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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

| October 14, 2015

riverssmokeyRivers Flows to Scripps Tucson As OM. Beginning next Monday (10/19), former seven-year iHeartMedia Phoenix vice president of programming Smokey Rivers takes over as operations manager of the Scripps-owned stations in Tucson. According to Scripps Tucson vice president and general manager Leon Clark, “It was a long and active search – we are very fortunate to welcome Smokey to Scripps. He is a creative idea generator with an extensive and varied background in several formats. His expertise is perfect for our [Tucson] stations. I am confident Smokey will continue to help grow these very important brands in the Tucson market.” In thanking Scripps management for being “provocative throughout the interviewing and hiring process,” Rivers states, “I look forward to this opportunity to help lead the Scrippsewscripps Tucson stations to even greater success.” Prior to joining iHeartMedia Phoenix in 2005, Rivers spent more than six years as CBS RADIO‘s vice president of adult contemporary programming. His vast resume also includes a stint as national vice president of programming for Stoner Broadcasting Systems. In addition, Rivers has been director of programming and operations for stations in New York City, San Francisco, Dallas, Washington (DC), St. Louis, Memphis, and Birmingham. He most recently was managing partner of Reeber Hospitality. Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s summer 2015 Tucson book, Scripps Tucson adult contemporary KMXZ “Mix” ranks second (7.2) behind Cumulus Media country outlet KIIM (9.4). With their summer 2015 Nielsen  Audio 12+ shares/rankings in parentheses, the other Scripps Tucson stations are rhythmic hot AC KTGV “The Groove” (2.1, #11); talk KQTH (1.3, #17); and sports KFFN-AM “ESPN Tucson” (1.1, #19).

hewitthughSRN’s Hugh Hewitt to Be Panelist on December and March GOP Presidential Debates. For two of the upcoming Republican presidential primary debates, Salem Radio Network talk show host Hugh Hewitt will be part of the journalist panels. CNN and SRN are again working together with SRN handling audio distribution of the debates that will be televised on CNN. The two events are December 15 at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas and March 10 in Florida. Hewitt states, “I am excited by the opportunity to continue to help shape the conversation about which of the candidates ought to be the GOP nominee in 2016. My focus remains on posing questions that elicit answers GOP primary voters will find helpful in casting their ballots.”

armstronggettyArmstrong & Getty to Anchor Mornings on KEIB, Los Angeles.  The iHeartMedia news/talker KEIB, Los Angeles “The Patriot 1150” will feature KSTE, Sacramento-based morning duo Armstrong & Getty in the 5:00 am to 9:00 am daypart effective November 2.  The show – hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty and also heard on iHeartMedia stations in markets including San Francisco and San Diego – will bump Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck to the afternoon drive slot.

jvJV Inks New Deal with iHM; ‘The Doghouse’ to Air on ‘Talk 910.’  It’s a multi-layered deal for air personality JV, a.k.a. Jeff Vandergrift, as he and iHeartMedia/San Francisco come to terms on a new contract.  In part one, “The JV Show,” featuring Vandergrift and co-host Selena, continues on CHR KYLD, San Francisco “WiLD 94.9.”  Part two reunites Vandergrift with former partner Elvis, a.k.a. Dan Lay, for an afternoon talk show (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) on sister station KKSF “Talk 910.” The two worked together at KYLD in the past – as well as at CBS RADIO’s WKRK, New York during the “Freedoghouse FM” format period.  iHeartMedia says JV will also “produce and distribute content through his production company.”  To make room for “The Doghouse” on KKSF, Gil Gross moves to 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, followed by Cory & Joel from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  iHeartMedia San Francisco SVP/programming Don Parker comments, “JV is one of the Bay Area’s best and consistently top-rated personalities.  We’re thrilled to have him extend his tenure on ‘WiLD 94.9,’ along with fulfilling his passion for talk radio with a new show on ‘Talk 910.’…he will not only continue entertaining the WiLD audience, but he and Elvis are part of a new and exciting generation of talk radio.”

meinersterryWHAS, Louisville Host Terry Meiners Prevails in Defamation Case.  The Kentucky Court of Appeals has ruled that WHAS, Louisville talk show host Terry Meiners did not defame Louisville police officer Sam Cromity when he discussed on his radio show the traffic citation Cromity gave him and compared Cromity to Don Knotts’ television character Barney Fife.   Meiners received a speeding ticket in 2011.  He spoke about the incident on his radio show and said he did not deserve a ticket and called Cromity a “troubled public servant,” an “out-and-out liar,” and referred to him as “Black Car Barney,” an allusion to the “Andy Griffith Show” character.  Not only did Meiners beat the traffic ticket, he won the first round of Cromity’s suit against him in 2013.  In the September 25, 2015 Appeals Court ruling, Judge Laurence VanMeter wrote, “Disparaging statements that are not so definite or precise to be branded false cannot support an action for defamation.”

