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Thursday, February 16, 2012

| February 16, 2012

Deborah Norville to Host Broadcasters Foundation of America “Golden Mike Awards”; Fox’s Roger Ailes to Present.  The annual “Golden Mike Awards” to benefit the Broadcasters Foundation of America takes place in New York City on Monday, February 27 at the Plaza Hotel.  Emmy-winning host of “Inside Edition” Deborah Norville returns as host of the gala event at which Fox Television Stations president of station operations Dennis Swanson will be honored with the Golden Mike Award.  Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes will also be part of the program as a presenter.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America provides assistance to broadcasters in need.  The charity describes its mission as “improving the quality of life and maintaining the personal dignity of men and women in the radio and television broadcast profession who find themselves in acute need.  The Foundation reaches out across the country to identify and provide an anonymous safety net in cases of critical illness, advanced age, death of a spouse, accident, and other serious misfortune.”  There has been a notable outreach to talk radio by the Broadcasters Foundation in recent months and an accompanying surge of interest in its work by hosts and programmers around the country.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “I have witnessed firsthand just how wonderful this organization is as it clearly makes a difference in the lives of broadcasters who have fallen on hard times and even tragic circumstances.  These are tough times and each and every one of us is vulnerable to crisis and disaster due to health issues or any other threats facing the simple condition of being human.  I strongly encourage everyone in talk radio and beyond to join this organization or at least send a donation.  It truly is a matter of broadcasters helping broadcasters – in other words, giving back to the people of an industry that has given us such marvelous opportunities.”  For more information on the Broadcasters Foundation of America, to make a donation, or learn how to apply for a grant, please contact them at 212-373-8250, info@thebfoa.org or visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

CBS Corporation Revenue Down 3%; Radio Division Down 5%.  The lack of political advertising during 2011 compared to the year prior and the NBA lockout are being blamed for the drop in revenue CBS experienced last year.  In a conference call with analysts, CBS CEO Les Moonves reports improvement in auto advertising along with higher retransmission revenues helped ameliorate some of the negative effects of the loss of political and the NBA lockout.  Moonves did take some time to praise radio during the conference.  He cited both the growth at CBS Radio’s sports talk-formatted stations and the success of its all-news stations in major markets.  He also predicted this year’s political season would be a boon for broadcasters with radio getting a bigger share of that business than in previous years.

KIRO-FM, Seattle’s Ron & Don Help Raise Funds to Prevent Josh Powell from Being Buried Next to Children.  KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive talk hosts Ron & Don helped raise the money necessary – more than $20,000 – to buy the cemetery plots adjacent to the two boys killed by their father in Graham, Washington.  The story of Josh Powell killing his sons Charlie and Brandon in a horrific explosion of the house during a supervised visit gained national attention.  When Crime Stoppers Tacoma-Pierce County learned the family of Powell was looking for a cemetery plot near the ones in which the boys would be buried, they intervened to buy the adjacent plots.  KIRO-FM’s Ron & Don hit the airwaves to help pay for the purchase.  Don O’Neill says, “When we heard this story at 3:00 pm today, we felt compelled to stop this tragedy from happening.  So, we asked our KIRO listeners to help us raise the funds to reimburse ‘Crime Stoppers of Tacoma-Pierce County.’”  KIRO-FM program director Larry Gifford states, “When the news and conversation on 97.3 KIRO FM impacts the hearts and minds of listeners like the tragic and shocking crimes involving the Powell family, the ‘Ron & Don Nation’ is always quick to answer the call and today was no different.  I’m continually amazed at the kind-heartedness and generosity of the people who make up our community.  They inspire, empower, and engage each other to help make a positive impact and I’m proud we were able to play a role in that today.”

Dave Ramsey and Daughter Rachel Cruze to Headline Live Los Angeles Benefit Appearance for Affiliate KFWB.  Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey makes a return to Los Angeles for a live appearance with his daughter Rachel Cruze for “An Evening on Family and Money” ” at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 3 at 8:00 pm in conjunction with Los Angeles affiliate KFWB.  A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles.  KFWB reports the evening’s program will include Ramsey sharing his key principles on handling money, navigating family relationships, communicating with family members more effectively and preparing children to be financially responsible adults.  Cruze will discuss how to teach your kids life lessons like the dangers of debt and the value of saving and giving.  The program will also include audience Q&A.  This will be Ramsey’s fourth live appearance in the L.A. area for KFWB.  He previously sold out the Long Beach Arena in September 2011 as well as prior appearances at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and the Alex Theatre in Glendale.

