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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.

 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

| July 26, 2012

Talk Media Personality Ed Schultz Reveals Wife Wendy is Battling Ovarian Cancer.  Syndicated talk radio host and MSNBC personality Ed Schultz has been off of both of his programs for the past week and took the time yesterday to call in to his radio show to speak with guest host Mike Papantonio to announce that his wife Wendy is being treated for ovarian cancer.  Schultz told his audience they received the diagnosis last Wednesday and Wendy underwent surgery on Tuesday of this week.  “The doctors feel like they got all of it.  It was a very successful surgery, but we got a long way to go.”  Schultz took the opportunity to thank the staffs of both of his programs for their help in covering while he’s been away and said he will be missing from both programs for some time, although how long is not known.  “Doing a radio and TV show isn’t exactly what I’m thinking about right now.  I’m going to be with my wife through all of this…We both feel like we’ve been through the wringer and you lose track of time, you lose track of what you’re doing.  And everything changes, but we’re going to be OK.  We’re going to get through it.”  The staff of TALKERS magazine wishes the best to Ed and Wendy at this challenging time in their lives.

Clear Channel Names Clay Hunnicutt EVP of Programming.  This is a big move up for the SVP eastern region and VP of country as Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces Clay Hunnicutt becomes executive vice president of programming for the company.  The promotion also puts Hunnicutt in charge of programming in markets including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Washington, Baltimore and San Diego.

Morning Hosts, Former Employer Settle in Potentially Precedent-Setting Case.  When Q92 (WDJQ, Canton, Ohio) morning hosts Pat DeLuca and Charlotte DiFranco left the D.A. Peterson, Inc.-owned station after their contracts expired in February of this year and began an internet radio show, Peterson demanded the two cease their project saying it was in violation of their non-compete.  The two sued Peterson and in April Stark County Common Pleas Judge Charles E. Brown Jr. ruled the two forms of communicating – webcasting and terrestrial radio – were different enough that the duo were not in violation of their non-compete.  Peterson responded by asking they be prohibited from webcasting or streaming within a 60-mile radius of the station (although TALKERS is not sure how that would be accomplished or enforced).  Judge Brown denied that request but did rule DeLuca and DiFranco may not use tapes of programs they did while working for Peterson and that they must return the tapes.  Also, Brown ruled Peterson owes the two back pay for vacation.  As it stands the sides are agreeing to settle the dispute and Peterson says the two will be paid when all the tapes have been returned.  Whether this case sets any sort of precedent regarding the difference between terrestrial and internet broadcasting in future disputes is obviously unknown at this point, but is nonetheless an interesting ruling as far as talent and employers are concerned.

Courtside Entertainment’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew Pinsky” Clears Boston.  The twice-daily medical advice and “life enhancing insight” feature from Courtside Entertainment gets a major-market clear on Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston, adding the city to its other major markets — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Washington DC.  Courtside Entertainment Group president Bob Moore says the power of Dr. Drew Pinsky’s brand is astounding.  “There are 15 million Google searches related to health and wellness every day, and 75 million related to celebrities.  Calling Dr. Drew!  Drew knows what listeners want and we are pleased to partner with the legendary WTKK to ensure they get it.”

Red Zebra’s WTEM, Washington Brings Fox 5 Washington Sports Director Aboard for Football Show.  WTTG-TV, Washington, DC acting sports director Dave Ross will join Red Zebra’s ESPN980 — WTEM – for the month of August to fill in for Tony Kornheiser in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and host the “NFL This Morning” program.  WTEM says the show will cover everything Redskins and the entire NFL.  “Over the five weeks, Dave will have daily Redskins guests as well as live reports from all 32 NFL cites while going in-depth on every team in the league.  The show will originate from Redskins Park, where ESPN980 has an exclusive studio.”  WTEM president and CEO Rick Carmean states, “Redskins coverage is our wheelhouse and this show will continue our dominance in that area.  There is no better way to begin that coverage than with Dave Ross at Redskins training camp.”

Delmarva Broadcasting to Debut FM Talk Station on September 4.  The station will be positioned as Delaware 105.9 and former WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Maryland program director and morning host Dan Gaffney – who just last week announced his departure from that station – will be part of the new station’s lineup.  Delmarva is splitting the FM simulcast of country WKTT, Salisbury, Maryland – currently broadcast on both the 97.5 signal of WKTT and WZKT’s 105.9 licensed to Lewes, Delaware to the northeast.

