Westwood One to Cease Production of NBC News Radio. Affiliates received the word yesterday (Wednesday, 10/15) by way of a note from senior vice president of affiliate sales Dennis Green that NBC News Radio newscasts and other programming will no longer be produced/distributed by Westwood One. As a substitute, Westwood One will soon provide its own CNN-powered branded news network. Green writes that Westwood One News will offer stations “enhanced programming, correspondent reports and news features. Westwood One News is designed to help stations integrate their local branding into newscasts with greater flexibility, including selecting one- to five-minute newscasts based on need and preference.” Westwood One will halt production/distribution of the NBC News Radio network as of 12:00 midnight (ET) Monday, December 15.
Chris Merrill Moves to iHeartMedia’s KFYI, Phoenix. It turns out that Chris Merrill – most recently morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s KOGO, San Diego – will not be banished to the evening slot there but will move to the company’s KFYI, Phoenix to take over the afternoon drive show being vacated by Mike Broomhead, who moves to mornings. KOGO shifted to a newsier show format for its morning and afternoon drive dayparts and had slated Merrill to host the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show. But with Barry Young retiring from KFYI and Broomhead taking over his mid-morning slot, an opening on the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm show was created that Merrill will fill beginning November 10. KFYI program director Neil Larrimore states, “We are beyond thrilled to bring Chris into town! He is an up-and-coming superstar who understands the evolution of talk radio. With Chris joining the team, KFYI is perfectly positioned for much success in 2015 and beyond.”
Sean Salisbury Gets More Air Time in Houston. According to a report by the Houston Chronicle’s David Barron, Sean Salisbury will replace Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon on the KFNC, Houston “ESPN Houston 97.5” 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program alongside station sports director Dave Tepper. Salisbury also co-hosts the Yahoo! Sports Radio afternoon show with John Granato heard on KGOW in the market. Solomon is leaving the radio show to focus on his news duties.
Bob Frantz Lands at Toledo Sports Talker. After being ousted in July from iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland where he hosted the evening show, Bob Frantz finds a radio home at Cumulus Media’s sports talk WLQR, Toledo “106.5 The Ticket” on the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show. WLQR recently parted company with Norm Wamer who held down that daypart. According to a story in the Toledo Blade, Frantz will broadcast from his home in Northeast Ohio as well as from the station’s Toledo studios. The paper quotes Cumulus RVP and market manager Andy Stuart saying the program will be “a Northwest Ohio sports talk show” that will also cover Detroit, Cleveland and South Bend sports.
WTOP, Washington to Present Live Ebola Program from Newseum. Washington all-news outlet WTOP is presenting a special town hall program on Monday, October 20 at 10:00 am live from the Knight TV Studio at the Newseum in DC. The Hubbard station says it will examine the threat of Ebola in the U.S. and beyond. The program will be hosted by WTOP anchors Bruce Alan and Debra Feinstein and will feature expert guests Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Jesse Goodman, professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and active infectious diseases clinician at the Washington DC VA Medical Center and Walter Reed Medical Center. The station also extended an invitation to the Centers for Disease Control to join the panel. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo says, “WTOP is pleased to facilitate an in-depth discussion on this important subject. The town hall format gives everyone a chance to ask questions directly of two preeminent physicians on the forefront of the battle against this deadly disease.” The Knight TV Studio will seat 150 people for this broadcast.
Perez Appointed VP/GM of Salem Miami. At the Salem Communications Miami cluster, Felix Perez is tapped to be vice president and general manager. Perez – who has nearly 23 years of experience in Spanish media – was most recently vice president and general manager of Univision New York. Salem radio division senior vice president Allen Power comments, “We are excited about having Felix at the helm in Miami. His years of leadership in media; his focus in Spanish radio; and his track record for exploiting new opportunities and solving problems make him uniquely qualified for this role.” Perez remarks, “Salem’s values and mission are a great match for my own personal business philosophy. The company’s record of delivering for all of its constituencies while holding true to its mission makes it unique.” Salem’s Miami cluster consists of Christian talk WHIM “The Answer”; Spanish Christian talk WKAT “Radio Luz”; Spanish variety WOCN “La Nueva”; and business talk WZAB “The Biz.”
