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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

| August 12, 2015

National Radio Hall of FameNational Radio Hall of Fame Voting Starts Today. After a five-year hiatus, listeners again have the opportunity to participate in selecting National Radio Hall of Fame inductees. For the next two weeks (through Wednesday, 8/26), voters can text 36500 with their one vote for the four nominees (each) in the “Music Format On-Air Personality” and “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” categories. National Radio Hall of Fame chair Kraig Kitchin declares, “These eight personalities are beloved by their listeners. Giving the audience an opportunity to participate in the process of acknowledging their favorite hosts for their contributions over the years just makes sense.” Nominees and text info for the “Music Format On-Air Personality” are Delilah (text “DELILAH” to 36500); Elvis Duran (text “ELVIS” to 36500); Steve Harvey (text “STEVE” to 36500); and Ryan Seacrest (text “RYAN” to 36500). Nominees and text info for the “Spoken Word On-Air Personality” are Sean Hannity (text “HANNITY” to 36500); Clark Howard (text “CLARK” to 36500); Jim Rome (text “ROME” to 36500); and Dr. Laura Schlessinger (text “DR. LAURA” to 36500). Listener-chosen winners will be announced at the end of this month (8/31), and we cannot forget that all-important fine print that “message and data rates may apply.” In addition to the two listener-voting categories, four categories are being voted on by a panel of 400 industry professionals. The induction ceremony takes place November 5 at the Museum of Broadcast and Communications in downtown Chicago.

Interactive Advertising BureauIAB Gears Up For Debut Podcast Upfront Showcase. The one-day marketplace for advertisers and media buyers to preview podcast programming will be held next month (9/10) in New York City. Scheduled to present at Interactive Advertising Bureau‘s inaugural podcast upfront showcase include representatives from AdLarge Media, Midroll, NPR, Panoply, Podtrac, and WNYC. Industry Initiatives, IAB vice president Carl Kalapesi explains, “More and more advertisers are incorporating audio programming into their digital marketing strategies. The individual and intimate listening experience enjoyed by podcast listeners provides a unique vehicle for brands to connect with consumers. IAB is excited to bring so many digital audio leaders together to discuss their upcoming programming and the wide array of advertising opportunities available through podcasts.” Invited executives will get to preview content developments from each presenting company in 20-minute segments.

Cassell, RussCassell (Posthumously) Wins SCBA Radio Personality of the Year Award. The “State Television And Radio” (STAR) awards of the South Carolina Broadcasting Association honor “exceptional accomplishments of the state’s stations and their broadcast professionals.” Entercom-owned talk WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg host Russ Cassell (left), who passed away last year, won the “Radio Personality of the Year” award. Entercom market vice president and generalEntercom Upstate manager Steve Sinicropi declares, “The broadcasting legacy of Russ Cassell lives on; our entire team is grateful for the SCBA recognizing Russ with this important award.” The cluster’s production director Stan Fisher received STAR recognition for best production-multi spot campaign on rock WTPT “93.3 The Planet” for local attorney Rob Ianuario. In the station’s first year in the format, WYRD-AM “ESPN Upstate” sports broadcaster Greg McKinney was recognized with a “Sportscaster of the Year award of merit at the event, which was held in Columbia, South Carolina over the weekend.

McCollim, JasonMcCollim Heads to Colorado Springs as iHeartMedia’s Senior VP/Programming. Transferring from Spokane where he programmed iHeartMedia talker KQNT and KKZX “The Classic Rock Station,” Jason McCollim is appointed senior vice president of programming for the company’s Colorado Springs and Pueblo stations. Senior vice president of programming/regional markets Tony Coles states, “McCollim is one of our rising stars. He has done an incredible job for us iHeartMediain Spokane. His leadership skills and passion for programming will allow him to ramp up quickly and build immediate relationships with the programming and sales teams.” Colorado-Pueblo market president Darci Ewell comments, “Jason’s proven track record in Spokane and his versatile experience will make him an incredible asset to the Colorado Springs-Pueblo cluster. Jason brings a high level of energy and creativity that will greatly benefit our team.” McCollim remarks, “I am very excited about working with the fantastic iHeartMedia team in both Colorado Springs and Pueblo; thanks to Tony Coles and Darci Ewell for the opportunity to work in one of the most beautiful parts of our country.” McCollim spent more than 14 years at KQNT and KKZX; he is vice president of the Inland Empire Bloodhounds Search & Rescue. The Colorado Springs stations he will oversee are rhythmic CHR KIBT “The Beat”; hot AC KVUU “My-99.9”; adult contemporary KKLI “Sunny 106.3”; country KCCY “Y-96.9; and classic rock KDZA “Z-107.9.” The three Pueblo facilities are classic hits KPHT; KCCY “Fox Sports 1350″; and talk KCSJ.

