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Monday, July 12, 2021

| July 12, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “What Radio Must Do to Survive and Thrive.” The eighth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the panel discussion, “What Radio Must Do to Survive and Thrive.” Moderated by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, introduced by Dr. Ira Nash, senior VP/executive director, Northwell Heath Physician Partners, and sponsored by The Ramsey Show, the panel featured (in alphabetical order): Bruce Avery, GM, WRHU Radio, Hofstra UniversityVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupGary Krantz, CEO, Krantz Media Group;  Chris Oliviero, senior VP/market manager, Audacy, New York; Walter Sterling, talk show host, Sterling on Sunday; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks.  TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Monday Memo: But what IF…? Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “there’s too much argument and too little assessment for political talk radio to remain habit-forming.” He says that as radio programmers and performers we have a specific goal: to repeat occasions-of-listening, same-time-tomorrow (what the ratings people call “horizontal recycling”). If today sounds like yesterday, would they feel they’re missing something by not coming back tomorrow. Calling it “a grim Groundhog Day,” his column this week suggests a simple pivot. You can read it here.

Pending Business: Old Habits. Sales pro Steve Lapa asks if your sales department’s old habits are preventing it from working efficiently? “My marketing work requires working with sellers and managers in 50 to 60 markets annually. No matter what market size, when a proposed schedule is finally delivered, nine out of 10 times we see CPP presented, not CPM as specifically outlined, requested, maybe ignored. Too much work to change that overused template? The selling and buying dialogue is brought to a cold standstill as we correct schedule parameters two, maybe three times before a submission is possible. Momentum swings from positive to frustrated, because that’s the way we’ve always submitted: CPP not CPM. What you’re transmitting to the advertiser is, ‘I’m not listening, and my habits are in control.’” Read more here.

Radio Hall of Fame 2021 Nominees Announced. The nominees for the Radio Hall of Fame class of 2021 have been announced. Twenty-four people and shows in six categories have been selected by the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee, with input from the radio industry and listeners. A panel of 600 industry professionals will begin voting today in four of six categories – Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more), Active Local/Regional (10 years or more), Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more), and Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more). On July 26, listeners nationwide will vote on the other two categories, Music Format On-Air Personality and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. The winners in those categories will be determined by the public and the Radio Hall of Fame Nominating Committee. The outcome of the listener vote will count as one vote among the committee votes. Listeners may vote once beginning Monday, July 26 at: www.radiovote.com. 2021 Radio Hall of Fame inductees will be announced Monday, August 16, and honored in-person at the 2021 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Thursday, October 28, 2021, at Chicago’s Wintrust Grand Banking Hall. The nominees are:

Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)

John & Ken – KFI-AM, Los Angeles

Melvin Lindsey -Washington “The Quiet Storm”

Matt Siegel – WXKS-FM, Boston

Brother Wease – WAIO-FM, Rochester

Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)

Laurie De Young – WPOC-FM, Baltimore

Mercedes Martinez – KMXB-FM, Las Vegas

Elliot Segal – WWDC-FM, Washington

Bob Stroud – WDRV-FM, Chicago

Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)

Dr. Bobby Jones – “The Bobby Jones Radio Show”

Dan Patrick – “The Dan Patrick Show”

“Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” – NPR

Suzyn Waldman – New York Yankees Network

Active Network/Syndication (10 years or more)

Bob & Sheri – “The Bob & Sheri Show”

Kim Komando – “The Kim Komando Show”

Sid Mark – “Sounds of Sinatra”

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo – SiriusXM

Music Format On-Air Personality

Russ Parr – “The Russ Parr Show”

Javier Romero – WAMR-FM, Miami

Alex Sensation – Spanish Broadcasting System

Steven Van Zandt – “Little Steven’s Underground Garage”

