WWXX License Renewal Objection Draws Response. The FCC is considering whether it should rule if the team name of the NFL‘s Washington franchise (“Redskins”) is indecent. One of that team’s three radio flagships – Red Zebra Broadcasting-owned WWXX – has filed its answer to objections regarding the renewal of its broadcast license. WWXT (92.7) and WWXX (94.3) repeat the signal of primary flagship WTEM “ESPN 980.” Red Zebra states that its response “makes clear that under the Communications Act and the First Amendment, the FCC should not be in the business of censoring the content of radio stations. Any debate about the team’s name and its meaning should be held in the free marketplace of ideas, not in the halls of the FCC or any other governmental agency.” Red Zebra counsel Andrew McBride of Wiley Rein LLP comments, “We hope the FCC will swiftly reject this transparent attempt to use the license renewal process to intimidate broadcasters across the country with the baseless threat that accurately reporting on the Washington football franchise by using the team’s full name violates any law or FCC regulation.” Many consider the name of the DC franchise a slur to Native Americans and they have called on team owner – and Red Zebra primary investor – Dan Snyder to change it. President Barack Obama is among those asking the NFL to endorse a name alteration, as are at least one-half the members of the U.S. Senate. In a preliminary 18-page formal petition to deny renewal of a station’s FCC broadcast license, petitioner John F. Banzhaf III, “a listener to station WWXX, respectfully requests on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, and who are like himself adversely affected or aggrieved, that the agency deny the renewal of this station’s license and any other requests. It deliberately, repeatedly, and unnecessarily broadcasts the word ‘R*dskins’ during most of its broadcasting day, and especially in prime time where its well documented adverse impact on impressionable young Indian as well as non-Indian children is greatest. Through its licensee and controlling owner Dan Snyder, also actively encourages or indeed forces many other broadcasters to likewise broadcast a derogatory racial and ethnic slur contrary to the public interest.” Banzhaf is an American legal activist and a law professor at George Washington University Law School. The Washington Post editorial board has stopped using the team’s name, and a panel of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the team’s trademark registration four months ago. Even so, Snyder vows to keep the name. TALKERS legal editor Steve J.J. Weisman recently wrote a column about this matter addressing the FCC’s jurisdiction to rule on the issue. Read that piece here.
Cooke: Two Weekend Problems, Two Solutions. In a piece written exclusively for TALKERS, radio consultant Holland Cooke addresses two weekend problems that face talk radio stations and offers a couple of solutions. He says ask-the-expert shows – i.e. brokered programming from local attorneys, real estate agents, veterinarians, etc. – don’t have to sound bad! Coach them so their broadcasts are well-executed and informative. Plus, let these clients use your listen-on-demand capabilities to reach more potential customers and they will be more satisfied with the money they are spending on your station. Read Cooke’s entire piece here.
How Mobile Can Save Your Talk Radio Brand. Digital media pro Gabe Barnes says, in a column exclusive to TALKERS, that he’s surprised by the number of radio execs who are put off by the reported amount of radio app usage that takes place outside of the station’s broadcast range. They see primarily the streaming fees for a listener who’s outside the “market.” The Mersoft Media director, business development says that’s not necessarily bad. “Many of those listening out of the broadcast range are actually local residents or have some ties to that local community. A local advertisement would be just as effective, provided the advertisement is compelling and targeted.” But there are more advantages for getting fans of your programming to go “mobile” with it. Read Barnes’ entire column here.
WTIC, Hartford License Renewal on Enforcement Hold. With the conviction of former Connecticut Governor John Rowland – until April of 2014 the afternoon drive personality on WTIC, Hartford – on campaign fraud charges in the rear view, CBS RADIO’s news/talk WTIC, Hartford is now waiting out an enforcement hold on his license renewal with the FCC. In a story in the Hartford Courant, Edmund Mahony writes that the hold on the process is due to a “payola” complaint to the FCC related to Rowland’s actions promoting a Republican candidate in a primary race without disclosing – either to the radio audience or the FEC – that he was on that candidate’s payroll. The FCC doesn’t comment on the specifics of these matters and CBS RADIO is simply confirming that the process is on hold but the company does not know why. Rowland is set to be sentenced in January. The station certainly took its share of criticism for hiring Rowland after his first conviction in 2004 on corruption charges related to activities while in the governor’s office. Now, the station may be liable for a fine or reprimand, according to experts Mahony cites in his story. Most experts agree a denial of the license renewal for WTIC is unlikely, to say the least.
