste dumps resulted in tighter rules for handling waste. An investigation of fraud at gas stations brought about new regulations on service station inspections and fuel hauling, and even changed the way the IRS taxes the fuel hauling industry. Among the biggest stories Haefner has broken are Coleman Young’s baby, the Nancy KerriganTonya Harding incident heard around the world, and Detroit’s two side-by-side sports stadiums.” Haefner comments, “Anything I may have accomplished is because of other people, my wife Judy, and my family who allowed me to pursue adventures in broadcast news, and especially my co-workers. My most important job was to put them in position to do their best work. What they accomplished every day is my greatest reward. I have had the best job in Detroit radio news for almost 32 years. I’m the luckiest person I know.”

Susan O’Connell Retires from Compass Media Networks; Robert Blum Rises to Senior Manager of Affiliate Sales. Affiliate sales pro Susan O’Connell is retiring from her position as vice president of news/talk affiliate sales with Compass Media Networks, effective December 31. At the same time, the company announces that Robert Blum – a Compass Media staffer since 2011 – is being promoted to senior manager of affiliate sales for news/talk/sports. O’Connell has been in the news/talk affiliate sales business for the past 40 years, the last six with Compass Media. She previously served with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, ABC Radio Networks, CBS News, and the Progressive Radio Network. She comments, “The best part of my job has always been working with great broadcasters. Thank you all for sharing your time, talent, and friendship over the years. Compass Media Networks was the perfect place to wind up. Representing our stellar news/talk lineup and being part of this team has been an honor and a privilege.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says, “Susan is a total superstar, friend, and treasured colleague. Through hard work, perseverance, and cunning, Susan established Compass Media Networks as a dominant player in news/talk programming with over 750 leading news/talk stations airing over a dozen hours of our daily, live, and original news-talk programming.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Trump Challenges, Biden Transition, Stimulus Package, Georgia Runoff Elections, Pornhub Allegations, and Presidential Pardons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the pleas from authorities to follow mask and gathering mandates, and the status of vaccines; Donald Trump continues legal challenges to the results of the presidential election; President-Elect Joe Biden continues his administration’s transition; the debate in Congress over a new stimulus package; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the allegations that porn giant Pornhub has promoted underage actors; and reports of Donald Trump’s pardon plans were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro and urban media personality Charlamagne Tha God, a.k.a. Lenard McKelvey, and iHeartMedia renew and extend their relationship. The deal means the co-host of the WWPR, New York “Power 105.1”-based, nationally syndicated “The Breakfast Club” will continue to work with iHeartMedia for the next five years.  He says, “I give my sincerest thanks to iHeart for empowering me over the past decade to be the best talent that I can be, and for honoring me as an owner and executive. I love the audio business and iHeart is the biggest and best audio company in the world. As co-founder and chief creative officer of the Black Effect Podcast Network and now senior creative officer of cultural content and programming at iHeart, all I want to do for the next five years is continue to move the culture of radio and podcasting forward by curating a new era of voices, programming, and events. GOD IS GREAT! Now, it’s time to get back to work.”

Friday, May 13, 2016

| May 13, 2016

whynWHYN, Springfield Cancels Adam Wright and Bo Sullivan AM Show.  Listeners to iHeartMedia-owned news/talk outlet WHYN, Springfield, Massachusetts will be surprised on Monday morning when they hear the local Adam Wright and Bo Sullivan program has been replaced by the Jim Polito show from the company’s sister stationpolitojim WTAG, Worcester – about 50 miles away.  Adam Wright, who replaced popular market personality Brad Shepard in 2014, tells MassLive.com that the ratings for the show were good and he chalks his firing up to the contemporary “nature of the radio business.”  Sullivan had been with the station for more than 20 years. iHeartMedia has been trimming its employee roster gradually, market-by-market over the past month or so, in contrast to making large cuts at the end of the year, as it’s done in the past.  Meanwhile, Jim Polito is no stranger to Springfield.  He served as chief investigative reporter for WGGB-TV, Springfield for a number of years and worked at WFXT-TV, Boston, as well.  It will be interesting to see if programming from Worcester will fly in Springfield.  Meantime, the locally familiar Brad Shepard has launched a Springfield-based, online media station, Pioneer Valley Radio that carries, not only his own daily show, but a wide array of locally oriented, personality public affairs and news programs.

ppmunitNielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of April 2016 PPM Data.  The fourth and final round of April 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford.  The April 2016 survey period covered March 24 to April 20.  You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

talkersten logoThe Presidential Race Top News Talk Story for Week of May 9-13.  Once again, the activities of the candidates for president and Tuesday’s West Virginia and Nebraska primary elections were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the ObamaCare funding court ruling.  Coming in at #3 was the controversy over the Iran nuclear negotiations, followed by the allegations Facebook alters its trending topics away from conservative stories at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

cookeRIHoF16Holland Cooke Inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame.  The Ocean State is known for having a long, rich history of great radio and radio stars, including, of course, the late, legendary Walter “Salty” Brine. In a gala dinner at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI that included a veritable who’s who of radio industry notables from all over the country, the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame inducted its class of 2016.  Among the inductees, noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke of Holland Cooke Media.  During his early career, Cooke was an air personality at WPRO and PD at WSNE.  In 1984, Providence-based Outlet Broadcasting promoted him to operations manager of their then-owned all-news WTOP, Washington, DC – a position he held for the next seven years.  From there Cooke went on to a stellar career of innovation and success in many branches of radio and communications including his role as special events correspondent and contributing columnist for TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo.  Cooke will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention next week on Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.  Other 2016 RI Radio Hall of Fame inductees include Bob DeCarlo, Bill George, Mike Gorman, Bruce Palmer and Debbie Rich.  Special service awards were presented to Karen Kutniewski and Denise Laprise, and the Legacy Station of the Year was presented to JB105.  Pictured at last night’s gala event celebrating with Holland Cooke (l-r): legendary programmer Jay Clark; TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison; “Good Day” host Doug Stephan; Entercom Boston VP/market manager Phil Zachary; Holland Cooke, “Money Pit” host Tom Kraeutler, CBS News Radio legend Joe Connolly; and retired RAB executive/radio marketing great, Dick Rakovan.

nyfest smallNew York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Announces Finalists.  The winners in all categories will be announced on June 20 at a ceremony at Manhattan Penthouse in New York City.  This competition – since 1982 – has been honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs℠, receiving entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from around the globe.  New York Festivals Radio Program Awards executive director Rose Anderson states, “This year’s entries are truly inspiring, they embody creativity, innovation and brilliant storytelling.  These exceptional programs engage, entertain, inform, and transport the listener and are a testament to the power of the human voice.”  NYF’s Grand Jury selected 296 Finalists from entries submitted from 29 countries worldwide.  Entries were judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity and use of the medium.  Finalists from U.S. broadcasters include: ESPN’s “The Death of Lennon Lacy,” Best Investigative Reporting; Westwood One’s “America in the Morning,” Best News Magazine; SiriusXM’s Joe Madison, Best Regularly Scheduled Talk Program; CBS RADIO Boston’s “Too Many Memories: The Bruins-Canadiens Rivalry, Sports & Recreation; SiriusXM’s Opie Radio, Station Promotion; and PodcastOne/Goodphone Communications’ “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” Culture & The Arts.

loeschdanaNew St. Louis Affiliate for ‘The Dana Show.’  The Radio America nationally syndicated “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch adds WDSZ, St. Louis “1260 AM The Answer” to its roster of affiliate stations.  Loesch, who began her radio career on Emmis’ crosstown KFTK-FM, launches on the Salem Media Group-owned station on Monday (5/16) from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Station general manager Greg Lhamon says, “I’ve watched Dana’s radio show take off since the early days of her career eight years ago.  This is an exciting addition to our lineup.”

