2017 NAB Show: Cars, Congrats, and Commish #1. Media consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the 2017 NAB Show for TALKERS magazine. In today’s report, Cooke covers yesterday’s Radio Luncheon where attendees heard Ford Motor Company’s Scott Burnell speak and witnessed Premiere Networks’ Delilah inducted into the NAB Hall of Fame. Also yesterday, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai delivered the keynote address and reassured attendees that he remains “‘fundamentally optimistic about the future of broadcasting’ because of the ‘localism, diversity, and public service’ that distinguishes diligent broadcasters.” Read Cooke’s entire report here.
Hannity Plans Legal Action Against Debbie Schlussel. On his Fox News Channel program last night (4/25), Sean Hannity led off the program by addressing the allegations being directed against him by attorney and conservative media figure Debbie Schlussel. Detroit-based Schlussel stated during an interview on KFAQ, Tulsa’s Pat Campbell program that Hannity propositioned her after a book signing event in Detroit about a decade ago and that, after she rebuffed his advances, she was blacklisted from being a guest on Fox News Channel. Last night, Hannity said, “I have to start tonight by addressing a well-orchestrated effort by the intolerant left in this country that is designed to silence every conservative voice and by any means necessary. Now, I’m speaking out tonight so that you, our audience, will understand what is really happening and what is at stake when it comes to freedom of speech in this country.” He said in a prepared statement that he is planning legal action against Schlussel. “This individual is a serial harasser who has been lying about me for well over a decade. The individual has a history of making provably false statements against me in an effort to slander, smear and besmirch my reputation. The individual has not just slandered me over the years, but many people who this individual disagrees with.” Schlussel told NBC News she doesn’t believe Hannity will sue because, “If he did, it could spur other people to come forward and he wouldn’t want that.” NBC News notes that Schlussel is a polarizing media figure, having suggested that President Barack Obama is a “secret Muslim” and that death camps in occupied Poland during World War II were run by Poles and not Germans. Read the NBC News piece here.
Emmis to Sell $80 Million in Assets. Indianapolis-based Emmis Communications will be a different company in July of 2018. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that under pressure from lenders, the company will shed $80 million worth of its radio assets in order to pay down debt. This is the result of recently renegotiated terms with lenders JPMorgan Chase Bank and Bank of New York Mellon. Emmis CFO Ryan Hornaday tells the IBJ, “We’re confident that we can achieve the $80 million [divestiture] without selling a substantial portion of the portfolio. We do still have some very desirable assets.” The company owns 19 radio stations in five markets: New York, Los Angeles, St. Louis, Austin, and Indianapolis. The IBJ reports that Emmis’ total debt was $221 million as of February 28, 2017. Read the story here.
Nielsen Explores All-News, News/Talk Listening Trends Over Seven Years. There’s been a lot of scrutiny of the audiences for all-news, news/talk, and talk oriented public radio leading up to and since the 2016 election. Over all, according to ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s PPM surveys of radio listening, the three formats have realized increased listenership of late. Now, Nielsen shows how listening to the all-news and news/talk formats has changed over the past seven years, based on PPM data. (Remember, Nielsen includes public talkers in the larger news/talk category.) The result is that listening to all-news has remained fairly steady during that time across the three demos cited – persons 6+, 18-34, and 25-54. For news/talk, the format scored a 10.6 share in March of 2011 (6+), and a 10.2 share in March of 2017. In the 25-54 demo, 2011 saw an 8 share compared to this year’s 7.6 share. And probably buoyed by younger public radio listeners, the 18-34 demo rose from a 4.2 share in 2011 to a 4.6 share this year. See the whole report here.
ESPN Layoffs Coming Today. The names of those who are exiting sports media giant ESPN will begin to trickle out as time passes, but for now only a few of the estimated 100 ESPN staffers – mostly television and radio personalities – are known, with reporter Ed Werder tweeting that he’s been let go. It’s unclear how many of the cuts are from the radio and the television sides of the operation, but ESPN chief John Skipper says in a memo to staff, “A necessary component of managing change involves constantly evaluating how we best utilize all of our resources, and that sometimes involves difficult decisions…we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent — anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play — necessary to meet those demands. We will implement changes in our talent lineup this week. A limited number of other positions will also be affected and a handful of new jobs will be posted to fill various needs.”
