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Friday, February 26, 2016

| February 26, 2016

AlphaAlpha Media Closes on Digity Purchase. This is no ordinary acquisition as Alpha Media balloons to approximately 250 stations in 50+ markets by closing on in excess of 110 Digity properties. Over and above that, Alpha Media becomes the country’s third-largest broadcast company in terms of number of markets and fourth-largest regarding station count. Alpha Media chair Larry Wilson comments, “We are very pleased to get this remarkable transaction done. In our fold is now an exceptional stable of diversified stations and markets, serving not only their towns but surrounding areas and communities. It has been a tremendous pleasure to work with respected broadcaster [Digity chief executive officer] Dean Goodman and his management team. We look forward to joining forces with the phenomenal people at Digity doing radio the right way.” Goodman remarks, “I have been honored to work with the great broadcasters of Digity. They know their roots are in live and local and their future is dynamic. They will excel with Alpha as individual and collective entrepreneurs. We hand off a thriving company, up this year at the top of the industry. I wish Larry [Wilson] and his team all the best; they have assembled a great platform.” Only two of the 28 Digity markets are PPM-metros – San Jose and West Palm Beach. The other facilities are in Missouri: (Bethany-Cameron, Clinton, Farmington-Festus, Moberly-Macon, and Waynesville-Lebanon); Iowa (Fairfield, Fort Dodge, Grinnell-Newton, and Mason City); Minnesota (Albert Lea-Austin, Luverne, Mankato, and Redwood Falls); South Dakota (Brookings, Madison, and Watertown); Illinois (Aurora and Joliet); Nebraska (Columbus and Lincoln); Michigan (Saginaw-Bay City-Midland); North Carolina (Greenville-New Bern-Jacksonville); Ohio (Canton); South Carolina (Myrtle Beach); Texas: (North Dallas-McKinney); and Wisconsin (Kenosha-Waukegan). When this deal was first announced in August 2015, the purchase price was reported to be $264 million.

CBS Radio LogoWFAN and Brooklyn Nets Extend Broadcast Rights Agreement. The multi-year deal between CBS Radio New York sports outlet WFAN “The Fan” and the NBA‘s Brooklyn Nets goes beyond NBA basketball to cover other parts of the business at Barclays Center, including select college basketball games, concerts, and live events. As it has since the 2004 – 2005 season, WFAN will continue as the team’s radioBrooklyn Nets Logo flagship. According to CBS Radio president Andre Fernandez, “CBS Radio is proud to continue our association with the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center. We have defined our position in sports broadcasting by delivering the most extensive coverage of local programming and events. We continue to make aggressive investments in exclusive content our audiences can’t find anywhere else.” Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment chief executive officer Brett Yormark comments, “Our relationship with CBS Radio continues to give us a major voice in the nation’s largest market. This new agreement comes on the heels of our recent extension with YES Network, providing the team with premium exposure on two of the country’s most popular sports outlets.” WFAN news sibling WCBS-AM will be the Nets’ secondary radio outlet. Prior to relocating to Brooklyn, the team was called the New Jersey Nets. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for New York City, WFAN ranks ninth (3.8, 6+); iHeartMedia adult contemporary WLTW “Lite FM” leads the field with a 6.7 (6+).

hyde, coreyHyde Heads to Entercom Sacramento as GSM. Fourteen-month Pandora account executive Corey Hyde joins Entercom Sacramento as general sales manager. Vice president and market manager Lance Richard comments, “It is exciting to add Corey to our team. He has an impressive track record of success and Entercom_Communications_logohe brings experience in developing dynamic, integrated campaigns and long term partnerships for local clients. His leadership skills and experience in this market make him the perfect fit for Entercom Sacramento.” Hyde remarks, “I am thrilled to be joining Lance Richard and the team at Entercom Sacramento. Radio is stronger than ever, and we have the best local stations in the market. I look forward to using our wide array of marketing assets to drive real results for our clients.” In his 13-year radio career, Hyde spent nearly 10 years with CBS Radio Sacramento as a senior account executive and three years with iHeartMedia Sacramento as an AE. Entercom Sacramento consists of KCTC “ESPN 1320″; CHR KDND “The End”; alternative KKDO “Radio 94-7”; KRXQ “98 Rock”; classic rock KSEG “The Eagle”; and hot AC KUDL “Star 106.5.”

baldwin, stephenBaldwin Exits Weekend “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.”  Effective immediately, actor Stephen Baldwin departs “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE.” The two-hour syndicated weekend program carried by approximately 250 affiliates on Kevin McCullough‘s eight-year-old XtreMEDIA and simulcast on BizTV is rebranded “Radio Night LIVE.” As Baldwin’s work schedule increased the past few months, McCullough explains, “The more difficult it has become for him to make the show. For the past eight years, we have enjoyed the liveliest and – on most nights – the funniest weekend radio broadcast in America. Our listeners will mccullough, kevinimmediately feel the impact of Stephen’s absence from the talk radio airwaves. To be realistic, however, because of his filming schedule in 2015, his workload severely prevented him from being with us even one out of two weeks. This is great for him because his passion is acting. Our staff, our sponsors, and listeners will miss Stephen’s unique humor and spunk. His personality is one-of-a-kind and Stephen will always be welcome to a microphone we have named in his honor; we are thrilled though at this chance to take our broadcast to another level. ‘Radio Night LIVE’ will take the signature humor we have developed over the years, add cutting edge ‘next generation’ guests, experts, and entertainers and explode Saturday night in ways previously unseen.” Baldwin comments, “God has been so good to me and all I want to do is to follow where He is leading me. My time doing the show is something I will always remember. Our listeners brought much laughter and insight into my life.” It is possible that McCullough will utilize a series of rotating guest hosts such as KRLA, Los Angeles’ Elisha Krauss; Karol Markowicz of The New York Post; YouToo America‘s Gina Loudon; as well as Ashley Papa and Kayleigh McEnany. McCullough continues hosting his weekday 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm “After Hours” show on Salem Media Group New York’s WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”; the “Kevin McCullough Show” for Salem Media Group; and “News That Makes You Think.”