WTKK, Boston Adds Andelmans for Friday Middays.  The Andelman brothers – Dave, Dan and Michael – have hosted “The Phantom Gourmet Radio Show” on Saturdays on the station since April of 2007.  Dave Andelman is CEO of Phantom Gourmet, Inc. which produces not only the radio show but a TV show of the same name that airs in Boston, Providence and in Maine in addition to some of Beantown’s biggest food-centric public events.  Now, the three will host a Friday show from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm that will “cover anything that’s topical,” according to Dave Andelman.  Program director Grace Blazer tells TALKERS, “The Phantom Gourmet and the Andelman Brothers are staples on Boston radio, TV, and genius at throwing big events all over New England.  Over the past five-plus years, the Andelman brothers have connected on-air, online and in person with 96.9’s listeners and advertisers and we’re delighted to bring their family to yours on Fridays in addition to Saturdays.  Let the fader begin.”  The three are the sons of well-known Boston sports media personality Eddie AndelmanDoug Meehan continues to host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm show Monday through Thursday.

Mark Tauscher Joins Journal’s Packers Broadcasts.  Retired Green Bay Packers lineman Mark Tauscher becomes part of the broadcast team for Journal Broadcast Group’s radio and TV coverage of the team’s games this season.  Tauscher will provide pre- and post-game analysis on the Packers Radio Network and pre-game analysis on the Packers TV Network.  Journal director of network operations Carl Moll states, “Mark brings listeners and viewers a fresh perspective on how players think and react to game situations in the NFL. His knowledge adds dimension to the Packers coverage originated by Journal’s radio and TV networks.”

Midwest Communications Buys Backyard Broadcasting’s Sioux Falls Cluster.  There’s no price on the transaction being disclosed yet but the seven-station cluster that includes news/talk KELO and sports KWSN but the stations will become part of Midwest Communications’ portfolio pending FCC approval.  The sale leaves Backyard Broadcasting with stations in three markets: Muncie, Indiana; Williamsport, Pennsylvania; and Olean, New York.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough, host of his own nationally syndicated daily talk radio program and co-host of the “Baldwin/McCullough Live” weekend program with Stephen Baldwin, announces his company is producing a new TV program beginning in September called, “Hannah Help Me.”  The show stars former PBS personality and mother of seven Hannah Keeley who will help mothers who are wrestling with the mess of life to gain insight and strategies in coping with the worries of parenthood…..WFED, Washington AM drive co-host Francis Rose is filling in for Cumulus Media Networks talk host John Batchelor on his Saturday evening WABC, New York-based program this weekend…..Cloud-based advertising software company Abacast announces veteran media executives Ivan Braiker of Hipcricket and John Maffei of Playsino are named to the company’s board of directors…..The syndicated weekend automotive show “America on the Road,” hosted by Mike Anson and Jack Nerad, ends production this weekend after 23 years.  Anson says, “Weʼve been contemplating shutting down for about a year, but wanted to wait until all of our current advertising contracts had concluded.”…..NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart will be guesting on the United Stations Radio Networks-syndicated program, “The Final Lap Weekly” this coming weekend.  The program is produced and co-hosted by Kerry Murphey in California…..SiriusXM delves into the vast “Twitter-verse” with its newest program, “Politics Powered by Twitter,” heard on the satcaster’s POTUS political talk channel.  The one-hour daily show airs live at 6:00 pm ET and is described as a “new radio format that reports to listeners exclusively what politics are being talked about on Twitter, including trends and Tweets from politicians, journalists and celebrities who have active voices on the key political issues, electoral races and breaking news.”

Overflow Crowds Attend Dallas Premiere of Obama Movie.  The Dallas premiere of the Dinesh D’Souza-produced political film “2016: Obama’s America” was a huge hit as two theaters in a local multiplex were filled with viewers for the film that goes into national theatrical release the first week of August.  Pictured here with D’Souza (c) are Salem Radio Network nationally syndicated talk host Mike Gallagher (r) and Salem Communications talk host Mark Davis (l) who is hosting morning drive on the company’s 660 The Answer – KSKY, Dallas.

