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Friday, July 30, 2021

| July 30, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Recalibration!” looks back at this past week of July 26-30. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley; talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Mark Simone, talk show host, WOR, New York; Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/medical profession podcaster; Ralph Nader, political activist/talk show host, “The Ralph Nader Radio Hour”; Walter Sterling, talk show host, “Sterling on Sunday”; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC-AM, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click  here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Schultz, Husmann Join Quu. Selected to become Quu’s head of marketing and product manager, respectively, are Suzy Schultz and Ben Husmann. Schultz and Husmann will report directly to chief executive officer Steve Newberry, who comments, “Suzy and Ben are respected executives and creative problem solvers known for leading innovation in audio. With deep industry knowledge, they’re uniquely qualified to fortify the significant expansion of Quu’s software and services [which will roll out] later this year.” Creative Prism founder/chief executive officer Schultz notes, “Developing a consistent, clarified, and fresh approach to Quu’s brand and messaging is a dream come true. We’re focused on empowering Quu’s customers and offering the industry access to ratings and revenue growth opportunities that build on radio’s core product.” Meanwhile, Husmann states, “My role is to make it quick, easy, and painless for stations to enhance their programming and advertising metadata and visuals for the car dashboard and beyond. I’m excited to collaborate with the elite team at Quu to build a new and improved user experience on top of Quu’s extensive capabilities.” Schultz’s marketing/content production company Creative Prism will oversee branding, communications, marketing strategy, productization, and sales enablement for Quu customers. Prior to founding Creative Prism, Schultz was Cumulus Media/Westwood One’s senior vice president of corporate marketing, and managing editor of iHeartRadio. Formerly AccuRadio’s chief operating officer, Husmann was senior vice president/product and technology for TagStation and NextRadio. Quu enables radio stations to publish sales and programming messages on car dashboards; it delivered over six billion “visual Quus” in 2020. Earlier this month, Quu and Bonneville announced a multi-market partnership.


Tunein, iHeart Partner On Strategic Technology and Content. The agreement will allow TuneIn to dispense on more than 850 iHeartMedia digital stations. In addition, TuneIn will have access to local advertising demand from iHeartMedia’s monetization assets, including its sales force of nearly 2,000 sellers in every major market, and Triton Digital‘s advertising technology. iHeartMedia chief data officer/president of revenue strategies Brian Kaminsky comments that the partnership is “a great marriage of content and technology. [It is] enabled by Triton’s cutting edge and comprehensive suite of audio advertising technology to support streaming audio and podcast businesses with both direct and programmatic sales. With Triton’s Supply Side Platform, local advertisers will have the ability to reach additional iHeart and TuneIn listeners through both direct and programmatic sales.” TuneIn chief revenue officer Rob Deichert notes, “The relationship with iHeart demonstrates the power of TuneIn’s open platform to flexibly align with the content, distribution and monetization assets of our partners to jointly create new and previously unrecognized value. We’re incredibly pleased to partner with iHeartMedia and Triton as we continue our mission to delight listeners and reinvent radio for a connected world.”

 

WNYC Appoints Clary Deputy Editor. The newly-created role at WNYC Broadcasting Foundation-owned public radio news/talk WNYC, New York will be filled August 30 by current Vice VP Stephanie Clary. As deputy editor, Clary will oversee the station’s news coverage, working with editors in charge of multiplatform desks to align journalistic priorities. Per a WNYC press release, “In Stephanie, we have found a truly impressive journalist with deep experience covering local, national, international and breaking news on both digital and broadcast platforms. She has developed strategies to enhance newsroom innovation and dynamism. She will bring those skills to WNYC as we continue to grow our audience, expand our reach, and produce impactful journalism that improves the lives of people in New York City and our region. Her track record as a leader in a wide range of newsrooms makes her the perfect fit for this role. She has managed large teams of journalists, bringing to each job her unique mix of editorial judgement, product expertise, digital skills, and news judgment. Our team is the next place she wants to bring her talents and skills.” Clary comments, “I’m thrilled to join a newsroom that’s so essential to our city and region at a time when local news is diminishing in even the largest metropolis. This role is an incredible opportunity to work on both audio and digital at an institution with such a deep and respected legacy, and such committed journalists. I’m excited to be a part of helping to serve more communities with impactful, mission-driven journalism and storytelling.” Prior to her present role at Vice, Clary was CNN’s director of social publishing; managing editor at Mic; managing editor of NBC start-up “Breaking News”; and part of the Seattle Times team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking news coverage of the 2009 Lakewood police shooting in Washington.

Nielsen’s Q2 Revenue, Income Increase. Second quarter 2021 revenue for Nielsen Holdings rose 6.2% year-to-year to $861 million. Net income from continuing operations attributable to shareholders was up 207.1% to $86 million. Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA rose 11.8% to $370 million. The audience measurement division saw revenue gain 4.3% to $629 million, while outcomes & content revenue was up 11.5% to $232 million. The company revised full-year 2021 guidance: It increased total revenue growth projections from 2% – 3% to 2.5% – 3% on a constant currency basis; adjusted EBITDA from $1.47 billion – $1.49 billion to  $1.475 billion -$1.49 billion; and adjusted earnings per share from $1.47 – $1.58 to  $1.54 – $1.61. According to chief executive officer David Kenny, “[The results] demonstrate our continued strategic and operational transformation, as the global media ecosystem evolves. We have increased confidence in our full-year outlook, which is reflected in our updated 2021 guidance. We continue to see healthy renewals from existing clients, growing interest from new clients, and steady progress in our global product development. We are executing well against our strategy and roadmap to create long-term value and are pleased with steady progress again this quarter.”