Spoken Word On-Air Personality

Alex Bennett

Larry Elder – “The Larry Elder Show,” Salem Radio Network

Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison – WMMR, Philadelphia

Sally Jessy Raphael

TALKERS News Notes. Longtime “Better Lawns & Gardens” host Tom MacCubbin is retiring from the Florida radio show at the end of this month after 33 years. The show that he hosts along with his wife Joan is heard on more than 20 affiliates, including: WFLF-AM, Orlando, WSKY-FM, Gainesville, WNDB-AM/FM, Daytona Beach, WHNZ-AM, Tampa. The new host of the program will be Teresa Watkins, a veteran gardening show radio broadcaster, horticulturist, and UF/IFAS Master Gardener for more than two decades. Jim Poling is director of operations for Florida News Network and he says, “‘Better Lawns & Gardens’ is a heritage name in Florida gardening and the show will continue with Teresa at the helm. The show name will continue and the basic premise of serving Florida gardeners will continue but that’s where the similarity will end. It will be Teresa’s show. We hate to lose a legend like Tom MacCubbin, but with Teresa, the program won’t miss a beat.”…..Beasley Media Group has expanded the signals for its sports talk “ESPN Southwest Florida” emanating from WBCN-AM, Fort Myers. The station is now also heard on WRXK-HD2 (96.1 FM), as well as translators W282BY at 104.3 FM and W251AL at 98.1 FM…..The Society of Broadcast Engineers announces the results of its sixth annual compensation survey to determine salary levels and benefits among broadcast and media technology engineers. The SBE says the survey provides a wealth of useful information, and it adds to the baseline being developed for subsequent surveys to establish compensation trends. SBE president Wayne Pecena says, “The SBE Compensation Survey garners interest from SBE members and non-members. We provide this information as a service not only to our members, but the industry. We appreciate the support of those who participated in providing data.” The complete results of the survey are available at no charge to SBE members as a benefit of membership. The survey is available here…..Pictured below is Salem Radio NewsLori Tradup interviewing U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) at the CPAC 2021 conference in Dallas this weekend. Gaetz called Donald Trump “our best candidate for president in 2024. I do not believe there’s even a close second.” Other talk radio show hosts addressing the attendees at the three-day conference included: Todd Starnes, Jason Rantz, and Glenn Beck.

COVID-19 Hot Spots, Extreme Heat and Wildfires in the Western U.S., Trump CPAC Speech, Inflation, the Economy and Employee Shortages, Branson Goes into Space, Cuban Protests, and South China Sea Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Rising rates of COVID-19 cases in hot spots in Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Nevada; the extreme heat affecting much of the Western U.S. and the outbreak of wildfires; former President Donald Trump’s Sunday speech at CPAC in which he reiterated his claims of a stolen election; inflation’s effect on consumer prices; the soaring U.S. economy and employers’ difficulties hiring enough staff; billionaire Richard Branson makes history as first private individual to launch a space vehicle; the protests in Cuba over the communist country’s shortage of food; and U.S.-China tensions over China’s domination of the South China Sea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research fromTALKERS magazine.

Friday, June 19, 2020

| June 19, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted.  The new episode titled “Plots and Subplots!” looks back at this past week of June 15-19, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMichael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; David Horowitz, commentator/author; Sean Spicer, talk show host, Newsmax TVMartha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Bill Brady, talk show host/owner, KFNX, Phoenix; and Heidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode,  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Terry Foxx Moves from Atlanta’s ‘The Game’ to Charlotte’s WFNZ. Sports talk programming pro Terry Foxx is named brand manager for Entercom’s WFNZ-AM/W273DA, Charlotte. He’s been brand manager for the company’s WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game” since the station launched. Prior to that, he helped launch and programmed Entercom’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 The Fan.” Entercom Charlotte SVP and market manager Matt Hanlon says, “Terry brings a wealth of experience architecting leading sports radio brands and will help usher in a new era of growth for WFNZ. The station serves as an extremely important sports and lifestyle brand for the people of Charlotte, who rely on us to be informative, timely, relevant and entertaining. Terry’s leadership will be instrumental and we’re looking forward to adding him to the team.” Foxx adds, “I’m very excited to join Entercom Charlotte and the great team at WFNZ. Charlotte is a great city full of passionate sports fans and I look forward to enhancing their sports radio home with unparalleled content and in-depth discussion. I want to thank Matt for this incredible opportunity, along with [regional president] Doug Abernethy.”

