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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

| March 16, 2016

cbsradio logoCBS to Explore Options for Radio Division.  The company has always enjoyed the cash flow that the CBS RADIO division brought to its bottom line but CEO Les Moonves has often indicated that radio is not a core business for CBS Corp.  Yesterday’s announcement by Moonves at a CBS investor day that the company will explore “strategic options” for the radio division in order to “hone its asset portfolio” is being greeted by the radio industry with mixed emotions.  Potential buyers are thrilled by the thought of acquiring CBS’ heritage, major market signals, but few operators have piles of cash on hand and it will require taking on debt tomoonvesles buy these stations in a climate where debt can be difficult to pay off.  TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison offers the following comments on the Moonves announcement, “Broadcast (FM/AM) radio can still be a very viable business if stations can be acquired at realistic prices.  There is still a lot of life left in the medium if it can run within a business model that makes sense per the times.  Also, broadcast radio has a large audience and provides a vital set of services for millions of Americans.  It just needs to be relieved of stifling debt.  Radio has to be able to afford to do radio.  Fresh capital within a realistic debt structure and the influx of invigorated, passionate ownership will create a much better product for radio which will further add years of vitality to the industry.”  However, Harrison points out, “CBS has been and still is one of the better-run major companies in radio, so its decision to get out – although advancing the cause of de-consolidation – is not an act of desperation as much as it is indicative of their long-term asset strategy.”  Moonves told investors that it views CBS TV and Showtime as its premium brands.  The company is focusing intently on its digital efforts CBS All Access and Showtime via the Internet to cater to consumers’ growing on-demand preferences.  CBS owns 117 signals in 26 markets, many of those clusters are in major markets.  Given what CBS hopes to get for the stations it is unlikely that one buyer will be able to swallow the whole group.  Since radio is not considered a growth industry by investors, finding favorable financing for radio station acquisitions – especially in light of the enormous debt fellow operators iHeartMedia and Cumulus are dealing with – will be a challenge.  Moonves said all options are on the table, meaning the company would consider a spinoff or a split as well as an outright sale.  CBS RADIO’s net revenue for the fourth quarter of 2015 was down 5% compared to the same period in 2014.

harrisonRadioDays16wcaptionAmerican Broadcasters Participate in Radiodays Europe.  Several prominent US radio broadcasters participated as speakers in the just-concluded seventh annual installment of Radiodays Europe – the growingly popular international radio convention that took place March 13-15 in Paris.  Among them were TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison who delivered a speech titled “Lessons Learned by American Radio During the Dawn of the Digital Era” and moderated a “Fast and Curious” roundtable discussion titled, “Making Radio Indispensable;” Jacobs Media CEO, Fred Jacobs who participated in a group presentation titled, “”Radio in Car: Dashboard Disaster;” Geller Media International  president Valerie Geller who conducted a workshop titled “Create Powerful Radio,” spoke in a group session titled “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes” and debuted the brand new French language edition of her book Creating Powerful Radio; iHeart Media syndicated personality Elvis Duran and VP of talent development Dennis Clark who both appeared on the panel titled “Morning Radio SuperstarsgellerRadiodays16 – In Talent We Trust; NPR producer Bianca Giaeve, who presented a session titled “Storytelling in New Medias” and appeared in the group session titled “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes;” and Futuri Media CEO Daniel Anstandig who presented a session titled “Winning the First Tune-In Occasion of the Day.”  It was announced that next year’s Radiodays Europe will take place in Amsterdam.  Pictured at right is Valerie Geller with her Puissance Radio French publishing team (l-r) Philippe Chapot, Francois Quairel and Frederic Bruhaltour at the debut of the French version of her classic Creating Powerful Radio. 

tidwelllanceCumulus Kansas City Names Lance Tidwell Cluster OM and KCMO PD.  Programmer Lance Tidwell joins Cumulus Media’s Kansas City station group to serve as cluster operations manager and program director for news/talk KCMO-AM.  He’ll also supervise the Chiefs Radio Network.  Tidwell was previously SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s San Antonio cluster.  On KCMO-AM, Tidwell replaces Steve Sutton who recently exited the PD and talk host roles at the station.

Odds & Sods.  The photo at right shows a billboard in the Tampa market for “102.5 The Bone” morning personalitycaltaBillboard16 Mike CaltaCox Media Group-owned talk outlet WHPT is also promoting the afternoon drive Drew Garabo show with a similar ad.  “Bone” program director John Brennan comments on the Trump-inspired boards saying, “We’re kicking off 102.5 The Bone’s ‘CamPAINFUL’ coverage and have launched a series of parody billboards ‘Trumped’ in ridiculousness only by the 2016 Election itself.”  Calta will appear at the Talkers 2016: hennermariluBridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on May 20 on the “Millennials and the Media” panel…..It’s being reported that the Marilu Henner talk radio show will wrap after its last broadcast on March 31.  The program is no longer listed on the Sun Broadcast Group site.  It is distributed by Genesis Communications Network.  “Free Talk Live” principal Ian Freeman reports the news to affiliate stations.  His show is also distributed by GCN…..Speaking of “Free Talk Live,”janoffgreg the show announces it has added new affiliates in WWHP-FM, Bloomington, Illinois; KQQQ, Pullman, Washington; simulcast KEIR, KEII, and the four translators in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, and Pocatello, Idaho; and WSDT, Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee…..Greg Janoff returns to CBS RADIO New York as director of news sales for all-newsers WINS and WCBS-AM.  Janoff was most recently with Townsquare Media as regional VP for New Jersey.

ppmunitRound Two of February PPM Data Released.  The second of four rounds of February 2016 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was January 28 – February 24.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.