House-Passed Bill Contains Public Media Funding. The Fiscal Year 2022 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations bill earmarks money for public media. Corporation For Public Broadcasting president/chief executive officer Patricia Harrison remarks, “We appreciate the House of Representatives’ strong support of public media, providing $565 million for CPB’s [fiscal year] 2024 advance appropriation, ensuring that public media remains free and available to every American. As the country continues to address the impact of a global pandemic on every aspect of American life, public media is responding with content and services that support the increased educational, informational, and public safety needs of America’s diverse communities. We are grateful for the House’s ongoing support of $20 million for the public broadcasting interconnection system, which allows for the distribution of content from producers to local stations and is part of our nation’s emergency alert system.” Regarding the $31.8 million provided for the Department of Education‘s “Ready To Learn,” Harrison states, “The program enables the creation of accessible, educational public media content, on air, online and in the community, for children ages 2 to 8. As the appropriations process continues, we look forward to working with Congress on funding decisions to support a healthy and vibrant public media system.”

Have You Heard This Podcast? That’s a question those at ABC News are most likely again posing regarding the network’s “Have You Seen This Man?,” which begins its second season (Wednesday) August 11. Listeners are invited to join a real-time global search by U.S. Marshals for fugitive John Ruffo, who stole over $300 million. Instead of reporting for a 17-year prison sentence, the scammer – currently on the “15 Most Wanted” list – vanished. Involved in one of the largest frauds of its time, Ruffo swindled banks out of more than $300 million, using the cash to transform himself into a Wall Street luminary. The six-part Sunny Hostin-hosted podcast features reporting by ABC News senior investigative reporter Matthew Mosk, who embeds with the U.S. Marshals on Ruffo’s trail. Mosk reports the story of how 23 years ago, Brooklyn computer salesperson Ruffo pleaded guilty to fraud. After turning in his ankle monitor on his way to a 17-year prison sentence, Ruffo left his car at New York’s JFK Airport and disappeared. Tips have kept marshals on their toes for two decades and listeners could be the key in uncovering the final clue in finding Ruffo, who was rumored to be behind home plate at a Los Angeles DodgersBoston Red Sox baseball game. The podcast reports on Ruffo’s disappearance through the eyes of those who were there, including the attorney who persuaded a judge to let Ruffo drive himself to prison; the bailiff who took off Ruffo’s handcuffs; the FBI agent who got the call when Ruffo skipped town; Ruffo’s former wife, who remarried after abandoning hope that he would make contact with her; and family members who found themselves temporarily homeless after Ruffo skipped bail. A four-part Hulu original limited series on the global search for Ruffo is currently in production from ABC News Longform. The first season of “Have You Seen This Man?” followed the search for murderer Lester Eubanks, who was on the run for over 45 years. That podcast yielded more than 300 tips; the case remains active.

SiriusXM’s SXM-8 Satellite Ready for Service. The SXM-8 satellite completed in-orbit testing and has been handed over to SiriusXM. Last month (6/6), a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launched the satellite into space from Cape Canaveral. SXM-8 is the ninth digital, audio radio satellite built by Maxar for the satcaster. SiriusXM senior vice president/satellite and repeater systems engineering & operations Bridget Neville notes, “We are committed to enhancing our satellite fleet and ability to deliver the best audio entertainment, traffic, weather, data and information services for years to come. We congratulate our engineering team, Maxar, and SpaceX on a successful launch and commissioning.” Maxar senior vice president/space programs delivery Chris Johnson adds, “We are proud of our long-standing relationship with SiriusXM and excited to see SXM-8 ready for service to bring entertainment to millions of SiriusXM subscribers. The entire Maxar team is committed to excellence – playing a role in the success of our customers’ missions is what drives us every day.” SXM-8 is more than 27-feet tall and weighed nearly 7,000 kg at launch. SXM-8 has an almost 30-feet in diameter mesh reflector that will allow SiriusXM programming to reach radios, including those in moving vehicles.

TALKERS News Notes. Whereas Nielsen July 2021 stats indicate double-digit declines by Newsmax’s cable news competition, Newsmax is touting a year-over-year total audience increase of 500%, maintaining it is the country’s fourth-rated cable news network. Chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy states, “Newsmax is growing across almost every metric.” The cable news network draws over 30 million regular viewers … Airing weekly on CRN Digital Talk Radio and in numerous radio markets across the country, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” notes its 750th episode with an on-air celebration. Among those taking part include Brewer Clifton founder/winemaker Greg Brewer; Arthur Vineyards proprietor David Long; Pisoni Vineyards founder Gary Pisoni; Boisett Collection proprietor Jean-Charles Boisset; and CIRQ & CHEV Wines founder Michael Browne. The Michael Horn and Nicole Nielson-hosted show began broadcasting from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in 2002; Michael Jordan spun off “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” and created “The Word on Wine,” which originates from Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa (California). According to Jordan, “What’s Cookin’ on Wine” has become “one of the most respected radio shows and podcasts in the world of wine. Bringing the joy of wine to the public is my passion; it’s only fitting to celebrate the legacy of the show with some of the most important people in the industry.” In addition to being an original host of “The Word on Wine” and “What’s Cookin’ on Wine,” certified sommelier Horn hosts the daily syndicated “What’s Cookin’ Today.” He founded CRN in 1983 and is its chief executive officer … Public radio news/talk WMFE, Orlando’s former president/chief executive officer Stephen McKenney Steck, 77, died this past Saturday (7/24) in Orlando. He was hit by a car while biking. Responsible for signing on WMFE in 1980, Steck founded the Carroll McKenney Foundation For Public Media, a nonprofit producer of Central Florida programming and podcasts.

 

 

Audacy Greenville-Spartanburg news/talk WYRD “106.3 WORD” has an opening for a full-time, aggressive, curious reporter/anchor to add to our award-winning news staff. Candidates must demonstrate creative instincts in finding local stories. He or she must have efficient and effective writing skills and the ability to react to breaking news. The successful candidate should be familiar with news gathering tools and be comfortable with social network postings and usage, including video for digital assets. Experience writing, producing, and reporting news is required. If you are passionate about reporting news and creating compelling, story-telling news features for on-air and digital platforms, show us you have what it takes. Please submit your resume, cover letter, and work sample. https://careers-audacy.icims.com/jobs/2164/news-reporter/job.

