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Friday, January 3, 2014

| January 3, 2014

wlup logoCumulus to Acquire Merlin Media’s Chicago Signals – WKQX and WLUP-FM.  Variations of this deal had been rumored in the Windy City for some time.  Scuttlebutt heard in the late fall also had Tribune interested in WLUP-FM due to WGN president Jimmy de Castro’s earlier comments that his company is looking to acquire an FM signal inwkqx Chicago.  But now it comes to pass that Cumulus Media – for a sum yet-to-be-announced – will bring classic rock WLUP-FM and WKQX (currently adult hits WIQI at 101.1) into the company’s portfolio in addition to the alternative format airing on WKQX-LP.  Speaking about the sale, COO John Dickey states, “These great brands will be welcome additions to the two legendary brands we already own in Chicago.”  Dickey says the alternative format under calls WKQX will return to the 101.1 frequency as early as next week.  The company also has no plans to change the classic rock format on WLUP-FM so it’s unlikely it will put the country NASH format on either station in the near future.  The acquisition of the two FM signals from Emmis by Randy Michaels-led Merlin took place in 2011 and the alternative format of WKQX was displaced by a news and talk format that was to target females.  The format never took off and was flipped to adult hits a little less than a year later in July of 2012.

grantbobnmsExclusive Never-Before Seen Video of Special Tribute to Bob Grant.  In 2008, now-defunct trade publication Radio & Records announced that it was going to present the late Bob Grant with its Lifetime Achievement Award at its then-annual convention.  Shortly after making the announcement, the publication rescinded the award in the face of threatened picketers that protested Grant’s selection based on their opposition to his stated views and controversial reputation.  WABC, then owned by Citadel and Grant’s home base at the time, stepped up to the plate and decided to present Grant with its own Lifetime Achievement Award.  The station, represented by its then-VP of programming, Phil Boyce, asked TALKERS magazine if it would be willing to host the ceremony at its annual conference (then known as the New Media Seminar) in New York City that summer.  TALKERS agreed and the ceremony was conducted (amidst protests) at the event’s Friday night cocktail party.  It featured the presentation of the award by Boyce and a magnificent acceptance speech by Grant in addition to a stunning video tribute to Grant’s career produced by renowned industry videographer and historian Art “Radio’s Best Friend” Vuolo.  After the event, the video was filed away in the TALKERS vaults for posterity and never seen again.  Until now, that is.  Upon the sad occasion of Bob Grant’s passing at the age of 84 this past New Year’s Eve, TALKERS has made the video available for public viewing.  To see this historic document which includes Grant’s discussion of talk radio’s role in a free society, its relationship with the First Amendment and the unconstitutionality of the repressive Fairness Doctrine please see the TalkersTV box at the top of the right hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

gormansteveFox Sports Radio Goes to Gorman for Afternoons.  As far as Fox Sports Radio is concerned, the next wave of sports talk talent may be coming from the world of rock music, as the network fills its weekday 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot with The Black Crowes’ founding member/drummer Steve Gorman.  “Steve Gorman Sports” debuts later this month (1/27) with a series of broadcasts leading up to the Super Bowl.  According to Clear Channel senior vicefoxsportsradio logo president of sports operations Bruce Gilbert, “‘Steve Gorman Sports’ is the perfect combination of sports, passion, pop culture, music and entertainment.  Fox Sports Radio is committed to serving sports fans with unique and entertaining insight, stories, and opinions surrounding the natural drama of sports.  Steve Gorman is an excellent addition to our leading, multi-platform, sports entertainment lineup.”  Gorman comments, “This is an amazing opportunity to be able to work with the one network I always felt was a perfect fit for my show.  I know listeners will love hearing athletes and musicians alike talking, laughing, and arguing about our shared passions: sports and music.”  Gorman has hosted several local sports shows; he began “Steve Gorman Sports” as a podcast in 2010.  With all times listed referring to the Eastern time zone, FSR’s revised lineup consists of: “Fox Sports Daybreak” with Andy Furman & Mike North (6:00 am – 9:00 am); “The Dan Patrick Show” (9:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Jay Mohr Sports” (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); “Steve Gorman Sports” (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm); J.T. “The Brick” with Tomm Looney (6:00 pm – 10:00 pm); “The Jason Smith Show (10:00 pm – 2:00 am); and “The Ben Maller Show” (2:00 am – 6:00 am).

amezcuacarlosCarlos Amezcua PM Drive Host at ‘The Patriot’ in Los Angeles.  The newly transformed conservative talk outlet KEIB, Los Angeles (formerly progressive talker KTLK), now branded “The Patriot AM 1150,” has a new PM drive host as former KTTV-TV, Los Angeles news anchor Carlos Amezcua joins the station.  KEIB’s change includes Premiere Networks nationally syndicated hosts Rush LimbaughSean Hannity and Glenn Beck now airing at the station – Limbaugh slid over from sister news/talk KFI – and also includes The Blaze personality Doc Thompson in early mornings and Westwood One’s Clark Howard in evenings.

mancowGenesis Communications Network and Mancow Partner for Syndication.  Talk radio personality Erich “Mancow” Muller and Genesis Communications Network are partnering to distribute the Chicago-based morning program.  GCN states it is “excited to announce the arrival of the popular Mancow show featuring the notorious Erich ‘Mancow’ Muller and his controversial, snarky, hilarious and hard-hitting brand of talk radio.”