TALKERS News Notes. We now know the trial date for the Nielsen vs Bubba the Love Sponge suit in Florida. U.S. District Court Judge James D. Whittemore has scheduled the case to start on January 2, 2018, with a pre-trial conference on December 8, 2017. Judge Whittemore also ruled on Bubba’s motion to exclude Nielsen Audio expert witness David Haas, denying it…..Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that WGN, Chicago director of marketing and digital innovation Jackie Paulus will exit the station and join Jimmy deCastro’s new sports marketing and rep firm After The Whistle as a partner…..Public radio icon Robert Siegel announces he’s retiring as host of NPR’s “All Things Considered” in January of 2018. Siegel assumed that position in 1987. He’s been with NPR since 1976…..Here are some more winners of 2017 regional Edward R. Murrow Awards: In Seattle, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO “News 1000/FM97.7” is honored with the award for Overall Excellence. The station also took first place for Breaking News for its coverage of the Seattle May Day protests. CBS RADIO’s WCBS-AM, New York; KCBS-AM, San Francisco; WBZ-AM, Boston; WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago and five other stations amassed 25 awards with the four mentioned being honored for Overall Excellence. Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix picked up three Murrows, including Overall Excellence.
U.S.-North Korea Tensions, Trump’s First 100 Days, Sanctuary Cities Ruling, Canadian Lumber Tariff, Mexican Wall, Trump’s Proposed Tax Cuts, Michael Flynn Case, Ivanka in Berlin, and MLB, NBA, and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/25). The military tensions between North Korea and the United States and concerns about a full-blown war starting; the judging of the Trump Administration’s first 100 days; a California judge blocks part of President Trump’s sanctuary cities order; talk about the effects of Trump’s tariff on Canadian lumber; debate over whether President Trump’s Mexican wall will actually get funded and built; the tax cuts being proposed by the Trump Administration; comments from House members that it appears Michael Flynn broke the law in accepting payments from Russia; Ivanka Trump attends European conference with Angela Merkel and IMF managing director Christine Lagarde; and MLB, NBA and NHL 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. Former WJMN, Boston personality Bobby Blaze is joining Beasley Media Group’s crosstown rhythmic AC WBQT “HOT 96.9 FM” to host the afternoon drive show, effective tomorrow (4/27). Blaze says, “I’m so excited to be back on Boston radio and being surrounded by the most talented on-air team in Boston. You only become great when you’re surrounded by great people and that’s what ‘HOT 96.9’ represents.”…..Morning personality Fitz exits Entercom’s country KKWF, Seattle “100.7 The Wolf” and the “Fitz in the Morning” program. Entercom states, “‘Fitz in the Morning’ will no longer be on air on 100.7-FM The Wolf in Seattle as of Monday, April 24. Fitz has been an important part of the station for nearly 12 years, but we have decided to part ways. We wish him well, and we will be conducting a nationwide search for the station’s next morning show.” In the interim, morning personalities Ellen Tailor and Randy The Biscuit will host the program…..The afternoon drive Zepp & Terri show – featuring Brian Zepp and Terri Traen – exits Cumulus Media’s classic rock KQRS, Minneapolis. The two had been partnered on the show for the past year. Traen was formerly part of the Tom Barnard morning show. As a result of the move, Ray Erick is now hosting the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm slot…..With the departure of Brett Hall from the stations – and the radio biz – Saga Communications names Tom Scott morning drive host at hot AC KJBX, Jonesboro, Arkansas and to voice track the night show at sister country KDXY.
Karaoke for a Cause. Pictured above at Cumulus Media’s Stage 17 in New York City are members of the band Ocean Park Standoff and staffers from Voss Foundation. The band performed for an intimate group of listeners on Monday (4/17). Afterward, WPLJ personality Ralphie Aversa sang karaoke to the group’s new single “Good News” competing against a winning listener. “Karaoke for a Cause” is raising awareness of Voss Foundation and VOSS Water’s annual #31Days to Make a Difference initiative. Voss Foundation is dedicated to providing access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene as a means to enable community-driven development in Sub-Saharan Africa and raising awareness of the ongoing need in the region.
Konst Makes Progress. A member of the Democratic National Committee platform committee and a former Bernie Sanders surrogate – Nomiki “Nomi” Konst – is named to host “The Filter” on SiriusXM Progress channel 127. The nightly 9:00 pm – 12:00 midnight talk show premieres next Monday (8/15). SiriusXM vice president and general manager of talk programming David Gorab declares, “Nomi is a fresh, fun, and deeply knowledgeable addition to the SiriusXM team. Her engagement in politics began at just 16 when she organized for Hillary Clinton’s New York senate campaign and extended straight to the convention floor in Philadelphia two weeks ago. That kind of passion and dedication to progressive causes makes her an ideal addition to the SiriusXM Progress team.” Konst comments, “At a time when political conversations are sound-bite driven, SiriusXM Progress has led the charge in being a progressive platform that engages in insightful commentary. It is an honor to join a channel that encourages discussion around truly progressive issues and values and empowers a new wave of progressives that have become a force in America.” A political contributor to CBS News and The Hill, Konst is the founder of investigative media start-up The Accountability Project. In 2012, a then-28-year-old Konst vied to be the youngest woman ever to serve in congress, seeking the Tucson seat vacated by Representative Gabby Giffords. Konst was a national co-chair for Barack Obama‘s Gen44 re-election effort and an at-large member of the DNC Council.