Odds & Sods.  WABC, New York recently presented some one-on-one interviews with two of the three remainingwabc logo presidential candidates.  Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump appeared on the “Imus in the Morning” program discussing his scheduled meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan and his comments about John McCain’s military service.  On WABC Radio’s “Election Central with Rita Cosby,” Democrat Bernie Sanders stated Donald Trump should release his tax returns, he criticized New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s support of concealed carry permits in the state wachsdaliahand said his focus is on winning a majority of the delegates and then working on the super delegates who favor Hillary Clinton…..Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs collaborated with musician/producer Jacob Gossel to create a new chant song for UNLV’s football and basketball teams.  The tune is called “Rebel Up.”  Wachs – a 1993 grad of the school – says they are working closely with UNLV music professor and band director Tony LaBounty, who says, “‘Rebel Up’ says it all and will help us take it to the next level.”  Hear a bit of the song here…..CBS RADIO St. Louis stations AC KEZK, news/talk KMOX, and hot AC KYKY are presenting “St. Louis Uncorked” on June 3-4 at the intersection of Market and Tucker in downtown St. Louis.  In addition to music from Rachel Platten, Nick Fradiani, Ingrid Michaelson, and We the Kings, local support acts will perform.  Attendees can sample an array of wines, beer, and spirits while tasting food from local vendors throughout the free weekend event.

kfbkdebate16KFBK, Sacramento Holds Mayoral Debate.  Sacramento news/talker KFBK-AM/FM drew about 400 area voters to a mayoral debate on Wednesday (5/11), produced in cooperation with Inside Publications.  The iHeartMedia-owned station’s Kitty O’Neal and John McGuinness hosted the debate along with moderator Bob Graswich at the Clunie Center in Sacramento.  The event was live streamed on KFBK.com and video is available on the station’s website.  Pictured above are (from l-r): McGinness, O’Neal, Graswich, and candidates Angelique Ashby, Darrell Steinberg and Tony Lopez.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

| December 5, 2012

Phil Boyce Takes on Operations Role at Salem Communications’ New York Cluster.  Talk radio programming pro Phil Boyce already serves as VP/director of spoken word format for Salem Communications but he’s adding the operational vice president for the New York cluster title to his business card.  That means he’s directly in charge of operations for WNYM “970 The Answer” and Christian talk outlet WMCA.  Salem Communications  president David Santrella says, “Phil’s innate understanding of the New York market, particularly as it relates to news/talk, as well as his day-to-day proximity to the operation, has led us to the decision to ask Phil to take on the additional role of operational VP for the New York cluster.  Phil will continue to work with all of our stations as VP director, spoken word format.”  Program director Peter Thiele remains in his position as Boyce’s charge is to oversee the station’s revenue and assist all departments in that effort.  Other changes from Salem Communications include Salem regional VP Linnae Young, who has overseen the New York cluster, taking on the oversight of the Tampa cluster that includes news/talk WGUL, Christian talk WTBN, and news/talk WLSS, Sarasota.  In Louisville, Salem regional VP Mike Moran will assume oversight of news/talk WGTK, and Christian talk WFIA-AM/FM.

Mike Gastineau to Exit KJR, Seattle.  Longtime sports talker Mike “Gasman” Gastineau announces he’ll leave Clear Channel’s sports KJR, Seattle where he currently hosts the PM drive show with co-host Elise.  Gastineau has been with KJR since 1991 and was originally partnered with Rick DuPree in middays.  He’s been in the midday slot for the past 19 years.  In a statement explaining his departure, Gastineau says, “Since 1991 I have hosted more than 5,000 shows on KJR and I’ve reached a point where I’d like to explore other creative options.  KJR’s management has been incredibly understanding and supportive of my decision.  I’m proud to have been able to give Seattle fans a voice in these incredibly important debates.  I always strived to do three things on the show – be funny, entertaining and give people a place for reasonable debate on sports issues of the day.”  His last show is tomorrow (12/6) and KJR has not announced plans for the PM drive slot as of yet.

