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Friday, February 15, 2013

| February 15, 2013

nms2013logoSean Hannity to Host Breakfast Social and Deliver Morning Kick-Off Address at TALKERS New York 2013.  In what has become an annual tradition at the national TALKERS conference, Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel talk superstar hannityseanSean Hannity will again host a major networking event and deliver the morning kick-off address at the annual TALKERS conference.  In making the announcement TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We all get to see a side of Sean that he saves for his colleagues in the industry — one of the most knowledgeable, articulate, and charismatic experts on the nuts and bolts of the business of spoken-word radio.  When Sean shows up at this event and addresses the industry on the state of ratings, research, advertising, affiliate relations and all the behind-the-scenes issues with which we as an industry are concerned, the left-versus-right paradigm that so dominates our airwaves disappears and it becomes apparent just what a broadcast industry statesman we have within our ranks.  He is a tremendous asset to this important gathering as well as the business of radio and television.”  Hannity will be one of a stellar lineup of industry luminaries being scheduled to speak at the event with more details of the roster and agenda to be announced next week.  Registrations for the 16th annual TALKERS New York City Conference are on sale now!  Save the date:  Thursday, June 6, 2013.  Formerly called “The New Media Seminar” the event – now simply titled “TALKERS New York 2013” – will again take place at the comfortable and modern Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  It will be a power-packed, full day of special addresses, panels, presentations, and social networking opportunities tackling the key issues facing talk radio and its relationship with the new talk media (internet, satellite, cable TV) as well as existential general radio industry issues including music radio and the changing role of the disc jockey.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “This will be a TALKERS conference for the new era.  Our presentation this year will be so fresh and vital to the survival and ‘thrival’ of the business that we actually are moving beyond the title ‘New Media Seminar.’  It is not to be missed.”  As indicated, registrations are now on sale. A full registration entitling the attendee to all presentation and food events is $199.  Due to the pressures of limited space and seating, there are no partial registrations.  This event is traditionally a rapid sellout.  IMPORTANT: Registration will be limited to members of the working media only and can only be taken over the phone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Stay tuned for specific agenda details right here at Talkers.com.

coxmediagroupThe Price Tag for Cox Media’s Stations Going to SummitMedia: $66.25 million; Connoisseur to Pay $40 million.  The paperwork for the deal between Cox Media Group and the two buyers of its properties in six markets is being filed and now we know the price tags.  SummitMedia will pay $66. 25 million for the former’s radio properties in five markets.  The stations SummitMedia is in the process of acquiring are: Birmingham (WAGG-AM, WBHJ-FM, WBHK-FM, WENN-AM, WZZK-FM, WZNN-FM, WBPT-FM, and CMG’s contract rights for WALJ-FM); Greenville, South Carolina (WJMZ-FM, WHZT-FM); Hawaii (KRTR-AM/FM, KPHW-FM, KCCN-FM, KINE-FM, KKNE-AM); Louisville (WRKA-FM, WVEZ-FM, WSFR-FM, WQNU-FM); and Richmond (WHTI-FM, WKHK-FM, WKLR-FM, WURV-FM).  Connoisseur will pay $40 million for the Southern Connecticut stations that include: WPLR-FM, WEZN-FM, WFOX-FM, and contract rights for WYBC-FM.

rabRAB: Radio Up 4% in 2012 Q4.  According to a report by the Radio Advertising Bureau, radio ended 2012 on a high note with Q4 revenue up 4% over 2011 comps, to $4.34 billion.  The report notes this was the highest growth recorded over the past eight quarters and since the strong rebound gains registeredRABKaplan chart throughout 2010.  Full-year spending was up for the third consecutive year and totaled $16.482 billion (an increase of 1% over 2011).  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The resurgent automotive industry and the closely-contested presidential political race provided the main impetus for 2012’s positive spot performance.  Our medium also enjoyed strong increases in Q4 spending by advertisers in the key communications and financial services categories.”  The chart here shows comparisons of spot, digital and off-air.

cbsradioCBS Radio Reports 2012 Q4 Revenue Up 1%.  Most of the talk during the CBS conference call yesterday was about television.  Not surprising since that’s where CBS is performing extremely well.  The talk of CBS possibly selling its radio division did not come up as it has so often in the past.  In fact, CEO Les Moonves’ only mention of radio during the call was in connecting the new CBS Sports Radio Network to Super Bowl programming when he said, “The Super Bowl was also very good for us in radio, where we debuted our CBS Sports Radio network just a few weeks before the game.  When we announced this venture last year, we had less than 100 affiliates. Now we’re already at 250.  The Super Bowl was a tremendous launching pad for this franchise, and we look forward to good things to come.”