WGN LogoFour More Years: WGN, Northwestern Extend Rights Agreement. The union between 50,000-watt WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University will keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the Tribune talker through the conclusion of the 2019 – 2020 season. In addition, the voice of Wildcats football since 1990 and men’s basketball since 1996 – Dave Eanet – signs a four-year contract. WGN Radio presidentNorthwestern Wildcats and general manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “We are proud to present Northwestern basketball and football anchored by Dave ‘Mr. Cat’ Eanet. We look forward to bringing our listeners the excitement of Chicago’s Big Ten team in the years to come.” According to Northwestern vice president for athletics and recreation Jim Phillips, “The Northwestern Wildcats and WGN Radio have forged a special relationship over the last two decades. WGN not only is a broadcasting force, but a true Chicago institution. We have shared many thrilling moments through the years, and we look forward to many more memories with WGN Radio as the home of Chicago’s Big Ten team.” Eanet was inducted into the WGN Radio Walk of Fame last year. Former Chicago Bear Ted Albrecht is WGN’s football analyst on Wildcat broadcasts, while former college and pro head coach Joey Meyer provides analysis on basketball broadcasts. WGN has been the radio home of the Wildcats since 1996. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s January 2016 PPM report for Chicago, WGN ranks fifth with a 4.2 – its best showing since last June’s 4.3; CBS Radio‘s all-news WBBM-AM is on top with a 6.8 (6+).

walter, maryLouisville Lineup Changes at WHAS, WKRD. Starting next Monday (2/29), former WKXW “New Jersey 101.5,” Trenton personality Mary Walter will oversee a weeknight 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm program on iHeartMedia Louisville talker WHAS. Of Walter, director of iHeartMedia Louisville’s AM programming Kelly Carls comments, “She is always prepared; keeps her finger on the pulse of the news; and she does a great job connecting with listeners. We are delighted she will be offering her unique perspectives every day.” A WHAS fill-in beginning in 2009, Walter remarks, “I am so excited to be with the WHAS audience on aWKRD regular basis. I have grown to love the local listeners over the years. They are so engaged and informed that it makes the job fun.” She previously worked at radio stations in Washington, DC; Phoenix; Denver; and Omaha. Meanwhile, at co-owned all-sports WKRD “790 KRD,” Howie Lindsey is named 7:00 am – 10:00 am host; contributors Matt Willinger and Katie George will join him. Another change there will find TheCardinalConnect.Com founder Nick Coffey taking on 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm duty. “We are very excited to expand our local sports coverage on WKRD,” notes Kelly Carls. “Mornings, mid-days and afternoons, we now have local sports fans covered with updates, insights, and compelling conversation about the teams and games that really matter.” Lindsey and Coffey will debut one week from Monday (3/7). Among persons 12+ in Nielsen Audio‘s winter 2016 book, WHAS ranks #1 (7.4) and WKRD is #12 (1.2).

Cumulus Media Dallas Sets Fourth Spring Job Fair. Jobseekers and hiring companies will come together in less than Cumulus Media Dallastwo weeks (3/9) as Cumulus Media Dallas presents its fourth annual Putting Texans Back to Work Spring Job Fair at the Plano Centre. In attendance will be representatives from over 100 companies in search of quality candidates from the Dallas, Collin, and Denton County areas of North Texas. No registration is required for job seekers; however, registration deadline for companies looking for qualified individuals is one week from Monday (3/7). The Cumulus Dallas cluster includes sports KESN “ESPN Radio 103.3”; talk KLIF-AM; CHR KLIF-FM “Hot 93.3”; country KPLX “The Wolf”; KSCS “New Country 96.3”; sports KTCK “The Ticket; and talk WBAP.

BTC LogoBTC Begins HD Radio Data Services in Canada. A partnership between the Broadcaster Traffic Consortium (BTC) and exclusive mapping and technology data partner HERE leads to Canada’s first in-vehicle HD Radio Traffic service. Honda is the first brand to offer the service to its customers on certain 2015 and 2016 models. Broadcaster Traffic Consortium president Paul Brenner comments, “The BTC and all of our member stations are excited to be the first to market for HD Radio data services in Canada. Honda and HERE are valued partners that expect constant innovation and quality services regardless of our borders or radio station ownership. Unified broadcasters, collaborating to deliver a common service, bringing innovation solutions to automakers is better for the strategic and long-term viability of the broadcast radio industry. BTC is proud to be a leader in this space.” HD Radio Traffic enables drivers and passengers to view detailed information on local traffic conditions in real time on their vehicle’s audio display screen. The BTC has stations providing coverage in most areas within greater Toronto, Vancouver, and Calgary; the service is expected to expand to additional Canadian markets. Originally founded in 2007 with eight broadcast groups – Beasley Broadcast Group; Bonneville International Corporation; Cox Radio; Emmis Communications; Entercom Communications; Greater Media; NPR; and Radio One – BTC has grown to include 23 broadcast groups in the United States and Canada. It builds a nationwide terrestrial broadcasting network to distribute local traffic and other map-related data via FM and HD Radio technology.

talkersten logoPresidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of February 22-26.  Primary races and activities of presidential candidates were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was Apple’s refusal to hack the phone of one of the San Bernardino terrorists.  At #3 was the battle over the timeline for replacing Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, followed by Islamic State’s reported threats against Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week; it is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  View this week’s entire chart here.

fritts, eddieBFA to Fete Fritts with “Excellence in Broadcasting” Award. Former 23-year National Association of Broadcasters president and chief executive officer Eddie Fritts is named this year’s Broadcasters Foundation of America‘s recipient of the Lowry Mays “Excellence in Broadcasting” award. Underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation, the award is given each year to a broadcaster, “whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.” Fritts’ past recognitionBroadcasters Foundation of America includes “Broadcaster of the Year” awards at both the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters. In addition, he is the past recipient of the Broadcasters Foundation’s “Golden Mike” and “Chairman’s” awards. Inducted into the Giants of Broadcasting’s Hall of Fame in 2010, he received the NAB’s “Distinguished Service” award one year later. Fritts – who launched The Fritts Group in March 2006 – will be honored with this particular acknowledgement in approximately two months (4/20) during the NAB Show in Las Vegas. The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars to thousands of broadcasters and their families. Individual donations can be made to the Guardian Fund. Corporate contributions are accepted through the Angel Initiative; bequests can be arranged through the Legacy Society.