“The Sons of Liberty” and Bradlee Dean are looking for an affiliate relations person to take over the current line-up. With 153 affiliates nationwide – as well as broadcasting in over 53 countries – “The Sons of Liberty” and Bradlee Dean rank as the #1 and # 2 show on the Genesis Communications Network (out of 65 show hosts); they seek to build even more. If interested please call 1-866-233-0747;  www.sonsoflibertymedia.com.

Friday, May 15, 2020

| May 15, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled, “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day!” looks back at this past week of May 11-15, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Channel / FOX News RadioIan Anderson, musician, Jethro Tull, UK; Ken Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Round Four of April 2020 PPM Data Released. Ratings information from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and some movement of note among spoken-word stations includes: Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin adds 1.4 shares in April to finish with a 6.4 share good for the #3 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis continues its upward trend with the addition of 1.5 shares to move into the #1 position with a 10.3 share; iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN-AM, Milwaukee takes the #1 rank after adding a whopping 3.5 shares to leap from fourth to first with a 9.3 share while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown WTMJ adds six-tenths to finish at #3 on the strength of a 6.3 share; Cumulus Media’s Providence news/talker WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM shoots up 2.3 shares to a 6.1 share good for the #5 rank; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville tacks 1.6 shares on in April to remain at #1 with a 13.4 share. You can check out all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Michael Medved Show and CRN Partner to Expand Distribution. A partnership between CRN Digital Talk Radio and Medved Communications includes the launch of “The Michael Medved Show” on CRN 1 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  As part of the deal, CRN will distribute and provide marketing, ad sales, production, social media, and promotional support for Medved Communications. CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn says, “I am thrilled to help expand the Michael Medved show. Michael is one of radio’s best storytellers. He provides knowledge, a unique perspective, and truly entertains his listeners every single day.” CRN will distribute “The Michael Medved Show” and the “Medved Entertainment Minute” with Genesis Communications Network on their XDS Satellite.

Josh Innes to Join ‘ESPN 97.5’ Houston. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that sports talk personality Josh Innes is joining Gow Media’s KGOW-FM “ESPN 97.5” to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show, effective Monday (5/18). He’ll replace ESPN Radio’s Will Cain on the station’s program schedule. Innes has been hosting a podcast since he exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talker KBME in March of 2019.

Adams Radio Group Transitioning Back to Offices. In all of the market in which Adams Radio Group operates, staffers are beginning to return to their offices and studios. Company CEO Ron Stone says employees have been working from home for the past nine weeks. He says, “Adams markets have begun the transition of returning to normal operations at our offices and studios. Each market is staging the return of employees in phases, beginning with on-air staff. We will have 100% of our employees back on all sites by July 15, which allows time needed for some employees that have requested additional time to transition. Our employees have done an incredible job keeping our stations live and local during this health scare. Listening to our stations, one would never have known our people were not in our studios. I can never say enough about our news staff and the incredible job they have done keeping our communities up to date with local information. We have amazing teams and I am extremely proud of every person on our staff. What radio has done all over the country over the past nine weeks certainly proves the value of live and local radio and why it is so important to every community.”

Health & Medicine Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 11-15. The medical aspects of COVID-19, including the drive to develop a vaccine, the push for more testing, and the treatment for infected patients combined for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the statistics on confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, followed by the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ and concern about the erosion of civil liberties 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. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com and you can see this week’s complete chart here.

NRG Media Omaha Offices Re-Opening with the Help of Plexiglass and Shower Curtains. Pictured above is Studio 1 at NRG Media Omaha as the company prepares to bring staffers back into the facility. As with many radio stations across the country, on-air personalities have been working remotely or in separate studios. The company says no studio was occupied with more than one on-air personality at any given time in an effort to keep everyone safe.  Now that some of the restrictions are being lifted, NRG Omaha is starting to bring back all on-air personalities and staffers. As you can see in the photo, they are using plexiglass and shower curtains to mitigate movement of airborne particles. General manager Mark Shecterle states, “COVID-19 has challenged every business and made us all stop and think about how we operate. My number one priority during these challenging times has been and will continue to be keeping all of our employees safe. Therefore, we had to get creative and shower curtains are a perfect and safe barrier for our talent, sellers, and employees who share an office. Moreover, during the holidays we can have some fun with it. My promotions department already ordered a Freddy Krueger one for Halloween.” KOZN-AM “1620 The ZONE” personality Damon Benning commens, “I am so ready to get back into the building and work alongside my co-host Mike’l Severe even though there will be a clear shower curtain between us. We have not missed a beat, but nothing beats being in the same studio with your producer and co-host. I’m ready.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “Nights with Elaina” program will feature special guest hosts all next week (5/18-22). The ladies are taking over Westwood One Nashville’s “Nights with Elaina” as Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, and Lindsay Ell will each guest host an evening from home and provide their fans an update on what they’ve been doing during quarantine. Host Elaina Smith says, “Spending time away from listeners is always difficult, especially in these times. But I am so thrilled that these strong, powerful, talented women will be keeping everyone company while I’m gone! I know they’re gonna crush it and continue spreading positivity all throughout the country! Lord knows we need it.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

| August 15, 2014

rabRAB Reports Q2 Sales Down 3%.  It’s not surprising that the quarterly report from the Radio Advertising Bureau indicates pretty much what the Q2 data from the industry’s publicly traded companies showed.  Again the culprit was spot sales which dipped 5% while network ad sales were flat.  The positive was the digital and off-air categories which were up 9% and 15% respectively.  (All comparisons are Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013).  Advertiser categories that saw notable increases during the quarter included: home improvement (+ 4%); charitable/religious/non-profit/government agencies (+11%); specialty retail (+14%); auto parts/service (+14%); and amusement/theme parks/museums (+ 9%).  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Based on pacing and industry insights, we anticipated a relatively flat-to-down Q2.  While we don’t forecast, a greater percentage of radio’s total annual revenue historically comes through in the second half, and we’re anticipating that we’ll see better results by the end of this year.”  See the whole report here.

bradybillBrady: Radio’s Precarious Tipping Point.  The somber financial state of radio as an advertising medium is the subject of almost-daily articles both in the consumer media and the media trades.  It’s not unusual to read the opinion that radio has an “image problem,” but as Futures & Options, Inc. president and CEO Bill Brady writes, “Fifteen years of post-consolidation chickens are finally coming home to roost.  Homogenized programming, time-spent listening declines and the decimation of sales departments are now taking their toll.”  Brady also argues against the notion that the current state of things is the “new normal.”  A lot is written about what’s wrong with radio programming, but in this piece, read what media management pro Brady says is problematic about the business end of the business.  Check it out here.