ESPN Radio to Air World Series. This marks the seventeenth straight year that ESPN Radio has exclusive radio rights to MLB‘s World Series. ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” lead play-by-play announcer Dan Shulman and analyst Aaron Boone will function in those capacities on the radio broadcasts for the best-of-seven series that commences tomorrow night (10/21) between the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants. Pre-game and post-game coverage will be handled by Jon Sciambi, analyst Chris Singleton, ESPN MLB insider Peter Pascarelli, and Marc Kestecher. Meanwhile, for the tenth successive year, ESPN Deportes Radio will broadcast every game for a Spanish-speaking audience. San Diego Padres Spanish-language announcer Eduardo Ortega will be joined by Renato Bermudez, Armando Talavera, and Jose Francisco Rivera.
Cool Job Opportunity. One of the top newsrooms in the country, KMBZ in Kansas City, has an immediate opening for a Morning Show Executive News Producer. This is a unique opportunity for someone with great writing skills, an appetite for everything news, and a desire to create exclusive content each and every day. Candidates need to have a news background, and a good understanding of news-wheel operations. Reporting experience would be very good as well. “Kansas City’s Morning News” and KMBZ are committed to finding the right person to fill this position. If you have what it takes, send a resume, along with anything else that will make you shine to KMBZJobs@gmail.com. KMBZ and Entercom Kansas City are an Equal Opportunity Employer.
Salem Personalities in Israel. Four Salem Communications Christian teaching talk personalities are accompanying more than 350 listeners on a trip through the Holy Land. Pictured here from left to right are: Mark Daniels, WFIL, Philadelphia; Frank Sontag, KKLA, Los Angeles; Georgene Rice, KPDQ, Portland; and Kevin McCullough, nationally syndicated and WMCA, New York after a lunch on Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel. Also joining the listeners and personalities on this trip is Salem Communications radio division president David Santrella.
TALKERS Posts 2014 Heavy Hundred. The 2014 installment of one of TALKERS magazine’s most popular and, perhaps, controversial annual features – “The 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America” – debuted on March 11. Also known as “The Heavy Hundred,” the ranked listing of 100 hosts and talent teams from around the country is based on a number of both quantitative and qualitative criteria and is determined by collective analysis of the TALKERS editorial board with input from a wide variety of industry leaders. It includes local and national hosts from an array of genres falling under the umbrella of “general” talk or “news/talk” radio covering politics, health, finance, relationships, consumer electronics, popular culture and a variety of specialties. (TALKERS launched a special and completely separate annual “Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk” two years ago.) Hosts on the list are selected from those working at the time of its publication on platforms that include commercial and public AM/FM radio as well as satellite radio (internet-only talk hosts are ranked by TALKERS in an annual feature titled “The Frontier Fifty”). According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It is no secret that economic restraints facing the industry these past few years have contributed to shrinking the number of individuals working on the air across the nation. Although the 2014 edition of the Heavy Hundred will, of course, include many familiar names, the need for new blood, fresh voices and potential up-and-comers has never been greater. Readers will find this year’s roster will feature a number of new names and first-timers, which is quite exciting!” To view the entire 2014 Heavy Hundred, please click here.
