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Endorsements Should Be Interesting

| March 4, 2013

By Michael Berry
Host
The Michael Berry Show

berrymichaelwriterHOUSTON — All I ever hear radio industry execs talk about is ratings and revenues, as if the two go hand in hand.  With music stations, that may be true.  But talk radio’s future will be determined by our ability to get results for our advertisers.  That includes, but is not limited to, ratings, and it probably has more to do with ratings in categories currently seen as less, or altogether un-, important; namely, 55 and up, or 35-64.

Ratings are not an end in themselves, but rather a pricing mechanism by which advertisers determine the rates they will pay.  In an industry which measures itself primarily, indeed almost exclusively, on the 25-54 demo, it’s good to remember how many people are active consumers who don’t fit into those niches.  Twenty-five-year-olds don’t buy houses, or improve them.  Their bodies aren’t breaking down, so they don’t need all the medical advancements of companies willing to advertise those services.  They are not investing, banking, exercising, losing weight, restoring vision, or maintaining a house that needs everything from new pipes to electrical to roofing to driveway pavers to a pool.  In short, radio can still be very profitable as our society ages by appealing to direct-buy advertisers.  But only if radio can yield results for the client.  Think about it: listeners tune to music radio to zone out to music, and when someone talks it’s a distraction.  Listeners tune to talk radio to be engaged, and the talk by the host is what they sought.  If the host’s endorsement of a product could be as compelling as his discussion of Obama’s hypocrisy, imagine the boon to advertisers.   Winning the ratings war for most listeners under 54 does not necessarily yield financial returns to the people who pay for advertising.  It is not the size of the audience, but rather the size of the response for the advertiser, that will build loyalty in clients.  So how do we get results for clients, especially live, direct clients? Read More

Blogging to Grow your Tribe

| January 30, 2013

More Thoughts from the Recent New Media Expo

By Holland Cooke
Radio Consultant

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — In olden times, radio, like other ad media, sold exposure, audience tonnage. Sales reps would show-off ratings rankers… which I always thought was daffy. Would you go to a job interview with nine other applicants’ resumés?

• But there our call letters were, in black and white, atop the page of whichever-demographic-we-sorted. Reps recited the Reach + Frequency spiel, promising that a radio ad schedule would help the retailer “build brand.” “We’ll make you the best-known” among all-who-sell-what-you-sell. Repetition, y’know?

• Fast forward to present day: Mere message exposure doesn’t do it anymore. The E-word en vogue is engagement, and money is flowing to digital opportunities that talk-with customers, rather than simply talk-at-‘em.

Read More

Friday, January 25, 2013

| January 25, 2013

schnitttoddSchnitt vs Bubba Trial Delayed for One Day After Schnitt’s Attorney Arrested for DUI.  It’s a rather bizarre twist in what is a high-profile case in Tampa.  The judge in the case granted a one-day delay in the trial after Charles Philip Campbell, Jr. was taken into custody Wednesday evening on suspicion of DUI.  He refused to take a blood alcohol test andbubba was released on $500 bond.  The trial will resume today as nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is suing Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) for defamation.  Schnitt spent most of two days on the witness stand Tuesday and Wednesday.  Clem’s attorney tried to score a few public sympathy points telling Fox 13 Tampa, “I’m shocked that the case was continued.  I feel horrible for this jury that has been sequestered and pulled from their jobs, their lives and their families.”  He told the TV station he didn’t understand why Schnitt’s other attorneys couldn’t handle the case.

martinezjrKFI, Los Angeles Adds J.R. Martinez for Sunday Evening Program.  The “Dancing with the Stars” champ, best-selling author and retired U.S. Army soldier begins his permanent role as host of the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Sunday program on Clear Channel’s KFI, Los Angeles this Sunday.  J.R. Martinez was deployed to Iraq in 2003 and, shortly after arriving, his Humvee hit a roadside bomb that trapped him inside the burning vehicle.  He suffered severe burns over 34% of his body and spent 34 months at Brooke Army Medical Center recovering.  In October of 2012 he published Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit (Hyperion 2012) that became a New York Times best-seller.  KFI program director Robin Bertolucci says, “He’s so inspirational and dynamic.  He filled in for Bill Carroll during the holidays and I just had to have him join our line up!  I’m thrilled he jumped at the opportunity and I’m excited to see what he will do with his own show.”  Martinez replaces the David Cruz program.  Cruz is concentrating on his four-hour daily program on sister progressive talk station KTLK.

