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Thursday, May 2, 2013

| May 2, 2013

theblaze logoGlenn Beck’s TheBlaze to Be Available in Tri-State Area Via Cablevision’s Optimum TV.  Beginning later this month, Glenn Beck-founded TheBlaze network will be available to New York City and the surrounding area as it will be included in Cablevision’s Optimum Preferred, Silver and Gold Packages.  The channel is available to Optimum TV commercial customers with Optimum Business or Optimum Entertainment.  Cablevision VP of video product management, Bradley Feldman, states, “Optimum TV is the only cable provider in the Tri-State area to bring our customers original programming from Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, and the independent network will add more diversity to our strong lineup, providing our customers with more choices that our customers appreciate.”  In a statement from Beck’s organization it says TheBlaze “offers a full slate of original news and opinion shows like ‘Real News,’ ‘Wilkow!’ and ‘For the Record,’ late night comedy like ‘The Wonderful World of Stu’ and ‘B.S. of A.,’ family-friendly programming like ‘Liberty Treehouse’ as well as thought-provoking documentaries and original specials. TheBlaze first launched on September 12, 2011 as GBTV and quickly grew into one of the world’s largest online streaming networks with over 300,000 subscribers.  One year later, TheBlaze became a television network.”

cbsradioCBS Q1 2013 Report: Company Up 6%, Radio’s Top 10 Markets Up 2%.  The bulk of the discussion during yesterday’s conference call centered around TV for CBS, as it usually does.  But CEO Les Moonves stated moonveslesup front that the company continues to build “on the terrific debut of the CBS Sports Radio Network.  We’ve added 20 affiliates to our roster since our last call.  In addition, CBS Radio played a major role in this year’s success of the Academy of Country Music Awards.  This is a show that perfectly complements our radio audiences, as evidenced by all the artists who mentioned the power of radio in their acceptance speeches.”  CFO Joseph Ianniello noted that, comparable to the same period a year ago, the top 10 radio markets were performing up about 2%.  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Read more here.

thomasbillFormer Citadel/Cumulus Birmingham Cluster Manager Bill Thomas Sues Company for Unlawful Termination.  Add discrimination to that under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.  Bill Thomas, a.k.a Michael Thomas Stainback, alleges in the complaint filed in United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama that the company knew he had heart ailments that resulted from a 2009 heart attack yet he still performed his job well and even received bonuses based upon performance.  Thomas alleges that in February of 2012, after telling Cumulus corporate management that he’d been diagnosed with congestive heart failure, he was terminated by the company six days later.  He’s seeking unspecified damages as well as back pay.

freedomfeens‘Freedom Feens’ Show to Join GCN.  The “Freedom Feens” weekend talk show co-hosted by Michael W. Dean and Neema Vedadi will debut on the Genesis Communications Network on Saturday, May 11.  Dean and Vedadi describe their program as a “great-sounding, feisty weekend show about free markets, the police state, the war on drugs, the right to keep and bear arms, computer security, honest money, self-defense, self-employment, marriage, do-it-yourself media production, marketing, music and more.”  Regarding the title of their program, the duo explain, “‘Feen’ means ‘fiend,’ and the ‘Freedom Feens’ support the rights of the smallest minority, the individual.”

raytomTime to Do Some Spring Cleaning Out at the Transmitter Site.  For many of you who broadcast out of the Northwest, Midwest, North, and Northeast, this winter was a bear!  Snow, ice and wind can cause issues for your transmission facilities.  So it’s time to do a thorough inspection of your transmitter sites – both the main transmitter sites and anywhere you may have an STL transmitter or receiver.  In a timely article posted today (5/2) noted engineering consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray offers up an invaluable “to-do” list to make sure your transmitter remains happy in the coming spring, summer and fall months after enduring a pretty painful and damaging winter.  Get the whole story here.

carrhowieOdds & Sods.  WRKO, Boston afternoon drive talk show host Howie Carr broadcasts live from La Verdad Mexican restaurant near Fenway Park this afternoon from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm as he promotes his latest book , Rifleman (Frandel, LLC 2013), a true-crime story about infamous Boston mobster Steven Flemmi.  Carr will stay after his program ends to sign copies of the new book…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP, Washington is conducting its second annual “Communter Idle” contest through Friday, May 3.  The contest asks DC commuters to share their daily travel horror story to win prizes and possibly be the grand-prize winner who’ll receive $1,000 in gas money and a limo ride to work courtesy of Reston Limousine.  Runners-up will receive $150 gas cards…..It may be a sign of the times that one of the most popular shows on CNN is the new “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown” travel and food program that airs on Sunday evenings on the cable news/talk channel.  But new CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker is so thrilled with the its performance that he’s already ordered another season of the show that will debut on September 15.

