By Mike Kinosian
LOS ANGELES — The third and final installment of our recap of last week’s Hivio 2016 conference sums up three of the 17 sessions presented Thursday (6/2) and Friday (6/3) on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, literally steps away from the famous Comedy Store. Most of the agenda featured one-on-one interviews conducted by event co-organizer Mark Ramsey, who declares, “Contests on radio are pathetic.” The “attraction to listen,” he notes, is “a one in a million chance to win something.” That incentive to listen, Ramsey stresses, “makes no sense” and the San Diego-based media advisor-strategist/research analyst seamlessly utilizes that statement to introduce Omaze co-founder/co-chief executive officer Ryan Cummins, who Ramsey comments has a “different – better – way [that] will change the way you view contesting.”
Alpha Media Names Bruce Collins OM for Portland Talk Stations and Radio Northwest Network. Talk programmer Bruce Collins comes to Alpha Media’s Portland station group after his most recent gig with iHeartMedia serving as a programmer and news/talk/sports format captain. At Alpha, Collins is talk operations manager for news/talk KXL-FM “FM News 101,” sports talk KXTG/K275CH “750 The Game,” news/talk KUFO “Freedom 970,” and the Radio Northwest Network. Alpha Media EVP of programming Scott Mahalick comments, “Bruce is a star programmer and talent mentor with a great sense of news, sports, and entertainment. He is the perfect fit for our talk brands in Portland.” Collins says, “What a wonderful opportunity Alpha Media has given me to lead their talk stations in such a beautiful city as Portland, Oregon. Alpha truly believes in staying connected to the community with their stations and they believe in being informative through live and local programming. I am looking forward to working with the great teams at FM News 101 KXL, Sports 750/102.9 The Game, and Freedom 970 and calling Portland home.”
FCC Commissioner Michael O’Reilly Emphasizes Need for Action Ownership Issues. A recent court decision struck down a 2014 FCC rule affecting joint sales agreements. At the same time, the court chided the commission for its failure to complete not one, but two congressionally mandated Quadrennial Reviews. Republican Commissioner Michael O’Reilly writes in a blog post that the time is now to move on eliminating cross-ownership bans. He writes, “Consumers are demanding 24/7 access to media content on numerous platforms, but artificial silos created by the cross-ownership bans are keeping broadcasters and newspapers from innovating into multi-platform entities that could better serve these needs. Evidence of synergies already exists in the form of grandfathered combinations and giving the opportunity for more, with additional outlets and platforms, could generate a boom in local content or perhaps prevent a further erosion from occurring in some markets.” Prepared for the possibility that the cross-ownership ban won’t be repealed, O’Reilly suggests that, at the very least, provide more waivers and grandfathering. He says the Commission should “reform [the] current waiver processes to make them clear and realistically obtainable, provide more opportunities for waivers, and allow grandfathering of existing combinations. The market size waivers proposed by various parties could mitigate the constrictive impact of these outdated rules on broadcasters in smaller markets.” Read the entire blog here.
Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Retired CBS RADIO President Dan Mason. In this week’s new episode of the PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out,” retired CBS RADIO president/CEO Dan Mason joins host Michael Harrison for a wide-ranging dialogue about the state of radio broadcasting in the digital era. The discussion focuses on Mason’s recent change of career direction that includes assuming the chairmanship of the 60-year-old, non-profit charity, the Broadcasters Foundation of America (BFOA) as well as putting on the headphones again and becoming a CBS Sports play-by-play announcer for college athletics. Mason discusses his passion for women’s basketball as well as his roots in radio programming going back to his days as a teenage top 40 fan (a “contest pig”) in Louisville, Kentucky. The two talk about the fine work being done by the BFOA on behalf of broadcasters in acute need and the satisfaction Mason is getting by being able to “give back” to the industry. The discussion covers the viability of the “stick” as a business going forward, HD radio, and the role of the computer screen in digital audio media. Not to be missed! To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” players located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KIRO-AM, Seattle Expands Local Programming; Gee Scott to Host Nightly Show. Beginning June 13, Gee Scott will host the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm show on Bonneville’s KIRO-AM “710 ESPN Seattle.” The station says, “Scott will also deliver unique perspectives from inside the locker room in a new, comprehensive role for 710sports.com. After developing close, personal relationships with many Seahawks players, coaches and staff, Scott will be able to connect Seattle sports fans with their favorite athletes like no one else can.” Program director Mike Salk says, “This show will be a great complement to the rest of the 710 ESPN Seattle lineup. Gee has a special relationship with both listeners and players. He is so adept at bringing those two worlds together in a compelling way.” Scott’s journey into the Seattle sports scene began in 2003 cleaning the vehicles of Seahawks’ players and coaches. After a decade developing valuable relationships within the local sports community, Scott worked on “The Barbershop” radio show alongside former local football stars Marcus Trufant and Terry Hollimon. Since then, Scott has become a prominent motivational speaker, auctioneer and emcee, in addition to his duties with 710 ESPN Seattle.
