Michael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Legendary KGO, San Francisco Talkmeister Ronn Owens. This week’s new installment of Podcast One’s international hit podcast for media freaks, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” is posted today (7/14). It features a compelling conversation between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and legendary radio talk show host Ronn Owens. Owens is about to mark his 40th anniversary with the heritage San Francisco outlet KGO – having survived numerous regimes and ownership changes during that four-decade period, including the controversial 2011 reorganization of the station from a news/talk format to an all-news direction that left Owens the station’s only full-time talk show host. In addition, Owens recently disclosed publicly that he has been privately dealing with the challenges of Parkinson’s Disease for the past 13 years that has progressed to the point that he will be undergoing a leading-edge form of surgery called Deep Brain Stimulation. This aggressive procedure, when successful, has been shown to alleviate the incurable neurological disorder’s movement-prohibiting symptoms. Owens – ranked by TALKERS as one of the 25 most important radio talk show hosts of all time — discusses his career and views on talk radio, including the power of local programming, options beyond the left/right paradigm, the disastrous simulcast of his show on KGO and KABC, Los Angeles in 1997-98 and the impact of cell phones on the format, plus more. He also candidly talks about his quiet battle with advancing Parkinson’s Disease, his decision to open up about it and details of the exotic form of brain surgery that he will be facing in August. Harrison says of Owens, “This man is truly one of the giants of the industry. Just like all the truly great performers of the talk radio arts, he rises above technique and has made it big simply based upon his unique brand of ‘personhood’ – an elusive quality that the Dickey Brothers obviously recognize – and speaks volumes about their nuanced awareness factor. Add to that, his backbone is of figurative steel as he faces an experimental form of invasive surgery. Ronn Owens is an inspiration to us all, professionally and personally. I am so darned pleased to be able to present this podcast to the industry and the world.” This is a must-listen for members of the professional radio community. To hear the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.
LeGrett Lands iHeartMedia LA Market President Slot. Currently senior vice president of operations for approximately 225 iHeartMedia stations in roughly 50 northeast and midwest markets, Kevin LeGrett is shifting to market president for the company’s eight-station Los Angeles cluster. Executive vice president of operations for iHeartMedia – and the company’s Southern California president – Greg Ashlock (to whom LeGrett will report) comments, “Kevin has a successful track record leading operations and accelerating growth across multiple regions. He has earned the right to lead our largest market. His vast experience managing talent and revenue across so many diverse markets and stations will allow him to bring a unique perspective to our Los Angeles portfolio – a portfolio that I have been blessed to directly manage for the last decade that hosts the most compelling on-air talent and most innovative leaders in the business.” LeGrett states that he is “thrilled” at the “opportunity to lead” the “extremely talented” Los Angeles team. He further states, “iHeartMedia Los Angeles has some of the most iconic brands and beloved personalities in the country. With the instantaneous success of [urban contemporary KRRL] ‘Real 92.3’ and the continued stellar ratings and thriving pop culture events such as ‘Wango Tango’ and ‘Jingle Ball,’ it is an exciting time for the market. I look forward to the opportunity to further build on the team’s already enormous success.” LeGrett, who begins his new duties in three weeks (8/3), joined iHeartMedia five years ago as vice president and market manager for the company’s Rochester stations. He will be leading a Los Angeles group of properties that includes hot AC KBIG “My-FM” and adult contemporary KOST “Coast 103.5,” tied for second in Nielsen Audio‘s June 2015 PPM, each with 5.1 (6+). Also in the top ten this June are iHM CHR KIIS “Kiss-FM” (#4, 4.9) and talk KFI (#8, 3.5). The rest of the company’s Los Angeles cluster consists of aforementioned urban contemporary KRRL “Real 9.2.3” (formerly urban-rhythmic oldies KHHT “Hot 92.3,” #11, 3.1); alternative KYSR “Alt 98.7” (#20, 2.3); and sports/Los Angeles Dodgers’ flagship KLAC and talk KEIB (both with .9, tied at #30).
