Tag: "Mark Wainwright"
Mark Wainwright Exits Morning Gig at WSYR, Syracuse. WSYR, Syracuse morning personality Mark Wainwright says of his departure from the station’s full-time morning host gig, “I’ll skip over a lot of the details, but the end result is that my contract ended in July and I decided to move on. It was as amicable and as mutually respectful a separation as anyone could want. We parted on good terms and I would not hesitate to work for iHeartMedia again if the right situation came along. In fact, the management at WSYR and several other iHeart stations indicated they would be happy to bring me back as a fill-in or guest host as the need arises, and at least one program director told me he definitely plans to call on me at some point. I’m looking forward to that.” He says in a good-bye message on WSYR.com, “I am leaving iHeartMedia and NewsRadio 570/WSYR. I hosted my final morning show in Syracuse today (7/20). While it’s certainly possible that I will return from time to time as a guest host or substitute – come on, at some point [Bob] Lonsberry has to take a vacation.” He relates how he filled in for the ailing Joe Galuski and eventually replaced him on the morning show after his passing. He also thanks management for sticking by him while he dealt with his own throat cancer. Read his entire post here.
Stephanie Perl Named Entercom Hartford Market Manager. Before moving into the television business as local sales manager for Tribune’s WTIC-TV and WCCT-TV in the Hartford-New Haven market, Stephanie Perl was general sales manager for CBS RADIO Hartford. She returns to that radio cluster now owned by Entercom as SVP and market manager. She’ll lead heritage news/talk WTIC-AM and sister stations CHR WTIC-FM, adult contemporary WRCH “Lite 100.5,” and urban contemporary WZMX “HOT 93.1.” Entercom regional president Mark Hannon says, “We are happy to welcome Stephanie to the Entercom team and back to our stations in Hartford. Her business acumen and leadership will help us provide our partners with premier solutions that reach our loyal and engaged audience in Hartford.”
TALKERS News Notes. This fall, award-winning journalist and author Alison Stewart begins hosting a daily 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm program on public radio news/talk WNYC, New York. New York Public Radio says the show will focus on culture, the arts, local news, and life in the New York area. New York Public Radio president and CEO Laura Walker comments, “Alison Stewart is the perfect host for our new midday show that will lead the New York conversation. She is intelligent, lively, and experienced, and has her finger on the pulse of pop culture, the arts, and news in a way that is deeply of the moment.”…..Westwood One reports its plans for this week’s Podcast Movement conference. It says one key element is the Westwood One “Pitch Pod” on the 5th floor lobby of the Marriott. “Podcasting talent can tell their story right at the conference, recording a sharable video pitch for consideration for a roster slot on Westwood One Podcast Network. Reporters and media contacts are also welcome to stop by the booth to record a video about their experience at Podcast Movement.” Tomorrow, Westwood One Podcast Network’s Tim Sabean, Opie, and Carl Ruiz will present “The Art of Storytelling” for attendees…..The second season of the Jim Breslo-hosted podcast “Hidden Truth” is launched. Following the first season of the weekly hourlong podcast titled “Hidden Truth: Las Vegas Shooter,” comes “Hidden Truth: Transgender Movement.” In this series, Breslo “embarks on a journey to discover what it means to be transgender and what impact the movement is having on society.” Episode one features the first of a three-part interview with Breslo’s fraternity brother Dave Richmond, a divorced accountant and father of two who, much to Breslo’s surprise, recently became Sabrina. “No subject is left off limits as they discuss everything from sex and surgery, to parenting and pronouns.”…..Changes are coming to ABC-TV’s daytime talk program “The View.” The New York Post reports that Sara Haines is exiting “The View” to work alongside Michael Strahan on the third hour of “Good Morning America.” It’s being reported that FOX News Channel “rising star” Abby Huntsman is in talks to become a cast member on “The View.” She is the daughter of former GOP presidential candidate and current Ambassador to Russia Jon Huntsman Jr. The Hollywood Reporter writes, “Abby Huntsman, like her father, has some centrist tendencies, and is not reflexively conservative. She made some headlines on July 15, when she appeared to ding the president’s meeting with Vladimir Putin by tweeting, ‘No negotiation is worth throwing your own people and country under the bus.’”…..The NFL’s Oakland Raiders flagship radio station will still be an Entercom property but it is changing from sports talk KGMZ, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” to all-news KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM. Games will continue to air on KGMZ as long as there is no conflict.