rdio-logoRdio Debuts Live Broadcast Radio. The global music streaming service begins with nearly 500 U.S. stations. Listeners can mark songs they like as a favorite, share the song, start a custom station based on the song or view more music by the artist. Paying subscribers to Rdio’s $3.99 and $9.99 plans can download songs for unlimited listening, add it to a custom playlist, listen to related songs from that artist or recently played songs on that station as often as they want. Rdio chief executive officer Anthony Bay comments, “We are committed to providing Rdio customers around the world with easy access to the audio content they want to hear through innovative features that enhance listening. Broadcast radio brands and talent continue to be the dominant tastemakers in music, so integrating live broadcast radio into Rdio’s critically acclaimed customer experience is an exciting development that we are thrilled to introduce.” Through a September 2013 partnership with Cumulus Media, Rdio has access to Cumulus’ programming and is promoted on Cumulus stations. Cumulus Media chief executive officer Lew Dickey states, “Bringing our national platform of stations to Rdio allows us to instantly create broader access for our listeners and new opportunities for advertisers to reach their target audiences. The combination of our premier broadcast assets with Rdio’s acclaimed user experience and music discovery features creates a full-service listening experience that is unparalleled.” In addition to music, live broadcast programming includes sports content from local stations as well as through Cumulus Media’s Westwood One. Featured stations include Cumulus Media-owned country WNSH, New York; rock KLOS, Los Angeles; triple-A KFOG, San Francisco; urban-rhythmic oldies WRWM, Indianapolis; and country WSM-FM, Nashville. Additional stations will launch later this year.

WOWOWOWO Producing 90-Year Retrospective. The Fort Wayne (Indiana) talk outlet is observing its 90th anniversary and – appropriately enough – is putting together a 90-minute documentary. Station executives are in the process of gathering interviews from former employees for the special, which will cover WOWO’s impact and reach. In addition to audio samples of historic and comical moments, Bob Sievers, Jack Underwood, Jay Gould, and Bob Chase are among those who will be featured. Program director Ryan Wrecker (Wrecker@WOWO.com) is seeking station memorabilia that can be displayed during the ongoing celebration, as well as memories past staffers or listeners would like to share. Those contributing will receive a preview edition of the special, which is scheduled to air on Federated Media-owned WOWO (Thursday) November 19.

KNX 2KNX Schedules Second Annual Blood Drive. In light of the fact that blood donations typically dip during summer months, KNX, Los Angeles is joining the American Red Cross for the CBS Radio all-news outlet’s second annual blood drive. The five-day event at participating Red Cross blood centers starts two weeks from Saturday (8/29) and concludes the following Wednesday (9/2). CBS Radio vice president/Los Angeles market manager Dan Kearney American Red Cross 2comments, “KNX is proud to team up with the Red Cross once again as we expand our blood drive effort. We know summer is a challenging time for people to think about donating blood, and we hope to raise awareness so our listeners will lend their support and help the Red Cross maintain a safe and stable blood supply.” American Red Cross Southern California blood services external communications manager Tony Briggs notes that although many donors stepped up to give following a pressing call issued earlier this month, “The American Red Cross continues to have an urgent need for blood donors of all blood types to give before Labor Day.” Last year’s inaugural two-day KNX blood drive produced 834 pints of blood, which helped 2,502 patients. Greater Los Angeles/Southern California donation locations include Arcadia, Glendale, Santa Monica, Claremont, Downey, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Granada Hills, Los Angeles, Laguna Hills, Long Beach, Pasadena, Pomona, Rancho Cucamonga, Santa Ana, Santa Clarita, Thousand Oaks, Torrance, West Covina, Woodland Hills, and Yorba Linda. As an incentive (and while supplies last), blood drive sponsor – The Southern California Gas Company – will give blood donors a KNX emergency preparedness guide; two tickets to Hollywood’s Laugh Factory; a ticket to Madame Tussauds Hollywood; and a sample of Hawaiian Host chocolates.

Maranville, TimMaranville Departs USA Radio Networks. One-year USA Radio Networks chief content officer-director of channel development Tim Maranville exits. He expresses thanks to “everyone at USA for all the hard work, especially show hosts Steve Deace, Kevin Jackson, Steve Noble, Jim Sharpe, Joe Messina, Chris and Emilee, Angie Austin, and Tony Perkins. The future is bright and I hope to have one, maybe two, announcements about my next contribution to the planet by mid-September.” Maranville joined USA after a nearly six-year run as vice president of programming at Westwood One. He previously was vice president and director of operations of the Denver Radio Company; vice president and director of operations of Sun City Communications; director of operations at KFRC, San Francisco; and director of operations of Phoenix stations KMLE, KOOL, and KZON. In addition, he owns/operates Mutations Media and he co-owns The Show Must Go On, an independent syndication consulting and affiliation company.

