Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck Return to KSFO, San Francisco. This move announced by Cumulus Media comes just a few days after local personality Spencer Hughes exited the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot at KSFO. Now, the company says Rush Limbaugh will occupy that show time while Sean Hannity will air from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm followed by Glenn Beck from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. Michael Savage and Mark Levin will continue to air in the afternoons. Now the big question is what are Clear Channel’s plans for KNEW “960 The Patriot” after the three Premiere Networks shows jump across the street? A likely option would be to plug in Fox Sports Radio Network programming. We can expect Clear Channel to make its intentions known relatively soon. The start date for the changes is September 29.
Cumulus Media Realigns Executive Structure; Jon Pinch to Retire. Calling this move a part of the goal to “enhance the company’s strategic and operational focus and leverage its business platform,” Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey announces the company is eliminating the co-COO posts that John Dickey and Jon Pinch have shared for years, the assignment of John Dickey to the new EVP of content and programming position, and the retirement of Jon Pinch after a 45-year career in the business. Lew Dickey says, “Our vision has been to build the radio company of the future and that is exactly what we are achieving. Towards that end, we have strategically broadened the company’s scope and now have in place differentiated distribution channels and multiple content development platforms. To accelerate our plans, we are putting in place a new organizational structure to reflect the company’s strategic evolution, bringing clarity, focus and accountability to key leadership roles in both our station and network groups.” A number of changes will take place in addition to Pinch’s retirement. Cumulus has retained the services of the search firm Spencer Stuart to seek an executive vice president of radio. That person will be “focused on providing day-to-day operational and strategic leadership of Cumulus’ radio station group consisting of its 460 stations in 90 U.S. markets.” Steve Shaw has been promoted from his SVP Cumulus national sales post to president of Westwood One. As for John Dickey, his new position will entail focusing on developing and maximizing content and programming. The company says, “Establishing this focused position recognizes the critical importance of Cumulus’ development and promotion of content and programming across the company’s station group, Westwood One network and other media platforms including Nash and Rdio.”
Sandy Buttweiler Leaves KFGO, Fargo and Radio for Job Outside the Industry. As reported in Prairie Business Magazine, longtime Fargo radio personality Sandy Buttweiler has resigned from her talk show position to take a job outside the radio biz. Buttweiler co-hosted the Jack & Sandy show with longtime partner Jack Sunday at Midwest Communications-owned KFGO, Fargo. As the paper notes, Buttweiler joined KFGO in 1982 and has worked there during three different stints as well as at other stations in the market, including crosstown WDAY. She told listeners there were no problems at the station and that she “was presented with an opportunity about six weeks ago. After careful and thoughtful consideration, it just seemed like the right time to take on this new opportunity.”
‘The News That Makes You Think’ Hits 100 Affiliate Mark. The newest feature from XtreMedia and hosted by Kevin McCullough passes the 100 affiliate mark after just 90 days in production. McCullough’s program – “The News That Makes You Think” – is airing in markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Phoenix, Tampa, Portland, Nashville, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Las Vegas. McCullough tells TALKERS magazine that, when launched in June, his company believed there would be a market for this type of feature and he describes it, saying, “The content is designed to offer a substantive look at national, political, and human interest stories. But every newscast provides information important to families and people of faith. And at the end of the day it’s about telling great stories!” McCullough says that across the Monday-Friday XtreMedia platform, 413 unique stations are airing the company’s programming.
WGN, Chicago Re-Ups Steve Cochran. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago morning drive personality Steve Cochran signs a four-year contract extension to continue with the Tribune Broadcasting outlet. As Feder points out, over the past year Cochran has performed well for WGN. In the most recent Nielsen Audio PPM survey, Cochran was #2 in the market (Persons 6+) with a 5.4 share. Cochran tells Feder, “Thanks to my amazing staff of Andrea Darlas, Dave Eanet, Orion Samuelson, Mary Vandevelde, Kevin Powell and my son, Ross, 5:00 am is actually fun. Working for Jimmy de Castro, Todd Manley and Larry Wert is as good as it gets — and I feel like we are just getting started.” Read Feder’s column here.