wcnnfrontrowWCNN, Atlanta Goes Local in Late Mornings.  Dickey Broadcasting’s sports talker WCNN, Atlanta “Sports Radio 680 The Fan” is adding the new local show “The Front Row” for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart.  The show stars Ray Mariner, Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran (pictured here from left to right).  Golden and Finneran are also part of the “Rude Awakening” AM drive show (which will be trimmed by an hour to a 9:00 am stop beginning Monday).  Mariner was co-host of the morning show on Lincoln Financial Media’s crosstown CHR WSTR “Star 94” until he exited that post back in May of 2012.  The show replaces Fox Sports Radio/DirecTV’s Dan Patrick program.

cookehollandAre You Ready for Some Baseball?  Okay, so much of the country is in Super Bowl mode right now, but radio consultant Holland Cooke reports to TALKERS that with so many news/talk stations (as well as sports talk signals) carrying MLB play-by-play in their markets, now’s a good time to begin preparing to take advantage of those expensive rights.  Cooke writes about ways to take ownership of the play-by-play beginning during spring training.  Once the season starts, use brief promotional slots – like top-of-the-hour IDs – to promote the next game.  Check out more on this in Holland Cooke’s Friday piece here.

esiasonboomerBoomer Esiason Tackles TV and Radio on Super Bowl Sunday; Dial Global Handles Exclusive Radio Coverage.  The NFL’s Super Bowl is usually the biggest TV event of the year but for the millions of Americans who can’t be near a TV, Dial Global’s exclusive radio play-by-play delivers the game.  This year, Boomer Esiason and Kevin Harlan will be in the booth calling the game for Dial Global.  But Boomer is also a CBS Sports employee (in addition to his AM drive work on WFAN, New York) and he’ll be on CBS TV as part of the pre-game show and the halftime broadcast.  After he finishes the pre-game show from the field, he’ll move upstairs to the radio booth to call the game with Harlan.  Talk about a busy day for Boomer!  Dial Global’s coverage of the event also includes such experienced talent as James Lofton, Mark Malone, Jim Gray and Scott Graham.  Joining Jim Gray for pre-game and halftime programming are NFL stars Tom Brady and Larry Fitzgerald.  Hall of Fame defensive back Rod Woodson will also be part of the extended pre-game program.

wfva logoWFVA, Fredericksburg, Virginia Returns to News/Talk on Monday.  After two years as an adult standards-formatted station, Centennial Broadcasting’s WFVA, Fredericksburg returns to airing a news/talk format using largely syndicated talent.  The program schedule will include: Cumulus Media NetworksDon Imus, Mike Huckabee, Mark Levin and Michael Savage as well as Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck.  Ten year WFVA veteran Ted Schubel will continue as the station’s news director and will also host a one-hour local program titled, “Town Talk With Ted,” airing weekdays at 8:00 am.  The show will introduce listeners to local businesses, non-profit leaders, and political figures who influence the Fredericksburg region.  Centennial Fredericksburg market manager Tom Hamilton says, “It has been nearly two full years since WFVA changed from a news/talk station to adult standards format.  During that time, we have paid attention to what our listeners have said.  Overwhelmingly, they told us they wanted news/talk back on WFVA.  By providing many of the most-listened-to talk show hosts in the nation, along with community involvement, local news and public affairs programming, we will better serve our listeners, our local businesses and our community.”

jonesalexKFNX, Phoenix Adds New Syndicated Programming.  Genesis Communications Network’s Alex Jones is part of the new lineup at Francis Battaglia-owned KFNX, Phoenix where he airs in the overnight time slot.  Also added to the station’s program schedule is Dial Global and Cox Media’s Herman Cain from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm; Dial Global’s Dennis Miller from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; and Cumulus Media NetworksMichael Savage who returns to the station to air in the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot.