Donald Trump Continued to be the Second Most Talked About Person on News/Talk Radio Yesterday — a VERY close second to Barack Obama (8/11).  Top topics include the Presidential Race, the Iran Nukes Deal, Immigration Reform and the Chinese Economy.  According to TALKERS research, fallout from last week’s audience record-breaking GOP debate on Fox News Channel continues to dominate conversation on news/talk radio across America and people (and the media) remain fixated on Donald Trump.  Other hot topics include the presidential election in general, Hillary Clinton’s email controversy and the global economic impact of China’s devaluation of its currency.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

| April 29, 2015

pricehowardPursuing Truth Amid Civil Unrest.  Media outlets have experienced a number of situations recently that qualify as true “danger zones” in which to send their reporters and tech crews if they choose to cover the event first hand.  ABC TV director of business continuity Howard B. Price writes today about the hazards radio news staffers are facing in situations similar to what’s been happening in Baltimore and – not too long ago – Ferguson, Missouri.  He presents a plan for broadcasters to follow in preparing for coverage of such news events in the future.  Read his entire piece here.

dickeylewLew Dickey, Cumulus, Agree to Continuation. The co-founder of Cumulus Media will be remaining in-place for at least another three years: Lew Dickey extends his employment agreement as the company’s president and chief executive officer. In addition, he will carry on as a board member through 2018. According to board member Jeff Marcus, “We are grateful that Lew Dickey, who has built Cumulus into a leading national media business, has renewed his commitment to lead the company into the future. I look forward to continuing to collaborate with Lew to build value for our shareholders.” In other news at the Atlanta-based company, Ridgemont Equity PartnersRobert “Trey” Sheridan, III, will retire from Cumulus’ board when his termCumulus ends at this year’s annual stockholders meeting; Association of Magazine Media (MPA) president and chief executive officer Mary Berner will be nominated to fill Sheridan’s vacated seat. Dickey comments, “We are fortunate to be adding Mary Berner to our board. Her insights and experience will be valuable as we continue to position the company for long-term success in the changing media landscape.” Elsewhere, Cumulus lead director, Jeffrey Marcus, is appointed non-executive board chair. Marcus has been a Cumulus board member since 2011. He is a partner with Crestview Partners, Cumulus’ largest stockholder.

zampillodanRed Zebra Officially Names Dan Zampillo to PD WTEM, Washington.  The company owned by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder announces former WXYT-FM, Detroit and SiriusXM program director Dan Zampillo is taking over the programming reigns at its sports talk WTEM, Washington “ESPN 980.”  The PD position opened up after Chuck Sapienza exited in the middle of the on-off-on again addition of the new “Man Cave” morning show hosted by Chris Paul and Jason ReidRed Zebra Broadcasting CEO Rick Carmean says, “When it comes to sports, we have the best on-air talent in the area.  We look forward to having Dan join our team.  He brings great leadership, experience and fresh insight.”

jacobsmedialogo

What News/Talk Fans Are Doing When They’re Not Listening To Your Station.  In a piece prepared for TALKERS magazine by Jacobs Media based on data from the company’s recently released Techsurvey 11, company president Fred Jacobs presents a media and tech profile of news/talk P1s.  He notes that while news/talk P1s tend to lag behind younger demos in the tech and social media areas, that’s changing.  “Fans of the format are more likely to own a tablet, listen to podcasts, and subscribe to satellite radio.  They are less apt to be social networkers.  Compared to just a few short years ago, news/talk devotees are catching up tech-wise with their kids.  The data show that six in 10 stream video at least weekly while nearly eight in 10 own a smartphone.”  See how news/talk P1s choose to use social media and why they turn to broadcast talk radio.  Read the entire piece here.

Odds & Sods.  From the podcast genre comes news that PodcastOne is unveiling a new series featuring TV personality and entertainment reporter Katie Wagner, and international celebrity psychic Voxx Voltair.  Dubbed, “InnerView with Katie and Voxx,” it promises to combine “the hottest news in Hollywood with astrology, clairvoyance, numerology, and Tarot readings and features the latest gossip, fashion trends, and secrets from celebrity guests.”…..At the same time CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital Media announce some new on-demand programming on its Play.it platform.  New shows include podcasts from SHOWTIME Boxing Commentator Paulie Malignaggi, ELLE Style correspondent Alia Ahmed-Yahia, TED.com speaker Julian Treasure, former CNN senior executive producer Michael Schulder’s “Wavemaker Conversations,” “The Marilu Henner Show”; and “Boomer & Carton” producer Al Dukes’ interview series with media moguls called, “Al’s Boring Podcast.”…..SiriusXM is launching “Let’s Talk with Abby and Ari,” a live, one-hour weekly, call-in show hosted by MSNBC The Cycle’s Abby Huntsman and Ari Melber.  The show will entail Huntsman and Melber examining the news of the day first, and welcoming tastemakers and newsmakers for interviews in a relaxed, casual style.  “The show will be a conversation at the cross-section of current events, politics and entertainment.”…..ESPN 2 “First Take” moderator Cari Champion is now hosting a new weekly ESPN Audio podcast called, “espnW Presents: Be Honest with Cari Champion.”  It will feature the “straight-shooting, always-honest Champion talking sports and more with A-list athletes and celebrity guests.”