knstlogoClear Channel Breaks Up AM/FM Simulcast of News/Talk KNST, Tucson.  It looks like Clear Channel is going to leave news/talk on FM in Tucson to Journal’s crosstown KQTH “104.1 The Truth.”  A new country format debuted on KNST FM – “Wild Country 97.1” – ending the AM/FM simulcast of the news/talk format that’s been in effect since November of 2011.  News/talk remains the format on the AM 790 frequency.

ballentinewarrenAttorney and Talk Radio Personality Warren Ballentine Pleads Not Guilty in Bank Fraud Case.  Lawyer and former Syndication One talk radio personality Warren Ballentine pleaded “not guilty” in U.S. District Court of Northern Illinois.  He faces multiple charges of fraud after begin charged by a federal grand jury with two counts of bank fraud, two counts of making false statements to lenders, and one count each of mail fraud and wire fraud.  The indictment is seeking a forfeiture of some $9,775,000.  Ballentine hosted a nationally syndicated midday program distributed by Syndication One but the program was cancelled after the news of his indictment went public.

tantarosandreaTRN’s Andrea Tantaros Picking Up Affiliates at Steady Clip.  On the heels of her positive write-up in the New York Observer, Fox News Channel and Talk Radio Network personality Andrea Tantaros is adding new affiliates and getting praise from existing affiliate PDs, reports TRN CEO Mark Masters.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported the Observer story that profiled Tantaros as one of the cast members of FNC’s “The Five” and host of her own syndicated talk radio program.  Tantaros filled the slot left vacant by the departure of Laura Ingraham from the TRN lineup and programmers, including KENZ, Reno’s Sean Patrick are pleased with her performance.  Patrick says, “Andrea Tantaros is a fabulous addition to our lineup.  She is the breath of fresh air that conservative talk radio has been lacking, a female perspective that is conversational.  She is a rising star in the format and we are proud to have her on our station.”  Buckley Radio of Connecticut VP/GM Eric Fahnoe states, “We’re thrilled with the lively and engaging perspective that the Andrea Tantaros show brings to ‘The Talk of Connecticut’ station lineup.  Andrea’s fresh presentation addresses contemporary issues and perfectly aligns with the direction we wanted to take our programming in 2013!”

webbhuckabeeThis Year, Jerusalem. The Middle East is a non-stop, hot-spot of political, ethnic and social intrigue replete with complex nuances often lost in the day-to-day mainstream press – making it a valuable destination for talk show hosts to do first-hand, fact-finding missions and live broadcasts with a parade of fascinating interviews.  In the past decade, America’s Voices in Israel, with advice from TALKERS magazine, has sponsored dozens of radio talk show hosts representing a spectrum of political perspectives on such trips to the Holy Land.  SiriusXM Patriot Channel host David Webb is broadcasting fromwebbTALKERS Israel this week on one such journey where he met up with Fox News Channel and Cumulus Radio host Mike Huckabee in Jerusalem in addition to interviewing numerous leaders of government, industry, health, arts and science. Webb (right) and Huckabee (left) are pictured above previewing the upcoming U.S. presidential visit to Israel in March.  Webb is also pictured (at right) in the radio broadcasting studio of the Jerusalem Post holding an old copy of TALKERS magazine on display featuring a cover shot of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and syndicated host Doug Stephan meeting with Israel’s current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

brownscottOdds & Sods.  Former Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott Brown is the newest contributor to join Fox News Channel.  Brown served the final two years of the term of the late Ted Kennedy before losing a re-election bid to Elizabeth Warren.  Fox EVP of programming Bill Shine says, “Senator Brown’s dedication to out-of-the box thinking on key issues makes him an important voice in the country and we are looking forward to his contributions across all Fox News platforms.”…..Two daytime TV talk shows have bitten the dust within the last week.  “The Ricki Lake Show” was canceled by Twentieth Television and just yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported “The Jeff Probst Show” is being canceled at the end of its second season.

State of the Union Address Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 11.  According to the ongoing research from TALKERS, the president’s State of the Union address was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio, landing atop the Talkers TenTM for the week of February 11-15.  Following at #2 was the Christopher Dorner case.  At #3 was the sequester deadline tied with deficit reduction and the Chuck Hagel and Jack Lew hearings were tied 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 published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

| April 26, 2012

ESPN to Take Over Emmis’ Kiss FM in New York Beginning Sunday Afternoon.  The rumors of an FM signal for ESPN’s New York sports talker WEPN were true as ESPN is announcing it will begin simulcasting WEPN, New York on Emmis-owned WRKS-FM (98.7) on Sunday afternoon (4/29).  Rumored talent changes are also taking effect.  Stephen A. Smith is being paired up with Ryan Ruocco for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm shift and Mike Lupica moves to a 12:00 noon start for his program.  In making the announcement, WEPN VP/GM Dave Roberts states, “This move to the FM dial is in keeping with the trend of sports radio shifting and offers an even broader reach for our content.”  The two stations will simulcast through the summer and in September WEPN 1050 AM will become a Spanish-language sports outlet airing ESPN Deportes content.  A press conference is scheduled for 1:00 pm this afternoon where details will be fleshed out.  As for the urban format of Kiss FM, Emmis is selling the intellectual property of the format to YMF Media and the station will move to WBLS-FM at 107.5.