Presidential Campaign, Aurora Massacre Aftermath, Syria Instability, and Jobs Market Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/25).  The ongoing presidential campaign; the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting; the violence and political implications associated with Syria’s instability and the flat jobs market were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

| July 24, 2012

Arbitrator Rules in Favor of Former XEPRS, San Diego Hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith.  Sports talk hosts Scott Kaplan and Billy Ray Smith were fired by XEPRS, San Diego – XX Sports Radio 1090 – in February after Kaplan made derogatory comments about the appearance of Mountain West TV Network sports personality Andrea Lloyd.  Kaplan and Smith contended they were let go in violation of their contract which outlined a process by which the station was to address content issues in case of a disagreement.  An arbitrator – retired Superior Court Judge Linda Quinn ruled in the hosts’ favor and has awarded the two more than $490,000 in damages based on their respective salaries, commissions, endorsements and incentives as provided by their contracts.  U-T San Diego (for which Kaplan now works co-hosting an online TV show called “Scott, B.R. + Amber”) reports Kaplan and Smith feel vindicated with Kaplan stating, “I feel vindicated.  They breached the contract.  I knew that from the beginning.  There was a lot of embarrassment that came with the termination.  I spent 11 great years on the radio…I loved what I did and I loved who I worked for.”  XEPRS has not paid the duo yet and has filed a motion asking Quinn to reconsider her decision.

NPR Hires Lobbying Firm to Fight GOP Effort to Defund CFPB.  Congressional Republicans are again organizing efforts to defund the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and NPR is hiring the lobbying firm Navigators Global to help shut that down.  The Hill reports NPR spokesperson Dana Rehm says that the organization is a content provider but is also a trade organization representing member stations.  “It is part of our mission to represent the interests of NPR member stations to Congress, executive, regulatory and judicial bodies.  At a time when the federal government is running a large deficit, every program and function of the government deserves to be scrutinized, and a review of federal funding to public broadcasting is fair and to be expected.”  Rehm says the firm’s job is to explain “how the federal investment in public radio stations and larger public broadcasting system provides one of the most effective returns of any program authorized by Congress.”

Talk Radio Rises to the Occasion in Covering Aurora Massacre Aftermath.  The natural progression of the analysis and coverage of the killing of 12 and wounding of dozens of others at the Aurora, Colorado premiere of “Dark Knight Rises” continues and talk radio is rising to the occasion to serve its listeners with compelling and responsible discussion.  Examples of talk outlets rising to a high level of performance through the use of experts in the fields of psychology, law enforcement, media violence, gun control and more are being reported to TALKERS from all over the country.  Here two examples of similar coverage:  Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt featured an interview with shooting victim Pierce O’Farrill, who was hit three times by bullets from the shooter’s gun.  O’Farrill described live on the air the chilling events at the theater, his perspective on the gunman, the death penalty, and his visit with President ObamaXtreMedia president Kevin McCullough tells TALKERS several of his company’s programs – his own Kevin McCullough show, the Saturday evening “Baldwin/McCullough LIVE” broadcast  and the Sunday night Dani Johnson show spent the bulk of their collective platforms allowing hurting, confused and stunned listeners to respond to the attacks.  Actor Stephen Baldwin took time out from a publicity tour in neighboring Cheyenne, Wyoming (90 minutes from Aurora) to meet with those in Aurora whose lives have been touched by the shootings.  While there, CNN‘s Don Lemon asked Baldwin (see photo) to weigh in on his perspective of the events.  Baldwin told CNN, “It may be time for those of us in the Hollywood community to re-examine how we advance violence through films, television, and video games.  It also blows my mind that someone could purchase 6,000 rounds of ammo in 45 days.  I’m a gun enthusiast but a red flag should’ve gone off somewhere.”

Progressive Town Hall Forum in Seattle.  Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Randi Rhodes (center) was one of eight panelists who took part in “Showdown 2012: Recapturing Democracy,” a progressive town hall forum presented by Seattle’s Progressive Talk AM1090 (CBS Radio’s KPTK) at the ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington on Saturday, July 21.  Rhodes appeared on a panel focused on the evolving role citizens play in the political and public policy process, including strategies to protect our role in democracy and to build a better future for everyone.  Panelists in this picture are (from l-r): Congressman Jim McDermott, WYD Media talk host Thom Hartmann,  talk host Mike Papantonio, Compass Media Networks talk host Norman Goldman, Rhodes, talk host Sam Seder, talk host Ron Reagan, and panel moderator David Postman, former chief political reporter for the Seattle Times.