Cumulus 2Cumulus Media Florida Outlets Aid in Tornado Recovery. Personal and household items, as well as monetary donations, are being collected by 14 Cumulus Media stations in Fort Walton Beach-Destin, Mobile, and Pensacola (Florida) for those affected by this week’s tornadoes in Century and Pensacola. Radio station staffers will be at various locations for six hours today (Friday, 2/26), nine hours tomorrow (Saturday, 2/27), and four hours on Sunday. Listeners are being asked to help tornado victims with water, personal hygiene items, household cleaning items, tarps, laundry detergent, diapers, wipes, book bags, crayons, pens, pencils, paper, clothing, and non-perishable food items. Cash donations should be directed to the Gulf Coast recovery effort through the American Red Cross and the United Way.

cbsradio-logoCool Job Opportunities at CBS, Los Angeles.  TALKERS has learned that CBS Radio Los Angeles is now looking to fill the following positions as soon as possible at all-news KNX 1070:  news reporter, writer, and news production assistant. For more details and to apply, please click here: WWW.CBSRADIO.COM/CAREERS.

union edgeOdds & Sods. Pittsburgh-based “The Union Edge” adds suburban Minneapolis talker KTNF “AM 950 The Progressive Voice of Minnesota” as its 27th affiliate. KTNF president Chad Larson comments, “KTNF has been a longtime union advocate, covering labor issues since 2004 in the Twin Cities. We look forward to carrying another program focused on the many accomplishments labor has made for our nation as well as the modern threats facing working families and our ability to collectively bargain in the workplace.”

Friday, March 13, 2015

| March 13, 2015

Laurie Cantillo

WTOP PD Cantillo Departs. Late Friday afternoon (3/13), WTOP, Washington, DC program director (and co-author of “Right Brained Children in a Left Brained World,” 1998) Laurie Cantillo teased her social media followers with this post: “Spring is a time of new beginnings … excited for the future.” That message is actually a follow-up to what was shared earlier in the day with the staff at the Hubbard all-news operation. “The decision has been made to not renew Laurie Cantillo’s contract,” general manager Joel Oxley writes. “The decision was reached mutually by Laurie and me.” In another internal memo, Cantillo states, “Our anchors and reporters have never sounded better and page views for WTOP.com are off the charts. Morale is as high as the International Space Station, where we conducted a historic live interview this morning. We are on ‘TOP’ in every respect, which makes this the right time for me to pursue my next adventure. There is no finer multimedia newsroom in America and I will miss seeing you every day. My immediate plan is to co-create a screenplay and finally get around to writing my next best seller.” Although she notes, “Radio and digital media innovation will continue to be a big part of my life,” she did not indicate if there is a particular station in her future. WTOP news director Mitchell Miller, senior news and sports director Mike McMearty, and managing editor Darci Marchese will share in assuming Cantillo’s duties. WTOP chalked up a mammoth +3.1 to 9.2 (Nielsen Audio PPM, January 2015, 6+) as it progresses from third to first. It is the station’s best mark in exactly one year, equaling the 9.2 it logged in January 2014. WTOP was #1 (6+) for 11 straight monthlies before iHeartMedia adult contemporary WASH took the top spot in December and “Holiday” 2014. Simultaneous with graduating from the University of Colorado, Cantillo landed a full-time reporting job in Boulder and she had a 13-year tenure at Denver’s KOA. She was selected to program KTAR, Phoenix in 1997 and was later recruited by cross-town KFYI in a similar capacity. The former WABC, New York programmer joined WTOP in 2011 and officially became program director there upon the retirement of vice president of news and programming Jim Farley.

journalbroadcastgroupPositive 2014 Q4 for Journal Broadcast Group’s Radio Sector.  With the merger with E.W. Scripps expected to close in the second quarter of 2015, Journal Communications reports a positive fourth quarter of 2014 – up 13.6% on revenue of $122 million.  For the radio sector, the fourth quarter saw revenue rise to $22.1 million – an increase of 7.7% (excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 5.5%).  The company reports that radio political and issue revenue was $0.7 million compared to $0.1 million.  Excluding political and issue, total revenue increased 4.9%, local revenue increased 6.5%, though national revenue decreased 0.9%. Automotive revenue, up 13%, was a driver of local growth.  For the full year, radio revenue increased 3.0% to $79.1 million.  Excluding the change in the fiscal year, revenue increased 2.4%.  Radio political and issue revenue was $1.3 million compared to $0.4 million.  Excluding political and issue revenue, total revenue increased 1.8%, local revenue increased 2.6%, though national revenue, a small component of our revenue, decreased 6.6%.  When the merger deal closes next quarter, Journal and E.W. Scripps will merge their broadcast and digital media assets under a company retaining the E.W. Scripps name and be based in Cincinnati.  Their newspapers and community publications and related digital products will comprise a firm to be called Journal Media Group, based in Milwaukee.

levymitch

KJR, Seattle Re-Ups Levy; Adds Powell for Middays.  Morning drive personality Mitch Levy — with iHeartMedia’s sports talker KJR-AM, Seattle for the past 20 years – will continue in his morningpowellchuck drive role after inking a new contract.  At the same time, the station announces the arrival of Chuck Powell to host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  He most recently was with Bonneville in Phoenix at both sports talk KTAR-AM and the former adult hits KPKX.  Former Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren is also returning to the station this NFL season to serve as NFL expert and contributor.

stocknspca15NSPCA Honors KDWN’s Alan Stock.  For the past 10 years, Las Vegas talk show host Alan Stock has been featuring the Pet Pick of the Week in an effort to get local pets adopted.  Earlier this week, the Nevada SPCA surprised Stock with special recognition for his work.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Master Magician Lance Burton (former headliner at the Monte Carlo), Stock, and NSPCA president Kathy Jung.  She’s holding Keno, who was in this year’s Puppy Bowl before the Big Game.

XtreMedialogoKevin McCullough’s XtreMEDIA to Present Holy Week-Themed Radio Drama Across U.S. and International Radio Networks.  The audio drama is based on the one-man play being performed in Chicago by actor and radio personality Stephen Baldwin titled, “Heaven, How I Got Here: A Night with the Thief on the Cross.”  McCullough says, “Easter weekend on five  American radio networks and the biggest networks in the United Kingdom (our first jaunt into international broadcasting) a compelling ‘audio drama’ of the same role Stephen is portraying on stage, will be aired on both religious and mainstream spoken word stations across Europe and America.  Thus far 1500-plus stations have signed on and in some clusters/markets like Salem NYC the drama will air nine times from Good Friday evening through end of Easter Sunday. There is no cost to take the broadcast.  We commissioned the Grammy and Dove award winning composer Dick Tunney for an original soundtrack, we created a completely digital sound design, and Stephen re-created the character he will portray on stage to give voice to the ‘thief’ to whom Jesus historically said, ‘This day you will be with me in paradise.'” McCullough says stations wishing to take the radio special can email him at kmc@x3media.net and he’ll be glad to add them to the growing surge of stations gobbling it up.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is now heardfreemanedge on Iredell Broadcasting’s WSIC-AM/FM/TV, Statesville, North Carolina, which includes transmission on over-the-air digital TV channel 21.2…..The GCN-syndicated “America Tonight” delaneykatewith Kate Delaney adds affiliate stations in: WSMN, Nashua; WPBQ, Jackson, Mississippi; KIXW, Victorville, California; KTFL, Higley, Arizona and KLOE, Goodland, Kansas…..Syndication Networks-syndicated “Those Weekend Golf Guys” joins the weekend lineup at KQV, Pittsburgh…..“Business Rockstars” is added to the program schedule at KTMS, Santa Barbara and KTVA, Oxnard/Ventura.