Round Three of August PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of August 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, Pittsburgh, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, and Columbus. The survey period was July 17 through August 13. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Ethnic WCGO, Chicago Begins Shift Toward Issues Talk Format. The Evanston, Illinois signal has been an ethnic time-brokered station since 1978 but consultant Tim Disa says that with a newly approved power increase to 10,000 watts (daytime), the station is revamping the programming, starting with the 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm daypart. Franklin Raff – a 39-year-old former producer for the G. Gordon Liddy show – is now hosting the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm show, followed by Radio America’s Dana Loesch from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and former crosstown WIND personality Geoff Pinkus hosting the 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm program. Additionally, the station is carrying Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” with George Noory in the overnight daypart. Disa says the goal of the station is to create “new, more inclusive content – a bit more libertarian and we will be reaching out to a younger generation using humor and common sense.”
Odds & Sods. At the Salem Radio Network operations in Washington, DC, Jeff Matzka is named chief engineer. The operation includes the Washington, DC bureau of the SRN News and the studios of the Bill Bennett “Morning in America” show…..The new flagship station for the NBA’s Washington Wizards is CBS RADIO’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington (licensed to Bowie, Maryland). The station reports that D.C. area play-by-play broadcaster Dave Johnson will return for his 17th season calling Wizards games, and is joined for the 7th year by analyst Glenn Consor…..Clear Channel’s news/talk WHJJ, Providence and classic hits WWBB “B101” will be the new flagship stations for University of Rhode Island football and men’s basketball this season. WHJJ will also air the 16 Dan Hurley shows featuring the Rams’ head basketball coach.
Celebrating Success. Nationally syndicated talk show host Michael Savage is pictured here aboard his family yacht in the New York harbor addressing representatives from syndicator Westwood One, Cumulus-owned WABC Radio, and several high-profile clients and partners. Using the occasion of the success of his latest book, Stop the Coming Civil War (Center Street 2014), Savage used the tale of his grandfather’s immigration from Russia almost 100 years ago to express why America needs to reward hard work and not take from those who are productive. This event on NYC’s Chelsea Pier also caught the eye of the New York Post’s Page Six.
Mike Gallagher Plays the Cowardly Lion. Regular TALKERS readers know one of Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher’s interests is the theatre – Gallagher won a 2013 Tony Award as an investor in the Broadway revival of “Pippin.” In addition to the numerous roles he’s played on the stage over the years, Gallagher (pictured here in full make-up for dress rehearsal) is currently playing the Cowardly Lion in the South Carolina Children’s Theatre production of The Wizard of Oz.
US ISIS Strategy and Journalist Beheadings Top Stories on News/Talk Radio for Week of September 1-5. The controversy over the United States’ military policy regarding the ISIS campaign in Iraq and the recent beheadings of two American journalists tied atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of September 1-5. At #2 this week was the Al Qaeda jihad threat tied with the missing Libyan airliners. Coming in at #3 was the mid-term elections and the prospects for the 2016 presidential race followed by the Justice Department’s probe of the Ferguson, Missouri police department at #4. 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Cory Callewaert Named PD at CC’s Bay Area News/Talkers. Bay Area talk radio pro Cory Callewaert is promoted from his assistant program director post at Clear Channel’s San Francisco cluster to PD of news/talk outlets KKSF “Talk 910” and KNEW “960 The Patriot.” The latter station is largely conservative syndicated fare – Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Andy Dean – while KKSF features local and regional programming with Armstrong & Getty (based at KSTE, Sacramento), Frosty Stillwell in middays and Gil Gross hosting PM drive. Callewaert’s experience in the market includes a stint with CBS RADIO co-hosting the Cory & Lex show at former hot talker KIFR-FM “106.9 Free FM” and two years as APD at KKSF and KNEW from 2003 to 2005. He rejoined Clear Channel San Francisco in 2009.