cinchcaastCinchcast, Inc. Establishes Strategic Advisory Board.  One of radio’s technological innovators and dynamic entrepreneurs of the new digital age, Alan Levy – founder and CEO of BlogTalkRadio and its “white-label” sister firm Cinchcast, Inc. – has announced the appointment of two well-known executives to Cinchcast’s new strategic advisory board: Tom Glocer, former CEO of Thomson Reuters and Steve Bornstein, former head of the NFL‘s digital media operations and ABC Sports/ABC, Inc. president and ESPN chairman.  Levy tells TALKERS, “It’s an honor to be working with Tom and Steve as we continue to build, develop and scale the Cinchcast and BlogTalkRadio businesses.”

humphriesreidKDWNPractically an Exclusive.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) doesn’t do a lot of conservative talk radio shows.  But Talk Radio Network star Rusty Humphries – who spent part of his earlier career at KKOH in Reno – was able to secure a no-holds-barred interview with Senator Reid at Humphries’ affiliate station KDWN, Las Vegas.  Reid was in his home state while the Senate is on recess and he spoke with Humphries about the hot issues facing Congress.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Humphries, Reid, and KDWN program director John Shaffer.

Suspects Arrested in Marathon Bombing, ObamaCare Implementation, Benghazi Cover-Up Charges, and Gay Athletes Flap among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1).  The arrest of more suspects connected with the Boston Marathon bombing case; the cost and implementation of the Affordable Care Act; charges that the Hillary Clinton-run State Department covered up aspects of the Benghazi attack; and the flap in the media over gay athletes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

| March 5, 2013

cbsradio logoLes Moonves Still Says CBS Likes Radio.  If CBS is interested in selling its radio properties, CBS president and CEO Les Moonves isn’t spilling the beans.  CBS presented at Deutsche Bank’s DbAccess 21st Annual moonveslesMedia and Telecom Conference yesterday and when asked by Deutsche Bank’s Douglas Mitchelson about the flat performance of radio in general, Moonves said the company still likes radio for its cash.  “We like radio.  Once again, low-single digit growth, revenue, OIBDA.  It’s still a very great cash business with great margins.  We still like running it.  We have no intent to sell it as many people are watching terrestrial radio today as watching 10 years ago, even with all these things going on with satellite and everything else.  It is what it is.  We like the business, it produces cash every year.  We like having the amount of cash we have, where our balance sheet is certainly in great shape, partially because of radio.”

wjox logoCumulus-Cox Suit Over Birmingham Sports Programmer Settle; PD Returns to WJOX.  The battle between sports talkers WJOX – owned by Cumulus Media – and crosstown start-up WZNN – owned by Cox Media Group but soon to be officially acquired by SummitMedia along with Cox’s other Birmingham stations – has been a hotbed of legal action over the past couple of years.  But as the closing by SummitMedia on WZNN “97.3 The Zone” nears, one battle appears to have been settled.  Programmer Ryan Haney – who jumped from WJOX to WZNN back in late January only to have his move challenged in court by Cumulus – returns to WJOX.  The Birmingham News reports neither side is commenting on any such deal.  Haney’s contract had expired more than two years ago but he’d been working as an at-will employee.  He left WJOX the same day popular sports talk personality Paul Finebaum left at the expiration of his contract.  Finebaum is not working in the business as he is expected to join WZNN after his non-compete expires.

cookehollandSo, You Want to be Syndicated?  Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke says, “I can help you…but first, can I talk you out of it?  Even though being syndicated seems to be the dream of most local or even wannabe radio talk show hosts, having your show run on a string of stations around the country is a goal that 1) is extremely difficult to attain; and 2) might not be worth the effort at this point in the industry’s evolution.  Read Holland Cooke’s fascinating, eye-opening explanation of what you will be facing, in addition to suggesting workable and realistic alternatives, in a blunt, informative article by clicking here.

greggcherriKYW, Philadelphia Promotes Cherri Gregg to Community Affairs Reporter.  CBS Radio all-news KYW, Philadelphia ups reporter Cherri Gregg to community affairs reporter.  In this new role, Gregg will be shedding light on the numerous issues, neighborhoods and area leaders affecting community life in the Delaware Valley across a variety of time periods for the station.  Gregg joined KYW in 2011 as a general assignment reporter while completing a Masters in Journalism at Temple University.  She came to the station from the legal field where she had practiced for eight years at two Am-Law 100 law firms.  The company says that although she enjoyed the practice of law, her true passion is reporting on stories that matter to the community.  In January 2010, she quit her job at a top Philadelphia law firm to pursue her passion full time.  Director of news and programming Steve Butler states, “Cherri has been a terrific addition to the KYW Newsradio staff and we’re pleased she will be focusing on developing stories from the grass roots,  Covering all aspects of the Delaware Valley community is job-one for our staff, and we’re glad to have her continue that Newsradio legacy.”