TRN Replacing Jerry Doyle Show with Multimedia Talent Robert Davi. Describing him as “a talent so unique that he brings together theatrics, culture, politics and music into a nexus of on-air brilliance,” Oregon-based syndicator TRN Enterprises has announced that well-known actor/singer/director/writer Robert Davi will take over the on-air position vacated by the recent untimely passing of Jerry Doyle. Company CEO Mark Masters states, “I believe, with everything in my bones, that ‘The Robert Davi Show’ will be the most successful show I have ever launched, and, if you don’t believe me – you can stick it your pipe and smoke it: you’ve got one shot at this show – take it while you can.” In addition to his performance work, Davi is also active in numerous public service organizations and charities for which he has received multiple awards. From its inception in 1998, Davi has been the national spokesperson for I-Safe America, a leading Internet safety program. His awards include the FBI’s Man of the Year Award in Los Angeles, the “Military Order of the Purple Heart,” a Special Recognition Award for dedication and service honoring America’s service members and veterans, and, he was named KNX radio’s “Citizen of the Week” for saving a young girl from a fire at her home. Masters tells TALKERS, “We continue to mourn the loss of Jerry Doyle, who truly can never be replaced. We do, however, welcome the powerhouse unique presence, talent and perspectives that Robert Davi brings to this role. I sincerely believe that this is a situation in which the passing of one legend is resulting in the launch of a new legend in the making.”
Ryan Joins Titans Pre- And Post-Game Broadcast Team. Starting tomorrow (Saturday, 8/13), Mickey Ryan will begin contributing to pre-game and post-game radio coverage for games of the NFL‘s Tennessee Titans. He joins Mark Howard and former Titans players Blaine Bishop and Kevin Dyson on the flagship station for the Titans, Cumulus Media Nashville’s WGFX “104.5 The Zone.” Cumulus Media Nashville vice president and market manager Allison Warren comments, “Mickey is one of the most respected and insightful sports commentators in Nashville. He has covered sports at its highest level. His reputation, contacts, and relationships within the sports field are outstanding. We have the strongest ensemble of voices in football analysts and sports commentators – the addition of Mickey to our team makes us even stronger and deeper.” Ryan notes that he has “listened to Titans radio since the very first broadcast. I consider it an honor and the culmination of a lifelong dream to join the best team in NFL radio. I look forward to sharing an upcoming season of Titans football with Mark, Blaine, Kevin, and Titans fans all over our listening area.” Ryan will continue – with Bishop, and Brent Dougherty – co-hosting on “The Zone” in PM drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) each weekday.
SiriusXM Special Brings Kinison Back to Life. The last recorded performance from Sam Kinison will be premiered exclusively on SiriusXM today (Friday, 8/12) at 3:00 pm (ET) on SiriusXM’s Comedy Greats channel 94. Audio of a Kinison performance was extensively enhanced from a poor-quality amateur recording made just days before his death. SiriusXM senior vice president of comedy programming Jack Vaughn comments, “Sam Kinison was one of the most influential and distinct voices in comedy; he was taken from us far too soon. This stand-up special and documentary will give fans new insight on the legendary comic. It is a great jumping-off point for those who were less familiar with his inimitable brand of humor.” Kinison was just 38 years old when he died in April 1992. Earlier this year, SiriusXM produced a documentary and released a never-before-heard extended performance from Bill Hicks.
Mason Ponders Filing Worker’s Comp. On the heels of winning back-to-back gold medals in judo, Kayla Harrison demonstrates her arm bar technique on Westwood One‘s Steve Mason in the syndication company’s Rio production studio. Westwood One’s Olympics coverage of Rio 2016 continues through the closing ceremonies one week from Sunday (8/21).
Trump’s “Second Amendment People” and “Obama Founded ISIS” Controversies Top The News/Talk Radio Stories Over the Week of 8/8-12. The controversial statements made by Donald Trump about “second amendment people” dealing with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama being the “founder” of ISIS were the two most talked about topics on news/talk radio in America this past week according to the research of TALKERS magazine. Other hot topics included the Hillary email controversies, Trump second amendment Flap, US-Turkey relations and South China Sea dispute and a wide variety of general issues pertaining to the presidential election. To see the full TALKERS Stories and People charts for the week, please click here.
