Michael Harrison Interviews Television Historian Jim Benson, Host of Radio’s Syndicated ‘TV Time Machine.’ In a wide-ranging conversation that covers everything from “What’s My Line?” to the future of television and time travel, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison discusses the role and impact of television in our society with historian Jim Benson. Benson is the host of the long-running KCBQ, San Diego radio show “TV Time Machine” that has just gone into national syndication. Since 2003, Benson has been exploring TV’s past, present and future on radio and has tremendous insights into how the medium has impacted generations of Americans and how each generation – from the Boomers to the Millennials – approach it differently. To hear this conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
2015 a ‘Remarkable Year’ for SiriusXM. Those were the words of SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer from yesterday’s investor conference call on the satcaster’s fourth quarter financial report. Meyer said, “2015 was an incredible year for SiriusXM. We exceeded all of our original operational and financial goals, and we are predicting continued growth in subscribers and all of our financial metrics this year. Last January, we told you to expect 1.2 million net new subscribers. We actually delivered 2.3 million, taking our paying subscriber base to an all-time high of approximately 29.6 million. Lower-than-expected churn and higher auto sales were the primary drivers, and both new and used car conversions set new records for the fourth quarter and the full year. We told you that we would do approximately $4.4 billion of revenue in 2015, and we actually reached nearly $4.6 billion. We told you we would attain $1.6 billion of adjusted EBITDA and our final result was $1.66 billion. And we told you we would deliver $1.25 billion of free cash flow, and we exceeded that, too, with $1.3 billion. Quite frankly, 2015 was a remarkable year, and we did what we said we would do and more. And this year, you should expect more of the same. We expect continued growth, even as we make substantial investments across many areas of our business. We expect to end 2016 with about 31 million subscribers and about $4.9 billion of revenue.” Though Meyer didn’t offer how much SiriusXM is paying for Howard Stern or the recently re-signed NFL deal, he noted that those – along with Major League Baseball, the NBA, and FOX News – are now secured at “a fixed rate” for years to come. Meyer also talked up the company’s SiriusXM17 platform with investors. “Some of you may have seen our demonstration in Las Vegas at CES…For those of you who don’t know, SiriusXM17 is our next-generation platform for audio services that combines the benefit of satellite radio with two-way LTE connectivity in future cars. It enables the seamless mixing and matching of satellite and IP-delivered content. It allows us to obtain usage data from the radio in the car and let the users have a more personalized experience, including search and recommendations. All of this will make our world-class content more discoverable and accessible in the car while maintaining ease of use. Today, we’re doing significant in-field user testing and working with the engineering teams at various OEMs to implement SiriusXM17. Believe me, we know better than anyone the changes in the OEM world take a long, long time and to build up meaningful numbers in the fleet of enabled vehicles for SiriusXM17 will take many years.”
The Iowa Caucus Results/Presidential Race, Zika Virus Threat, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, European Refugee Troubles, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2). The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president; ongoing concerns about the potential spread of Zika virus; the low price of crude oil and the volatility of the world’s financial markets; the controversy over reports of violence perpetrated by Syrian refugees in European host nations; and the run-up to this Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Chad Benson Show Adds Hours for Primary and Debate Coverage. The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show is adding two extra hours of live programming on three days this month for coverage of the upcoming Democratic debate and the New Hampshire primary. Benson’s Radio America-syndicated program airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET daily, but on February 4, 9, and 11, the show will air live until 11:00 pm ET for expanded coverage of the debate and primary. Radio America says stations that currently do not carry the show but would like to air debate or primary programming can reach out for information about carriage at 800-807-4703 ext. 250.
New Wayne Allyn Root Show Debuts on KBET, Las Vegas. National talk media personality Wayne Allyn Root’s new daily radio show, “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show,” premieres on Monday (2/8) on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas “790 AM Talk Radio” at 6:00 pm. Silver State CEO Ed Stolz comments, “2016 has become the year of the DC outsider and ‘power to the people.’ Wayne Allyn Root speaks to those trends. He is the anti-politician, the anti-Obama and a champion of the forgotten middle class. Wayne has enjoyed a remarkable career as a candidate, author, commentator, international business speaker and businessman, while arguing persuasively for a more limited federal government. He is a perfect fiery, dynamic, charismatic and high-energy personality and patriot with a popular agenda for our country’s future.”