‘Game’ Changes in San Francisco. KGMZ “95.7 The Game” is modifying its weekday on-air lineup. Among the adjustments at the Entercom-owned San Francisco Bay Area sports outlet are the importing of former cross-town KNBR talent Damon Bruce to afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and shifting current PM drivers Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (below left, respectively) to mornings, replacing “The Rise Guys” — Whitey Gleason, Mark Kriedler and Dan Dibley. Entercom San Francisco vice president and market manager Steve DiNardo states, “This is a great day for our station and for Bay Area sports fans. For years, Damon Bruce has been one of the strongest, most opinionated, and passionate personalities in Bay Area sports. He understands what it takes to compete and win in this market. Just as exciting is moving Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend to morning drive. In just 14 months, they have developed strong chemistry and a loyal following. We feel like we have the perfect team in the perfect time slot to grow ‘The Game.'” According to Bruce, “The Bay Area has a one-of-a-kind sports scene, one of the hottest and most exciting in the country today. Bay Area fans are some of the most passionate fans in the country. I can’t wait to start and kick off a new drive-time experience for Bay Area sports fans.” Bruce was with KNBR from 1998 – 2000, and returned in 2005. He gained national exposure hosting “Sports Overnight America,” before leaving to become a SportsCenter anchor on ESPN Radio. Bruce has filled in for Jim Rome and has hosted SportsCenter for ESPN International. His other credits include fill-in host on Fox Sports Radio; Sporting News Radio; CBS Sports Network; and hosting pre and post-game shows for the San Francisco Giants and San Francisco 49ers. The revised KGMZ lineup – which begins in just over two weeks (3/31) – will include “Bucher and Towny” with Ric Bucher and Chris Townsend (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Haberman & Middlekauff (10:00 am -12:00 noon); “The Wheelhouse” with John Lund & Greg Papa (noon – 3:00 pm); and “The Damon Bruce Show” (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm).
Saga’s Ed Christian “Hoping for a Little Better” in Q4. The 2013 fourth quarter and full year fiscal reports for Saga Communications saw the company’s net operating revenue dip 5% in Q4 of 2013, compared to the same period in 2012. But gross revenue increased 3.8% during the quarter excluding political. For the full year, the company’s gross revenue was up 3.3% (ex-political). In a conference call with investment analysts, Saga CEO Ed Christian stated, “I was hoping for a little better in Q4, we can always do a little more, we can always do a little better but I’m not disappointed. We’re just pleased with the results.” Christian said it’s hard not to put some blame on the winter weather for the economic sluggishness. “Saga operates in a lot of mid-America markets and a lot in New England and I really don’t have to tell you what the last four months have been like. In those markets it’s just outright miserable…I was talking with one of our managers the other day and he said people are irritable and it’s gloomy and people are lethargic.”
Beasley Declares Cash Dividend. The company’s board of directors is announcing the company is declaring a quarterly cash dividend of $0.045 per share of its Class A and Class B common stock. The dividend is payable on April 10, 2014, to shareholders of record on March 31, 2014.
KEX, Portland Personality Accused of Assault. Morning show personality Paul Linnman – host at Clear Channel’s news/talk KEX, Portland – is being accused by a co-worker of assault after he allegedly groped her buttocks and licked his lips as he stared at her breasts. Kailee Kinney is bringing the suit against Clear Channel and Linnman in Multnomah County Court. Kinney is a producer and account executive at CC Portland. She’s seeking $325,000 in damages. The complaint alleges Linnman “came up behind plaintiff and groped her buttocks, a sexually intimate part of her body. Linnman used an open palm to slap Plaintiff’s buttocks and then grabbed and squeezed plaintiff’s buttocks.” It further alleges that “Linnman approached plaintiff for a second time, stating, ‘I should apologize but that black dress…you look great in that black dress,” during which he “licked his lips and stared at Plaintiff’s breasts as he made this comment to plaintiff.”
Salem, Oregon Talk Host Suspends Show After Equal Time Complaint. In the Salem, Oregon market, Willamette Broadcasting employee Bill Post has suspended his daily talk show on KYKN due to his campaign for state representative and a complaint from a primary opponent about violation of equal time rules. Post announced his campaign for the seat in December. Last month, Barbara Jensen announced her bid for the seat but Post continued to work on the air. Jensen complains that Post and the station have been violating FCC rules and election laws but also asserts Post has violated other campaign laws but did not specify what they are. In a story in the Statesman Journal, Post says the station was prepared for Jensen’s complaint and that he believes the station and his campaign manager have operated within the law. Jensen’s complaint implies that once Post worked on air after opponents joined the race, the station must then provide equal time.
