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Gun Control Issue Surges as Talk Radio Topic

| January 11, 2013

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine

caseywriterSPRINGFIELD, Ma. — The Newtown, Connecticut tragedy has stimulated a tremendous amount of talk about guns in America.  Usually it is one of those topics — like abortion — that hosts and programmers try to avoid because there are seldom new angles and little give and take between sides.  Sandy Hook has changed that.  It is this week’s number one talk radio topic.  So, how have talk hosts and stations been handling this issue?

Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel superstar Sean Hannity says, for him, it’s about more than the isolated issue of America’s gun laws and his programs are approaching it from a larger perspective.  “On the specific issue itself for me it is simple; we protect our money with armed guards, we protect our elected officials with armed guards, and our “Hollywood stars” hannityseanwith armed guards.  If we really want to keep our children safe in school, why not hire retired armed police officers?  Do they deserve less?  Many college campuses already have such guards. The other huge issue I am focused on is the abuse of power and an emerging imperial presidency.  The Constitution is America’s rule of law, we have co-equal branches of Government, separation of powers etc…Obama making recess appointments when the senate is not in recess; Obama using executive orders to adopt amnesty provisions of the failed Dream Act; Biden threatening that executive orders will be used to bypass Congress on the Second Amendment.  Imagine if George Bush tried to bypass Congress on a First Amendment issue!  Pelosi and Democrats are encouraging the president to use the Fourteenth Amendment to bypass Congress and raise the debt ceiling.  All examples of an executive branch power grab.  I am also asking one simple question.  If, God forbid, somebody breaks into your house or place of work, how will you protect yourself?

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

| December 20, 2012

obamabarackPresidential Election Tops List of Most-Discussed Stories on News/Talk Radio in 2012.  Obama is Most Talked-About Person.  According to TALKERS magazine’s tabulations, the Presidential Election ranks as the most-talked-about story of 2012 on the nation’s news/talk radio stations and programs.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “It isn’t even close.  The election stood out far and away as a topic in its own right, as well as a catalyst for so many of the other subjects that comprise the meat and potatoes of news/talk conversation ranging from economics to foreign policy to personality gossip.  It is difficult to track and calculate a list of this nature because stories and subjects overlap and play into and off of each other.  The presidential race is both an ongoing process and then a climactic event that brings so many different issues into play; it permeates the very fiber of what this format is all about.”   Casey adds, “Interestingly, there is so much overlap and interplay between stories that even with the effort to sort them out individually certain stories are so connected that we list them as ties in the Top 10 – such as the connection between the so called Fiscal Cliff and Euro Zone Troubles, or the Benghazi Attack and the Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal.”

The following are the 10 most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio in 2012:

1)      2012 Presidential Election

2)      ‘Fiscal Cliff’/Euro Zone Troubles

3)      SCOTUS ObamaCare Decision

4)      Benghazi Attack/Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal

5)      Newtown Massacre/Aurora Theater Slayings

6)      Syria Revolt/Egypt Instability

7)      Rush Limbaugh “Slut” Controversy

8)      Iran’s Nuclear Weapons Ambitions

9)      Trayvon Martin Case

10)    Hurricane Sandy

Other major news/talk radio topics worthy of mention include the Wisconsin Recall Election, the “Fast and Furious” Investigation, the Sandusky Trial and the Facebook IPO.

President Barack Obama tops the TALKERS list of the most-talked-about people on news/talk radio in 2012 which according to limbaughrushKevin Casey is no surprise: “The President of the United States has topped this survey in all of the 22 years that TALKERS magazine has been conducting it – election year or not.  This includes George Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.”  It is interesting to note that Rush Limbaugh is on this year’s list – not the first time it has happened – indicating what a huge newsmaker the format’s most-listened-to-player is in addition to being someone who talks about key figures.  According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The colorful people who perform on this great stage love to talk about the medium itself.  Limbaugh, of course, is constantly in the news and has long been an ongoing topic as well as talker.  Others who fit this bill over many years include Howard Stern, Michael Savage, Don Imus and Dr. Laura Schlessinger to name the standouts. They sure do bring a lot to the table.”

The following are the 10 most-talked-about people on news/talk radio in 2012.  Note, in cases in which two people are intrinsically connected in terms of the story in which they were co-players, they are listed as tied for their position:

1)      Barack Obama

2)      Mitt Romney

3)      John Boehner

4)      Hillary Clinton

5)      John Roberts

6)      David Petraeus/Paula Broadwell

7)      Christopher Stevens/Susan Rice

8)      Adam Lanza/James Holmes

9)      Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman

10)    Rush Limbaugh/Sandra Fluke

tantarosandreaTRN Entertainment Debuts the Andrea Tantaros Show in January.  National talk programming syndicator Talk Radio Network Entertainment announces it is bringing political commentator, syndicated columnist and Fox News Channel personality Andrea Tantaros to the radio for a three-hour program to air live in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET slot formerly held by Laura Ingraham.  Tantaros is a co-host of the popular FNC program, “The Five.”  TRNE describes the program saying it “will engage listeners who want to be informed and entertained with smart, edgy, and funny but matterajasonresponsible commentary on politics, pop culture, Wall Street and entertainment.  The show is designed to attract the broadcast spectrum of listeners profitably for its station affiliates.”  Tantaros will be joined by Jason Mattera, a two-time New York Times best-selling author, the youngest editor of a national periodical, Human Events, and the host of “The Jason Mattera Show” on weekends at WABC in New York.  TRNE CEO Mark Masters says, “In a post 2008–2009 economy, we have been seeking shows that are highly entertaining, yet responsible and profitable for our station affiliates and advertisers.  Andrea has the ability to do both.  She’s a fresh voice who will inject new energy to the airwaves.”  Tantaros says she’s delighted to partner with TRN on this project.  “They’re the best in the business at making sure affiliates and audiences get hard-hitting and informative commentary that keeps them coming back for more.  I promise you this: it’s going to be fun.”

DG-logoHorizontalLaunchpad Digital Media and Dial Global Partner for Podcast Programming.  This deal gives Dial Global an avenue for podcasting from its talent pool — Dennis Miller, “Loveline,” Billy BushCharles Osgood, country programming, DG Sports and NBC Sports Radio – via the Courtside Entertainment digital division Launchpad Digital Media.  Dial Global co-CEO Spencer Brown states, “Defining great media means delivering the highest quality content to the largest launchpad logobrownspenceraudience.  This new partnership with Launchpad Digital Media significantly augments Dial Global’s capability to do both by opening new creative avenues for top talent and new doors for advertisers to access the widening on-demand podcast audience.”  Courtside Entertainment founder and Launchpad chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Since we announced our move into podcasting the response has been off the charts.  The partnership between Kit Gray and Courtside establishes Launchpad with a proven track record of revenue generating success.  We have now added new programming which is currently delivering over 90 million downloads per month, including our deal with Dial Global.  We are excited to partner with Dial Global to bring some of the most well-known and trusted brands in sports, news and entertainment to the growing roster of Launchpad podcast offerings.”

kinosianmikeNovember Was Very Good to All-News Radio.  Arbitron’s November PPM data was, in general, very good to the nation’s all-news outlets.  Recently, TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian detailed his analysis of news/talk’s November PPM data, concluding it was generally a very good month for that format.  Here, Kinosian runs the numbers for major all-news outlets and gives four-month trends for those stations.  See his analysis of the nation’s all-news stations here.

kmjlogoKMJ-AM/FM, Fresno Names John Broeske and Jennifer Lipp Midday Partners.  Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno announces a new local talk program that will air from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm on both KMJ-AM and KMJ-FM, beginning January 2.  The John and Jen show will feature current KMJ-FM morning drive host Jennifer Lipp (who will continue to host the 6:00 am to 8:00 am program) and longtime Fresno market radio lippjenpro John Broeske.  A release from KMJ says Broeske has been a talk host, programmer, manager and consultant.  He led the station from 1987 to 2007, “directing it to the leadership position that continues to this day.”  KMJ and Peak Broadcasting SVP Patty Hixson says, “There is simply no better choice for this important time slot than the merger of two of the biggest names in Central California radio…they will bring their extensive experience and name recognition to a broad-based, advertiser-friendly show that will be a big success on KMJ for years to come.”  Operations manager Skip Essick adds, “The John and Jen show will be a fast-paced, topical, entertaining view of life in Central California as lived by two people who know the area very well.  From politics to pop culture, local or national, if it matters to the Central Valley, it will be covered by John and Jen on KMJ every day.”

pinkusgeoffWCKG, Chicago Adds Geoff Pinkus for Middays.  Suburban talk outlet WCKG, Elmhurst, Illinois announces local personality Geoff Pinkus will host the midday show on “The Voice of DuPage County” beginning January 7.  In a press release, Pinkus states, “For years I was told I’d get a daily show ‘when hell freezes over!’  The Twinkie is gone.  The Mayan calendar is ending…and now WCKG finally decides to hire me?  Coincidence?  Maybe.  All I know is I’ve got some storable food, water stockpiles, good cigars, and a microphone ready.  Starting January 7, 11:00 am, we’re rockin’ the suburbs.  We’re going to have fun on the radio again with real people.”  WCKG airs “Mancow in the Morning,” and Dan Patrick among other syndicated programs.

jonesadamCBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” Tabs Adam Jones for Evening Show.  With the departure of Damon Amendolara to CBS Radio Sports Network to host his “D.A. Show” in the overnight slot on the network, CBS Boston woos Adam Jones away from ESPN to take over the 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm program on “98.5 The Sports Hub.”  Jones had been working for ESPN Radio handling a fill-in role and hosting the online Adam Jones show.  Before that he had been working with WBZ-FM as a fill-in host and co-hosting a weekend show with Boston sports writer Dan Shaughnessy.  CBS Radio Boston vice president of programming Mike Thomas says, “It’ll be great to have Adam back at ‘The Sports Hub.’  We had a lot of very good candidates apply for this job, but with his previous work here and the experience he gained after leaving ‘The Sports Hub,’ Adam was the clear choice.  Damon did a fantastic job coming into this market and hosting the evening show.  I’m confident Adam can pick up where D.A. left off and continue to grow the audience.”