Odds & Sods.  The NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves and CBS RADIO news/talk WCCO-AM ink a new multi-year radio partnership for the station to continue as the team’s flagship radio station.  Under the terms, Alan Hortonwcco logo returns for his ninth season as the Wolves play-by-play announcer and will team up with studio host John Focke to produce the 30-minute pre- and post-game shows…..Cumulus Media extends its deal with IMG to continue as the exclusive flagship radio station for University of Tennessee athletics through Knoxville stations country WIVK-FM and sports talk WNML-AM/FM.  The stations are continuing a 40-year relationship with the IMG Vol Network, one of the oldest and largest collegiate radio networks in the country…..Westwood One and client The National Pork Board are presenting content called “daily porkcasts” across the network’s programming.  WW1 says “the daily ‘porkcast’…is a fun and engaging consumer brand integration that reminds listeners to create pork-inspired meals to complement the changing season.  The campaign, which includes commercials running in Westwood One’s NFL and country programming, will also feature live read spots from CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki Barber during his ‘Tiki & Tierney’ morning radio show. The radio ads will prompt listeners to search for recipes that fit their local, real-time weather forecast based on location.  Consumers will be driven to a website where recipes for all seasons are available step-by-step.”

Democratic Candidates Debate/2016 Presidential Race, Russian Syria Military Campaign, U.S. Syria-ISIS Policy, Israel Violence, GOP House Speaker Issue, European Migrant Problems/U.S. Immigration Policy Controversy, and MLB Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/13).  The first Democratic presidential candidates’ debate and the activities of the GOP presidential candidates; Russia’s military campaign in Syria; the United States’ military policy in Syria and with regard to ISIS; the recent violence in Israel; the process of replacing outgoing GOP House Speaker John Boehner; migrant problems affecting European nations and the related U.S. immigration policy debate; and the MLB playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

| January 14, 2015

savagemichaelMichael Savage and Westwood One Renew Deal; College Scholarships to Be Awarded.  Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage and syndicator Westwood One are announcing the two sides have come to terms on a new, multi-year contract to keep “The Savage Nation” with the company.  In a press release, Savage and WW1 say he is “ushering in a new era of talk radio with his groundbreaking ‘Unprotected Talk’ format that he will use to interact with listeners on topical current events and lifestyle issues – with politics of course remaining an important part of the show.  Savage is challenging the talk radio industry with his one-of-a-kind program by combining timely political content with the real-life issues that his millions of listeners are talking about every day, including topics such as health, science, religion, culture and more.”  At the samewestwood one NEW time, Savage says he’s set up a $100,000 scholarship fund “for conservative college students,” that will grant five recipients two-year awards totaling $10,000 annually.  The scholarship winners will be selected through an essay contest opening January 15 titled, “What Does It Mean to Be an American?” with “the intention of promoting traditional American values.”  Savage comments, “I am uniquely positioned to discuss a wide range of topics while maintaining an authentic, unapologetic voice because of my academic background. While others focus on Obamacare, I discuss health issues.  I’m not shying away from politics and I’m not running for office like others in the media.  Cumulus has allowed me to expand my reach, but my goal has remained the same – to deliver the best, most comprehensive commentary on radio and ‘edutain’ the world in the process.  With my new scholarship fund I can now help inspire the next generation by encouraging education and conservative values.”