Journal Communications Shows Off New Brand. The parent company of radio and TV station firm Journal Broadcast Group unveils a new company brand with three cohesive new logos representing Journal Communications and its two major business segments, the Broadcast Group and Journal Publishing. As part of the new brand, the company also launched a fully redesigned corporate website at www.journalcommunications.com. Journal Communications chairman and CEO Steven J. Smith comments, “When we look at our company, we see quality, focus and effective teams in our local markets – all part of a business that is moving forward. However, many people outside of Journal often have no idea that, in addition to their favorite local station or publication, we have a total of 13 television stations, 35 radio stations and a major daily newspaper with a variety of supporting local publications, all with complementary digital products. As such, we believe our new brand better represents our company to investors, employees and the public and positions us as a national media company with diverse brands united under a common identity.” The redesigned company website includes links to all of Journal’s digital products and Journal Broadcast Group live streaming sites, as well as a “What’s Trending Now” feature that highlights Journal’s most recent content across its Broadcast and Publishing websites.
Entercom Kansas City Takes Action Against Delinquent Client. It’s not unusual for radio stations to put a past-due account into collection but Entercom Kansas City is seeking a court’s assistance in getting more than $52,000 it claims it is owned by Vinson Mortgage Services Inc. In a story in the St. Louis Business Journal, Vinson apparently advertised on news/talk KMBZ, alternative KRBZ and rock KQRC. This is not the only action involving Vinson. St. Louis television station KMOV-TV is filing a suit claiming it is owned more than $68,000.
Odds & Sods. The recent FCC filing for Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of its Connecticut stations to Connoisseur Media announced last week shows the price is $7.9 million. The stations include classic hits WDRC-FM, Hartford; talk WDRC-AM, Hartford; WWCO, Waterbury; WSNG, Torrington; and WMMW, Meriden…..Talk radio pro Mark Wainwright is sitting in on Clear Channel’s WSYR, Syracuse for Joe Galuski on the morning program next week, March 17 – 21…..Alpha Broadcasting announces Jeremy Scott and Brian Perkins will be the radio announcers for the Arena Football League’s Portland Thunder when games air on the company’s KXTG, Portland “Sports Radio 750 The Game.” Scott serves as a reporter for sister news/talk KXL. Perkins is a reporter and air personality on KXTG…..XtreMEDIA nationally syndicated talk host Steve Deace is talking to New Englanders today as he sits in for Boston talk icon Howie Carr on Entercom‘s WRKO.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery, Winter Weather/Global Warming, Republican Wins Fla. Special Election, ObamaCare Criticism, CIA Monitoring of Senate Staffers/Snowden Video Appearance, and Obama vs. Putin/Ukraine-Crimea Tensions Among Top Stories Yesterday (3/11). The ongoing mystery concerning the whereabouts of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet; a new round of winter weather hits the East and renewed debate over the case for man-made global warming; Republican David Jolly defeats Democrat Alex Sink in Florida Congressional special election; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; Senator Diane Feinstein’s allegation the CIA monitored Senate staffers and Edward Snowden’s commentary on surveillance cases; and President Obama’s faceoff with Vladimir Putin and the case of Russia’s incursion into Crimea and Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rumor: Anthony Weiner to Try Talk Radio. Here we go again! Another disgraced politician – this time it’s former congressman and former NYC mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner – is rumored to be in the running for a talk show on one of two New York City radio signals. The New York Daily News is reporting that sources say Weiner is in talks to begin hosting a show on either Cumulus Media’s WABC (where the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot is opening in the New Year) or on Clear Channel’s WOR. WABC operations manager Tony Mascaro tells the paper they are looking at a lot of candidates for the slot but denies Weiner is one of them. The track record of former politicians – especially disgraced ones – succeeding in talk radio is not good. Most managers and programmers are either aware – or find out very quickly – that the tradeoff for hiring such a person is not usually worth it. Yes, one gets instant recognition of the person from the public, but the long hours, challenging work, glamorless working conditions and time needed to get traction in the ratings usually turns off former pols who are used to a different sort of workday. Oh, and then there’s the fact that they almost always have no broadcasting skills whatsoever. Stay tuned, the Weiner-watch is on!