nielsen logoNon-Subscriber Station Exec Speaks His Mind on Arbitron/Nielsen Merger.  Fred Lundgren, CEO of talker KCAA, Yoma Linda, California, hopes that Nielsen will change what he describes as thearbitron “exclusionary methodology” of Arbitron.  In an opinion piece posted today (12/20) in TALKERS, Lundgren writes, “Moreover, let’s hope Nielsen’s acquisition will lead to comprehensive listener surveys across all platforms, which will add value to our industry, rather than further draining resources from traditional media already stagnated by the economy and over-consolidation.”  In a biting commentary, Lundgren asks, “According to Arbitron, nobody listens to KCAA.  Are we to believe that KCAA has no listeners to any of 50-plus locally produced, weekly programs on subjects ranging from a vegan lifestyle to marijuana legalization?  According to Arbitron, no one listens to any broadcaster on KCAA, not even Roseanne Barr, Joyce Riley, Don Imus, Dave Ramsey, Alex Jones or Ed Schultz.   Read Fred Lundgren’s article here.

noorygeorgePremiere Networks’ George Noory Hosts “End of the World” Show Friday.  With the ancient Mayan calendar possibly predicting the end of the world on Friday the 21st, “Coast to Coast AM” personality George Noory is hosting a special “End of the World” edition of his program.  The show will feature a number of special guests and experts, including author/prophecy expert John Hogue and author/lecturer/aerospace engineer Mike Bara, who will share their predictions, in addition to conversations with listeners.  Noory shared his own doomsday prediction in a December 19 Huffington Post story in which he states, “Any calamity that might occur doesn’t affect one, it affects all of us, and we’ll get through it together as a team, one way or another.”

hayworthjdTalk Host J.D. Hayworth Keeps Busy This Holiday Season.  Former Arizona Congressman and talk radio pro J.D. Hayworth is all over the radio this holiday season on a series of fill-in gigs.  Hayworth tells TALKERS magazine he’s sitting in on the morning show at Clear Channel’s “Rush Radio” in North Carolina – WPTI, Greensboro and WRDU, Raleigh – December 26 – 31.  He’ll be in afternoon drive on Cumulus’ KABC, Los Angeles December 24 – 28 (with a break on Christmas Day).  Plus, he’ll sit in for Mike Huckabee on his national program December 26 – 28 and January 2 – 4.  Additional appearances include guest stints at KSFO, San Francisco; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL, Washington…as well as continuing fill-in work in Philly on WPHT.

tuneinlogoTuneIn Adds 18 Broadcasters to the Service.  Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has signed deals with 18 more broadcasters to distribute their programming via TuneIn’s global digital application.  New broadcasters include Doug Stephan’s “Good Day” program, Motley Fool Radio, Progressive Voices and others.  The company states, “This news comes at a period of continued growth and momentum for TuneIn, which has 40 million monthly active listeners, 70,000 AM, FM, HD and Internet radio stations and more than two million on-demand programs streaming from every continent.  As part of these alliances, TuneIn will provide each broadcaster with access to free, industry-leading tools, such as analytics through TuneIn Amplifier, and access to the audio service’s ad platform.”

Gun Law Changes, Mental Health Care System, ‘Fiscal Cliff’ Debate, Benghazi-State Department Report, and Mayan ‘Doomsday’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/19).  The debate over changes to America’s gun laws; discussion about mental health care and screenings in the U.S.; the debate in Washington over avoiding the “fiscal cliff”; the report on the State Department’s handling of the Libya situation; and the Mayan calendar’s “end of the world” prediction were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

| November 28, 2012

“The Answer” Gets Manhattan Street-Level Presence.  Salem Communications’ WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” has Manhattan street-level presence as the PM drive show featuring Curtis Sliwa and Jeffrey Lichtman are now hosting their show from a studio in the department-store type window setting at the historic Hotel Pennsylvania in Midtown Manhattan.  Pictured here are  Sliwa (r) and Lichtman (l) hosting a recent edition of their program.  Salem Communications vice president director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce states, “This not only gives our hosts a bird’s-eye view of Midtown Manhattan, but allows literally thousands of daily passersby to see ‘Curtis & Jeffrey’ and ‘WNYM AM 970 THE ANSWER’ prominently displayed in the heart of our listening area.  This marquee location on 7th Ave and 33rd Street, is located across from the Long Island Railroad, Penn Station, a subway hub, Macy’s and is around the corner from the NJ PATH train.  The value of this degree of exposure and publicity for our station and two of our best known hosts is incalculable.  It’s also across from the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, which on any given night might host the Knicks, the Rangers or innumerable other sporting and entertainment events.”