Salem Radio News to Provide Complete Coverage of Trump Tulsa Rally. When President Trump’s campaign rally gets underway at Tulsa’s BOK Center tomorrow, Salem Radio News and TOWNHALL News will be there providing comprehensive coverage. SRN says White House correspondent Greg Clugston will travel aboard Air Force 1 and will provide “advancers” beginning early Saturday and will file reports from the BOK Center during and following the rally. SRN will provide live, unanchored audio from the event on Saturday evening on both the SRN News “longform” channel and via its SRN Westwood One XDS channel.

Townsquare Media Files 10-Q Form with First Quarter Financial Data. A week ago, Townsquare Media Inc provided preliminary first quarter 2020 financial data and said it would officially file its 10-Q Form with the Securities Exchange Commission “on or before June 25.” Today, the company delivers that report. Net revenue for the first quarter was basically flat at $93.4 million compared to Q1 2019’s net revenue of $93.7 million. However, in the first quarter of 2019, the company posted operating income of $11.9 million and this year ended up posting an operating loss of $72.1 million. In the first quarter of 2019, Townsquare reported a net loss of $4.6 million compared to the net loss of $59.6 million for the first quarter of 2020.

TALKERS News Notes. The board of director of Saga Communications, Inc announces that the company is temporarily suspending the quarterly cash dividend in response to the continued economic uncertainty of the impact of COVID-19.  It says, “Additional actions being taken to conserve the company’s cash position include reducing planned capital spending and seeking discounts from vendors.” It adds, “By preserving the company’s cash position, the company believes market conditions may present attractive acquisition opportunities. The company will consider the resumption of quarterly cash dividends in the near future as economic conditions permit.”…..Tulsa sports talk outlet KRXO-AM/K300CY “The Franchise” is no more as Tyler Media flips the duo to a Spanish music format according to a reports from the Tulsa World…..The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” announces the addition of more affiliate stations as WMKT-AM, Elk Rapids, Michigan and WATT-AM, Cadillac, Michigan add the program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart…..Today (6/19), ESPN Radio and The Undefeated – ESPN’s multiplatform content initiative exploring the intersections of sports, race and culture – presents the debut of “The Intersection” at 8:00 pm ET on ESPN Radio. ESPN says the two-hour, weekly show “will feature in-depth discussions that will continue the conversation around the impact of social justice on sports and society.” Following its premiere episode on Friday in recognition of Juneteenth, the show will move to its regular time slot, Thursdays at 8:00 pm ET.  The program is hosted by “SportsCenter” anchor Elle Duncan and The Undefeated columnist, commentator, and host Clinton Yates. The duo will regularly be joined by other commentators from across the network.

John Bolton’s Book, Trump’s Tulsa Rally, and the Presidential Race Top News/Talk Stories for Week of June 15-19. The controversy over former Trump national security adviser John Bolton’s The Room Where It Happened book, President Trump’s planned Tulsa rally, and the presidential race tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Black Lives Matter movement and protests and the police killing of Rayshard Brooks. Coming in at #3 was the COVID-19 pandemic, the health care system, and virus statistics & projections, followed by the reopening of America and the economy at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes widely acclaimed New York Times best-selling conservative author David Horowitz available to discuss his new book BLITZ: Trump Will Smash the Left and WIN (Humanix Books, 2020) and The Epoch Times leading edge investigative reporter on Communist China, Joshua Philipp. There are also guest commentators on post-Michael Vick dogfighting, as well as the process of opportunistic media manipulation – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

 

 

News Anchor. With the retirement of a 35-year morning drive veteran, Chicago’s top-rated station, WBBM Newsradio, has a rare opportunity for a talented news anchor. Solid skills as a journalist are a must, including writing and reporting, along with strong on-air delivery and ability to handle high-pressure, breaking news situations with ease and grace. Requirements and expectations along with an online application can be found here. Entercom is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.

PR Gigs. In response to the recent layoffs of approximately 300 public relations pros by the giant PR firm Edelman due to the COVID-19 crisis, Jerry McGlothlin, president of talk media-oriented PR company Special Guests, tells TALKERS he is interested in talking to ex-Edelman employees about contracting with his Hickory, NC-based firm stating, “One man’s floor is another man’s ceiling, and if Edelman is laying off productive, experienced PR pros, Special Guests is interested in providing them with an income in their new agency home. Our generous straight commission offer gives publicity professionals exiting Edelman the opportunity to earn more commission money from Special Guests than from than their former paycheck.” Any PR professional from Edelman is welcome to apply by emailing McGlothlin directly at jerry@specialguests.com.