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craneedEd Crane Exits KFBK, Sacramento as Morning Host.  From a story in the Sacramento Bee, morning personality Ed Crane is out at the iHeartMedia news/talk outlet after serving in the post since 2008.  The station recently announced it hired talk programming pro Bill White – most recently with Journalkfbk logo Broadcast Group’s Tucson stations – who assumes his new position on Tuesday, January 20.  What the station’s plans for AM drive might be is pure speculation at this point.  White handled mornings at KQTH, Tucson.  Whether he’s headed for the morning show at KFBK or the station wants him to lead the search for a new morning host is unknown.  Back to Crane, he tells the Bee that he’s not happy with how his departure was handled saying, “Some untrue things were said that weren’t nice.  I don’t get it.  We were number 1.”

wmca logoWhither Christian Talk WMCA, New York?  The Salem Communications Christian talk outlet is airing promos on the station promising a change of some sort, but what the legendary NYC signal might morph into is unknown.  The promos state, “Beginning Monday, January 19th, WMCA New York’s Christian talk, will be no more.  Find out what we will become, Monday, January 19th.”  It’s likely that there will be no real format change, just a re-branding of the Christian talk format since ratings are not usually a concern for such a station.  Salem already serves the market with secular news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer.”

pragerdennisDocumentary Film Debaters to Include Prager, Father Morris. This coming Monday (1/19), Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager will join archdiocese of New York’s Father Jonathan MorrisEric Metaxas; and Anne Graham Lotz to discuss “Patterns of Evidence: The Exodus.”  Their panel discussion will be shown in 650 U.S. theaters through Fathom Events’ digital broadcast network and is slated to follow the theatrical premiere of the Timothy Mahoney award-winning documentary, which chronicles an in-depth archaeological investigation in Egypt as his team attempts to corroborate the biblical text.  Twelve years in the making, the film explores the fundamental question if there is any evidence the Exodus story actually happened.  Prager has been broadcasting on Los Angeles radio since 1982; his 9:00 am – 12:00 noon (PT) program has been in syndication since 1999.  Father Morris is currently the program director of “The Catholic Channel” on SiriusXM Radio.  The daughter of Billy Graham, Christian evangelist Lotz founded AnGeL Ministries.  Metaxas co-hosts the syndicated weekly Sunday morning program “100 Huntley Street.”  Prager’s SRN colleague Michael Medved appears on-camera in the documentary.  Fox News Channel‘s Gretchen Carlson will moderate next Monday’s debate.

snlkaganRabid Mobile Media Consumption Drives SNL Kagan $9 Billion 2014 Revenue Estimate. The research firm SNL Kagan is reporting that its estimate for 2014 revenue for the mobile entertainment sector is $9.14 billion – up from $2.71 billion just three years ago.  The frenetic growth of the mobile media industry is well documented in the radio trades and shouldn’t surprise anyone in this industry, but the figures that SNL Kagan breaks out are interesting, nonetheless.  It reports that the mobile music segment was the third largest, contributing 19% to the entertainment sector’s revenue.  However, the games category was tops – delivering 59% of the entertainment sector’s revenue in 2014 – with video in second place bringing in 20% of the sector’s revenue.  SNL Kagan estimates that the mobile music biz – led by players such as Pandora, Spotify, iTunes and others – accounted for $1.76 billion of the $9 billion total.

Charlie Hebdo Aftermath/Islamic Extremism, ISIS Hack of Pentagon and Centcom, Obama Cyber Security Speech, Bartender Accused in Plot to Kill Boehner, Romney Promises 2016 Run, and Ohio State Wins National Football Title Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/13).  The political aftermath of the deadly attack on Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo and the larger topic of Islamic extremism; the hacking of the Pentagon’s and Centcom’s social media; the cyber-security speech delivered by President Obama; the plot by an Ohio bartender to kill House Speaker John Boehner; the promise by Mitt Romney to run for president in 2016; and Ohio State’s run to the National Championship were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

| October 30, 2014

baxteredEd Baxter Named Midday Host at KKSF, San Francisco.  Longtime market pro Ed Baxter is named the permanent 10:00 am to 1:00 pm host at iHeartMedia’s KKSF, San Francisco “Talk 910.”  The Bay Area Radio Hall of Famer was a fixture on crosstown KGO for more than 30 years where he served as news anchor in both morning and afternoon drive slots.  iHeartMedia San Francisco VP of programming Don Parker writes on the station’s website, “We are thrilled to add Ed Baxter to the ‘Talk 910’ lineup.  Ed has a tremendous audience base from his many years on the air in the Bay Area, as well as a fantastic track record of success for advertisers.  Our commitment to live and local talk throughout prime-time programming is unparalleled in the Bay, making ‘Talk 910’ San Francisco’s Talk Station.”