Feature Series – Part 3:  Walter Sabo on Targeted Topics Vital to FM Talk Success.  In the third of a four-part series for TALKERS on building a successful FM talk station, Sabo Media president Walter Sabo discusses the importance of targeting topics to appeal to the desired demographic.  Sabo says that, unlike AM news/talk, politics is too narrow a subject to bring in the audience necessary to build cume and be successful.  “Common sense suggests that very few of the people you know spend much of their day talking about politics.  That’s why cable channels focused on politics have astonishingly low ratings.  Lower than any radio station in your city.”  Sabo maintains that talk on FM will be successful (gaining younger-demo ratings and revenue beyond what AM news/talkers typically do) only when the topics are carefully chosen to reflect what large numbers of the target demo are talking about.  “Your FM talk station is trying to reach an audience that is drawn to popular water cooler topics because that’s what they hear on all FM music personality shows.  Political talk is what repulses most 18-49 year olds from the AM band.  They are, instead, attracted to the topics heard on CHR, Hot AC and country personality morning shows.  Hit shows.  Those shows are your FM talk competition, not AM talk radio.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire column here.

Cumulus All-News Rumors Heat Up.  There have been rumblings about Cumulus Media preparing to flip underperforming music outlets to all-news in several markets.  Some of this has been based on the registration of domain names with frequencies tied to the phrase “all news.”  But the biggie is in Cumulus Media’s home base of Atlanta where there’s more fuel to add to the fire.  Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports hearing a news staff is quietly (but apparently not too quietly) being assembled and some of them include former Atlanta-based CNN Radio staffers and some current and former WGST, Atlanta news people.  Which station will it be?  A leading candidate is classic hits WYAY-FM, Gainesville (at 106.7) according to some intense chatter in the market.

Keith Larson May Be Done at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  The late-morning host at Greater Media’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte told listeners to his program yesterday (4/25) that he expects to leave the station as he’s been notified his contract – set to expire May 24 – will not be renewed.  The Charlotte Observer reports Keith Larson was told his deal would not be renewed but the station would like him to stay on as an at-will employee.  It sounds as though Larson will likely not accept that offer.  WBT general manager Rick Feinblatt tells the Observer he’s disappointed Larson took to the air with talk of the contract since nothing is set in stone yet but Larson told his audience he couldn’t go on the air and not talk about it.  Last year, Larson started the independent advertising and marketing firm Larson Advertising and Media Associates.  He tells the paper that may be where he concentrates his efforts for now.

Syndicated Talk Star Mike Gallagher Says Today’s Talent Must Understand Radio from Business Perspective.  In addition to being one of talk radio’s most consistently successful air personalities, Salem Radio Network‘s Mike Gallagher tells TALKERS that it has never been more important for on-air talent to be fully connected to the business processes that make the industry tick.  He says, “In today’s climate of technological change and financial challenge, you can’t just see yourself as a ‘talent’ who is somehow separate from all the other systems that make a radio station or syndication firm function.  You must have a complete understanding of your company’s P&L as well as maintain relationships with advertisers.  A talent needs to be in constant communication with the sales department and understand their problems.”  Gallagher, who left day-to-day major market radio as a station employee at WABC, New York years ago to launch the groundbreaking syndication firm Dame-Gallagher (with former WGY, Albany owner John Dame) which was later acquired by Salem, will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming New Media Seminar on Thursday, June 7.  The panel:  Making Money in Talk Radio.  Registration, nearing sellout, is open to working media only.  For information call 413-565-5413.