SRN’s Larry Elder Supporting Angel Tree Camp. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder (right) at the Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree Camp that provides fresh air and summer camp activities for children whose mother or father are in prison. Elder is a regular fundraiser for the program. He tells TALKERS, “Children of prisoners haven’t done anything wrong and they shouldn’t pay for the misdeeds of a parent.” Elder notes that 70% of prisoners’ children eventually end up behind bars themselves, a cycle that is being broken by the Angel Tree Camp program. Pictured here with Elder are Calacinto Ranch director Angela Cerda (center) and SRN VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left).
KBA-WKU Radio Talent Institute Underway. Taking place this week on the campus of Western Kentucky University is the 6th annual Kentucky Broadcasters Association-Western Kentucky University Radio Talent Institute. All week long, more than 40 broadcasters from Alpha Media, Commonwealth Broadcasting, Forever Communications, CapCity Communications, Forcht Broadcasting, The Cromwell Group, Cumulus Media, and iHeartMedia are working with students in sessions dedicated to on-air skills, sports, news, promotions, digital, production, as well as being certified by the RAB as Radio Marketing Professionals. National Radio Talent System founder and president Dan Vallie comments, “It is great to have the solid support of the KBA, who are such early believers in and supporters of the Talent System, now for 6 years; and WKU, who embraced this from the moment it was introduced to the university. Working together – broadcasters, universities and the National Radio Talent System – we are building the talent farm for the industry and discovering and preparing the next generation of broadcasters.”
Trump-Russia Investigation/Cohen Recordings, Trump-Iran Rhetoric, Trump Security Clearance Issue, U.S. Illegal Immigration Policies, Ozarks Duck Boat Tragedy, Toronto Shooting/Deadly BART Knife Attack, Southwest Heatwave, Mama Mia 2 and Equalizer 2 Films, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23). The investigation into possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives and the related 12 tapes of President Trump and former attorney Michael Cohen turned over to Robert Mueller; the war rhetoric between President Trump and Iran; Trump’s desire to remove security clearances from former intelligence officials who are critical of him; the policies relating to treatment of illegal immigrants and their children; the deadly Ozark duck boat capsizing; the fatal shooting in Toronto and the knife slaying on the BART train; the heatwave affecting the U.S. Southwest; the opening weekend for the Mama Mia 2 and Equalizer 2 films; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Cox Media Group’s urban contemporary WHQT, Miami “HOT 105,” Big Lip joins to work alongside Shelby Rushin as co-host of the afternoon drive program, effective July 30…..Cumulus Media names 26-year radio pro Don Brake program director and morning personality for country KAYD-FM, Beaumont, Texas “NASH 101.7.” Brake joins Cumulus from WKKQ, Morgantown, West Virginia where he was music director and midday personality…..Pictured below are WJBR-FM, Wilmington staffers (from l-r) Brandi Tigani, Chris Leonard, and Diana Beasley volunteering to cook for 50 families staying at the Ronald McDonald House of Delaware. The effort was part of the radio station’s Beasley Best Day of Caring event.
Mark Wainwright Returns to WSYR, Syracuse Morning Show. Morning show personality Mark Wainwright is back on the air at iHeartMedia’s Syracuse news/talk WSYR after a 10-month absence while he battled throat cancer. Wainwright says, “This thing hit me out of nowhere. It was discovered last April, almost by accident, and it’s been an ongoing medical odyssey ever since. It was eventually diagnosed as an aggressive form of throat cancer. It was nasty and had already begun spreading to lymph nodes in my neck. The recuperation period was long and frustrating. Even when I started to feel a little better physically, my voice was still a train wreck. It wasn’t until the end of 2017 that I started to sound better, and my doctors eventually cleared me to try hosting a daily show again.” Wainwright says his voice is still not 100% and he’ll host from 6:00 to 9:00 to start and hopefully return to doing the full 5:00 to 9:00 show. Meanwhile, he says he’s thankful for his colleagues who filled in while he was out. “Dave Allen, Ian Wheatley, Jim Donovan, and Nick Russo were put in a very tough spot for months, especially after the sudden passing of our friend and colleague Kevin Schenck. They had to scramble, rearrange their lives, and pull double and even triple duty to keep the morning show running and cover all the vacant slots. Thank you, gentlemen. Fine work, and very much appreciated.”