stonedaveLos Angeles Sports Radio Talent Dave Stone Passes. “This is one of the toughest things I’ve ever written.”  With that, iconic Los Angeles sports talk radio/mainstream talk radio programmer and on-air talent Joe McDonnell began his Facebook tribute to longtime Los Angeles sports voice Dave Stone, who passed away earlier this week at age 64.  He’d been diagnosed with ALS.  “I didn’t even know he was sick, which was typical of Dave,” McDonnell states.  “He did not want anyone to fuss over him – even when he was batting a terminal disease.  Dave was my first hire when I was putting together ESPN 710 [KSPN, Los Angeles] in 1999 – 2000.  He put his heart and soul into everything he did there.” Part of that lineup was “McDonnell-Douglas” consisting of McDonnell and veteran Los Angeles sportswriter Doug Krikorian; Stone did sports updates.  “Big Joe” first met Stone in the mid-1970s when they were competing for the job to operate the Dodger Stadium message board. “Dave beat me out, but it became a moment when I met one of the best friends I’ve ever had,” FoxSportsWest.com writer-reporter-columnist McDonnell states.  A notoriously famous Lakers fan, McDonnell nonetheless concedes that Stone might have been just as strong of a partisan of the NBA team.  “We would spend hours talking about [Jerry] West, [Elgin] Baylor, [Wilt] Chamberlain, Darrell Imhoff, and Archie Clark.  If he was a Lakers player, we knew about him.”  Stone was the public address announcer for more than 1,400 Harlem Globetrotter performances and McDonnell writes, “If the phone rang at 3:00 am, it might be Dave calling from Singapore to get the score of the Lakers game.”  In 1991, Stone was working at Huntsville, Alabama’s WVNN-WZYP and he hired a young afternoon drive talent named Sean Hannity. Mike Dunsmore worked with Stone at Fox Sports Radio from 2007 – 2009 and just this past year at NBC Sports Radio, where Stone was an update anchor.  “He had a booming voice, loved the Lakers, and despised [former Lakers player] Kwame Brown,” Dunsmore posts on Facebook. “Dave Stone was a class act.”  Former KLOS, Los Angeles program director Rita Wilde – currently doing evenings at cross-town KSWD “The Sound” – writes, “I had no idea he was sick – he was a great guy.”  McDonnell rhetorically states of Stone, “You have no idea how much I’m going to miss you.”  Services for Stone were held yesterday (Thursday, 1/2) at 2:00 pm in suburban Los Angeles (Simi Valley).

beckatom2012KOIL, Omaha’s Tom Becka Launches Podcast Project.  Talk radio pro Tom Becka – currently hosting afternoon drive at NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha – announces the debut of a weekly podcast project that will be featured at his website tombecka.com.  Becka tells TALKERS, “TomBecka.com is a podcast page where I interview everyday people with a unique story to tell.  Think of it as NPR, but with personality and a pulse.  Some of the interviews that are helping me launch this are a woman who’s a breast cancer survivor, a soldier with PTSD, a drag queen, a woman who accidentally found out her bartender was the child she gave up for adoption 27 years ago, and a couple that practices polyamory.  Every Sunday I will add another podcast and so far I have a rodeo clown, a man with Asperger’s, and a drummer who has spent most of his life working the cruise ships.”  This project allows Becka to step outside of the format of a live, on-air talk radio show but still bring his own personality and style to these interview projects.  He says his ability to negotiate keeping ownership of his digital rights has allowed him to work on these types of initiatives.

schnitttoddOdds & Sods.  There’s been a minor lineup shuffle at Yahoo! Sports Radio where Sean Salisbury moves to the late afternoon “Prime Cut” show alongside current host John Granato.  Leaving that show to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET program is Geoff Ketchum who replaces John Harris…..Compass Media Networks syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt announces changes in his show in a number of markets.  In Schnitt’s home market of Tampa, his program will be delay broadcast on WFLA from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm but will air live on sister station WHNZ from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.   The show will also shift to early evening clearances on affiliates WQSC, Charleston, South Carolina and WTKS, Savannah, Georgia…..“Labor-Lines,” hosted by Vic Fusco, moves from former progressive talker WWRL, New York to its new home at Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” where it airs Saturdays at 1:00 pm.

savagemichaelTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Cumulus Media Networks-syndicated “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage is added to the programming lineup at KROP, Yuma, Arizona; KVPI, Lafayette, Louisiana; and WGSO, New Orleans…..Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt joins the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Rodger Fredinburg’s “Homeland Security” show joins the weekend program lineup at KMED, Medford, Oregon…..The Genesis Communications Network-syndicated Jason Lewis program is added to the program schedule at KNEW, San Francisco…..Also from GCN, the weekly Steve Sanchez program announces its new flagship station KFNX, Phoenix…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge announces new affiliates: WXBR, Brockton, Massachusetts; WQXL-AM/FM, Columbia, South Carolina; KMMS-AM, Bozeman and KPRK-AM, Livingston, Montana; and KMED, Medford, Oregon…..From Salem Radio Network comes the following affiliate additions: Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” is added to KVTA, Oxnard-Ventura; Mike Gallagher becomes part of the lineup at KGED, Fresno; the Dennis Prager show is added to WEZO, Augusta, Georgia; and Michael Medved joins the programming at WKEI, Kewanee, Illinois and WTIM-FM, Taylorville, Illinois.