Talk Host Steve Cochran Returns to Air at WIND, Chicago and KTRS, St. Louis After Health Scare.  Chicago-based talk show host Steve Cochran returned to the air at Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago and CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after being forced off by what turned out to be a blood clot in an artery leading to his heart –the artery doctors call “the widow maker.”  Cochran shared his story with listeners after returning to the air.  On January 31, in the middle of his KTRS show (which he does from his home in Chicago), he told his producer he thought he was having a heart attack.  He drove himself to the hospital (something he doesn’t recommend) and eventually found out he had not had a heart attack but suffered from the clot doctors said they could treat with medication.  But it took him off the air for almost two weeks. Cochran is relishing his second chance after the serious health scare.  On the WIND website Cochran writes, “You may recognize a bit of you in my story.  If you do I want you to know you don’t always have tomorrow.  You need to change today.  I had spent almost all of my adult life working too much, sleeping too little.  Oh and I was also eating too much of all the wrong things, and working out…but not nearly enough.”

Ron Jaworski Re-Signs with ESPN but Exits “MNF” TV Role.  Former Philadelphia Eagles star Ron Jaworski will continue to work for ESPN – he’ll be seen on “Monday NFL Countdown,” “NFL Matchup” and be heard on the radio regularly on “Mike and Mike in the Morning” – but ESPN removes him from the cable TV broadcast of “Monday Night Football.”  The network is electing to go with a two-man booth with John Gruden and Mike Tirico for the 2012 season.  Jaworski says in a statement, “I am grateful for having the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of working on ‘Monday Night Football’ the past five seasons with Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and so many other talented people behind the scenes who make the show so great, and I look forward to bringing my passion and knowledge of the game to more fans in more places than ever before on any and all football topics.”

Tribune Succeeds in Removing Bogus Jonathon Brandmeier Tweeter.   Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that, although it took a little time, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago was able to have Twitter shut down the account of a “rabid Johnny B. fan” who had many fans believing they were reading tweets from Jonathon Brandmeier via the @JBonWGN Twitter account.  Peter Hayman is described as an “occasional contributor to the show.”  Feder reports that WGN director of marketing and digital innovation Jackie Paulus responded to criticism the station took too long to act on the matter, “As opposed to us finally getting around to it, there were two complaints filed immediately – one by Johnny’s producer and one by the station.  Unfortunately, due to the volume of these incidences, it took Twitter that long to validate and process the request.”

GOP Primary Race, Syria Violence Issues, Iran-Israel Tensions, Obama Budget, Payroll Tax Cut Legislation, and Rising Gas Prices Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15).  The GOP Primary race, steps to curb the continuing violence in Syria, tensions between Iran and Israel, President Obama’s 2013 budget proposal, Congressional legislation to cut the payroll tax and concern of rising gas prices were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Welcome Samantha Sabo!  Noted talk media consultant Walter Sabo – president of Sabo Media and Hitviews – and wife Katie welcomed Samantha Gloria Sabo (all 8 lbs. 7 ozs. and 21 inches of her!) into the world on February 14.  Walter reports that mother and daughter are doing very well and Samantha’s sisters Dorothy and Meredith are thrilled at the new addition to their family.