Iran Nuclear Controversy Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of March 9-13.  The controversy over President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and the group of GOP senators who sent a letter to Iran contesting the president’s right to unilaterally make such deals was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  Coming in at #2 was the probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of personal email for State Department business.  At #3 was the 2016 presidential prospects followed by the amnesty/immigration issue at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, March 4, 2013

| March 4, 2013

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global Restructures Credit Status; Pays Down $15 Million of Existing Term Loan.  The industry has been watching the state of Dial Global’s debt situation and now the company announces that it, its lenders and certain of its stockholders have agreed to recapitalize the company’s existing credit facilities, other obligations and equity interests.  CEO Spencer Brown states, “The new agreements with our lenders represent a significant step forward for the company.  Once thesebrownspencer transactions close, we will have delivered our balance sheet and decreased cash interest expense.  The agreements will provide us with greater flexibility to actively manage and grow our business.  We look forward to closing these transactions in April and focusing on serving our clients.”  As part of the recapitalization, the company has entered into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, by and among the Company, General Electric Capital Corporation, as administrative agent and collateral agent, and the lenders party thereto which provides for a $15 million paydown of the company’s existing term loan and revolving credit commitments.  That agreement matures on October 21, 2016.  The company is also entering into a Priority Second Lien Credit Agreement among the company, the administrative agent, the syndication agent and the lender party for an additional $31.5 million through a term loan facility to the company, with a maturity date of July 21, 2017.  As part of this Dial Global agrees to issue it penny warrants to purchase 7.5% of the company’s common stock exercisable immediately following the consummation of the recapitalization.  Regarding the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement, dated as of October 21, 2011, lenders agreed to restructure their existing approximately $93 million in second lien obligations by amending and restating that agreement to provide for a $30 million term loan that matures five years after the expected closing of the recapitalization and exchanging approximately $63 million in remaining obligations under the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement for a new series of preferred stock of the Company.  Under various subscription and exchange agreements between the company and the holders of the company’s PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock, such holders have agreed, subject to the satisfaction of certain specified conditions, to exchange their PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock for equity securities of the company and have further agreed to make an additional equity infusion of $16.5 million.

villanuccijimCumulus Media’s News/Talk KKOB, Albuquerque and Talk Host Jim Villanucci Part Ways.  When talk radio personality Jim Villanucci’s contract came up at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque the company chose not to renew it.  Villanucci tells TALKERS magazine that he’d been reaching out to Cumulus for the past several months about a contract renewal but the company didn’t appear interested in talking so he exited after last Thursday’s program.  Cumulus AM stations program director Pat Frisch is sitting in the PM drive slot for now as he seeks out a replacement.  Villanucci’s program was a big ratings-getter for the station for many years.  It will be hard to replace the kind of steady performance he’s achieved at KKOB-AM.  Villanucci tells TALKERS, “I leave KKOB after 14 years looking forward to my next opportunity.  I have had so many wonderful years working with some of the finest broadcasters in the business in a market that’s been very good to me.  I wish the good people of Albuquerque and the folks at KKOB the very best.  I would especially like to thank my former GM Milt McConnell, and wish my friend and PD Pat Frisch good  luck going forward. ”  Villanucci has been an annual face on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred for years due to his consistent performance and ability to branch out beyond the often-predictable news/talk topics heard on so many stations in the format.

sileodanDan Sileo Exits WQAM, Miami.  The statement from sports talk host Dan Sileo is brief and indicates the two sides were not seeing eye-to-eye on programming philosophy, “Our differences revolve around content issues and we wish each other the best.  As for me and my style of sports talk, I will never change.”  Sileo joined Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami for the PM drive show after a successful stint at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa.  He then moved to middays.

masonirelandL.A. Daily News Ranks Top Sports Talk Personalities Heard in Market.  To TALKERS editors, the thing that stands out about this list is that there are enough sports talk radio hosts – both local and nationally syndicated – to put together a ranking for the Los Angeles market.  But there are and KSPN’s Steve Mason and John Ireland tied for #1 this year with KLAC, Los Angeles’ Petros Papadakis coming in at #3 (there is no #2 since Mason and Ireland tied for #1).  Papadakis’ partner Matt “Money” Smith ranked #5 this year.  The paper also ranked the top nationally syndicated sports talk hosts heard in the L.A. market and the top three were: 1) Dan Patrick of DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio; 2) Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith of Fox Sports Radio; and 3) Jay Mohr also of Fox Sports Radio Network.  Nice compliment for Jay Mohr since he’s only been in the gig since the beginning of the year.  And speaking of Jay Mohr…

mohrjayComedian, Actor and Sports Nut Jay Mohr Focuses on Fox Sports Radio Gig.  To show how serious he is about his new full-time gig as midday sports talk host on the Fox Sports Radio Network, Jay Mohr tells TALKERS magazine,Fox Sports Radio Logo “Honestly, I have turned off the sitcom and movie noise to concentrate on the radio show; those other doors are closed right now.  I cannot be on the phone trying to figure out how I am going to leave a studio at ‘this time’ to be on a movie set at ‘that time.’”  In this profile piece, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Mohr about his radio influences, love of sports, comedy road work and how he got into the sports talk game by subbing for Jim Rome, and finally to his first full-time sports talk job.  He says of the fill-in work, “I thought if I could keep doing this, one day I might be able to do it for a living.  I listened to Jim for many years and he really changed sports talk radio.  He made it fun again.  My job is to reset the dial a little and bring everybody back to the fun part of it.”  Read the entire story here.