Odds & Sods. Changes at Scripps Tulsa find talk KFAQ morning co-host Eddie Huff, morning anchor Richard Linihan, and production director Terry Cooper departing. Also within that cluster, after one year as program director of CHR KHTT “K-Hits 106.9,” John Roberts exits; mid-day talent Tabatha Grammer is upped to assistant PD; and nighttime personality Aly Presser is promoted to mornings. ….. Following Jack Tomczak‘s exit from KTLK-AM “Twin Cities News Talk 1130,” the iHeartMedia Minneapolis outlet names Jon Justice of KQTH, Tucson as KTLK-AM program director Andrew Lee‘s morning co-host. The two worked together when Lee programmed Scripps-owned KQTH. ….. A ten-year run that began with Michael Castner as host comes to an end as Bonneville Salt Lake City cancels evening “Nightside Project.” Current hosts Ethan Millard and Alex Kirry remain with the station though and will do a podcast. Castner is now with iHeartMedia Portland’s KEX.
Soon-to-be-Released Book About Talk Radio Discussed on Harrison Podcast. Veteran talk radio producer, Bernadette Duncan, appears as the guest on this week’s installment of the PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” talking about her forthcoming book, scheduled for publication in September, titled Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books 2016). The book chronicles Duncan’s 26-year career “behind the glass” as a New York City-based talk radio producer in the “golden era” between the eighties and first decade of the 21st century. Duncan (who is also married to Michael Harrison) served as a producer for some of the biggest names in talk radio during that period. They include Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Gil Gross, Tom Snyder, Lou Dobbs, Charles Osgood and more. The book explores the quirky egos of radio’s top performers and often-neurotic guests and is set against the dramatically changing backdrop of America’s pre- and post-9/11 realities. It is full of anecdotes and insights about the industry, its people and processes. Duncan explores the complex office politics in this offbeat arena of show business capturing what it takes to be a radio producer – a role she describes as “the most under-rated, under-paid and under-appreciated job in commercial media.” On the podcast, Harrison and Duncan specifically discuss her experiences working with Sally Jessy Raphael – one of the true pioneers of talk radio who paved the way for countless others and was Duncan’s earliest inspiration to enter the field. Duncan talks about the personal growth she achieved working across the glass from Larry King during his media heyday as well as the fiery drama that took place behind the scenes of The Lou Dobbs Show that she helped launch as executive producer. On completing the podcast Harrison says, “There are so many stories and people written about in this book that we hardly scratched the surface in this advance interview – but there will be plenty of time to get deeper into it all when Bernadette goes on tour promoting it next month. Meantime, it was enormously fun having her as a guest on the podcast and I think radio pros and media freaks alike will love it.” To listen to the entire podcast, 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.
Little Rises to President of Phoenix Market for iHeartMedia. Assuming the position left briefly vacant by Scott Hopeck after he was promoted to the same post at the New York City cluster is Linda Little. She moves up from her SVP of sales position with the station group. Prior to that, she was GSM for adult contemporary KESZ and country KNIX. She also served as integrated media business development manager. She comments, “I have had the privilege of building my media career in Phoenix and am very fortunate to have worked for a company that has given me many opportunities to grow while constantly evolving with the industry.” In this position she’ll oversee news/talk KFYI, talk KOY, and sports talk KGME.
Schreiber Promoted at Mercury Radio Arts. Moving up from his head of strategy and special projects position with Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts to president of the company is Jonathan Schreiber. In this new post, Schreiber will oversee Mercury’s divisions including digital, radio and publishing and its continued growth in film, television and “digital content across different genres beyond politics and current events.” The company says Schreiber will continue to serve as an advisor to TheBlaze, the company’s news, information and entertainment network led by CEO Betsy Morgan. Schreiber has an 18-year pedigree in the tech, mobile and entertainment businesses. Beck says, “I personally recruited Jonathan to help take our company to the next level. Since joining Mercury, he has played an integral role in both the strategy and execution at Mercury Radio Arts and my overall business philosophy and approach. He is a trusted advisor and this title reflects the leadership position he has and will continue to assume in this new era for both me and our business.