KESN, Dallas Renews Contract with Cowboys Great Drew Pearson.  ESPN O&O KESN, Dallas – ESPN Dallas 103.3 – announces it is renewing its deal with Dallas Cowboys great Drew Pearson for another season.  Under the terms of the contract, Pearson will join “Ben & Skin” co-hosts Ben Rogers & Jeff “Skin” Wade on Mondays from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon, do Friday call-ins to the “Galloway and Company” show, and co-host the “5th Quarter Cowboys” post-game show.  Pearson will act as the “go-to guy” for any breaking Cowboys or NFL news, and do a weekly video segment with “Galloway and Company.”  Pearson states, “I am very happy and excited to be joining the ESPN Radio team for my third season as Cowboys/NFL analyst.  My role with ESPN provides a platform for me to express my sports opinions and it also allows me the opportunity to continue my association with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports’ – ESPN – which to me is priceless.”

Old Friends.  Dial Global nationally syndicated talk host Dennis Miller (r) poses for a shot with former “Saturday Night Live” cast member and co-star David Spade (c) and show promoter Bill Blumenreich (l) at Miller’s recent live concert at Boston’s Wilbur Theater.  Spade snuck into the theater and found his way to Miller’s dressing room where they chatted and caught up.

Fox Sports Radio and Yardbarker Enhance Content Relationship.  The latter is described by Fox Sports Radio as a sports opinion site and blog network.  It’s a property of Fox Sports Interactive Media and now it and Fox Sports Radio Network will begin working together more closely beginning with incorporating FSRN’s “Loose Cannons” into Yardbarker’s content.  FSRN states “‘Loose Cannons’ will feature a daily segment with co-hosts Pat O’Brien, Steve Hartman and Vic ‘The Brick’ Jacobs as they take listeners into O’Brien’s ‘backyard’ for all the dirt from Yardbarker.  Fox Sports Radio will soon add similar segments across other network programs.  In addition, Yardbarker will feature select content from Fox Sports Radio on its website and social media platforms.”  Yardbarker VP of operations Jack Kloster states, “Yardbarker is incredibly excited to partner with Fox Sports Radio and to introduce our content to the loyal listeners of ‘Loose Cannons.’  The partnership is a natural fit.  Our content is inherently conversational and Fox Sports Radio is home base for sports conversation.”

Geoff Neuhoff Passes Away at Age 59.  Neuhoff Communications president and CEO Geoff Neuhoff died Sunday after falling ill suddenly on Saturday.  Neuhoff owned and operated stations in rural Illinois including clusters in Springfield and Decatur.  The company operated news/talk WSOY, Decatur and sports talk WFMB, Springfield.  Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey tells the State Journal-Register, “Geoff Neuhoff was a giant among small- and medium-market broadcasters.  Geoff demanded from all of us a dedication of greatness and excellence no matter the market size or the power of the station.  Geoff believed strongly that innovation was the way forward and he embraced new technologies with enthusiasm.  He will be missed by his team, but the legacy he leaves behind will last for years to come.”  Neuhoff is survived by his wife and three children.

Aurora Movie Theater Massacre, Penn State Penalties, Syria Instability, and European Debt Worries/Financial Markets Activities Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/23).  The aftermath of the massacre at the “Dark Knight Rises” showing in Aurora, Colorado; the severe penalties levied against Penn State in the Jerry Sandusky child abuse scandal; Syria’s political instability and threat to use weapons of mass destruction; and ongoing concerns over the debt of some European nations and the effect on world financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, June 15, 2012

| June 15, 2012

WCHB, Detroit Morning Host Mildred Gaddis Investigated by Federal Authorities.  According to a piece in the Detroit News, urban talk WCHB, Detroit morning drive talk host Mildred Gaddis is being scrutinized by federal agents for receiving $75,000 in payments to her ExCel Media company from two former public officials who have been indicted on charges of pocketing public money.  Former Highland Park school board member Robert Davis and former Wayne County assistant executive Michael Grundy were regular guests on Gaddis’ program and authorities are investigating whether the two were buying influence through advertising on the station.  Invoices to Gaddis’ company indicate the money was for “ads and interviews.”  Spokesman Greg Bowens acknowledges firms operated by Davis and Grundy made payments to Gaddis’ company but says they did not receive favorable treatment as a result.  The Detroit News quotes media lawyer and Michigan State journalism professor Jane Briggs-Bunting saying, “Ethically, there are big issues but as far as an FCC violation, I don’t see one.”