Compass Media Networks to Offer 25 Anaheim Angels Games.  Compass Media Networks makes Anaheim Angels play-by-play an MLB game of the week and will air 25 home and away contests beginning May 29 when the New York Yankees play at the Angels.  As with its other sports programming, Compass will hire a broadcast crew and produce its own gamecasts that will be available nationwide.  Dial Global will manage advertising sales for this multi-year contract.  The company notes that with this deal, it will broadcast well over 160 major sporting events in 2012 including college basketball, college football and NFL football (which includes Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders, and Sunday afternoon doubleheaders).  Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says, “The Angels have a tremendous brand, fan base and momentum.  We are honored and thankful for this opportunity.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  The 2012 NFL Draft begins tonight from Radio City Music Hall in New York and the big event is being covered by the sports media including Fox Sports Radio Network.  The network notes that for the 12th straight year it will cover the event with Fox NFL Insider Jay Glazer leading the coverage.  He’ll be joined by Fox Sports Radio college football draft expert Chris Landry, former USC Trojan and Fox Sports Radio host Petros Papadakis, and former NFL great Lincoln Kennedy…..SiriusXM is also on hand for the NFL Draft.  Chris Russo and Dino Costa of Mad Dog Radio and Gil Brandt, Tim Ryan, Pat Kirwan and Adam Schein of SiriusXM NFL Radio will all be broadcasting from Radio City for the first round on Thursday.  Bill Polian, the former Colts Vice Chairman and personnel guru who joined SiriusXM NFL Radio in January, will also be contributing to the satcaster’s draft coverage…..Syndicated talk host and actress Janine Turner – whose two-hour program is heard on KLIF, Dallas Saturday evenings at 9:00 pm – joins the Roger L. Simon-founded PJ Media as a regular columnist…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment names Jon Phillips the market manager for its Tulsa cluster that includes sports talk simulcast KTBZ/KAKC.

2012 Presidential Race, SCOTUS AZ Illegal Immigration Case, Euro Zone Economic Jitters, and New U.S. Spy Agency Among Top News/Talk Topics Yesterday (4/25).  The 2012 presidential race; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the Arizona Illegal Immigration law; continued concerns over economic jitters in euro zone countries; and the announcement of the creation of a new U.S. spy agency were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Fox Sports Radio’s Loose Cannons Live from New Orleans.  Fox Sports Radio Network’s “Loose Cannons” broadcast from New Orleans – the site of the Zurich Classic golf tournament – and hosted special guest Sean Payton.  The suspended head coach of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints spoke about the recent story alleging Saints GM Mickey Loomis eavesdropped on opposing teams’ conversations from his luxury suite and called the allegations “garbage.”  Pictured here are (from l-r): Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Payton, Steve Hartman and Pat O’Brien.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

| March 6, 2012

Progressive Talk Stars Stephanie Miller and Bill Press Become Featured Current TV Content.  The progressive cable and satellite TV channel founded by former Vice President Al Gore is adding Dial Global radio talk show hosts Stephanie Miller and Bill Press to its lineup.  Miller’s and Press’ programs will be simulcasts of their radio shows – Miller airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Press from 6:00 am to 9:00 am ET – beginning early this spring.  In a statement, Current TV chairman Al Gore says, “I’ve followed Stephanie and Bill for years.  They provide the kind of smart, insightful news analysis that our viewers want to hear.  Bill brings a vital perspective directly from the heart of the Beltway, and Stephanie’s fresh take on politics and news has a decidedly outsider flair.  We’re really looking forward to bringing their voices to our viewers.”  WYD Media president Ron Hartenbaum, executive producer of Stephanie Miller’s program, says, “We at ‘The Stephanie Miller Show’ are excited to participate in another radio-based video simulcast program.  The bottom line is entertaining talk radio makes great and engaging tune-in programming for video.”  Other political talk shows seen on Current TV include: “Countdown with Keith Olbermann,” “The Young Turks with Cenk Uygur,” and “The War Room with Jennifer Granholm.”

Rush Limbaugh Addresses Sandra Fluke Issue, Loss of Advertisers at Beginning on Monday Program.  Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk star Rush Limbaugh began yesterday’s program speaking about his apology issued over the weekend to Georgetown University Law student Sandra Fluke for using the terms “slut” and “prostitute” to describe her.  Limbaugh stated that he “descended to their level” – meaning liberal political opponents – when he used the two words.  “I became like them and I feel very badly about that.  I’ve always tried to maintain a very high degree of integrity and independence on this program.  Nevertheless, those two words were inappropriate.  They were uncalled for.  They distracted from the point I was actually trying to make.  And I, again, apologize to Ms. Fluke for using those two words to describe her.”  Limbaugh addressed the loss of advertisers without going into specifics but appeared not overly concerned about the matter stating he turns down advertising on his program regularly for various reasons and said companies advertise with him to have access to his large audience – that everything about the program is for the audience.  Without the audience, Limbaugh said the whole enterprise would be academic.  Limbaugh slapped back at exiting advertisers a bit when he said, “They don’t want you or your business.”  We don’t expect Premiere Networks to announce which advertisers have dropped their advertising – whether temporary or permanent – but it’s being reported that as many as 13 sponsors have left but eight are being widely reported: Carbonite, Citrix, Go To Meeting, Legal Zoom, Pro Flowers, Select Comfort, Sleep Train and Quicken Loans.  For her part, Sandra Fluke appeared on ABC TV’s “The View” and said of Limbaugh’s apology, “I don’t think that a statement like this issued, saying that his choice of words was not the best, changes anything, and especially when that statement is issued when he’s under significant pressure from his sponsors who have begun to pull their support.”  So far, two affiliate stations are confirmed to have dropped Limbaugh’s show as a result: KPUA, Hilo, Hawaii and WBEC, Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Progressive Talk Host Mike Malloy Mocks Tornado Victims on Radio Program.   Longtime progressive talk host Mike Malloy self-syndicates his program and in some quarters he’s taking heat for mocking the victims of the tornados that swept through the Midwest late last week.  Malloy is quoted by several sources on his Friday program saying, “Their God, if this is the way they want to look at it, keeps smashing them into little grease spots on the pavement, in Alabama, in Mississippi, Arkansas, Georgia and Oklahoma – you know, the Bible Belt…where they ain’t gonna let no g*dd*mn science get in the way, it says in the bible, blah blah blah, so according to their way of thinking, y’know, God with his omnipotent thumb, and so far tonight, has smashed so far 20 people on Highway 12, or whatever the hell highway they live next to.”  With the controversy being raised by Rush Limbaugh overshadowing the consumer media, it’s unlikely Malloy’s comments – which could certainly be deemed insensitive to the people affected by the storms – will get enough attention to catch the national media’s eyes.  There’s also the fact that Limbaugh’s program is dominating in terms of presence and Malloy’s is not.  Regardless, there are media analysts who are pointing to the use of hyperbole, name calling and insensitive language as a sign that more civility is needed in America’s public discourse.