srnlogoSalem Radio Network to Organize Aid Drive for Nepal Earthquake Victims.  Via its Washington-based SRN News, Salem Radio Network launched a campaign on its 1,600-plus affiliates nationwide to encourage donations on behalf of victims of last Saturday’s earthquake in Nepal.  The network is working with Oklahoma City-based nonprofit relief organization Project HOPE.  SRN will generate funds to rush food and emergency supplies to the stricken area.  The effort includes Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk hosts Bill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved, Eric Metaxas and Hugh Hewitt.

fisherhouselogoFisher House Foundation Offers Memorial Day Special to News/Talk Outlets.  As it has done in the past, Fisher House Foundation is offering news/talk radio stations a three-our Memorial Day Weekend program titled, “A Hero’s Best Medicine.”  Fisher House says this year’s program contains “all-new, compelling and diverse storytelling.  The show shares the role that Fisher House plays in military heroes’ recovery, giving family a safe place to stay just steps from their hospital rooms.”  Some of the stories told include that of Marine Cpl. Kyle Carpenter, a Medal of Honor recipient, and his family in South Carolina. Carpenter threw himself on a grenade in Afghanistan to save a fellow Marine’s life. His parents spent nearly three years in a Fisher House; and Marine Cpl. Jake Schick, a wounded warrior who attracted the attention of Clint Eastwood and landed a role in the blockbuster film “American Sniper.”  Schick met his wife in a military hospital.  Throughout his recovery she stayed in a Fisher House.  The program is hosted by KARN, Little Rock afternoon host Doc Thompson.  For affiliation details on “A Hero’s Best Medicine,” news/talk stations should send an email to radio@fisherhouse.org with the word “radio” in the subject line.

Baltimore Protests, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Clinton Foundation Scrutiny, Nepal Quake Aftermath, 2016 Presidential Prospects, and Iranian Navy Intercepts U.S. Ship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/28).  The tactics to curb the violent protests in Baltimore and the political aspects of the event; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the case challenging the anti-gay marriage laws in four states; the ongoing scrutiny of the financial operations of the Clinton Foundation; the aftermath of the earthquake that’s taken more than 5,000 lives in Nepal; the potential candidates for president in 2016 including new possibilities Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley; and the interception of a U.S-flagged ship in the Strait of Hormuz by an Iranian Naval vessel were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

| April 22, 2015

nielsen logoNielsen Announces Q1 Financials; Revenue Up 4.4%.  In announcing the numbers for the first quarter of 2015, Nielsen N.V. reports revenue was down 2.1% due to the impact of foreign exchange, but up 4.4% on a constant currency basis, compared to the first quarter of 2014.  CEO Mitch Barns states, “Nielsen’s first quarter results again illustrate the consistency of our business model and strong execution, with 4.4% total company and 10.0% emerging markets revenue growth on a constant currency basis.  These results reflect the 35th consecutive quarter of constant currency revenue growth.  In addition, we were pleased to raise our quarterly dividend 12%, as we continue to deliver on our commitment to drive ongoing shareholder value.”

rudymaxasworldSSI’s Bob and Mary Carey Host Rudy Maxa’s World Travel Show from Iceland.  Telling us that he guest hosts the program about every six weeks, Syndicated Solutions Inc. president Bob Carey says the latest show he co-hosted with his wife Mary was from the hot new destination – Iceland.  Carey’s company syndicates the “Rudy Maxa’s World” weekly travel show.  Among the things Carey discovered about the unlikely tourist destination of Iceland is that geothermal energy and technology make Iceland an ideal place to grow hothouse fruits and vegetables and that The Blue Lagoon geothermal health and wellness spa is becoming a popular destination for American and Canadian travelers who can get there in five hours from the East Coast of North America.