Holidays and Year-in-Review Top Talk Topics for Week of Dec. 30 – Jan. 3.  The holidays and a look back at 2013 were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 was criticism of the Affordable Care Act.  At #3 was the poor rating of Congress by the public followed by winter weather and discussions of global warming tied at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a list 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.  To view this week’s entire chart, click here.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

| December 10, 2013

macnowglenWIP-FM, Philadelphia’s Glen Macnow on Vacation While Contract Talks Ensue.  There’s a lot of speculation in Philly about what the outcome of contract talks between CBS Radio and afternoon drive co-host Glen Macnow (who works with Anthony Gargano on “SportsRadio 94”).  First, Macnow tells the Philadelphia Daily NewsMolly Eichel that he left in mid show on Monday (during a live remote from Chickie and Pete’s, no less) to allow Anthony Gargano time to segue into the Howie Roseman show.  “I actually wanted to do it as unobtrusively as possible, just to let people know what was going on.  And I certainly didn’t want to not work today after that great Eagles game yesterday.  I live for shows like today.”  So while he and CBS are in contract talks, Kyle Scott of CrossingBroad.com says he hears Macnow will move to a more part-time role with the station and that the station plans to pair Rob Ellis with Gargano for the PM drive show in the New Year.  The station tells the Daily News it is keeping any and all contract negotiations private.

gardneralAl Gardner Returns to Charlotte for Sports Talk Gig.  Longtime WBT, Charlotte morning drive co-host Al Gardner will be back on the air in Charlotte but this time on HRN Broadcasting’s WZVG, Charlotte “730 ESPN Charlotte” beginning December 16 alongside Lanny Ford on “The Bottom Line” show.  The Charlotte Observer’s Mark Washburn reports that Gardner tells him he’s looking forward to being involved with a local broadcasting endeavor.  “They’re going to grow locally.  That’s what I want to be part of.”  Gardner left WBT more than two years ago to join Randy Michaels’ WWIQ, Philadelphia when the former talk station was launched in 2011.

adamsmarkAdams Returns to Clear Channel Portland as VP/Programming.  CBS Radio Houston vice president of music programming Mark Adams leaves to oversee programming operations for Clear Channel‘s eight Portland stations.  For eight years (2000 – 2008), Adams programmed Clear Channel Portland rhythmic CHR KXJM and was operations manager of then (talk) sibling KXL-AM (now Alpha Broadcasting sports outlet KXTG).  Clear Channel Portland market president Robert Dove comments, “Mark has a proven track record and I know he will lead the Clear Channel Portland cluster to even greater ratings success.” Adams adds, “I am looking forward to working with all the incredible brands and teams in the market, and contributing to their future success.  Portland is one of my favorite cities in the country and it’s exciting to have the chance to return to the Pacific Northwest and do some great radio.”  Prior to joining CBS Radio in April 2008, Adams worked in San Francisco, Milwaukee and Fresno.

bowersbethWSB, Atlanta Ups Bowers to General Sales Manager.  With the promotion of Walt Phillips to director of sales for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta operations earlier this fall, the company boosts Beth Bowers from her local sales manager post at news/talk WSB 750 AM and 95.5 FM to general sales manager.  CMG states that “in addition to continuing the proven tradition of success at news/talk WSB, Bowers will partner with the talented team of GSMs at the other stations in the cluster – ‘97.1 The River,’ ‘KISS 104.1’ and ‘B98.5.’  Together, the team will strategically lead CMG Atlanta’s radio sales organization into the future and offer unprecedented opportunities for advertising clients in the Greater Atlanta market.”  Prior to becoming LSM for WSB in January of 2011, Bowers served as director of marketing for CMG Atlanta.  She comments, “I’m honored to be given the opportunity to lead this legendary station, as well as partner with the most talented sales staff in the country.”

pittmanbobCC’s Bob Pittman Explains View of Media Landscape in AdWeek Essay.  Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman pens a brief piece on his philosophy about dealing with the “disruption” that’s taking place in the media business in AdWeek.  In it, Pittman states that he believes a crucial mistake to make is to follow conventional wisdom and allow yourself to be hyped.  In our business, Pittman says that translates into dumping all other media and putting all your eggs into the shiny new basket that is digital.  Pittman advises to be aware of the behavior of the consumer and further asserts his belief that a mix of media is a winning plan for advertisers in this era.  Read the entire piece here.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases Select Data from RADAR 119.  The December 2013 RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) is data culled from the 48 PPM markets Nielsen measures between September 13, 2012 to September 11, 2013 and it concludes that “more than 178 million persons 12 and older, or approximately 68% of this demographic, heard one or more network radio commercials in an average week of the survey period.  Keep in mind that RADAR reports estimated audiences to network commercials broadcast by affiliates of the subscribing networks and doesn’t purport to account for listening to all network radio programming.  The study concludes that in the top 25 DMAs (designated market areas), network radio adlargelogodemonstrates extensive reach including: 70.5% of persons aged 12+ (92,593,000 persons); 73.7% of persons aged 18-49 (50,599,000 persons); and 74.5% of persons aged 25-54 (48,331,000 persons).  Subscribing networks are happy to release their success stories and AdLarge Media reports that its ROI Network debuted in this report and was “#1 with Adults and Women 18-49; and Women 25-54, Monday-Sunday and Monday-Friday, 5A-8P.”  AdLarge co-founder and president Cathy Csukas states, “We promised our advertisers an expansive network and the results of AdLarge’s ROI Network debut delivered.  The robust female showing bolsters our commitment to help advertisers westwoodone logoconnect with this hard-to-reach demographic that has strong purchasing power.”  WestwoodOne issues a statement saying that it is “proud to be a part of RADAR’s expanding networks within the audio landscape.  In addition to proving that radio is alive and well and that its audiences are broadening, today’s RADAR 119, released by Nielsen Audio, showcases more diversity in network offerings.”  WestwoodOne COO Charles Steinhauer adds, “Overall growth is positive for the audio category, and for RADAR.  Generally, the December RADAR is a non-event because many networks re-configure their lineups and publish special tabs at this time of year, WestwoodOne included.  It is exciting to welcome a new company into the RADAR marketplace and to the Network Radio Research Council.  We look forward to more diversity in the promotion of network radio audiences.”

