By Holland Cooke
For years, as digital competitors have horned-in-on radio’s Time Spent Listening and enchanted advertisers, convention panels have talked-the-talk that we can’t just be a radio station any more…as cutbacks compromised the local content that will always be broadcasters’ silver bullet.
The WWL, New Orleans-Seth Dunlap Case Gets More Bizarre; Station Accuses Host of Extortion. According to coverage of this story in the Times-Picayune, the reason Entercom went from an internal investigation of the anti-gay slur tweet against sports talk host Seth Dunlap to turning it over to the police (as TALKERS reported yesterday), is because it believes Dunlap himself sent the text and is attempting to extort $1.85 million out of the company. The New Orleans police department says WWL believes the tweet was sent from Dunlap’s cell phone. The police report also notes that the station is accusing Dunlap of threatening to go “scorched earth” over the matter and is demanding $1.85 million in order to get out of personal financial trouble. The station adds that it has been receiving letters regarding wage garnishment for Dunlap as creditors attempt to collect for unpaid credit card bills and personal loans. The police are currently working to corroborate WWL’s conclusions. Right now, they are calling it a possible extortion case. Dunlap’s lawyer, Megan Kiefer, says Dunlap didn’t have access to the station’s Twitter account and that the station is “attempting to blame the victim of its own anti-LGBT culture.”
New KIRO-AM, Seattle Program Schedule Unveiled. As a result of the semi-retirement of longtime KIRO-AM personality Dave “The Groz” Grosby and the transition of the “Brock & Salk” morning show to a podcast, Bonneville’s sports talk KIRO-AM, Seattle “710 ESPN” announces its new lineup, effective Monday (9/30). First, in afternoon drive, Bob Stelton moves from the early afternoon show to afternoon drive with Dave Wyman and Jim Moore for the “Bob, Dave and Moore” show. Stelton’s departure from the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show results in Tom Wassell being joined in the daypart by Stacy Rost and Jake Heaps for the “Tom, Jake and Stacy” show. Rost is a Seahawks insider who has served as a writer and editor with 710Sports.com and host with KIRO-AM. Heaps played quarterback at BYU, Kansas and Miami. He had pro stints with the Jets and Seahawks and joined the station in 2018. That show will be produced by current “Brock & Salk” producer Kyle Brown. Taking over the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show is the “Danny and Gallant” program, featuring Danny O’Neil and Paul Gallant. O’Neil moves from his current afternoon drive role on the “Danny, Dave and Moore” show and Paul Gallant arrives from Houston where he’d most recently been hosting mornings at Entercom’s KILT-AM. Jessamyn McIntyre will produce the “Danny and Gallant” program. Mike Salk leaves his daily show to focus on his program director role with the station but, as noted above, he and Brock Huard will produce a weekly podcast version of their show, beginning next week. As TALKERS reported previously, Grosby steps away from his daily show but will do a segment with John Clayton at 11:45 am and will serve as a guest host. He’s also going to have an expanded role with 710Sports.com.
New Installment Posted of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The recently launched, 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 on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (9/20). The new episode titled “Whistle a Yappy Tune!” looks back at this past explosive week of September 23-27, 2019. Recorded at this week’s “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row in Washington, DC, the show features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dale Jackson, WVNN, Huntsville, AL; Michael Brown, KHOW, Denver; Gordon Deal, Compass Media Networks; Casey Hendrickson, WRTC, South Bend, IN; Michael Patrick Leahy, WLAC, Nashville; Martha Zoller, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Dan “Ox” Ochsner, KNSI, St. Cloud, MN; Joyce Kaufman, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami; and John De Petro, WNRI, Woonsocket, RI. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs on WONK-FM on Friday afternoons between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm as well as other stations around the country including KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; and KBKW, Aberdeen, WA as a special week-in-review and during the weekend on the Virginia Talk Radio Network as well as Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA and the iHeartRadio App. 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.
SRN’s ‘Battle for America’s Soul’ Tour Hits Phoenix. Pictured above are Salem Radio Network talk show hosts in Phoenix as SRN’s “Battle for America’s Soul” tour stopped at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. SRN says the sellout crowd of more than 1,000 heard the hosts discuss topics from impeachment to the culture wars. From left to right are: SRN hosts Larry Elder and Dr. Sebastian Gorka, two unidentified KKNT, Phoenix listeners, Twitchy.com founder Michelle Malkin, and moderator/SRN talk host Mike Gallagher.
Seen and Heard at the Radio Show. TALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay reports from the 2019 NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. He says Thursday’s sessions focused on podcasting and sales, culminating in the annual Marconi Awards ceremony. He notes that 139 students interested in radio and media from across the country attended the Radio Show as part of the Broadcast Education Association’s mentoring program. Executive director Heather Birks says of the 400 or so students who’ve taken part in the last five years, 75% are now working in media and about 50% are working in radio. Read Jeff McKay’s report here.
2019 Marconi Award Winners Honored. At last night’s awards dinner at the 2019 NAB/RAB Radio Show, the Marconi’s were handed out. Spoken-word winners of this year’s honors include: Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington for Major Market Station of the Year; Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle for News/Talk Station of the Year; and Beasley Media’s WBZ-FM, Boston for Sports Station of the Year. WBZ-FM’s “Felger and Massarotti” – Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti – were honored with the Major Market Personality of the Year award. WRHU-FM, Hempstead, New York “Radio Hofstra University” was honored with the “College Station of the Year” award. See all the winners here.