Odds & Sods. Re-tooled evening shows launch on ESPN Radio next week. The “Jorge & Izzy” will air from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET featuring Jorge Sedano and Israel Gutierrez. Sedano’s been with ESPN hosting a solo show and co-hosting with Mark “Stink” Schlereth. Gutierrez currently hosts a Sunday ESPN Radio show with fellow ESPN NBA reporter Amin El-Hassan. Also on February 8, ESPN Radio reporter and host Ian Fitzsimmons will join the nightly Freddie Coleman show from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am…..Westwood One is presenting an exclusive simulcast of tonight’s “CNN Democratic Town Hall” from Derry, New Hampshire with Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. CNN’s Anderson Cooper moderates the event that airs from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..At the Athens, Georgia cluster of Cox Media Group’s radio properties, Kisha Hardwick is named the new digital sales manager. The company says she’ll work with the leadership team to “deliver integrated marketing solutions to valued clients while developing new profitable revenue opportunities for the” cluster that includes CHR WPUP “Power 100.1,” adult hits WXKT “103.7 Chuck FM,” sports talk WRFC “960 AM The Ref,” adult contemporary WGMG “Magic 102.1 FM,” news/talk WGAU, and country WNGC…..Beasley Media Group welcomes promotions pro Jeff Hickcox back to its Southwest Florida cluster where he is serving as director of promotions and special events. Beasley Southwest Florida market manager Brad Beasley states, “With more than 25 years of radio experience in our dynamic Southwest Florida cluster, Jeff knows how to pitch, promote and host our events like a pro!”
Cumulus Flips WFAS-AM, White Plains to Sports. Using CBS Sports Radio content, the Cumulus Media news/talk station goes all-sports. Exiting as a result of the change is morning drive personality Bob Marrone. He writes on his NewRochelleTalk.com site that he plans to continue the program and expects to make an announcement about the show’s new home in the very near future. There’s no comment from Cumulus on the change, but usually format flips such as this are budget related.
It’s Official: Cumulus Shifts WYAY, Atlanta to News/Talk. As you can see, the official brand still employs the word “news,” but the all-news format is gone as Cumulus Media’s WYAY, Atlanta becomes “Newsradio 106.7.” The change comes with the debut of the Michael Graham show in the 8:30 to 12:00 noon slot today (5/12). The other shows that are part of the station’s talk lineup include Cumulus Media’s John Batchelor show which airs from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am and “Red Eye Radio” in the overnight slot. Both morning drive and afternoon drive will remain news programs. The station is the home of Atlanta Braves baseball and partners with WAGA-TV “Fox Five” and The Atlanta Business Chronicle. Cumulus EVP and co-COO John Dickey says, “‘Newsradio 106.7’ is Atlanta’s best resource for in-depth news and compelling, entertaining talk about the things that matter most in our lives. Our five-star news team, in partnership with ‘Fox Five,’ tells listeners what’s happening locally, nationally and around the world. Our fresh talk personalities, including Michael Graham and Kim Peterson, help the audience understand, respond and sometimes even laugh about those events.”
Progressive Talk to Disappear from KKZN, Denver. The story from Clear Channel’s Denver station group is that the progressive talk format on KKZN is ready to be dumped, although an official announcement has yet to be made and what will take its place is not yet known. KCNC-TV personality Gloria Neal had hosted the evening show on KKZN until last week when she was let go. She posted on her Facebook page that the format would change and all current hosts would be gone from the station.
Second of Two-Part Special on “Business Rockstars” – Meet Quintessential “Connected” Host, Ken Rutkowski. The second of our two-part series on “Business Rockstars” centers on the host of this daily, two-hour program who has a somewhat similar style to Charlie Rose and adroitly produces the same meaty results, although the centerpiece guests he gets to “hang out with” each day are “very cool people” who — in the business world — turn nothing into something. “That is the angle I like,” comments “Business Rockstars” host/co-founder (with Steve Lehman)/co-owner/president Ken Rutkowski. “How many people can say that almost every one of the 1,500 people they have talked with in the last two years is ‘amazing’? We have three or four ‘amazing’ guests on every day.” Some have entire chapters of their life they have never shared, yet Rutkowski — named in 2009 as an intelligence analyst at the Oprah Winfrey Network — elicits nuggets from them. “They have tips to help people,” he remarks. “By listening to the show, it is almost like getting a nice degree in business — but in a fun way.” To read part-two of the TALKERS special feature on “Business Rockstars with Ken Rutkowski” by managing editor Mike Kinosian posted today (5/12), please click here.
