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ABIP: Being prepared for an FCC Inspection

| March 19, 2013

By Thomas R. Ray, III CPBE, AMD, DRB
Tom Ray Consulting
President
TALKERS
Technical Editor

NEW YORK — One of the things I am doing these days is administering the Alternative Broadcast Inspection Program for the New York State Broadcaster’s Association.  Huh?  You don’t know what ABIP is?  Allow me to explain.

Just about every State Broadcaster’s Association runs an ABIP program.  For a nominal fee, the Association will send an inspector in to run your station through an FCC type inspection.   The good news is, we’re not the FCC.  If we find something amiss, you have the opportunity to fix it.  If you can fix it while we’re there, great.  If not, you will normally have to pay a re-inspection charge so that the inspector can sign off on the fix.

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Friday, November 2, 2012

| November 2, 2012

The Week of Sandy for Broadcasters in the Northeast; Broadcasters Associations Tout Virtues of Local Radio and TV.  Natural disasters bring the importance of radio to the fore and Hurricane Sandy was no different.  Even as we write this, broadcasters in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut are – days after the storm – struggling with ongoing issues of lack of electricity, fuel shortages, staff with homes damages and destroyed, and more.  In fact, contacting broadcasters in the affected areas to report how they are getting by is a challenge since all of their resources – such as they are – are being used to perform the function of emergency broadcasting.  However the degree to which the storm affected the hub of media in this country – New York City — threw another wrench into the works.  Even though radio stations were able to get information out one way or another – for example, all-news WINS using sister station WXRK’s signal when its transmitter went down – broadcasting companies were hampered by the lack of electricity and the business end of operating a station or network remained, and in some cases remains, challenging.  New Jersey Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Paul Rotella is using the disaster to raise the FM chips in cell phones issue.  “This deadly disaster points out the absolute necessity of having FM chips in cell phones activated, which would turn every cell phone into an emergency ‘transistor’ radio. (Many cell phones already have FM chips either installed or easily implanted and activated.) I understand that cell phone carriers want to make money off of consumers with streaming rate plans, etc., but maybe they could light the FM chip up in times of emergency so that more people can receive emergency information that only our local broadcasters are capable of transmitting to everyone. It’s worth exploring.”  New York State Broadcasters Association president David L. Donovan notes in a press release touting the value of over-the-air broadcasting that 25% of cell towers in 10 states were affected by the storm, relegating the public to using battery-powered radios and TVs to get news and information.  (The flood image is courtesy of Cox Media Group Connecticut from a video of the group’s coverage of the storm and its aftermath.  See the entire video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ix9PvdYKvkc)

CBS Radio Names Ryan Maguire KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh PD.  Rising sports programming star Ryan Maguire has been tabbed by CBS Radio to handle the PD position at Pittsburgh sports talk outlet KDKA-FM “SportsRadio 93.7 The Fan.”  Maguire fills the shoes left by Terry Foxx who moved to Atlanta to program CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet WZGC “92.9 The Game.”  Maguire currently serves as PD for Entercom’s KCSP, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio.”  Prior to that he programmed Entercom’s WSSP, Milwaukee “Sports Radio 1250” and Cumulus Media’s WTKA, Ann Arbor “The Ticket 1050.”  CBS Radio SVP and market manager Michael Young states, “Ryan has a very impressive track record in programming sports radio stations.  He has produced strong ratings and successfully developed a number of dynamic on-air sports personalities.  Furthermore, Ryan has an uncompromising passion for sports and his leadership will well serve Pittsburgh sports fans.”  On his new gig, Maguire says, “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity and privilege to be a part of ‘Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh.  Western Pennsylvania is home to some of the most loyal and passionate fans in the country and I’m looking forward to seeing KDKA-FM continue to be a big part of their sports experience.”

Media Broker Says Opportunity is Knocking Right Now for First-Time Station Buyers.  Sandi Bergman, whom TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “a dynamic rising star among today’s crop of media brokers,” has positive news for the many recently laid-off radio management figures looking to apply their seasoned skills in a new and productive direction in the industry.  They should consider radio station ownership!  Although it is a tough sales-driven business and there are daunting obstacles to obtaining financing, ownership is not just for the mega-corporations who are burdened with seemingly insurmountable debt. It is indeed possible that many of them will be spinning off unwieldy properties in the months and years ahead creating new opportunities for fresh blood in the business.  According to Bergman, who owns the innovative website www.RadioTVDeals.com and a New Mexico-based brokerage firm (MyMediaBroker.com) and is one of the relatively few major female brokers in the game, there are many incredible opportunities for first-time buyers.  Read the entire TALKERS interview with Sandi Bergman here.