granatopendergastKGOW, Houston Shuffles Lineup; Granato and Pendergast to PM Drive.  The lineup at Gow Broadcasting’s KGOW, Houston will feature Yahoo! Sports Radio morning personality Steve Czaban and current AM drivers John Granato and Sean Pendergast will move to the PM drive slot beginning Monday, March 11.  The Houston Chronicle reports Adam Clanton and John Wessling – the afternoon drive team since last August have exited the station.  In the Chronicle piece, owner David Gow addresses the station’s recent poor ratings which have failed to have the station appear in the most recent survey.  “We look forward to our ratings coming back up with this lineup.  We’ve been frustrated with the Arbitron results for a period of months. But the driving factor is the chance to put together this new lineup that will roll out on Monday.”  Czaban will be followed by DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick with John Harris hosting the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm program.

sportsusaOdds & Sods.  Sports USA is presenting exclusive national terrestrial radio coverage of all three legs of horse racing’s Triple Crown.  The company is partnering with Mike Penna’s Horse Racing Radio Network for the events.  Each two-hour broadcast will begin at 5:00 pm ET and will feature the live call of each race from the track announcer along with live trackside reports…..ESPN Radio’s Championship Week coverage begins with the inaugural “Greenberg & Greenberg in the Morning” show this Friday, March 8 from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET where Mike Greenberg will be joined by former Virginia Tech men’s head basketball coach Seth Greenberg for a hoops-heavy, four-hour broadcast.  The network is also airing the Big 12 Semifinals and Championship as well as every game of the ACC Tournament……SiriusXM teams former NFL QB Rich Gannon with Bruce Murray for “The SiriusXM Blitz” program that airs weekdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm ET on its NFL Radio channel.

elswickcapitolA Capitol Idea.  KARN-FM, Little Rock afternoon drive host and program director Dave Elswick is hosting live broadcasts twice per week from the Arkansas State Capitol in order to keep his listeners up-to-date on the latest state political news (and, of course, Dave’s opinions concerning said news!).  Pictured here at a recent broadcast from the capitol building are (from l-r): guest host Laurie Lee, Elswick, Saline County Clerk Dennis Milligan, and Arkansas Tea Party activist David Crowe.

Sequestration Issue, North Korea Threats/Dennis Rodman Remarks, Iran Nuclear Build-Up, Surging Dow, and Jeb Bush in 2016 Rumors Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4).  The ongoing sequestration issue; North Korea’s threats against South Korea and Dennis Rodman’s cozying up to Kim Jong-Un; Iran’s nuclear build-up; the surging Dow Jones industrial average; and Jeb Bush’s not ruling out a run for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

| November 8, 2012

WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Names Larry O’Connor AM Drive Co-Host.  Breitbart.tv editor-in-chief Larry O’Connor is named the new co-host of the “Mornings on the Mall” AM drive show on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington.  Program director Bill Hess announces O’Connor – who’s been sitting in on the morning show a lot lately – partners up with Brian Wilson effective immediately.  Hess states, “Larry began his career in the theater business.  The opportunity to marry his talents as an entertainer to our daily discussion of subjects of interest to our audience makes this an exciting move.  Larry’s new media experience and expertise is icing on the cake!”  O’Connor says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to be joining Brian Wilson, producer Heather Smith and the entire ‘Mornings on the Mall’ team that Bill Hess has assembled at the legendary WMAL in Washington, DC.  Starting my day having a conversation with the people of this community and then continuing my vital work as an editor for the Breitbart News Network is truly a dream come true and I can’t wait to hit the ground running.”