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harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison Comments on Disney Plans to Sell off 23 of its 24 Stations:  Talkers  publisher Michael Harrison,when asked his take on the much-discussed Walt Disney Company decision to sell 23 of its 24 Disney Radio outlets, says, “The loss of 200 more industry jobs is, indeed, tragic – an ongoing plague that is nothing short of heart-breaking on the human level of our beloved industry.  However, those who are running around like Chicken Little, squawking that this move is indicative of the radio industry’s sky falling, are missing the real implications of this development.  Group owners and consolidators such as Disney, who don’t think this medium matches their unbending programming or, worse, believe radiodisney logothere is no way to keep old listeners and attract new listeners via creative programing, SHOULD get out and give new, enthusiastic operators the chance to get in at a reasonable investment.”  Harrison points out, “That is not to say that all consolidators should exit the business – companies such as Cumulus Media, Emmis, Alpha Media, Saga Communications and others are showing that, although the answers aren’t necessarily coming easily, they intend to find and implement them in the belief that the ‘stick’ still has years of life and the potential for pertinence in it.”  Harrison continues, “Disney’s bailing out on the idea that AM radio can no longer attract young listeners indicates it does not have the will nor financial incentive to create programming that will draw listeners of all ages to our medium.”  Harrison concludes, “The primary answer to radio’s growing lack of confidence and eroding status is to make massive improvements and reinventions in its on-air attractions.”

mcneildanDan McNeil Officially Gone from WSCR.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Dan McNeil is not returning to the air at CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR, Chicago “The Score.”  He’d been off the air since June when his contract expired and he and the station had been in negotiations, but the two sides apparently could not come together.  It’s been widely reported that McNeil wanted to move from middays to afternoon drive and receive a pay hike from a reported $300,000 per year to $500,000.  Former partner Matt Spiegel notified listeners of the station’s inability to bring McNeil back and said he’s looking forward to getting a new partner and forging ahead.  Read Feder’s column here.

westcottpaulPaul Westcott Exits WTAG, Worcester.  Leaving the full-time radio business at Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAG, Worcester for a position in Washington outside of the radio business is morning drive personality Paul Westcott.  Today (8/15) is Wescott’s final day hosting the morning show but it will not be the end of his talk show career.  Westcott reports that he’s going to stay in the media business posting and podcasting via former “America Now” host Andy Dean‘s new ConnectPal platform.  This means there’s a morning drive position open at WTAG, Worcester and interested radio talent can apply by emailing:  KEVINJOHNSON@clearchannel.com

selexaheidiHeidi Selexa Show Debuts on CRN Digital Talk.  Radio personality and actress Heidi Selexa is bringing her show “Out of the Friend Zone” to CRN Digital Talk Radio where it premieres today at 10:00 pm ET.  CRN Digital Talk says, “The one-hour program is a fun yet serious, authentic show examining interpersonal relationships.  It unlocks the secrets of what is really going on in other people’s minds – and also serves as an open platform to expose and explain misunderstood signals, signs and messages between the sexes.”  CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn adds, “’Out of the Friend Zone’ accomplishes something special.  Many shows help people with relationship and communication issues – but Heidi accomplishes it in an exceptionally fun way.  She talks with listeners – not at them.”  In addition to Selexa’s AM/FM radio career, she was a personality on SiriusXM’s “80s on 8” channel.

MaerCBSVineyardOdds & Sods.  A new hockey season means the return of “Chicago Blackhawks Live” to WGN Radio.  Two September editions are already announced as Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw will be featured on September 3 and head coach Joel Quenneville will be featured on September 10.  Both broadcasts will be live from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from the Old Town Pour House in Chicago and will air on sports talk WGWG-LP and replays of the programs on news/talk WGN following the Cubs games…..Talk media pro Jerry Klein will do some substitute work at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte over the coming Labor Day weekend.  He’ll fill in for John Hancock on Friday 8/29 and for Keith Larson on Monday 9/1.  Klein was a full-time personality on the station back in 1994…..CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer (pictured here) is said by CBS to be the only network radio news reporter traveling with President Obama on his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard where he anchored coverage of the president’s press statement about the Ferguson, Missouri situation.  Maer also did two-ways with affiliate stations about the president’s statements as well as about the Hillary Clinton-President Obama foreign policy rift.

Hartford Courant Shows Connecticut Radio People Some Love.  Although a number of America’s great newspapers/local news bureaus employ media writers who cover the radio business as part of their beats, often, local media give radio stations and talent the cold shoulder due to the competitive nature between the two.  For this reason, it’s nice to see the Hartford Courant’s recent pictorial on the radio personalities of Connecticut.  Check out the piece here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Saying that it’s hit the 500-affiliate mark, Yahoo! Sports Radio announces the addition of WWCS, Pittsburgh; WCAR, Detroit: KTXX, Austin: WCLT, Columbus, and KSGG, Reno to its affiliate roster.