grandephilOdds & Sods.  The nationally syndicated talk show “Phil’s Gang” with host Phil Grande is expanding to two hours on Radio Colorado Network’s KRCN, Longmont, Colorado airing from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Grande describes his show as “thoughtful economy and investing dialogue with news, stock market updates, timely interviews and only Phil tells you what Wall Street doesn’t want you to know.”…..CBS Radio’s sports talker WIP, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94” is gearing up for “the most infamous annual radio event in the world” – WingBowl 22 – to be held at the Wells Fargo Center on January 31, 2013.  The sponsors include Steven Singer Jewelers and SugarHouse Casino.  The station says this year it is offering the most prizes in the history of the event, including the top prize: $22,000 from Steven Singer Jewelers.  For the first time ever, the contest offers two cars – one for the top local eater and one for the top college eater (two 2014 Chrysler 200’s from Barbera’s on the Boulevard), two bikes for Wingettes (two Harley Davidson 883 Sportster Motorcycles from Barb’s Harley Davidson) and other incredible prizes.  And for the first time ever, Wing Bowl will have a college division, with the top collegiate eater winning one of the cars…..Minnesota Public Radio today announced that Jim Dwyer and Jean Taylor have been elected to MPR’s board of trustees.  Dwyer is chairman and CEO of Michael Foods, a diversified processor and distributor of food products and one of the largest privately held companies in Minnesota.  Taylor is president of Life is Now, a strategy and consulting firm that she founded in 2010, and a principal at Middle A Restaurants, a franchise development company.

scba logoRecord Number of SCBA Radio Sales Training Graduates.  The Southern California Broadcasters Association (SCBA) has just presented certification awards to 31 new – or newer – sales professionals, sales assistants and individuals seeking a sales career in Southern California radio.  That is a record number of people successfully completing the training classes, which were conducted from September 23 – December 5.  SCBA President Thom Callahan comments, “The SCBA is firmly committed to helping our members train the next generation of professional radio sales executives.  Each class and professional instructor brought a special focus for our students.”  Included in the 10-week training curriculum were “New Business Development,” “Strategic Selling,” “Building Client Relationships,” “Interactive Selling,” and “Cold Calling Techniques.”  The SCBA Sales Training Classes is a collaboration of the SCBA and the GSM Council of Southern California.

ObamaCare Criticism, Nelson Mandela Retrospective, Iran Negotiations, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9).  The scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; remembrances of the life and times of South Africa’s Nelson Mandela; the instability of negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program and Congress’ plans for renewed sanctions; and the snowy action in the NFL over the weekend were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

| November 7, 2013

sportshh2013TALKERS Publishes Second Annual “Heavy Hundred” of Sports Talk Radio.  The editors of TALKERS magazine, with input from industry leaders, have compiled the second annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America.  The eagerly anticipated list is posted today (11/7).  Like its long-established “sister list” – the long-running (18 years) annual “Heavy Hundred” that ranks talk radio hosts working in the news/talk and general talk genres – the editors of TALKERS magazine have ranked sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from 1 to 100 based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors.  The results are, admittedly, subjective.  Being  true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due.  Those qualities include:  courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness.  The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station at the time of publication.  TALKERS salutes the fine broadcasters who made this year’s second annual list!  To see the entire roster, please click here.

parksdarrylDarryl Parks Exits Clear Channel.  The longtime WLW, Cincinnati steward and architect of so many of the talk shows that aired on the station has been let go by Clear Channel.  Programmer Darryl Parks was PD of WLW from 1999 to 2010 when he was promoted to vice president of news/talk operations for the entire company.  He remained based at the Cincinnati cluster and hosted a Saturday morning talk show on WLW.  The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter broke the news on Wednesday afternoon and in his report calls Parks “arguably the most influential person in Cincinnati radio” during his time as PD of WLW.  As per policy, Clear Channel doesn’t comment on personnel matters but has confirmed that Parks is no longer with the company.  The move is likely a restructuring of management within the company but Parks drew attention to himself last month with a blog post criticizing acting FCC chairwoman Mignon Clyburn’s AM revitalization program and referred to the NAB/RAB Radio Show as a “circle jerk.”

cbsradioCBS Corporation Reveals Q3 Numbers: Radio Up 1%.  For the company as a whole, revenue was up 11% but the radio division’s net revenue rose just 1%.  With so much of CBS’ revenue from television and cable, the company doesn’t spend much time talking about radio.  EVP of investor relations Adam Townsend did single out the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network, saying, “CBS Sports Radio network continues to help drive our results.  Plus, digital revenue was up 19% in the quarter.  And nontraditional revenue, including our growing local events business, was up 9%.”  The company says it expects the radio division to be up in the low single digits in the fourth quarter.

cclogoClear Channel Radio Revenue Up 3%.  CC Media Holdings issued its third quarter 2013 financial results and the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment division’s revenue increased by 3% or $25 million.  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “Strategically and financially, our third quarter results reflect the growing strength of our Media+Entertainment business, while we continue to make meaningful progress in moving Outdoor forward internationally and in the Americas.  At Media+Entertainment, we outperformed the entire radio sector in revenue growth, including in our major markets. Increasingly, our radio business is benefiting from our strategic approach to advertising that sets us apart in the marketplace.”  Among numerous other points made about the division’s recent achievements, the company notes that there are now “39 million iHeartRadio registered users as of September 30, 2013, up 114% from the end of the 2012 third quarter, and crossing the 30 million registered user mark faster than Facebook, Twitter, Spotify or Pandora, and second only to Instagram.  iHeartRadio’s total listening hours were up 30% in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.  Mobile represented 60% of iHeartRadio total listening hours during the quarter.”