Compass Media Networks to Syndicate Bob Vila Radio Features.  Iconic home improvement figure Bob Vila and Compass Media Networks are agreeing to work together to distribute daily home improvement features voiced by Vila exclusively for radio beginning May 1.  Of course, Vila is well known for his television programs – “This Old House(1979-1989), “Bob Vila’s Home Again” (1990-2005), and “Bob Vila” (2005-2007).  He now heads up his own home improvement site, BobVila.com.  Vila says of the venture, “Radio offers an incredible opportunity to connect with the American homeowner.”  Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says the project hopes to take advantage of the nearly $112 billion spent annually on home improvement.  “Bob Vila is truly an American treasure.  Radio stations and advertisers will leap at the chance to associate their brands with Bob Vila.”

Cumulus Media Partners with Radiate Media to Produce National Traffic Reporting Service.  The combined effort is going to be called “Right Now Traffic” and will be available to stations in April in the top 75 markets.  The reports will be powered by the world’s largest traffic flow network, which includes government sensors, toll tag monitoring and billions of GPS data points.  Radiate Media’s premier traffic data comes in part from Nokia (formerly NAVTEQ) – a source also used for GPS navigation devices, in-vehicle navigation systems, mobile devices and hundreds of radio and television stations.  Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states, “We’re excited about launching ‘Right Now Traffic’ with Radiate Media.  Americans are spending more than 1,000 hours per year in their cars.  Our listeners, advertisers and network affiliates all demand accurate and timely traffic information and this partnership enables us to address that need with a best-in-class service.”

Dial Global Amps Up Producers Department for Programming.  Dial Global promotes Scot Kirk to the newly created position senior production director and brings James Harness aboard as a producer.  The company says Kirk will oversee the creative direction and imaging for all of Dial Global-owned formats, shows and programs.  Both Kirk and Harness will be located in Valencia, California and report directly to VP Programming, David Felker.  EVP of programming Beau Phillips says, “Since merging with Westwood One, Dial Global now produces a tremendous amount of content.  While our programming sounds strong, we’re investing in producers who will set the vision and boost the quality across all DG products.”  Scot Kirk brings more than two decades of radio production expertise to his new role, including positions at Jones Radio Networks, KISW-FM and KMTT-FM in Seattle, and KXPK-FM in Denver before joining Dial Global in 2009.  James Harness is best known for guiding the creative imaging for KROQ-FM in Los Angeles as well as 92.3 NOW, WXRK-FM and FREE-FM in New York.

Salem Radio Network Holds Urgent Drive for Help for Tornado Victims.  The talk hosts syndicated nationally by Salem Radio NetworkBill Bennett, Mike Gallagher, Janet Mefferd, Dennis Prager, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt – mounted a daylong appeal yesterday (3/5) to gather donations for food, blankets and other essentials for the people of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Alabama, Tennessee and the other states affected by the tornados that swept through the region over the weekend.  The storms caused dozens of deaths and millions of dollars worth of destruction.  Oklahoma City-based FEED THE CHILDREN is facilitating and administering the aid.

Sirius XM Beefs Up Election Programming on POTUS Channel.  The satcaster ramps up its 2012 presidential election coverage with new programming on its Politics of the United States – POTUS – channel.  “Showdown 2012” will air Thursdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm with veteran White House and Washington, D.C. correspondents including Jon Decker, Chris Core, Dick Uliano and Louise Schiavone.  “CQ Roll Call” airs Wednesdays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by CQ Roll Call senior editor Morton Kondracke, editor David Hawkings, and others.  “The Flacks” airs Mondays from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm hosted by veteran communications strategists and MSNBC political analysts Karen Finney and Robert Traynham.