Michael Brown Slaying Aftermath/Militarized Missouri Cops Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 11-15.  The death of black teen Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer, the subsequent riots and looting, and the militarized status of the Missouri police tied for the top stories of the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the ISIS threat and the U.S.’s Iraq policy.  Following at #3 was the Hillary ClintonBarack Obama foreign policy tussle and at #4 was the suicide of actor and comic Robin Williams.  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.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

| May 8, 2014

hannityseanMovement Afoot to Curtail Media’s Free Speech?  In a story by Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner, he writes that Federal Elections Commissioner Lee E. Goodman warns there is brewing sentiment within the FEC to support changing the exemption that the media enjoys regarding support of political candidates and/or issues.  Goodman tells the paper, “I think that there are impulses in the government every day to second guess and look into the editorial decisions of conservative publishers.”  The piece cites Premiere Networks talk star Sean Hannity and the movie division of Citizens United for effectively endorsing candidates.  As the story notes, all media currently enjoys the right to endorse candidates and promote them without being subject to limits or disclosure requirements.  It’s unlikely that such a move would pass legal muster but Goodman’s comments to the Examiner indicate frustration with conservative media on the part of liberal staffers at the FEC.

perryjenniferJennifer Perry Exits WYAY, Atlanta.  The former WGST, Atlanta afternoon news anchor had been the news director at Cumulus Media’s all-news WYAY “All News 106.7” since its inception as a news station 16 months ago, but now the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports Perry is leaving the station for a position outside the radio biz.  The move coincides with the station’s addition of another talk show that begins Monday, May 12 – this one featuring Michael Graham in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot – to what had been a true all-news format.  There’s no indication the programming changes were part of Perry’s decision to exit.  Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson has been hosting a show from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm since last fall.  Ho also reports that he hears the station will change its handle from “All News 106.7” to “NewsRadio 106.7” in the near future.

iheartradio newCCM+E Teams with Grupo Radio Mexico for iHeartRadio Hispanic Network.  It was a natural progression given Clear Channel Media + Entertainment’s existing relationship with Grupo Radio Mexico syndicating “El Show Del Mandril” via Premiere Networks, but the additional ventures announced today (5/8) take the relationship much deeper.  The launch of the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network will mean listeners to the digital entertainment platformgruporadiomexico will be able to hear Grupo Radio Centro, Grupo Radio Mexico stations and “El Show Del Mandril.”   Grupo Radio Mexico owns and operates 51 radio stations across multiple formats in 13 Mexican markets — including the leading station cluster in Monterrey and Guadalajara.  As part of the deal, beginning later this year, iHeartRadio will become the exclusive digital ad sales provider for these market-leading Mexican stations.  In what CC is calling an industry first, it will replace all local Mexican station ads with consumer-targeted U.S. ads and that this also marks the first time iHeartRadio will provide U.S. listeners with radio broadcasts from leading stations throughout the Mexico Republic.  GRC chairman and CEO Francisco Aguirre says, “This is the second step in the groundbreaking partnership between our two companies.  Bob Pittman and I share a vision to expand both companies beyond their respective borders in a very fast paced and evolving digital landscape.  Our Mexico stations are market leaders across all demographics and we look forward to their natural expansion in the U.S. through the iHeartRadio Hispanic Network.”

lehmansteveBiz Biggies Rock On — The Colorful History and Present-Day Innovation of Industry Entrepreneur Steve Lehman.  Actually there are two stories here.  One is the colorful history about the birth and early days of Premiere Networks which was launched by noted industry entrepreneur Steve Lehman and his partners Tim Kelly, Louise Palanker, and Ed Mann in the mid-1980s and went on to become one of network radio’s greatest successes.  The second story is about the more recent launch of an extremely innovative multi-media, radio-based syndicated program called “Business Rockstars,” hosted by brilliant business expert and organizer of billionaires, Ken Rutkowski.  What is the connection between these two stories?  Steve Lehman.  In a fascinating two-part special feature written by TALKERS managing editor/west coast bureau chiefBusiness Rockstars Logo Mike Kinosian, we are taken on a radio journey that spans three decades from the early days of modern syndication and consolidation to today’s leading edge of multi-platform talk radio. “I saw the need for something that was not ‘old politics’ on talk radio,” declares Lehman, who was fascinated by an article that indicated there are 30 million “wantrepreneurs” in the United States. “I thought that is a great audience to try to educate and to entertain about something I am passionate about — entrepreneurship. ‘Business Rockstars’ is an entrepreneurial business platform that is driven by radio, television, and social media. Those are the springboards to the monetization model, which is live events, content and product sales, and membership.”   Part one begins today (5/8).  Read it by clicking here.

wheelchristianCRN Digital Talk Syndicates ‘Let’s Talk Tech.’  The weekly radio program “Let’s Talk Tech” with host Christian Wheel is now being syndicated nationally by CRN Digital Talk Radio.  The program airs live Saturdays 8:00 pm ET from home base KFWB, Los Angeles.  The show is described as covering everything from “smartphones to the internet, home theater to security, software to digital cameras.”  CRN CEO Michael Horn says, “Christian is fluent in things called ‘C/C++,’ ‘Visual Basic’ and ‘x86 assembly.’  But more important, he’s fluent in radio.  Christian explains tech-related topics so everyone can understand and enjoy them.”

ldrlogoHelp for the Industry from the Experts at LDR Interactive.  The company says that it is launching its #Engage Blog to offer “broadcast solutions to motivate, measure and monetize your audience.”  LDR Interactive says the #Engage Blog shares “perspectives from the leadership team behind the Listener Driven Radio phenomenon and the growing TopicPulse real-time social measurement platform.”   The LDR #Engage Blog will feature insights on motivating, measuring, and monetizing audience engagement by offering a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most successful implementations of real-time, social, local, mobile, and interactive programming across LDR’s partner stations.  LDR says it  will also share unique perspectives from its world-class team of software engineers, broadcast managers, sales managers, and programmers.  Blog posts have been published by CEO, Daniel Anstandig; director of sales, Tracy Gilliam; and TopicPulse support and client services manager, Dana Hall.

sullivanchuckSullivan Heads to Brew Town with Entercom.  From his most recent gig with Cumulus Media in Mobile, Chuck Sullivan heads north to the Dairy State to serve as VP/GM for Entercom’s Milwaukee cluster, taking over for Michael Keck who left for opportunities in the Twin Cities.  Sullivan will oversee CHR WXSS “103.7 Kiss FM,” hot AC WMYX “99.1 The Mix,” and sports talk WSSP “Sports Radio 1250.”  He says, “I couldn’t be more excited about this tremendous opportunity.  Entercom Milwaukee has some of the most powerful and iconic brands, from ‘Kiss FM,’ the most-listened-to station in Wisconsin, to ‘99.1 the Mix’ and ‘SportsRadio 1250.’”

