Monday Memo: Quoting Sgt. Hulka. Are you the soundtrack of The American Comeback? Or what consultant Holland Cooke calls “relentless negativity, even as polls demonstrate widespread optimism? The phrase ‘talk radio’ conjures a caricature. That seems not to be a problem for station owners and managers focused on FMs losing music consumers to streaming. Down the hall, legacy stations with once-proud call letters – now sadly referred to as ‘the AM’ – dispense daily discouragement. To the suits, that’s ‘talk radio.’” Get more of Cooke’s take on this by reading his column here.
Pending Business: Hunters and Farmers. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes today about a major university-based seminar he attended that identified two basic categories of sellers: “hunters” and “farmers.” The “hunter” personality enjoys the prospecting, contact, engagement, in essence the outright pursuit and negotiation of the deal. The “farmer” personality will be stronger at keeping current relationships fluid. Servicing current advertisers and easier legacy renewals are the farmer’s number one priority. Is you approach balanced or does it lean too much in one direction? Read his column here.
Video of First Session from TALKERS 2021 Conference Posted. The video of the first session from the TALKERS 2021 Conference held at Hofstra University on June 11 is posted above. In this opening session, TALKERS 2021 master of ceremonies and TALKERS general manager of broadcasting operations David Bernstein welcomes the attendees to the conference and introduces FOX News Radio talk host Jimmy Failla who provides opening remarks and performs his trademark stand-up comedy. Also, in this session is a greeting from Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, followed by the presentation by WPG, Atlantic City morning show host Harry Hurley of $5,000 from his charity to the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Also included: San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo kicks off the event with his saxophone rendition of the “National Anthem.” TALKERS magazine will continue posting videos of the panels and presentations from TALKERS 2021 this week and next at the rate of one session per day.
KPRC-AM, Houston Announces New Evening Programming. Houston news/talk KPRC-AM “AM 950, Real Texas, Real Talk” unveils new evening programming that begins today. Airing from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm is Sean Salisbury, who is venturing into the news/talk world in addition to his morning drive sports talk program that’s heard on iHeartMedia’s sister sports talker KBME, “Sportstalk 790 AM.” Also, KPRC is adding Premiere Networks’ “Jesse Kelly Show” in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daypart. iHeartMedia Houston director of programming Bryan Erickson says, “Kelly, a U.S. Marine combat veteran, brings an exciting new perspective on the day’s events. He’s a unique and fresh voice in the talk radio landscape and one of the most entertaining guys I’ve ever heard.” Regarding Salisbury’s new show, Erickson adds, “The self-proclaimed ‘news junkie’ is anxious to talk about events outside the realm of sports. If he could, Salisbury would be on the air 24 hours a day. He loves what he does, and his passion is off the charts.”
WGFX-FM, Nashville ‘104.5 The Zone’ Unveils ‘3 The Pro Way’ Podcast. Nashville sports talk outlet WGFX-FM, “104.5 The Zone” announces the launch of a new podcast titled, “3 The Pro Way,” hosted by Nashville sports figures Kevin Dyson, a former Titans wide receiver; Joey Kent, a Vol For Life and former Titans wide receiver; and Todd Campbell, a former who Western Kentucky University football player. The podcast is the newest addition to the “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.” The debut episode features guest former Tennessee Titans great and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, who currently serves as head coach of the Tennessee State Tigers. The Cumulus Media sports talk station says, “‘3 The Pro Way’ shares the stories of the three African American athletes and business professionals, who have each transformed their respective athletic careers into different careers, allowing them to learn, grow and become successful through those unique paths. Kent, Dyson, and Campbell will give advice and discuss concepts for how to successfully transition from one career to another. They will also welcome guests who have gone through similar career journeys to share their personal and professional perspectives and provide podcast listeners with helpful takeaways on how to transition from one career to an entirely new one.” WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “When Kevin, Joey, and Todd first shared their ‘3 The Pro Way’ podcast idea, I knew the 104.5 The Zone Podcast Network would be the perfect partner. I look forward to hearing a weekly conversation with different athletes and professionals on their career transitions. I am also excited to work with Todd, Joey, and Kevin in growing ‘3 The Pro Way’ within the ‘104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.’” The “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network” was launched in April, when the Nashville sports station announced that it had entered into a content partnership agreement with popular online sports information and entertainment destination, A to Z Sports.