Cumulus Media Expands Brand Partnerships Team. This move includes promotions for two current Cumulus Media staffers. The company says that in expanding the Brand Partnerships team, it has named Leslie Slender vice president, Brand Partnerships and Events, and Leslie Caraccilo, vice president, Brand Partnerships. The Brand Partnerships division is responsible for developing “unique experiential opportunities for Cumulus and Westwood One, connecting advertisers to its listening audiences and leveraging its integrated radio, digital, social and live events platform.” Slender has been serving as Cumulus New York’s corporate director, events and marketing. She’ll continue to oversee marketing and events for Cumulus New York stations. Caraccilo has been with the company for five years as was most recently senior director of digital monetization. She’ll continue to oversee digital sales strategy for Cumulus. Cumulus SVP of Brand Partnership Tommy Page states, “We are excited to welcome these two talented professionals to the Brand Partnerships team. Leslie Slender is a rare example of a marketer that is not only outstanding at producing and executing live events, but also knows how to package these opportunities for advertisers. Leslie Caraccilo has done an incredible job of creating custom digital and content solutions for our advertisers across the Cumulus platform. Her understanding of artist programming and deep knowledge of the digital space make her a natural fit for our Brand Partnerships team. With these strong additions to our already stellar Westwood One events group, all Cumulus and Westwood One partners and advertisers will benefit from this powerhouse team’s expertise.”
USA Radio Network Helps Sponsor Broadcast of Family Leadership Summit. A live, five-hour broadcast from the Family Leadership Summit on Saturday, July 18 is being made available for free to broadcasters from USA Radio Networks in cooperation with Truth Radio Network. The Ames, Iowa event will originate from Iowa State University and be anchored by nationally syndicated host and political commentator Steve Deace and American values expert Steve Noble. The live broadcast will give voters the opportunity to hear from top conservative leaders and Republican presidential candidates, including: Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, and Bob Vander Plaats. USA Radio Networks SVP of news operations Russ Jones says, “Iowa is a key battleground state for any presidential candidate. The Family Leadership Summit is the first major platform the electorate will get to hear how candidates would lead the nation.”
Art Bell Returns to Airwaves in Portland on Monday. We’ve known for some time now that Art Bell has been preparing to return to hosting a nightly program via his Dark Matter Digital Network, but now Alpha Media announces the originator of “Coast to Coast AM” will bring his new show – “Midnight in the Desert” – to KXL-FM, Portland beginning Monday, July 20. The show will air from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am local time and will follow Clyde Lewis’ “Ground Zero.” Alpha Portland SVP/market manager Milt McConnell comments, “Art is an American original in terms of putting the paranormal on the radio landscape. We are so proud to extend his coverage to the Northwest where there is a rabid appetite for his unique brand of communication.”
2015 Marconi Finalists Announced. The 2015 Marconi Award finalists have been announced by the NAB. The annual awards, to be given out during the NAB Radio Show in Atlanta on October 1, are divvied up into 20 categories. Legendary Station of the Year finalists include: news/talk outlets KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa; WHIO-AM, Dayton; and all-news KYW, Philadelphia. Major Market Personality of the Year finalists include: Felger & Massarotti from sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston and Hal Jay from news/talk WBAP, Dallas. View all the finalists here.
WYM Media to Distribute Malcolm Out Loud Features. Through WYM Media Management, radio news commentator Malcolm Out Loud is expanding his daily radio presence with three new features. “Out Loud News and Comment” is the news of the day with Malcolm’s unique twist; “Out Loud America” is a “relevant and timely commentary from Malcolm”; and “Brink Thinking Out Loud” is “motivational content and inspiring stories and positive events shaping our world.” Malcolm Out Loud is a motivational speaker, innovator and creator of the popular websites OutLoudAmerica.com and BrinkThinking.com.
KCMO, Kansas City Holds Drive to Assist Mother of Six Caught Shoplifting. The case of homeless widow and mother-of-six Sarah Robinson was the focus of attention for Cumulus Media’s Kansas City radio stations, led by news/talk KCMO on Saturday as it held a donation drive Saturday for the family. Robinson was cited for shoplifting at a local Walmart but the officer who responded, Mark Engravalle, decided to pay for the diapers and wipes for her twin two-year-olds and bought shoes for her other girls. After hearing the woman’s story of desperation, the stations planned a two-hour donation drive that netted cash, diapers, baby wipes, clothing, blankets, food, toiletries and other items. KCMO morning host Rob Carson hosted both Robinson and Officer Engravalle on his show on Monday. Officer Engravalle remains touched that he’s changed someone’s life for the better and he is in constant touch with Sarah, who is off the street with her girls in temporary lodging, while something more permanent is being arranged. The generosity continues with a local law firm offering her a job.