NYT Magazine Spotlights Rogers, Huckabee and Political Talk Radio. In a piece by Mark Liebovich in The New York Times Magazine, current Fox News Channel/former WestwoodOne talk show host Mike Huckabee and soon-to-be WW1 talk personality (and current House Intelligence Committee chair) Mike Rogers (R-MI) chat about talk radio and politics. Rogers recounts meeting Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey at WJR, Detroit personality Paul W. Smith’s wedding. The two chatted and Dickey asked if he’d ever considered getting into talk radio. The rest, as they say, is (developing) history. Both he and Huckabee offer comparisons between politics and media and Huckabee sums it up telling Liebovich “If you have more votes than the other guy, you win; if not, you lose.” Same with ratings. “Anybody who thinks, Oh, I’m really smart and articulate, good for me…if he doesn’t have people who watch and listen to him, he’s gone.” Read the whole story here.
KXIC, Iowa City’s Dottie Ray to Retire. Iowa City radio personality Dottie Ray is retiring from Clear Channel’s KXIC “Iowa City’s News & Sports Leader” after a career that has spanned 64 years in the market. Ray hosts her daily eponymous show from 8:45 am to 9:00 am. The station says she began broadcasting her fifteen-minute program back in 1950 and since then has informed listeners about local organizations, artists and events. She has interviewed thousands of guests over the years, always focusing her program on the Iowa City community and non-profit organizations. To celebrate her contributions to the community, AM-800 KXIC will be broadcasting one final interview with Dottie Ray, flipping the microphone around to ask Dottie about her career. KXIC morning host Jay Capron will conduct the interview on Tuesday, May 13. The entire 9:00 am hour will be dedicated to Ray, with several special surprises planned for the program. CCM+E Iowa City OM JJ Cook says, “She is an amazing lady and a very passionate and involved broadcaster. Dottie is a true Iowa City icon and I’m lucky to have had the pleasure of working with her for the past 11 years.”
Entercom Introduces SmartReach Digital. Headed up by Stephen Gibbons, the Entercom division is intended to help local businesses navigate digital marketing options. Gibbons most recently was vice president of marketing and vice president of national sales at Dex One. Entercom president and chief executive officer David Field states that, “SmartReach Digital is an exciting and important expansion of our company’s product line and a perfect complement to our core radio business. Our goal is to be the preferred choice to meet the advertising and marketing needs of our local customers.” The new division will focus on designing and implementing integrated digital marketing strategies for local businesses. It will offer a number of products and services that “enable local businesses to attract, activate, and engage targeted leads.” Field adds, “We believe our new SmartReach Digital products will bolster our ability to deliver powerful and effective solutions for our customers.” As of April 1, SmartReach Digital has debuted in six Entercom markets; over the next 12 months, it will be rolled out in other markets where the company owns stations.
NFL Draft Day Draws Radio Coverage. The National Football League’s annual draft has become one of the sport’s prime events and – especially since it moved from being held exclusively on the weekend to the first two days happening on a Thursday and Friday – it’s become a major event for radio coverage as well. CBS Sports Radio announces it will be on hand and broadcasting live from Radio City Music Hall in New York to its more than 300 affiliate stations. The network says evening duo Chris Moore and Brian Jones of “The Mojo Show” will be live from 6:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET for round one of the draft and from 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm on Friday for rounds two and three. CBS Sports Radio overnight host Damon Amendolara will serve as reporter. Over at NBC Sports Radio and WestwoodOne, that network’s Scott Graham will anchor the coverage with updates and one-on-one interviews throughout the night. Donovan McNabb will co-host “Under Center with McNabb & Malone” from Radio City. Later that evening, NBC Sports Radio crew of Jon Stashower, Amani Toomer, and Eytan Shander will go live with features, special reports, and expert analysis. NBC Sports Radio is a joint venture between NBC Sports and WestwoodOne. CBS Sports Radio is repped by WW1.