Bloomberg: iHeartMedia Bankruptcy Allows Lenders to Entertain New Offers. According to the Bloomberg piece by Emma Orr, Eliza Ronalds-Hannon, and Steven Church, certain lenders can discuss any offers presented to them during iHeartMedia’s bankruptcy process. The story says that creditors “fought hard for language in the restructuring support agreement that lets them continue to explore ‘consistent alternative proposals.’” It also reports that this language was “heavily contested” in the discussions that led up to the Chapter 11 filing. That means any prospective buyers, such as Liberty Media, could attempt to strike a deal with senior creditors. Read the Bloomberg piece here.
Yes, Alexa Is Laughing…But Not at You. Consultant Holland Cooke says radio should smile about smart speakers. Writing after the news about NuVoodoo’s recent research that reports one-third of its 3,000-plus, 14-54 survey respondents own a smart speaker, Cooke says, “we’re still early-on in the adoption curve, so this will only become more opportune for broadcasters.” The data also indicates that almost half of likely PPM panelists own one. Read Cooke’s entire piece here.
McCabe Fired from FBI, Threats to Robert Mueller Investigation, Putin ‘Re-Elected’/U.K.-Russia Diplomatic Tensions, Miami Bridge Collapse, Rihanna vs Snapchat, Facebook Data Misuse Allegations, First Weekend of March Madness, NFL Free Agency, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and President Trump’s weekend Tweets; Trump attorney John Dowd calls for end to Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign-Russian agents matter; Russian president Vladimir Putin wins “re-election” for new six-year term and Putin’s crumbling diplomatic relations with the U.K. and the West; the deadly collapse of a pedestrian bridge in Miami; Rihanna’s criticism of a Snapchat ad for an app that makes light of domestic violence; investigations into allegations of Facebook’s misuse of user data; the first weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament; the beginning of the NFL free agency period; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Broadcast Engineer Eric Small Dead at 71. An accident at a Publix store in Delray Beach, Florida took the life of Eric Small last Thursday (3/15). Small was exiting the grocery store when an 80-year-old woman lost control of her car and hit Small before driving into the front of the store. It’s believed the woman had a heart attack while driving. Small’s accomplishments in radio engineering are numerous. He’s famous for having co-invented the Orban Optimod FM processor that became ubiquitous in the industry. He began his career in 1964 at WNCN, New York. In 1969, he became a member of the technical department at A&R Recording under Phil Ramone. He later served as chief engineer at WXLO-FM, New York. In 1981 he founded Modulation Sciences that developed and manufactured innovative products for radio and TV.
TALKERS News Notes. Former WBAL and WCBM, Baltimore weekend talk show host Jimmy Mathis was dealt a blow by a judge who says Mathis cannot run for the Maryland State Senate representing the 42nd district because he is not a resident of the district. According to the Maryland Daily Record, Mathis is saying he’ll appeal the ruling…..WTMJ, Milwaukee talk show host Jeff Wagner announces that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and a number of other Wisconsin leaders will be speakers at the upcoming live “Jeff Wagner Insight 2018” on March 28 at Country Springs Hotel in nearby Pewaukee. The annual conservative political event and live radio show will also include Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel and a number of conservative candidates for statewide office…..The regionally syndicated Illinois talk program “The Michael Koolidge Show” is being added to the program schedule at Cromwell Radio Group’s WCRA, Effingham, Illinois in afternoon drive. Koolidge’s program is now heard on 14 signals in the state. WCRA program director Sheila Myers says, “We’re very excited to be adding the Michael Koolidge show to our lineup. We heard he was doing great things in the afternoon on our sister station, WZUS “Talk 101FM” in Decatur, so we think he’ll be a great addition first thing in the early morning for our Greater Effingham audience on our three separate signals.”…..KIRO-FM, Seattle’s “Your Last Meal with Rachel Belle” podcast has been announced as a nominee for the 2018 James Beard Foundation Awards. “Your Last Meal” is an original podcast hosted by Rachel Belle, host of KIRO Radio’s “Ring My Belle,” and is produced by Aaron Mason. James Beard Foundation Broadcast Media Awards winners will be announced on April 27, 2018…..Pictured below are Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (center) with directors Andy Erwin (left) and Jon Erwin (right). The duo scored the third-most-viewed film this past weekend as the faith-based film I Can Only Imagine generated $17 million behind weekend leaders The Black Panther and Tomb Raider. Tradup tells TALKERS magazine that this week SRN News is repeating a multi-part series it produced on the film that tells the back story behind MercyMe’s triple-platinum song, “I Can Only Imagine.”
