Monday Memo: Boozy Bartenders. After interviewing local direct retail talk radio advertisers, consultant Holland Cooke cautions that programmers’ personal politics – “daily doom-N-gloom” – are at-odds-with listeners’ mindset, “upbeat as America re-opens.” Read his column here.
Pending Business: Next. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, says, “The days of passive audio engagement are rapidly ending. The days of appointment radio are waning as the listening consumer is in greater control of audio decisions.” For the news/talk seller this can be great news if sales management guides them properly. See his column here.
COVID-19 Vaccines & Stats, Wuhan Lab Outbreak Report, Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Israeli-Palestinian Cease-Fire/Attacks on Jews, Critical Race Theory, Belarus Plane ‘High-Jacking,’ Anti-Abortion Laws, and Cryptocurrency Slump Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fast-declining rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and concerns about vaccine hesitancy; a report indicating several staffers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology became infected with COVID in fall of 2019; President Joe Biden scales back his infrastructure plan to $1.7 trillion to woo Republicans; the cease-fire between the IDF and Hamas and increasing incidents of attacks on Jews in the U.S.; increased reports of parents fighting their school districts over the teaching of “critical race theory”; Belarus comes under pressure after forcing a Ryanair flight to return so it could arrest a journalist critical of President Alexander Lukashenko; the anti-abortion laws being passed in several states; and last week’s cryptocurrency slump were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
‘Voelker and Bahl’ New Afternoon Show at Sports Talk WTMM, Albany. Air talent changes are taking place at Townsquare Media’s Albany sports talk outlet WTMM “104.5 The Team.” Effective June 1, former UAlbany associate athletic director of external affairs Charlie Voelker – who also hosts WTMM’s “Sunday Sports Buzz” – is joining Dan Bahl as co-host of the new “Voelker and Bahl” afternoon drive show. Voelker takes over for Jeff Levack who is leaving his full-time role with the station to become head of media relations for Tech East Fire and Water Restoration. He’ll remain with WTMM for special on-air and online projects. About joining the station full time, Voelker says, “I am extremely excited to entertain Capital Region sports fans on ‘The Team’ every afternoon. It is an amazing opportunity to join Dan talking sports and all that implies! I want to congratulate my friend Levack on his new opportunity and I’ll fill those shoes proudly.” WTMM brand manager Dan Bahl adds, “I have loved working with Jeff both on and off-air. I am very excited to have Charlie join me on the afternoon show and look forward to us providing local sports fans with entertaining content on-air and online.”
iHeartMedia Sells Tampa Studio Facility for $3.8 Million. According to a story in the Tampa Bay Times, iHeartMedia has agreed to sell its Gandy Boulevard facility in Tampa to LBA LVF VII XII Company LLC for $3.8 million. The studios house news/talk WFLA and numerous music-formatted stations. iHeartMedia has made no announcements about its plans for relocating the radio stations and it’s not clear when the deal closes.
WNXX-FM, Baton Rouge Host Charles Hanagriff Leaves Full-Time Role. The Advocate of Baton Rouge reports that Charles Hanagriff is leaving his full-time sports talk host gig with Guaranty Broadcasting’s sports talk WNXX-FM, Baton Rouge. Hanagriff is exiting the midday host role to take a position with Match Point. He will continue to serve with the station in a part-time sitting in with Jimmy Ott on his evening “Gametime” program and will anchor the LSU football post-game show during football season.
WFAS-AM, White Plains Goes All-Digital Today. Today (5/24) is the day that Cumulus Media’s talk outlet WFAS-AM, White Plains, New York transitions to broadcasting solely in a digital format. Cumulus received permission from the FCC to make the change last month. That came in the wake of the FCC’s October 2020 ruling that allows AM radio stations to operate using all-digital broadcast signals. As of today, only radios equipped with HD radio technology will be able to receive and play the station programming. Cumulus says, “The HD Radio signal offers improved sound quality and clear reception to an expanded listening area. The new digital signal now reaches beyond Westchester County, NY and into large portions of New York City (Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan), the north shore of Long Island, northern New Jersey, and Fairfield County, CT. Listeners can access AM1230Digital’s signal through an HD Radio receiver, available in most newer car models, or by streaming either online, with a mobile app, or with a smart speaker.”
Binnie Media Radiothon Raises $200K for Veterans Charity. Pictured above (center) is “Good Morning NH” host Jack Heath on May 19, the day of Binnie Media’s 7th Annual “Make 12 Hours Count” Radiothon that benefitted Easter Seals NH Military & Veterans Services and Veterans Count. With Heath are (from l-r): Trooper Chris Elphick of the NH Major Crime Unit, Navy Seal Dave Rogers (retired), Heath, Trooper First Class Joshua Beauchemin, and Lieutenant Sean Haggerty. The radiothon raised more than $200,000 this year. It was simulcast across Binnie Media’s “Pulse of NH” stations WTPL-FM, WTSN-FM, and WEMJ-FM, and received support from the company’s music stations. Over the past seven years, the radiothon has raised more than $1.1 million.