berrymichaelRising Talk Radio Star Says Host Endorsements Should Be Interesting (and a Whole Lot More).  He also says the goal of advertising on radio should be results – a simple concept often overlooked by sales and programming departments in their rush to sell the ads, give the client what they want and then get the spots on and off the air as quickly as possible.  Michael Berry is one of news/talk radio’s most dynamic and promising rising stars.  His mid-morning program is heard on KTRH, Houston as well as seven other respected talkers around the country.  Today (3/4) in an exclusive TALKERS piece he makes a number of powerful points about the marketing and delivery of advertising within the news/talk radio medium making the point that although host endorsements are an important technique to get the sponsor’s message across, the real trick is to do it in a way that also gets them results while proving to be a tune-in, and not a tune-out factor.  Berry (who will be speaking at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6) advises when it comes to writing and delivering commercial spots: 1) lose the copy points; 2) less is more; 3) trust the value of the endorsement (and don’t overload with justification); 4) be conversational throughout, building to the call to action; and 5) resist gimmicks and games.  To read this important article or pass it along to someone in your station or company who will benefit by it, click here.

morsechuckTalk Radio Pro Chuck Morse Joins IRN/USA Radio Network.  Boston-based talk personality Chuck Morse begins a daily, two-hour talk show (airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) via the IRN/USA Radio Network.  Morse says of his new enterprise, “I am honored to work at the network founded by economist Larry Bates and award-winning talk pioneer, the late Marlon Maddoux.  I look forward to working with talk host Chuck Bates who carries on the tradition of excellence at IRN/USA.  With a national audience, I hope to follow in the footsteps of my mentor, the late Jerry Williams, who developed an intense bond with his callers and audience.”

baldwinstephenBaldwin/McCullough Radio Show Co-Host and Actor Tops Fundraiser Effort on Celebrity Apprentice All Stars Show.  Stephen Baldwin, actor and co-host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show “Baldwin/McCullough” (co-hosted by talk radio personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough), and his team raised more than $600,000 for the American Red Cross during last night’s season premiere of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice All Stars.”  That sum set a new record for the most ever raised in a season kick-off episode.  Baldwin is competing for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Foundation named in honor of his mother.

millerchrisWelcome to the Concept of Core-Casting.  It is a simple and elegant idea that puts one of the most effective radio broadcasting uses of social media into perspective and focus.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes today (3/4) about how social media provides radio programmers and talent with a pipeline to communicate directly with their most ardent listeners and fans.  Miller writes, “There are companies outside radio who are learning how to use social media to leverage the power of their most valuable customers.  One day, some smart radio group is going to figure out that social media is not just more broadcasting in a different medium.  Neither is it just a matter of getting likes, shares and comments.  While most mass marketing involves some form of trolling for cume, this is different.  This is like the sales department taking its 10 biggest clients on a cruise.   It’s core-casting.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Talks Suicidal Man ‘Off the Ledge.’  After an agitated and despondent man who had barricaded himself inside a Tampa-area business and was threatening to kill himself called the Bubba the Love Sponge program on Friday, Bubba (Todd Clem) was able to calm the man enough that he put his weapon down and was taken into custody by local police.  The man, identified as Corey, locked himself inside The Car Store, a business owned by Bubba’s friends Todd and Shellie Herndon.  The man is a family friend of the Herndons.  Bubba says, “I’m just glad The Herndons are safe, no deputies were harmed and this gentleman can get the help he needs.”

teinowitzharryHarry Teinowitz Exits ‘ESPN 1000’ Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports ESPN O&O WMVP “ESPN 1000” is going with a two-man PM drive show featuring Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic as the station has cut ties with Harry Teinowitz after 12 years.  Feder reports a memo to the staff read, in part, “At 6:00 pm this evening Harry Teinowitz signed off air for the last time at ESPN Chicago.  Throughout the many years that Harry has been with us, he has served in many different roles and has helped to establish the ESPN brand in Chicago.  Harry’s contributions will be felt for years to come in every department at ESPN Chicago.  We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”  Afternoon drive on sports talk radio is, by many industry executives, considered to be more important than AM drive.  Feder reports the most recent PPM data show crosstown rival WSCR leads the market in the Men 25-54 demo with a 7.2 share compared to WMVP’s 3.4 share.

raytomRadio Broadcasters Still Learning About IP Codecs.  Last week’s TALKERS article by technical editor Tom Ray about the proper use and application of IP codecs raised several questions from readers indicating there is still a lot to be learned about this emerging technology that promises to be the next step beyond ISDN in remote audio delivery.  Today (3/4), the industry’s leading technical wizard addresses some of those issues — namely 1) the most important thing to have in place to use IP codecs effectively; 2) how to integrate service between brands of the device made by different manufacturers and get them to “talk” to each other; and 3) how to go about purchasing and testing an IP codec.  To read Tom Ray’s informative article or pass it along to the person at your station or company who manages technical issues and equipment, click here.

scheinadamOdds & Sods.  Sports talk personality Adam Schein joins SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio.  Beginning March 11, Schein will host “Schein on Sports” live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET on the Mad Dog Radio Channel.  He had “The SiriusXM Blitz” alongside 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon on the NFL channel…..TVNewser reports former “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Jim Murphy will serve as executive producer for CNN’s new morning show that will be co-hosted by Chris Cuomo.  It had been rumored that Erin Burnett would be moved to mornings alongside Cuomo but reports indicate that many not be the case…..In other TV news, the New York Daily News reports Matt Lauer is on the hot seat since “Today” has fallen behind “Good Morning America” and the local “Good Day New York” on Fox5 in New York City.  The story indicated morale on the set is low and conflicting reports about whether a new executive producer will join the show are adding to the problems.  Several sources are indicating Matt Lauer may not be long for the program.