mariottijayOdds & Sods.  The Ayn Rand Institute announces it will begin producing a weekly, two-hour talk radio program hosted by executive director Yaron Brook.  In addition to seeking AM/FM affiliates, the program will air on the digital Liberty Express Network and the Ayn Rand Institute’s own site, aynrand.org.   The show debuts June 9…..Sports talk personality Jay Mariotti expands his digital reach by joining with PodcastOne for distribution of his daily show.  Mariotti’s program is heard via Genesis Communications Network and on his own Mariottishow.com platform…..Lisa Namerow, former SVP of strategic partnerships and audio monetization at Slacker Radio is joining XAPPmedia as senior vice president of business development and publisher relations for the company that provides an interactive audio advertising service.

nielsen logoNielsen to Make Cuts at Three Call Center Locations.  The Baltimore Sun reports that Nielsen will make cuts to its call-out workforce at locations in Sarasota, Florida; Radcliffe, Kentucky and Columbia, Maryland.  The paper reports the call center cuts are part of the company’s efforts to consolidate operations since the acquisition of Arbitron by Nielsen last year.  Though no filing with the Maryland State Department of Labor has been reported, filings have been made in Florida and Kentucky with cuts of 220 and 237 workers being made respectively.

radioonelogoNet Revenue Up 12.1% at Radio One; Liggins Cautious.  The financials from Radio One, Inc. for the first quarter of 2014 are in and the company reports net revenue was approximately $111.1 million, an increase of 12.1% from the same period in 2013.  It reported a net loss of approximately $25.2 million or $0.53 per share compared to $18.1 million or $0.36 per share theligginsalfred same period a year ago.  Radio One president and CEO Alfred Liggins III says, “Reflective of the broader economy, we experienced a slowdown in revenue growth in Q1.  Adjusting for timing differences on major events, consolidated revenue was up by 5.4% compared to Q1 2013.  Looking across the segments, TV One achieved its highest-ever show ratings, with the “NAACP Image Awards Show.”  However, the benefits of the NAACP partnership will be felt over the longer term as during the first quarter, TV One had higher programming amortization associated with the initial telecast of the Image Awards.  Our internet business continued its profitable trajectory and had robust 27.6% revenue growth year-over-year.  Looking ahead, core radio revenue is currently pacing down mid-single digits for the second quarter, but we anticipate markets picking up momentum in the second half of the year as political spending ramps up.”

harrisondickeyCMW14Lew Dickey Is “Bullish on the Stick” – Shares Insights into the Big Picture of Cumulus Media’s Corporate Strategy at Canadian Music Week.  In a “Fireside Chat” between Cumulus Media president/CEO Lew Dickey and Talkers/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison held during the opening sessions of an international radio summit in Toronto, the head of the America radio industry’s second largest group said that he is “bullish” on radio when asked where the stick stands within his company’s long-term strategy.  The 40 minute-conversation took place at 9:30 am Wednesday (5/7) at “Radio Interactive: International Radio Summit” held as part of this week’s ongoing multi-media festival, “Canadian Music Week.”  Dickey made the comment when asked by Harrison how Cumulus plans to balance its attention between the traditional AM/FM federally licensed platform (the “stick”) and all of its many digital age assets. Harrison asked, “Considering the massive amount of capital you have invested in traditional radio, is there the danger of a conflict between the stick and your other media?  More importantly, how do you feel about the future of the traditional radio station in general in this rapidly changing environment?”  Dickey responded that – yes, “times have changed in the past five years alone faster than ever and will probably change even faster in the coming five years” but he is nonetheless “bullish on the stick” and that all of Cumulus Media’s projects and multi-media endeavors are based upon the foundation and strength of traditional radio.  He said, “What we are doing is building upon our radio assets as the foundation of our larger media reach, always keeping in mind the importance of radio as the base of this larger system.”  Dickey went on to say that he personally believes in the uniqueness, importance and future of radio as a vital audio medium and has great respect for the basics that drive its success – music, entertainment, information and especially talent.  He summed it up stating, “In today’s media marketplace, the size of your reach counts.  You can’t effectively compete with emerging and already-existing giants such as Google with limited audience reach – that’s why you have to be able to provide advertisers with a large, multi-media package for maximum exposure which even includes magazines that we have among our assets.  That does not mean we do not value the tremendous importance of radio or the radio station in particular.  It is just that the ability of each station to compete effectively is enhanced when it is connected to a larger set of platforms increasing the reach we can provide to advertisers.”  Acknowledging Harrison as one of the industry’s leading experts on talk radio, he praised the importance of the format “in its broader definition” – even as it applies to music radio — stating, “Talk radio is more than just the political talk that many tend to narrow it down to when referring to the format.  Talk radio is all over the radio in many different forms…it appears on rock and pop music radio as morning shows, it’s in the all-news broadcasts…it is certainly in sports talk and it is our very act of talking that makes radio programming of all formats really work.”  When Harrison complained that there doesn’t seem to be the same level of format innovation today as there was in the past – and that he can’t see how radio can survive if its owners and managers think today’s formats can exist in a ‘snapshot’ and not be replaced by new ones, especially when these rapidly changing times demand it, Dickey smiled and said, “You must have been a fly on the wall at one of our recent corporate meetings!  I specifically asked the question, ‘When was the last time we’ve seen a significantly new format emerge in radio?’  There is no doubt this is a concern that we care about greatly.  However, I want to point out that we have good programming people on our team and we encourage them to be creative in this regard.”  Dickey added, “However, keep in mind, formats DO evolve as the times demand… it is just not always as noticeable as the debut of brand new formats that mark a departure from those that came before them.”  Harrison asked Dickey about audience measurement stats and his view of the PPM in particular to which he responded that “PPM would be far more accurate if we had a larger sample and until that day we have to deal with the potential of large fluctuations that can cause problems especially when dealing with tight margins within the rankings of stations.”  When asked if he counters that with some emphasis on qualitative selling in addition to the quantitative approach – especially on the local level, Dickey responded, “Even on the local level advertisers want data – we are living in an age in which data and measurement play a critical role in just about everything.  So even in situations in which there are no ‘ratings’ per se, it is incumbent upon the sales force to come up with information that conveys something measurable.”  Immediately following the conversation with Dickey, Michael Harrison was asked how he felt it went to which he responded, “That guy is one smart dude!”  Prior to facilitating the chat with the Cumulus head, Harrison delivered the conference’s keynote address titled, “Staying Iconic in the New Pop Culture,” in which he reiterated his basic principles that for music radio to maintain its standing in society it must reclaim ownership of the music culture and not stray from the basic tenets of entertainment, magic, humanity and caring – trusting its future as much on instinct and courage as on research and fear.