Obama Second Term Agenda Top News/Talk Story During Week of January 21-25.  The second term agenda of President Obama as outlined in his Inauguration Day speech was the top story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 this week was Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Benghazi testimony.  At #3 was the battle in Washington over reducing the deficit and at #4 was the North Korea nuclear threat.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America and is based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

| January 22, 2013

hayesdrewProgrammer Drew Hayes Moves to KABC, Los Angeles.  News/talk programming pro Drew Hayes is leaving his OM position at Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago to take up the PD reins at the company’s KABC, Los Angeles.  That station has been without a PD since Jack Silver exited last summer to program the NBC Sports Radio/Dial Global sports talk initiative.  The WLS-AM programming duties will be assumed by PD Tracy Slutzkin who served as APD under Hayes before being promoted to program director.  It’s been a tumultuous four months for WLS-AM with longtime morning duo Don Wade and Roma being forced to leave their position due to Don Wade’s health and the sudden death of midday talk host Jake Hartford last week.  WLS vice president and market manager Donna Baker says, “Drew has led WLS through some unique challenges and his leadership is respected and appreciated.  We wish him and his family the very best in LA.  I’m confident Tracy will continue to lead WLS forward to great success.”  About his latest move to the West Coast Hayes says, “It’s a thrill to return to LA and I am appreciative of the support and confidence Cumulus has shown in me.  I am looking forward to helping re-energize one of the greatest sets of call letters in the most exciting city.”  Hayes previously programmed KABC in the late 1990s when the station was owned by ABC/Disney.

hillmikeSuper Bowl Media Week Begins Next Monday.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year for many sports talk radio people who get to leave their studio confines behind and re-locate to a (usually) warm location to take part in the media buildup surrounding the Super Bowl.  Beginning Monday, ESPN reports that, in addition to their slate of live broadcasts from New Orleans, Mike Hill of the Hill & Schlereth program will serve as a special behind-the-scenes reporter filing stories online.  ESPN states, “Adding to ESPN Radio’s already comprehensive coverage will be the deployment of Mike Hill, co-host of the nightly Hill & Schlereth, as a behind-the-scenes reporter for ESPNRadio.com.  He will provide clandestine chronicles of ESPN Radio-related activities in New Orleans, providing a perspective unique to ESPN Radio.com’s previous Super Bowl coverage.”

odonnelldanDan O’Donnell Jumps to WISN, Milwaukee.  News anchor and talk show host Dan O’Donnell moves from Journal Broadcast Group’s WTMJ, Milwaukee to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s crosstown news/talk WISN where he’ll take on news anchoring duties as well as do fill-in work for the station’s talk hosts, provide commentary and take charge of the station’s “Common Sense Central” online initiative.  In a statement, O’Donnell says, “This is an incredible opportunity, but it is at least somewhat bittersweet because of the amazing people I’ve had a chance to meet and work with over my many years at Newsradio 620 WTMJ.  I’ve made friendships there that I consider lifelong and will always love and cherish every minute I spent at my first broadcast home.  Yet I am looking forward with all of my heart to beginning this exciting new chapter in my professional life and hope that you will join me on what I hope will be one heck of an adventure.”

imusdon“Imus on Broadway” Charity Fundraiser Scheduled for February 11.  The 3rd Annual “Imus on Broadway” event is taking place on February 11 at the Hard Rock Café in Times Square.  For the event, New York Post theater columnist Michael Riedel will emcee the promotion and join 77WABC-based Don Imus for a “best of Broadway” review featuring performances by the cast of some of the biggest shows on Broadway including: “Patsy Cline,” “Chicago,” “Hands on a Hard Body,” “Mamma Mia,” “Mystery of Edwin Drood,” “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” “Once,” “Rock of Ages,” and “Wicked.”  All ticket sales for the event benefit the Imus Ranch for Kids with Cancer.

crnlogoCRN Digital Talk Radio Celebrates 30th Anniversary.  The Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year and is marking the occasion with special on-air programming, its all-new online magazine and by hosting the “1st annual Food and Wine Awards.”  Founder and CEO Michael Horn began CRN (Cable Radio Network) in 1983 with a little seed money and lots of enthusiasm.  It all began when Horn saw a trade publication article about how Los Angeles rock station KMET-FM was garnering a 7-share in thehornmike Phoenix market.  It turned out that the station was sending its audio into a dedicated channel with cable providers in that market.  He says, “I thought that it was a great idea to try to bring radio to television and give cable subscribers the variety and cutting edge programming that only radio can offer.”  Soon, Horn’s fledgling service was serving a number of Los Angeles-area cable companies who saw the value of radio programming on their cable lineup.  Today, CRN is available on scores of cable and telecommunications providers as well as radio stations across the country, offering more than100 shows along with a stellar roster of top syndicated programs hosted by radio veterans such as Barry Farber, Dennis Prager, Fred Dryer, Robert Conrad, Mancow and Doug Stephan, among others.  Horn states, “As part of our anniversary, we’re launching ‘CRN Digital Mag,’ our new online magazine aimed at listeners who want to know more about their favorite shows and personalities.”  Capping the year-long celebration will be the “CRN Food and Wine Awards,” scheduled for the fall which will honor the Los Angeles area’s top eateries as well as the California’s great wineries and winemakers.