katztonyTony Katz to Host Evening Show on WIBC-FM, Indianapolis.  Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and talk show host Tony Katz have agreed to terms for Katz to debut his “Tony Katz Tonight” program on the station airing from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight beginning Monday, November 11.  Katz will be based out of his Tomorrow Media Network studios in Los Angeles.  Katz most recently hosted a weekend program on Emmis-owned KFTK-FM, St. Louis “FM News Talk 97.1” where he also serves as the regular fill-in for the station’s Dana Loesch.  Katz states, “I’m thrilled to be with Emmis, a company that has fought hard to be strong in this ever-shifting radio landscape.  I’ve had a great relationship with the company, with Dana and especially KFTK program director Jeff Allen, who gave me nothing but support, opportunity and encouragement.  To go from there to the capable and fearless hands of WIBC program director David Wood makes me truly believe that this is the start of a long, profitable relationship.”  Katz is a columnist with TownHall and Christian Post and a frequent commentator on “Fox and Friends” and “The Kudlow Report” on CNBC.  He is also a sought after public speaker.

cunninghambillBill Cunningham’s TV Show Renews on The CW.  WLW, Cincinnati talk show host Bill Cunningham can also claim success in his other media endeavor – the Tribune-produced television talk program “The Bill Cunningham Show.”  Now, Cable & Broadcasting reports that the show has been picked up for another season – its third – by The CW Network which airs the show at 3:00 pm ET.  The TV project was one of those that began back when former Clear Channel radio president Randy Michaels was heading up Tribune.  Former Clear Channel programmer Sean Compton is one of the executives whom Michaels brought to Chicago and has risen to president of programming and entertainment for Tribune Broadcasting.  Compton is quoted in the piece saying, “The growth of ‘The Bill Cunningham Show’ over the past three seasons has exceeded all expectations.  When compared to perceptually bigger shows, Cunningham consistently comes out on top.  His demo conversion steadily yields impressive results and we are extremely proud of this show.”

cookehollandA Peek Inside: NAB Futures 2013.  Radio consultant and TALKERS contributor Holland Cooke was recently invited to attend – and deliver a keynote speech! – at the invitation only NAB Futures 2013 that took place in Laguna Beach, California.  Cooke describes it as “a think tank about how broadcasters can embrace and exploit the ‘disruption’ that has changed how consumers consume media.”  He reports back interesting tidbits from such speakers as: James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research and the author of Digital Disruption: Unleashing the Next Wave of Innovation; Scott Burnell, global lead, business development & partner management at Ford Motor Company; Jason Dorsey, “The Gen Y Guy” who wrote Y-Size Your Business: How Gen Y Employees Can Save You Money and Grow Your Business.  Get Holland Cooke’s scoop on the NAB Futures 2013 here.

westwoodone logoWestwoodOne Opens Creative and Production Studio for Radio Marketers.  Saying that it wants to help marketers develop “world-class audio,” WestwoodOne announces the opening of a full-service Creative Services division to be “powered” in part by TM Studios.  The company says it will “provide multi-platform marketing solutions including on-air, digital and experiential components, built upon the company’s core service producing engaging audio experiences that connect people with their passions in life.  The studio is currently preparing to work with marketers to produce audio ads for WestwoodOne’s broadcast of Super Bowl XLVIII.”  WestwoodOne CEO Paul Caine states, “Audio plays a vital role in the new media landscape and WestwoodOne is uniquely positioned to help marketers integrate creative, multiplatform audio advertising into the mix.  Marketers need a reliable partner who understands how, where and when today’s mobile consumers are interacting with audio and the ability to develop audio content that can stand out from the competition.  Be it mobile, terrestrial or digital consumption, the team at WestwoodOne Studio has the talent and expertise to create the most compelling and effective advertising to give our marketers the most exposure.”

valentinephilPhil Valentine Kicks Off ‘Spreading the Truth’ Tour.  Nashville-based syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine is launching what he’s calling the “Spreading the Truth” tour to promote the newly released DVD of his film “An Inconsistent Truth.”  Valentine will be in Pensacola, Florida at the Cordova Mall on Sunday, November 10 in conjunction with his Pensacola affiliate station WCOA.  Valentine reports that the movie – which challenges the notion of runaway, man-made global warming and takes its title from a twist on Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth – “hit the #1 spot on Amazon.com’s documentary list shortly after its release.  It’s the winner of three film festival awards including the Nevada Film Festival.  The film enjoyed a limited run last year in select theaters and was the top-grossing movie per screen in the entire country its first two weeks out.  It’s the 20th top-grossing nature documentary of all time, out-grossing films like “Cool It, Gasland and Fuel.”  Valentine states, “I think the fact that we hit #1 on Amazon so quickly is a testament to the appetite out there for the truth.  People inherently know carbon dioxide is not some kind of poison.  They instinctively know they’re being lied to.  We just arm them with the facts.”  The Spreading the Truth tour kicks off in Pensacola then moves to Nashville.  Other tour dates are being added.

morelandkeithOdds & Sods.  Chicago Cubs radio color analyst Keith Moreland is stepping down from his role.  WGN, Chicago announces the former Cub has made the decision to leave the broadcast booth to spend more time with his family.  In a note to the WGN staff, Moreland stated, “I would like to thank the fans, the folks at WGN Radio, my colleagues in the booth, the Ricketts family, and the Cubs for this great opportunity.  After spending three years doing it, I’ve simply decided that I want to spend more time at home in Texas.”  Moreland became a permanent fixture with play-by-play broadcaster Pat Hughes in February of 2011…..Entercom’s WEEI-FM, Boston announces the return of its off-season baseball show “Red Sox Hot Stove,” a weekly, one-hour program hosted by WEEI.com editor Rob Bradford and Red Sox reporter Alex Speier that will air every Thursday night from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm through February.  The program will focus on all off-season moves made by the Red Sox and in Major League Baseball, including free agency and trades, the GM and owners’ meetings and the league’s annual Winter Meetings, taking place this year from December 9-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, FL.  Bradford and Speier will be joined on a recurring basis by Red Sox manager John Farrell, general manager Ben Cherington and assistant general manager Mike Hazen.  In addition, listeners will regularly hear from other managers, general managers, agents and players from around baseball.

zimneymissindy‘There She/He Is, Miss Indiana…’  Okay, so that’s not exactly how the song goes.  Nonetheless, the attractive woman you see here is Mekayla Diehl (right) who was crowned Miss Indiana USA 2014 this past Sunday.  The handsome lad seated and wearing the tiara is Federated Media news and programming guru Jon Zimney of ‘95.3 FM MNC’ (Michiana News Channel) in South Bend, Indiana, and WOWO-AM/FM in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  Miss Diehl visited the broadcasting facility to talk about her being crowned to represent the state of Indiana.