More Than 50 Industry Leaders Scheduled to Speak TALKERS magazine Conference in NYC in June; Great Hotel Deal Arranged for Attendees. The organizers of TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! – TALKERS magazine’s 21st annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – announce the Friday, June 8 program will feature more than 50 top speakers from all aspects of the spoken-word media industry – including talent, programmers, managers and owners – with a focus on talk radio and its role in the rapidly accelerating digital age. This will include programming, sales, marketing, and technology, as well as the full spectrum of concerns, challenges and opportunities facing modern-day talk broadcasters and broadcasting organizations. It will feature keynote addresses, panel discussions, fireside chats, and exhibits of the latest services and equipment available to broadcasting professionals. See the list of speakers currently scheduled to appear here. The conference takes place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater in the colorful Chelsea District of Manhattan and organizers have arranged for a special hotel deal for conference attendees right across the street at the Hilton New York Fashion District located at 152 West 26th Street, New York. A special block of remarkably priced rooms has been reserved for convention attendees. They will only be available until May 8 or until they sell out – whichever comes first. The TALKERS editorial board strongly recommends that industry professionals planning on attending the convention make their registrations and hotel reservations as quickly as possible. An early sellout is imminent! For the latest details about TALKERS 2018: Full Speed Ahead! please read the story below. To make hotel reservations, please click here.
Cool Job Opportunities. Entercom Charlotte is seeking on-air personalities for its three stations. “If you live to connect with your audience on air, online and in person— you’ll love it here! We are looking for experienced on-air talent. Are you a passionate storyteller who’s authentic, entertaining and a team player? Do you have a strong hand in social media? The ideal candidate should possess strong work ethic, solid show prep and the ability to deliver creative and compelling content. Experience is preferred. Entercom Charlotte is an Equal Opportunity Employer. To be considered for these positions, please apply online at www.entercom.com and click on ‘Careers.’ No phone calls.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. After parting ways with Scotty Lindy on Friday (3/16), Cumulus Media announces that it is bringing programmer Brian Thomas to Atlanta to serve as PD for WKHX “Kicks 101.5.” Thomas has been program director for the company’s classic hits WLS-FM, Chicago as well as a member of the corporate programming team for the country format and is vice president, programming, classic hits. Thomas says, “It was always my dream to program WLS-FM in Chicago, but I started in country and everyone knows I love it. And although I am corporate program director for country at Cumulus, it’s not the same as having a country station down the hall. I’m beyond thrilled that Sean Shannon, Mike McVay, and Charlie Cook have confidence in me to program ‘Kicks,’ one of America’s leading country stations.”…..Also from Cumulus Media, the company announces that Jim Kurdziel is being promoted to regional vice president, programming – rock, in which he is overseeing the rock and alternative formats for Cumulus’ stations in the Northeast. Kurdziel continues to serve as program director and midday personality for alternative WEDG-FM, Buffalo “103.3 The Edge” and will now support stations in markets including: Buffalo; Syracuse; Harrisburg, PA; Wilkes Barre, PA; Saginaw, MI; New Orleans, LA; and Appleton, WI…..Pamal Broadcasting flips sports talk WINU, Albany “Win 104.9” to alternative as “ALT 104.9 Albany’s NEW Alternative.” Pamal’s Albany Broadcasting general manager A.J. Bodden states, “Broadcast radio remains the number one medium as it relates to new music discovery and Albany Broadcasting is thrilled to be in a position to now give that opportunity to alternative listeners in Albany. My team and I, along with our local ownership, could not be more proud to be launching this new format and filling a void that has existed here for a long time.”…..iHeartMedia promotes Echo Robinson to director of marketing and promotions for its Chicago Region. Robinson joined iHeartMedia Chicago in 1995 and rose from intern to senior promotions coordinator before her appointment to promotions director in 2001. As director of marketing and promotions, Robinson is responsible for managing the planning and execution of marketing, promotion, sales partnerships and imaging campaigns for the region. She reports to Tommy Austin, SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Chicago Region.
Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano to Host Late Mornings at WLS-AM, Chicago. A little more than a week after the Jonathon Brandmeier show was cancelled, Cumulus Media announces that it is bringing well-known Windy City broadcasters Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano aboard to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on WLS-AM. The husband-and-wife team most recently worked on radio at Tribune’s crosstown WGN, handling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Cumulus Chicago VP/market manager Peter Bowen states, “Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano are deeply rooted in Chicago and are well known to the community. With their addition, WLS is more local and more relevant to Chicago listeners and advertisers.” At the same time, the station announces its new program lineup starting in January: Big John and Ray, 6:00 am to 10:00 am; Sirott and Murciano, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Rush Limbaugh, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Steve Dahl, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Mark Levin, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. The host of the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show is still to-be-announced.