Super Tuesday II/Presidential Race, Syrian Conflict-Russian Involvement, Scalia Replacement, U.S Immigration Policy, and ‘Pawn Stars’ Cast Member Bust Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15).  Yesterday’s Super Tuesday II primary elections and the issues surrounding the presidential race; the Syrian conflict and Russia’s announcement it is removing its troops from the region; the controversy over the replacement of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia; debate over the immigration policy in the U.S.; and the arrest of “Pawn Stars” cast member Chumlee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, June 5, 2015

| June 5, 2015

hivio 2015Henner Among hivio Highlights. To punctuate his point of the “power of audio,” Mark Ramsey Media president Mark Ramsey played several seconds of the unmistakable bumper from Jerry Seinfeld‘s sitcom “Seinfeld,” which debuted in May 1990. It had its last telecast just over eight years later (September 1998) – thus has been in syndication longer than its original NBC primetime run. That and classic clips from Orson Welles‘ legendary “War of the Worlds” (including how purposeful “dead-air” is a potent way of using audio) were cleverly woven in by Ramsey yesterday (Thursday, 6/4) in his scene-setting opening remarks of hivio 2015, the two-day Los Angeles confab focusing on compelling content in a world of limitless distribution. Eight segments – including three 30-minute presentations – followed Ramsey’s 20-minute introduction in a fast-paced four-hour seminar at Hollywood’s landmark comedy venue, the Improv. One of those eight segments was a one-on-one interview Ramsey conducted with Marilu Henner, in which the author, sitcom actress (“Taxi,” “Evening Shade”), “Celebrity Apprentice” participant, Food Network host, and memory expert discussed her daily radio project. Downplaying her celebrity status, Henner insists she is just “a neighborhood girl from Chicago” and in many ways simply “the girl next door.” Enamored with radio’s spontaneity, she states she is “a very auditory person” and that has “always been” her passion. This past May 13 commemorated the one-year anniversary of the radio show fronted by effervescent Los Angeles-based Henner. The daily talk entity is executive-produced by Sun Broadcast Group, which handles affiliations and national sales as well; Genesis Communications Network provides satellite delivery and streaming audio for the show. Unique in today’s talk radio landscape on multiple levels, the three-hour (9:00 am – noon PT) project is female-targeted (rather than geared to angry, white men); it is non-political; and the host, while still relatively new to radio, has amassed sterling accolades on several entertainment platforms. In other words, Henner is anything but a one-trick pony. Perhaps the greatest surprise she encountered in the first year of doing the radio program is the extent of her love of it. “I knew I would like it a lot but I am really passionate about it,” she stresses. “I feel like people are letting me into a very ‘cool-kids’ club.”  Missing from Henner’s daily radio program though is a political concentration because, “That’s not what I am here to do,” she points out. “I love to talk with celebrities, do lifestyle things, and play ‘Defend Your Gender.’ I try Marilu Hennerto stay away from politics and religion.” Each of her programs features as many as seven guests and Henner actually enjoys doing the copious associated daily research. “I can always find that little nugget from their past or a connection I might have with them,” she boasts. Some of her peers might be afraid to do a daily radio show because, as Henner opines, “They feel it is a lot of work and takes a lot of energy. It is hard work and you have got to love it.” Paramount in her role as a host is to be a good listener, especially given that “things happen so quickly and you don’t want to miss” anything important. Recalling what she stated as a keynote speaker at last month’s NAB, Henner says, “Of all the great things I love to do in my life, radio is the best of all of it. It has the immediate feel of a live performance; the personal expression of writing a book; the storytelling of a movie; global reach of a long-running sitcom; and it is like opening night on Broadway – every single day. This is what I get to do.” Each morning, she wakes up wondering how she “can make my show better” and as soon as she gets off the air, she maintains that she cannot wait until the next day’s broadcast. One of the best pieces of advice Henner has received so far came courtesy of veteran talk host Dick Cavett, who suggests she view on-air discussions with guests as “conversations” rather than “interviews.” Another popular talk host’s name was invoked when Henner mentioned her fond admiration for David Letterman. “I did his show many times and he was very good at ‘riding the wave,'” she remarks. “He might have had questions [prepared for him] but being able to be “in the moment” made him such a genius. He did not let anything slide.” Henner’s candor in Thursday’s 20-minute hivioMark Ramsey conversation with Ramsey is consistent with her radio persona. “I had a baby on national television, so I have no secrets,” she proclaims. “You can ask me anything; I will talk about anything; and I will remember anything. I am genuinely interested in people.” Her unique memory capabilities have been frequently chronicled, including several times on “60 Minutes” and Henner comments, “Developing a stronger autobiographical memory is really your [best] line of defense against meaninglessness that you have. You can figure out what is from your past; how to bring it to your present; and how you can inform a better future. Everything you have been through is already on your emotional hard drive. Whether or not you acknowledge it, it’s making you behave in certain ways.” Anticipating there is “a whole new frontier” for her, Henner declares she, “loves radio,” and moreover, she is “obsessed” with it. Also featured on Thursday’s agenda were similar one-on-one Ramsey-conducted discussions with Scott Baker of The Blaze; Mike Schneider of TV Guide; Jake Shapiro of PRX; and Richard Laermer of RLM PR; hivio 2015 concludes later today (Friday, 6/5) with another four-hour block at the Improv.

cookehollandI Want to Be a Part of it, New York, New York.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is gearing up for next Friday’s Talkers New York 2015 conference at the India House Club in Manhattan’s Financial District and he has some thoughts about how to maximize your trip to New York, from a professional standpoint.  Take it from an intrepid radio pro, there are smart ways to get the most out of industry events such as this one.  Cooke says, “”Reach out NOW to those you’d like to tag-up in New York, and schedule some face time.  If it’s only a latte at that Starbucks diagonally across from India House, you’ll have a more meaningful conversation than ad hoc in the din within.  I’ve been scheduling my Talkers time for weeks now.”  Read more from Holland Cooke here.

iheartradio newiHeartRadio Reports 70 Million Registered Users. The digital audio platform of iHeartMedia is reporting it has hit the 70 million registered users threshold.  Claiming it has reached that mark “faster than Facebook or any other digital music or streaming service,” the company says “its digital footprint alone spans nearly 80 million social media followers across its network, significantly more than any of its competitors and are integrated on 60+ devices (and counting).”  iHeartRadio says that its social engagement (Facebook and Twitter) share is 68% — topping Spotify’s 17%, Tidal’s 12%, Pandora’s 2% and Rdio’s 1%.

Odds & Sods.  The newest podcast from Compass Media Networks features college football and NFL star Craig James.  Titled, “Airing It Out with Craig James,” the weekly program will deliver “unique and compelling insights into the world of college and NFL football.”  The inaugural episode features guests Art Briles – Baylor University football coach – and NFL legend Roger Staubach…..KFI, Los Angeles’ Mo’ Kelly show will broadcast live from Comic-Con at the FOX Sports Grill San Diego on July 11.  The Mo’ Kelly show airs on the iHeartMedia news/talk station Saturdays and Sundays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  Last year’s broadcast from Comic-Con featured Orlando Jones of “Sleepy Hollow,” Iron Mike Tyson, AMC’s “Halt and Catch Fire” creator/executive producer Christopher C. Rogers and even Comedy Central’s super duo of Key & Peele…..NFL Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen will be back as part of the radio play-by-play team for Washington Redskins Radio Network broadcasts this season.  Red Zebra Broadcasting says Jurgensen, who’s been part of the team’s broadcasts since 1981, will join Larry Michael and Chris Cooley in the booth.

blasingamejimJim Blasingame Wins Axiom Business Book Award.  Talk show host and small business and entrepreneurship expert Jim Blasingame is being honored with the Axiom Business Book Award for his third book, The Age of the Customer: Prepare for the Moment of Relevance (SBN Books 2014).  The book has reportedly sold 40,000 copies.  Blasingame, whose radio show is nationally syndicated by Talk Shows USA, states, “It’s a great honor to receive the Axiom Business Book Award.  Of course, we’re also pleased at the response from business leaders of all size companies, who’re using my book to transport their businesses to where their customers already are, in the Age of the Customer.”