Global Warming/Clean Air Act, Boko Haram Kidnappings, Monica Lewinsky Vanity Fair Piece, 2016 Presidential Race/Mid-Term Elections, House Holds Lois Lerner in Contempt, and Russian Aggression in Ukraine Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7).  The Obama Administration’s push for tougher regulations on power plant emissions and the debate over global warming; the global community’s response to the capture of Nigerian school girls by the militant Islamist group Boko Haram; Monica Lewinsky breaks her silence about affair with President Bill Clinton; the potential candidates for president in 2016 and this fall’s mid-term elections; former IRS official Lois Lerner found in contempt by House; and continued concerns about Russian aggression in Ukraine were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, March 10, 2014

| March 10, 2014

TRN logo 125Cumulus-logo 100ww1 125TRN Companies and Cumulus Media Announce Amicable Westwood One Settlement.   TRN Companies and Cumulus Media announced late Friday afternoon (3/7) that they have agreed to settle outstanding claims arising during previous ownership of WestwoodOne, acquired by Cumulus Media in December, 2013. Lew Dickey, president and CEO of Cumulus Media, said, “While Cumulus Media had no role in the lawsuits filed by TRN Companies, we are pleased to resolve these claims and move forward together. We remain supportive of each other and are optimistic for the future.”  Mark Masters, CEO of TRN Companies, said: “We are pleased to ‘turn the page’ with the new owners of WestwoodOne and have put past issues behind us.  As we build bridges together, we look forward to a mutually beneficial future working with our affiliated stations, customers, Lew and John Dickey and Cumulus Media.”

emmisEmmis to Reward Employees with Stock.  The company states that as part of its 2012 Employee Retention Plan, roughly 75% of its full-time employees are being notified they are eligible to receive what it is saying is “a sizeable stock award.”  The company further states, “Emmis prides itself on being a destination employer in the media and digital industries, and as such, places a high value on cultivating a culture that allows us to attract and retain the best talent in our industries.  The third of Emmis’ Eleven Commandments states: Be good to your people – get them into the game and give them a piece of the pie.”  Eligible employees will receive a pro-rata share of approximately 976,000 shares of Emmis Communications common stock.  Using Friday’s closing price, the 976,000 shares in the Retention Plan will deliver $3,240,000 in value to the 598 employees who qualify for the plan.  To ensure a broad-based distribution, the Plan excluded executive officers and capped the level of salary credit at $50,000.  As an example of the award size, a full-time employee of Emmis who has been with the company since April 2, 2012, with a salary of $40,000 per year will get approximately 1,480 shares. That equates to a market value of $4913.60, using the closing price last Friday, March 7 of $3.32.  The awards will vest on April 2, 2014 and will be distributed to employees shortly thereafter.  It will be their choice whether to hold or sell the stock.

hughesspencerKSFO, San Francisco Names Hughes Late Morning Host.  Cumulus Media’s news/talk KSFO, San Francisco has been trying out talk show hosts in the late morning slot (billed on the station’s website as “KSFO Talk Show”) for the past several months.  Now, the station names Spencer Hughes permanent host of the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Hughes’ resume includes stops at talk stations across America including WRKO, Boston; KGO, San Francisco; KTKZ, Sacramento; and KSRO, Santa Rosa.

decastrojimmyWGN VP/GM Jimmy de Castro Talks Radio and More.  The vice president and general manager of Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago and the new sports talk WGWG “The Game 87.7” spoke candidly with the Chicago Sun-Times for its online video feature “The Sit Down.”  In the interview, de Castro throws out a number quips that’ll interest industry watchers.  For example, he’s not trying to bring young listeners to WGN, “I don’t want a younger audience for ’GN.  I want 35- to 65- or 70-year-old people.”  He says he hasn’t committed a lot of money to his staff.  “I don’t have one contract with one person on our station.  Not one.  They’re all here because of how they feel.  Any time they want, they can walk out the door.”  The one-time WLUP-FM leader also talks about his career and how he views life after all of his success.  See it here.

robertsjackJack Roberts Dies at 62.  Radio executive/on-air personality Jack Roberts died this past weekend in Los Angeles.  Over the course of his career, the 62-year-old Roberts was a general manager, program director, on-air talk host, and producer.  Most recently, the Boston College graduate and Massachusetts native was executive producer for CRN Digital Talk Radio programming, including “What’s Cookin’ Today.”  CRN chief executive officer Michael Horn comments, “Jack truly understood and loved radio.  He became an instant, caring friend to everyone he encountered.”  Roberts thought he could get any guest or celebrity, and Horn remarks, “He almost always booked them.  Guests and talent, but most especially the listeners, enjoyed what they heard.  Jack’s legacy will live on through them and all of us.  That would make him very proud.”  Roberts was a senior producer on syndicated radio programs hosted by Dick Cavett, and Colonel Oliver North.  He was in charge of production for “The Jerry Williams Show” and “The Doug Stephan Show.”  His on-air experience includes stops at Boston’s WRKO, WMEX and WXKS; WPRO, Providence; and WDRC, Hartford – where he became general manager and program director.  Roberts held those titles at WWRC, Washington, DC as well.  Programmer Ron Jacobs writes, “Jack Roberts is great at shining the spotlight on others and not blowing his own horn.”  Funeral services are pending for Roberts, who wrote a radio-themed blog – “HollywoodHillsGroup.com” – that highlighted industry achievements and gave publicity to on-air talent.