Robin Bertolucci Honored at PIRATES Event.  KFI and KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci was honored at the holiday fundraiser of the Print Interactive Radio and Television Educational Society (PIRATES) at the Castaway Restaurant in Burbank, California.  The PIRATES’ “Golden Buccaneer” award is given annually and was awarded to Bertolucci in recognition “of her remarkable ongoing commitment to public affairs, the community and education as one of the media’s most outstanding role models for students.”  This annual holiday fundraiser benefits the Ruth Collander Endowment Fund which enables PIRATES to provide scholarships to college students majoring in communications, journalism, radio or television.  Pictured above (from l-r) are: Brent Seltzer (Still at Large) who emceed the event, KOST 103.5 program director Stella Prado, Bertolucci and KFI director of marketing/brand manager Neil Saavedra.

Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Partners with Production Companies for Competition Reality Show.  The name of the series is “Pursuit of the Truth” and the goal of the show is to bring together 20 selected filmmakers from across the country to prove to a panel of expert judges that their project is worthy of the grand prize – financing and worldwide distribution for their feature documentary film idea.  Go Go Luckey Entertainment and Wild West Productions are working with TheBlaze on the project.  The 20 contestants will be asked to perform a series of tasks during the 10-week production period for the panel of expert judges.  Contestants will be asked to not only prove the validity of their idea for a documentary but also their filmmaking abilities.  They will either survive or be eliminated based on that criteria.  For example, contestants might be asked to produce a sizzle reel, procure and execute a key interview, or pitch scenes to the panel of judges.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood says, “We are excited to continue to expand our programming with producers like Vince Vaughn, Peter Billingsley and Gary Auerbach.  The documentary film, particularly those that seek the truth with no agenda, is an important art form that is struggling to survive in this media environment.  We will be looking for stories that simply need to be told.”  The nine-episode series debuts on TheBlaze in late spring 2013.

WMMS, Cleveland Dismisses PM Drive Co-Host Chad Zumock.  The rock station’s Alan Cox afternoon drive talk program is without air talent Chad Zumock after the 38-year-old comedian and radio co-host was arrested following a recent incident in which he crashed his car into a tree while returning home from a gig at a local comedy club.  Zumock refused a breath test but authorities are charging him with DUI.  According to Cleveland.com, the incident violates a clause in Zumock’s contract with Clear Channel and host Alan Cox addressed Zumock’s dismissal on the program on Tuesday, December 4.

WTAG, Worcester Morning Host Jim Polito Exits for Boston TV Gig.  Jim Polito returns to his television roots beginning December 10 as he’ll handle commentary for Fox TV O&O WFXT, Boston’s evening newscasts.  Polito left WGGB-TV, Springfield, Massachusetts in 2008 to join Clear Channel’s WTAG, Worcester for the morning drive program.  No word from Clear Channel what its plans for the morning show are.

Branson, Missouri Gets FM Talk Station as Earls Family Broadcasting Makes Changes.  In making programming changes to its cluster of stations in Branson, Missouri, Earls Family Broadcasting consolidates its two country outlets on one signal, freeing up KRZK at 106.3 to become a news/talk station.  The new format is branded as “Your News. Straight Talk. 106.3.”  In a statement, the company says news/talk is “a perfect fit for our traditional, informed and community-minded citizens of the Branson area.  Since KRZK has always been popular for local news, talk, and community service, an all-news/talk format is the perfect evolution of this beloved station.”  The station is carrying Fox News Radio for top-of-the-hour news.  The program schedule includes: Steve & Janet in the Morning for 6:00 am to 9:00 am; “At Your Service” with Scott McCaulley from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm; Dave Ramsey from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm; and “The Ozark’s News Hour with Greg Pyron” from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