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Dave Ramsey show is now airing on Salem Media Groupramseydaveowned KYCR, Minneapolis “Business 1570” from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily…..“Legends of Success with John Resnick” joins the lineup at KJCE, Austin, Texas and WBCF, Florence, Alabama…..Tim Constantine’s “The Capitol Hill Show” is now airing on WMEX, Boston in the early evening slot.

hamburgTonys15From Sardi’s in Times Square, Joan Hamburg’s Tony Awards Show.  Pictured here at the iconic New York City eatery is WABC, New York personality Joan Hamburg (right) with actresses Tyne Daly (left) and Harriet Harris (center).  The two are up for Tony Awards for the show “It Shoulda Been You” and joined Hamburg for the special event that took place on Thursday (6/4).  The taped show features special Broadway guests who dropped in to talk about their shows, nominations, and much more.  One hundred of Hamburg’s loyal listeners joined her for the sold-out production.  It will air on WABC on Saturday from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.

talkersten logo2016 Presidential Prospects Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 1-5.  The growing list of candidates for president in 2016 – including the just-announced candidacy of Republicans Rick Perry and Lindsey Graham – was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 was ISIS’ military progress in Iraq and Syria.  Coming in at #3 was the Hillary Clinton email issue followed by the expiration of the Patriot Act tied with the TSA failing the explosives detection tests at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, January 5, 2015

| January 5, 2015

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Returns to Tampa on WHFS-FM.  Via an official press statement issued today (1/5), Beasley Broadcasting confirms the news a local advertiser spilled on Friday about the return of Bubba the Love Sponge to the market on the company’s newly-acquired Tampa signal WHFS-FM.  The former FM sports talk outlet will make public its new format at some point in the future but after signing on this morning at 6:00 am, Bubba the Love Sponge announced the station would air his program continuously for the next few weeks or so before debuting WHFS-FM’s new format.  Bubba aired in the market on Cox Media’s crosstown WHPT “102.5 FM The Bone” before being ousted from the station in August and replaced by then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta.  The move pits former station-mates Calta and Bubba against each other in mornings.  Last week, Ker’s WingHouse debuted Bubba Style Wings and announced Bubba’s return to the market on WHFS-FM.  Beasley says listeners are still voting for their format choice at the station’s website — thenew98.7.com — and the new format is expected to be announced within weeks.

carrhowieHowie Carr’s New England Regional Juggernaut Keeps Gaining Steam – New Stations Signed and GSM Brought Aboard.  The independent talk radio network recently launched by Boston-based, multi-media icon Howie Carr continues to gather major affiliates throughout the six New England states and sets a shiningly optimistic model for what can be created and accomplished in the often-tenuous arena of regional spoken-word syndication.  The latest stations joining the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) include WCAP, Lowell, MA (which started last week); WBEC, Pittsfield, MA (which starts tomorrow 1/6); and WFEA, Manchester, NH (which begins on 1/19), bringing the total number of affiliates to 19.  Also, HCRN VP of sales & marketing, Kathy Carr announces the hiring of sales heavyweight Ross Holt as the company’s new general sales manager.  Holt, who is moving back to his home in New England, was most recently part of the sales team at CBS O&O WINS, New York and has sold Carr in the past while at WGAN, Portland.  The sheer power of the loyal-listener-generating Carr program in market after market across the Northeast segment of the US has proven to be a strong advertising lure for such regional blue chip sponsors as Subaru of New England and a long list of others.  Commenting on the growth and impact of the Howie Carr show in its independent regional incarnation (since the host left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston this fall and replaced it as his flagship with Beantown’s reconstituted WMEX) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is not easy doing what Howie and Kathy Carr are accomplishing with this network – and that is creating a pertinent local flavor that resonates with listeners across a very large and diverse expanse of markets and works in terms of both ratings and revenue.  There are lessons for the industry to learn from this extremely interesting endeavor.  Of course, you must have the right host to pull this off and this guy is a true rarity.  If New England were to suddenly declare itself a single state, Howie Carr would be elected its first governor.”

cohenshattuckBoston Herald Radio and WMEX, Boston Share New Morning Show.  The morning drive show on the Boston Herald’s digital platform – Boston Herald Radio – is now hosted by Adriana Cohen and Tom Shattuck (pictured here).  The program airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and is also being heard on Blackstrap Broadcasting-owned and Wallis Communications-operated WMEX.  Shattuck, who also serves as executive producer of Boston Herald Radio, says in the compay’s paper, “We’ve always been straight with our audience.  This is the city of Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and David Brudnoy.  We are lucky enough now to have an opportunity to be custodians of those same airwaves and we will do it humbly, tirelessly and with the utmost respect for the listener.”  WMEX grabbed longtime Boston afternoon personality Howie Carr after his contract with Entercom’s crosstown WRKO expired in November.

proftdanWLS-AM, Chicago Breaks Up Proft and Wolf Morning Show.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago will be hosted by Bruce Wolf solo after the company parted ways with Dan Proft.  Wolf and Proft had worked together at the station, first in middays, before moving to mornings after longtime duo Don Wade and Roma exited due to Don Wade’s health issues.  (Wade later died from complications from a brain tumor.)

dealgordonNEWbannerFormer WSJRN Programming Evolves and Continues as Compass Media Networks Content.  As TALKERS reported last month, Compass Media Networks is advancing the business news radio programming abandoned by the Wall Street Journal after the latter chose to get out of the radio business at the end of 2014.  Today, Compass debuts breaking business and money news under the “Your Money Now” brand.  The one-minute reports are fed to affiliate stations twice per hour at :20 and :50 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday.  Anchors for the reports are former WSJRN morning drive anchor Jennifer Kushinka, former CEO Radio, WSJRN and BusinessWeek Radio anchor Ray Hoffman in middays, and former WSJRN evening anchor Bruce Vale in afternoon drive.  Also, Compass is continuing the morning drive program hosted by Gordon Deal for the WSJRN as the show is renamed “This Morning, America’s First News with Gordon Deal.”  Compass says the show continues to air on some 250 affiliate stations as well as on numerous digital platforms.