Industry Mourns Don Quayle. The first president of National Public Radio (NPR) has died: Don Quayle was 84 years old. NPR’s Susan Stamberg recalls that Quayle gave her her first radio job. “It was the early-1960s and he was head of the Educational Radio Network – the precursor of NPR – a little network of 12 east coast stations that developed a daily drive-time news show. He hired me to help produce it. When this national network arose, he was an obvious choice to run it. Don was principled, decent, and astute. In the euphoric tumult of our first years, he navigated the choppy seas of building a public radio system. He knew NPR had to serve our listeners, above the competing needs of stations, boards, and funders.” The program to which Stamberg alludes, of course, is “All Things Considered,” which Quayle debuted on NPR in 1971. He headed the network – which now has more than 900 member stations – from 1970 to 1973. Prior to that (1960 – 1962), Quayle managed Boston public outlet WGBH. Five years ago, the Logan, Utah native received an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his “significant contributions” to public broadcasting from his alma mater, Utah State University.
Premiere and TheBlaze to Present Memorial Day Special. The annual Memorial Day radio special produced by Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network returns in 2015 with Premiere Networks handling affiliate relations. The three-hour program – titled “Reflections from a Grateful Nation” – features the hosts, writers and editors of TheBlaze and TheBlaze.com, including: Doc Thompson, Skip LaCombe, Buck Sexton, Jay Severin, Chris Salcedo, Mike Broomhead and others. In addition to special appearances by award-winning actor Gary Sinise, “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak and members of the military, listeners will hear personal stories and conversations about the meaning of the holiday in this special tribute to those who fought and gave their lives to defend America’s freedom. It’s available to news/talk stations for airing from May 23-25. Interested stations can phone Premiere at 818-377-5300.
Michael Harrison Interviews Boston Herald Editor-in-Chief Joe Sciacca on Weekly Podcast, ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In a candid and informative interview on the popular weekly podcast “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca discusses his views on a wide variety of media-related topics that include, among others: the state of the newspaper industry in a changing media landscape; the impact of the digital era on journalism; and his experience in being involved with his newspaper’s pioneering effort in online news/talk/sports radio broadcasting – Boston Herald Radio. During the extensive conversation, Sciacca – a 37-year veteran of the newspaper business as a reporter, columnist and editor — tells TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison that the biggest challenge facing journalists in the newspaper business today is “keeping their print product relevant.” He tells Harrison, “I believe this is the greatest time to be leading a news organization in America even though resources are challenging and newspapers are experiencing difficult times in terms of revenue. There really is a great window of opportunity to be creative – to reinvent our business. So when I became editor five years ago after being at the Herald for 32 years, I embraced the challenge because even though I knew the road was going to be difficult to navigate, we have done some incredible things over the last five years and we’ve really transformed what was purely a print organization into a multimedia news organization.” This transformation, of course, includes the launch of Boston Herald Radio – the newspaper’s online talk station that produces 11 hours of original, live content every weekday from a studio located right next to the newspaper’s newsroom. It has proven to be a major source of breaking stories, not only for Boston-area news consumers, but for the media across the country and around the world. Harrison and Sciacca delve into media theory and discuss differences in the psychology between reading stories online as opposed to the printed page. They also analyze the impact of video cameras inside a radio studio and the differences between what Harrison describes as “great radio or bad television.” Sciacca discusses the Boston Herald’s commitment to getting the stories right, rather than just being first – a pressure amplified by the competition generated by the 24 hour non-stop, digital news cycle and he recalls how coverage of the Boston Marathon bombing was particularly challenging because of all the false information that was out there in the general news media’s frenzy to stay on top of the breaking story during its early hours and days. Harrison describes his theories about the emergence of what he calls “stickless” radio broadcasting (meaning radio without the traditional license, transmitter and tower) and the development of the online “media station” in the 21st century. To hear the entirety of this fascinating conversation between two seasoned, front-line media visionaries, please click here, or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” box in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Four More Smartphone Models Can Have FM Chip Activated Via Clip Interactive. According to Clip Interactive, more consumers can exercise the FM chip listening option as it has expanded the phones that can use its technology to include the HTC One M9, HTC Desire 610, Sharp Aquos Crystal and LG G3. Clip Interactive says its application technology connects to this chip, allowing the listener to tune into local stations without having to stream, which depletes data allowances and consumes more battery life. FM chip activation through Clip Interactive mobile apps allows stations to optimize listening options for users. Clip Interactive chief technology officer Peter Shoebridge says, “Activating the FM chip on more devices benefits the listener as they can reduce data usage and enjoy the real-time broadcast. The industry can expect more announcements about additional devices in the coming weeks as we continue our mission to provide interactive radio to the masses.”