Odds & Sods. Texas-based talk show host Lynn Woolley is celebrating the 20th anniversary of his talk show. Woolley says his days as a talk show host go back to 1995 when he and two partners operated KTEM, Kileen-Temple…..The NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and Capitol Broadcasting Company have reached a multi-year agreement for WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” to continue serving as the team’s flagship station through the 2019-20 season.
Cool Job Opportunity. NBC Sports Radio in Culver City, California is looking for the next great sports talk producer! Are you totally immersed in all things sports? Can you oversee and manage a top-notch, daily sports talk show and book compelling guests and newsmakers? Can you handle show/talent/guest prep, organize formats and rundowns, develop content, fact-check and research, and distribute social media and digital content across platforms? Do you have excellent live and studio production skills using multiple software programs, including Adobe Audition and Pro Tools? If you can do all this and have 3-4 year’s major market or network experience, we want to talk to you! Send a link to work materials, including resume and audio samples, to Jack Silver, Program Director, at email@example.com. No calls, please.
WBAP, Dallas’ Bushman Recognized with Regional Murrow Award. WBAP, Dallas-Fort Worth news staffer Eric Bushman was recently honored with Regional Edward R. Murrow Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association for his reporting on the U.S. Ebola outbreak last year. Dallas was “Ground Zero” for Bushman’s story, and he was lead reporter from start to finish. This is the second consecutive year Bushman has been honored with a Murrow Award. Last year, he received one for his comprehensive coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. WBAP, Dallas operations and program manager Tyler Cox comments, “Eric’s work represents the type of reporting that is the signature of the WBAP news staff: comprehensive, in-depth, and sticking with the story from start-to-finish.”
Nicole Sandler Auctioning Cool Radio Memorabilia for Radio Or Not. Progressive talk personality Nicole Sandler is opening up her archives of radio memorabilia for an auction to help support her Radio Or Not digital platform. Sandler says she’s always vowed to not put her content behind a paywall and this auction – which starts tomorrow (7/15) – will help her costs of operation. Sandler is not the only radio pro who’s been collecting cool radio and music artifacts over the years. In fact, TALKERS editors believe one of the interesting, untold stories in the radio biz is just what these personal treasure troves contain. Sandler’s has some pretty fun items that come from her days producing for Jim Kerr at WPLJ, New York and for Mark & Brian at KLOS, Los Angeles. Note the autographed guitar pictured above that’s been signed by Johnny Cash, BB King, Les Paul, James Taylor, Roger Daltrey, Todd Rundgren and others. Then, for political wonks, the Bill and Hillary corkscrew-nutcracker pair pictured here at right make the perfect election year gift! Sandler’s auction site is: radioornot.com/auction.
2016 Presidential Candidates/Scott Walker Joins Race, Mexican Drug Lord Prison Escape, Iran Nuclear Talks, NYC Eric Garner Settlement, Immigration Policy-Sanctuary Cities, Greek Debt Deal, and MLB All-Star Break Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/13). The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s entering the primary race; the escape from prison of Mexico’s most notorious drug lord; the conclusion of negotiations between Iran and the West over its nuclear program; New York City’s settlement with the family of Eric Garner over his death at the hands of an NYC cop; the ongoing controversy over the nation’s illegal immigration policy and the country’s sanctuary cities; the Greek debt solution and the effects on the EU; and the Major League Baseball All-Star festivities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talkers New York 2015 ‘Variety, the Spice of Life’ Video Posted Today. One of the most interesting panel discussions of the Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference (held on June 12) is posted today on Talkers TV. Personably moderated by TALKERS GM/broadcast operations David Bernstein and introduced by syndicated “On Call” host Asa Andrew, MD — the colorful session includes (in alphabetical order): Michael “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, WAQY-FM, Springfield, MA “Rock 102”; Dr. Joy Browne, host, GCN; Tony Bruno, host, WIP, Philadelphia; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Doug Stephan CEO/host, Stephan Multimedia; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore. The main mission of the session is to illustrate that although “talk radio” is usually generalized in the media and the mind of casual observers as being predominantly “right wing political programming hosted by middle aged white males” that – in fact – there is far more of a variety of successful talk shows in the industry than that one stereotype would indicate. Baxendale represents the hundreds of successful “pop culture” programs heard on music-oriented stations; Browne proves that a relationships/psychology show can survive and thrive for years as a varietal component of the traditional news/talk format; Bruno illustrates that even within the world of all sports talk radio, there is room for a show to attain success that doesn’t limit all conversation to sports, per se; Hartmann proves that there is room in the talk radio universe for a progressive take on the issues; Stephan displays the staying power of a morning “generalist” program that combines politics with lifestyle issues within the context of standard news/talk radio; and Larry Young is a primary example of the viability of urban talk within the spectrum of programming needs and opportunities. Andrew opens the session by discussing the major sponsorship opportunities available in the health care field for stations airing a weekend show of that nature within its programming menu. Moderator Bernstein points out that the concept of “variety” also works within the internal structure of a show without being untrue to its mission. To view the video in its entirety, please click here.