Rush Limbaugh Salutes U.S. Military with Tractor Giveaway. With Memorial Day 2014 as the backdrop, Premiere Networks talk star Rush Limbaugh is teaming up with Mahindra USA to give away one Mahindra Max 22 tractor to an active duty or veteran of the U.S. military. The winner will be selected in a random drawing on May 26. Mahindra USA is an active supporter of the military and offers the “Mahindra Pride Military Appreciation Program,” recognizing the commitment of members of the armed forces. The Military Appreciation Program offers an extra $200 rebate for active and retired U.S. military personnel with the purchase of a new Mahindra tractor and qualifying implement. It also supports Operation Finally Home with its “Build To Rise” program, which provides custom-built, mortgage-free homes to our heroes and their families. Limbaugh states, “I’d like to thank Mahindra, the world’s number-one-selling tractor, for their generosity. And God bless all of you who protect our freedom. We are pleased to join with Mahindra USA in giving away one of their spectacular tractors to a deserving active duty or veteran of our military.”
Crowd-sourced Film Hits Goal on Mike Gallagher Show. The drive to raise funds by a group of independent filmmakers to produce a film about controversial Philadelphia abortionist Dr. Kermit Gosnell hits its goal of $2.1 million – three days before their deadline – during the Mike Gallagher show on Friday, May 9. Gallagher says, “I am so grateful and proud of our listeners who contributed literally tens of thousands of dollars today to help make this important movie a reality.” Listeners to Gallagher’s program—as well as audiences of fellow Salem Radio Network hosts Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt and others—were asked to contribute start-up funds for the project. If the $2.1 million had not been raised by midnight on May 12, all donations would have been returned to listeners and the film would not have been produced.
WEEI-FM, Boston Tweaks Midday Talent. A change in the midday lineup at Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM, Boston as Mike Mutnansky exits the “Mut & Lou” show and will stay with the company in another capacity to be announced later. Joining Lou Merloni for the new midday show, dubbed “Middays with MFB,” is former NFL tight end Christian Fauria and New England native, 970 ESPN Pittsburgh sports personality and Clear Channel Pittsburgh sports director Tim Benz. The new lineup takes place later this month. WEEI program director and brand manager Kevin Graham says, “We are thrilled with the new team we have assembled. This show will be the only sports radio program in New England that offers listeners insight from a former major leaguer and a former NFL player. When you add in the sports radio experience of New England native Tim Benz, listeners will hear a brand new sound in the market.” Fauria played four seasons with the Patriots earning Super Bowl rings at Super Bowl XXXVIII and XXXIX. More recently Fauria has worked as a college football analyst for CBS, does color commentary for Patriots preseason games locally on WBZ-TV and hosts a pre-and-post-game show during the NFL regular season. Benz was born in Boston and is a graduate of Syracuse University. He served as a radio beat reporter for the Pittsburgh Steelers and also worked at stations in Columbus, Salt Lake City and Syracuse.
Mohn Moving to NPR as President/CEO. Current Southern California Public Radio (SCPR) chairman Jarl Mohn is appointed president and chief executive officer of NPR. When Mohn begins his NPR term in July, he will be succeeding Paul Haaga Jr., who has been acting president/chief executive officer since last year. NPR board chair/ideastream Cleveland chief operating officer Kit Jensen remarks, “We are delighted to welcome Jarl. His background as a successful media executive and innovator makes him ideally suited to lead NPR as it continues to expand its reach and play a unique role in public service journalism and cultural programming. Jarl has a deep commitment to the public radio system, love of radio and passion for quality journalism. He has demonstrated throughout his career a keen ability to identify media and consumer trends. He has exhibited a strong track record on diversity and fairness.” According to Mohn, “This is not a job for me – it is a mission. I love public radio and NPR. It is a national treasure and it is more important now than ever. I want to make sure that the NPR staff, the member stations, and the others who make it happen have everything they need to do their best work.” Mohn was the founding president and chief executive officer of Liberty Digital; president and chief executive officer of E! Entertainment Television (January 1990 – December 1998); executive vice president and general manager of MTV and VH1 (1986 – 1990); and was a WNBC-AM, New York on-air talent in the 1970s.