PPM Analysis: Urban AC. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on urban AC. In this report you can see comparisons of station performances (weekly, 6+ AQH share) based on April 2020 survey to May 2020 survey data, May 2019 to May 2020 data, how urban AC stations ranked during the May survey and more. See it all here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former adult contemporary WSHE morning hose and producer Robb Rose is joining Townsquare Media’s Midland-Odessa, Texas cluster as director of content and operations manager for the five-station cluster. Rose exited the Hubbard Radio Chicago station back in May. At Townsquare, Rose will also program and serve as morning host for country KNFM-FM “Lone Star 92.”…..The Westwood One-syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” says it is not letting restrictions brought on by COVID-19 curtail its full production. Yesterday (6/18), the show’s “The BOB & TOM Show House Band” featuring Duke Tumatoe & The Power Trio, became the “The BOB & TOM Show Out-House Band” when the band’s staging was moved from the Performance Studio at iHeartMedia Indianapolis to the show’s parking lot. As you can see in the photo below, “outhouse” band was set up near the show’s dumpster and a portable toilet.

Monday, February 25, 2013

| February 25, 2013

nms2013logoMike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013.  The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important francesamikeannual convention.  Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.”  He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world.  Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects.  He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon.  One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe.  Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things?  We are delighted!”  More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference.  The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person.  An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations.  Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Complete agenda details are being posted daily.  Stay tuned.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit.  The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem).  The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to awardbubba Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli.  Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial:  Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it).  That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit.  How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees.  Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network.  Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families.  Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe.  The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming.  From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future.  Politics is important – but so is the culture around us.  As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes.  Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”

constantinilynneVeteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development.  In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives.  She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant.  Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze.  TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web.  I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”

cookehollandListeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked.  That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question:  “RU@Speed-of-Life?’  In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo.  For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends.  He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner.  Never stop the action through over-explanation.  Don’t miss this timely and informative piece.  Read it here.

baileyralphTalk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday.  After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN.  Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!!  I signed a contract today to join American General Media.  I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4.  I could not be happier!  I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch!  I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder.  It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”

californian logoKERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor.  Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian.  The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built.  While KERN will coxscottprovide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments.  Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers.  That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.”  The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website.  Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news.  The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year.  So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving.  Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”

millerchrisNot All That Glitters is Gold.  According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.”  He advises, “The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning.  In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!”  Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.

benandskinESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin.  Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station.  They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal.  We’re parting ways with them for now.  Future is unwritten.  Thank you for your support throughout the years.  We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure.  Stay tuned.”

sweeneyjohnJohn Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany.  The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station.  The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant.  Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.

raytomTECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio.  Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec.  Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape.  Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate.  These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city.  This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems.  These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality.  The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service.  With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations.  This has been the norm now for close to 20 years.  Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids.  IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium.  Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus.  Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.

tradupguatemalaSalem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.”  SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.”  Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away.  And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there.  We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.”  Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere.  The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.

bloomlisaOdds & Sods.  Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser.  Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors.  Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.

kdkaharlemshakeHarlem Shake Takes Over KDKA.  The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.