Friday, January 18, 2013

| January 18, 2013

diloretodanielBubba-Schnitt Trial: Day Two.  On day two of testimony in the Hillsborough County, Florida courtroom where nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation, thebubba questioning surrounded Bubba’s on-air language calling for the “death” of Schnitt – who was hosting mornings at WFLZ, Tampa as MJ Kelli.  Schnitt’s attorney focused on Bubba’s statements that included: “We seek and destroy,” “I will not be happy until I have an MJ funeral in the streets in Tampa, Florida,” and “MJ, that’s the only person I really want to die, seriously.”  On the witness stand for part of the day was former Clear Channel Tampa market manager Daniel DiLoreto who said on the stand that he was “stunned” by Bubba’s comments about schnitttoddwanting Schnitt “to die.”  Schnitt’s attorney is trying to convince the jury that Bubba’s language went beyond typical radio disc jockey feuding to putting Schnitt and his family in fear for their safety at the hands of members of the “Bubba Army,” as Clem’s fans are known.  Clem’s attorney is trying to paint all the on-air talk as simply the words of feuding disc jockeys with no real threat to anyone’s safety.  When questioned by Clem’s attorney if he ever heard Clem actually ask anyone to hurt Schnitt, DiLoreto replied he had not.

oconnelldanielJohn O’Connell Named PD at CBS Radio’s Tampa Sports Stations.  Programmer John O’Connell moves to the Tampa cluster of CBS Radio stations from the company’s West Palm Beach operations where he most recently served as OM and PD.  O’Connell will program WHFS-FM, Tampa “Sports Radio 98.7” and WHFS-AM “CBS Sports Radio 1010.”  O’Connell came to South Florida after spending 15 years working in the Boston market at such outlets as Kiss 108, WBMX and WEEI.  He became program director for alternative rocker WPBZ-FM in 1996 and later increased his responsibilities to oversee several stations in the region.  CBS Tampa SVP and market manager Ben Hill says, “I have complete confidence in John’s experience and leadership, having worked closely with him over the years.  He is confident and ‘walks the walk’ when it comes to achieving results.  And the fact that no one can match what we offer when it comes to sports programming will enable John to create a listener experience that is completely driven by the fans.”

paynesethSeth Payne Joins Midday Show at KILT-AM, Houston.  Former Houston Texan Seth Payne becomes part of the “Mad Radio” midday show at CBS Radio’s sports talk KILT-AM, Houston “SportsRadio 610” beginning Monday, January 21.  Payne replaces Brad Davies who remains with the station on a part-time, fill-in basis.  He’ll co-host the program with Mike Meltser.  KILT-AM program director Gavin Spittle says, “I can’t thank Brad enough for being a part of ‘Mad Radio.’ In one year, we have seen a 100% increase in this time slot and while we will miss him on a daily basis, I’m glad that he wants to remain on the team in a part-time capacity.  Seth is a natural fit and from day one, he’s impressed us. We’re really excited about the all-new ‘Mad Radio.’”  Payne states, “I’m grateful to Gavin Spittle for this opportunity and I appreciate all the guidance I’ve received from him and the talented people at ‘SportsRadio 610.’  I especially look forward to working with Mike Meltser.  He is an extremely talented and intelligent individual, and I know we’ll have a lot of fun.”

johnsonisraelCelebrating in the Holy Land.  XtreMedia nationally syndicated talk host Dani Johnson (pictured here at left with Israeli comic Yisreal Campbell) celebrates her one-year anniversary in talk radio with a trip to Israel.  Johnson, along with fellow XtreMedia talk hosts Kevin McCullough and Stephen Baldwin, were invited by representatives of the Israeli government to come and witness Israel’s progress in agriculture, culture, and technology.  Johnson is producing her weekly radio program from Israel and Campbell will appear on the edition of her program that airs live on Sunday, January 20 from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.  Johnson’s program is heard on more than 85 affiliate stations.

kucinichdennisFox News Channel Brings Dennis Kucinich Aboard as Contributor.  Liberal ex-Congressman Dennis Kucinich – who served eight terms in the House of Representatives – becomes part of the cable news/talk channel’s contributor corps.  In a statement about his new endeavor, Kucinich says, “Through 16 years in Congress and two presidential campaigns, Fox News has always provided me with an opportunity to share my perspective with its enormous viewership.”

noorytvshotGeorge Noory Debuts On-Demand Video Show.  The Premiere Networks nationally syndicated late-night talk star begins his new weekly internet television program titled, “Beyond Belief with George Noory.”  The program is a project with GaiamTV.com and delivers new episodes every Friday evening at 7:00 and on demand daily.  As you might expect, the program is billed as “dynamic discussions on paranormal phenomena, conspiracies and all things unexplained.”  Noory is pictured here on the set interviewing Dr. Katherine Albrecht for a show about privacy and RFID chips.

kirofm logoKIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts Weekend Pet Show.  Dubbed, “It’s Raining Cats and Dogs with Shawn Stewart,” the program has its premiere airing Sunday, January 20 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle.  The show features pet experts from the Ahimsa Dog Training Center who will take listener questions regarding everything they need to know about raising their beloved best friends.  “In this case, the tail does wag the dog,” says KIRO Radio’s assistant program director Jason Antebi. “I’ve never seen a city more in love and obsessed with their companions than Seattle! This show is the perfect addition to the KIRO Radio weekends.”

comrexliveshotComrex Moves Full-Force into Digital Video Delivery Market.  Devens, Massachusetts-based Comrex Corporation announces it is shipping its new LiveShot Video IP Codec – the first video product for professional broadcasters in the company’s 51-year history.  Comrex says the new technology provides high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio over both wired and wireless IP data services, including challenging internet links such as 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi with end-to-end delay as low as 200ms.  Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Our core customer for the past several decades has been the radio broadcaster.  It was in response to requests from some of our longtime customers that had worked in radio — and who had subsequently moved over to television — to create a product that would do for TV what our ACCESS IP Audio Codecs have done for radio.  LiveShot provides the small form factor, unmatched reliability, high-quality performance and easy operator experience that Comrex customers have come to expect.”  The LiveShot Video IP Codec system consists of the LiveShot Portable, a small, lightweight, camera-mounted unit that attaches to the camera’s 3-stud or V-mount battery mount with the battery attaching to the outside of the LiveShot Portable.  On the studio side, the LiveShot Studio rack-mount unit interfaces with the facility’s audio/video router or switcher.  The units connect via an IP data connection and utilize Comrex’s CrossLock™ VPN which provides a one-button connection from either the studio or the field once the units have an internet connection.  CrossLock also provides data encryption and intrusion protection for added reliability.  Complete details on the LiveShot Video Codec’s features and specifications can be found by visiting www.comrex.com.

wexlerdrdrewFace Time with Dr. Drew.  WFAS-AM, Westchester personality Lisa Wexler appeared on HLN’s “Dr. Drew on Call” to discuss the case of Jodi Arias – accused of stabbing her boyfriend 29 times – and the Steubenville, Ohio rape case.  In addition to her work as a talk show host on WFAS, Wexler is an attorney and an author.