Cumulus Media Holdings to Refinance $2.23 Billion in Debt. According to a Reuters report, Cumulus Media Holdings has set terms on a new $2.23 billion loan that would serve to reduce its interest payments over the course of the loan. The company is marketing a $200 million, five-year revolver and a $2.025 billion, seven-year, first-lien term loan. The proceeds would refinance Cumulus’ current first- and second-lien loans. Moody’s Investor Services VP and senior credit officer Carl Salas is quoted saying, “It’s a meaningful improvement in their annual debt service. They will save upwards of $30 million to $35 million in interest costs which adds nicely to their free cash flow generation.”
CBS Radio’s WJFK, Washington Hears It from Redskins About Game Broadcast Parodies. NFL fans are aware that the Washington Redskins – owned by the litigious and sensitive Dan Snyder – are having a tough season (3-9 right now) after making the playoffs last year. That’s been the source of much frustration on the part of fans and the source of material for WJFK host Danny Rouhier and producer Ajay Atayee who’ve been producing bits that are mock-ups of game broadcasts. Rouhier does the voices of Redskins radio play-by-play announcers Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen and splices in actual drops of color man and former ‘Skin Chris Cooley. The hysterically funny bits have been critical of the team’s play, the fan experience at FedEx Field and Snyder’s public image, so much so that, according to the Washington Post, WJFK Redskins beat reporter Grant Paulsen was told by team spokesman Tony Wyllie that the bits are so malicious that they could prompt legal action. This may be water under the bridge since the Post reports Wyllie says after talking with the station and being assured it’s all in good fun, the team has no problem with the station’s content. Since the station has no intention of stopping Rouhier from producing more similarly themed bits, we’ll see how the rest of the season plays out.
KYSR, Los Angeles Morning Personality Kennedy to Host Fox Business Net Show. Former MTV VJ and current morning drive host at Clear Channel’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles, Lisa Kennedy Montgomery, will begin a new nightly current events talk show on Fox Business Network titled “The Independents” that will premiere on Monday, December 9. The Hollywood Reporter states that Kennedy will co-host with Reason magazine’s Matt Welch, America’s Future Foundation’s Kmele Foster and a rotating panel of money experts. Kennedy herself writes on her KYSR blog that the show will be “aimed at all the mealy-mouthed, partisan faithful out there. Has the 2 party system totally failed you? Yeah, me too! Tune in 4 nights a week on FBN, and just remember, music and politics go hand in hand. I will always hold hands with you.” Kennedy has been a contributor to FBN making regular appearances on “Stossel.”
Vali Named Interim GM of Ohana Broadcast, Hawaii. The name Austin Vali is widely-known in Hawaii radio and, as Ohana Broadcast Company‘s interim general manager, he will oversee four Oahu stations and five Kauai facilities. Owner/president Jason Wolff comments, “Austin brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and relationships in the Honolulu market. He will be a tremendous asset as we strive to produce the best possible radio for our listeners and clients.” Recently, Vali was vice president/general manager of Cox Media Group‘s three-station Long Island cluster. During his 40-year radio career, he has worked in Pittsburgh, Norfolk, and Louisville; however, Vali is perhaps best known for his experience in Hawaii. Since arriving there in 1978, he worked at Honolulu’s KIKI and KQMQ and he co-owned KRTR-FM and KXME in that market.
PodcastOne Adds Mariel Hemingway Program to Stable. Titled after her best-selling book Running with Nature, actress and author Mariel Hemingway, along with her partner, stuntman, actor, health and wellness expert, Bobby Williams, are launching their new podcast via PodcastOne. The podcast invites listeners to “join them on their adventures; from Hollywood to Holistic healing…transforming relationships to finding the most meaningful ways of living every day, Mariel and Bobby are here bringing laughter, wonder and awe with some great advice.” The first podcast episode “features nutrition tips, a review of her just released documentary called ‘Running from Crazy,’ and exercise tips from Bobby and Mariel’s ‘Meditation Moment.’” PodcastOne COO Greg Batusic says, “Mariel and Bobby offer a refreshing and unique take on life that their fans and new listeners will surely benefit from. We’re happy to have them join our stellar lineup.”