Salem Communications Reports Q1 2014 Revenue Up 12%. But that big hike includes the recent acquisition of Eagle Publishing, as CEO Ed Atsinger noted during the investors conference call yesterday. Atsinger says the company is very bullish on the acquisition of Eagle and what it can mean to the company’s multi-platform efforts. More on that shortly, first the numbers. Salem’s broadcast division was up 5.4% while its internet and e-commerce division revenue rose 32.9% and the publishing division went up 44%. Breaking down the radio numbers a bit, Atsinger said, “Forty of our radio stations are in the foundational Christian teaching and talk format. These stations contributed 45% of total broadcast revenue and increased 4% for the quarter. Advertising revenue was up 9% while block programming on this format was up 3%. We have 27 stations in news/talk and they increased 16% for the quarter, due to an increase in political revenue. Overall, these stations contributed 17% of total broadcast revenue.” Back to the integration of publishing with broadcasting, Atsinger says the addition of Eagle and imprint Regnery dovetails nicely with its stations’ conservative philosophy as well as with its digital properties including TownHall.com, HumanEvents.com and RedState.com. He said Regnery just published the book Blue Collar Conservative by former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum – its first significant title – and it used its nationally syndicated news/talk shows and digital assets to plug the book. Regarding this, Atsinger says, “This marketing approach we think will help us boost sales, but I think it will also regularly provide additional leverage in terms of being competitive for signing up new attractive offers.” Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript. Members can read the whole transcript here.
Odds & Sods. The new radio play-by-play voice of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars is Frank Frangie, who replaces Brian Sexton as the team switches from former flagship WOKV-AM/FM to Seven Bridges Radio-owned sports talker WJXL “1010XL.” Sexton had called all 392 games in the franchise’s history. He’ll move to jaguars.com where he’ll serve as senior correspondent. Former Jaguars players Jeff Lageman and Tony Boselli will remain in the game-day booth as analysts…..Boston sports talk personality Glenn Ordway reports the app for his internet radio show is now available. The “Big Show Unfiltered” app makes its debut just months after Ordway launches his venture Sportstalkboston.com…..Former WNTA, Rockford, Illinois talk host Doug McDuff lands across the Illinois-Wisconsin border at WTJK, Janesville “The Big AM 1380” to host the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, according to mystateline.com. WTJK is owned by Good Karma but is being operated by Big Radio under an LMA with the sale of the station to Big Radio pending.
Global Warming Debate, 2016 Presidential Race/Monica Lewinsky Interview, Obama Economic Legacy, Benghazi Aftermath, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The reignited debate over climate change and the Obama Administration’s policy regarding power plant emissions; the 2016 presidential race and Monica Lewinsky’s piece in Vanity Fair in which she goes public about her affair with President Bill Clinton; the tepid U.S. economy and the Obama Administration’s fiscal legacy; continued investigation into the deadly Benghazi attack; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and fears other former Soviet bloc nations have about Vladimir Putin’s motives were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — Tremendous temptation surfaces in the years of profiling talk radio personalities to make an occasional obligatory James Brown-inspired reference.
Specifically, a justifiable desire eventuates to compare certain talk hosts to the late entertainer (as opposed to the CBS-TV and former Sporting News Radio broadcaster of the same name) who – in addition to “The Godfather of Soul” was often dubbed the “hardest-working” person in show business.
Not that those in other genres of this medium are slackers – Ryan Seacrest represents the definitive textbook example of a supremely ambitious music radio star – but a select group of talk radio hosts do the improbable of overseeing multiple long-form weekday programs (often back-to-back).
That handful of Herculean talk realm performers has at various times included, among others, the likes of Thom Hartmann, Rusty Humphries, Lars Larson, Michael Smerconish, and Ed Schultz. Some such as Alan Colmes and Sean Hannity have had and continue to have a daily radio/daily TV mix.
As laudatory as that most assuredly is, someone in Tampa took conscientiousness and mindboggling to an even more impressive level.
A Good Listen to a Good Guy
By Mike Kinosian
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — Some view their own age and/or that of others as a roadblock – a barrier to achieving an untold number of additional hopes and dreams.
To others, age – more correctly – is merely a meaningless number with no attached strings or restrictions.
It would have been quite easy and understandable for Alex Bennett to take leave and retreat from the business in which he has been an integral part for several decades. After all, the legendary broadcaster was 73 years old when Sirius XM unceremoniously pink-slipped him last June after more than nine years of service at the satcaster (he turned 74 two months ago).
Notwithstanding an imposing and lengthy list of accomplishments and vitae, which the native Californian could trumpet as an entree to retirement, he has become an entrepreneur with “Alex Bennett’s Great American Broadcasts” being the centerpiece of his novel take to talk radio.