Cool Job Opportunity. Incredible talk show talent needed. WORD 106.3, the news/talk leader in Greenville, SC, has a rare and immediate opening for an exceptional talk show personality. The ideal candidate will be an excellent communicator able to connect with the conservative values of our on-air and social media audiences and will have the skills and desire to become a trusted talent that WORD 106.3 listeners can depend on for local, state and national topics. You will have a team of like-minded professionals, with on-air skills. You will work in a fast-paced, challenging environment and you will have unbridled desire to dominate your time slot and make your brand iconic in the 59th largest market. You’ll work at the largest cluster in the State of South Carolina for Entercom, the best broadcaster in the radio space. You’ll live in beautiful Greenville, South Carolina and have the support and tools you need to be successful and create a powerful local brand. Is this you? You have experience preparing and executing an interactive, engaging, successful talk show. You are a master of creativity, imagination and professional judgment in writing, producing, interviewing and creating content. You are wired to what’s important to your audience and know how to deliver it to your audience on air and with social media. Required Experience: A demonstrated track record of on-air success that will translate to success at WORD 106.3. Please submit your resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entercom Greenville is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Ebola Pandemic Threat/CDC Criticism, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Prospects, Financial Markets Activity/Falling Oil Prices, Battle Against ISIS, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/15). The threat of an Ebola pandemic, criticism of the Obama Administration’s and CDC’s handling of the matter and concerns over the lack of travel bans from countries with Ebola outbreaks; the looming mid-term elections and talk about the prospects for the 2016 presidential race; the tumultuous global financial markets and falling oil prices; the battle against ISIS, and the two MLB championship series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Broad Cuts at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Claim Talk and Sports Staffers. The end-of-the-year cuts taking place within Clear Channel is claiming numerous people in the programming end of the company’s radio stations. Some of the talk and sports personnel who’ve been let go include: Eric Chase, afternoons at sports WDFN, Detroit; Rich (Michaels) Minaya, afternoons, talk WIOD, Miami; Josh Sabrowsky, producer, sports KJR-AM, Seattle; Mike Morris, morning co-host, sports KFXN, Minneapolis; Don Ayers, morning producer, talk KOGO, San Diego and Jeff More, afternoon producer, KOGO; Steve Versnick, program director, talk WFLA, Tampa, and sports WDAE, Tampa; Catherine Brown, program director, talk WTKS, Orlando; “Bull,” midday producer, WTKS; and “Cabin Boy,” nights, WTKS. This list is not necessarily complete as more reports of affected industry people are still coming in. We’ll continue to update this list as more information becomes available.
Day 2 from the Arbitron Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke covered the two-day Arbitron Client Conference for TALKERS that concluded yesterday (12/6). Three points that dominated yesterday’s discussions and presentations are – as Cooke describes them – scary talk about in-car, straight talk about sports, and plain talk about politics. Read Holland Cooke’s report from Annapolis here.
Entercom’s WEEI, Boston Names Kevin Winter AM Drive Sports Anchor. When Jon Meterperel left the Dennis & Callahan morning drive show on Entercom’s WEEI, Boston earlier this fall to pursue his play-by-play career, that opened up a prime sports anchor/on-air role at the sports talk giant. Now, Entercom announces Massachusetts native Kevin Winter will serve in that role. Winter worked at the crosstown Boston ESPN affiliate and has served in a variety of studio host capacities including national SportsCenter anchor for all ESPN Radio shows including “Mike and Mike in the Morning.” Additionally, he has been the pre- and post-game host for ESPN’s coverage of college football and basketball. He says, “I’m very grateful and excited for the opportunity to join WEEI, particularly ‘Dennis and Callahan.’ This opportunity presents new and exciting challenges for me and I’m anxious and ready to get started. I’m coming home!”