Aircheck D.I.Y. Media consultant Holland Cooke writes today that, due to numerous changes in the radio business, talk radio personalities don’t huddle for aircheck meetings with program directors like they used to. Because of this, talk hosts are often missing a valuable tool for improvement. If you’re a young programmer with some talk talent to coach, or a music PD who isn’t used to coaching talk talent, Cooke offers this handy primer on airchecking talk radio personalities. Read more here.
Wainwright: Make it Part of the Show. WSYR, Syracuse morning show host Mark Wainwright tells TALKERS magazine that after viewing a recent Talkers TV video from consultant Holland Cooke titled, “Making Money with Endorsement Spots,” he felt compelled to share some of his experiences and strategies for endorsement spots. Wainwright says his overarching belief about the effectiveness of live endorsements is that they must become part of the show in order to achieve their maximum effect. Read more here.
WMAL, Washington’s Larry O’Connor Joins The Weekly Standard. In a memo to the staff, The Weekly Standard editor-in-chief Steve Hayes announces that WMAL, Washington personality Larry O’ Connor is joining the organization as online editor. Hayes calls O’Connor’s arrival at TWS “part of an aggressive expansion of the TWS online presence.” Hayes goes on to say, “As you might expect, Larry has a very good ear for the kinds of issues that resonate with grassroots conservatives and we’re eager for his input as we continue to improve and expand the digital side of the magazine.” His previous work in digital media includes time at Hotair.com and Independent Journal Review. Earlier this fall, it was announced that O’Connor is leaving the “Mornings on the Mall” AM drive show to take over the afternoon drive daypart (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm).
WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes Pens NYT Op-Ed Piece ‘Where the Right Went Wrong.’ Longtime Milwaukee conservative talk personality Charlie Sykes is stepping down from his role as a talk show host on E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ at the end of this month. It’s no secret in the industry that Sykes – along with other Wisconsin talk radio hosts – has been a vocal opponent of President-Elect Donald Trump. In an opinion piece published in The New York Times over the weekend, Sykes lays out why he believes Trump won the election, how the conservative media helped him win and, as the title implies, where he thinks the conservative movement has gone wrong. Read it here.
John Ziegler Ends Syndicated Sunday Night Radio Talk Show. Conservative media personality John Ziegler announces he’s ending the live Sunday night broadcasts of his talk show, originally called the “John & Leah Show” that featured co-host Leah Brandon for most of its run (though he hopes to continue it as a podcast). Ziegler, a strong opponent of President-Elect Donald Trump, gives shared credit for his decision to shutter the show to Trump’s ascension to the Oval Office, some bad business moves for which he accepts the blame, and the state of the talk radio business. Ziegler also writes for Mediaite and he lays out his decision for leaving AM/FM radio in a piece in the publication here.
Odds & Sods. News/talk WOWO, Fort Wayne – with the help of two local co-sponsors – helped raise $343,808 for Community Harvest Food Bank and Super Shot during its recent two-day radiothon. Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “The generosity was overwhelming this year.” The Penny Pitch Radiothon raised $171,094 but Brigadoon Fitness and King of Carts matched that to double the total raised. Community Harvest Food Bank’s Hope for Heroes program focuses on providing groceries at no cost to veterans and military families in need. Super Shot helps provide vaccinations for low-income, uninsured, under-insured and Medicaid eligible people. The WOWO staff is pictured at right around the phone bank…..The Salem Media Group Minneapolis cluster – news/talk WWTC “AM 1280 The Patriot,” Christian talk KKMS “AM 980 The Mission,” business talk KYCR “Business Radio 1440,” talk KDIZ “Wellness Radio 1570,” and stream theFishTwinCities.com are presenting a “Crisis & Security Summit” on Thursday, January 26. It’s a free, informational event that will feature experts discussing topics such as IT security, personal safety, community preparedness, and child protection. Salem Minneapolis GM Nic Anderson comments, “In this day and age, we must plan ahead, be informed, and ensure personal and community safety from all angles. We at Salem feel a sense of duty to our local churches and schools.”