Filling In.  WFED, Washington afternoon drive host Francis Rose subs for Cumulus Media NetworksJohn Batchelor on his WABC, New York-based program this Sunday evening from 9:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.

allianceforwomeninmediaThe Alliance for Women in Media Announces 2013 Board of Directors.  With Kay Olin, president of Local Focus Radio serving as the National Chair, the 2013 board of directors of the Alliance for Women in Media will convene on January 25 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, for its first board meeting and then will participate in judging the 2013 Gracie Awards on January 26 and 27.  The following individuals will serve as Directors at Large:  Christina Anderson from Silver Spring, MD; Lori Conkling, executive vice president, distribution, A+E Networks, New York; Cyndee Everman, vice president, DW/BI, care and marketing tools, Time Warner Cable, Charlotte; Nancy Giles, contributor, CBS Broadcasting, Inc., New York; Sandy Girard, vice president, brand management and development, SiriusXM Radio, New York; Carol Hanley, chief sales officer, Arbitron Inc., Chicago; Annie Howell, executive vice president, corporate communications and media relations, Crown Media Family Networks, New York; Kimberly Maki, vice president, corporate communications and web strategies, Bright House Networks, Orlando; Janet Noll, national sales director, Rural Media Group – RFD-TV & Rural TV, Omaha; Deborah Parenti, executive vice president of radio, Radio Ink, New York; Roni Selig, senior executive producer/director, health, wellness and medical unit, CNN, New York; Keisha Sutton-James, vice president, Inner City Broadcasting Corporation, New York; Christine Travaglini, president, Christal Radio, New York; and Dr. Nicol Turner-Lee, president and chief executive officer, NAMIC, Inc., New York.

Obama Executive Gun Actions Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 14-18.  President Obama’s executive gun actions landed atop the Talkers TenTM this week as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio.  Coming in at #2 was the legislative arms debate.  At #3 was the debt ceiling tied with the tax cut battles and following at #4 was the American hostages in Algeria tied with the Mali Violence.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people of the week as discussed on news/talk radio.  It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

| January 8, 2013

cuddytomIt’s Official:  Tom Cuddy to Program WOR, New York.  The rumor of former WPLJ, New York PD Tom Cuddy’s new gig as programmer of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WOR turns out to be true as the company officially announces his joining the station.  He says of his new position, “I’m beyond excited to be joining a news/talk station that enjoys legendary status in New York.  We have amazing plans to grow WOR and make it the hottest spot on the AM dial.  WOR has one of the best signals on the East Coast.”  Cuddy will work under former WABC, New York general manager Steve Borneman who recently joined WOR, as well.

smithjolanaJolana Smith Named PD at Cumulus Media’s WFAS, Westchester, New York Combo.  In her new position, Jolana Smith will program both the news/talk AM and the adult contemporary FM Cumulus is operating in Westchester.  She comes to the stations from Cox Media’s AC WEZN, Bridgeport, Connecticut “Star 99.9” where she co-hosted morning drive and did the midday shift.  In addition to programming both stations, Smith will host the midday shift on WFAS-FM.  Smith states, “What an amazing opportunity to be part of the Cumulus programming ranks and to be working with SVP/programming Mike McVay and VP/AC format captain Emily Boldon…Somebody pinch me!”

sirotadavidDavid Sirota Exits KHOW, Denver.  Progressive writer and columnist David Sirota exits Clear Channel’s KHOW, Denver where he’d been paired up with conservative Michael Brown for the past six months.  Prior to that Sirota hosted the morning show at progressive talk sister station KKZN.  The Denver Post reports neither side is saying much, obviously agreeing to not discuss the change in the press.  But Sirota confirmed he’s no longer with Clear Channel and CC Denver VP of programing Greg Foster offered the obligatory “we thank him and wish him well” statement.

sanchezrickRick Sanchez Lands Radio Gig at WIOD, Miami.  Former CNN personality Rick Sanchez had been seeking a talk radio gig since his departure from CNN in the fall of 2010.  Now, Sanchez takes over the afternoon drive slot at Clear Channel’s WIOD, Miami, replacing Rich Minaya.  The hiring of Cuban-born and Spanish-speaking Rick Sanchez is interesting in as much as his media experience doing bi-lingual talk and news programs will give him a unique approach to connecting with the Miami audience.  Sanchez was let go from CNN after making a comment on a radio program about Jews as minorities in the media business that was construed at politically incorrect.

deacesteveSteve Deace Show Clears New York City.  The Iowa-based Steve Deace talk show clears the Big Apple on Salem Communications’ WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” airing weeknights from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.  Deace’s program is in its second year of national syndication.  Deace states, “To go live in New York City after only 13 months in syndication is quite an honor.  There are good hosts on hundreds of radio stations around the country who can’t get cleared in New York City, so I’m well aware of what this means for the future of our show.”  Salem director of spoken-word format Phil Boyce says, “We’re excited to see what one of the real rising talents in our industry can do in the nation’s number one market.  Many of us have been waiting for the next generation of talk radio to emerge, and Deace represents that next generation.”  Deace hosted a local program on WHO, Des Moines prior to going into syndication.  His national show is carried on WHO.

mcculloughkevinDaily Kevin McCullough Show Adds Nine Affiliates in 2013.  The nationally syndicated Kevin McCullough show adds nine new affiliates including: WWRC, Washington, DC; WGKA, Atlanta; KRCN, Denver; and WCRU, Charlotte.  The program is syndicated by McCullough’s XtreMedia Inc. and the recent additions put McCullough’s program over the 300-affiliate mark.  XtreMedia also syndicates the Dani Johnson radio program as well as the weekend Baldwin/McCullough show featuring McCullough and actor Stephen Baldwin.

cookehollandSports Offers Social Success Templates.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show but prior to that, he took in the New Media Expo (formerly the Blogworld conference).  Cooke reports on the nuances of understanding and using social media for radio station promotion after hearing Amy Jo Martin’s keynote speech.  Cooke says Martin believes, “One of the fundamental adjustments broadcasters need to make the most of social media is to understand that tools like Facebook and Twitter aren’t just transmitters.  They’re conversations.”  And social media tools can help jocks and talk hosts be more authentic to their audiences.  Read more of Holland Cooke’s analysis here.

jonesmorgancnnAlex Jones Takes on Piers Morgan.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Alex Jones appeared on CNN on Monday evening with host Piers Morgan to debate the gun control issue and the petition to have British citizen Morgan deported in the wake of his high-profile call for new gun laws after the Newtown massacre.  Traditional talk show hosts tend to shy away from gun issues on their programs but the right to bear arms is a cornerstone of Alex Jones’ belief system and a regular topic on his program.  The feisty exchange on CNN was good TV theater and raises Jones’ national profile.  See the program here.