Rush Limbaugh’s Two If By Tea Initiative Raises More than $1 Million for Charity. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Rush Limbaugh announces the charitable efforts of his Two If By Tea product initiative have surpassed his goal of $100,000 by 10 times, with $1 million going to charities including the Marine Corps – Law Enforcement Foundation. Limbaugh, who started the tea company with his wife Kathryn in June of 2011, says, “We ran the numbers, and we are thrilled to announce that because of you, Two If By Tea has donated over $1 million in product and monetary donations to incredible causes.” Limbaugh says in starting the tea company he wanted to create an American business. “I personally wanted to experience firsthand all of the requirements, the licenses, the fees needed to take a product to market from nothing. Our goal was to create jobs and manufacture with all American-made products in a fun, unique way.”
Steve Deace Show Hits 50-Affiliate Mark. The Iowa-based Steve Deace program announces it has hit the 50-affiliate goal in its first year in national syndication. With the addition of KXBR, Duluth; KVOI, Tucson; and WYAB, Jackson, Mississippi, Deace’s independently syndicated evening talk show (9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET) climbs to the 50-station plateau. Deace left his position at Clear Channel’s WHO, Des Moines (the station that remains his flagship affiliate) to pursue his goal of national syndication success. He states, “I am honored and humbled to have achieved such success in such a short time. When I left the award-winning and legendary WHO last year to find out what other opportunities were out there, I had no idea this was possible.”
Jeff Schechtman Steps Down at Wine Country’s KVON and KVYN, Napa, California. With the possible sale of the news/talk and hot AC duo on the horizon, Wine Country Broadcasting owner Roger Walther and general manager Jeff Schechtman jointly announce Schechtman will step down from his role as GM in January to pursue other opportunities. Schechtman states, “Ten years is a long time in any one job, and with the possible potential sale of the station, it seems an ideal time to move on to pursue some projects I’ve been thinking about for quite some time. There is always a tendency to get stale after too long in one job and in one place.”
Gow Communications Closes on KFNC, Houston. Sports talk station 97.5 The Ticket has been operated by David Gow’s Gow Communications under an LMA since September. Now, the company closes on the station it purchases from AR Broadcast Holdings for $5 million.
CBS Sports Radio Names Chris Moore and Brian Jones Evening Hosts. The national sports radio network CBS Radio will debut on January 2 has been fitted with the final piece of the programming puzzle. Hosting the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET slot will be veteran play-by-play announcer and talk host Chris Moore and former NFL player and current CBS Sports Network analyst Brian Jones, who have been named as co-hosts of CBS Sports Radio’s evening show. Their program will emanate from CBS Sports Radio’s New York City studio in Tribeca and will be heard on several stations, including WIP-AM, Philadelphia, WFOM, Atlanta, WXYT-AM, Detroit, WJZ-AM, Baltimore, KJQS, Salt Lake City and WSJZ, Orlando.
‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 3-7. The political fight in Washington over how to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the third straight week. Coming in at #2 was Syria’s chemical weapons threat. At #3 was the Egypt Morsi protests and following at #4 was the looming ObamaCare costs. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers .com. See this week’s complete chart here.
Michael Savage Wins Suit Against Talk Radio Network; Leaves the Air Immediately. Talk radio icon Michael Savage, who has been distributed by Talk Radio Network since he went into national syndication from his home base in San Francisco in the late 1990s, has won his legal battle with the company to be freed from his contract and has the right to seek other means of distributing his program. Sources indicate there is no non-compete in effect and Savage is now free to work wherever he chooses. Ranked by TALKERS magazine as the third most-listened-to talk show host in the nation, Savage states on his website, “After a grueling legal battle that cost him and his family dearly, Michael Savage can announce he won! He is free at last. Free to work with whomever he wishes in the radio industry from today forward. Michael will not be heard on the radio for some time, but you can keep up with him by logging onto Michaelsavage.com every day for updates and by subscribing to his free newsletter.” TRN CEO Mark Masters issued a statement in response, “We are all looking forward to announcing a bright future; radio’s October Surprise will begin on Monday, October 1st.” Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, tells the AP that Savage has been fighting the network for two years to get out of a contract that was 10 years old and prevented him from switching employers. Savage won the favorable ruling in arbitration. Horowitz says the pact lacked protections afforded to artists and entertainers under California law and tied Savage to Talk Radio Network indefinitely. As for the cost to Savage to which he refers to in his missive on the website, Horowitz says Savage spent more than $900,000 fighting his case but was awarded more than $1 million in arbitration. Savage will also have access to his audio archives. Still unclear is the exact amount of time Savage must remain off the air.