santosgilThe End of an Era for New England Patriots Fans.  The longtime voice of New England Patriots football radio broadcasts is retiring.  Gil Santos called his last game on Sunday as the Pats lost to the Baltimore Ravens.  Based out of CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Santos spent 36 years calling 744 games for the club – a record he shares with former Philadelphia Eagles play-by-play voice Merrill Reese.  Santos signed off Sunday’s broadcast by telling listeners, “Thank you very much for allowing me to be the voice of the Patriots for 36 wonderful years.  I enjoyed every minute of it.  I hope the next guy enjoys it as much as I did, and realizes it’s a privilege, not a job.  This is Gil Santos, thanking you all for 36 wonderful years.”  Santos’ longtime partner – former Patriot Gino Cappelletti – retired as the color analyst prior to this season.

watkinsjimAffiliate Relations Pro Jim Watkins Joins Sun Broadcasting Group.  Jim Watkins had been with Talk Radio Network for 13 years, most recently as director of affiliate relations and executive producer.  Now he becomes part of the Boca Raton, Florida-based Sun Broadcasting Group as vice president of programming.  Sun EVP Steve Gallagher says of Watkins, “Jim is a class act and brings an impressive background to Sun.  We are confident our advertisers, content providers and radio affiliates will profit from his vision, creativity and expertise.  Jim has a keen sense of what great product sounds like and we’re excited to have him at Sun.”

comptonlawnshotBest Seat in the (White) House.  ABC News Radio White House Correspondent Ann Compton is pictured here reporting from her unique vantage point of a plot of grass on the White House lawn as she covers yesterday’s Inauguration Day Parade.  Thanks to digital technology and the work of amazing companies such as Comrex Corporation that have developed reliable remote broadcasting equipment, Compton is able to deliver high-quality reports from the field and allow her radio reports to be up-to-the-minute.

Filling In.  Sitting in for Compass Media Networks’ talk show host Todd Schnitt on his nationally syndicated show on Wednesday is KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell.

kmjlogoCool Job Opportunity.  KMJ-AM/FM in Fresno has an immediate opening for the position of Director of Agri-Broadcasting.  If you are experienced in gathering, writing, and reporting local news and agri-business news, are knowledgeable about the multitude of farm products and issues in the Central Valley of California, have a sense of curiosity, urgency, and know today’s broadcast environment, this could be your new home for a long time.  Send your resume and mp3 sample of your work to skip.essick@peakbroadcasting.com.  Peak Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

knx logoKNX, Los Angeles Picks Up Six Golden Mike Honors.  At the 63rd Annual Golden Mike awards dinner held in Universal City over the weekend, CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles was honored with six Golden Mike Awards.  The awards are presented by the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California annually for excellence in radio, TV and internet broadcast journalism excellence.  KNX took home honors for: Best News Broadcast Over 15 Minutes; Best Spot News Reporting; Best Hard News Series Reporting; Best Feature News; Best Traffic Report; and Best Business and Consumer Reporting.

fergusonkrokBlue Ribbon Winners.  WBAP-AM/FM, Dallas talk show hosts Ben Ferguson (left) and evening talk host Chris Krok (right) display the blue ribbons they won for coming in first place in the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo’s annual Celebrity Goat Milking Contest this past weekend.  In order to claim the bragging rights, Ferguson and Krok had to beat the staffers NBC 5, the Star-Telegram newspaper and other radio stations from the Metroplex.