It’s Official:  WFAN, New York Broadcasts on 101.9 FM.  CBS Radio took over WRXP 101.9 FM under an LMA at midnight last night and the nation’s first full-time sports talk station WFAN, New York is now heard in the region on FM.  CBS Radio is buying the class B FM signal from Merlin Media for $75 million.

Keven Cohen Out at WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment ousts PM drive host Keven Cohen from news/talk WVOC, Columbia, South Carolina.  Cohen announced his departure from the station via his Facebook page stating, “An hour ago, Clear Channel relieved me of my duties and fired me.  Obviously, I am devastated.  I am not getting the chance to do so on the radio, so I want to thank all of you for the love and support you have offered my way over almost 19 years at WVOC.  Please keep the Cohen family in your prayers.  This will be a significant challenge.”  WVOC has not announced its plans for PM drive at the station.

Now That You’re in Sales…  Because all radio staffers are in sales now – or should be, according to radio consultant Holland Cooke – if they want to keep their jobs.  But as Cooke writes, just because you’re a talent doing personalized spots doesn’t mean you have job security these days.  So, what’s a talent to do?  Still more, says Cooke.  “Offer to write copy.  You got your on-air job because you’re good with words, right?  That could make you handy to have around if yours is one of many stations where the creative department fell victim to a recent bloodbath.  Too often, account reps are writing spot copy, and too much of it sounds like…well, spot copy.”  Also, have you accompanied a sales rep on a call?  No?  Uh-oh…better read more of Holland Cooke’s wise advise for air talent here.

Steve Kelley to Prove Colorado is a Swing State.  Steve Kelley, along with Bill Rogan and Murphy Wells, hosts the morning drive show on Salem Communications’ KNUS, Denver.  Kelley is a well-known Denver radio personality who has performed various stunts for charity in the past.  Now, Kelly has begun an effort to break the world record for time spent swinging – a tongue-in-cheek nod to Colorado’s political status as a “swing state” and with the desire to highlight the need for all registered voters to cast their ballots.  Kelley will report on his progress live on the air and plans to finish his attempt sometime Saturday evening.  In past stunts, Kelley has rode a pogo stick from Boulder to Denver and sat in every seat in both the old and new Mile High Stadiums.

Welcoming Herman to Tulsa.  Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa held a live local event with some of its showcase talent to welcome talk show host and former presidential candidate Herman Cain to the market where he’ll take over as host of the Cox-syndicated Neal Boortz show in January.  Pictured here are (from l-r): Cox Media star Clark Howard, Boortz, Cain, and Cox Media radio news director of the Washington Bureau Jamie Dupree.

Hurricane Sandy Destruction Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of October 29-November 2.  The destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing at #1 on the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was the NY/NJ/CT Gas Shortages.  At #3 was climate change controversy followed by the presidential race polls and predictions at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across the country and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WYD Media-produced and Dial Global-distributed Michael Smerconish is added to the program schedule at WCMY, Ottawa, Illinois and WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire…..Independently syndicated “Free Talk Live” with Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the lineup at KBZZ-AM/FM, Reno.

 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

| September 20, 2012

NAB/RAB Radio Show Addresses Variety of Industry Issues.  Thousands of broadcasters from around the nation are gathering at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas for the annual “Radio Show” jointly presented by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB).  The event opened yesterday and runs until Friday afternoon.  The annual conference began with an overview of its mission presented by NAB CEO Gordon Smith who trumpeted radio’s role as “first informers” in the all-too-familiar cases of natural disasters and emergencies.  Smith appealed to radio broadcasters to unify as “one voice” in dealing with Congress; expressed opposition to any pending or future “performance tax” levied on radio; and called for the industry to continue pressuring wireless companies to activate radio chips on smartphones.  RAB CEO Erica Farber also addressed the crowd, encouraging radio broadcasters to present agencies and advertisers with more than just traditional spot campaigns.  One of the biggest concerns of attendees reflected on the floor and at the sessions is an industry-wide debate over the pros and cons of terrestrial radio streaming.  There is clearly a difference of views held on the subject of streaming by radio mega-groups Clear Channel and CBS  which basically represents a schism that runs throughout the industry  as well as on the issue of paying artists and labels royalties,  CBS head Les Moonves stated, “The idea that we have to pay them to put their music on our radio stations is absurd.”  On the other hand, CC, which is about to present its giant iHeartRadio Music Festival this weekend, entered a royalty deal with the Big Machine Label Group.