Howard Stern Plays Games with Radio Hall of Fame.  Robert Feder writes in his Time Out Chicago column that iconic radio personality Howard Stern is keeping the National Radio Hall of Fame guessing as to whether or not he will show up at the Chicago institution on Saturday when he is inducted with the class of 2012.  Stern has been vocal – okay, downright nasty – about having been passed over four times in the past after having been nominated.  Hall chairman Bruce DuMont tells Feder, “We would hope that Howard would show up.  He certainly deserves to be in the Radio Hall of Fame.  We’ll be delighted to welcome him and honor him.  I hope that he rises to the occasion.  We think we did the right thing, and I hope he does the right thing, too.”  Stern’s presenter will be Chicago Bears defensive tackle and longtime fan Amobi Okoye.  The induction ceremony takes place at the Museum of Broadcast Communications Saturday evening.  Also being inducted this year are “Fresh Air” host Terry Gross; WLW, Cincinnati legend Gary Burbank; Ron Chapman, Dallas radio icon; Jack L. Cooper, radio’s first black disc jockey (deceased); Art Laboe, Los Angeles oldies pioneer from Hot 92.3 FM; and Luther Masingill, Chattanooga, Tennessee radio great for more than 70 years.  Regarding Stern’s keeping the Hall of Fame in the dark about whether or not he will show up and accept the honor, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “He did the same thing to TALKERS when we presented him with the Freedom of Speech Award several years ago.  Of course we gave him the award anyway and his friend, the very gracious and eloquent actor George Takei, showed up and accepted it on his behalf.  We understand that being the eternal ‘outsider’ is part of Howard Stern’s schtick – an act that has contributed greatly to the culture and business of this industry.  But Howard has also been pretty nasty, aloof and the first to complain when his ‘king-of-all-media-arse’ is not kissed above and beyond his receiving fame, honors and enormous compensation and, frankly, it is an act that is getting old…especially during these difficult days for radio when it is facing a number of existential crises and threats.  Radio needs its stars on both sides of the microphone to step up the plate.  C’mon Howard!  This business has been very, very good to you.  Be a mensch and start giving back a little bit.  Do the right thing. Show up in Chicago and let them know you’re coming.”

Radio Small Part of CBS Corp; Moonves & Co. Still Bullish on Radio Though.  During yesterday’s conference call after the release of CBS Corp’s Q3 numbers, president and CEO Les Moonves indicated the company is still very high on radio – especially news and sports – even as the radio division was the sole dull spot in the company’s third quarter report.  The division is down 5%.  Speaking about the acquisition of Merlin’s WRXP, Moonves stated, “We took a significant step in our major market strategy with the acquisition of 101.9 which now gives us another strong signal in the nation’s number one market.  It has been renamed WFAN-FM and is now the FM home for what is already the number one sports radio station in the country.  This new station will also be a key part of the CBS Sports Radio Network that will be launching nationwide in January.”  When asked about the role of radio in the long term for CBS, Joe Ianniello, executive VP and CFO said “I think from a radio perspective, it’s absolutely producing content.  Sports and news – it’s key to the overall CBS strategy.  We have a large-market focus, so I think it fits very nicely.  Obviously, we like the margins.  Obviously, these brands are going online, and it’s living outside of just the local region.  So we’re very bullish on radio.”

CBS Announces New York TV/Radio-Promotes Phone Bank to Benefit Red Cross.  CBS Corporation’s two New York television stations – WCBS-TV, New York and WLNY, Riverhead, New York (Long Island) – in concert with the company’s radio stations (WCBS, WINS, and WFAN) will organize a phone bank on Thursday, November 8 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm to seek donations for the American Red Cross to help with the organization’s relief efforts.  Red Cross representatives will be on site at the CBS Broadcast Center accepting pledges  joined by CBS Radio and television personalities who have tirelessly brought coverage of the storm to residents across the Tri State area.  Additional members of the CBS family will also be present to lend a hand to the pledge drive.

WWRL, New York to Air Special “RL Cares” Program.  Access.1 Communications’ progressive talk outlet WWRL, New York will air a one-hour special broadcast on Friday, November 9 from 10:00 pm to 11:00 pm from its studios in New York City called “RL Cares” and hosted by Dr. Fritz Galette.  The clinical psychologist and on-air personality on “The Dr. Fritz Show” (Thursdays at 10:00 pm on the station) will host a program dedicated to health and social services available in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.  Featured guests will include representatives from the Office of Emergency Management and The American Red Cross. Both organizations will disseminate information on what services are available to WWRL listeners.  Station general manager Adriane Gaines says, “The impact that SuperStorm Sandy has had on the Tri State area is immeasurable. The economical and emotional toll of the storm has greatly impacted the daily lives of residents in the tri-state area.  After more than a week, many are still without power, homeless and living in shelters and unable to obtain gas for generators or to drive their vehicles.”

Bruce B. Demps to Exit Radio One.  After six years serving as regional manager (Atlanta/Philadelphia)/vice president of urban radio powerhouse Radio One, veteran broadcaster Bruce B. Demps will be leaving the company on November 15.  Demps tells TALKERS that his career has been “a great ride” and that he has been “truly blessed.”  He goes on, however, to say, “My plan is to retire unless something unforeseen at this time motivates me to get off the sofa and the golf course.  The past six years have been amazing but my career did not start with this company and in all likelihood it might not end with it.”  He can be emailed at brucedemps@gmail.com.  Demps is pictured here in a 2011 photo with Radio One chairperson and founder Cathy Hughes.