ObamaCare Criticism, Election Day Results, Benghazi Case, GOP 2014 and 2016 Strategies, Iran Nukes, Miami Dolphins ‘Bullying’ Story and Tony Dorsett Health Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/6).  The ongoing scrutiny of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Tuesday’s election results; renewed criticism of the handling of the deadly Benghazi attacks; Republican prospects and strategies for the mid-term elections in 2014 and the presidential election in 2016; Iran’s nuclear weapons program; controversy over the suspension of Miami Dolphins player Richie Incognito; and former NFL great Tony Dorsett’s admission he suffers from possible effects of football injuries were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

| October 10, 2013

TalkersLA2013Talkers Los Angeles 2013 Takes Place Today.  More than 250 broadcasters from the talk media industries will be gathering in Hollywood, California today to hear more than 57 speakers analyze the key issues facing talk radio and talk internet at Talkers Los Angeles 2013.  Among them, Alpha Broadcasting and L&L Broadcasting CEO Larry Wilson, who will deliver the keynote address, “Radio at the Crossroads,” and Courtside Entertainment, LLC CEO Norm Pattiz and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who will engage in a keynote conversation, “Okay…Now What?” at the sold-out event.  Talkers Los Angeles 2013 — a presentation of TALKERS magazine in association with the Los Angeles Press Club — takes place today between 9:00 am and 6:15 pm at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, California.  Full coverage of the conference will be provided at Talkers.com in the coming days and weeks.  To see the up-to-date, power-packed agenda, please click here.

podcastone logoPodcastOne Signs Kathie Lee Gifford to Deal for One-Hour Program.  Bringing marquee talent to the podcast genre is what Courtside Entertainment Group CEO Norm Pattiz promised when he debutedgiffordkathielee PodcastOne.  Now, the company signs “Today” co-anchor Kathie Lee Gifford to host a one-hour podcast on the platform.  When the show debuts on October 23, Gifford will host with her former “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” partner Regis Philbin.  Gifford says, “I’m so looking forward to this new podcast adventure.  I feel like I’m in an episode of the Jetsons, soaring into unknown territory on my podcast.  It will be the first time for me in a 45-year career where I’ve been able to completely control the content.  And best of all?  I won’t need my hair or makeup done and there’s no need for Spanx!”  Pattiz adds, “What can I possibly say about Kathie Lee Gifford that hasn’t already been said?  How about this – bringing Kathie Lee to on-demand audio via PodcastOne is a very big deal.  We’re doing business with the best of the best, and that list just got better.”  Other PodcastOne personalities and brands include Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Steve Austin, Dennis Miller, Ron Paul, Jay Mohr, Jillian Michaels, NPR New York, NPR Los Angeles, and “60 Minutes.”

loeschdanaKFTK, St. Louis Personality Dana Loesch Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  St. Louis-based talk radio personality and writer Dana Loesch has subbed for Glenn Beck in addition to her full-time work on Emmis’ KFTK, St. Louis and WIBC, Indianapolis.  Now, she’ll serve as a contributor and host for TheBlaze.  In addition to continuing to fill in for Beck, what audio or video contributions Loesch will make remains unclear at this time.  Loesch says, “I’m excited to join TheBlaze team.  I love the fight in this group and their dedication to creating the best content available on multiple platforms.  They’ve been at the forefront of new wave media…I can’t wait to get started.”  Glenn Beck said of her on his TV program, “We are thrilled to have her.  She is one of the people that is on the front lines fighting the good fight.  We have wanted to have her as a part of TheBlaze for a very, very long time.”  Loesch founded the St.Louis-area Tea Party and previously worked as an editor at Breitbart.

mcconnellmikeMike McConnell Exits Tribune’s WGN, Chicago.  Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that talk radio personality Mike McConnell – off the AM 720 signal at Tribune’s WGN since early October and relegated to airing a show on wgnradio.com – is leaving the company.  McConnell came to WGN from Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati where he worked with former Tribune CEO Randy Michaels when Michaels was running WLW and later serving as president of Clear Channel Radio.  When Jimmy de Castro took over the reins of WGN earlier this year, it was suspected that the on-air lineup might change dramatically and that’s what’s happened.  Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder were brought in for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon shift and Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano took over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show.  Feder reports that sources say McConnell and Tribune have a tentative settlement on the remaining two years of his reported $500,000 annual salary but there’s no official word from Tribune at this time.

dennisshaneKFH, Wichita Brings Shane Dennis Aboard for PM Drive.  Entercom sports talk radio outlet KFH-AM/FM, Wichita the addition of a new live and local sports talk show hosted by Shane Dennis beginning October 21. Dennis comes to the station with a sports pedigree.  He was director of baseball operations for 13 years at Wichita State.  During that time, he worked with Mike Kennedy as color analyst for WSU baseball games.  He pitched for the WSU Shockers from 1991–1994 and earned All-American honors in 1994.  Program director Tony Duesing says, “We’re excited about adding Shane to our powerful sports lineup on KFH.  Shane is a big sports radio fan and he is a great personality who will only make people want to tune in.”