Trump Cabinet Nominations, Today’s Electoral College Vote, Allegations of Russian Hacking, ‘Fake News’ Controversy, China Nabs U.S. Submersible Drone, Rogue One Opening Weekend, Cold Snap, and NFL Action Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The transitioning of the Trump Administration and President-Elect Donald Trump’s nominees for cabinet posts; today’s electoral college vote and the numerous pleas from celebrities to not vote for Trump; the allegations that Russia is responsible for hacking the DNC’s servers in order to influence the election; the hot topic of “fake news” and its role in politics; China’s intercepting of a U.S. drone submarine and tensions between China and the U.S. over China’s military build-up in the South China Sea; the opening weekend of the new Star Wars film Rogue One; the bitter cold weather affecting parts of the country; and National Football League action were some of the top stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Mark Wainwright
Talk Show Host
SYRACUSE — Holland Cooke’s recent commentary on TALKERS TV about local endorsement spots reinforced my long-standing belief in local radio, and it gives me an opportunity to share some thoughts about the success we’ve had doing endorsements in Syracuse.
If I had to narrow it down to one key piece of advice, it would be: Don’t make endorsements just another part of your commercial load. Make them part of your show!
Over time, radio listeners have learned to tune out commercials, either mentally or by actually hitting the button. An entertaining live personal endorsement spot, performed at the start of a stopset, can break that pattern and grab the listener’s attention.
That’s why it’s important that the endorsement be funny, or compelling, or unusual, or crazy, or something other than a conventional straight read. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard something like: “It’s 7:20, Ron Radio here, with a word about your local Chevy dealers…” followed by the air personality simply reading a piece of copy. The host might have a good voice and great reading skills, and since there’s a live human element involved, there’s some improvement over just pressing the button to start the spot cluster– but only marginally so. The listener still thinks “commercial!” and proceeds to mentally or physically throw the switch. The client’s money and the host’s time have been wasted.
Meanwhile, my approach has always been that endorsements spots are part of my show. They are program content, with each one giving me 60 seconds — okay, maybe 65 or 70 seconds, sometimes I cheat a little — to show off my personality, my sense of humor, my perspective, or just allow a few rebellious brain cells to make themselves audible for a moment. I’ve used music, drop-ins, sound effects, character voices, bad puns, plays on words, you name it. Sometimes I do a lot of advance preparation, sometimes I totally ad-lib them on the fly. The point is, they’re different, and if I can get listeners to stop thinking “commercial!” and get them thinking “What is he DOING?” or “Where is he going with this?” or “Did he actually SAY that?”, then I’ve earned my talent fee. It breaks the established tune-out mechanism, the listeners start paying attention, and that’s when the client’s name and selling points sink in.
This approach requires some groundwork, and a lot of trust all the way around. Whenever I meet with a potential client, I make sure they understand what they’re getting when they ask for a Mark Wainwright personal endorsement. Not all clients or station salespeople are comfortable with my technique, or they might be hesitant to cede so much creative control to an individual air personality; I’ve had to turn opportunities down — graciously and diplomatically, I hope — when the client’s discomfort was clearly apparent.
Obviously, you also need the station’s management to support you and respect your professional judgement. This approach doesn’t work if the air talent is always second-guessing himself about what the brass will think. Fortunately, the management folks here in Syracuse cut me a lot of slack. And the clients? Once they give me a chance and they see the results, they pretty much let me get away with murder.
It’s very gratifying to have a client tell everyone in town that your live commercials were directly responsible for a big increase in their business, and it’s great to have listeners come up to you at an event like the New York State Fair and hear them repeating the same gags and catch phrases you’ve been using in endorsements. They’re engaged and responding, and the advertisers know it. That’s local radio.
(And the extra money in your paycheck doesn’t hurt!)
Mark Wainwright is the morning drive host at WSYR, Syracuse. He can be emailed at markwainwright@iHeartMedia.com.