Overheard at the Radio Show.  Longtime radio programmer, station owner and consutant Clark Smidt has an ear to the ground at the Radio Show sharing some gathered comments for RadioInfo readers:

“PPM has redirected programming.  40+ adult numbers is where the money is.”

 – Dave Van Dyke, Radiate Media

“The news that local radio is working and making money needs to hit Wall Street for the bankers to hear about it.”

– Media broker, Ralph Meador

“Listeners are most interested in what to invest in and refinancing their homes.” 

–  Syndicated financial personality, Barry Armstrong,    .

“We’ve done well mixing live local shows with paid programs.”

–  Kurt Carberry, president, Carter Broadcasting, WCRN, Worcester

“The deals are starting to reappear but financing is still tight. I’m seeing 8 x BCF.”

  Richard Kozacko, Media broker

“We’re doing very well with local talk shows.  Remotes are giving us great community access and support.”

 Edward Perry, owner WATD, Marshfield, MA

“Throughout the entire downturn, we’ve been up each year.  It’s because we’re local.  However, political on radio isn’t a big factor, so far.”

 Larry Adams, controller, Mahaffey Enterprises, Springfield, MO

“So far political is a disappointment; it’s on TV.  We deliver with eight stations serving our market.”

 Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications, Portland, ME

“We continue to do well because we’re local and we take care of our people.  We might not do the 35-40% margin that some other companies want, but our people are important to us.”

 Bill Baldwin, EVP, Hall Communications

“The audience comes to us to hear the new hits.  We use YouTube and sales research to determine the playlist.  But, listeners also come to us for local fun and personality.  Plus, we have a marching band and a rock band!”

 Julie Hein, general manager, KZIA, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

TRN’s Mark Masters Announces the Formation of The Organization of Independent Radio Syndicators, Networks, Journalists and New Media Companies.  With Talk Radio Network chief operating officer William Crawford named the founding president, he offers this statement on the formation of the organization: “Today, I am proud to announce a new non-profit organization designed to assist the community of independent radio syndicators, networks, journalists and new media companies. We have discovered an amazing kinship with most everyone we have spoken with about the issues this organization addresses.  When the idea for creating this organization was finally floated about, the response was so overwhelmingly positive that we have molded the attached Mission Statement and Statement of Purpose out of the very input of the independents we have spoken with. The main purpose of the organization is to provide educational information and other support to its membership.”  In part, the newly formed organization lists as its statement of purpose: 1) To embrace, support and assist (when and where possible) any legitimate producer of independently syndicated programming, radio network creating independent programming and independent news organization or new media company creating such programming (This item one does not encompass financing or financial support, as this is a non-profit and not a financing or equity operation); 2) To abide at all times with and support the laws of the constitution of the United States of America; 3) Within this organization, we will establish a university program to provide education to aspiring on-air talent, investigative journalists, independent syndicators, network executives, new media creatives and sales representation firms; 4) The future for independent syndicators, networks, new media companies and the sales companies that will represent them must be that healthy competition will always continue to expand the marketplace of ideas, so that the human mind can be challenged to new heights of personal development, innovation, creativity and accomplishment; 5) To use the full power of this membership to prosecute anti-competitive acts, fomented by those less ethical than our members, and see that such corporations and/or individuals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.  This is a portion of the statement of goals.  To find out more about this organization, its website is www.independentradiosyndicators.org.

WCAR, Detroit “ESPN 1090” Names Mark Wilson OM, Evening Host.  Birach Broadcasting brings Detroit radio and TV personality aboard to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm sports talk program and serve as the station’s program director and operations manager.  Wilson will manage the station’s continuing transition from a talk outlet to its recent flip to sports as an ESPN affiliate.  He says, “We already have two of the most talented personalities in the history of Detroit sports radio.  Damon ‘The Dog’ Perry has a proven track record locally and nationally; he’s wild!  Art Regner is known far and wide as the Red Wings hockey guru on top of being one of the most outspoken voices in Michigan sports talk.”  Additionally, owner Sima Birach, Jr. says the company is building new studios in suburban Bingham Farms.  He states, “We’re very excited to have Mark on board.  He’s a veteran guy who has been in Detroit radio and TV for years and won awards doing it.  Mark is already making a big difference.”