Friday, December 9, 2011

| December 9, 2011

Seventh Annual Domestic Violence Radio Row a Big Apple Smash.  For the seventh consecutive year, TALKERS magazine presented “It’s Time to Talk Day” — a massive radio row produced in association with its sister firm, Talk Radio News Service, and the corporate sponsorship of Liz Claiborne, Inc.  Held yesterday (12/8) in the fashion showroom of the Midtown Manhattan corporate offices of Liz Claiborne, Inc., the ambitious event was one of the largest and most successful, bringing together more than 20 talk media hosts from around the country who broadcast their shows live or recorded interviews for delayed broadcast.  They spoke with a non-stop parade of more than 60 experts, victims, celebrities and public officials from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm on the insidious societal problems of domestic violence and teenage dating abuse.   This year’s participants included: Alan Colmes of Fox News Radio; Dr. Joy Browne of WOR Radio Network; Mark Riley of WWRL, New York; Roberta Facinelli of “Doug Stephan’s Good Day;” John Fugelsang of “The Stephanie Miller Show;” Kevin McCullough of “The Kevin McCullough Show” and “Baldwin/McCullough;” Maria Bailey of “Mom Talk Radio;” Gary Baumgarten of Paltalk; Lionel of WPIX-TV, New York Channel 11 and LionelMedia.com; Barry Farber of Talk Radio Network and CRN Digital Talk Radio; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, NY; Andy Spano of WVOX, New Rochelle, NY; John Harper of  WNTK, Keene, New Hampshire; Deb Colitti of the Deb Colitti Show;  Dr. Renee Kohanski of PodJockey; and Dan Patterson of KoPoint.  Ellen Ratner and Geoff Holtzman of Talk Radio News Service broadcasted throughout the day on several hundred of the news service’s affiliates. Joining the line-up this year for the first time were representatives of college talk radio with Farhan Husain and Gary Duff of WRHU, Hempstead (Hofstra University); Nichole Murphy of WLIU, Brooklyn (Long Island University) and Alyssa DiNubila of WNEK, Springfield, MA (Western New England University).  Included among those who took live and recorded feeds from the event were Thom Hartmann of “The Thom Hartmann Show;” Dom Giordano of WPHT, Philadelphia; Ken Pittman of WBSM, New Bedford, MA/Providence, RI; and Carole Marks of “A Touch of Grey” plus many more. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “‘It’s Time to Talk Day’ is certainly one of our most important annual events and this year’s installment topped all others.  It raises consciousness about a societal problem that impacts a frighteningly large segment of the population and it cuts across all gender, ethnic and demographic boundaries.  There isn’t a spoken-word format that doesn’t find the topic of domestic violence applicable to its audience and extremely compelling.  Most importantly, we get feedback each year that this radio row, upon reaching millions of talk radio listeners, really does make a huge difference in the lives of real people.  It doesn’t get better than that.  We are grateful to Liz Claiborne, Inc. for their public-mindedness in supporting such a valuable project.”

Joe Crummey and Patty Steele Out at WABC, New York.  There’s no official word from Cumulus but late-morning talk show host Joe Crummey and recently added co-host Patty Steele are gone from the lineup at WABC and it appears the station is filling in with various local talent for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program until a permanent decision is made.  Crummey was brought in from the West Coast by former program director Laurie Cantillo who left the station earlier this fall.

Terri-Rae Elmer Leaves Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles – Possibly for KABC?  Hot rumors in Southern California have longtime KFI news anchor Terri-Rae Elmer being paired up with Doug McIntyre for a new morning show at Cumulus’ crosstown KABC in the New Year.  There’s nothing confirmed there but McIntyre’s scheduled departure from the company’s “Red Eye Radio” and its statement that it has plans for McIntyre are fueling the rumor.  Back to KFI, Elmer has been the news anchor and sidekick for KFI’s John and Ken for years.  Her position is being filled by Shannon Farren, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.

Tim Conway, Jr. Signs Deal with KFI, Los Angeles.  The OC Register’s Gary Lycan reports KFI evening host Tim Conway, Jr. has signed a contract to do his 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program on the Clear Channel station for three years.  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci is quoted saying, “Tim has created a unique space on KFI that is getting record high ratings and delighting fans all over Southern California.  Not only is he number one in ratings, he’s number one at covering local news – whether it’s power outages, the eviction of the Occupy L.A. campers or the implosion of Kim Kardashian‘s marriage.  Listening to Tim’s show is like getting a free sample of what tomorrow will bring.  He is always way out front of the big stories and it’s always uniquely entertaining and done in classic Tim Conway Jr. style!”

Dennis Winslow Leaves Traverse City Stations to Focus on Consultancy.  Winslow has served as program and operations manager at Northern Radio’s WSRJ-FM/WSRT-FM, Traverse City, Michigan and its sister music FMs classic hits WFCX/WFDX for the past five years.  Now, assistant program director and host Rich Nadeau takes over his duties as Winslow concentrates on his Winslow Programming Strategies business.  Cluster general manager Charlie Ferguson says, “Dennis has done an excellent job of guiding both The Fox FM and You – FM for the past five years.  The stations have improved every aspect of our operations on his watch and we’re truly grateful for his help.”