lippjenJennifer Lipp to Leave KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno.  Twenty-year Fresno market radio personality Jennifer Lipp is leaving her morning drive co-host role at Cumulus Media’s news/talk duo KMJ-AM and FM.  The Fresno Bee reports that Lipp – who is partnered with John Broeske on the John and Jen show – and her family are moving from the area because her husband has accepted a position in Arkansas.  The Philadelphia native also worked in the Fresno market at rhythmic oldies KFBT “The Beat 103.7” and rock KKBZ “The Blaze 105.1” before joining KMJ two years ago.

2014hhsports-header only 200TALKERS Magazine to Present 2014 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk.  On Friday (10/31), the editors of TALKERS magazine will present the third annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.  This list will rank sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors.  The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 10 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming.  With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio.  The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective.  Being  true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication.  Look for this annual feature to be published at Talkers.com tomorrow!

nielsen logoRound Three of October PPM Data Released.  The third of four rounds of October 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 September 11 through October 8.  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.

wsj this morningRamping Up to Election Day.  Tuesday’s mid-term elections are right around the corner and “The Wall Street Journal This Morning” went to the iconic Independence Mall in Philadelphia to gauge how Americans are feeling about the economy, their wages, their job security, and their small businesses.   Host Gordon Deal and news anchor Gina Cervetti will present comments from the people they talk to during special segments of the show on Monday and Tuesday in a feature called “Voices of the Voters.”

harrisheidiOdds & Sods.  KBET, Las Vegas talk show host Heidi Harris is honored by being profiled in the 2014 edition of the Distinguished Women in Nevada publication.  Harris, a longtime Las Vegas media personality, hosts the 6:00 pm hour on KBET…..WPHT, Philadelphia talk show host Dom Giordano (who recently re-upped with the CBS RADIO news/talk outlet) is being honored in chocolate!  Gertrude Hawk Chocolates will issue “The Dom Bar.”  The candy will have a picture of Giordano on the label that will say, “It’s Dom Time.”…..Westwood One announces that Mary Giesen has been hired to serve as vice president, sales planning.  It’s a homecoming for Giesen, who previously worked at Westwood One in several sales planning capacities.  Her responsibilities this time will include strategic development of the company’s sales initiatives, including management of commercial inventory; sales data; pricing; and performance.

batrapoojaNew Online Hindi Radio Station Offering Music and Talk Shows Targeted to America’s Growing Indian Population.  A new online radio station called Mera Sangeet (www.merasangeet.com), based in the Northridge area of Los Angeles and owned by its CEO, the dynamic Indian-born actress, model, entrepreneur and philanthropist Pooja Batra, is now streaming on the web with a wide variety of Hindi music and general interest (Indian issues and pop culture) talk shows.  The station’s management, which also includes noted Bollywood film-maker Anshuvijay Rode, describes its targetrodeanshuvijay audience (the Indian diaspora) as “the most affluent ethnic minority in the US.”  Many of the station’s impressive lineup of on-air personalities, described as “RJs” (radio jockeys) include household names and stars from India’s show business and Bollywood (cinema) scene.  The business model of the fledgling operation consists of two basic entities – the national Mera Sangeet LA stream that emanates from Los Angeles with the bulk of its programming and local franchises across the US (Mera Sangeet USA).  The station is offering interested and qualified parties across the country the opportunity to invest in these local franchises which would involve generating a local programming and sales component to compliment the national content provided from Los Angeles.  The station is also interested in meeting with potential general investors.  Interested parties can call Anshuvijay Rode in LA at 323-203-7445.

kqthFisherKQTH, Tucson Raises $121,000-plus for Fisher House Foundation.  On Wednesday (10/29), Journal Broadcast Group news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson held a 12-hour radiothon to raise funds to help build a Fisher House at the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care Center.  During the broadcast, the station helped bring in $121,178 for the cause.  Pictured here celebrating the success of the event are (from left to right): KQTH producer Shane Dunn, program director and morning host Bill White, afternoon host James T. Harris and Arizona Fisher House vice chair Rick Grinnell.  Other KQTH personalities who participated in the radiothon were Jon Justice, Ben Buehler Garcia and news anchor John Harper.  Stations interested in learning how to support the Fisher House Foundation which provides housing for veterans and the families of military personnel being treated at military hospitals can contact Marshall Adams at radio@fisherhouse.org.

srnCruzSpecial Election Night Guest.  Posing for a photo with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (right) is Salem Radio Network vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left).  Both share a laugh over an Obama t-shirt.  The two got together in advance of Tuesday night’s marathon mid-term election coverage on the network in which Cruz will play a role as one of a number of high-profile guests who will join anchor (and SRN-syndicated talk show host) Hugh Hewitt that evening.