Russ Rollins and Dirty Jim Re-Up with WTKS, Orlando; Daniel Dennis Exits.  The Monsters in the Morning program at Clear Channel’s hot talk WTKS, Orlando is one talent fewer after co-host Daniel Dennis declines to sign a new three-year contract with the station.  Program founder and host Russ Rollins, along with co-host Dirty Jim, both signed new three-year deals to continue broadcasting the AM drive program on the station but Dennis tells the Orlando Sentinel he didn’t want the contract but would rather have continued as an at-will employee.  He hosts a weekly internet talk show called, “A Mediocre Time with Tom and Dan” that can be heard at tomanddan.com.

Alan Eisenson Exits Clear Channel Sacramento.  Talk radio programmer Alan Eisenson leaves his position as operations manager for Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster where he served as operations manager for news/talk KFBK-AM/FM and talk KSTE.  Eisenson was also in charge of programming at CC’s San Francisco talk outlets KKSF and KNEW.

Odds & Sods.  SiriusXM brings iconic film star and polarizing historical figure Jane Fonda to its “Town Hall” series.  The actress will be part of the “SiriusXM Town Hall” on Thursday, December 6 at 10:00 am when she’ll sit down with journalist Perri Peltz and speak about her new yoga DVD and take questions from the audience…..On Thursday, November 29, radio pro Turi Ryder will sit in for John Williams on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago on the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm program…..ABC TV’s “Good Morning America” is preparing to do something it hasn’t done in 17 years: Win the coveted November sweeps.  Broadcasting & Cable reports the show is beating NBC’s “Today” in both total audience and viewers 25-54 as the end of the sweeps approaches.

CNN Has a New Chief: Jeff Zucker.  That’s not official but The New York Times and Deadline.com are reporting that Time Warner has agreed to terms with former NBCUniversal CEO and current executive producer of Katie Couric’s syndicated talk show, Jeff Zucker.  The official announcement is expected to be made very soon.  Zucker would replace Jim Walton at CNN.  Walton announced he would leave the cable news channel at the end of the year.  CNN has been roundly beaten up in the consumer press for its woes in the prime time ratings race but it should be noted that, ratings aside, CNN continues to be a profitable operation for Time Warner.  Still, Zucker’s charge would be to revitalize its prime time ratings that have fallen farther behind Fox News Channel and are regularly challenged by MSNBC.

ESPN Begins Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research; Announces $1 Million Donation to the Cause.  Yesterday began sports entertainment broadcaster ESPN’s Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research and the company announced it is committing $1 million to the fundraising effort for the endowment fund.  ESPN executive chairman George Bodenheimer made the announcement on Tuesday, November 27 and Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg made it public via their radio and TV program that day.  ESPN’s sixth annual Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research – a multiplatform initiative which drives awareness of and donations to The V Foundation for Cancer Research – tipped off yesterday at 7:00 pm ET with a simulcast of former NC State coach Jim Valvano’s 1993 ESPYs speech across ESPN domestic media networks, as well as on the ABC SuperSign in Times Square.  The week will conclude with the Jimmy V Women’s and Men’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona Extra on Monday, December 3 and Tuesday, December 4.  For more information on Jimmy V Week for Cancer Research, visit ESPN Media Zone.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches Holiday Giving Campaign.  The organization that exists solely to assist broadcasters in need is announcing the start-up of its Holiday Giving Campaign.  The Broadcasters Foundation of America – which disbursed more than $675,000 in assistance last year – is urging broadcasters to become members and to spread the word about this campaign.  BFoA chairman Phil Lombardo says, “The Broadcasters Foundation exists solely to provide financial relief to broadcasters in need.  These are individuals who we have worked with over the years, and whose lives have been devastated by unthinkable circumstances.  Aid from the Broadcasters Foundation can be life-saving, in many cases.  I urge every broadcaster to consider making a donation or becoming a member.”  Over the past 60 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars in aid to hundreds of broadcasters who lost their livelihood through a catastrophic event, debilitating disease, or unforeseen family tragedy.  In addition, one-time emergency grants are provided in the aftermath of a devastating circumstance or natural disaster, like the Joplin tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy.  Individual membership is only $150 a year and can make a difference in the life of a colleague who has fallen on desperate times.  To become a member, make a personal donation to the Guardian Fund, or a corporate contribution to the Angel Initiative, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250, info@thebfoa.org, or visit the website at www.broadcastersfoundation.org.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Battle, OECD Global Economy Report, Black Friday/Cyber Monday Numbers, Benghazi Attack/Susan Rice-GOP Meeting, and Powerball Jackpot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/27).  The battle in Washington over tax hikes and entitlement program changes; the OECD global economy report that predicts slow growth over the next two years; initial numbers from holiday season’s two big shopping days; the spat over U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice’s meeting with GOP leaders; and the $500 million Powerball jackpot in Wednesday’s drawing were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, October 5, 2012