salemcommunicationsSeven Salem News/Talkers Assume ‘The Answer’ Brand.  Adding to the number of Salem Communications news/talk stations already using “The Answer” brand are seven more of the company’s like-programmed outlets, including:  KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KLFE, Seattle; KZNT, Colorado Springs; WGKA, Atlanta; WGUL, Tampa; WGTK, Louisville; and WLSS, Sarasota. WNYM, New York began using the “Answer” brand in 2012.  Salem SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce comments, “We discovered that our listeners are information seekers, always craving the answer to every possible question, from why am I stuck in traffic to who won the November election.  This branding allows our stations to cut through in markets where they are competing with more established stations that only need their call letters as a brand.  We needed something more, and this works.”

union edge logo‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Releases New App.  Pittsburgh-based radio talk show “The Union Edge,” hosted by Charles Showalter with executive producer and co-host Angela Baughman and co-host/communications director Brittany Sheets, unveils its new app created with partner Jack of Trade Apps.  The new app allows listeners to stream the daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program live as well as listen to podcasts on demand and “demonstrate some serious solidarity by sending in photos showing their everyday union actions.”  Listeners can also use the “speak out” voice recorder function to react to the show and expand on their thoughts and feelings about issues that impact their lives.  Jack of Trade Apps president Andrew Davis says, “What this app does is allow union families to organize in a way that surrounds this already great programming that heralds issues that directly impact them.  We are excited to be able to give them such a valuable tool, to help them achieve their growth and spread their message in a new way.”

Odds & Sods.  Former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gives up his weekend talk program at Fox News Channel.  Huckabee – still heard on the radio via his “Mike Huckabee Report” dailyhuckabeemike commentaries now distributed by WYD Media – says he’ll make an announcement about whether he intends to run for president in 2016 sometime in the first part of this year…..Salem Communications expands the “Cats Roundtable” program heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  The Sunday morning show, hosted by New York City businessman John Catsimatidis is now heard from 8:30 am to 10:00 am…..KBGG, Des Moines sports talk host Larry Cotlar exits the station as it transitions from “The Zone” to “The Champ.”  Cotlar’s show is being replaced by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gotleib…..Dr. Frank Wright exits Salem Communications where the former National Religious Broadcasters chief served as president and chief operating officer.  Dr. Wright will receive his salary in the form of severance for the next six months…..Beasley Broadcasting’s WHFS-AM, Tampa drops the CBS Sports Radio Network-programming on the station and flips the station to business talk using programming from the company’s WSBR, Boca Raton, Florida.  Beasley acquired the station from CBS RADIO in a swap.

St. Joseph, Missouri’s KFEQ Joins “Market Rally”Affiliate Network. The daily analysis of farm commodity markets airs 4:06 pm – 5:00 pm on the Eagle Communications-owned talker. KFEQ general manager Gary Exline comments, “Ever since Farm Journal launched ‘Market Rally’ [in March 2014], we have taken a wait-and-see attitude [but] when farmers in our region started asking for it – we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. ‘Market Rally’ is the perfect programming solution as we set out to reboot our afternoon drive lineup.” According to Farm Journal Radio vice president and general manager Mark DePrez, “Market Rally” host Chip Flory “already has more than 6,500 Twitter followers, a clear signal that farmers and ranchers are highly engaged in his entertaining and educational approach to the markets.” When Illinois outlets WRHL, Rochelle and WAIK, Galesburg begin carrying the program early this year, “Market Rally” will be heard on 42 affiliates in nine states.

cookeholland

2015 International CES; What Next?  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the huge 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.  As Cooke notes, video and pictures are paramount to viral media.  “Major recent news stories demonstrate how profoundly technology impacts our lives.  More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras.  When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful.  When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, The Interview was released on YouTube.”  Read more here.

sabowalterSabo: Biggest Trends Affecting Radio.  Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a piece published in TALKERS today (1/5), writes about seven trends in media that have been influential over the past year and will continue to be so through 2015.  From NextRadio to sports talk on FM to online audio platforms, Sabo suggests avenues radio practitioners can explore to build new and profitable content ventures.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

| August 20, 2014

Bicentennial SSB Cover 175Views “Rising” on Rock Band’s “Spangled” Song Interpretation. Several months ago, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison — a showman at heart — pondered the advantages of — and reaction to — opening the publication’s annual New York City seminar in June with a rousing, dramatic version of — all things — the National Anthem. The more he deliberated on it, the more he reasoned, why not. It has famously preceded every major sporting event and, truth be told, a multitude of minor ones as well. When done correctly and under optimum circumstances though, a spirited rendition of this country’s anthem can elicit powerfully positive emotions. Such was the case two months ago (6/20) at that very TALKERS confab when patriotic rock band Madison Rising gripped everyone’s attention and brought several to a misty-eye state with their “Star Spangled Banner” performance. The group now boasts sales of over 100,000 of “The Star Spangled Banner,” which celebrates its 200th birthday in about four weeks. Francis Scott Key wrote it on the morning of September 14, 1814, as he watched the American flag rise over Ft. McHenry. Madison Rising has updated and re-energized the anthem just in time for this momentous occasion. Thus far, there have been nearly six million unique YouTube video views of Madison Rising’s “Star Spangled Banner” performance. The band, a creation of New York City entrepreneur Richard Mgrdechian, hopes to reach 10 million views by the September 14 anniversary.  To view it, please click here.

price howardFerguson Wake Up Call: Is your Emergency Planning Proactive or Reactive?  The turmoil in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, MO illustrates the need for radio stations – particularly those in the news/talk/information genre – to be prepared in the event that something like what is happening in Ferguson strikes close to home.  Howard B. Price, director, business continuity, ABC Television Network expert (and one of the huge stars of the recent Talkers New York 2014 seminar) shares his expertise on this subject in a new piece posted today (8/20) writing: “We don’t yet know the full story behind the shooting of an unarmed African-American man by a white police officer in Ferguson…but what has emerged in the days of protest, rioting and looting that have followed is both a cautionary tale and a teachable moment for broadcasters. They – and digital newsgatherers, too – are being tested on their ability to ramp up meaningful coverage of contentious social issues simmering in communities large and small. Also being tested is their preparedness to both report the story while protecting their people and property.  To read Price’s entire priceless piece, please click here.