E.W. Scripps Acquires Stitcher for $4.5 Million. This is another addition to its on-demand portfolio. Stitcher doesn’t have a huge number of registered users – about 8 million – but it aggregates some 65,000 podcasts and is included in the digital dashboard of more than 50 auto models. Last July, E.W. Scripps acquired Los Angeles-based podcast platform Midroll Media. The company says that Stitcher will operate as part of Midroll Media. Scripps chief digital officer Adam Symson says, “The Stitcher brand is recognized to be an early mover and innovator in on-demand audio, especially with connected cars. Stitcher’s data-driven technology has made it a leader in podcast discovery and audio distribution, which will complement Midroll’s leadership in content creation and advertising sales.” Founded in 2008, Stitcher was purchased by French music streaming service Deezer in 2014. Now, Deezer agrees to sell Stitcher to Scripps. Twelve Stitcher staffers will join Scripps as part of the deal.
The Presidential Race, Stanford Rape Case Sentencing, Muhammad Ali Death, Battle Against Islamic State, IRS Conservative Groups Scrutiny, Immigration Bureaucrat Cited in San Bernardino Report, Weak U.S. Job Growth, and NBA and NHL Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/6). The activities of the candidates for president and media reports that Hillary Clinton has clinched the Democratic nomination ahead of today’s California primary election; the controversial light sentence for a Stanford student convicted of raping a fellow student; the death of Muhammad Ali; the intensifying war in Iraq against Islamic State; the information pulled from the IRS about its targeting conservative groups; the case of an Immigration bureaucrat who prevented Homeland Security Agents from detaining the man who allegedly provided the San Bernardino terrorists with weapons; the recent report of weak job growth during the last month; and the NBA and NHL Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Analysis: Final Hivio Highlights. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a wrap-up of his analysis of the recent Hivio 2016 conference in Los Angeles. It includes a different view of contesting from Omaze co-founder Ryan Cummins; Red Seat Ventures founder (and former Mercury Radio Arts president/CEO) Chris Balfe speaking about AM/FM broadcasters truly seizing the digital opportunities available to them; and MaximumFun.org chief Jesse Thorn presenting his philosophy of operating a podcasting platform. Read the entire story here.
Stephanie Miller’s Sexy Liberal – Of Me I Sing! Published in Paperback Format. The ebook memoir written by nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller is now being published in paperback format by Gival Press. The publisher says Sexy Liberal! Of Me I Sing, is “both deeply personal and hilariously political. But most of all it is Stephanie’s unique voice, her jokes, her happy clappy optimism, and her truth that they tune into day after day, that they download as a subscription podcast, that they buy tickets for, to see her unbleeped and in person. That’s what Sexy Liberal! delivers. Like an uncensored comedy drone right to your door!” Miller’s Sexy Liberal comedy tour has been wildly successful as have her comedy albums. She has recently had her second and third #1 comedy albums in the country with her Stephanie Miller’s Happy Hour, Volume One and Stephanie Miller’s Happy Hour, Volume Two.