Domestic Ebola Cases, Mid-Term Elections, Battle Against ISIS, 2016 Presidential Hopefuls, and World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/29).  The domestic Ebola cases and controversy surrounding quarantine policies; next Tuesday’s mid-term elections and the possibility of a majority change in the U.S. Senate; the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and the cases of Western youths joining the militant Islamic organization; the potential candidates for president in 2016; and the Royals-Giants World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, June 30, 2014

| June 30, 2014

borrell logoBorrell Associates Releases Political Advertising Outlook; Radio’s Share to Shrink.  But that’s not entirely unexpected by those who’ve been involved in political ad buys over the past few years.  Even though Borrell estimates the total ad spend this year alone to be $8.3 billion, the media that will see an increase are cable and online.  TV will lose market share at the expense of cable – due, Borrell concludes, to the more highly targetable nature of cable’s niche programming.  While online is expected to see a big increase, it’s still a small part (3.3%) of the total political ad spend for 2014.  Radio’s share is shrinking – from 6.5% of the total ad spend in 2010 to an estimated 5.8% this year.  But that money — $485 million – is money the industry is banking on.  Another item of note from Borrell is that 54% of the total ad spend comes in September and October.  The ability to narrowly define a medium’s audience helps a political ad buy and if radio executives can show campaigns that they have a desired audience, the likelihood of getting the buy increases.  For more information, see the Borrell Associates site here.

clarkleonClark Takes Helm of Journal’s Tucson Radio Stations.  Assuming the VP/GM position at Journal Broadcast Group’s Tucson operations is Leon Clark, who comes to the company from his most recent post as sales manager for the digital audio aggregator TuneIn.  Journal operates four stations in the market: adult contemporary KMXZ “94.9 Mix FM,” news/talk KQTH-FM, rhythmic oldies KTGV “106.3 The Groove,” and sports talk KFFN “ESPN Tucson.”  Journal EVP – Radio Steve Wexler comments, “Leon’s broadcast and digital experience, as well as his strong leadership track record, makes him a great fit with Journal and our Tucson team.  He embodies our core values of integrity, excellence, determination and innovation and I’m thrilled to welcome him to our company.”  Clark comments, “I am honored to lead the Tucson team forward and to become part of a broadcast group that shares the same core values that I do.  We have some incredible opportunities ahead of us and I look forward to much success for our Tucson team.”

wgn logo newWGN, Chicago Returns the Bird to Service.  As Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports, Tribune Company news/talker WGN, Chicago is bringing the iconic marketing mascot the Bird – appropriately named Chicago – back into service to be the face of some of its marketing efforts.  Instead of being a TV and print icon, the Bird will be a social media avatar for the station.  Vice president of content and programming Todd Manley tells Feder, “The idea is to give the Bird a new life in a new space and really have it be the voice of Chicago through listening to WGN Radio.”  Read Feder’s story here.

bearmanquakes2KSFO, San Francisco’s Bearman Talks Soccer and More During Weekend Remote.  Rising talk radio star Ethan Bearman (pictured here at right) speaks with San Jose Earthquakes president Dave Kaval (left) outside Stanford Stadium during a Saturday evening broadcast on Cumulus Media’s KSFO, San Francisco.  Bearman broadcast his program from the stadium on the occasion of the MLS match between San Jose and the Los Angeles Galaxy dubbed the California Classico.  Bearman says the excitement of the World Cup and the biggest fireworks show in the Bay Area brought some 50,000 people out for the event.  He says that although KSFO is not a sport talk-oriented station, the interview with Kaval, two-time MLS goalkeeper of the year and former Earthquake Joe Cannon plus the local non-sports topics make for a show that was a bit hit with the listeners and fans in attendance.