PodcastOne Inks Deals to Distribute Podcasts. The five podcasts that PodcastOne has just acquired the sales and distribution rights to are: “Killer Genes,” “@lexie,” “Trust Me,” “Underworld,” and “Walk-Ins Welcome” – all of which will appear in the True Crime, Society & Culture and Documentary category. Podcast One president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne actively seeks unique and compelling content for our network and being able to add these shows: “Killer Genes,” “@lexie,” “Trust Me,” “Underworld” and “Walk-Ins Welcome” to our network is something we consider a real coup as we increase the varied genre content we make available to listeners, potential listeners and to advertisers.”
Dartmouth Puts Radio Station Up for Sale. The Valley News reports that Dartmouth College is putting its commercial radio station for up sale. A spokesperson for the school says that WFRD-FM “has not met revenue expectations and has been operating ‘in the red.’” The station has just one paid staffer Chris Fazio, a.k.a. Chris Garrett, who handles morning show duties as well as ad sales. The Class A FM is a 6,000-watt signal that serves the Hanover and Lebanon, New Hampshire towns.
Florida Condo Collapse, COVID-19, Infrastructure Deal, Trump Ohio Rally, U.S. Iran Strikes, Election Fraud Claims/Giuliani’s NY Law License Suspended, Big City Gun Violence, Kim Jong Un Weight Loss, and Northwest Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The search for survivors of Florida’s condo collapse and early reports of inspections and repair delays; concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the slowing rate of vaccinations; the compromise infrastructure deal; Donald Trump holds a rally in Ohio and continues claims of election fraud; Joe Biden orders strikes on Iran-backed militants on Syrian border; the issue of 2020 election fraud claims and Rudy Giuliani’s New York law license is suspended; the soaring rate of gun violence in America’s big cities; North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s weight loss; and the record-setting heat wave affecting the Pacific Northwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KBME, Houston Drops Josh Innes Morning Show. Houston Chronicle writer David Barron reports that iHeartMedia has dropped sports talk radio host Josh Innes from its morning drive daypart on sports talk KBME, Houston. Innes’ info has been scrubbed from the KBME website and Barron reports that Innes tweeted yesterday that his show was dropped for “budget reasons” and “I do not have a show anymore.” Innes joined KBME in October of 2016 after returning to Houston from Philadelphia where he had served with sports talker WIP for three years. Barron reports that ratings appear to have been the cause for Innes’ departure, writing, “Innes’ ratings have mirrored those of the station and of Houston sports radio in general. KBME’s morning drive audience share as of the most recent Nielsen Audio ratings ranked 25th among all Houston radio stations among men 25-54, the key demographic for sports radio, and trailed the station’s competitors at KILT and KFNC ‘97.5 FM’.”
Bubba the Love Sponge Sues Cox Media Group, Personality Mike Calta, and Former Cast Member Matthew Lloyd. Florida-based talk radio personality Bubba the Love Sponge, a.k.a. Bubba Clem, is suing Cox Media Group for anti-competitive actions and two individuals for allegedly playing roles in a purported conspiracy to ruin his show. The complaint, filed in Pinellas County, Florida alleges that Cox, along with the help of its own WHPT-FM, Tampa show host Mike Calta and former Bubba show staffer Matthew “Spice Boy” Lloyd, worked to destroy Bubba’s show that was airing at that time on Beasley Media Group’s then-WBRN-FM, Tampa. Bubba alleges Cox took actions that caused Nielsen Audio to ultimately sue him for damages due to allegations of ratings tampering. (Nielsen and Bubba reached a confidential settlement over that matter.) Bubba’s complaint says that the result of the tampering allegations was Nielsen not listing WBRN-FM’s ratings in October of 2015, thereby hurting the station’s ability to sell his show and that ultimately led to Beasley dropping Bubba’s show in Tampa and Fort Myers. Bubba also alleges that the defendants stole and leaked to Gawker a video of pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan having sex with Bubba’s then-wife. Hogan sued and settled with Gawker, netting a large award that forced Gawker out of business. The motive for all of this alleged behavior on the part of the defendants is Bubba’s success at the expense of former employer Cox, its station and staffers. Bubba is seeking damages (over $15,000) to be determined at a jury trial.