Obama Cabinet Nominations, Debt Ceiling Issue, NFL Playoffs, Gun Legislation Discussion and Aurora Theater Massacre Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/7).  President Obama’s nomination of Chuck Hagel for defense secretary and John Brennan for CIA chief; the issue of the nation’s debt ceiling; the weekend’s NFL playoff games; debate over changes to the nation’s gun laws; and the hearing in Colorado for Aurora theater massacre suspect James Holmes were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

townsquaremediaCool Job Opportunity.  Townsquare Media has an opportunity for the position of operations manager in Wichita Falls.  If you have experience in country, rock, CHR and news/talk formats this could be the job for you.  The OM will also serve as brand manager for our CHR station, 92.9 NIN, and must have a track record in that format.  You will also host an on-air shift on 92.9 NIN.  In addition to a strong ratings record, candidates should demonstrate a deep, rich understanding of interactive branding including social media, loyalty programs, content creation, e-commerce, streaming platforms, mobile and texting.  This job is much more than picking the hits.  The successful candidate will be a great leader, a talent coach, and a highly organized strategist.  You’ll need exceptional teamwork skills to produce results with experienced talent, programmers, sales and digital teams.  Strong working knowledge of music scheduling systems, digital audio systems and online media platforms are required.  You’ll manage multiple tasks at once, and great communication skills, attention to detail and a sense of humor are all a must.  We work hard and have fun doing it!  If you’re a fun, dynamic, creative, proven winner who loves working in media, contact Chuck Armstrong at Townsquare Media: chuck@townsquaremedia.com.  Townsquare Media is an equal opportunity employer.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

| August 14, 2012

 Yesterday’s Announcement of Clear Channel Buying WOR Sets Industry Buzzing.  The joint Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announcement yesterday that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval, set off an industry wide storm of surprise followed by speculation on how it will impact both the local and syndication landscape.  Terms of the agreement were not disclosed although Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports qualified rumors in the vicinity of $40 million.

What Does it Really Mean?  As reported yesterday in TALKERS, information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. (See yesterday’s story below.)  All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to the speculation that CC is protecting the future of its syndicated and highly valuable news/talk properties in terms of  New York clearances .  Also subject to question:  What will happen to the hosts currently syndicated by the WOR Radio Network who currently claim the legendary 710 AM as their flagship station?  Clear Channel says they will “benefit” from the relationship.  Stay tuned.

Glenn Beck Sets September Return to National Live Movie Theaters. Following his successful series of six past “cinematic” events, pioneering talk media personality Glenn Beck returns to the big screen this fall with a new comedy stage show titled “Glenn Beck’s Unelectable 2012 Live.” Broadcast live from the Majestic Theater in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday, September 20 at 8:00 pm. ET with a tape delay for the Western states, Beck will use the debate format to say the things politicians can’t – or won’t – say during this election season. In a timely mock “debate,” Beck will square off against Brian Sack, host of The B.S. of A., a sketch comedy show that airs on TheBlaze (formerly GBTV), Beck’s HD video network.  Sack’s “say anything to get elected” character is a composite of what is described as “just about every candidate from all parties.”  Beck tells TALKERS, “The B.S. of A and I have a hard job with this comedy show but I think we can pull it off – create a fake debate that is actually funnier and more absurd than the real ones we have to look forward to this fall. I am excited to once again partner with NCM Fathom Events and return to movie theaters across the country.”  In addition to the comedy, Beck will deliver a monologue presenting his view on a variety of contemporary topics. The event is a co-production of Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts and NCM Fathom Events.

You Can Tell a Lot About a News/Talk Station from its Weekend Programming… or Lack Thereof. Consultant Holland Cooke says news/talk radio stations are by and large missing major opportunities to maximize ratings, revenue and image by wasting weekends on “best-of” reruns and embarrassing paid programs.  He offers a suggestion of how to bring the commonly programmed but terribly dated “swap shop” concept into a lucrative 21st century radio role.  Read Holland’s article here.

WNIR, Akron Names John Denning New Midday Host to Replace the Late Howie Chizek. When legendary talker Howie Chizek died suddenly in June due to a heart attack, WNIR management reportedly began an extensive search to select the beloved midday host’s successor.  They decided upon John Denning, known to Chizek’s listeners as “Couch Burner” – a regular and extremely popular 20-year caller who would engage in friendly arguments with the host.  As it turns out Denning is a colorful and accomplished local businessman whom station management confidently feel will keep the legacy of Chizek alive. He takes over 10:00 am to 3:00 pm weekdays and Saturdays 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Romney’s Selection of Rep. Paul Ryan as Republican VP Choice Top News/Talk Radio Story Yesterday (8/13). The Ryan story significantly leads the pack which also includes the Texas A&M shootings, and the Mars “Curiosity” mission among the most talked about stories on news/talk stations yesterday according to ongoing TALKERS research.

Odds and Sods. Talk host Kevin McCullough, his co-host (and famous actor) Stephen Baldwin and “Secret Millionaire” Dani Johnson are extending their efforts to feed orphans.  Hoping in April 2012 to feed more than 2012 orphans before the end of the calendar year, and with more than 3600 children – who have no resources – fed for the coming year, the coalition formerly known as “2012 in 2012” has become www.DoGood.com… Sexy Philadelphia-based “shock jockett” Lois Burak and her podcast-grown program “The Lolo Show” (which includes co-host  Joe DeLong) have been given a monthly spot on Sirius XM’s Playboy Spice Channel 103.  Burak is the daughter of Marvin Burak, a controversial Philadelphia broadcaster in the 1960s.  Talkers Tip:  Check this talent out.

Fisher House Honors Premiere Networks. Fisher House Foundation recently recognized Premiere Networks for its support of “A Grateful Nation,” a  Memorial Day radio special that used the powerful personal stories of wounded warriors to promote the Fisher House mission.  Premiere handled affiliation and distribution of the one-hour show, which aired on 65 news/talk radio stations and Sirius/XM.  From left to right: Premiere Networks president/content and affiliate relations Julie Talbott, Fisher House VP Cynthia Campbell and Premiere SVP/affiliate relations for talk and morning shows Peter Tripi.  Fisher House provides no-cost housing and other support to the families of wounded warriors while their loved ones are being treated at military and VA hospitals.