Pioneering AOR/Talk Program Director Pat Evans Dies.  The woman who programmed the first FM station to feature Howard Stern in the morning and album rock the rest of the day, Pat Evans, has died in San Francisco after a two-year battle with lung cancer.  Evans came to New York City from her home town of Detroit in 1985 upon being hired by then-Infinity CEO Mel Karmazin to program WXRK (“K-Rock”) where, in addition to working with an outstanding line up of AOR personalities such as Jimmy Fink, Tony Pigg, Meg Griffin, Marc Coppola, Jo Maeder and Maria Malito, she served as one of the first modern era music radio PDs to develop pop culture (“shock jock”) talk in the morning, handling the monumentally historic challenge of working with local AM drive host Howard Stern during his rise to prominence on FM.  She later served as PD of the legendary K-FOG in San Francisco and VP of communications at public broadcasting’s KQED in that city.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who worked with Pat Evans in 1989 as co-producers of the ABC Radio Networks mega special “The Official History of Rock and Roll” states, “Pat was an extraordinary human being who has tragically been taken away from us while still in the prime of her life.  Her love of radio, its music and personalities, was a powerful inspiration to me and so many others.  Her work behind the scenes in facilitating Howard Stern’s early days as an emerging force on the FM dial was a vital component in shaping the course of things to come for decades in this field.  She was one of the true greats of our industry.”

Sports Talk Listeners Very Tech-Savvy According to Jacobs Media Study.  The results of its Techsurvey 8 indicate sports talk radio listeners are extremely tech-savvy and use digital technology to feed their appetite for sports.  Jacobs Media president Fred Jacobs states, “Sports radio fans are highly engaged, into gadgets, and especially likely to be connected via Twitter.  They know how to access the sports news and happenings they crave and they deftly use the available tools.  Radio needs to work hard to be their go-to medium.”  Jacobs says the study reveals Twitter is a favorite of sports talk fans and says, “Sports talk fans lead the league for tweeting.  Of those who use this platform, more than half follow a sports talk radio station and/or personality on Twitter.”  Learn more about the study at JacobsMedia.com.

WCTC, New Brunswick, New Jersey Personality Jack Ellery Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award for NJBA.  New Jersey talk radio personality Jack Ellery has spent close to 50 years of his career at Greater Media’s WCTC, New Brunswick – he started there in 1962 – and he was honored at the recent New Jersey Broadcasters Association conference on June 12 and 13 with the organization’s “Lifetime Achievement” award.  Ellery was also one of eight broadcasters to be inducted into the inaugural class of the NJBA’s Hall of Fame.

Pandora Engages Local Newspapers to Sell Ads for its Service.  The digital music service is entering into relationships with some local newspapers for a reseller program in which newspaper sales staffs sell ads on the Pandora platform.  Papers including the Miami Herald, Salt Lake City Tribune, Tacoma News Tribune and U-T San Diego are working with Pandora on the project.  Pandora has always stated one of its goals is to sell locally – something that sticks in the craw of local radio.  And although Pandora – with its claims of large listening stats – certainly has the users to back up its presence, unlike radio, the more people who listen, the more Pandora must pay for its content.  The service needs to find as much revenue as possible and this deal with local papers is a cost-effective way to get feet on the ground in local markets.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Townsquare Media’s New Jersey 101.5 is honored with two “Best of the Best” awards at the New Jersey Broadcasters Association annual convention.  The station was recognized for “Best News” for its 100+ hours of coverage of Hurricane Irene and “Best Public Affairs” for its monthly “Ask the Governor” program…..Heritage St. Louis news/talk KMOX will soon move to new offices as CBS Radio consolidates its three stations – KEZK-FM, WYKY-FM and KMOX into one office in the Park Pacific building in downtown St. Louis.  Currently, the two music outlets and KMOX are in separate buildings.  KMOX will be the first station to move and should be there by the end of 2012…..SiriusXM announces it will cover every game of the 2012 NCAA College Men’s World Series beginning today through June 24 from TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  America’s Radio News Network adds news blocks to new affiliate WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..“Baldwin/McCullough Live” featuring Stephen Baldwin and Kevin McCullough joins stations KCBQ, San Diego; WORL, Orlando; WPNW, Zeeland, Michigan; and KAPE-AM/FM, Cape Girardeau, Missouri…..Dial Global’s Jim Bohannon joins the lineup at WMNI-AM/FM, Columbus…..The Leslie Marshall show joins the lineup at WRJN, Racine, Wisconsin…..Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” is added to the program schedule at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WKBZ, Muskegon, Michigan; WSNJ, Millville, New Jersey.