Former Los Angeles-Area Financial Talk Host Indicted on Fraud Charges.  This is pretty much the same story you’ve heard a dozen times before – only the names, and the language are different.  John Farahi hosted “Economy Today” on Persian-language KIRN, Simi Valley, California from 2005 to 2010.  The Los Angeles Times reports Farahi – through his New Point Financial Services – promised clients their money would be invested in corporate bonds insured through the Troubled Assets Relief Program.  But prosecutors allege Farahi spent the money on personal expenses and some highly speculative investments in which he lost millions.  The scheme is reported to have lost some $20 million of investors’ money.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Compass Media NetworksNorman Goldman show becomes the PM drive show at Clear Channel’s KKZN, Denver…..The independently syndicated Kevin McCullough show is picked up by KBDE-FM, Waco, Texas; and WCSO-FM, Columbus, Mississippi…..Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean” adds KNST, Tucson…..The independently syndicated Burnie Thompson show is added to WBOB, Jacksonville.

2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM Chart of Week’s Top News/Talk Stories.  The 2012 race for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of December 5-9 according to TALKERS magazine research.  Following at #2 was President Obama’s Kansas speech.  At #3 was the payroll tax cut issue and the U.S. deficit and at #4 was the Euro Zone debt crisis.  The Talkers TenTM is published every Friday at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  To see the entire chart, click on the banner below.

Friday, October 14, 2011

| October 14, 2011

Merlin Media CEO Randy Michaels Arrested on Drunken Driving Charge.  In Ohio it’s called OVI – operating a vehicle impaired – and that’s the charge Middletown, Ohio police are filing against Randy Michaels after he was found by police in his car stuck in mud and water in a construction zone around 2:00 am on Friday (10/14).  Authorities noticed the smell of alcohol on Michael’s breath and administered field tests which authorities say he failed.  Michaels refused a Breathalyzer test.  He is expected to be in Middletown Court today.  Middletown is about 35 miles north of the Cincinnati area where Michaels reportedly maintains a residence.  The unconventional – some have called it “frat house” – workplace culture Michaels encourages is not surprising to many Clear Channel employees whom Michaels led for many years as president of that company’s radio division, but it ruffled the feathers of many Tribune Company employees when Michaels served as its CEO.  It remains to be seen if this incident will affect Michaels’ relationship with Merlin Media’s investors, especially in light of the mounting criticism facing the recent launch of the FM news operations in New York and Chicago and their disappointing early ratings.

Hispanic Group Pickets KFI, Los Angeles in Protest of John & Ken.  The National Hispanic Media Coalition held a press conference and peaceful protest outside the studios of Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles yesterday.  About 35 people picketed the station’s Olive Street facilities in Burbank.  The group tells L.A. Weekly that “at least three major advertisers are pulling out of the John & Ken show” and though the advertisers were not named there, the Los Angeles Times reports the activists say Verizon and AT&T have pulled advertising from the show and grocery chains Vons and Ralphs have agreed not to advertise on the show in the future.  The protest and boycott were triggered after immigrant advocate Jorge-Mario Cabrera claimed to have received some 400 phone calls from John & Ken listeners after the duo gave out Cabrera’s cell number and asked listeners to tell him what they think of his support for the Dream Act which provides tuition subsidies for illegal immigrants.  Initially, Clear Channel Los Angeles management agreed to meet with Hispanic leaders to discuss the issue but the meeting was canceled after one leader demanded that John & Ken be taken off the air and CC market manager Greg Ashlock refused to acquiesce to an ultimatum.  Clear Channel did not address the issue of advertisers leaving the show but issued the following written statement, “Expressing your opinion is not a firing offense.  KFI stands behind John and Ken and their right to speak their minds — opinions shared, incidentally, by over a million California listeners each week and protected by the First Amendment.”  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “This situation being faced by KFI in Los Angeles is a quintessential example of a whole slew of core news/talk radio concerns — special interest pressure, advertising boycotts, free speech rights, political correctness, and management resolve — all crashing together in one escalating story.  It warrants the industry’s undivided attention.”   The heated debate over illegal immigration as well as the managing of controversy in news/talk radio will be among the topics discussed at the forthcoming Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum set for October 20.