entercomGeary Exiting Entercom Communications Post.  Citing his desire to return to the political communications end of the business, Entercom director of strategic communications Kevin Geary announces he’s leaving his position with the company to focus full time on his political communications firm, Independence Strategy.  Geary’s been with Entercom for the past three years and, during that time, he’s kept his own company in business.  But he says he misses the political communications biz and wants to return.  “The closer we got to the 2014 elections it was clear just how much I missed it.  With 3 ½ years in corporate and media communications, I know I can offer clients a unique combination of political, business perspectives.”

wpen-fm logoGreater Media Sports Talkers to Air USA World Cup Game.  As the USA soccer teamwmgc sportslogo continues its bid for the World Cup, Greater Media-owned WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “97.5 The Fanatic” and WMGC, Detroit “Detroit Sports 105.1” will air the USA vs Belgium match live on Tuesday, July 1 at 4:00 pm ET.  In addition WPEN-FM Mike Missanelli is broadcasting live from Pagano’s leading up to the match.  Fans who join Missanelli in Center City will be able to watch the match on a 20-foot-by-17-foot screen, as well as on the televisions inside Pagano’s.  WPEN-FM program director Matt Nahigian says, “We had an overwhelming amount of listeners asking us to air the US vs Germany game and it continued for Tuesday’s matchup.  We’re excited to be able to provide the radio call of the game to our listeners.”

Monday, June 9, 2014

| June 9, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Talkers New York 2014 on Verge of Sell Out – Only 50 Seats Left.  As of 12:00 noon ET today (6/9) only 50 registrations remain available for Talkers New York 2014, the 17th annual installment of the talk radio and media industry’s longest running and most important national convention.  This year’s event covers the existential issues facing not only talk radio – but radio in general – as both a business and iconic piece of the broader pop cultural picture.  According to its director, Michael Harrison, the gathering will “connect the future of talk radio with its past.”  Harrison says, “This conference was way ahead of the curve when it was first launched in the late 90s as ‘The New Media Seminar’ in pointing the way toward radio’s inevitable entry into the digital era.  While most other conferences are now acting as if the digital age were something new and obsess on the technical aspects of the medium as if we just discovered websites and social media, this year’s conference will accept the internet, apps, and multi-platform options as a given and concentrate on how we can get back to the basics of what makes ‘radio’ special, important, financially viable and culturally indispensable — regardless of the technology via which it is distributed.”  Harrison also points out, “Everyone knows how difficult it is to be a professional in this industry these days between layoffs and economic uncertainty.  The movers and shakers – both established giants and up-and-coming prospects – that attend this great event create an infinite set of relationships upon which careers and businesses are built.  In other words, not only does this convention offer information and inspiration, it also provides its attendees one of the industry’s most potent annual networking environments and opportunities.”  There will be more than 65 industry leaders in speaking roles at the conference which takes place on Friday, June 20 at the iconic India House in the heart of New York City’s historic Financial District.  Registration is only open to professionals (and broadcasting students) working in radio and related media.  They are neither transferable nor refundable.  The cost is $249 per person which includes all sessions, receptions, exhibits, food and refreshments.  Registrations can only be booked over the phone with credit card.  Call 413-565-5413.  Again, a sellout is expected today or tomorrow.  For up-to-the-minute agenda information and further details please click here.

nogales centerKQTH, Tucson’s Jon Justice Breaks Immigrant Children Story.  By now you’re well aware of the story of hundreds of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the border and beingjusticejon rounded up and processed in Nogales, Arizona.  The story was broken last Wednesday by KQTH, Tucson morning drive personality Jon Justice whose sources inside the Border Patrol sent photos (one of which is seen here) of the conditions at the Nogales center where the youths are being temporarily held. See the other pictures sent to Justice in an AZCentral news piece here.  The story notes that the children – some as young as one and others as old as 17 – were apprehended crossing the border in Texas and bused to the Nogales center.  Justice was out front covering this story that led to the subsequent international story.