Monday, July 23, 2012

| July 23, 2012

Aurora Tragedy Sparks and Challenges Talk Radio.  There are few events that news/talk radio programmers in the age of cutbacks fear more than a major story that captures the entire nation’s consciousness breaking on a weekend when their stations’ key stars are off and brokered or syndicated “how-to” shows are on.  The Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre came very close to being such a story, except that it technically broke on a Friday morning, giving weekday hosts the opportunity to at least address it in the early stages of information being available and programmers a full day to organize a weekend strategy.  This type of blood-chilling, high-drama story takes days to develop as information slowly disseminates amidst knee-jerk speculation, leaving a number of news/talk outlets incapable of fully diving into it on a Saturday and Sunday when personnel is at a minimum and “regular” programming takes a break from core stationality.   Regardless, the industry has had all too many unfortunate chances to learn from this problem in recent years and according to TALKERS monitors across the country and conversations with programmers, there was a far better state of readiness to appropriately handle the Aurora tragedy than for similar instances in the past.  Initial reports indicate that the main topics and debates being fueled by this mega-story are gun control, violence in entertainment, and the relationship between mental illness and crime.  There has also been strong interest in talking about appropriate parenting prompted by the fact that a child and an infant were in attendance at the midnight movie.  As an example of news/talk radio taking control of this situation, Salem Radio Networks VP of programming, Tom Tradup tells TALKERS, “On SRN News, we gave the shooting priority coverage — including three hours of Special Reports — and we are featuring perspective from Murphy Wells, a KNUS, Denver reporter who is part of the local morning show at KNUS with studios in Aurora. Also Larry O’Connor, editor-in-chief of Breitbart.TV guest-hosted a special edition of the Hugh Hewitt show on Friday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET focusing exclusively on the deaths and injuries in the shootings.”   At WGN, Chicago, program director Bill White tells TALKERS, “On Friday Jonathon Brandmeierlead with the story throughout his morning show after it broke during our live overnight show.  Jonathon spoke with witnesses who were in the multiplex when the shooting occurred and authorities from Aurora, and he actually confirmed the death count to 12 before most media outlets.  He also took calls from Chicago and throughout the Midwest as listeners coped with the tragic news.”  In Boston at Greater Media‘s WTKK, program director Grace Blazer says the station was live and local from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm both Friday and Saturday.  “We ran the important new conferences from Denver with President Obama and Mitt Romney.  We spoke with reporters live from Denver plus local experts such as Jack Levin, Professor of Sociology and Criminology at Northeastern University and author of several mass murder books, and Ty Burr, film critic from the Boston Globe, who discussed violence in the Batman movies.  On Saturday, Paul Ferrazzani, a registered instructor from the Firearm Safety Academy in Medford, Massachusetts gave listeners the inside scoop on our gun statutes.”

Fox Sports Radio and Mile High Sports Remember Colorado Shooting Victim.  By now, most of us who work in the media are aware that one of the victims of Thursday’s movie-theater shootings was a young woman named Jessica Ghawi who had just missed being a potential victim of a similar shooting in Toronto in June.  The San Antonio native had interned at Lincoln Financial Media’s KKFN, Denver earlier this year and was due to speak with Mile High Sports Magazine editor-in-chief Doug Ottewill about her sports media career the next day.  On Friday, Mile High Sports and Fox Sports Radio talk host Peter Burns spoke with Fox Sports Radio’s “Loose Cannons” about Jessica.  Burns told the program’s listeners, “Her mom told me early this morning, ‘I want you to talk as much as you can.  Celebrate everything that Jessica did, and celebrate everything that these victims did.’  And I’m glad that you guys are giving me the time to celebrate that and talk about how amazing of a person she is, rather than giving a minute or 30 seconds to this coward that did this.”  Burns recounted how Ghawi wanted to set up a charity to help the victims of the Colorado wildfires and was working toward that goal when her life ended tragically on Thursday night.

Cox Media Group Realigns Corporate Management to Fit New TV Signals and Announces Radio and TV Properties to Be Sold.  Twenty-seven radio signals in six markets are going on the block as Cox Media Group announces a realignment of its business strategy that will include the sale of several TV operations and some corporate officer changes to dovetail with the recent acquisition of several TV stations.  The only spoken-word format up for sale is the new sports talk FM WZNN, Birmingham that had been part of the Paul FinebuamCumulus contract dispute that’s since been settled.  The rest of the signals are music FMs and AMs or ethnic outlets in Birmingham, Alabama; Greenville, South Carolina; Hawaii; Louisville, Kentucky; Richmond, Virginia; and Southern Connecticut.  There are five TV signals in four cities going on the market.  As to the corporate structure changes, former group VP Kim Guthrie is named Cox’s new senior vice president responsible for radio markets, and former Austin American-Statesman publisher Jane Williams is the company’s new senior vice president responsible for TV markets, both reporting to Bill Hoffman, EVP over broadcast.  Other additional leadership changes effective immediately include: former group VP Rich Reis who becomes VP and GM of digital operations reporting to EVP Neil Johnston; former group VP Ben Reed is now VP and market manager of Atlanta radio reporting to Kim Guthrie; former group VP Jay O’Connor, as previously announced, is the new VP and GM at KIRO-TV, Seattle.  EVP Mike Joseph continues to oversee CMG’s newspaper operations and CMG Ohio.   Cox Media Group president Doug Franklin states, “This simplified structure will enable CMG to capitalize on continued growth and synergies, while retaining its size financially.  All of our media outlets, regardless of size, are valuable, profitable brands with strong futures thanks to the hard work and dedication of our talented professionals who serve their audiences, advertisers and communities.  We thank the leaders and employees in the locations we’re selling for their outstanding contributions to this company over the years and the valuable service they will continue to provide their respective communities.”