WSAU, Wausau, Wisconsin Talk Host Pat Snyder Loses State Assembly Bid.  And the conservative talk host tells the Wausau Daily Herald that he thinks his image as a right-wing talk show host actually hurt, rather than helped, his campaign.  Pat Snyder lost to 35-year-old school teacher Mandy Wright by 900 votes.  Snyder tells the paper, “In the back of (the voters’) mind, they thought the old, radio conservative host would show up.”  During the campaign, Wright requested equal time compensation from Midwest Communications when Snyder remained on the air past the 60-day window.  The station granted her commercial time in response and Wright was happy with the arrangement.

Election Aftermath, Markets Tumble, Sandy-Affected Area Hit with Snow Storm, and Benghazi Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7).  The aftermath of the re-election of President Obama; the financial markets take a big drop; Sandy-ravaged parts of the Northeast are hit with an early snow storm; and the Benghazi investigation were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

| September 13, 2012

Les Moonves Tells Investors Network Sports Radio Biz is “Found Money.”  That CBS is bullish on sports is not news – CBS CEO Les Moonves has said that before.  But he reiterated his company’s dedication to the industry and – citing the new CBS Sports Radio Network venture – called it $10 million to $15 million worth of “found money.”  Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday, Moonves told the conference the sports radio network business is a $150 million industry, “With our deal with Cumulus, we have reach.  We’re in nine of the top 10 markets.  We have the capacity to put on a lot of stuff.  We think right away we’re going to get about 10% of the market.  That’s going to be a significant hit right away and that should grow.  It’s a great marketplace; rather easy to do.  As far as we’re concerned it’s 10 or 15 million [dollars] of found money that we think will grow.”  CBS is entering into a fast-growing marketplace already dominated by ESPN and with entrenched radio players Fox Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and new entrant NBC Sports Radio – a partnership between NBC and Dial Global.  Sure, there’s a ton of money in sports media right now, but how fast this market gets saturated is a question industry watchers are pondering.

Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Gets Television Profile with DISH Network Deal.  Talk show host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck is soon to be seen on television after his TheBlaze, Inc. agrees to a deal with DISH Network to have his online 24-hour news, information and entertainment network available on the satellite TV provider.  Under terms of the deal, TheBlaze will be available to DISH viewers on channel 212 as part of DISH’s America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month.  The channel launched Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET.  It’ll be available as a free preview for all DISH customers through September 26.  In a statement, Beck says, “TheBlaze has helped revolutionize television over the internet and now we are excited to bring the revolution back to traditional television.  TheBlaze will be home to news, information and entertainment programming with the facts and stories people care about most and we look forward to kicking things off with DISH.”  Mercury Radio Arts president Chris Balfe blogged about the success of Beck’s new venture and how this deal came to pass.  “Prior to our initial launch I was often asked why we didn’t pursue a traditional cable channel.  There were several factors, but the biggest was that we wouldn’t have been able to build the channel we wanted back then without giving up control.  To get on the air we would have had to partner with a large media company that could provide us with the staff, infrastructure and distribution necessary to launch a new network.  That was something that we simply were not willing to do.  The whole point of starting our own network was to be free from outside influences  — giving that independence up right away in exchange for distribution was a non-starter.  And so we found another way.  But now, a year later, everything has changed.  Our subscribers’ enthusiasm and support has allowed us to make the necessary investments in programming and infrastructure, and we’re now in a position to launch a cable and satellite channel without losing control.”

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Promotes Julie Talbott.  The president of content and affiliations for Premiere Networks is upped to a new post – president of content and affiliations for CC’s National Media Groups.  Talbott retains her oversight of Premiere Networks but adds new duties as she’ll answer to Kevin Dorsey, president of the National Media Groups who, in turn, reports directly to chairman and CEO John Hogan.  A statement from Clear Channel notes Talbott’s “new role will include leading and maintaining key affiliate relationships to sell and service Premiere Networks, Total Traffic Network and iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry-leading digital radio platform.  The new position will provide the company’s affiliates with a simplified and streamlined point of contact for communicating and conducting business across Clear Channel’s diverse group of subsidiaries.”  Talbott says, “I enjoy working with our clients and partners, and this alignment of our affiliate efforts will allow us to better serve and communicate with stations throughout the U.S.  I’m looking forward to working with the amazing teams across the company as we continue to demonstrate the unique relationship CCM+E has with our audience.”

Cox Media’s KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Names Levi May Program Director.  The PD post at KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa opened up when long-time programmer Drew Anderssen moved to Cox Media’s Orlando news/talker WDBO-AM/FM.  Levi May served as WDBO’s assistant PD prior to his new position in Tulsa.

Talk Radio Weekends: Two Sure Shots.  Talk radio consultant Holland Cooke offers advice on weekend programming for talk radio stations that fits in with the P1’s weekend lifestyle and has the opportunity for bringing in revenue.  Sure, it’s lifestyle-oriented stuff but while many of those categories are well-serviced by nationally syndicated programs, Cooke says these two suggestions are tailor-made for local professionals.  Read Holland Cooke’s piece here.