Odds & Sods. Appearing in the KFAQ, Tulsa studios this morning is a crew from “Good Morning America” as morning host Pat Campbell interviews attorney Clark Brewster. Reserve Sheriff Deputy Robert Bates hired Brewster to represent him in the case of the fatal shooting of Eric Harris that took place during a drug sting. Bates has been cleared by the FBI of violating Harris’ civil rights but faces a second-degree manslaughter charge for accidently using his pistol instead of a taser on Harris. Pat Campbell tells TALKERS magazine, “Our station has been ground zero for many exclusives on this story, including the only sit-down interview with Sheriff Stanley Glanz. KFAQ news director Tami Marler has been all over this since day one, getting scoops and guests other outlets can’t secure.”…..FOX Sports Radio is presenting “FOX Sports Live 2015 NFL Draftcast” – a multi-platform NFL draft special featuring Jay Glazer, Joel Klatt, Peter Schrager, Mike Garafolo and Don Bell in Chicago. It will air on the network’s more than 400 affiliates nationwide beginning at 8:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 30…..The last Buckley Broadcasting property – KIDD-AM, Monterey, California – has been sold to Saul Levine’s Mt. Wilson Broadcasters for $50,000. Buckley took KIDD-AM dark a few months ago and recently tore down its aging tower structure.
ISIS Violence, Iran Nuclear Program Controversy/U.S. Naval Presence in Yemen, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Police Shootings Controversies, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The reports of ISIS executing Christians; the controversy about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and the United States’ naval presence in the waters off Yemen; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the cases of police shooting citizens in Baltimore, Tulsa and elsewhere; and the weekend’s Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Jason Barrett to Leave KGMZ, San Francisco for Family Reasons. In an emotional-yet-reasoned blog post, sports talk programmer Jason Barrett explains the reason for his imminent departure from the PD position at Entercom’s KGMZ “95.7 The Game.” Barrett has been travelling from California to Upstate New York every two or three weeks to visit his son who is living with Barrett’s parents. He says the physical and psychological toll on the arrangement is too much and, as much as he loves his gig in San Francisco, he’s moving to New York to be with his son. Read the entire blog post here.
KCBS-AM, San Francisco’s Cavagnaro Sets His Retirement. After spending 37 years at KCBS-AM, San Francisco, Ed Cavagnaro will retire in early-April as the station’s director of news & programming. Senior vice president and market manager Doug Harvill states, “Ed Cavagnaro built and led KCBS-AM into its status as the Bay Area’s number one radio station. He did this by hiring and managing an intelligent and capable news staff and empowering them to do their very best. Personally, I will greatly miss working with Ed. He’s truly an inspirational leader and one of the best news people on the planet.” The 63-year-old Cavagnaro comments, “There is a lot more to do and see – I didn’t want to wait too long to try new things. I have been lucky to work at [KCBS-AM] for so long. It has been an honor to be the news and program director at such a great radio station working with so many talented people.” The San Francisco native has a Masters degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. He previously worked for the Medill News Service and he was an aide to a member of the San Francisco board of supervisors before joining KCBS-AM in 1977 as a promotion assistant. Cavagnaro subsequently held a variety of jobs at the station – including managing editor and assistant director of news & programming before being promoted to his present role in 1988.
Sports Talker Steve Czaban Celebrates 25th Anniversary. Sports talk personality Steve Czaban is celebrating his 25th year in the sports talk biz this year. Czaban co-hosts the afternoon drive show on Red Zebra-owned WTEM, Washington (with Chris Cooley) and also hosts the morning drive show on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network. Czaban comments, “Twenty five years presiding over some of the dumbest arguments in sports has flown by in a blink. I guess that’s what happens when you are just trying to have fun with listeners every day on the radio. I am thankful to Yahoo! Sports Radio and WTEM for letting me do the kind of radio that is fun and engaging, and doesn’t take itself or the sports we cover, too seriously.”
Odds & Sods. Former KOTV-TV, Tulsa anchor/investigative reporter Tami Marler joins Journal Broadcast Group‘s KFAQ “Tulsa’s Talk Radio” as executive producer/news director. Elsewhere at the station, part-time technical producer David Prock is boosted to full-time and will handle afternoon news updates…..After a year off terrestrial radio in the wake of the changes at Talk Radio Network, Rusty Humphries announces, via a video at The Washington Times, that he’s beginning a weekly podcast called “The Rusty Humphries Rebellion.”…..According to a story in The Oregonian, iHeartMedia’s sports talk KPOJ will add a local morning drive show to the lineup beginning in March. The paper reports that current KIRO-AM, Seattle evening personalities Justin Myers and Andy Bunker will host the program. Myers tells the paper, “It’s a huge opportunity because Portland doesn’t have a morning show. That’s the biggest thing – having a local morning show that people can listen to on their way to work is huge.” An official announcement is expected in the next week…..Amanda Gifford is promoted to senior director, daytime programming, ESPN Audio. The sports giant says that Gifford will continue to oversee all aspects of “Mike & Mike,” in addition to “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” “SVP & Russillo,” and the Dan Le Batard show.