Michael Harrison “Animal Tour” Enters Fourth Week. “I Know You’re Real” is a Hit on YouTube with over 31,000 Views. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison is entering the fourth week of his virtual “Animal Tour” – a series of talk media interviews on radio, TV, and in print in support of his new music album with the historic rock band Gunhill Road, What Year Is This! and the animal welfare anthem, “I Know You’re Real.” This past week, Harrison has appeared on Doug Stephan’s “DJV” morning show as well as his “American Family Farmer” and “Your Hidden Powers” programs. He also appeared on Kevin McCullough’s “Radio Night LIVE” syndicated show and John Batchelor’s “CBS Eye on the World” podcast. To listen to the conversation between Batchelor and Harrison, please click here. Harrison has already appeared on the Jim Bohannon Show (Westwood One), the Harry Hurley Show (WPG, Atlantic City), “Sterling on Sunday” with Walter Sterling and “The Big Picture” with Holland Cooke on RT America. To view the music video version of “I Know You’re Real (spoken version)” featuring Harrison reciting the lyrics he wrote, please click here. Harrison will continue the tour into the summer. To book him on a talk show, please call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.
KOGO, San Diego Debuts New Lineup; Chip Franklin Exits AM Drive. After a six-year run at KOGO, San Diego, Chip Franklin exits the station as the programming lineup is tweaked at the Clear Channel news/talker. Moving into AM drive is former afternoon personality Chris Merrill. He’s followed by Rush Limbaugh. At 12:00 noon, LaDona Harvey – who had been partnered with Franklin in AM drive – is on air solo from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and Bob “Sully” Sullivan moves from the early afternoon slot into PM drive. Franklin came to San Diego after a long and successful run at Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore. He tells the San Diego Union Times he has no hard feelings about the change. “I had a great run at KOGO, and they have and continue to treat me in a highly professional manner. Believe it or not, I have been very lucky. I still have a lot of great friends there and I sincerely wish them the very best. The new morning guy, Chris Merrill, is a friend and a tremendous talent. Don’t underestimate him.”
Salem Communications to Move New York Stations into Current WOR Facilities. Salem Communications announces it will move its two New York properties – news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk WMCA – from their current New Jersey location to Lower Manhattan into what is now the studios of Clear Channel’s news/talk WOR in the Trinity Building next to Trinity Church at 111 Broadway where WOR has been located since 2006. Since Clear Channel bought WOR from Buckley Broadcasting more than a year ago, plans have been made for WOR to move into CC’s larger New York studios. Salem VP director of spoken word format and regional VP for New York Phil Boyce says, “Salem has a major commitment to winning in New York and this move will help us take both stations to the next level. We know for years great radio came out of this building when it housed WOR and now we have the opportunity to continue that tradition with both WMCA and ‘AM 970 The Answer.’ As an added plus, WMCA, known as ‘New York’s Christian Talk,’ will be re-locating next door to historic Trinity Church, founded in 1697, as the oldest church in New York City. There is some divine providence going on here, as WMCA, which is licensed to the city of New York now moves next door to the oldest church.” The move is expected to be completed before the end of this year.
CHRIS PENDL: Help Your Best Clients Thrive in Local Searches. Bonneville Seattle creative director Chris Pendl writes that some of radio’s best advertisers can be the most difficult to find when it comes to mobile-based local searches. What’s more, there can be a huge difference between how one of your clients rates on a desktop search and where they rate – if at all – on a mobile search. Pendl notes, “With smartphone ownership now 56% among American adults, searching on smartphones is increasingly becoming a part of the consumer’s journey before making a purchase. A recent local search study revealed, there’s an 87% increase in local searches via mobile apps. It is in this mobile space where some of radio’s best advertisers, local and regional businesses, have poor visibility and are often non-existent.” Pendl offers simple solutions to help your valuable advertisers appear where they should in mobile searches. Read his column here.
KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle Scores Exclusive Interview with ‘Green River Killer.’ This morning, Sinclair Radio’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle begins broadcasting an exclusive interview series with serial killer Gary Ridgway, conducted by the station’s Charlie Harger. Titled, “Voice of Evil,” it begins with a special preview at 7:15 am (PT) on ‘KOMO Newsradio.’ Reports will be broadcast at 7:15 am, 12:15 pm and 5:15 pm all this week and mark the culmination of a near year-long investigation. The station says “Harger spoke exclusively with Ridgway on six separate occasions in what are the killer’s only media interviews since his incarceration in 2001. Ridgway was convicted on 49 counts of murder but reveals to KOMO that he committed many more. In his conversation with Harger, Ridgway shares frightening details of his crimes, tells detectives where to look for additional remains and even explains why he did it. Is he sorry? KOMO posed that question to the man serving a life sentence at Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla and his answer stunned the veteran reporter.” Harger adds, “I think it’s important that people understand just why we’re giving voice to a guy like this. People deserve answers and the families deserve some kind of closure.” KOMO-AM/FM program director Paul Duckworth adds, “It’s also about justice. There are a number of unsolved cases and we’re hopeful that our investigation will prompt the task force to reopen its investigation.”
KNX, Los Angeles to Present Health Care Town Hall. CBS Radio all-news KNX, Los Angeles “1070 NEWSRADIO” is presenting an “unprecedented town hall event and day-long series of special reports, titled ‘KNX 1070 Healthcare Uncovered,’ on Thursday, October 3 giving Californians a broad range of information about choosing health insurance under the newly enacted Affordable Care Act.” The station reports that more than a dozen guest speakers representing various entities involved with healthcare reform, from federal, state and local officials to health professionals and consumer advocates, will appear at the town hall forum at The Autry in Los Angeles from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm. Guests will include Peter Lee, the executive director of Covered California, the state’s overseer and marketplace for health insurance coverage beginning in January 2014. Also scheduled to appear are Herb K. Schultz, regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services; Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog; Victor Parker, district director for the U.S. Small Business Administration, Janice Rocco, California’s deputy insurance commissioner; Rocky Delgadillo, CEO of the L.A. County Medical Association, and many others including doctors and consumers of different demographics. The event will be hosted and moderated by KNX news anchors Diane Thompson, Bob McCormick and Frank Mottek and investigative reporter Charles Feldman who is co-producing the event with Laraine Herman. Feldman states, “This is the biggest change to our healthcare system since Medicare was rolled out in 1966 and a lot of people are confused. Because this law is so new, we’re bringing together panelists with knowledge covering a wealth of issues so that whether you’re self-employed, a business owner, the head of household or just entering the workforce, we’ll provide answers to questions you’ve never had to think about before.”
Haaga Gets Nod As NPR’s Acting President/CEO. Two-year NPR board member Paul Haaga, Jr. is named acting president/chief executive officer. The appointment takes effect at the end of this month for Haaga, who most recently was vice chair of the board and finance committee chair. He will succeed Gary Knell, who leaves for similar duties at the National Geographic Society. “Paul has made many valuable contributions to NPR during his tenure on the board,” comments NPR board chair Kit Jensen. “His intimate knowledge of our organization, his unwavering commitment to the highest quality of journalism and programming, and his financial acumen make him particularly well-suited to lead NPR as we begin our search for a permanent chief executive.” The retired chair of the board of Capital Research and Management Company, Haaga is the former chair of the Investment Company Institute, and he was a senior attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to lead one of the world’s leading providers of news, music, and cultural programming on an interim basis,” he remarks. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on the board and senior leadership team to help this great organization build on its success.” The former National Public Radio renamed itself NPR in July 2010.
Star Over Orlando Retakes Control of WRSO, Orlovista, Florida; Doubles Transmitting Power. Star Over Orlando operators Carl Como Tutera and his son Carmine announce they have taken back WRSO, Orlovista which operates as a sports talk outlet carrying CBS Sports Radio Network programming. The Tuteras also announce that they have received FCC approval to increase the daytime power to 20 kw and the night-time power to 1 kw — double the power of its original license. Earlier in the week, the FCC placed the Carl Como Tutera FM Translator application for Channel 226 in Orlando on a ‘singleton’ list for the operation of an FM on 93.1 with 250 Watts of Power. The pair built the AM station in 2005 and it began operations in early 2006. WRSO operates from a studio location in Altamonte Springs and at a tower site in Orlando. They say CBS Sports will continue to be an affiliate and be heard on both the AM and FM.