kcoh logoFormer KCOH, Houston Talk Radio Personality Files Civil Suit Against Station President.  Recently, TALKERS reported the case of Houston urban talk radio personality Michael Harris quitting his position at KCOH after alleging station president (and local minister) Jesse Dunn was misusing station funds.  Now, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle, Harris is filing a civil suit against Dunn and the South Houston Community Development Corporation.  The paper reports that in the suit, Harris says Dunn made false representations to induce him to secure two personal lines of credit totaling $130,000 for station financing and back a $38,000 loan for equipment.  Harris also alleges that Dunn was able to acquire a debit card to use on one of the lines of credit and that Dunn has been using those funds for personal expenses including trips to Las Vegas and Louisiana.  Harris’ attorney says no contract exists between the two men and states, point blank, that his client “got hustled.”  Dunn had previously said whatever money he used was his and is currently running recorded announcements on the station assuring listeners that the station’s finances are strong and that claims to the contrary are misrepresentations.

iab logoInternet Advertising Bureau: Digital Ad Revenue Hits $20.1 Billion in First Half of 2013.  According to the Internet Advertising Bureau, that total for the first half of 2013 marks an increase of 18% over the 2012 first-half-year total.  Some other highlights from the organization’s report include:  Report highlights include:  Mobile revenues soared to $3 billion in the first half of 2013, representing triple-digit growth at 145% from $1.2 billion in the same period last year; Digital video, a component of display-related advertising, took in $1.3 billion in revenue during the first six months of 2013, an uptick of 24% over the first half of 2012 at $1.1 billion; Search revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $8.7 billion, up 7% from $8.1 billion in the first half of 2012; Display-related advertising revenues in the first half of 2013 totaled $6.1 billion, accounting for 30% of revenues in the time period, up 9% from $5.6 billion in the first half of 2012; and the top three advertising verticals accounted for 46% of advertising revenue, including Retail at 20%, Financial Services at 14% and Automotive at 12%.  IAB president and CEO Randall Rothenberg states, “Digital has steadily increased its ability to captivate consumers and then capture the marketing dollars that follow.  Mobile advertising’s breakneck growth is evidence that marketers are recognizing the tremendous power of smaller screens.  Digital video is also on a positive trajectory, delivering avid viewership and strong brand-building opportunities.”

J.D. Hayworth in for Huckabee.  Former U.S. Congressman J.D. Hayworth (and former KFYI, Phoenix talk host) sits in for Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk personality Mike Huckabee on Friday, October 11 from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.

Debt Limit/Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Implementation, Obama Approval Ratings, Financial Markets Activity, and Baseball Playoff Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9).  The struggle in Washington to come to agreement on a debt limit and to undo the government shutdown; the failure of the Obama Administration’s Affordable Care Act website; the sinking approval ratings for President Obama; the response to the government shutdown by the world’s financial markets; and the MLB playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

| August 21, 2013

wgnlogoBig Changes Coming to WGN, Chicago; Cochran to AM Drive and an FM Signal in Tribune’s Future.  The Chicago Tribune lays out some of the changes that will take place at Tribune Company’s legendary radio property on September 3.  With the hiring of radio executive and former WLUP-FM chief Jimmy de Castro in the spring of this year, cochransteveindustry watchers knew changes were afoot.  De Castro wasn’t hired to run things as they were.  And now we know some of the ideas de Castro has been considering over the summer.  Former midday host Mike McConnell – a WLW, Cincinnati alum brought in by former bosses Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny – has already moved to the company’s online decastrojimmyeffort WGN-2.  Now, Tribune reveals that air personality Steve Cochran – ousted from the station in 2010 – will return to host AM drive.  Current AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier will move to a digital property dubbed wgnfm.com until the company can acquire an FM signal on which to build a new station.  The paper reports that husband-and-wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano will likely host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and overnight host Bill Leff will be partnered with a player-to-be-named-later for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  Garrybrandmeierjonathon Meier remains in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot but is expected to take on a name partner soon.  Another return of talent from the pre-Randy Michaels days are Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (former midday “Girlfriends”) who will do a weekend program on WGN.  The AM radio property will also build using blocks from its WGN-TV sibling, starting with the branding slogan “Chicago’s Very Own.”  De Castro says the station will use WGN-TV personalities more often, including Dean Richards and Tom Skilling.  As for the future FM property that will start as a digital station, de Castro says, “We’re going to create it as a radio laboratory.  We’re going to build it up until we get an FM and then we’re going to put them all on a talk FM.”  The story notes that any purchase of an FM will come after the company sheds its newspaper division.  That may happen in 2014 if a buyer (or buyers) can be found.

trn logoJim Watkins Returns to Talk Radio Network.  Radio pro Jim Watkins served with Talk Radio Network for 13 years as director of affiliate relations and executive producer for the syndication company.  Now, TRN Syndications, Ltd. announces it is engaging Watkins “to spearhead several new projects within TRN and to assist in the growth of the existing affiliate base of the multiple TRN networks and many radio stars that TRN watkinsjimsyndicates.”  The company states Watkins will oversee new business development and growth-strategy projects for the TRN Networks that distributes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, Erich “Mancow” Muller, Monica Crowley, “America’s Morning News,” Michio Kaku, Louie Anderson, Roy Masters and America’s Radio News Network, and a complete weekend lineup of a variety of talk programming.  CEO Mark Masters says he’s thrilled to have Watkins leading his affiliate department at this most crucial time.  “Jim is deeply entrenched in talk radio and has developed alliances with key programmers across the country.  As the country ramps up into the mid-term elections, talk radio has never been more vital to facilitating the national debate.  Jim really understands the vitality of talk radio better than most people in the industry today.”  Watkins previously programmed news/talk stations for Clear Channel, as well as South-Florida based Meridian Broadcasting, and also served as producer for some of the top air talent in the country, including Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Barry Farber, and others.  He adds, “Talk radio reaches the most affluent and loyal audience of any format, and it does so by allowing for a free exchange of ideas which can and does influence public policy in a big way.  To have one of the best rosters of talent to be found anywhere gives me a great sense of pride.”