Odds & Sods.  WTOP, Washington Capitol Hill correspondent Dave McConnell was honored at the Capitol for his many decades of journalistic service.  McConnell was recognized by Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Nortonmcconnelldave by being entered into the Congressional Record.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Mark Warner also delivered thank you speeches in his honor.  McConnell recently celebrated his 50th anniversary with the station.  McConnell can be heard live each weekday morning and afternoon, just steps from the House floor, in his hourly “Today on the Hill” segments…..CBS RADIO all-news KNX, Los Angeles will present a special program on the high cost of housing in Southern California on Thursday (4/23).  The station says that “not only can fewer people afford to buy a house, LA has become one of the most unaffordable rental markets in the country.  Add it up and it makes finding a place to live near your job unlikely and often prevents employers from attracting the most qualified candidates.”  The show will feature special expert guests and will be hosted by KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman.

cumulus logoNo Performance Bonuses for Cumulus Media Executives This Year.  The Compensation Committee of Cumulus Media, Inc. awarded no annual incentive compensation nor long-term incentive awards to Cumulus executives in 2014, according to a Definitive Proxy Statement filed with the SEC.  The filing notes that the Compensation Committee would have the discretion to grant the applicable target award if “Cumulus achieved budgeted EBITDA goals, and satisfied other objectives related to managing costs, developing content, achieving gains in market share, as well as successes in strategic planning and implementation and optimizing financial liquidity.  In reviewing the performance and compensation levels of the executive officers for 2014 at the completion of that fiscal year, the Compensation Committee determined that the quantitative financial performance objectives were not met at the threshold level.  As a result, no annual incentive compensation was paid for 2014.”  The filing also reports that no equity incentive awards (stock) were granted either.  “In light of the size and timing of equity award grants to the named executive officers in 2013, which awards were made in October of that year, as well as data provided by Meridian Compensation Partners LLC with respect to the compensation of the executive officers, general industry conditions and actual Company performance in 2014, the Compensation Committee did not grant any long-term incentive awards to the executive officers in 2014.”  So, what did Cumulus officers make in 2014?  Here are a few of the numbers:  president and CEO Lew Dickey earned $1,456,000 in total compensation; SVP, treasurer and CFO Joseph Hanna earned $554,125; EVP of content and programming John Dickey earned $881,192; SVP secretary and general counsel Richard Denning earned $509,942; and recently retired EVP and co-COO Jon Pinch earned $757,851.

wachsKennedyRaising Awareness for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs (right) reports to TALKERS that she’s been assisting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with its spring campaign and was recently honored to work with six-year-old leukemia survivor Kennedy (left) as Dr. Wachs accompanied her to her first television interview on KSNV-TV.

Iran Nuclear Negotiations/Corker Bill, ObamaCare Subsidies Addressed by SCOTUS, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Police Protests, Yemen Military Action, Ben Affleck ‘Roots’ Cover-Up Case, and Bryan Price Profanity-Laced Presser Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/21).  The controversy over the Obama Administration’s role in negotiating a nuclear program with Iran and the bill drafted by Senator Bob Corker that would give Congress the ability to approve or disapprove the final deal; the case before the Supreme Court challenging the legality of health care subsidies as provided by the Affordable Care Act; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the protests against the Baltimore police after the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody; the ongoing Saudi strikes in Yemen and the U.S.’ naval presence in the region; chatter about Ben Affleck’s plea to leave his ancestor’s history of slave ownership out of the “Finding Your Roots” program; and Reds manager Bryan Price’s dropping of 77 f-bombs in a post-game press conference were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 30, 2015

| March 30, 2015

garciatonySix Tips for Success in Syndication.  The syndication game in the radio business has gotten so much more competitive over the years that today one must have a well-thought out and almost flawlessly executable plan in order to successfully bring a radio show to a national audience.  That warning doesn’t mean it can’t be done – it’s just gonna be real hard.  But Global Media Services principal Tony Garcia – a veteran of the radio and syndication businesses – writes in TALKERS magazine that a quick rundown of his six-point checklist can let you know whether or not you have a reasonable shot.  Point #1 is Know Your Product.  Sound easy?  Read more here.

ramseyDallas15Dave Ramsey Does Dallas. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar and New York Times best-selling author, Dave Ramsey is pictured here on stage at the Verizon Theater in Dallas where he hosted his “Smart Conference.”  This day-long event took place on Saturday, March 28 and included Ramsey, along with Chris Hogan, John O’Leary, Dr. Henry Cloud, Dr. Les Parrott, Dr. Meg Meeker and Michael Jr. providing attendees with essential information on how to win with money, strengthen their marriages, build parenting skills and excel in their careers.  Ramsey also hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Dallas on Friday, March 27 during which Ramsey and Hogan spoke about how to run a business using the same common sense principles that Ramsey practices in his own company of more than 400 employees.  Ramsey partnered with CBS RADIO-owned local affiliate KRLD-AM “Newsradio 1080” to promote the appearances.