Jim Rome’s Jump to CBS Sports Radio Official. As expected, syndicated sports talk icon Jim Rome is leaving Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Premiere Networks at the end of his contract (which expires at the end of the year) and will become part of the national slate at CBS Sports Radio. The newly created national sports talk network will hit the airwaves on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 and Rome’s program will air in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot. Included in the new deal are Rome’s contributing to the “CBS Sports Minute,” 60-second hourly feature on the network as well as his providing commentary for CBS Sports and CBSSports.com. Rome is also set to host a talk series on Showtime, due to debut later this fall. CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “Jim would be at the top of any list highlighting sports radio’s most authoritative and opinionated hosts which is exactly why we’re thrilled to welcome him to CBS Sports Radio. We are building a network that showcases the incredible assets of CBS Radio and CBS Sports, and creating a strategic opportunity for growth in this untapped marketplace. Jim’s presence in this marquee time period adds strength to our lineup and exceptional value to our advertisers.”
Changes at Sports Talk KFNC, Houston; Carl Dukes Exits PM Drive to Join CBS Radio’s New Atlanta Sports Talk FM. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports PM drive sports talk host Carl Dukes is leaving his role at Gow Communications-owned KFNC to become part of the staff at CBS Radio’s WZGC “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” in Atlanta. At KFNC, midday hosts Fred Faour and A.J. Hoffman are shifting to afternoon drive in Dukes’ place and Houston Chronicle columnist Jerome Solomon will become host of the midday show. Program director and PM drive co-host David Tepper will also move to the midday slot to work with Solomon. Owner David Gow tells the paper, “Fred and A.J. have been ready for afternoon drive, and we think listeners will enjoy them in that time slot. We are delighted to add Jerome. He’s one of the top voices in sports in this market.”
Armstrong & Getty Return to Air. The KSTE, Sacramento-based morning show duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were back on the air at the Clear Channel station (and on their San Francisco simulcast outlet KKSF) re-iterating their two days off the radio had nothing to do with the bit they did on Monday’s program calling for people to post videos, cartoons and more critical of Islam and Mohammad. There had been speculation in the industry that management took the two off the air in the wake of statements by people, including President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, condemning editorial comments bashing Islam and its tenets. The two assured listeners they are allowed complete editorial control over their show and that they were off the air for other reasons they agreed not to talk about on the radio.
Odds & Sods. WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” talk host Chris Duncan picks up the “Best Sports Broadcast Personality” award from the alt-weekly Riverfront Times and its annual “Best of St. Louis 2012.”…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KFNZ, Salt Lake City will broadcast all of the Utah Grizzlies ECHL minor league hockey games beginning with this season…..Tom Sipos’ “Hudson Valley Focus” program is the new morning show at Clear Channel’s WKIP, Poughkeepsie/WJIP, Ellenville, New York.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Phil’s Gang” with host Phil Grande is added to the program schedule at KFNN, Phoenix and KPSF, Palm Springs, California…..“The Money Pit home Improvement Show” with Tom Kraeutler and Leslie Segrete is added to WMXI, Hattiesburg, Mississippi and KGAL, Albany, Oregon.
Mitch on The Fool. WJR, Detroit PM drive host and author of the best-selling novel The Time Keeper (Hyperion 2012) Mitch Albom (l) sits with Chris Hill (r), host of the nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Radio Show.” Albom, who has a couple of best-sellers to his name, is a sports columnist and sports TV personality in addition to his work on WJR, recently went on Hill’s program to talk about his new novel and more.
Benghazi Attack Investigation Top News/Story for Week of September 24-28. The investigation of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the allegation that al Qaeda was responsible was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming at #2 was the United Nations addresses by world leaders this week. At #3 was Iran’s nuclear program and following at #4 was the presidential race polls. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See the entire chart here.