Jerry Sharell Stable After Being Held Hostage, Stabbed. The Los Angeles radio and music communities remain stunned this morning following news that broke last night involving former five-year (1987 – 1992) Westwood One senior vice president of talent marketing Jerry Sharell, who was reportedly held hostage and attacked in Woodland Hills (San Fernando Valley – Los Angeles). Sharell was with his girlfriend when her ex-husband was said to have arrived with flowers and a machete at approximately 8:00 am yesterday (Sunday, 9/15). He apparently held the couple hostage for more than three hours. “Sometime during that time, [Sharell] had been stabbed repeatedly,” Los Angeles Police Department sergeant Jeff Nuttal told KABC-TV, Los Angeles. The woman was injured when she tried to halt the attack, but was able to escape and called authorities. Police say that owing to a history of domestic violence, she had a restraining order against her ex-husband. Sharell, who hosts “Sundays with Sinatra” on Los Angeles public outlet KKJZ “KJazz” – is in critical, but stable condition at Northridge Medical Center with injuries to his head and neck. The unidentified attacker turned the weapon on himself; his condition is listed as critical as well but both he and Sharell are expected to survive. The alleged attacker is in police custody at the hospital. Sharell was co-executive producer of Ronnie Milsap‘s 2004 Grammy-nominated “Just for a Thrill” album. He began his career as a Mercury Records promotion rep, before joining Main Line Distributors in 1962. Sharell held executive positions at Buddah Records and A&M Records. He has helped the careers of artists such as Herb Alpert, Jackson Browne, Carpenters, Cars, Joe Cocker, Eagles, Curtis Mayfield, Joni Mitchell, Queen, Linda Ronstadt, and Carly Simon. He is past president of City of Hope, Entertainment Division, and is on the advisory board of MusiCares. From 2002 – 2010, he was president/CEO for the non-profit Society of Singers. Sharell’s wife of 48 years, Joanne, recently died after losing her fight against cancer.
‘Boomer & Carton’ Off MSG Network as Contract Expires. Last week TALKERS reported that the Yankees-owned YES Network is in talks with WFAN, New York’s Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton to do a cable TV simulcast of their AM drive show on the CBS Radio sports talk station. Up until last week, the duo had been seen on the Madison Square Garden Network (MSG), but that deal elapsed on Friday and for now, Boomer & Carton are only available on the radio.
Odds & Sods. Entercom’s WEEI, Boston adds ESPN “Monday Night Football” play-by-play voice Mike Tirico to its stable of football experts. Tirico will call in to the Salk & Holley show every Thursday afternoon at 4:30 throughout the season…..Plain Talk Radio Network’s internet radio show “Talk Live with Peter Gantenbein” – a “weekly news and commentary program that engages in straight talk not for the faint of heart,” has been recognized as must-hear radio with an “Editor’s Pick” recognition from Windows Media Guide…..Good Karma flips WEFL, Tequesta, Florida to Spanish–language sports talk using ESPN Deportes. The company had been simulcasting English-language sports on WEFL and WUUB-FM, Jupiter and the latter remains English-language sports talk…..CRN Digital Talk Radio‘s popular wine dinners return to Los Angeles on Tuesday, September 17. Tobin James of Tobin James Winery in Paso Robles pairs a variety of wines with a prix fixe menu at Colombo’s Italian Steak and Jazz Club at 1833 Colorado Blvd. in Eagle Rock. CRN CEO and president Michael Horn says, “People still talk about our Tobin James wine dinner from a few years ago. Toby brings a world-class selection of wines people enjoy. He’s also a fun, down-to-earth person that everyone relates to. Colombo’s provides a great atmosphere and delicious food that will make the night all that more special.”…..Today ABC Radio re-launches its popular “Dancing with the Stars” station on Slacker, providing fans with behind-the-scenes access to the ABC hit reality TV show. Now in its third season, “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will deliver an on-demand audio experience and unlimited access to key moments throughout the competition. Each week “Dancing with the Stars” Radio will follow the Season 17 cast as they battle it out on the dance floor for the coveted Mirror Ball trophy. Season 17 of “Dancing with the Stars” premieres on tonight on the ABC Television Network.
Newhouse School Presents Audio Industry Summit. The half-day event will take place in New York City on Friday, September 27 and will feature two panels of experts from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon at Syracuse University Lubin House, 11 E 61st St. The event is free and open to the public but seating is limited. RSVP with your name and professional affiliation to Ed Gorham at firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday, September 18. Newhouse Dean Lorraine Branham states, “Given the seismic shifts in radio and newer audio platforms, much attention is being paid to the medium’s future. It is crucial that we understand where the industry is headed so we can appropriately prepare our students. We want to hear from thought leaders in management, programming and other key areas so we can get a better handle on best practices in radio moving forward.” Industry players attending will include: Jeff Smulyan, founder and CEO of Emmis Communications; Dan Mason, president and CEO of CBS Radio; Buzz Knight, vice president of program development for Greater Media; Chris Oliviero, executive vice president of programming for CBS Radio; Deon Levingston, vice president and general manager at WBLS Radio (New York); Kevin Straley, vice president of programming at TuneIn; and Ed Levine, president and CEO of Galaxy Communications, among others.