The Continuing Evolution of Dr. Joy Browne. The outstanding talk radio career of psychologist Dr. Joy Browne has spanned more than 35 years but the GCN-syndicated, nationally-known personality says her show is not the same as it was at the beginning. “The show has evolved so much in the last 30 years and I would argue that it even evolves on a day-to-day basis. It is never the same.” Having survived a variety of movements and trends within the news/talk genre, including the present one marked by the domination of partisan politics, the Dr. Joy Browne show has remained a mainstay of talk radio programming in New York City as well as across America. “That,” in the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “is a remarkable accomplishment, considering how timid programmers can be about stretching the boundaries of their stationality and a stunning tribute to the universality of this remarkable talent’s appeal.” Now, Dr. Browne is again expanding her horizons with the enormous undertaking of entrepreneurship by assuming ownership of her show and all the responsibilities that such a commitment involves. In the words of TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “In an era when so many ‘talent’ are now facing the viable option of being in business for themselves, Dr. Joy Browne is setting an inspirational example of how it can be done.” In a profile piece by TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian, Browne says that taking on the task of owning her show (as opposed to being an employee of a station or network) in today’s business climate is challenging, but something she’s set out to do because she loves what she does and successfully helping people is not only what makes the show work, but gives her satisfaction. “The only behavior I can help change is yours, but that isn’t what a caller wants to hear. They want me to tell them that the other person is to blame. I have to change their mind but I don’t have a lot of time to do it. We talk about the guts of a person’s life – their job, income, relationship, sex life, kids, or a next-door neighbor. My job is to get through and when I do, there is nothing else like it in the world.” Read the entire piece here.
Matt Patrick Helps Raise $$ for Fisher House Houston. Texas talk show host Matt Patrick (left) accepts a couple of awards from Fisher House manager Frank Kelley (right) on behalf of his listeners who pledged close to $40,000 to Fisher House in Houston last Veteran’s Day weekend during the annual radiothon Patrick spearheads. Patrick is heard on iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston; sister talk station KPRC, Houston and the company’s talk KFXR, Dallas. The funds raised go to the two Fisher Houses in Houston’s Medical Center.
Former Chicago Attorney, Talk Host, Sentenced on Fraud Conviction. Former attorney Kathleen Niew was sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison after defrauding a Chicago-area couple of $2.3 million. At one time Niew hosted a brokered, weekend call-in show on Salem Communications-owned WIND. According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, Niew led the couple to believe their money was being held for closings on commercial real estate deals. Instead, Niew was using their cash for wildly speculative gold mining operation investments around the world. Niew, who lost all of the couple’s money, pleaded guilty last June to the fraud charges.
Brian Williams Suspended, ISIS Violence/Death of Kayla Mueller, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Net Neutrality Proposal, Bobbi Kristina Fate, and Jon Stewart to Leave ‘Daily Show’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The controversy surrounding NBC’s Brian Williams and his suspension from the network’s news department; the violence being waged by ISIS and the death of American missionary Kayla Mueller; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the FCC’s proposal to regulate the internet; the fate of Whitney Houston’s daughter Bobbi Kristina; and Jon Stewart’s announcement he’ll leave the “Daily Show” this year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Entercom Ups Graefe to Chief Information Officer. Twelve-year Entercom staffer John Graefe is promoted to a new post as the company’s first chief information officer, responsible for delivering a broad range of IT initiatives to support the company. Graefe has been the vice president of IT and will continue to lead the team of employees overseeing the company’s IT infrastructure, as well as its strategy and partnerships. In making the announcement, the company says Graefe is a tech leader with a unique view of IT innovation and its application in driving business objectives. In this new role he will take over responsibilities for the company’s analytics and business intelligence initiatives. He’ll report to EVP/CFO Steve Fisher, who comments, “John has demonstrated outstanding leadership in managing our IT organization while continuing to position IT as a strategic asset and business driver. I am confident that, as CIO, he will continue to advance Entercom strategic platforms and strategies.” Graefe says, “I am excited for the opportunity to continue leading the IT team at Entercom and further advancing our initiatives in analytics and business intelligence. This will continue to enhance Entercom’s position as a leading broadcasting and marketing solutions company.”