CBS Radio Reportedly Interested in Annapolis FM for All-Newser.  Rumors continue to swirl about CBS Radio’s interest in acquiring a DC-area FM – specifically Christian WFSI-FM, Annapolis – in order to put on its own FM all-news outlet in the Nation’s Capital.  WFSI-FM is owned by evangelist Harold Camping’s Family Stations, Inc.  The presence of CBS Radio Washington market manager Steve Swenson, who has a ton of experience in news having worked for years in various capacities at the company’s New York news stations WCBS and WINS, is lending credence to the rumor.

Clear Channel Promotes Brian Lekamp to President of CC Digital.   Brian Lekamp moves up from his post as EVP of digital media to the newly created position.  Lekamp’s duties include his responsibility for Clear Channel’s digital strategy – with its iHeartRadio service at the top of that — as well as the infrastructure, tools and social media integration for its local stations’ branded Internet properties.  He will also continue to work with key partners to develop cutting-edge tools and products for all of Clear Channel’s radio, media and entertainment properties.  Lekamp states, “At Clear Channel, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the best people in the business – they are smart, dedicated and focused on innovation.  The development of the new iHeartRadio was supercharged with our acquisition of Thumbplay in March and our strong integrated digital team will continue to develop new digital music products and experiences that support the iHeartRadio platform and Clear Channel’s network of radio station websites.  This is a team effort that I am honored to lead.”

CBS Radio Ups Mike Thomas to VP of Programming in Boston.  Mike Thomas has been PD at classic rock WZLX, Boston since 2006 and has programmed WBZ-FM – 98.5 The Sports Hub – since its debut in 2009.  Now, CBS Radio ups Thomas to vice president of programming for the cluster that also includes hot AC WBMX-FM, oldies WODS-FM and news WBZ.  SVP and market manager Mark Hannon says, “Since Mike’s arrival at WZLX in 2006, he has built the station into a consistent ratings powerhouse.  His launch of 98.5 The Sports Hub in 2009 has been one of the most successful in recent radio history, and the station being named ‘Sports Station of the Year’ at the 2011 NAB Marconi Radio Awards was a tremendous accomplishment.  I look forward to using his strategic approach and programming insights to impact the overall CBS Radio stable of stations in Boston.”

CC Denver Produces Successful “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” Live Event.  The 2nd annual “Battle of the Talk Show Hosts” was produced on Thursday, October 6 by Clear Channel Denver and entertained a sold-out house at the Comedy Works Landmark in Denver.  Personalities from the three Denver talk stations – KOA, KHOW and KKZN – batted around the hot issues of the day before the live audience.  Taking part were: Steffan Tubbs and April Zesbaugh, Mike Rosen, Dave Logan, Michael Brown, John Caldara and Rick Barber from KOA; Peter Boyles, Tom Martino and Dan Caplis & Craig Silverman from KHOW; and David Sirota and Thom Hartmann from KKZN.  The event was heavily sponsored by local businesses and admission was charged.  Pictured here are progressive talk KKZN morning host David Sirota (l) and KOA midday host Mike Rosen (r).

Buckley Broadcasting’s Jennifer Buckley Named to RAB Board.  The daughter of the late Rick Buckley (once chair of the RAB board) is elected to the Radio Advertising Bureau board.  Jennifer Buckley is vice president and director of sales for WOR, New York and the WOR Radio Network.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” adds WTRC-AM/FM, South Bend, Indiana for its brand new live Sunday evening show hosted by Mark Edge and Stephanie…..“The Career Clinic” with Maureen Anderson picks up affiliates WLRT, Lexington, Kentucky; KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas; WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois; and KTUI, Sullivan Missouri.

2012 Presidential Race/999 Plan Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 10-14.  The GOP race for the nomination for the 2012 presidential election and Herman Cain’s ‘999 plan’ topped the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week.  At #2 was the Iran assassination plot allegation.  Close behind at #3 was the ‘Occupy’ protest movement and at #4 was President Obama’s Jobs Bill.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  To view the entire chart, click the banner below.