The Expert Radio Network Launches.  A new San Diego-based terrestrial radio network is getting off the ground.  The Expert Radio Network, “a multi-media radio platform for experts to deliver their content, expand their audience and explode their product sales” is opening for business.  Vice president of business development Susan Ram explains the network’s approach.  “Experts will have the opportunity to host a weekly radio show in major markets across the country, complete with marketing guidance from co-founder Scotty Saks.  Experts will also work directly with award-winning talent coaching specialist and ERN co-founder Cliff Dumas and his business partner Randy Lane of The Randy Lane Company.  Cliff and Randy will teach the same communication secrets Randy has personally taught Ryan Seacrest, Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly and hundreds of other entertainment, sports and business clients.  Finally, Experts will be able to leverage the power of a fully produced, online marketing sales funnel custom designed to monetize their product and brand.”  Identifying “experts” as those who’ve committed three years or 10,000 hours to knowledge of their subject of expertise, ERN says it has identified several “key verticals,” including: finance and business, health and wellness, and personal development.  “The timing could not be better, as ‘real,’ terrestrial talk radio is experiencing explosive growth, and attracting millions of listeners who seek critical investment, business, and personal development advice from experts across the country.  The power of ERN will massively expand an individual or corporate brand’s audience and deliver valuable advice and information to consumers.”  ERN will utilize SpotMedia’s new Synchronicity platform for its program distribution, eliminating satellite distribution expenses while automatically customizing shows and commercial insertions on an affiliate by affiliate basis for both over the air and digital audiences.

Good Karma’s WEFL, West Palm Beach Renews Local TV Partnership.  West Palm Beach sports talk ESPN 760 extends its content-producing partnership with local television stations WPTV-TV and WFLX-TV.  The stations had been working together for the past three years and have agreed to terms on a new multi-year contract.  WPTV-TV vice president and general manager Steve Wasserman says, “Since teaming up with ESPN 760 in 2010, the profile of local sports has risen to an unprecedented level.  With the powerful combination of the region’s top-rated television station and the area’s unrivaled leader in sports radio, we will continue to set the standard for sports coverage in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.”  The stations say that over the years they have produced quality content with unique local coverage and programming that includes: “Football Night in South Florida,” “5 Sports Live” on WPTV and “Wayne Akers Sports Zone” on WFLX.  ESPN 760’s anchor team of Joe Girvan and Emerson Lotzia will continue to be seen nightly on WPTV NewsChannel 5’s 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm newscasts as well as WFLX Fox 29’s 10:00 pm newscast.  WEFL vice president and general manager Steve Politziner states, “We are thrilled to continue to share stories about sports in our local community with the passionate fans of WPTV and WFLX.  ‘Football Night in South Florida’ has become a franchise unto itself and the way in which schools, players, coaches, administrators, parents and fans have embraced our coverage, it’s more than exceeded our expectations.”

Odds & Sods.  Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington raised more than $290,000 during its radiothon on Friday and Saturday to benefit the Fisher House Foundation.  It was the 9th annual such radiothon and program director Bill Hess tells TALKERS the total was up $50,000 from last year’s total and that, to date, WMAL listeners have raised more than $4 million for Fisher House over the past nine years…..Herman Cain subs for Neal Boortz on the Cox Media-syndicated national talk program December 10 – 19.  Cain, who hosted a program at flagship WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta prior to his run for president, will take over hosting the Neal Boortz show on January 21, 2013…..WQAM, Miami sports talk host Dan Sileo subs on the morning show at Entercom’s WEEI, Boston December 26 – 28.

Talk Producer Colin Brady Dies at 43.  Florida-based radio producer Colin Brady passed away at age 43 after a struggle with cardiovascular disease.  Brady worked as a talk producer and host in both Tampa and Orlando.  He worked with Shannon Burke at WTKS, Orlando and on his internet show at RadioIO.com.  Burke tells the Orlando Sentinel that although Brady was the butt of jokes (as producers often are) his listeners were shocked.  “They all loved him very much.  Last week, they were calling the show crying.  He was beloved, no doubt about it.”

Washington ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, Syria Chemical Weapons Threat, Egypt Unrest, Obama Cabinet Nominees, and Jovan Belcher Case-Costas Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/4).  The fight between GOP leaders and the Obama administration over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff”; charges Syria is planning to use its chemical weapons on rebels; the unrest in Egypt as citizens protest Mohamed Morsi’s policies; speculation over the shape of the new Obama Cabinet; and the murder-suicide case of Jovan Belcher and Bob Costas’ anti-gun commentary were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.