Money Radio 1200 Debuts in Palm Springs.  CRC Media West’s KPSF, Palm Springs financial talk radio outlet signed on yesterday (3/5).  The station was constructed by CRC Media West principals Ronald Cohen and Brian DuBose and modeled after the company’s “Money Radio” outlet serving the Phoenix market.  The Palm Springs station features a mix of syndicated and local/regional programming.

WTOP, Washington, DC Names Washington Regional Transplant Community Charity of the Month.  The Hubbard Broadcasting media organization says that as part of WTOP’s ‘Charity of the Month’ program, Washington Regional Transplant Community will receive more than $30,000 in free air time and in-kind contributions, including on-air promotions, as well as content on WTOP’s social media platforms and on WTOP.com throughout the month.  The WRTC serves as the federally-designated organ procurement organization (OPO) for the Washington metropolitan area.  As one of 58 OPOs nationwide, WRTC is the organization that facilitates all deceased organ, eye and tissue donation in our area, serving more than five million residents.  WTOP public relations and marketing specialist Robin Newton says, “WTOP is proud to support Washington Regional Transplant Community during the month of March.  WRTC has a direct effect on the health of our local community and helping them means strengthening an invaluable resource for our neighbors.  Our hope is to spread awareness and garner attention for their work.”

 

Friday, February 10, 2012

| February 10, 2012

SiriusXM Delivers 2011 Revenue Increase of 7%.  Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin opened the Thursday conference call with positive news about 2011 and rosy predictions for 2012.  Karmazin reports the satcaster added 1.7 million net new subscribers with revenue topping $3 billion for 2011.  He told analysts the company has reduced programming costs by 27% over the past three years to bring them to 10.7% of adjusted revenue.  And Mel’s favorite figure – free cash flow – was also a nice one: $416 million.  Karmazin says he expects free cash flow to grow to $700 million this year due in part to the restrictions on subscription prices having been lifted.  He projects revenue to hit $3.3 billion in 2012 with 1.3 million new subscribers added.

Nassau Broadcasting Agrees to Undergo Chapter 7 Liquidation.  It was four months ago that Nassau Broadcasting Partners convinced U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross to allow its Chapter 7 liquidation being sought by its creditors to be converted into a Chapter 11 reorganization.  Now, the company wants to liquidate itself and is asking the judge to approve an auction of its 49 stations.  Nassau owes more than $280 million to its senior lenders which include Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC, P.E. Capital LLC and Fortress Credit Opportunities.  Nassau’s spoken word stations include: WARK, Hagerstown, Maryland; WTSV, Claremont, New Hampshire; WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire; WVPO/WPLY, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania; WEEX/WTKZ, Allentown, Pennsylvania; WSNO, Barre, Vermont; and WNHV, White River Junction, Vermont.

Dave Ramsey to Take Over Live Midday Slot on WOR, New York.  The end of the nationally syndicated Lou Dobbs talk radio show is creating room for other hosts and programs across the country and in New York City at Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, independently syndicated Dave Ramsey moves from delayed broadcast status to airing in the live 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot beginning February 27.  WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley states, “In these rocky economic times New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions.  We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio – Dave Ramsey – to our award-winning lineup.”

“Battle Line with Alan Nathan” Adds Two Hours on Lifestyle TalkRadio Network.  Alan Nathan’s Main Street Radio Network-produced talk program is already distributed nationally via the Blue Star Media’s Lifestyle TalkRadio Network from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily.  Now, with the departure of Lou Dobbs’ radio program from the network, “Battle Line” adds another two hours from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Main Street Radio Network president Jane Silk says, “Main Street is very excited with the additional two hours of ‘Battle Line’ on LTRN.  Our working relationship with the staff of BTRN/LTRN is a model on how companies can work together for the good of all involved!”  Business TalkRadio Network CEO Michael Metter comments, “We are thrilled to be a part of the increase in Alan’s reach.  We are looking forward to bringing our affiliates the brilliance of Alan’s informed, entertaining centrist views.”

Fabulous Sports Babe Nanci Donnellan Off WHBO, Tampa Due to Health Issues.  The Tampa Bay Times is reporting that Nanci Donnellan – known as the Fabulous Sports Babe – is absent from her midday sports talk show on Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa due to what is believed to be health issues.  The station is not commenting.  Donnellan, who hosted a nationally syndicated sports talk program on ESPN Radio in the 1990s and at Sports Fan Radio Network after that – left radio for a period to battle breast cancer before returning to the air in Florida, eventually settling at WHBO.  Sitting in for her is former WDAE sports reporter Whitney Johnson.