| October 5, 2012

Entercom’s Sports WEEI Splits AM and FM Signals Today.  The AM and FM signals of Entercom’s Boston-based sports talk radio giant WEEI split earlier this morning with the Boston FM signal at 93.7 continuing the local talk with the established lineup of Dennis & Callahan, Mut & Merloni, “The Big Show” with Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley, and “Planet Mikey” with Mike Adams.  The AM signal at 850 is now “ESPN on WEEI” and features the lineup of ESPN Radio sports talk shows beginning with “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” SVP & Russillo, “ESPN Today,” Hill & Schlereth or play-by-play, “SportsCenter Tonight,” and “SportsCenter All Night.”  Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic are broadcasting from Gillette Stadium this morning to celebrate their arrival in the Boston market.  ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller states, “We’re pleased to team with Boston’s preeminent sports radio outlet and one of the nation’s best radio broadcasting companies in Entercom to bring the number one national network into New England.  This move, coupled with the existing presence of ESPNBoston.com, provides Boston’s passionate fans the best of ESPN’s national and local coverage and analysis.”

Cox Media Group to Debut Georgia News Service in January.  The multi-media service will be based out of Cox Media Group’s WSB, Atlanta studio and bring together the assets of WSB, the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and ABC TV affiliate WSB-TV to produce news content.  Scott Smith – market manager for Cox Media in Athens, Georgia – is being charged with heading the operation.  Cox Media Atlanta vice president and general manager Ben Reed says, “The Cox name has long been synonymous with excellent news coverage throughout the state of Georgia.  This gives us the opportunity to bring our experience and assets together in order to provide a high-quality news service to outlets across the state of Georgia.  We believe the Georgia News Service will very quickly become an invaluable audio, visual, and digital resource for news outlets across the state.  We look forward to providing them with the high-caliber news coverage that has become a Cox tradition.”  Clear Channel has been operating the Georgia News Network out of former news/talk WGST’s studios but is closing down the bureau.

ESPN Radio Extends Contract of Ryen Russillo; Changes Name of Afternoon Show to ‘SVP & Russillo.’  Ryen Russillo has been the co-host of the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET Scott Van Pelt show on ESPN Radio since May of 2009.  Now, the sports entertainment giant extends Russillo’s deal and, to give him more visibility, changes the name of the show from “The Scott Van Pelt Show” to “SVP & Russillo.”  He says, “Over the last three years ‘The Scott Van Pelt Show’ has been my number one priority, and I couldn’t be happier that, for the next few years, it will remain my priority.  I believe in the direction of this show and am really looking forward to where we are going.”  In addition to his co-hosting duties with Van Pelt, Russillo also hosts the 12:00 noon to 7:00 pm ET edition of College GameDay during the football season.

Dave Ramsey Goes West.  Nationally syndicated talk radio sensation Dave Ramsey was in Phoenix and Fresno this week for two live events.  First, Ramsey presented his brand new, intimate “Living a Legacy Live Event” in Fresno for the benefit of the audience and affiliate KMJ-FM.  Ramsey discussed how to win with money, strengthen marriages and lead your children with confidence.  His daughter, Rachel Cruze, joined Ramsey on stage.  Peak Broadcasting’s KMJ-FM saw the direct benefits of the live event for their audience and their station.  PD Skip Essick says, “Dave Ramsey has an incredible, loyal following, and selling out Saroyan Theater not only speaks to the quality of talent we have in him, but the drawing power of ‘105.9, The FM KMJ.’”  Ramsey hosted his “EntreLeadership 1 Day Event” in Phoenix on Wednesday for a packed house at Central Christian Church.  Brett Rogers is the sales manager for affiliate KTAR-FM and he says, “KTAR is proud to be a part of bringing this unique training to Arizona’s business community.  Through this event, we’ve been able to bring some of our best local partners and provide them the opportunity to change their business and also personally meet Dave Ramsey and have a money-can’t-buy experience.  This event has given us the opportunity to engage with our clients in a unique, personal environment.”  Dave Ramsey is pictured here with the sales staff of Bonneville’s KTAR-FM.

Brown Corners Hickenlooper.  That’s KHOW, Denver talk show host (and former Undersecretary of Homeland Security in the Bush Administration) Michael Brown in the center with the microphone trying to get Democratic Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (left) on the air on KHOW during the live broadcast prior to Wednesday’s presidential debate at the University of Denver.  Brown co-hosts “The Rundown” with author, columnist and talk host David Sirota during PM drive on KHOW and program director Dan Mandis tells TALKERS the duo have had a hard time getting Governor Hickenlooper to appear on their program so Brown took advantage of the governor’s appearance at the event to ask some questions.  However, shortly after this photo was taken the governor had to make other appearances and promised to stop by the KHOW remote broadcast booth later but did not.

WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia’s Angelo Cataldi Donates to Heart Association.  Making good on his pre-season pledge to donate $10 to the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania in honor of Richie Ashburn Memorial Homeruns for Hearts for each home run hit by the Phillies this season, WIP morning drive host Angelo Cataldi is pictured here writing the ceremonial check for $1,580 dollars matching the Phillies’ 158 homers.  The Homeruns for Hearts event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors longtime Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease in 2009.