New Director of Sales at Entercom’s Greenville Station Group. Radio sales pro Devon van der Merwe is named director of sales for Entercom’s Greenville, South Carolina station group that includes news/talk WORD-FM “WYRD-FM”, sports talk WORD-AM “ESPN Upstate” and five music-formatted stations. Devon van der Merwe moves up from her general sales manager position. Entercom Greenville SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi states, “Devon has displayed an exceptional ability to lead sales efforts since she joined the Greenville market, and I am fully confident in her continued success. Under Devon’s direction, our sales teams will continue to thrive and reach new milestones.”
KIRO-AM, Seattle Partners with ‘Coaching Boys Into Men.’ The Bonneville sports talk station announces it is partnering with the local nonprofit Coaching Boys Into Men to focus on the goal of helping teach student athletes – as well as school coaches and athletic department leadership – to learn youth leadership skills, prevent domestic violence, and achieve healthy relationships. KIRO-AM program director Mike Salk says, “We are excited to partner with an organization that makes such an important difference in our community. Coaching Boys Into Men has a unique ability to positively affect young people by helping them grow as leaders, while also changing long-term views on consent and respect.”
TALKERS News Notes. The NHL’s Washington Capitals and Entercom sports talker WJFK-FM, Washington renew their deal for the station to serve as the flagship for radio play-by-play of the team’s games. Caps games will also air on the company’s RADIO.COM platform. Entercom Washington SVP and market manager Phil Zachary states, “We are thrilled to bring Capitals hockey to D.C.’s top-rated sports station ‘106.7 The Fan.’ In addition to all games, the station will provide fans with full coverage of their favorite team through premiere programming on air, online and on demand.”…..The Elvis Duran Group and SportsGrid are broadcasting live from this weekend’s National Fantasy Baseball Championships (3/15-16) via their Fantasy Sports Radio Network (FNTSY Radio). The broadcast team includes FNTSY Radio host Gregg Sussman, sports analyst and author of the best-selling Fantasy Black Book series Joe Pisapia, and former Major League Baseball pitcher Brad Ziegler…..Seven Bucks Productions, Andrew Jenks Entertainment, and Cadence13 announce the launch of a new interview series on the hit podcast “What Really Happened?” Written and hosted by documentarian Andrew Jenks, in the interview series he examines and contextualizes famous figures and historical or widely-publicized events while discovering untold stories and unraveling newfound narratives…..Cumulus Media is adding “The BOB & TOM Show” to the morning drive daypart at classic rock WKXS-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina “94.5 The Hawk,” effective Monday (3/18).
Manafort Sentenced/Trump-Russia Investigation, College Entrance Cheating Scheme, Boeing 737 Maxs Grounded, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls/O’Rourke Joins Race, Clinton Email Matter Testimony, Brexit Chaos, Bomb Cyclone Hits U.S., NFL Signings, and NBA and NCAA Hoops Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/13). Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort receives his second sentence and the related Trump-Russia investigation; the college entrance cheating scheme; the U.S. grounds Boeing 737 Maxs after pressure following the deadly Ethiopian Airlines crash; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Beto O’Rourke’s entrance into the race; just-revealed testimony from former FBI attorney Lisa Page that the agency was directed by the Obama DOJ not to charge Hillary Clinton in the email server investigation; the political chaos in England over Prime Minister Theresa May’s failed Brexit plan; the Mountain West and Midwest hit with bomb cyclone weather effects; the trades and free agent signings in the NFL; and NBA and NCAA basketball action 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. In Philadelphia, Entercom announces that former country WXTU personality Frank Lario is joining current morning host Marilyn Russell for the new “Frank and Marilyn Morning Show” on classic hits WOGL. The duo debut on Monday (3/18)…..On-air pro Sean Strife moves from iHeartMedia’s Cedar Rapids, Iowa CHR KOSY “HOT 95.7” to the company’s Madison CHR WZEE “Z104” where he’s the new afternoon host and APD/MD…..Air personality Audrey Constant is named afternoon personality at CodComm’s adult contemporary WKFY, East Harwich, Massachusetts (Cape Cod). She was most recently with Plymouth Rock Broadcasting’s AC WPLM-FM, Plymouth and takes over for Rob Walker…..Cumulus Media is adding “The BOB & TOM Show” to the morning drive daypart at classic rock WKXS-FM, Wilmington, North Carolina “94.5 The Hawk,” effective Monday (3/18).