barnardtomTwin Cities Star Tom Barnard Talks Podcasting in Profile Piece.  Morning radio personality Tom Barnard – a 43-year Minneapolis-St. Paul market icon – is profiled by the Minneapolis Post.  The star of Cumulus’ rock KQRS speaks about numerous topics – the death of the voice-over business, his rise to fame, and his decision to get more political after 9/11 – in the story and explains his separate business producing and selling ad time for his daily two-hour podcast.  Barnard tells the Post that although he billed roughly $250,000 in 2013, the show is not in the black due to expenses including salaries and the cost of bandwidth.  Barnard and partner Don Shelby (former WCCO personality) are not collecting a salary at this point.  Barnard’s decision to sell ad time and not charge for subscriptions as well as to go after local ad dollars, flies in the face of the way many of the high-profile podcasters are doing it (think Tom Leykis and Adam Carolla).  Read the entire Post story here.

Odds & Sods.  In the Duluth market, Midwest Communications flips standards WGEE, Superior, Wisconsin to sports talk using CBS Sports Radio programming…..Sports radio pro Seth Everett becomes part of the New York Mets broadcasts on Clear Channel’s WOR, New York this season where he’ll be hosting the pre- and post-game programs…..Charlotte Knights minor league baseball will air on Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte this summer as the station will carry 10 Saturday night home games and two Friday evening home games.

stigallboltonChris Stigall Broadcasts from CPAC.  The annual Washington, DC gathering of conservative politicians dubbed the Conservative Political Action Conference involves an active radio row and WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Chris Stigall (right) was in the middle of all the action last week as he broadcast his show from the event.  He’s pictured here interviewing former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton (left).

wvbr logoWVBR Returns To Collegetown (Ithaca) in New, High Tech Studio Station to Hold March 15th Dedication Ceremony — Keith Olbermann Makes Major Donation.  Proving that grassroots terrestrial radio is alive and well, WVBR-FM is returning home to Collegetown (a proud name sported by downtown Ithaca, New York – home of Cornell University and Ithaca College — per its reputation as being one of the best college towns in America) after a 14-year absence, with a newly-built, state-of-the-art studio.  The new studio is located at 604 East Buffalo Street in Ithaca, next to the Carriage House Café and across from The Connection, Loco Cantina, and the Chapter House.  WVBR has operated out of 957 Mitchell Street near East Hill Plaza afterolbermannkeith leaving its longtime home at 227 Linden Avenue in Collegetown in 2000. It will be officially dedicated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to take place this coming Saturday (3/15).  WVBR-FM is a commercial, non-profit radio station that is owned and fully operated by the Cornell Radio Guild, a group of Cornell University students.  Since 1935, this group’s stated mission has been running a radio station with the goal of training students in broadcasting.  Since 1968, WVBR has been serving Ithaca and Tompkins Counties playing an eclectic mix of classic and modern rock under the banner, “Real Rock Radio.”  WVBR broadcasts over 93.5 FM and 105.5 FM to Tompkins County and the surrounding area. The newly named Olbermann-Corneliess Studios was purchased with donations from station alumni, most notably ESPN host Keith Olbermann.  Olbermann gave what has been described by station management as “a generous donation” with a request that WVBR’s new home studio be named in honor of his late father Theodore Olbermann, as well as the late Glenn Corneliess, his colleague during his years at WVBR who passed away in 1996.  Olbermann, the Corneliess family, and Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick will be among those on hand for the dedication, as well as many station alumni, current staff, and management.  A brand new set of professional equipment, a large vinyl library, a live performance space, three soundproof production booths, and two advanced on-air studios are some of the many highlights of the new space.  “There is no doubt in my mind that 604 East Buffalo Street will feature the best college radio setup in the country,” says Drew Endick, president of the Cornell Radio Guild, Inc. and general manager of WVBR, telling RadioInfo, “We have been trying to expand our content production operations and provide better services for the local community, and we now have the facilities to meet these challenges.”  The new studio will be home to two radio stations – WVBR, which broadcasts with a rock format over FM, as well as CornellRadio.com, which is being launched as a more student-centric, freeform online station.  CornellRadio.com will feature pop, hip-hop, dance, and alternative music, as well as talk shows, comedy programming, and sports content provided by a partnership with the Big Red Sports Network.  Each station will have its own cutting-edge studio within the building.  “This move is extremely important to the goals of our station,” says Michael Mallon, senior vice president of communications.  “The latest technology will not only allow us to create better content for our listeners, but it will also allow the students of Cornell University to learn and train on the same equipment as is used in the big stations in major cities.”  The move is also significant as the station will now be a close walk for most students.  “It’s a perfect location for us, both physically and symbolically,” Mallon continues, “The station is right between the students who operate the station, and the Ithacans who make up most of our listenership.”  ASI Renovations managed the huge project.  The space was already in great condition, but the design presented some big technical challenges.  Sherpa Technologies wired the building for radio operations.  Students and weekend staff led the move, bringing over the entire vinyl and CD collections, as well as other important articles from the old station.

stevensbrucieChattin’ with a Legend.  WFTL, Fort Lauderdale late morning talk host Rich Stevens (right) entertains legendary disc jockey Cousin Brucie (left) in the station’s studios.  Stevens tells TALKERS the pair chatted about numerous topics and took calls from listeners.  While speaking with callers, a 92-year-old local listener phoned in to tell Cousin Brucie he remembers winning a contest 40 years ago that Cousin Brucie executed that sent him on a vacation.  Brucie asked him if he was still there and needed money to get back!

odonnellwmalSittin’ in on WMAL, Washington.  Former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell (left) is pictured here in the WMAL, Washington studios as she served as guest co-host on the “Morning On The Mall” program today (3/10).  O’Donnell worked with co-host Larry O’Connor (right) while subbing for Brian Wilson.