gallagherFergusonPlayposterMike Gallagher to Play Roles in Ferguson: The Play.  Nationally syndicated talk radio pro Mike Gallagher – whose program is heard around the nation via Salem Radio Network – will take part in a controversial stage production in Los Angeles based on the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson.  Regular TALKERS magazine readers are aware that Gallagher is, in addition to his radio work, an accomplished stage actor.  Hegallaghermike appeared on Broadway in the musical Memphis and who took home a TONY Award as one of the investors in the 2014 Broadway revival of Pippin.  In this production, based on the Grand Jury witness testimony, Gallagher will play three roles: a lawyer, a forensic toxicologist and a medical examiner.  At the end of the production, the theatre audience will be asked to judge whether or not Darren Wilson should have been indicted.  The play will be presented at the Odyssey Theater in Los Angeles for four nights – April 26-29.  The producers of the Phelim McAleer-written and Nick DeGruccio-directed play hope to bring it to the stage in Ferguson itself.

brandmeierUnhingedlogoJohnny B’s ‘Talk Unhinged’ Debuts on Westwood One Today.  Stating that the program is debuting on 100 affiliate stations across the country, Westwood One announces the new Jonathon Brandmeier show is called “Talk Unhinged,” and the company says it’s “an entertaining, offbeat look at news, pop culture, and sports–from the big trending topics to the stories about to fall through the cracks–combined with celebrity interviews and free-wheeling audience interaction.”  It airs live from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm ET and launches on such Cumulus Media stations as: home base WLS-AM Chicago; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; KLIF-AM Dallas; WWBA-AM, Tampa; KKAT-AM, Salt Lake City; WPRV-AM, Providence; and KTBL-AM, Albuquerque; among others.

pagetommyCumulus Media Recruits Tommy Page for New Executive Role.  Former Pandora, Billboard and Warner Bros. Records exec Tommy Page is now with Cumulus Media as senior vice president of brand partnerships  where he’ll focus live events for that division of the company.  In this position Page will report directly to president and CEO Lew Dickey, who comments, “As an artist and marketer, Tommy is a natural choice to create meaningful connections between artists, brands and their passionate fans through immersive and measurable marketing experiences.  Tommy has a deep understanding of the live experience and helping advertisers bring their brands to life with unique partnerships.”

veatanyaVea Promoted at KSL in Salt Lake City.  The new title for Tanya Vea at Bonneville International’s KSL radio and TV is vice president and general manager of KSL-TV and KSL Newsradio.  She has served as vice president station manager at KSL since April 2014, overseeing news, programming, marketing, operations and engineering.   According to a story in the Deseret News, she now assumes responsibility for all operating departments, including sales.  Bonneville president Darrell Brown comments, “Tanya will be an outstanding general manager. She has been a key contributor to many of the cross-platform initiatives, including the groundbreaking DMC combined newsroom for KSL and the Deseret News.  Her expanded role as general manager of KSL will now allow her to have a greater impact on the entire organization.”

Mike FezzeyEx-WJR Leader Fezzey Passes. Former WJR, Detroit president and general manager Mike Fezzey died of a heart attack on March 27 while on a business trip in Naples, Florida. The 58-year-old native Detroiter had been president/general manager of heritage talker WJR from 1994 to 2011, but for the past four years, was president of Huntington Bank‘s southeastern Michigan region. According to a WJR statement, “Mike Fezzey was a community leader; active in many charities and nonprofit activities in Michigan; and he was a leader in his church. Under [his] leadership, [Cumulus Media-owned] WJR maintained [its] position as Detroit’s preeminent radio station, and it became one of America’s leading news-talk stations.” Cross-town CBS Radio market manager Debbie Kenyon comments, “Mike was a leader in our industry for years. He was an inspiration to many in the way he transcended his career. He will be sorely missed by all of us.” Huntington Bank released a statement, which describes Fezzey as “an extraordinary member of the Huntington family who was highly committed to the Detroit area and making it a growing, vibrant community. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mike’s family.” A former president of the Detroit Advertising Association, Fezzey received a Peabody Award for broadcasting excellence from the University of Georgia and the Neal Shine Award for philanthropy in journalism. In July 1996, Feezey selected Paul W. Smith to succeed the late J.P. McCarthy as WJR’s morning drive talent. On Saturday (3/28), Smith voiced a WJR commentary regarding Fezzey. Prior to being elevated to president/general manager at WJR, Fezzey was an account executive and sales manager there. His wife, Suzy, and their three adult children survive Fezzey.

brentmegCarnivalBrent & Meg Receive the Coveted ‘Poopy’ Award.  Nationally syndicated husband/wife duo Brent & Meg (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald) were recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for their role in the “Studio City Beautification” program instituted by the Studio City Resident’s Association and the City of Los Angeles to keep the streets free of unwanted dog droppings.  They are pictured at a special dinner honoring their community-mindedness at Carla’s Café, surrounding LA City Councilmember Paul Kerkorian of the second district (which includes major studios such as Universal and CBS). Meg and Brent are animal lovers and make sure that plastic mitt bags are available to “help dog owners keep our streets clean…not our movies…just our streets.”  The Brent & Meg Show now airs Monday through Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET on the Genesis Communications Network (GCN) as well as on its anchor affiliate WWPG 1450, Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Brent & Meg will be serving as Official Masters of Ceremony at the forthcoming Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.  To register, call 413-565-5413 before it, again, sells out.