WTOP, Washington’s Bob Madigan to Retire. Drive time news anchor Bob Madigan will retire from his position at Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington, DC at the end of the year. Outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley (also retiring, see next story) says in a memo to his DC staff, “Bob has been in this crazy business of ours for 50 years, 20 of them here at WTOP and WASH when both stations were co-owned. He and I worked for 11 years at NBC News….I have been inflicted on Bob for 27 of his 50 years in the business. By the way, if you are wondering how he got in 50 years ago, he started working in radio during high school.” Farley goes on to say that as WTOP’s “Man About Town,” he “was a one-person ‘good news’ department covering everything from charity galas to scholarship awards and chili cook-offs for a good cause. Bob covered so many events, that in less than a year on the beat, he was emcee, announcer or celebrity judge at many of them. He became a one-man marketing machine for WTOP, getting our name out there in a positive way that was priceless! He was chosen to announce the Inaugural Parade along Pennsylvania Avenue for both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. At the Bush Inaugural Parade he was paired with…Meat Loaf. For years he announced the start of the Race for the Cure live on WTOP. He has a long, long list of awards and honors including a (rare for a journalist) RAMMY Award, “The Duke Zeibert Capital Achievement Award.” RAMMY’s are awarded by the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington.
A Farewell to Jim Farley. Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke (right) poses for a selfie with outgoing vice president of news and programming Jim Farley at a retirement bash for the longtime WTOP, Washington programmer at the Newseum in Washington, DC. After 17 years with the station, Farley is “slowing down but not retiring” as he’ll step down from his current post but consult WTOP for the next two years. He’s also open to consult others with their news and/or digital strategies. Current WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo is stepping into the post at year’s end. Cooke reports that modern-day WTOP-ers, Hubbard execs and many alumni toasted Farley at the bash. Among other things said at the farewell party, Farley told staffers, “What a crowd! YOU did it. YOU GUYS do all the heavy lifting, and I got all the credit. I’m gettin’ out before they catch me.”
Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Usually that’s the case but at the Entercom AM transmitter site in Westwood, Kansas, just how a good fence is defined appears to be the issue. The towers for KMBZ and KUDL are surrounded by residential neighborhoods – that wasn’t the case in the 1930s when the towers went up. According to the Prairie Village Post, now neighbors are challenging the renewal of Entercom’s special use permit for the site claiming they want improvements there. After meeting with residents, a plan commission sub-committee is suggesting the current chain-link fence with barbed wire makes the property look “blighted” and recommends removal of the perimeter fence and replacement with fencing that complies with current code. Entercom fears liability issues without a perimeter fence. In 2008, a trespassing teenager was killed after falling from a tower on the site. Expect some sort of compromise on this issue since moving the station towers would be very difficult yet protection of the transmitters and towers needs to continue for obvious reasons.
Credit to WJFK-FM, Washington’s “Junkies” for Nabbing Toronto Mayor Rob Ford Segment. He’s been one of the hot talk radio topics for the past several weeks (as documented in TALKERS magazine’s weekly top topics chart The Talkers TenTM), so why not book him as a guest? CBS Radio’s “The Junkies” did just that and got a cool 25-minute segment with Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on WJFK-FM, Washington today. Ford, who’s obviously been in the news a bit lately and doesn’t seem to be very mic-shy, talked with the Junkies about football (he offered his NFL picks for the week), the drug use allegations against him, President Obama, and his run for re-election next fall (which he says he’ll win because he has the support of the people).
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco is preparing to begin a listener giveaway of tickets and cool memorabilia for its six area pro sports teams. “95.7 The Game” is calling the promotion “The Six Teams of Christmas” and will give listeners a chance to win game ticket packages to see the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, San Francisco Giants, Oakland As, Golden State Warriors and San Jose Sharks…..CBS Radio’s New York stations (including sports WFAN-AM/FM and all-news WINS and WCBS) are announcing a new promotion: The Firehouse Chili Cook-Off. After entries were submitted from all across the tri-state area, semi-finalists will compete to see whose chili recipe reigns supreme. At establishments in New Jersey and New York, the staple food of firefighters will be cooked, tasted and judged by local sports figures, and one fire company at each event will move into the final round of the competition. The grand prize winner will receive VIP tickets to a 2014 New York Yankees game…..Entercom’s Boston Red Sox flagship WEEI, Boston is broadcasting from the MLB Winter Meetings in Orlando next week. Live coverage of the meetings will begin with Salk & Holley from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm Monday through Wednesday. The Mut & Merloni show will also originate from the Swan and Dolphin Resort from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm Tuesday through Thursday.