 

WVON, Chicago News Pro Sharon McGhee Loses Battle with Cancer.  Journalist, writer and radio news director Sharon McGhee died in Columbia, Missouri on September 11 at age 54 after a long battle with ovarian cancer.  She joined urban talk WVON, Chicago in 1997 and was promoted to news director the following year.  She left the radio business to focus on her love of the arts and entertainment and in 2007, wrote the critically acclaimed “The Pocketbook Monologues” and subsequently directed multiple staged performances across the United States.  McGhee returned to WVON in 2008 as news director and resigned from that position in 2010 due to health reasons.  WVON president Melody Spann Cooper states, “Sharon McGhee was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known.  Her determination, passion and drive brought her to Chicago where she excelled in everything that was on her professional and personal agenda.  She was a rare breed determined to do it her way, and she did.”

Former Merlin Media News Pros Land with Virtual News Center.  News staffers Veronica Carter and Katherine Kelly were two of the news pros who worked at Merlin Media’s FM news outlet in Chicago and exited the station when it flipped formats.  They join the team at Virtual News Center which describes itself as “the largest independent provider of local news for radio heard on over 175 stations in nearly 80 markets.”  The company works on a cash direct basis or via barter through Envision Radio Networks.  Veronica Carter spent her 25 year radio career in Illinois, Indiana, and California, heavily involved in all facets of news reporting and anchoring.  On her Merlin experience she says, “Working for Merlin Media was short lived, but an adventure to say the least!  Glad to be with Virtual News Center, it’s actually fun doing newscasts all over the country!”  Katherine Kelly worked in Peoria, Illinois and the Quad Cities as well as in Seattle and Chicago.  Kelly anchored news as a part of some of the country’s top morning shows.  She also helped launch the Oprah Radio Network on Sirius XM.  She states, “I am incredibly honored to be joining the team at Virtual News Center.  Now I can cover just as many cities without leaving home!”

New Jersey 101.5 Reporter Honored for Series on Teen Drug Abuse.  The New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcoholism & Drug Abuse honors New Jersey 101.5 reporter Stacy Proesbtle with its Community Service Award.  Proesbtle is pictured here (from l-r) with NJ 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson, NJ 101.5 news director Eric Scott, Proesbtle, and Council executive director John Hulick at the Council’s 21st annual Summit at the Hyatt Regency New Brunswick, New Jersey.  Proebstle’s five-part series about the abuse of heroin and other opiates among New Jersey’s youth focused on prescription drug abuse, accidental overdoses, how abuse often begins at home and  the fact that prescription drug abuse can happen to anyone.  Proebstle talked to recovering addicts, parents, prevention specialists, substance abuse professionals and law enforcement officers to address current trends and issues along with possible solutions.  On receiving the honor, Proesbtle says, “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this honor on behalf of the station and most genuinely grateful.  It validates the importance of community service and giving back to one’s community.”

Cumulus San Francisco Inks 49ers for 12-Year Extension.  Appearing on sports talk KNBR, San Francisco’s Murph & Mac morning show, Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey joined 49ers CEO Jed York to announce the stations and the NFL clubs have agreed to a 12-year contract extension to keep the team’s games on KNBR, news/talk KGO and rock KSAN in the market.  During that appearance on the program, Dickey said, “While the trend in radio has been for shorter deals with sports teams, this 12-year partnership demonstrates the commitment of KNBR and Cumulus to the 49ers, and further cements KNBR as the ‘Sports Leader in Northern California’ for almost 25 years.”

WEEI, Boston Helps Celebrate Red Sox Broadcaster Joe Castiglione’s 30th Anniversary.  Prior to last night’s Boston Red Sox game, Entercom sports talker WEEI celebrated the 30th anniversary of play-by-play announcer Joe Castiglione with an appearance at the WEEI studios by Castiglione on the afternoon drive “Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley.  The evening also featured a half-hour pre-game tribute show that included a video at Fenway Park and on-field recognition from the team.

Conservative Chuck Morse and Liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan Split.  Veteran Boston-based conservative talk host Chuck Morse and California-based liberal Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan have ended their left-right internet talk radio program, “Fairness Radio with Chuck Morse & Dr. Patrick O’Heffernan,” after it became impossible to work together, according to Morse.  The two will host separate programs on the internet and affiliated radio stations.

 

Long-Running Speaker Series Continues with Author of ‘Fast and Furious’ Book.  WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Bernier (at left) conducted his 80th “Town Hall” interview and live broadcast in The Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University “President Speaker Series,” with Townhall.com investigative reporter Katie Pavlich (at right) before a live audience on Wednesday, September 12.  Pavlich is author of Fast and Furious: Barack Obama’s Bloodiest Scandal and the Shameless Cover-Up (Regnery 2012).  Photo: Arthur J. Byrnes.