Dial Global and the NFL Extend Radio Play-by-Play Deal.  The National Football League has been a partner with Dial Global going back to the late 1980s when Westwood One (merged with Dial Global a year ago) began syndicating the league’s games to radio stations.  Now, the two sides agree to a contract extension that will have Dial Global as the exclusive radio partner through the 2017 season.  NFL SVP of broadcasting and media operations Howard Katz says, “We are excited to continue partnering with Dial Global to offer our fans NFL play-by-play radio broadcasts.  With Dial Global’s national affiliate base, every fan across the country will have access to all prime time and Thanksgiving games.”

NY State Broadcasters Association Announces HoF Class of 2012.  The 2012 class of the New York State Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame will be inducted at a ceremony in New York City on November 1.  This year’s inductees include radio personalities Scott Shannon and Joan Hamburg.  Shannon is one half of the “Scott & Todd in the Morning Show” on WPLJ, New York.  In addition to serving as PD at WPLJ, he also programs “The True Oldies Channel,” a nationally syndicated radio network operated by Cumulus Media Networks and heard on 60 broadcast stations in the U.S.  Joan Hamburg hosts the midday show on WOR, New York.  She began her radio career broadcasting consumer segments on the long-running “Rambling with Gambling” morning show on WOR before eventually earning her own show.   Highlights from her show are combined to create a two-hour nationally syndicated weekend show.  Hamburg is known for broadcasting from “remote locations” in the community, including Sardi’s, The Hamptons, Canyon Ranch and the Villages in Florida.  With her daughter, Liz, Joan is part of the first mother-daughter radio team in the country.  This year’s other inductees are: Mike Wallace, CBS News and co-editor of 60 Minutes; Len Berman, TV sports broadcaster; Jackie Robinson, TV anchor/reporter; and Rich Funke, TV anchor/reporter.

Rick & Bubba Morning Show Gets TNN Simulcast.  The Birmingham, Alabama-based nationally syndicated Rick & Bubba morning show announces it will have a TV simulcast on cable’s TNN beginning November 1.  TNN will air the program live Monday through Friday from 6:00 am to 11:00 am, a two-hour Saturday morning version of the show and a one-hour “best-of” each evening from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET.  Rick Burgess’ and Bill “Bubba” Bussey’s program is heard on about 60 radio affiliates nationally.

Dennis Miller Emcees Mitt Romney Event.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller will emcee “An Evening with Governor Mitt Romney” this Saturday evening at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.  Miller says, “I’m introducing Romney this Saturday and then voting for him on November 6.”

 

 

Broadcasters Foundation of America Raises $200,000 at Celebrity Golf Tourney.  More than 150 broadcasters and celebrities turned out in support of the mission of the Broadcasters Foundation, including almost 30 sportscasters, athletes, and actors.  The BFoA reports $200,000 was raised to help assist broadcasters in need.  The charity expects to disburse some $700,000 in aid this year.  In the photo seen here are some of the celebrity participants (from l-r):  Don Dahler, WCBS-2 TV; Rachel Grant, actress; Dana Tyler, WCBS-2; Selanee Henderson, LPGA Futures; Nisha Sadekar, LPGA, All-American Collegian; Coach Michael Woodson, NY Knicks; Seema Sadekar, LPGA Futures; John Schriffen, ABC News Network anchor; Herb Williams,  New York Knicks; Maurice Dubois, WCBS-2; Jeremy Schaap, ESPN; Michael Gargiulo, WNBC-TV; CJ Papa, SportsNet anchor, Fios 1 news anchor; Jim Thompson, Broadcasters Foundation; Amani Toomer, Dial Global-NBC Sports Radio Network; Ann Liguori, WFAN; Jack Mulcahy, actor; Rick Cerone, New York Yankees; Deb Placey, NY Islanders Host; Duke Castiglione, FOX- 5; Sean McDonough, ESPN, ABC Sports; Anita Marks, WFAN; Jim Spanarkel, CBS Sports, ESPN, Fox Sports; Nick Buoniconti, NFL Hall-of-Famer; Jim Todd, New York Knicks assistant coach; Bill Raftery, CBS Sports; Tina Cervasio, MSG – NY Knicks & NY Red Bulls Host; Chad Cascadden, NY Jets; Bobby Carpenter, NJ Devils; Scott Knight, Knight Quality Media; and Phil Lombardo, Broadcasters Foundation.

Romney 47% Issue, ObamaCare Effects, Presidential Race Polls, Anti-America Protests in Muslim World, Libya U.S. Consulate Attack Analysis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19).  The campaign effect of Mitt Romney’s “47% dependent on government” comments; the effects ObamaCare will have when fully implemented; the polls in the presidential race; continued anti-America protests in the Muslim world; and the analysis of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.