gallagher mikeGallagher Encourages Listeners to Support Local Police. The call-to-action by Salem talk show host Mike Gallagher comes after last weekend’s fatal shooting by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer of 18-year-old Michael Brown and the aftermath there and elsewhere. Some protesters are calling for retribution for the officer involved in Brown’s death but Gallagher hopes his audience can “turn a negative into a positive” by donating to his 501c3 non-profit “Gallagher’sArmy Fallen Officer Fund,” which provides money to families of officers killed in the line of duty. According to Gallagher, the mission of that endeavor is simple: “We want to get a check into the hands of the surviving family members of a police officer who has been killed in the line of duty as quickly as possible,” he states. “This show of financial support to be used in any way the family sees fit will in no way compensate for their loss; rather, it is a sign of appreciation, respect and support from a grateful nation.” Violence and confrontations in Ferguson are generating headlines, but Gallagher maintains that incidents there are “detracting from the solid work” local police departments do in cities and towns throughout America.

brady billBrady: What Do We Do About AM Radio?  The somber financial and technological state of AM radio as a viable commercial medium going forward is the subject of almost-daily articles both in the consumer media and the media trades. The recent Walt Disney Company  announcement of its intention to sell off 23 of its 24 AM stations only added fuel to these fires of worry and pessimism.  It’s not unusual to read the opinion that AM radio has an “image problem” or is virtually “non-existent” to younger demos — but as Futures & Options, Inc. president and CEO Bill Brady writes in a new TALKERS piece published today (8/20), news/talk radio can step up to the plate and again save AM radio (and itself) in the process.  But in order to do so, there is going to have to be new thinking, creativity and commitment on the part of all involved.  Brady writes:  “News/talk isn’t just a different format, it’s a different business.  News/talk stations used to be stand-alone operations managed by broadcasters who nurtured and cared for them.  They were sold by dedicated sales teams who knew well the format’s ability to bring customers through their client’s doors.  With the dawn of consolidation, news/talk stations suddenly found themselves in big station clusters with managers who were preoccupied with their other stations.  Often, these were music station GMs without news/talk backgrounds — and they weren’t at all prepared for the cranky, petulant, expense-laden news/talk AMs they were suddenly forced to deal with. News/talk stations can be a handful.  Their audiences are vocal, and they complain.  A lot.  Then, there are the hosts.  They are often high-maintenance.  There are pressure groups and PR crises which can’t be ignored.  Then, there’s the expense.  News/talk hosts make a lot of money.  A lot more than FM jocks do.  With news and support staffs, news/talk stations can cost a lot to operate.  To consolidation era GMs, news/talk stations were a pain and the expense reductions were irresistible.  GMs cut the guts out of their news/talk stations.  Gone, too, is the “time suck” of local hosts and their shenanigans.  GMs no longer have to spend their days talking to complaining listeners, or newspaper reporters seeking comment on controversial local hosts. All is now quiet on the western front.  Too quiet.”  To read media management pro Brady’s entire article, please click here.

wckgChicago’s WCKG Relocates. Elmhurst, Illinois-licensed/DuPage Radio-owned talker WCKG “The Voice of DuPage County” is moving to state-of-the-art studios and offices in suburban Chicago. Their facilities will be in Carr Workplaces’ Oak Brook Terrace Tower. With the exception of those in Chicago, it is the tallest building (31 stories) in Illinois. Station manager Matt Dubiel explains, “I wanted to move WCKG to the tallest building in the Chicago suburbs. Carr Workplaces make it possible for small businesses like ours to afford a world-class office environment – smack dab in the middle of Chicago-land, which is exactly what we need to serve the community and our local advertising partners. WCKG program director Leslie Harris remarks, “It is the best place to be in the suburbs. Like [TV’s George & Louise Jefferson said], “We’re moving on up to the east side … of DuPage.” WCKG does not appear in print in Nielsen Audio‘s July 2014 PPM report for Chicago.

WPEN-FM LogoMidday Changes Coming to Philadelphia’s “Fanatic.” WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” will institute football season midday lineup modifications on the Greater Media-owned Philadelphia sports outlet. One constant is that Harry Mayes will be on every day 10:00 am – 12:00 noon. Each Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday — he will be paired with Brian Baldinger. Every Monday and Friday, Mayes’ on-air teammate will be another “Brian,” Brian Westbrook, who has been a regular “Fanatic” contributor in recent years. While a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, he hosted his own show on the station during the 2008 – 2009 NFL season. The Eagles drafted Westbrook in 2002 out of Villanova University. He spent eight seasons with the Eagles; made two NFL Pro Bowl squads; played in four NFC Championship Games; and in one Super Bowl. A “Fanatic” contributor since 2010, Baldinger — or “Baldy” — joined the Eagles in 1992. After his playing career ended in 1993, Baldinger developed a second career in broadcasting. This new “Fanatic” midday roster takes shape in about two weeks (9/2).

Return of Boston’s “Jimmy Fund” Radio-Telethon. Considerably more often than not in recent memory, the Boston Red Sox are serious contenders for post-season play, although the defending (2013) World Series champions have been in a protracted slump this year. That issue notwithstanding, its radio flagship – Entercom‘s WEEI – and the cable network that broadcasts all their games – the New England Sports Network (NESN) – have commenced the 36-year, 13th annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon. Dating back to the days of the “Splendid Splinter,” Ted Williams, and when Hall of Famer Curt Gowdy called the games, the Jimmy Fund has been the Red Sox charity of choice. Regardless of a player’s tenure with the club, he becomes immersed in the exemplary effort to support pediatric and adult cancer care/research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. As usual, this year’s broadcast is featuring David Ross croppedheart-tugging, compelling stories from Dana-Farber patients, doctors, researchers and nurses. Interspersed are celebrity guests and athletes, including a huge dose of those with a past or present Red Sox connection. The mission, of course, is to inspire people to contribute to Dana-Farber’s lifesaving mission and, since 2002, more than $34 million has been raised. Every charity nowadays needs corporate sponsorship and the WEEI – NESN Radio-Telethon is no exception. It is being aided by the Arbella Insurance Foundation, which contributes $50 for every strikeout by a Red Sox pitcher (up to $100,000).In addition, whenever a Red Sox player smacks a “Wall Ball” off Fenway Park‘s fabled “Green Monster,” Walgreens will give the Radio-Telethon $100. Perhaps the most touching part of this deeply moving event is seeing wide smiles on faces of young cancer patients when they see their favorite Red Sox stars face-to-face. Case in point is this adorable child with her new best friend, Red Sox catcher David Ross.