Odds & Sods. Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris returns to the airwaves in the market hosting a daily, one-hour show on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Las Vegas. Harris tells TALKERS magazine the show begins this evening (5/12) at 6:00 pm…..At Kirkman Broadcasting’s news/talk WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina, the Bryan Crabtree show expands, adding the 7:00 am hour. As of June 2, Crabtree’s program will air from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. He says, “I have spent the past 15 years informing listeners how to solve our communities’ problems and find solutions to society’s challenges. The response has been incredible and humbling. We will continue to grow our audience in Charleston by focusing on the stories that matter to citizens of the Lowcountry of South Carolina.”…..Beginning July 1, Compass Media Networks becomes the exclusive advertising sales agent for the on-demand audio programming of CBS Radio News. The programming includes audio podcasts of “60 MINUTES,” “FACE THE NATION,” “Weekend Roundup,” “CBS EVENING NEWS,” “What’s In The News,” “Tech Talk,” “Not Just Another Story” and “Reporters Notebook.”…..CBS RADIO news/talk outlet WCCO-AM, Minneapolis announces an extension in its partnership with the University of St. Thomas to broadcast Tommie football through the 2016 season. WCCO-AM’s Dave Lee will continue to provide play-by-play for the Tommies, along with WCCO-AM’s Eric Nelson doing color commentary…..KFYI, Phoenix afternoon host Mike Broomhead partnered with U.S. Senator John McCain to hold a Town Hall meeting on May 9 at which they welcomed Arizona veterans and their families to discuss the Phoenix VA Health Care System and how it has recently affected them. Case workers from McCain’s staff were on hand to answer questions and to help get veterans the services they need.
Katz Serves as Grand Marshall. WRVA, Richmond PM drive talk show host Jeff Katz is pictured here with his ride for the Bon Air Victorian Day Parade. On Saturday, May 10, Katz served as the Grand Marshall for one of the oldest civic parades in Richmond. Katz tells TALKERS magazine that although the official Grand Marshall’s hat was rather Victorian…the Grand Marshall’s ride, this cool 2014 Mustang convertible, was anything but.
Cool Job Opportunity. Midwest Communications seeks news director. Believe it or not there are still rewarding jobs in radio news. WHBL, Sheboygan, Wisconsin is looking for a news director who will be given the freedom to create and the tools to win. You’ll spend as much time in the field as you do in the newsroom. We need someone who is a triple-threat: strong on-air skills, a good reporter, and a good writer. We set the news standard in our market. It’s on-air and on our website before it’s in the newspaper. We do some enterprise reporting. We do some investigative work. If you have a passion for news, whether on the radio or online, we want to talk with you. We offer a competitive salary and a full benefits package. Send your resume and mp3 to WHBL brand manager Kelly Meyer at: firstname.lastname@example.org or snail mail to Kelly’s attention at: 2100 Washington Avenue, Sheboygan, WI 53081. No phone calls, please. Midwest Communications is an Equal Opportunity Employer by choice. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.
Radio News Pro Dan Scanlan Dies. Radio news pro Dan Scanlan died over the weekend after suffering a heart attack on Saturday morning at his northern Virginia home. He was 74. Scanlan’s career included stops at such storied radio news franchises as WINS, New York, AP Radio, Mutual/Westwood One (as both anchor and Senate correspondent), as well as freelance work for CBS Radio and WCBS, New York. Most recently he was weekend anchor on NBC News Radio. Earlier in his career he worked at WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts.
WHO, Des Moines’ Simon Conway Grabs Charity Drive Honors. In a contest among a number of radio talk show hosts to see who could help raise the most cash for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsored by talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs, WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive personality Simon Conway came in first after raising almost $4,500. Wachs dubbed her talk host challenge FROST (fundraising radio host). She says hosts wishing to considered for the next round of FROST, write to her at: email@example.com.