2012 Presidential Race Returns to Top of Talkers TenTM.  The 2012 campaign for president was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio in America for the week of June 11-15 after dropping to #2 last week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  Following at #2 was the Russia-Syria arms connection.  At #3 was the GOP’s pressure on Attorney General Eric Holder in the ‘Fast and Furious’ case followed by the financial instability in the European Union at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Monday, April 30, 2012

| April 30, 2012

Cumulus Makes it Official:  WYAY-FM, Atlanta to Go All-News in May.  The Atlanta Business Chronicle confirms what’s been rumored as Cumulus Media COO John Dickey announces the company’s classic hits WYAY-FM – licensed to Gainesville, Georgia – will flip to all-news in mid-May.  Dickey tells the Chronicle, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity.  It was an easy decision for us to take advantage of it…Pop culture, celebrity news and entertainment news have really become news today.  That has intermixed with hard news to create a different product.”  Atlanta had WCNN – now SportsRadio 680 the Fan – operating as an all-news outlet in the late 1990s but that was on AM and Cumulus believes now is the right time to put an all-news product on the FM band.

KTRS, St. Louis Cancels JC Corcoran PM Drive Show.  Veteran St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after hosting the PM drive show for the past 18 months.  St. Louis Today’s Deb Peterson reports management at the station was not returning calls seeking comment but that other sources indicate that KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director and former KFNS, St. Louis talk host Martin Kilcoyne will take over the program.  Corcoran’s sidekick Trish Gazall is reportedly remaining with the station.  Other changes including a slight shift in programming as John Hadley moves his late-night show to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot allowing Chicago-based Steve Cochran to host just his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program at the station (he had been doing a split shift with an early evening show as well).

Feature Series – Part 4: Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo concludes his four-part TALKERS series on FM talk.  In this piece, Sabo discusses the importance of creating time and a place to innovate.  Sabo notes that radio has no laboratory for experimentation.  “If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it?  Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience.  As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained.  You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.”  Sabo offers several ways to test new programming, including your HD channel.  “Finally, a good use for HD channels: Experimentation.  If you want listeners to try a new medium, give them something new to listen to.  It doesn’t cost more money to play different songs.  The promise of HD radio is breathtaking.  New programming attracts early adopters and that’s what new hardware demands.”  Sabo says this article is a preview of 15 action-packed minutes that he will deliver at the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7.  This exciting industry-only event will be a certain sellout.  For registration information call 413-565-5413.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.

FCC Decision to Require Political Ad Info Posted Online for TV Stations Has Radio Execs Watching DC.  For now, only television stations in the top 50 markets in the country are being required to post their public files – including their political ad rates – online.  But some radio operators are nervous about this cascading to their medium.  This decision is only popular with some political groups that believe too much money is spent on politics and is tarnishing the process.  The NAB is not pleased and states, “NAB respectfully disagrees with today’s FCC decision and we’re disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying.  By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily. We appreciate Commissioner McDowell‘s thoughtful and compelling dissent, and we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.”  Some communications law observers believe there are problems with this new policy and we’re likely to see this end up in court.

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels to Host New TV and Radio Show Beginning in Early May.  Michael Patrick Shiels previously hosted the morning show based at WJIM, Lansing and was heard on other markets via the Michigan Talk Network.  His relationship with WJIM owner Cumulus ended and now he announces he’s struck a deal with WSYM-TV, Lansing to produce and distribute a new morning show that will be simulcast on WSYM-TV and on the radio in markets yet to be announced.  WSYM-TV VP/GM Gary Baxter states. “FOX 47 is proud to continue its partnership with Michael Patrick Shiels and launch his new program.  There is simply no one like him on radio or TV in the state of Michigan.  Michael Patrick’s show allows us to have the biggest names in politics, business and Michigan sports on our air every morning.  Our viewers might see Governor Snyder and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the same show — what great television!”