Cuts Hit St. Paul-Based American Public Media.  MinnPost.com’s David Brauer reports 10 employees of the St. Paul, Minnesota public radio company American Public Media are being let go as the organization deals with the changes in the contemporary media business.  Brauer reports engineer Rick “Scooter” Hebzynski, public relations staffer Christina Schmitt and digital archivist Jenel Farrell are three of the casualties and that Current.org is saying “Marketplace” D.C. chief John Dimsdale also is being let go.  Minnesota Public Radio CEO John McTaggart writes to staffers in a memo: “There’s no question today’s constantly changing media landscape presents challenges, but we at APM also see opportunities.  The changes we are making today are really about APM’s future and help to position us for future audience service and growth.  We are reorganizing around two key areas: content and development.  We are aligning our priorities to focus on two main divisions that create value for our audiences and cultivate vital relationships with our members, donors and funders.  The result is a more streamlined organization design that gives us a strong footing as we look ahead.”  To that end McTaggart announces MPR COO Dave Kansas leads the content division SVP and chief development officer Randi Yoder heads up the development division.

Longtime KFI, Los Angeles Traffic Reporter Recovering After Crash.  Los Angeles traffic reporter Mike Nolan suffered fractured ribs and a broken collar bone in the Friday evening crash of a Cessna single engine plane he was piloting near the Corona Municipal Airport.  KFI’s Neil Saavedra tells the Los Angeles Times Nolan was flying with a student and family friend – who was not seriously injured – when the crash occurred in Riverside County.  Saavedra tells the paper Nolan – a KFI employee since the mid-1980s – had more than 40 years of experience as a pilot.  He was headed home to land in time to take off again for his two last traffic newscasts when the accident took place.  The plane lost power and hit electricity lines.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  WTKK, Boston talk host Doug Meehan is broadcasting live from Camp Harbor View this Thursday morning to help raise awareness and funds for the special camp that offers hundreds of children who live in Boston’s at-risk neighborhoods the opportunity to have fun and learn at summer camp.  Thursday’s broadcast will feature coverage of the camp’s 5k road race event…..WFAS, Westchester, New York talk host Lisa Wexler, whose program airs live on the station from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, will have her show re-broadcast  from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm daily beginning tonight.  WFAS GM Marty Sheehan says, “We are very proud of all that Lisa has accomplished in the short time she has been with us.  We want to meet the demand to hear more of Lisa and introduce more of our audience to her show.”…..Sports USA is making the Little League World Series U.S. Championship and International Championship games available to radio stations across the country.  The games are being played the weekend of August 25 and 26.  Ad sales are being handled by Skyview Networks.

Sirius About Fantasy Football.  Sports talk hosts and celebrities invaded the Hard Rock Café in New York City’s Times Square over the weekend for SiriusXM’s Celebrity Fantasy Football Draft broadcast.  In addition to SiriusXM talk hosts Steve Phillips, Jay Thomas, Scott Ferrall, Steve Covino and Rich Davis, celebrities including actor George Wendt, guitarist Zakk Wylde and Jaguars running back Maurice Drew-Jones took part in the promotion.  Pictured here are DirecTV/Premiere Networks talk hosts Nick Di Paolo and Artie Lange who also took part.