Friday, March 27, 2015

| March 27, 2015

leetomTom Lee Tapped to Lead LA’s ‘The Beast 980.’  Radio and sports talk pro Tom Lee is being given the programming reigns to KFWB, Los Angeles “The Beast 980” – the recently flipped sports talker owned by the KFWB Asset Trust.  Lee says in a press statement that “Los Angeles sports fans are the greatest and perhaps the most underrated in America.”  Lee will have the opportunity to help bring substantivekfwb sports ratings to a radio format that has historically never really achieved – from a pure ratings standpoint – much in the Los Angeles market.  Lee continues, “Their passion, the distinct LA attitude and our great sports teams will all be represented by ‘The Beast 980.’”  Lee certainly understands successful sports talk as his resume includes some of the industry’s most visible sports talk ventures.  He launched FOX Sports Radio in 2000, leading the programming team that created and developed the 24/7 national sports network.  Lee has also programmed KESN-FM, Dallas ESPN Radio, as well as sports radio stations WIP, Philadelphia and KJR, Seattle.  KFWB Asset Trust Trustee Diane Sutter comments, “Tom has achieved some of the highest ratings of all-sports stations across the country.  Our listeners will benefit from Tom’s invaluable skills in producing relevant content, top-notch talent and his experience in working with sports teams.”  Lee begins his new gig on March 30.

goldsteinsteveSteve Goldstein Exits Exec Role at Saga Communications; Launches Podcast Venture.  After a career with Saga Communications that spanned almost 30 years, Steven Goldstein leaves his executive vice president position and announces that he is forming a company called Amplifi Media, LLC which will specialize in “the development of digital audio-on-demand (podcast) content.”  Goldstein adds, “As connected cars, Bluetooth and smartphones converge, time-shifted audio will grow exponentially.amplifi logo  People will listen to content at a time and place of their choosing, just as is occurring rapidly in the television industry with Netflix, DVRs and on-demand video.”  A press statement from Amplifi says the company will “concentrate on great storytelling, compelling content and fresh voices on a variety of popular subjects, and will adapt, craft and focus the product for the unique needs of the digital audio business.”  Goldstein concludes, “The top of the iTunes podcast chart is dominated by NPR and affiliates.  They have done a tremendous job but there is a world of mainstream topics yet to be explored for on-demand-audio.  That’s where Amplifi will live.”  Goldstein can be reached at 203-221-1400 or via email at sjgoldstein@amplifimedia.com.

colmesalan“Healed Planet” Hosted by Alan Colmes Exploring New Worlds of Radio and Listenership.  One of the new program/projects launched on TALKERS magazine’s experimental radio platform TalkersRadio has been gaining notable traction in terms of expanded programming topicality and new listenership.  “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an experimental talk show conceived and hosted by syndicated Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes and it serves as a prime example of TalkersRadio carrying out one of its primary missions as a “laboratory/workout gym” for proven talk show hosts to test new concepts and as a showcase for promising newcomers to present their work to the industry.  A new “Healed Planet” program is produced at least once per month and is available to TalkersRadio listeners (primarily members of the radio industry) on demand.  The program features the multi-platform, news/talk figure that gained international notoriety as the liberal co-host on the iconic left-right political discussion show “Hannity & Colmes” during itstalkersradio logo successful 12-year run on Fox News Channel in a role quite different than his regular followers might expect.  (In addition to being heard nightly on his syndicated radio show, Colmes is also still seen on Fox News Channel as a contributing commentator.)  “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes” is an eclectic mix of science, metaphysics, unexplained mysteries, cosmic consciousness and everything else rolling around the fertile mind of Alan Colmes.  He describes it as “presenting stimulating conversations with thought-leaders in the human consciousness movement.”  At present, three episodes of “Healed Planet” are up and running featuring Colmes in conversation with authors Gabe Berman and George A. Hart, plus a discussion with TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison.  On having this new vehicle of expression, Colmes tells TALKERS,” I love having a nightly forum where I can give my political views and takes on the issues of the day, and I love having a forum where politics doesn’t matter and we can all talk as human beings without any ideological prism.”  According to Colmes, he is basically doing this for fun, stating, “Sometimes it is simply cool to do a media presentation just for the heck of it and explore subjects and styles that don’t necessarily fit into the understandably more-rigid confines of our day jobs, even though my daily radio show is on at night.”  TalkersRadio general manager David Bernstein states, “It is fun, fascinating, stimulating and informative for talk listeners and people in the industry to hear all the dimensions that make up the personality, creativity and interests one of the nicest and smartest guys in the business – beyond the paradigm of general news/talk radio and TV where – let’s face it – Alan is quite famous.  And THAT is what TalkersRadio is all about!”  To listen to “Healed Planet with Alan Colmes,” please click here.