CBS Sports RRadio 2CBS Sports Radio Sets Weekend NFL Programming Roster. Beginning next Saturday (8/30), CBS Sports Radio anchor Rich Ackerman will host “Eye on College Football” (2:00 noon – 8:00 pm, ET), which will include reports from all top college games, as well as interviews. Co-hosted on a rotating basis by CBSSports.com senior fantasy football writers Adam Aizer, Dave Richard and Jamey Eisenberg, “Eye on Fantasy Football” will air Saturdays (10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight, ET) and will be broadcast from CBSSports.com’s Fort Lauderdale studios. CBS Radio all-sports WFAN, New York afternoon drive personality Mike Francesca will host “Mike Francesa’s Football Sunday” (9:00 am – 11:00 am). While that show starts on the network September 7, it has been on WFAN the past 25 years. Another show kicking off September 7 – and following Francesca – is a one-hour simulcast of CBSSports.com’s Adam Aizer-hosted “Fantasy Football Today.” Rich Ackerman’s “Eye on Football” (12:00 noon – 8:00 pm) will offer a national perspective on all of that day’s NFL games; it also starts September 7. Beginning with Saturday, here is a complete look at the network’s weekend lineup, with all times listed ET. Marc “Moose” Malusis and Maggie Gray (6:00 am – 10:00 am); “Eye on Baseball” with Adam Gerstenhaber and CJ Nitkowski (10:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Eye on College Football” (12:00 noon – 8:00 pm); Jody McDonald (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm); and “Eye on Fantasy Football” (10:00 pm – 12:00 midnight). The Sunday schedule is: Bill Simonson (12:00 midnight – 2:00 am); Amy Lawrence (2:00 am – 6:00 am); John Kincade (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “Mike Francesa’s Football Sunday” (9:00 am – 11:00 am); “Fantasy Football Today” (11:00 am -12:00 noon); “Eye on Football” (12:00 noon – 8:00 pm); and Jody McDonald (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm).

stephan dougMilking The Ice Bucket Challenge. Ever since going viral via social media, the “Ice Bucket Challenge” to raise awareness and donations for ALS has become nothing short of a legitimate phenomenon. Logistics are simple: After accepting someone’s dare to do so, a person fills a bucket with ice and (presumably) ice water and douses it over their head. They then extend the challenge to others and post the video on their social media site. “Good Day” host Doug Stephan participated, but presented a different twist. Not only is he one of the industry’s most tireless workers, Stephan is also a Massachusetts dairy farmer. So, let’s just say water was not in the bucket. Click  here to see what Stephan dumped on his head instead.

llbws-logo100Tonight’s Taney Dragons Game To Air on Philly’s “Fanatic.” The Philadelphia Taney Dragons Little League World Series game versus the team from Las Vegas will be broadcast tonight (8/20) on Greater Media‘s all-sports outlet WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic.” What makes this so noteworthy is that the Taney Dragons are led by starting pitcher Mo’ne Davis, who owing to her pitching prowess and personality, has become a national media star. In fact, she is the first Little Leaguer ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated. WPEN-FM midday personality Jon Marks will host a viewing party at Paganos on Market Street. Tonight’s game begins at 7:30 pm.

SBG LogoSun Broadcast Group Basks in Glow of Inc. Magazine Honor. Specifically, Sun Broadcast Group is proclaimed by Inc. Magazine as being one of America’s fastest growing companies. In rankings released today (8/20), the publication grades America’s quickest- rising private companies, based on percentage of revenue increase over three years. Sun Broadcast Group chief executive officer Jason Bailey proudly enthuses, “I have had the pleasure to announce many great things over these six years, but today I am ecstatic to share this news – what an accomplishment. For the many who never understood our strategy, and for those [who] still do not, receiving this award only affirms to the great people who work at Sun and the amazing agency partners who support us, that we truly are leading the way to a new era of network radio. It is caring about your partners, providing an honest, transparent sales process and always thinking big that will completely change our industry for the better. We are proof that it can be done and we are just getting started.” During the period measured that led to this year’s Inc. Magazine honor, SBG’s revenue jumped more 520%. In that time, the company added 15 fulltime positions between its New York City and Boca Raton (Florida) offices. Bailey and his SBG team will be recognized later this year in Phoenix at the “Inc. 5000 Conference & Awards Ceremony.” Sun’s programming roster includes, among others, “The Marilu Henner Show,” “The Little League World Series,” “Nashville Music Minute,” “Six-Second Reviews with Mr. Movieman,” Accuweather en Español, horse racing’s triple crown, and The Breeders Cup.

 

MVS RadioSD_Logo_Horz_2lines_April2014 lgCross-Border Partnership Involves Stardome and MVS Radio. The result will be an expansion of their respective syndicated branded programming and services in the United States and Mexico. Mexico-based MVS Radio will spearhead ad sales and affiliate relations for Stardome in Mexico; Stardome will do the same for MVS Radio-produced programming/services in the United States. Stardome managing director and chief executive officer Anthony Michael Hernandez states that, “Of all the Mexico-based companies I have worked with throughout the years, none has demonstrated the highest regard for professionalism, strong business ethics, and an undeviating work focus like my friends at MVS Radio. This is truly a partnership and a team effort in the making.” MVS Radio president and chief executive officer Alejandro Vargas remarks, “We are enthusiastic about this alliance with Stardome. We recognize them as ideal strategic partners to expand the coverage of our content in the USA and to represent its brands in Latin America. We are sure this is the beginning of new and prosperous businesses for both companies.” Stardome will service current MVS Radio owned-and-operated stations and affiliates across the southwest border of the United States, while distributing MVS Radio’s branded 24/7 formats, syndicated talk shows and morning shows in the USA Hispanic media marketplace. It adds the entire roster of over 160 MVS Radio affiliates, and owned-and-operated stations in Mexico and Central and South America as part of its duties for Pan Regional Network Radio. MVS Radio will act as Stardome’s in-country Mexico sales office and develop affiliations, network radio, and digital ad sales for Stardome’s soon-to-launch Noti-America radio news network.