Boston Radio Community Honors Memory of WBZ Personality Dave Maynard.  During a 40-year radio and TV career Dave Maynard ruled the airwaves in Boston on WBZ during the 1980s.  He’s being remembered for his warm personality that made his program such a success in the market.  Maynard died at his home in Citrus Hills, Florida on Wednesday at age 82.  He’d suffered with Parkinson’s for the past decade.  WBZ director of news and programming Peter Casey tells the Boston Globe, “He was just a genuine, honest person on the radio.  There wasn’t a Dave Maynard on the air and a Dave Maynard off the air.  He made a career being Dave Maynard on the air, and that was the Dave Maynard who lived next door to you.”

Bell Media Cuts 16 Positions in Ottawa Radio/TV Cluster; Afternoon Talk Host Michael Harris Among Casualties.  While the Canadian economy has not been hit as hard as America’s during recent times, it appears Bell Media is feeling the pinch and the need to restructure its Ottawa operations.  According to the Ottawa Citizen, among those let go in addition to CFRA afternoon host Michael Harris on the spoken word side include CFRA reporter Gord McDougall, sports CFGO – Team 1200 – staffers Jim Jerome, Phil Melanson and Mike Sutherland.  Harris had been a talk host at CFRA for the past 11 years.  He tells the paper the moves appear to be financial in nature and management “went out of their way to say it had nothing to do with the quality of my work.”

GOP Primary Battle the Top News/Talk Story for the Week of February 6-10.  The intensifying GOP primary battle between Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum (with Ron Paul sticking it out as well) landed atop the Talkers TenTM as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week.  Right behind at #2 was the 2012 presidential race combined with the Obama Super PAC story.  At #3 was the Syria policy and the closure of the U.S. embassy there as a result of the intense violence.  And at #4 was the foreclosure abuse settlement signed by President Obama.  The Talkers TenTM contains the 10 top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

In the Belly of the Beast.  WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC morning drive team the “Morning Majority” broadcast live from the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC this week.  Pictured here are “Morning Majority” co-hosts Brian Wilson (l) and Mary Katherine Ham (c) interviewing CPAC organizer Al Cardenas (r) of the American Conservative Union.  Also broadcasting from the two-day event were WMAL morning co-host Bryan Nehman and midday talk host Chris Plante.

 

WNDB, Daytona Beach Talk Host Marc Bernier Moderates Carlson-Begala Debate.  The Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce packed 600 people into the Daytona Beach Ocean Center for a debate of the issues of the election season between CNN analyst and Democrat Paul Begala and Fox News Channel personality and Republican Tucker Carlson.  WNDB talk show host Marc Bernier served as moderator for the event.  Pictured here are (from l-r) Paul Begala, Marc Bernier and Tucker Carlson.

Monday, January 30, 2012

| January 30, 2012

KTRS, St. Louis Talk Show Host JC Corcoran Responds to TALKERS Feature Story.  St. Louis talk show host JC Corcoran’s Twitter exchange that got him suspended from talk station KTRS last fall was an example cited in the TALKERS feature piece, “Social Media: Handle with Care,” published on Friday.  Corcoran responded with an insightful letter to the editors that adds new levels to the story and the larger issue of social media use by talk and sports radio broadcasters.  Read the piece and Corcoran’s response here.

Talent Shake-Up at WLW, Cincinnati; Eddie Fingers Returns.  Today sees a revamped talk host lineup at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s “Big One” WLW, Cincinnati highlighted by what Queen City media observers are calling the bizarre return of Eddie Fingers to the PM drive show 15 months after he was fired from the same show.  According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, Fingers will rejoin co-host Tracy Jones for the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  Jones’ partner since October of 2010 – former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Scott Sloan – moves to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  That means late morning host Doc Thompson is the odd man out.  Kiesewetter reports Thompson was fired last week while on his honeymoon with WHIO-TV, Dayton reporter Yuna Lee.  Thompson still works for Clear Channel hosting the PM drive show at the company’s WRVA, Richmond.  Back to Cincy, Fingers has been a personality in town since the early 1980s.  He moves from rock WEBN-FM to WLW in 2007.  Kiesewetter reports Fingers has no animosity toward the station for his October 2010 firing, stating, “I never had a problem with anyone in the building all along.  The decision on firing me came from corporate, and I get the impression some of them have moved along.  I loved it there.  I loved those guys.  This is unprecedented.  This is a load off my shoulders.”