Holiday Magic at KIRO-FM, Seattle. Pictured here is KIRO-FM, Seattle afternoon drive duo Ron & Don manning the tote board at last year’s “Holiday Magic Radiothon.” The Bonneville news/talk station, in partnership with Treehouse (a non-profit agency that ensures that kids in foster care have access to the essential services required to help them make it to high school graduation and beyond), are hosting the 25th Annual Foster Child Holiday Magic Radiothon today. The station set a record last year raising more than $500,000. The 12-hour “Holiday Magic Radiothon” helps local foster kids by raising money to provide each child in the program with one significant holiday gift along with support programs and services throughout the year.
Rusty Humphries on the Set in Bucharest. That’s talk show host and actor Rusty Humphries (left) with actor Michael Damian (right) on location in Bucharest, Romania on the set of the romantic comedy Love By Design. Humphries says he plays a reporter covering a big fashion show in New York City. He notes that Bucharest is a popular location to shoot NYC scenes since it can be made to look like the streets of New York and the production costs are much less. The movie also stars Jane Seymour. Humphries was in Bucharest for seven days filming. He tells TALKERS, “I had a blast. I love the fact that I’m having the opportunity to really live out my dreams: radio, TV and film. This is my third major motion picture, and it’s always an honor to be involved with a project as special as this.”
ObamaCare Criticism, NSA Cell Location Database, Obama Millennial Support Diminishing, Detroit Bankruptcy, Bashir Resignation, and Fast Food Minimum Wage Effort Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/5). Analysis of the implementation and effects of the Affordable Care Act; the NSA policy that reportedly gathers the location of cell phone users; the loss of support from Millennials for President Obama; the Detroit bankruptcy case ruling; Martin Bashir’s resignation from MSNBC after his Sarah Palin comments; and the move by organized labor to push for a national minimum wage for fast food workers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
More News/Talk Radio Success Stories. Yes, you read that right, contrary to the pronouncement – largely in the mainstream media (but some trades are generalizing as well) – that news/talk radio is suffering an overall ratings decline because there’s something wrong with the programming, the signals or its P1s, there are news/talk stations that are doing well. In a piece published yesterday (see Wednesday’s news below) we mentioned a few news/talk stations that are performing well such as WMAL, KMOX, WSB-AM, KIRO-FM and others but more have come to light and we believe it’s worth delving into again. The editors at TALKERS magazine understand we are running the risk of sounding like cheerleaders but it’s not because we are blind to reality, it’s that we are irked by sweeping conclusions based on less-than-complete information that brands an entire format as dead or dying. Yes, some news/talk stations are dealing with low ratings and, yes, there are some entire markets that have seen – at least according to Nielsen Audio’s data – listening to news/talk decline. But for those who work at Alpha Broadcasting’s KXL-FM, Portland; Clear Channel’s KFBK, Sacramento, KNRS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City or WLW, Cincinnati; Bonneville’s KSL, Salt Lake City; Cox Media Group’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando; or Entercom’s KMBZ, Kansas City, are enjoying the fruits of their hard work in the form of news/talk stations that are performing well in their markets in spite of this gloomy environment. Digging a bit deeper at KXL-FM, the midday shows – Jim Villanucci from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and Lars Larson from 12:00 noon to 4:00 pm – are both in the top six spots in Persons 25-54. Villanucci (brand new to Portland listeners) is ranked #6 in the market with Persons 25-54 and Larson, a conservative political talker, ranks #2 in the market with Persons 25-54. Larson is also tied for #1 with Men 18-34 with a 9.2 share. And he does it in liberal Portland! In conclusion, it is not only in the best interests of the country for news/talk radio to remain a vital medium — it is in the interests of the entire radio industry because – let’s face it – most of the buzz, news, high-profile personalities, controversy, and hoopla concerning radio as an iconic component of contemporary culture has emanated from news/talk radio. After that, a close runner up has been the more general (lifestyle and entertainment) approach to “talk” radio as practiced by talents such as Howard Stern (incorrectly described by mainstream media as “shock jocks.”) Can you imagine what the state of radio would be today had it not been for news/talk and general talk radio during the past 25 years? The industry should not be so quick to discount the viability of this genre of radio and the key it holds to the continued pertinence of radio itself. Lars Larson says his philosophy about the focus of his show is simple: “I figure the future of talk is in young listeners who get into the habit and like the format and what we put on the air. I hope to keep them in my audience for the next 20 years.”