Talk Radio Pro Rusty Humphries to Host ‘Trending Today USA’ to Launch in January. The new program comes from USA Radio Networks where CEO Floyd Brown has “tasked radio veteran Rusty Humphries with re-imagining the talk radio format.” The result is the new talk show “Trending Today USA” and will be hosted by Humphries beginning January 11. Humphries says, “This program will focus on what America is discussing, viewing and sharing in social media. Everything has been reimagined, from the network commercials, to the music, to the way the news is being presented –this will be talk radio for the social media mindset!” The company says the new show “will give affiliates programming that appeals to a multi-generational audience in the same way social media has done. It will provide advertisers and agencies with the audience they covet and make the show a commercial success.” Humphries adds, “Don’t get me wrong, there are some very talented people on the air today, but the industry needs some shaking up. Listeners have moved away from traditional platforms and are spending their time on social media. We’re producing a show which will not showcase my opinions, but will showcase the social news being devoured by Americans. I believe this show, and others like it, will restore talk programing to prominence. It will breathe life into a format aching for resuscitation. Americans are consuming news more than ever, but they are doing it on different platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. With that in mind, I have worked with a group of social media giants to craft a show that lowers the bellicose and increases the pacing and news. I am more proud of this program than anything I have done in radio to date.”
Report from the Nielsen Audio Client Conference. Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Maryland at the Nielsen Audio Client Conference and he files this report with TALKERS. Some of the topics addressed at the conference include the growth of Black and Hispanic radio audiences, their loyal use of the medium and their importance to the future of radio; Washington urban radio icon Donnie Simpson’s thoughts about broadening programming; plus a granular look at a radio station’s audience and the importance of “Super Fans.” Read it all here.
iHeartMedia Names Sara McClure Sacramento Market President. The new market president for iHeartMedia’s Sacramento station group is Sara McClure, who takes over for John Geary, allowing him to return to his retirement. This is a promotion for McClure who was serving as SVP of sales for the cluster. She joined iHeartMedia in 2013 after 15 years with Entercom. She says, “I am thrilled to take this next step in my career. Becoming president of iHeartMedia Sacramento, which is my hometown, is very special. iHeartMedia is a company of opportunity where I can operate within a culture that is consistent with how I do business. I look forward to delivering results to our clients and fantastic products to our listeners, while creating an environment for our team that allows them to excel as part of a dynamic organization in a rapidly evolving industry.” iHeartMedia operates hip hop KHYL “V101.1,” news/talk KFBK, talk KSTE, adult hits KQJK “93.7 Jack FM,” and country KBEB “B 92.5.”
WGN, Chicago Names Steve Grzanich News Anchor. Veteran Chicago journalist and broadcaster Steve Grzanich joins the news staff at Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago to anchor the daily 5:00 am to 6:00 am program, “The Opening Bell.” The station says the show will be a “fast-paced hour for investors, entrepreneurs, innovators and every Chicagoan who wants to better understand how their money moves around the planet and their workplace.” Vice president of programming and content Todd Manley states, “You will get much more than the numbers with Steve. You’ll get the plotlines and the characters that fuel the business world from one of our town’s greatest reporters.” In addition to anchoring “The Opening Bell,” Grzanich will be part of the Steve Cochran morning drive show working alongside news anchor Andrea Darlas. Grzanich spent 20 years with CBS RADIO’s crosstown all-news WBBM-AM and is a contributing reporter at Chicago-based Rivet Radio.
Hillsdale College Names Scot Bertram Station Manager for WRFH. The new radio station at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan has its general manager as the school hires Scot Bertram of WROK in Rockford, Illinois to assume the role next semester. Bertram is currently program director and morning host at the Townsquare Media-owned news/talk station. Bertram says, “The combination of Hillsdale and radio was immediately appealing. It fit like a glove — my interests, passions, and skills. I’m looking forward to working with the students, people who want to take part, want to learn more. The ability to speak extemporaneously and think on your feet, is a skill applicable to many professions.” Gold Bold Media Group founder and president Vince Benedetto, who donated the resources for Hillsdale’s radio station, says Bertram’s caliber is a tribute to Hillsdale’s reputation. “He has all the skill sets that are critical to getting the radio program off the ground for the college and doing something historic that they’re going to be working on.” In addition to his work with the station, Bertram will teach a broadcasting course as a journalism elective.
Sun Broadcast Group’s Jason Bailey Named Honorary Trustee for the Alliance for Women in Media. The Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation announce Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey is the newest Honorary Trustee. The Honorary Trustee program at AWM/F offers senior executives the opportunity to engage and influence the strategy of AWM/F and its support of women in media. The program highlights ways to work together that are exclusive to Honorary Trustees and not available at any other partnership level through the Alliance for Women in Media or the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. AWM/F chair and SVP of global content operations at Discovery Communications Kristen Welch states, “The Honorary Trustee program serves as an avenue for innovative, passionate media C-levels to get involved with advancing and supporting women in media. We are proud to add Jason Bailey to our Honorary Trustee program and look forward to seeing how his passion for innovation and radio are reflected in his contributions to the Alliance for Women in Media and its Foundation.”