Programmer Jack Landreth Named KMBZ-AM/FM, Kansas City PD.  Entercom Kansas City announces talk radio programmer Jack Landreth takes over the PD position at news/talk KMBZ-AM/FM beginning Monday, January 30.  Landreth most recently held the PD post at CBS Radio’s KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas.  During his career he has also programmed KTSA, San Antonio; KNST, Tucson; and WWTN-FM, Nashville.  Landreth says, “KMBZ is the premiere radio station in Kansas City and I could not be more honored to work with such a great team of local, top-notch broadcasters.  My sincere gratitude goes out to Pat Paxton, Ken Beck and, of course, Dave Alpert.  My family and I look forward to coming back to the Midwest and calling Kansas City our true home.”

“Loveline” Tweaking Format to Appeal to Talk Stations as Courtside Offering.  The former Westwood One talk show, now in Norm Pattiz’s growing Courtside Entertainment stable, has been a nighttime music radio mainstay for almost 30 years. It is heard on more than 50 alternative rock, classic rock and CHR stations with a strong base in the top 25 markets.  Hosted by noted medical authority Dr. Drew Pinsky and well-known LA-based pop culture broadcaster Mike Catherwood with the recent addition of British radio and TV personality (and sex therapist) Simone Bienne, the nightly program which airs live 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight PT has evolved and adapted over the years from a free form Sunday night KROQ, Los Angeles show, appealing to a very young audience, to a formatted, highly-planned and targeted production designed to deliver a more mature, diverse 18-54 audience. Along the course of its colorful history, Loveline’s hosts included such figures as Adam Corolla, deejays Jim “Poorman” Trenton and Swedish Egil (Egil Aalvik) and former MTV veejay Riki Rachtman.   Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz tells TALKERS, “Unlike many talk shows on music radio, this program does not play music and never did.  However, it does include well-known music personalities among its diverse guests a la Jay Leno and David Letterman.” Pattiz unequivocally states, “Yes we are now going after talkers… the growing number that think a talk show with equal parts information, entertainment and advice is right at night. This show attracts a loyal audience.  Current stations really like what we are doing with Loveline as we have phased it in this new direction over the past six months.  It has a distinct format which is very important in a PPM world.  Every quarter hour is planned with calls, subject, host features and guests. Master programmer Bert Kleinman oversees this aspect of the production on a daily basis.  It is a unique product that has stood the test of time by continuously adapting.”

Clear Channel Gives Hartford an FM Sports Talker.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment puts into effect the changes that had been brewing with its Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts stations last spring.  The “Kix” country format leaves WPKX-FM as the station becomes an FM simulcast of CC’s sports talk WPOP, Hartford and moves its city of license from Enfield, Connecticut closer to Hartford in Windsor Locks, Connecticut.  That leaves the country format on the former AAA WRNX-FM, Amherst, Massachusetts serving the Springfield market.  The new 97.9 ESPN obviously uses programming from ESPN Radio but it’s being reported that CC Hartford is looking to put a local PM drive show on the station.

WGDJ, Albany’s Paul Vandenburgh to Host Daily Afternoon TV Show.  WGDJ, Albany is co-owned by president and general manager Paul Vandenburgh.  He also hosts the morning drive show on the station.  Beginning Monday, Vandenburgh will host the Paul Vandenburgh Show on Albany’s MyNetworkTV affiliate My 4 Albany from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday.  My 4 TV’s Chuck Hunt says, “Vandenburgh has long been the premiere talk show host in the Capital District and adding his expertise to television increases the reach, visibility and credibility of MY 4 Albany.  His show will be topical each day, keeping people up to date with the major news stories of the Capital District.  Live callers will also be included in the program.  We are thrilled to have Paul on the MY 4 Albany team.”  Prior to his endeavor with WGDJ, Vandenburgh hosted the morning drive show on crosstown WROW.  He also hosted at WQBK, Albany.

Sirius XM Adds Two High-Profile Talk Shows.  Former Indianapolis Colts GM Bill Polian becomes part of the satcaster’s NFL Radio channel with his debut tonight on the “Late Hits” program from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  He’ll appear again for shows on Wednesday and Friday prior to the Super Bowl and will host regular shows throughout the year.  Polian says, “I’ve been a guest on SiriusXM NFL Radio many times and it is an outstanding source for league news and information.  Now I get to be the one asking the questions.  I’m excited to get on the air to talk shop with players, executives and coaches around the league and interact daily with many of the great fans who have helped make the NFL the most successful sports league in the world.”  In other Sirius XM news, former New York City police chief Howard Safir is hosting a limited run program called, “The Badge with Howard Safir,” focusing on the “drama, heroism and challenges facing law enforcement today.”  The series will air Sunday evenings and run for six weeks.

Northeast Ohio Sports Media Figure Joe Pete Dies at 45.  Joseph J. Pete, Jr. broadcast the “Sports Report with Joe Pete” on WFUN, Ashtabula, Ohio.  He was a play-by-play announcer for prep athletics in the region and wrote about sports in the region for numerous publications.  He passed away on Thursday, January 26 at the Cleveland Clinic.