TALKERS News Notes. Journalist Katie Couric is hosting an iHeartRadio Original podcast titled, “Next Question with Katie Couric.” The show becomes part of iHeartMedia‘s iHeartPodcast Network and will “explore some of today’s most important issues and transformative trends through insightful and engaging conversations that span news, politics, and pop culture.” Topics addressed in the 12 episodes include: ABC’s of CBD, Jennifer Garner’s foray into entrepreneurship, whether ageism is the last socially acceptable “ism,” the eSports universe, and a conversation with a former white supremacist who now works to deradicalize others…..SiriusXM announces the launch of “The Johnny Carson Channel,” on October 1. The month-long special programming will feature the top, handpicked episodes of “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” The programs will highlight notable classic moments, including the first “Tonight Show” stand-up appearances by Jerry Seinfeld (1981), Jay Leno (1977), and Ellen DeGeneres (1986), and Eddie Murphy (1982). There are also interviews with Lucille Ball, Muhammad Ali, Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Billy Crystal, and Oprah Winfrey.
The Impeachment Inquiry Is the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of September 23-27. The Democrats decision to begin an impeachment inquiry against President Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Ukraine phone conversation flap. Coming in at #3 was immigration reform, followed by the UN General Assembly and climate change tied 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. See this week’s entire chart here.
Sports Talk and Album Rock Radio Pioneer Richard Neer Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. There have been a number of stories these past couple of weeks from the world of popular culture. They include the milestone of Bruce Springsteen reaching his 70th birthday and the impact of his political outspokenness on how his fans might view him. The deaths of rock stars Ric Ocasek and Eddie Money – also in their seventies; the disturbing saga of football wide receiver Antonio Brown; and the growing popularity in the podcasting world of the “true crime” genre. WFAN, New York, sports talk personality Richard Neer is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison describes Neer as “one of my oldest and best friends… and one of my top go-to guys on the subjects of sports, music and crime.” Neer has been a sports talk show host on WFAN in New York since 1988. He is also a pioneer of album rock radio having worked in the golden era at WLIR on Long Island and WNEW-FM in New York. He wrote the milestone book about rock radio titled FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001) and has a growing following of fans for his series of murder mysteries featuring the ongoing adventures of Riley King, Private Investigator. To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter or on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air personality Joe “Flu Season” Lewis joins Cumulus Media as afternoon host and programming assistant at urban contemporary KTCX, Beaumont, Texas “Magic 102.5.” He was most recently the evening host at Cumulus’ WLZN-FM, Macon, Georgia. KTCX program director Kelly Mac says, “Joe is a passionate, multi-skilled on-air talent who brings an array of experience to the table. He not only gets the on-air aspect of radio, but strongly embraces the community as well as the digital, imaging, and branding aspect of radio, which made him a perfect fit for this role. I look forward to watching him grow and succeed with the Cumulus team.”…..Leaving his brand/content director post with Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH-FM, St. Louis “106.5 The Arch” for a yet-to-be-revealed position is programming pro Scott Roddy. He joined the station in February of 2016…..Below is Premiere Networks personality Amy Brown (right) with Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott (left). Scott appeared on the “4 Things with Amy Brown” podcast to talk about the band’s new album and the single, “Ocean.” She’s also a guest on Scott’s weekend radio program, “Women of iHeartCountry.”
By Holland Cooke
- User Interface, referred to nonchalantly as “UI:” What people interact with, i.e., your on-air product, web site, social media, events (“the bartender,” one Radio Show panelist quipped).
- User Experience, “UX:” What people take-away from using your UI (“How you feel the next morning”).
“We try to do creative advertising that’s a joy to listen to.”
Nikki Nite is VP programming & operations, Entercom Austin, panelist in the NAB/RAB Radio Show session “Creating Unforgettable User Experiences.” Her point: There are no “stopsets.” Listeners experience whatever comes out the speaker at any given moment.
By Holland Cooke
AUSTIN — The 8:00 am start time means an early reveille for night-before convention revelers, but the Pillsbury law firm’s Leadership Breakfast is always packed, and always sound-bite-rich. Session theme: “Is Radio Ready for a New Deal?”
Again this year, the SRO crowd paid rapt attention to Wells Fargo Securities debt analyst Davis Hebert, whose outlook was rosier last year:
By Holland Cooke
From his State of the Industry remarks at a well-attended event:
- As sales plateau, “everyone who wants [a smartphone] now has one.”
- New smart watches will have self-standing connections, not tethered to a nearby smartphone like Apple Watch.
- Bluetooth headphones are selling well, having a big impact on users’ experience.
- In-car? “Broadcast radio will be moved down to a second-class position in the center stack,” as so-called connected dashboards proliferate. There are 38 thousand in the USA today; 118K+ are forecast by 2022. Ford has open-sourced its groundbreaking Sync system, and will now handshake the driver’s smartphone, so familiar phone app icons appear on the dashboard.
- For stations, streaming “simulcasts are not a strategy.” Consumption is down from last year.
- “Podcasting revenue numbers are great.”
For AM/FM broadcasters that’s whack-on-the-side-of-the-head stuff. But RAIN Summit topic one was a name we’re hearing lots lately…