Napa lgSite Vows To Keep Pace with Napa. Mention “Napa” to anyone in California and “wine country” will undoubtedly be the instant word-association response. With a 2010 census population of 76,915, Napa is California’s 100th largest city. Maintaining that their site “will not be anything like your father’s radio station or your grandfather’s newspaper, executives at NAPAbroadcasting.com declare, “You won’t hear Katy Perry or Pink ten times a day and you won’t hear sports programs from out of town.” Instead,  local conversations and local voices, “talking, in depth, about local issues” will be emphasized. They will be leaving the “daily police blotter to others” but promise “plenty of controversy” since, “no one here will be afraid to say what is on their minds.” According to a NAPAbroadcasting.com communication, “For years, television was about programs and radio was about formats. Those days are over. Today it’s all about programs and personalities – and it can’t be on someone else’s schedule. Appointment television or radio, is so over. NAPAbroadcasting.com is all about being on demand.” The site is partnering with Napa Valley College. Students, faculty, and staff there will contribute community-focused programming. “On the music side, we will be about music discovery and new kinds of music programs. We will not be another streaming music service, an online jukebox, or a place for mindless patter. Our music programs might be about anything under the musical sun, from jazz to oldies to rock. We will also be interactive, with lots of reviews, samplers and information about the business of contemporary music.” Admitting the site will always be a work in progress, a NAPAbroadcasting.com spokesperson writes, “If you stay with us, you will learn a lot about the wine, food, the hospitality business, and many of the larger-than-life, but often lesser known personalities, who live in this Valley. We think that what is good for the visitors is also good for those of us who live here.”

Ferguson Turmoil, ISIS/US Strife, Rick Perry Indictment, Robin Williams, and Gaza Crisis Among Top Talk Stories Yesterday (8/19).  The stories listed in this headline were some of the most talked about on news/talk radio yesterday  However the breaking story of ISIS beheading American journalist James Wright Foley is dominating conversation on American talk radio today (8/20) according to the ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

| July 17, 2014

2014 NYC logo 150Talkers New York 2014 Videos Being Posted. Up Today: Erica Farber Moderates “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” Panel. Today (7/17) marks the third day of TALKERS magazine’s video posting of speeches, sessions and presentations made during last month’s 17th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – Talkers New York 2014. The presentation of these informative and historic recordings is sponsored by WYD Media Sales, LLC., the rep firm recently launched by Ron Hartenbaum and headed by John Murphy, that specializes in the advertising sales of spoken-word media on all popular platforms. The worldwide showing of these very special videos continues today with the event’s powerful “State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel moderated by Erica Farber, president/CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB). The panel features an array of heavyweight radio executives including Ron Furman, CRO, Westwood One; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Joe Puglise, president/market manager, Clear Channel, New York; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks. According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “The scope of important radio sales issues clearly covered and illuminated during this session is nothing short of extraordinary. We are delighted to be able to make such solid and useful content available to the entire industry.” Among the topics covered: Dealing with spoken word radio’s loss of advertisers due to the much-publicized backlash against controversy; selling against andfarberNYC14 still effectively utilizing digital; what’s being done about the need for accurate ratings in the digital era; the role of the on-air personality in driving sales; and the state of small/medium market station revenue, among others. Erica Farber begins the panel by referring to earlier remarks made by Sean Hannity, Phil Boyce and Greg Moceri critical of the present-day Nielsen Audio system that doesn’t include tallies of digital platform listenership. She states, “I don’t want anyone to walk away thinking that this is not being addressed. It is very complicated and we [the RAB, major radio industry leaders and Nielsen] are trying to figure it out.” Regarding advertiser boycotts, Ron Furman admits, “We have hard work to do. [Once you have lost advertisers due to their discomfort with controversy] it is hard to get them back.” On that same topic, Julie Talbott advises, “The key is to find businesses that want to grow.” Kraig Kitchin notes, “Hosts who have the ability and interest in selling products and services will go the longest way.” Joe Puglise points out, “WOR is pacing up [revenues] double digits.” He credits the significant income increase at the heritage talker acquired by Clear Channel in 2012 to its relatively recent addition of Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to its roster – both having been long-time staples of cross-town rival WABC. If any singular statement sums up the basic sentiment expressed by the panel it is Julie Talbott’s observation: “It is a different kind of sale today. It is a more sophisticated sale.” To see “The State of Radio Advertising and Sales” panel, please click here. Coming tomorrow: “Radio: The Big Picture” moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison featuring panelists Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Sam Kimball, CRO, Livestream; Tom Langmyer, VP/news/talk programming, Journal Broadcast Group; Tom Leykis, CEO, The New Normal; Mike McVay, SVP, Cumulus Media; and Walter Sabo, CEO, Sabo Media. The TALKERS conference videos were recorded by Art Vuolo.

minihanekirkBoston Sports Host Apologizes for Calling Erin Andrews a “Gutless Bitch” and Telling Her to “Drop Dead.”  This past Tuesday’s MLB All-Star Game was, in essence, a Derek Jeter tribute.  Retiring at the end of the year, the Yankees shortstop participated in his final mid-year classic.  Fox was elaborate in its coverage; Jeter had success at the plate; and American League/Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell stretched the substitution process for Jeter, enabling the popular infielder to enjoy an isolated, extended standing ovation.  It had all the components of a great story, particularly since the AL won 5-3.  Perhaps only St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright will be the only person to know for certain if he made it a bit easier for Jeter to smack a first-inning double, which was the catalyst for three quick AL runs in that frame.  Social media was buzzing that Wainwright had indicated he might have grooved the pitch Jeter hit.  Fox reporter Erin Andrewsweei logo questioned Wainwright about it and the pitcher backtracked from that notion, and he said Jeter’s hit was on the up-and-up.  Apparently though, the televised exchange between Andrews and Wainwright did not sit well with Entercom-owned sports WEEI-FM, Boston personality Kirk Minihane. On (yesterday) Wednesday morning’s “(John) Dennis & (Gerry) Callahan” program, Minihane declared of Andrews, “What a bitch – I hate her.  What a gutless bitch.  Seriously, go away.  Drop dead.  I mean, seriously, what the hell is wrong with her?  First of all, follow-up.  Second of all, the guy admitted he did it -he admitted it.  He told reporters he threw a couple of ‘pipe-bombs.’  How is that social media’s fault?  I hate her – I seriously hate her so much.”  A Minihane-issued statement was posted last (Wednesday) night on the WEEI website that read: “I used a series of words to describe Erin Andrews’ work at the All-Star Game.  My choice of words was wrong.  I was wrong to have used them.  To all whom I offended – particularly Ms. Andrews – I apologize.  There is no place for what was said.  It was immature and completely uncalled for.  I am often critical of media members and their work and recognize here that I’ve made the kind of mistake I would call out if it was done by another sportscaster or writer.  Again, to all involved, I’m very sorry.”  The Boston Globe is reporting that Entercom VP/market manager Phil Zachary says Minihane was contrite, chose to issue the apology and will not be suspended or fired.  This is not surprising since many media watchers in Boston have credited Minihane’s role on the Dennis & Callahan show as very positive for the show and the station.