kfnskxfnUgly Scene at KFNS and KXFN in St. Louis Plays Out in Local Media; KXFN Host Brian McKenna Fired.  An unfortunate scene that took place at Grand Slam Sports-operated KFNS and KXFN in St. Louis was played out for St. Louis Post-Dispatch readers after KXFN morning host Brian McKenna allegedly assaulted Grand Slam Sports president Dan Marshall.  As the paper reports, McKenna was upset about comments KFNS host Nick Trupiano was making on his afternoon drive show about McKenna, KFNS host Charlie “Tuna” Edwards and McKenna’s girlfriend.  McKenna entered the station offices extremely angry and encountered Marshall.  After words were exchanged, McKenna allegedly attacked Marshall physically, sending him to the hospital.  St. Louis police were called and, according to the paper, the incident is being reviewed to determine if charges will be brought.  Read the story here.  The whole episode began when Trupiano was talking about a Post-Dispatch piece recently published that detailed some of the recent trials and tribulations of Grand Slam Sports and Marshall’s leadership of the sports talk stations.  That piece is found here.

cumulus logoCumulus Sets Managers in Mobile, Melbourne and Pensacola. In market #97 (Mobile), Cumulus Media promotes its vice president of sales in that Alabama cluster – Angel Brown – to vice president and market manager. Cumulus senior vice president Gary Pizzati comments, “When we recruited Angel into the company several years ago, we knew she had the core talent, drive, and ability to go much further in our company. Last year, Angel single-handedly turned [Mobile into] a materialbrownangel contributor to our success.” Brown remarks, “I have the privilege of managing four powerhouse stations, alongside an exceptional team of people within an amazing organization. I could not be happier.” Before becoming vice president of sales for Cumulus Mobile, Brown was sales manager for the company’s Albany, Georgia cluster; an account executive in Albany for WALB-TV; and she was an IKON Southwest Georgia/East Alabama account executive. Cumulus Mobile consists of urban contemporary WBLX “The Big Station,” urban AC WDLT, CHR WABD, and AM gospel simulcast WGOK & WXQW.  Meanwhile, the company transfers Pensacola, Florida vice president and market manager Hugh McPherson to similar duties in the Sunshine State at its mcphersonhughMelbourne-Titusville-Cocoa cluster (market #102). Regional vice president Pete DeSimone notes, “Hugh is a very talented manger with a proven track record for successfully developing and leading great teams.  He understands the value of people, our systems, and delivering consistent results for customers.”  Senior vice president Gary Pizzati comments, “Hugh took Pensacola to new heights under his leadership.  We look forward to the same performance in Melbourne.  We are fortunate to have the solid bench strength to be able to promote from within.”  McPherson states that leaving Pensacola is “bittersweet, considering the staff’s hard work, dedication, and success. I am honored and excited to lead the charge in Melbourne and work with another very talented team.”  McPherson previously was vice president and chief operating officer of Great Plains Media Cookeville, Tennessee; general sales manager at Atlanta’s WBZY and Greenville, South Carolina’s WTPT; and he held that title at Cumulus clusters in Toledo and Savannah, Georgia.  The company’s Melbourne stations are CHR WAOA “The Coast’s #1 Hit Music Station,” WHKR “Today’s Best Country,” and WSJZ “Sports Radio 95.9.”  Finally, replacing McPherson in Pensacola is VP of sales JJ Waters who is upped to VP and market manager.  Pizzati says, “This was a natural move for JJ within Cumulus. Her 20-year tenure in Pensacola as a sales manager has been very advantageous for us.  Now at the helm of our newly assembled cluster, JJ will take us to the next level.  We’re proud to have her on our team.”

pittmanbobPittman’s Clear Channel Investment Highlighted in Financial Times Piece.  The financial aspect of Clear Channel’s operations and CEO Bob Pittman’s investment of $5 million of his own money in the company are features of a piece in the Financial Times.  In the piece, Pittman says “every investment banker in the world” has suggested that Clear Channel spin off its digital platform, iHeartRadio, in order to pay down some of its $20 billion in debt, but Pittman remains steadfast that the multiple platform reach of Clear Channel makes it more valuable.  In the piece, Pittman (who was recently resigned to a new contract through 2019) says owners Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee are “patient” but it also underscores that if Pittman is not successful in turning Clear Channel around, he loses his $5 million.  Read the story here.

holmeslaurenceWSCR’s Holmes to Host Morning Show on ‘120 Sports.’  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WSCR, Chicago evening sports talk personality Laurence Holmes will begin hosting a daily, two-hour morning sports morning show on the soon-to-launch 120 Sports live streaming-video network project from Time Inc./Sports Illustrated, the NHL, MLB.com, and Jerry Reinsdorf-owned Silver Chalice.  Feder’s story describes the show as a “national sports roundup” that will air live from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and will feature Chicago comedy actor Dylan McGorty, who also hosts a weekend show at Tribune’s WGWG-LP “The Game 87.7 FM.”  WGWG’s Meghan Kluth will oversee social media for the program.  Read the full story here.