hartmannNationally Syndicated Host Thom Hartmann Debuts Daily Caller Column.  Liberal talk media star Thom Hartmann begins writing a weekly column for the conservative digital publication Daily Caller in which he addresses an issue from his own perspective followed by a conservative or libertarian rebuttal.  In his first column – dubbed “Liberally Yours” – Hartmann asks the question: Should the Post Office be in charge of your e-mails?  You can read the piece here.  Hartmann – whose radio program is syndicated by WYD Media Management – was recently honored by TALKERS magazine ranked at #7 on the Frontier Fifty 2013 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters (see that entire feature here).  In addition to his AM/FM radio program, Hartmann’s digital efforts have earned him recognition by TALKERS for his forward-thinking business model that pushes his content into exciting new areas.

beasleyScott Webb Joins Beasley South Florida as Production Director.  Beasley Broadcast Miami announces the appointment of Scott Webb as production director for its three-station cluster that includes hip hop WPOW “Power 96,” country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country” and sports talk WQAM “560 Sports Radio.”  In this new post, Webb will be responsible for overseeing the voicing and production of commercials for the stations.  Webb owns Scott Webb Radio Imaging based previously in Washington/Baltimore that he founded in 2001.  Prior to launching his own firm, he was creative services director and morning co-host at WJMO, Washington, D.C.  He has also served as creative services director at WHUR, Washington, WMMJ, Washington and KRBV, Dallas.  WKIS operations manager Ken Boesen states, “Scott brings exceedingly strong production skills, top-quality voiceover abilities and a fun work ethic to Beasley Miami.  He’ll be a great addition to the team and will help make our production department the strongest in South Florida.”

celtics logoBoston Celtics and WEEI/WRKO Part Company; Will CBS Radio Swoop In?  The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom and the NBA’s Boston Celtics have ended negotiations to continue airing games on sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO this season after being unable to come to terms.  Now the question is will CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” be able to secure the play-by-play rights?  In the ongoing and bloody battle between the two sports talk stations, a snare of Celtics hoops would give WBZ-FM three of the four major sports in town:  Patriots football, Bruins hockey and Celtics basketball – leaving WEEI-FM with Red Sox baseball (no small potatoes, obviously).  As Finn notes in his piece, CBS Radio owns enough stations in the market to cover any conflicts between the several teams’ games.  Finn writes that Entercom and the Celtics had a revenue-sharing agreement under the old deal but it’s unknown if there was also a rights fee.  Historically, CBS Radio has been willing to pay big dollars for play-by-play rights if it believes it can justify the expense down the road.

wknrlogoGood Karma Lets Three Go at WKNR, Cleveland.  In a report on Cleveland.com, Good Karma trims its staff by three as sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” says goodbye to sports talk host Kenny Roda, Browns beat reporter Will Burge and Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe.  Burge tells the news outlet that although he was a little surprised by the changes, he says, “I guess you can never be too surprised in this business when they say they want to meet with you about some big-picture changes.”  Roda Tweeted to fans, “Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey. I enjoyed sharing it with you all.”

versnickartArt Versnick Named GM at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Resort Broadcasting news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” announces Art Versnick joins the station to serve as general manager.  In making the announcement, company president David Schoumacher states, “Art is a seasoned broadcast professional who brings great knowledge to our very important heritage radio station.  It was imperative to secure the future of this franchise with a pro, and we’ve done that by bringing his talent to work with our staff.”  Versnick comments, “I’m thrilled to be joining this heritage station – with its local air staff – almost unheard of today in news/talk radio.  The dedication of this staff and ownership to provide Sussex County with quality and local programming will continue and move to the next level in providing listeners and advertisers a local forum.”

wtmjweloveJournal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Begins Sponsored Live Broadcast Series.  Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee announces the debut of the “We Love Wisconsin Tour” that will see the morning show broadcast live from sites across the state.  Sponsored by All American Window & Door, the first live broadcast event will be Friday, August 23, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend where “Wisconsin’s Morning Newslangmyertom with Gene Mueller” will broadcast from 5:00 am to 8:30 am.  The tour will continue in Wauwatosa in September, Madison in October and Green Bay in November.  Journal Broadcast Group vice president of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer says, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ is excited to celebrate individual communities that make our region so special as a whole. Gene Mueller and his team will explore the history of each town, introduce listeners to special people and discover fun things to do along the way.  We’re pleased to partner with All American Window & Door on this adventure.”  During the live broadcast event, Terri Lodwick, owner of All American Window & Door, will present a $1,000 donation to a local charity.

Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio Washington D.C. properties WTOP and Federal News Radio are honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility for the use of flexibility and other aspects of workplace effectiveness as a workplace strategy to increase business and employee success…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” agrees to a deal through Learfield Sports to carry University of Illinois football play-by-play for this season…..NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath guests on Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan” this week.  Morgan’s program is heard on some 80 affiliates across the country.  Namath’s podcast, produced by Sports USA, debuts next week…..Indiana Radio Watch tips TALKERS that Zach Bonahoom exits Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne where he hosted a Saturday talk show.

NSA Surveillance Program/UK Threatens Guardian, Egypt Violence, ObamaCare Implementation, OK Ballplayer Slaying, and Clinton Foundation Expenses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20).  The scope of the NSA surveillance program and the UK’s threats against the Guardian paper; continuing violence in Egypt and the U.S.’s relationship with its government; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the killing of an Australian baseball player by teens in Oklahoma; and the report of the Clinton Foundation’s travel expenses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.