U.S. Ambassador Killed in Libya Strike, Cairo Unrest, Obama-Netanyahu Relations, and Chicago Teachers Strike Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/12).  The death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens after a violent assault on the U.S. consulate; violent anti-American protests in Cairo; reports of President Obama’s snubbing of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Obama Administration’s Iran policy; and the continuing Chicago teachers strike were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, August 3, 2012

| August 3, 2012

Entercom News/Talk WRKO, Boston Picks Up Option on PM Drive Host Howie Carr.  It was five years ago that Boston talk radio king Howie Carr had negotiated what was reported at the time to be a lucrative new deal to host morning drive on Greater Media’s crosstown WTKK, Boston after 13 years with WRKO.  But WRKO laid claim to Carr’s services via language in his contract, a legal battle ensued and Entercom came out victorious, winning Carr’s services for another five years plus an option to have him even longer.  Today, Entercom announces it is picking up that option.  Entercom Boston VP of programming Jason Wolfe states, “Howie Carr is a Boston radio legend and I’m looking forward to having him continue to anchor afternoon drive.  This is a great day for our listeners, affiliates and advertisers, and I’m excited that we’ve extended our relationship.”  At the time of Carr’s attempt to join Greater Media five years ago, he made no bones about wanting to break away from WRKO, but that was before the recession hit and altered the marketplace for talk radio hosts – even ones with successful track records, loyal fans and satisfied advertisers.  WRKO’s announcement states that in picking up Carr’s option, he’ll remain with the station “for the foreseeable future.”

CBS Radio Debuts Tampa FM Sports Outlet 98.7 The Fan.  The flip from Hot AC to sports talk on WSJT, Tampa happened at 12:00 noon yesterday (8/2) and the lineup was announced at a press conference at the University of South Florida Sun Dome.  The program schedule is: former Baltimore and Washington, DC personality Kirk McEwen alongside former Tampa Bay Lightning player Chris Dingman in AM drive; Tampa Bay Times columnist Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski (who is a carry-over from AM 1010 Sports format) are teamed up for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm shift; for PM drive, former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Anthony “Booger” McFarland and Yahoo! Sports Radio and ESPN alum Todd Wright co-host; in evenings, former MLB Network and Tampa Bay Rays air talent Rich Herrera hosts from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm and in the overnight slot, it’s Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan.  At the press conference, CBS Tampa market manager Ben Hill announced the station would also serve as flagship for University of South Florida play-by-play.  Mike Pepper is programming the station and producer Jerry Petuck is serving as assistant program director.

Industry Eyes on Atlanta as CBS Radio Prepares to Launch FM Sports Outlet.  This week’s announcement that CBS Radio is flipping Triple A WZGC, Atlanta to sports talk in late September or early October has industry watchers speculating about what talent will fill the program schedule.  CBS’ modus operandi is to go live and local and that will be the case in major market Atlanta.  Rumors are already starting to circulate that programming architects are shooting for some “big talent” – at least some of whom will be considered to have “celebrity” status.

CBS Radio Reports Revenue Down 2%.  CBS Corporation held its quarterly conference call yesterday to discuss results of Q2 2012 and talk about the future.  CFO and EVP Joseph Ianniello reported revenue for the radio group was down 2%.  “The radio revenue comparison was affected by the sale of the West Palm Beach radio cluster, which closed on April 1.  Radio revenue for our top 10 markets was flat for the quarter.  Local broadcasting OIBDA of $248 million was up 8%. And the OIBDA (operating income before depreciation and amortization) margin grew 2 percentage points to 35% driven by growth in high-margin revenue and lower programming costs.”   Addressing the radio end, CEO Les Moonves stated, “At our radio stations, we remain focused on the formats that are performing best, especially news and sports. We’re particularly excited about the upcoming launch of our new CBS Sports Radio network, which right out of the gate, when we debut in January, will be the largest major-market sports radio network in the nation, with outlets in nine of the top 10 markets. This 24/7 network of sports radio stations will feature both national and local content and leverage the resources of CBS Sports, our CBS Sports Network, cable channel and content from our existing local sports radio stations.”  Ianniello added, “The CBS Radio network, the sports radio — the radio sports business is probably $150 million market.  So we’re going to be large coming right out of the gate so it’s all incremental.  It’s not in dollars we play in today at the local segment, so we expect to gain our fair share of that…there’s very little incremental cost for us.  A lot of the talent and the content, we’re already producing, so this made a whole lot of sense for us.  And with the outlook with Cumulus, we do think it is a fantastic partnership with great content and great distribution.  So we do expect some upside, again, starting in 2013.”