Tom Joyner Vows to Stay Connected with Tri-State Fans Via Digital Media.  The EmmisESPN deal and consequent merger of the Kiss FM format with WBLS-FM, New York leaves his nationally syndicated urban morning show in the lurch.  But Tom Joyner believes very strongly in the power of Black radio and the need for shows like his in the Black community.  In a memo to Kiss FM listeners, he writes, “I am saddened that an important Black voice is going silent in New York City, especially during this important election year.  Along with the Tom Joyner “Morning Show,” the Michael Baisden show and Rev. Al Sharpton’s Sunday program will also be off the air in NYC in this transition.  Black radio has been and always will be an extremely important motivational force in the community.  Although social media currently gets a lot of credit and rightfully so, nothing can replace the role Black radio plays in empowering, informing and entertaining Black people.  You can’t believe everything you read on social media but studies do show that most people believe what they hear on black radio.  That makes me feel proud and reminds me of my responsibility to be there for them each morning.”  Joyner encourages his audience in the Tri-State area to listen via his smartphone app or via BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Compass Media Networks’ “At Home with Bob Vila” Debuts Today.  The new daily feature hosted by home improvement icon Bob Vila and produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks hits the air today at affiliates including KOGO, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; KVON, Napa, California and more.  Compass Media Networks VP affiliate sales Adam Wilbur states, “Stations in all formats – sports, news/talk, all-news, country, AC and classic hits have signed up for Vila.  In another week, we will announce additional stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC.  With over 90% name recognition with Americans, program directors appreciate the power of Bob’s brand – and sales managers love the ability to sell the feature locally.”

Actor Stephen Baldwin, TV-Radio Host Dani Johnson and Talk Host Kevin McCullough Announce Effort to Aid Starving Orphans.  The 2012 in 2012 charity effort is named that because, as XtreMedia CEO and principal Kevin McCullough states, the goal is to rescue 2,012 orphans from starvation during the year 2012.  McCullough’s weekend radio show partner Stephen Baldwin and television and radio host Dani Johnson are partnering to spearhead this program.  Baldwin says a child can be fed for a mere 25 cents per day.  “When I toured the places these children sleep and live in, I couldn’t help but be moved to do something about it.  My whole family saw with our own eyes children who were dying or would die soon, simply because they had no food.  It is imperative to me, my media company, my family, my business partners, and every one I come into contact with to let them know how vital 25 cents can be.  It can literally feed a meal to a child who literally will die without it.”  Kevin McCullough says, “Our partners are delivering life-healing food for the rate of feeding an orphan for an entire year, for just $92 – this is how simple it is to save a life?  How can we get more people involved?  How can we rescue more children?  These questions haunt me each night…”  McCullough and company are teaming up with two charities experienced in feeding children – Food for Orphans and King’s Ransom Foundation and they are seeking other media partners for this quest.  “If you are a television, radio or new media personality who has a passion to help hungry kids, we would love for you to join us in this amazing quest.  We will link arm in arm with anyone and everyone who is moved to do this, to be part of it, and to see orphans fed.”

Nationally Syndicated Radio Feature Host Akos Jankura Develops New Weekend Show; Seeks Products or Inventions from Public to Feature.  Inventor and international presenter Akos Jankura – who writes and produces the nationally syndicated radio feature “Akos the Solutionist” – teams up with John Cremeans to create a weekend radio show based at WFLA, Tampa on which they will make it possible for one inventor to pitch their product or invention.  The show will premiere Saturday, May 5 at 4:00 pm on WFLA and people with products or inventions are asked to visit MyCoolInventions.com to submit their entry.  Jankura says, “Many people don’t know that one of our most successful TV shopping channels actually began on radio.  I’ve teamed up with John Cremeans also known as ‘The Doctor of Shopolgy,’ John has logged over 25,000 hours of live television shopping and is a pioneer in our industry.  He is skilled at getting arm-chair inventors to make their best pitch for their product which is so important in the early development process.”  Jankura says together the two have more than $2 billion in sales.  The team is poised to identify products and inventions that can become the next great hit.  Their hands-on process invites everyday inventors or people with great ideas to join the inventive group at MyCoolInventions.com and sign up to receive information and tips that will guide them through the process of taking a product to market.

In Memory of a Radio Pioneer: Pete Fornatale.  TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer worked closely with rock radio legend Pete Fornatale who passed away last week at age 66.  Although, as Neer writes, Fornatale was not a talk host as we traditionally define it in radio, “When he did crack the mic, you couldn’t find a more intelligent voice observing pop culture than the late Pete Fornatale.”  Neer notes that Fornatale became synonymous with the genre of radio hosts who did more than quickly intro or backsell a record – something that many argue is missing in music radio these days.  “He was probably the first real musicologist on commercial radio who presented rock and folk music as an intellectual as well as emotional experience.”  Read Richard Neer’s memorial to Pete Fornatale here.