Odds & Sods. Flint, Michigan news/talk WWCK “Supertalk 1570” fills the morning drive slot with market media pro Michael J. Thorp. He takes over for the retired Lou Lobsinger, effective Monday, December 7 at the Cumulus Media-owned station. Thorp worked for years in local television hosting the morning show on WJRT-TV…..Regine Schlesinger retires from CBS RADIO’s all-news WBBM/WCFS-FM, Chicago after a 42-year career there. She was most recently a reporter and anchor for the station…..Yahoo! Sports Radio will launch new shows on the network beginning in January. A new program with host Joe Spano will air in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot; Matt Perrault moves from a fill-in role to hosting his own 10:00 pm to 1:00 am daily show; Lewis Woodward joins the network for a “vital role during weekends,” and the new “Nothing But Net” show hosted by former NBA guard Troy Hudson launches next Thursday (12/10) from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm…..Emmy Award-winning sports reporter and KNX, Los Angeles sports correspondent Randy Kerdoon launches a new weekly podcast on PodcastOne titled, “Talking About Cars.” PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “Randy’s connections and knowledge of the auto industry is sure to be entertaining, and podcasts about cars are increasingly popular. He’s a radio pro right here in my hometown. It’s safe to say PodcastOne is populated with some serious car freaks, starting with Adam Carolla and including me, so we’re all hoping this hometown boy makes good.”…..One of talk radio’s favorite guests, Peter D. Kiernan, author of the best-selling Becoming China’s Bitch (Turner, 2012), has won two major independent book awards for his latest book, “American Mojo Lost and Found: Restoring Our Middle Class Before the World Blows By” (Turner, 2015). The prestigious 2015 Royal Dragonfly Book Award Contest recognized Kiernan in two categories: first place in the Business and Finance and Historical Non-Fiction categories.
Gifts, Gadgets, Gizmos and Hi-Tech Holiday Goodies. Noted media consultant Holland Cooke joins host Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the PodcastOne international hit for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out,” posted today (12/1). The two talk about the latest technological marvels that are the hot stocking stuffers this holiday season… and then some. They delve into the world of drones, driverless cars, and gadgets within the expanding “Internet of Things” that keep tabs on their owners — such as toothbrushes that inform your dentist about the health of your teeth, baby clothes that inform parents about the well-being of their sleeping child and refrigerators that order replacements when you are running out of milk. Harrison and Cooke cover a wide spectrum of items from low-tech 20th century devices such as the Slinky and yo-yos to the modern-day Apple Watch and the coming practice of embedding chips into the human body. They discuss the implications of this new unfolding era on privacy and other significant aspects of sociology. To hear the entire conversation please click here or click on the player boxes in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
Syracuse Family ‘Wins’ Waffles with Wainwright. Last month, WSYR, Syracuse morning drive host Mark Wainwright urged listeners to invite him and the WSYR morning show into their home for a live broadcast and – waffles! Much to Wainwright’s surprise, numerous families competed to host the show on November 12. The “winning” family was John and Katie Femenella and their kids (Wainwright is pictured here at the mic with John Femenella at left). In addition to hosting the broadcast from their kitchen, Anthony Donofrio, executive chef of the Modern Malt, prepared breakfast for all. Wainwright says, “John and Katie and their kids were terrific. We could not have had a warmer or more enthusiastic reception. For much of the morning, it felt like the whole neighborhood showed up. When I compared notes with John later, we realized there might have been one or two crashers in the crowd. John thought they were Katie’s friends, and Katie thought they were John’s friends! Maybe they were relatives of the neighbors? Anyway, everybody was nice, and the Modern Malt folks were very impressed by the turnout. I really enjoy promotions where listeners are actively engaged, and this was a perfect example.”
San Bernardino Shootings/Gun Control, 2016 Presidential Race, Russia-Turkey Military Tensions, Battle Against IS, Syrian Refugee Controversy, and DiCaprio Bear Rape Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/2). The mass shooting in San Bernardino, California that took the lives of 14, plus the related issue of gun control; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the military tensions between Turkey and Russia over the downing of a Russian fighter and allegations Turkey is buying oil from an IS-controlled region; the larger topic of the battle against Islamic State; the controversy over how to deal with refugees from the Syrian civil conflict; and the flap over a scene in the new Leonardo DiCaprio film in which some reviewers say DiCaprio’s character is raped by a bear were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.