Hoge Adds WGNplus.com Sports Editor-In-Chief Duties. Already serving as Tribune talker WGN, Chicago’s “Insider” for the NFL‘s Chicago Bears, Adam Hoge is named sports editor-in-chief for WGNplus.com, where he will oversee expansion of digital content including blogs, podcasts and special streaming events. According to vice president of programming and content Todd Manley, “Getting Adam’s blog in the WGN family was a huge win for us last year. Now, we plan to capitalize on his coaching skills across our digital platforms. With Tribune Media’s launch of Gracenote Sports, WGN has an even greater arsenal of resources.” Hoge comments, “We live in an ‘on-demand’ world and radio is no different. That really is what WGNplus.com is all about. I am looking forward to working with a great lineup of sports personalities to create the type of content our listeners and readers are seeking.” In addition to being the Bears’ “Insider,” Hoge co-hosts WGN’s “The Beat” each Saturday (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) and Sunday (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm). The first WGNplus.com streaming event is a Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup marathon; it starts this Saturday (7/4) at 12:00 noon.
WPTF Taps Lewis as GM. Six-year Cumulus Media Myrtle Beach (South Carolina) market manager David Lewis is named general manager of Curtis Media Group talker WPTF, Raleigh. Curtis Media Group executive vice president Trip Savery remarks, “We are pleased to welcome David to Curtis Media Group. His experiences as an advertising agency principal, publisher, and radio manager will be of great value to our customers. WPTF is one of the most iconic brands in North Carolina; we look forward to evolving the station under David’s leadership.” Lewis comments, “I am excited to join Curtis Media and the WPTF team. I look forward to blending my past experience with the talented group that Don Curtis and Trip Savery already have in place, as we further develop our products and content while providing superior results for our clients.” Lewis – who joins WPTF next Monday (7/6) – was formerly the publisher of Charleston Gourmet Magazine.
Ronn Owens to Undergo Surgical Procedure for Parkinson’s Relief. San Francisco talk legend Ronn Owens announced to his listeners on Monday (6/29) that he will be part of the largest clinical trial of Parkinson’s Disease treatment through deep brain stimulation in the country. It’s being done at UCSF and will take place in August. According to KGO-TV, San Francisco “ABC7,” the KGO-AM talk personality says his symptoms have become obvious over the past year.
Business Rockstars Places Features on Six CBS RADIO Stations. The deal between Business Rockstars and CBS RADIO calls for six radio stations to air the “Business Rockstars Minutes” and for the “Everything Entrepreneur” podcast to be available online via CBS’ Play.it podcast network. The radio feature will be heard on news/talk outlets WPHT, Philadelphia; WCCO, Minneapolis; KMOX, St. Louis; KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh; KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas, and WTIC-AM, Hartford. Business Rockstars Network co-founder and chairman Steve Lehman comments, “With the addition of the new CBS RADIO stations, this brings our Business Rockstars Minutes network above 140 affiliates. The launch of the “Everything Entrepreneur” podcast on Play.it will bring our entertaining and educational entrepreneurial content to a new audience.”
Forbes Releases 2015 ‘World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities’ List; Stern at #5, Limbaugh at #11. The annual “World’s Highest-Paid Celebrities” list for 2015 from Forbes has been released and radio personalities making the list again include SiriusXM’s Howard Stern at #5 with an estimated $95 million in earnings (he also works for NBC TV); Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh at #11 with an estimated $79 million in earnings; Premiere Networks/iHeartMedia personality Ryan Seacrest at #21 with an estimated $60 million in earnings; and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel talk host Sean Hannity at #89 with an estimated $29 million.