Stitcher Launches Podcast and On Demand Radio Awards.  The web aggregator Stitcher has announced the launch of the Stitcher Awards, to celebrate the best of on demand radio and podcasts for 2012. Listeners can nominate their favorite shows across 20 different categories – from Best Comedy to Best New Show. Stitcher now has over 10,000 different shows streaming on demand. Nominations will be open until October 19th. Fans can nominate their shows every day for the next two weeks at www.stitcher.com/stitcherawards or on the company’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/stitcherradio.  The finalists will be announced shortly afterwards for each category and the winners will be named live in San Francisco in December.

Rick Kaplan Joins NAB as EVP, Strategic Planning. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that former top FCC staffer Rick Kaplan has been hired as executive vice president, Strategic Planning. In this newly created position that will deal primarily with television, Kaplan will lead NAB’s efforts related to spectrum and innovation policy. His first day is Oct. 22. “We are delighted to announce the hiring of Rick Kaplan, whose credibility and integrity are well-recognized both at the Commission and in telecom circles in Washington,” says NAB president/CEO Gordon Smith. “His expertise on spectrum issues will benefit broadcasters greatly as we work with policymakers to ensure a robust local television business for decades to come.”

Odds & Sods.  Mixed martial arts is a big draw for the young male demo and “UFC on FX” has been good to the Fox-owned cable channel.  Fox Sports Radio Network has been simulcasting “UFC on FX” and continues with tonight’s “UFC on FX: Browne vs. Bigfoot” live from the Target Center in Minneapolis.  After the fights, mixed martial arts expert Larry Pepe hosts a Fox Sports Radio wrap-up show with interviews and call-ins from 7 pm to 10 pm PT…..Talk host Tom Donahue announces he’s ending his daily live internet talk show due to financial considerations but will continue with various multi-media projects including his new YouTube channel, podcasts and blog.  Donahue says he remains available for guest hosting and for guest interviews…..Dave Raymond and Brett Dolan are out as the radio play-by-play announcers for Houston Astros baseball.  The club announces it is beginning the search for their replacements immediately.  Clear Channel’s KTRH, Houston is the club’s flagship station.

NJBA Comments Incorporated into Federal Legislation.  Pro-radio crusader Paul S. Rotella, president/CEO of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, reports positive progress in his organization’s efforts to influence the interests of the radio industry in government circles. The House of Representatives recently passed the FEMA Reauthorization Act of 2011 (H.R. 2903), which authorizes the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS) and makes improvements to the system including language that broadcasters requested in several key areas: 1. The bill creates an IPAWS Advisory Committee to ensure that the various federal agencies that have a part in the governance of the IPAWS are conducting an ongoing dialogue with message disseminators. (Broadcasters will be represented on the IPAWS advisory committee); and 2. The bill establishes a comprehensive and periodic training program to instruct and educate Federal, State, Tribal, and local government officials in the use of the Common Alerting Protocol enabled Emergency Alert System.  Importantly, the bill requires that this training be integrated into the National Incident Management System, which is the Department of Homeland Security’s emergency management doctrine used across the United States to coordinate emergency preparedness and incident management and response.  By incorporating the NJBA’s comments regarding EAS training into the National Incident Management System, state and local emergency managers will have to participate in EAS training in order to receive federal homeland security grant funding. The bill now heads to the Senate, which has been considering its own IPAWS bill.

14.8 Million More Americans Watched the Presidential Debate.  According to a report from TVbytheNumbers, the first presidential debate of the 2012 campaign on Wednesday evening saw a big spike in the number of people who tuned in compared to the first debate in 2008 between Barack Obama and John McCain.  Then, 52.4 million Americans tuned in.  On Wednesday, 67.2 million people watched the debate on one of the 12 networks that carried it.  Of the big three networks that carried it, ABC grabbed the most viewers with 11.2 million.

First Presidential Debate Victory Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 1-5.  The build-up to the first presidential debate and the post-debate analysis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM.  The investigation of the Libya consulate attack that claimed the life of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others was #2.  At #3 was the controversy over President Obama’s 2007 speech before a black audience in which he questions why the largely African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina didn’t receive the same assistance as victims of other disasters.  Following at #4 was analysis of the presidential campaign polls.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top people and stories discussed on news/talk radio during the week, based on ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

| September 12, 2012

CBS Radio Flips WNEW-AM, Washington to Government and Business News.  The AM side of the CBS Radio Washington, DC all-news duo (licensed to Morningside, Maryland) will become “Gov.Biz Radio 1580 AM” on October 1 – putting it in a head-to-head battle with Hubbard’s WFED, Washington.  The station will feature content from The Wall Street Journal Radio Network, Bloomberg Radio and The Hill.  Local programming will include host Nancy Lyons on a morning show called “The Daily Briefing” and a midday program dubbed, “The Capitol Report.”