Riley Returns to Journal Broadcast Group in Tulsa. Most recently working as a consultant in the industry, Jules Riley is named operations manager for Journal Broadcast Group’s Tulsa operations, including news/talk KFAQ. Tulsa VP/GM Bill Berry says, “We are very excited to welcome Jules back to Journal. She has a stellar reputation in the industry and extensive experience with multiple formats. I have no doubt that she will do a terrific job as our programming leader.” Riley was the program director for Journal’s rock KICT “T95” and classic rock KFXJ “104.5 The Fox” in Wichita until 2001 before leaving to lead programming teams in St. Louis, Philadelphia and Phoenix. She comments, “I am thrilled to rejoin Journal Broadcast Group and work with the phenomenal Tulsa team. My thanks to Bill Berry, Beverlee Brannigan and Steve Wexler.”
“Trippin’ Out into the Future” with Michael Harrison. The time has come for the rise of the MEDIA STATION. When Jerry Del Colliano was asked what role TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will play at his forthcoming “Media Solutions Conference” in Philadelphia on Wednesday, March 26 – the noted industry observer and analyst described Harrison as a “futurist” and stated “Michael and I will trip out into the future of radio and digital content.” Harrison’s reaction to the comment was that he was extremely flattered by the remark, stating, “Wow, to be in this business for 48 years and still be called a ‘futurist’ is a compliment, to say the least. Those who know me personally or have heard me speak and read my articles over the decades know that I maintain a very healthy respect for the past and radio’s pop cultural heritage – HOWEVER, they also know that I do so only from the perspective that they help us navigate the wild waters of the future into which we must always be bravely sailing.” Harrison continues, “There are several things that I am looking forward to discussing at Jerry’s seminar that span my interest in both talk and music radio…but first and foremost, I believe it’s time for the industry to come to terms with the theoretical (and increasingly real) concept of the “media station” because that is, in fact, where we are heading in terms of platform. And while many people in this business are running around uttering the half-baked phrase ‘content is king’ and counting their chickens over the seeming ease of entry to the internet — those who have an understanding of media theory and elementary art appreciation understand that without ‘platform,’ content cannot be monetized. The ‘media station’ will be the platform of today’s radio station (as well as most newspapers and magazines) before this decade is over. Those who prepare for this and understand exactly what it entails will not only survive — they will thrive — and continue to successfully ride the traditional time-line of our glorious industry from one century to the next. Those who do not will drown in the vast ocean of noise that is the undeveloped, platform-less internet.” Harrison will be one of three special guest speakers at the conference. Along with WBEB, Philadelphia (“More FM”) owner Jerry Lee and nationally syndicated Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk star Sean Hannity. The intensive day-long workshop will focus on a wide variety of digital-era issues currently facing and challenging radio. These include coming to a better understanding of the Millennial generation, learning to disrupt radio itself before its media rivals do, separating radio’s main product into unique on-air and online categories, effectively using video to generate significant amounts of revenue, reinventing the morning show, time-shifting radio, making commercials less of a liability and much more. Harrison adds, “I am really looking forward to participating in this conference and tackling these crucial issues with a bunch of smart people from all ends of the business. Jerry Lee has so much to share about running an independent station in an aggressive, winning way – we could sure use more Jerry Lees in this industry – and Sean Hannity is the very definition of a classy guy who rose to the very top of the talent ladder. One of the things Sean brings to the table is the ability to attract younger listeners to traditional news/talk – he has done quite alright in already solving questions to which most people are actively seeking answers.” The event takes place at Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Hotel. For more information click here.
First Round of February PPM Data Released. PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the February 2014 period (January 30 – February 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio. Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here. Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. The station that will benefit from Midwest Communications’ purchase of the construction permit for an FM translator licensed to Howard, Wisconsin (W221DA at 92.1) is sports talk WNFL, Green Bay. Midwest is buying the CP from David M. Stout for $65,000. Howard lies northwest and adjacent to the City of Green Bay…..The mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370 has been a boon to the ratings of cable news/talk channel CNN. The ratings woes of the channel are well known to industry watchers and the recent news has boosted the channel’s ratings above those of its competitors Fox News Channel and MSNBC in recent days.
Crimea Votes to Join Russia/Obama vs. Putin, Malaysian Airline Flight 370 Mystery, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, ObamaCare Criticism, Los Angeles Quake, and Lingering Winter Weather/Global Warming Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). The Crimea-Russia case and criticism of President Obama’s handling of Vladimir Putin; the ongoing mystery of the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370; the forecasting of political change with the mid-term elections and speculation about the 2016 presidential race; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Monday’s Los Angeles earthquake and concerns about another one; and the chilly weather still affecting the Midwest and East and the global warming controversy were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.