Odds & Sods. The Jacksonville Times-Union reports that 25-year WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville program director Mike Dorwart is downsized in what’s being termed at “restructuring” at the news/talk outlet. He tells the paper he was surprised by his firing but has nothing but positive things to say about his quarter century with the Cox Media Group station…..At the Pensacola cluster of Cumulus Media, Terry Michaels is named full-time promotion director for the group that includes news/talk WCOA…..Former Cincinnati Enquirer media writer John Kiesewetter joins Cincinnati Public Radio’s online platform and radio outlet WVXU-FM. Kiesewetter’s media blog Media Beat is now located at wvxu.org. Additionally, Kiesewetter will appear on some of the local programs produced and broadcast on WVXU; WMUB, Oxford, Ohio; and online at wvxu.org, including the daily talk show “Cincinnati Edition” and the weekly arts and culture magazine program “Around Cincinnati.”…..Content creation professionals at Chicago Public Media have reached their first union agreement with management after voting to unionize in December of 2013. The unit includes anchors, hosts, reporters, producers, editors and those who create digital content. The two-year contract includes newly established scale rates for each covered position, annual increases, professional development in job classifications as well as progressive discipline and a grievance and arbitration procedure.
‘Free Talk Live’ Host Ian Freeman Featured in ‘Today’ Piece on Parking Meter Issue. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Ian Freeman – heard on the GCN-distributed “Free Talk Live” with co-host Mark Edge – was featured in a piece on NBC’s “Today” show about his work putting coins in parking meters in Keene, New Hampshire’s public lots in cases where people’s meters are expiring or about to expire. The New Hampshire Supreme Court recently ruled against the City of Keene in its suit to have the self-proclaimed “Robin Hood of Keene” activists’ meter plugging actions declared illegal. In the suit, the City also accused Robin Hood of Keene of harassing the meter maids and the request for a “buffer zone” around the workers was sent back to the lower Court. See the “Today” piece here.
Weekend Revenue Generator. Always on the lookout for creative ways to entertain and add to the bottom line, WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner and air personality Anne Eller poses in the studio during last weekend’s on-air and online auction show called, “Anne’s Trash-to-Treasure Auction.” The vibrant and colorful local station owner tells TALKERS magazine the on-air and Facebook auction created a buzz in the area with people posting bids online. “Calling it was like running a three-ring circus!” The 7:00 am to 9:00 am auction led into Eller’s classic country music show that airs on Saturdays at 12:00 noon. She says they are making the auction show a regular Saturday morning feature.
Consultant Holland Cooke Ties the Knot. Media consultant and TALKERS magazine contributor Holland Cooke (right) is pictured here with his new bride Lori Pollock (left) at his seaside home on Block Island, Rhode Island on Monday, June 29 shortly after the pair “eloped.”
Chris Christie Enters GOP Race/2016 Presidential Prospects, Trump’s Miss America-Miss Universe Troubles, Fourth of July Terror Threats, Greece Debt Issue/EU Tensions, New York Prison Escapee Caught, SCOTUS ObamaCare and Gay Marriage Rulings, Hillary Clinton Emails Investigation, U.S.-Iran Nuke Negotiations, SC Confederate Flag Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). New Jersey Governor Chris Christie enters the Republican primary race; the legal battles between presidential candidate Donald Trump and NBC over the Miss America and Miss Universe pageants; concerns over radical Islamic threats to Americans over the Fourth of July weekend; the Greek debt problem and its effect on the European Union and world financial markets; the aftermath of the capture of New York prison escapee David Sweat; the Supreme Court’s recent rulings on federal subsidies for the Affordable Care Act and gay marriage; the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private emails used for State Department business; and the South Carolina Confederate flag issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Cool Job Opportunity. Baton Rouge, Louisiana news/talk outlet WBRP-FM “Talk 107.3 FM” is seeking a morning show board op/producer. This position requires constant attention to detail in regards to time and content, as well as phones and uploading shows to web. You must be an excellent team player and focused to successfully air a smooth broadcast. This is a live and local show that discusses local events/issues/politics etc. Interest in those things is helpful. Must be willing to work early morning shift (and some weekends); have proven ability to multi-task effectively; experience with DAD Systems preferred but not required; have ability to accept direction and be flexible with changes; ability to find, record, and edit audio/quick learner (will be learning Adobe Audition if unfamiliar); be willing to accept responsibility and work under moderate supervision while resolving varied problems; work effectively in a team environment; project an appropriate professional appearance and demeanor. No phone calls, please. Send resume/aircheck/social media links to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Guaranty Corporation is an Equal Opportunity Employer.