Pilgrim Communications Adds AM Signal to Indy News/Talk WFDM-FM.  The new and improved 950 AM signal of WXLW will help fill in the coverage of Pilgrim’s news/talk station in the Indianapolis market.  WFDM-FM (“Freedom 95.9”) is licensed to Franklin, Indiana about 25 miles south of downtown Indy.   Vice president and general manager Randy Tipmore says, “Hamilton and Hendricks Counties are not only the fastest-growing counties in Indiana, but also the two most Republican counties in the entire state.  We wanted to better serve those listeners who love our conservative news/talk format which features five of the top six radio talk show hosts in national syndication.  The new 950 AM signal covers two-thirds of Indiana and allows us to expand our audience reach by a factor of 10.”  Tipmore says they chose to debut the new signal on the anniversary of 9/11 “the day that reminds us of the preciousness of America’s freedom.  It is also the anniversary of Sean Hannity‘s launch into national syndication.  On September 12, we’re honored to have Dave Ramsey coming to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre for his EntreLeadership, 1-day business training event.  It’s the perfect way to celebrate our new simulcast.”

Cumulus Media to Restore Matching 401k for Employees.  The radio operator announces to its 7,000-plus employees that, beginning in October, it will reinstate the matching 401k contribution that it ceased in early 2009 after the real estate crash of 2008 triggered the Great Recession.  Entercom and Journal have also reinstated matching 401k programs for employees since suspending them in order to conserve on cash flow.

Two More Panels Set for the TALKERS Los Angeles New Media Seminar.  As the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminar nears an early sellout, two more dynamic panel discussions have been added to the growing power-packed agenda.  “The Modern Pioneers” will feature (in alphabetical order): Sam Hasson, president and founder of LATalkRadio.com; Mike Horn, CEO and founder of CRN Digital Talk; Tom Leykis, president and founder of The New Normal; and LA-based national broadcasting legend Shadoe Stevens of “MentalRadio” on SiriusXM and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”  A talk personality panel titled “The Challenges of Hosting in 2012” will feature (in alphabetical order):  Lars Larson of Compass Media Networks and KXL, Portland; Bill Handel of KFI, Los Angeles; Heidi Harris of KRLA, Los Angeles; Doug Stephan of  the “Good Day” morning show; and Alan Stock of KDWN, Las Vegas; with more to be announced.  The panel will be moderated by TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian.  Highlights of the event will include the presentation of the TALKERS magazine’s annual “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient, Stephanie Miller of WYD Media and Current TV.  Courtside Entertainment CEO and Westwood One founder Norm Pattiz will deliver the morning keynote address.  Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke will deliver a special presentation “Database your Tribe NOW!”  Other highlights include “The State of Local News/Talk Radio,” with (in alphabetical order);  Robin Bertolucci, PD of KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles; Skip Essick, PD of KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; Andy Ludlum, PD of KNX, Los Angeles; Garret Lewis, PD/morning host of KNST, Tucson; Dave Sniff, PD of KFMB, San Diego; and Chuck Tyler, PD of KRLA/KKLA, Los Angeles. It will be moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS.  The panel “Spoken Word Radio; The Big Picture” features (in alphabetical order): Phil Boyce, VP/director ,spoken word format, Salem Communications; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media;  Kraig Kitchin, CEO Sound Mind, LLC; and Mike McVay, senior VP/programming, Cumulus Media.  The moderator will be Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS.  Additional speakers include (in alphabetical order: Kevin LaRue, program director KSL, Salt Lake City; Don Martin, OM/GM, KLAC, Los Angeles and VP programming, Fox Sports Radio; Patt Morrison, host/commentator KPCC, Los Angeles/Southern California Public Radio; Ken Rutkowski, host of “Business Rock Stars,” KFWB, Los Angeles; and Eric Stanger, vice president of operations, the Sean Hannity Show, Premiere Networks.  As those of you who have been following the development of this amazing conference know, the above is just the tip of the iceberg with a whole lot more scheduled.  The complete up-to-the-minute agenda will be posted tomorrow at Talkers.com.  In total, the seminar will feature more than 60 leading industry speakers who will examine the key issues facing the talk radio/media industries.  It will take place in Los Angeles on Thursday, October 11 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm being presented by TALKERS in association with the Los Angeles Press Club.  To assure registration, attendees are advised to sign up now.  Registration is a recession-era low $99 which includes everything.  Because it is open only to working media there will be no online registration – only by telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.

Clear Channel Flips KVNS, Brownsville, Texas to Sports Talk.  The station – at 1700 AM – switches from classic hits to sports talk on September 17 airing Fox Sports Radio Network’s lineup of “Fox Sports Daybreak,” Dan Patrick, Jim Rome, “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, and “Fox Sports Tonight” plus will serve the market as a Dallas Cowboys play-by-play affiliate.  Clear Channel market manager John Richards says, “There are too many sports fans in the valley to not yet have a sports/talk station in the market.  Like advertisers, we know sports fans are passionate about their favorite sports, teams and hosts, so we are very passionate about partnering with Fox Sports Radio for this launch.”

Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel Star Sean Hannity Hits Silver Screen in “Atlas Shrugged: Part II.”  When the second part of the Ayn Rand saga hits theaters in October, moviegoers will get a glimpse of Premiere Networks and Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity as he plays a cable news TV anchor in one scene.  A still from the flick is seen here as Hannity (far right) sits on the fictitious cable news network set with actual Fox News Channel correspondents (from l-r) Bob Beckel, Juan Williams, and Tamara Holder.  In addition to Hannity’s cameo appearance in the movie, his radio show will be offering exclusive content, movie gear and tickets leading up to the movie’s premiere in Washington, D.C. in October.

Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas.  According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.”  Harrison describes the danger facing terrestrial radio as a “five-headed dragon” of  1) smothering debt, 2) exotic media rivals, 3) blurry ratings methodology, 4) an unprecedented generational divide, and 5) 60 and 30 second commercial spots (which when put together in clusters become “PPM pits of purgatory”).   Harrison says “radio must be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.”  He states, “The cultural heritage of what we  grew up thinking as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.”  Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.”  He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there.  Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.”  Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am.  All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.

WFNC, Fayetteville, North Carolina Debuts “Goldy and Jim” AM Show.  North Carolina talk host Curtis Wright had been heard on the Cumulus Media station though he broadcast from the coastal market of Wilmington, North Carolina (his show was also heard there on Cumulus’ news/talk WAAV).  Cumulus recently dropped Wright’s show for the more general interest “Good Morning Fayetteville with Goldy and Jim” (that’s Jim Gold and Jim Cooke).  According to the Fayetteville Observer’s Andrew Barksdale and Paul Woolverton, Wright’s program was very political and, since it emanated from Wilmington, contained a lot of Wilmington political talk.  WAAV, Wilmington has filled the slot Wright occupied with Tyler Cralle.  As for Wright, he’s embarked on an online-only internet TV venture called “Curtis Wright on the Beat Virtual.”

NRG Media’s Omaha Sports Brand “The Zone” to Air UNO Contests.  In a deal brokered by Nelligan Sports Marketing – the exclusive agent for University of Nebraska Omaha sports – NRG Media’s sports talk duo KOZN and KZOT, Omaha – “The Zone” and “The Zone 2” respectively – will air UNO basketball and hockey play-by-play for the next five seasons.  Between the two sports, the stations will air more than 60 games during the 2012-2013 season.  Zone general manager Andy Ruback states, “This is a tremendous partnership for our stations.  Listeners are deeply rooted in the UNO sports tradition and both teams have a following on a regional level.  The dual coverage on both Zone and Zone 2 will mean listeners can always stay in touch with the two premiere sports programs.”

WTOP, Washington Promotes David Dildine to Full-Time Traffic Team.  David Dildine joined WTOP in 2010 during the launch of its in-house traffic center, taking on the weekend afternoon shifts.  Now he becomes a member of the full-time staff where he’ll also work on traffic and weather related features.  Interestingly, Dildine has another passion – storm chasing.  Dildine is a seasoned storm chaser and weather research analyst having worked in Oklahoma and Texas where he chased severe storms and tornados for a living.  WTOP states, “Dildine serves as a valuable resource for WTOP’s traffic, weather and news departments – recently analyzing Hurricane Isaac, flying with Hurricane Hunters into Hurricane Irene and producing popular traffic/news stories such as “DC’s Worst Traffic Merges.”

TuneIn to Be Included in 2013 Chevy Spark MyLink Dash.  Digital audio content aggregator TuneIn strikes a deal with GM to use Livio Connect technology so its app can be integrated into the MyLink Radio dashboard of 2013 Chevrolet Spark models made globally.  According to a release, Livio Connect is a middleware framework protocol that enables hardware devices and mobile apps, now including TuneIn, to connect to and interact with one another.  GM uses Livio Connect technology, which allows owners of Chevy Sparks equipped with the MyLink Radio to enjoy 70,000 stations.  Livio Connect technology bridges the app, featured on iPhone and Android mobile devices, with MyLink.  While connected through Livio Connect, all of the TuneIn buttons and controls from the mobile device will be available on MyLink’s seven-inch touch screen, while the app on the phone itself will be disabled to help promote safer driving.

Schnitt Wows ‘Em in Memphis.  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studio at affiliate WREC, Memphis hosting his program on 9/11.  The previous evening, Schnitt hosted a sold-out “Right Night with Schnitt” where more than 200 WREC listeners paid to attend the event held at the popular Memphis eatery Owen Brennans.

9/11 Anniversary, Chicago Teachers Strike, Obama Convention Bounce, and ‘Fast and Furious’ Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/11).  The anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; the political implications of the Chicago teachers strike; President Obama’s “convention bounce” in the campaign polls; and the inspector general’s report on the Justice Department’s ‘Fast and Furious’ gun-running sting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.