TNM news logoNational Marijuana News Launches Today.  Changes in marijuana laws across the country are spurring changes in the way the media reports on marijuana.  Case in point is today’s debut of “The National Marijuana News” which launches on Live365, Blog Talk Radio, YouTube and Vimeo, “with terrestrial, satellite and television, in all its forms, tokellybruce2 follow.”  The program is hosted by industry pro Bruce Kelly and executive produced by Martin Wagmaister, who’s worked with Rick Dees, Ryan Seacrest, and Tom Rounds‘ Radio Express.”  Kelly and Wagmaister are calling it “the nation’s first unbiased news-talk radio/TV show that focuses on the political, economic, medicinal and social implications of the rapidly evolving medical and recreational marijuana industry.”  Kelly says, “TNM News takes a deep dive beyond the headlines to explore breaking cannabis news with network-news-quality, in-studio and field segments with industry leaders and celebrity guests.  It’s no longer a game ‘for’ or ‘against’ marijuana in this country.  We are here to educate, inform and entertain Americans so they can accurately decide for themselves.”  Wagmaister adds, “Program content is everywhere.  The problem we had to overcome is that the content was all extremely biased — either for or against marijuana legislation.  We feel it’s imperative to create a news product that presents both sides of the issues.”

barbermickeyDr. Mickey Barber Joins ‘Late Night Health Radio.’  Joining “Late Night Health Radio” host Mark Alyn as a regular contributor is Michale “Mickey” Barber, MD.  Alyn and producer “Insane” Darrell Wayne tell TALKERS Dr. Barber is an age management board certified doctor based in Charleston, South Carolina.  She offers tips on feeling and looking younger, while improving general health.  “From weight loss to what to eat, Dr. Barber keeps boomer listeners up to date on maintaining a fit and healthy lifestyle.”  The two-hour show airs on KABC, Los Angeles; KTHO, Lake Tahoe; WMEL, Cocoa Beach, Florida; KMYN, Albuquerque; KUHL, Santa Maria and on RadioActive Internet Radio.

kirofm logoOdds & Sods.  News/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle names local high school student Sophie Knudsen the winner of its “Standout Student of the Year” award that comes with $10,000 in scholarship money.  The station, in conjunction with Comprehensive Wealth Management and the Rotary Club of Lynnwood, awarded nine students – including Knudsen — $1,000 each during the school year with the opportunity to win the grand prize…..CBS RADIO’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is honored with two regional Edward R. Murrow awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association in the categories of Best Newscast for thekywlogo “KYW Reporters Roundup” and Continuing Coverage for “Changes at The Vatican: A Philadelphia Perspective.”  KYW director of news and programming Steve Butler comments, “The work that ‘Reporters Roundup’ host Steve Nikazy puts into the program is unmatched in our industry.  The three shows per day contain the highest production values and are extremely informative for the KYW listeners.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS and classic hits WLS-FM will have their sales staffs move to Chicago’s iconic Merchandise Mart building (from which classic rock WLUP-FM and alternative WKQX also operate) by the middle of this month.  Feder also reports that although there is no timetable for moving the studios of WLS-AM and WLS-FM to the Mart, that is something the company plans to do eventually.

ddaymarksetalTalk Radio Pros Cover D-Day Ceremonies in Normandy.  A number of talk radio personnel covered President Obama’s participation in ceremonies commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy (D-Day) this past Friday (6/9) sending reports back to their respective networks and shows.  Pictured at the Normandy Cemetery and Memorial in Colleville-su-mer, in Normandy, France, that honors American Troops who died in Europe during WWII are (l-r):  David Webb, host, Sirius XM Satellite Radio; Ron Hartenbaum, CEO, WYD Media; Carole Marks, host, “A Touch of Grey;” and Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service.  Ratner tells TALKERS, “Being there was an extremely emotional experience.”