Brief Tenure at WBZ-AM, Boston for Jen Brien. Just three months after beginning her position as permanent overnight host at CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston, talk show host Jen Brien exits with no reason given by management. An announcement was made at the beginning of the overnight program on Thursday morning (10/3) that Brien was no longer the host of the show. Brien won the job after Steve LeVeille retired in June of 2012. The station featured a number of fill-in hosts in the overnight slot for a year before giving Brien the gig. She had previously worked at crosstown WRKO hosting midday show.
Jay Mohr Visits ‘The Tonight Show.’ Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr is pictured here on the set of “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno. Mohr appeared on the program to talk about his sports talk radio show as well as his upcoming stand-up comedy shows in his Houston and San Antonio markets. Mohr plugged the fact that his show can be heard on iHeartRadio – prompting a shout from an audience member who, Mohr quipped, “has the app!”
CBS Radio Brings Soccer to NYC. CBS Radio sports talk WFAN-AM/FM, New York agrees to a multi-year deal with the New York City Football Club to begin broadcasting the team’s matches on the stations beginning in 2015. WFAN says it is “the first radio provider to broadcast Major League Soccer (MLS) in English in New York City.” Manchester City Football Club owns the NYC Football Club and CEO Ferran Soriano says, “We’re thrilled to partner with a station as prestigious as WFAN. This is a huge opportunity for the team to bring football to all New Yorkers, right from the onset of our playing debut.” Clearly, growing interest in soccer in the U.S. is something CBS Radio hopes will continue to blossom. CBS Radio SVP and market manager Don Bouloukos adds, “As the nation’s leading sports radio station, we always look for ways to bring every type of sport to the New York area’s fans. Soccer is beloved across the world, and with the New York City Football Club coming to New York, it’s the perfect time to further ignite the passion soccer fans have and bring coverage and play-by-play of this new team to the Tri-State area listeners.”
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s WEEI, Boston kicks off the Red Sox post-season play with a live remote broadcast following a shortened edition of the Salk and Holley show. A “Red Sox Roundtable” will be broadcast live from Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar and Grill in Fenway Park from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Mike Salk, Michael Holley and fellow WEEI personalities John Dennis, Mike Mutnansky, Lou Merloni, Mikey Adams, Kirk Minihane, Alex Speier and Rob Bradford, as well as the Sox broadcast team of Dave O’Brien and Joe Castiglione will be on hand to discuss the Sox’ impending American League Division Series matchup…..Speaking of Joe Castiglione, he’s been nominated as one of 10 finalists for the Ford C. Frick award, given to baseball broadcasters of long and meritorious service. Castiglione has been calling Boston Red Sox games on the radio for 31 years, having joined their broadcast team in 1983…..Northwestern alumnus, Mike Greenberg, and “Mike & Mike” co-host Mike Golic, will broadcast their show live from Northwestern’s Evanston, Illinois campus tomorrow morning (10/4) in advance of Saturday’s Homecoming game between the Wildcats and the Ohio State Buckeyes, as part of the third annual ESPN Audio Fall Football Tour. Greenberg will also serve as grand marshal of University’s 2013 Homecoming Parade tomorrow evening.
Media Day with the Heat. Lincoln Financial Media’s sports talker WAXY-AM/FM, Miami “The Ticket” morning drive hosts Marc Hochman (left) and Jonathon Zaslow (right) attended Miami Heat media day recently and took the time to pose for a shot with Heat center Joel Anthony (the tall guy in the middle).
Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, IPCC Climate Report, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/2). The political maneuvering to fix the government shutdown; the beginning of the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act; the release of the latest climate report from the IPCC; speculation about future relations between the U.S. and Iran; and financial markets activity were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.