garciatonySyndication: Behind-the-Scenes Preparation.  In this next installment of a multi-part series on syndicating radio programs, Global Media Services founder Tony Garcia writes about handling an important – but not so sexy – aspect of syndicating a radio program: being prepared when it comes to the business end of the project.  Those parts of the business include the finances, production, distribution and marketing of the program.  It may seem obvious, but the financial aspect is crucial and making sure all facets of the business are accounted for from a money standpoint is mandatory.  Garcia writes, “Once you have established a budget, you’ll know the entire cost of syndicating your show.  Be prepared to float the show financially for at least two years in order to give the show enough time to find affiliates and audience.”  Read Garcia’s entire piece here.

talkmediaTV logoTalk Media TV Expands Video Platform; WMYT, Wilmington-based Talker Curtis Wright to Be Featured.  North Carolina-based talk media personality Curtis Wright (pictured below) – co-owner and executive producer of Talk Media TV and a personality on WMYT, Wilmington – is continuing his efforts to expand the company’s video production capabilities and web online presence through the establishment of new production ventures with both InNova TV Networks and Nationalwrightcurtis show logo Productions.  Wright announces that to support this effort to expand the creation and distribution of new broadcast and video content, Talk Media TV and WMYT 106.7 FM will be moving to newly constructed broadcast and office facilities which will be shared by all three companies.  He says this allows WMYT to commence ‘live web video streaming’ of its many original, local, live broadcast shows.  Wright says, “We formed Talk Media TV and WMYT 106.7 FM just over a year ago to create a truly multi-media, multi-broadcast company that can create and distribute original broadcast content using all of the emerging communications technologies and platforms.  This new association with both InNova TV Networks, which will be supplying us our web and internet ‘virtual channel’ for live video streaming, and National Productions, which will be supporting our expanding original video productions, takes us closer and closer to reaching our original ‘vision’ for our company and services to our clients.”  Talk Media TV will be taking two recently created segments that appear on Wright’s WMYT show and produce them for the Talk Media TV “virtual channel.”  Those segments are “Constitutional Path to Liberty” with Dr. Greg Brannon and “Cape Fear Capital Connections” with Thomas E. Vass.

sunbroadcastgrouplogoRivlin Joins Sun Broadcast Group.  Former Westwood One vice president of affiliate sales Ron Rivlin is tapped to become Sun Broadcast Group’s senior vice president of programming and affiliate relations.  Rivlin will oversee the affiliate sales department’s focus on “The Marilu Henner Show,” “Nashville Music Minute,” and “AccuWeather en Espanol.”  SBG chief executive officer Jason Bailey comments, “Lately, I have had the honor of welcoming some of the greatest men and women in radio to our team.  Today, I get that pleasure yet again.  As we begin to finalize our 2015 lineup, we needed the best of the best to lead the charge.  Anyone who knows Ron can tell you he is exactly that.  I am honored that he chose to join our family.”  Rivlin states that he is, “over-the-moon excited to be joining [all] the radio pros at Sun Broadcast Group, which represents a new generation of media companies.  [It is] laser-focused on the needs of affiliates, advertisers and, of course, listeners.  I cannot wait to share what is coming next.” Before his Westwood One tenure, Rivlin was Triton Digital Media’s vice president of interactive solutions, and ABC Radio Networks’ senior director.

herskovitzalHeaving Bricks at Radio.  Radio sales maven Al Herskovitz writes today (7/17) about his frustration with radio’s current image crisis that, he says, is largely radio’s own fault.  Herskovitz cites examples from his hometown market in which he hears long-outdated spots on the air as well as old, pre-recorded weather forecasts still on the air and almost no community profile for stations that purport to serve the local market.  The fixes for these problems are not hard to imagine, as Herskovitz illustrates.  Read his piece here.

gamblingjohnrJohn Gambling Laments Loss of Mayoral Sit-Downs.  Stating that he’s been talking with New York City’s mayors for the past 15 years, WOR personality John Gambling Tweeted about his frustrations trying to book Mayor Bill de Blasio, a story picked up by the New York Daily News.  Gambling began his regular chats with the City’s mayors, first with Republican Rudy Giuliani and then with Republican Michael Bloomberg.  But de Blasio, a Democrat, has not responded to repeated requests to join the program.  Gambling tells the paper, “My views of his policies are what they are, and they’re obviously 180 degrees from where he is.  I’ve been sitting with mayors for 15 years… I’m always willing to let somebody speak their mind.  I’d like to have a conversation with the mayor.”  Read the Daily News piece here.

ingrahamlauraIngraham Endorses Tennessee Senate Candidate. Next Tuesday (7/22), Laura Ingraham will be in Nashville where she will attend the “Restore America” rally. The Courtside Entertainment Group host is backing Tennessee Senate candidate Joe Carr, who is trying to unseat incumbent Lamar Alexander in next month’s (8/7) primary.  “Anti-amnesty” conservative talk host Ingraham supported Dave Brat, who – last month – defeated Representative Eric Cantor in Virginia’s seventh Congressional District.  Brat and Carr oppose reform that would grant amnesty to immigrants.  In addition to criticizing Alexander for supporting the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate last year, Ingraham called Carr, who opposes the bill, “terrific” on immigration.  Carr, Alexander, Brat, and Cantor are all Republicans.  Ingraham, and in some instances talk radio in general, has been credited with Brat’s victory by such publications as Politico, and these stories received a lot of attention, especially among political wonks and the cable news/talk channels.  TALKERS believes that the reality is not quite so clear and the conclusion that any talk show host’s support of a candidate that leads to victory in an election – regardless of the party affiliation – is a very difficult thing to prove.

Child Immigration Crisis, Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Campaign in Iraq and Syria, Eric Holder Racism Controversy, Clinton and Warren Potential Presidential Bids, Obama Lawsuit Move, and Summer Polar Vortex Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/16).  The ongoing influx of child illegal immigrants and the Obama Administration’s policy dealing with the crisis; the heightened violence in the Gaza strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to bring about a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; chatter about Eric Holder’s comments that criticism of the Obama Administration is based in racism; the potential 2016 presidential bids by Hillary Clinton and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren; the move in the U.S. House to sue President Obama over his unilateral actions regarding the Affordable Care Act; and the summer polar vortex affecting much of the Midwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.