Radio One Will Be Patient with Houston All-Newser.  Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins says, “We still believe the #6 radio market can support one all-news station.”  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports Liggins is bullish on the station it flipped from gospel last fall noting that, in that format, KROI was billing just $4 million a year and doing $2 million in cash flow on a facility for which the company paid $72 million.  News 92 FM has been hovering around a 1-share persons 6+ in the Arbitron PPM ratings.  Liggins says his consultant on the station believes ratings should start to rise above the 1-share mark in 2013.

“Sports Biz Today” Debuts on Business TalkRadio Network August 6.  Host Fred Wallin  and co-hosts Howard Bloom, Beth Silverberg and JB Kaye return to Business TalkRadio Network with their “Sports Biz Today” program that leans heavy on the business aspect of the sports industry.  The program airs daily at 7:00 pm ET.  Fred Wallin says, “In the past few years our sports industry has grown and grown and we want to make ‘Sports Biz Today’ the place where fans, and those in the business, can get together.”  BTRN states, “Sports are big business, whether it’s the multi-million dollar contracts signed by players or the marketing and advertising behind the teams.  Fans will be talking to Fred Wallin about money, events and people that make up the exciting world of sports.”

CRN Digital Talk Radio Launches Weekend Show for Future Hollywood Stars.  It’s called “Breaking In with Rick and Jeff,” and features Hollywood pros Rick  Shoemaker and Jeff Maxwell who’ll give aspiring filmmakers, actors, musicians and others a chance to learn what it takes to make it in Tinseltown.  The program airs live Saturdays at 7:00 pm PT.  Rick Shoemaker has served as president of Warner Chappell Music Publishing, where he helped develop the careers of such artists as Green Day, Sheryl Crow, Nickelback, Dr. Dre, Missy Elliott, Van Halen and many others.  He later headed his own management firm that included clients like Loggins & Messina, Poco, Boz Scaggs, and others.  Jeff Maxwell’s career began when he teamed up with a high school friend as part of a comedy duo that performed around the world for eight years.  Ultimately, Maxwell would turn his attention to acting where he landed the role of Private Igor, the hapless mess cook on “M*A*S*H,” for nine years.  In later years, Maxwell turned his attention to creating and developing a number of television shows and motion pictures.

Odds & Sods.  New York City-based talk show host Steve Malzberg is unveiling his new video channel located on Spreecast.com – developed by the same company that founded StubHub.com.  In one of Malzberg’s first productions, he interviews former Bush Administration defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld…..Georgia Beasley returns to her South Florida roots where she’ll take on the role of interactive sales manager for Beasley Broadcast Miami’s three stations that include sports talk WQAM.  She spent the past year as GSM at the company’s WJBR, Wilmington, Delaware.  Ms. Beasley is the granddaughter of Beasley chairman George Beasley…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Milwaukee cluster acquires the exclusive NFL and NCAA basketball play-by-play rights from provider Dial Global/Westwood One.  CC has six stations in the market including news/talk WISN.

Rich Rapiti Exits Courtside Entertainment Group.  Veteran affiliate sales executive Rich Rapiti is looking for his next opportunity as he leaves his senior director of affiliate relations position with Courtside Entertainment Group.  Prior to working with Courtside, Rapiti worked in the affiliate relations department at Westwood One.  He can be reached at 973-809-3049 or e-mailed at: rapiti@comcast.net.

The Presidential Campaign Returns to #1 Spot on the Talkers TenTM.  The race for president in the 2012 election was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio during the week of July 30 – August 3.  Coming in at #2 this week was the Chick-fil-A controversy.  At #3 was a tie between the rising jobless claims and the Fed’s announcement it will take no immediate action to spur the economy.  Following at #4 was the Texas Republican primary victory for the U.S. Senate seat by Tea Party-supported candidate Ted Cruz.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio in America according to ongoing research from Talkers.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck is now heard on KFXR, Dallas…..Cox Media’s Clark Howard is added to the program lineup at KARS, Belen, New Mexico…..The XtreMedia-produced Dani Johnson show is added to the on-air lineup at WNYM, New York; KMET, Riverside-San Bernardino; KFNX, Phoenix; KKVV, Las Vegas; and KPRZ, San Diego…..CBS Radio’s “Overnight America” with Jon Grayson is picked up by WGUL, Tampa-St. Petersburg and WLSS, Sarasota-Bradenton…..Dial Global’s feature “Ask Dr. Phil” is added to WDNY-AM and WDNY-FM, Rochester.  The company’s “Daily Dose with Dr. Oz” joins the program schedule at KIVA, Albuquerque; KLIV, San Jose; and WLPO, LaSalle-Peru, Illinois…..The “Rose Hollywood Report” with Shannon Rose is picked up by WZTC, Traverse City, Michigan.