spiegelmattWSCR, Chicago Host Apologizes for ‘Childish’ and ‘Crass’ Tweet.  From the “haven’t they been paying attention” department comes this story, chronicled by Chicago media writer Robert Feder here.  In a nutshell, WSCR veteran talk hosts Matt Spiegel and Dan Bernstein were Tweeting critically about the television presence of Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor Aiyana Cristal when the two veered into the now-all-too-familiar territory visited by many media personalities these days: they commented on her breasts.  To Spiegel’s (and to some degree Bernstein’s) credit, he seems to have realized his error and has apologized profusely via Twitter, admitting that he made a stupid, childish mistake.  Feder reports that sources say Spiegel and Bernstein will not be disciplined for the incident.

wgnhofplaqueWGN, Chicago to Induct 10 into Station WoF.  When Tribune Media’s WGN, Chicago inducts its 2015 Walk of Fame class during the Steve Cochran show on Friday, May 29, 10 broadcasters will be honored.  The ceremony and live broadcast will air from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the Tribune Tower.  Those to be inducted include: Steve Bertrand, Lyle Dean, Dave Eanet, Steve King, Franklyn MacCormack, Lou Manfredini, Johnnie Putman, Ward Quaal, Ron Santo and Eddie Schwartz.  They will be commemorated in bronze plaques placed outside the Allstate Showcase Studio.

Odds & Sods.  Bringing a passion of hers to WABC, New York on Sunday nights at 7:00 is Laura Smith who tells TALKERS magazine she’s “psyched” to debut “Above and Beyond with Laura Smith” this weekend.  Smith says the program is a revival of the program she hosted on SiriusXM and on WFAS-FM, Westchester several years ago.  “It’ssmithlaura a passion of mine as it incorporates conversations with some of the world’s most popular thought leaders and then the biggest celebrity psychics, mediums and astrologers giving free readings live on the air.  This Sunday, I have global phenomenon, spiritual teacher and four-time NYT best-selling author, Marianne Williamson plus celebrity medium Thomas John.”…..There’s now an FM signal to complement Delmarva’s news/talk WDEL-AM, Wilmington.  The company announces it is using the newly acquired WJKS, Canton, New Jersey to create at trimulcast of the legendary news/talker.  In the market the station can be heard on WDEL at 1150 AM, on WJKS at 101.7 FM and via HD-3 on WSTW’s 93.7 FM.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  More stations are airing the Compass Media Networks-syndicated Lars Larson show.  New affiliate stations for the KXL, Portland-based talk personality include: WHBY, Green Bay; WLFJ, Greenville, South Carolina; WLEA, Elmira New York; WBRP, Baton Rouge; WNRP, Pensacola; KCRS,larsonlars Odessa; WDRC-AM, Hartford; and KTIP, Porterville, California.  Larson comments on his busy schedule, “I prep from 6:00 am to 12:00 noon on the Left Coast and talk from 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm.  I’ll leave the mic when they drag me away.  I’ll sleep when I get old.”…..Stephan MultiMedia’s “Good Day” with Doug stephandougStephan is also adding affiliate stations and announces it’s surpassed the 300-station mark with the following new outlets: KTFL, Gilbert, Arizona; KVNU, Logan, Utah; WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island; WDNY, Dansville, New York; WQXL, Columbia, South Carolina; KBIZ, Ottumwa, Iowa; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; WEBY, Milton, Florida; KSCB, Liberal, Kansas; WFEA, Nashua, New Hampshire; and KQEW-FM, Fordyce, Arkansas…..“Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge joins the daily lineup at KWOR, Worland, Wyoming.

dickeycurtisKubyinfShow Prep with Lew Dickey.  When Cumulus Media president and CEO Lew Dickey is in New York, he’s more than ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work with the talent at legendary news/talk outlet WABC.  Dickey (seated right) is captured here in the office of WABC midday talk duo Curtis Sliwa (seated left) and Ron Kuby (seated floor) as the executive gives Kuby a therapeutic massage to make him more relaxed on the air.  Dickey did, however, draw the line when Sliwa demanded that his be a foot massage.

Germanwings Flight 9525 Tragedy Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 23-27.  The downing of Germanwings Flight 9525 was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of March 23-27, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.  Following at #3 was the tense relationship between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and, at #4, was the potential candidates for president in 2016.  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.