Inauguration Day, Debt Ceiling/Deficit Deduction Debate, North African Terror Threats, and Prince Harry Taliban Slaying Comments Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/21).  The Inauguration Day festivities and speeches; the debate over reducing the nation’s deficit and dealing with the debt ceiling; terror threats from North Africa; and Prince Harry’s comments to the press about killing Taliban in Afghanistan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, January 4, 2013

| January 4, 2013

simonemarkMark Simone Begins Late Morning Show on WOR, New York.  Longtime WABC, New York personality Mark Simone is heading downtown to begin a new chapter in his career with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WOR.  Simone tells TALKERS he’s excited to begin hosting the daily 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  He says, “It’ll be a fast and fun daily look at what’s going on in the world, the city, entertainment, politics, tech, gossip, food, nightlife, my life, lives and whatever else they want to talk about.  Lots of great guests and listener calls, too.”  Simone says his 13 years at WABC wor710were great.  Management was always good to him and he’s finding it hard to leave his fellow co-workers but he’s encouraged to be re-joining general manager Steve Borneman who recently left WABC and is now with WOR.  “He’s a great leader and the best GM we ever had on the 17th floor at WABC and everyone on the air there would tell you that they would follow him anywhere.  He’s also hiring the best and smartest programming mastermind around.  This is just the beginning.  So, while I hate leaving the best co-workers in radio, it may not be long before many of them decide to join me here.”  Simone’s program fills the slot on WOR previously held by Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher.

valicenti show logoWPRO, Providence Makes AM Drive Change; Gene Valicenti to Anchor.  Cumulus Media’s WPRO & 99.7 FM, Providence announces WJAR-TV co-anchor Gene Valicenti (pictured at left) is the new host of its “WPRO Morning News” program.  The station says “Gene brings more than 20 years of Rhode Island news broadcasting experience to the ‘WPRO Morning News’ each and every weekday.  With an intimate knowledge of Rhode Island and neighboring Massachusetts, the ‘WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti’ will help listeners get their weekday started with news, traffic, weather and the unique touch of Gene Valicenti.”  For more than two years Valicenti has been hosting his eponymous Saturday morning show on WPRO.  He says, “Rhode Island has been waking up to WPRO since the days of Salty Brine.  It goes without saying that hosting the ‘WPRO Morning News’ is a real honor for me.”  TALKERS columnist and respected industry consultant Holland Cooke, who happens to be a longtime resident of Rhode Island, comments that he believes this to be a very good move.  “I’ve been a big Gene Valicenti fan for years, but who here in Rhode Island isn’t?  His NBC10 newscasts have consistently led the ratings.  Beyond those impressive news chops, Gene’s approach to talk radio demonstrates what I hear as a welcome new trend, an antidote to the format’s caricature.  His Saturday radio show SMILES more than most other talkers I hear; and, though topical, he’s not obsessed with politics.  Gene strikes me as ‘a next-gen Salty Brine.’”  In related news, current morning news host Tara Granahan is promoted to assistant program director for the station.

kinosianmikeTALKERS magazine’s Sports Radio Feature, Part 3.  Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian wraps up a special three-part sports talk radio feature with a look at the December 2012 PPM ratings for sports talk stations in those markets.  Numbers freaks will enjoy checking out how some of the nation’s most prominent sports talk outlets performed during that period.  Peruse that data here.  Mike Kinosian’s three-part feature kicked off with a thorough look at the new CBS Sports Radio Network that debuted on Wednesday.  If you missed that, read it here.  The second part of this piece covered the new sports talk venture from NBC and Dial Global that premieres its weekend programming tomorrow prior to a full launch in April.  You can read that piece here.

noorygeorgeGeorge Noory Celebrates 10 Years as Host of ‘Coast to Coast AM.’  It was 10 years ago this weekend that George Noory took over the permanent host gig at Premiere Networks’ super-successful overnight program “Coast to Coast AM” and he plans a special show Sunday evening to celebrate.  The show will feature appearances by many fan-favorite guests, including paranormal investigator Joshua P. Warren and internationally known psychic Joseph Jacobs.  Noory will also share memorable interviews and highlights from the past decade.  Of the anniversary, Noory says, “It’s amazing how fast 10 years goes by and I’m looking forward to 10 more.  We have grown the affiliate base from 445 stations when I came on to 564, and have increased our digital, multi-platform audiences tremendously.  I want to thank my staff of dedicated producers and engineers, our affiliates, as well as the entire Premiere Networks team – they are the best in the business.”  Premiere Networks EVP of news, talk and sports programming Carl Anderson states, “After 10 successful years, George continues to take ‘Coast to Coast AM’ to new heights.  His ability to not only entertain and engage his loyal following of sleep-deprived listeners across multiple platforms, but also deliver positive results for stations and sponsors, is what makes him a stand-out star in the world of talk radio.  We look forward to celebrating many more milestones together.”

DG-logoHorizontalBig NFL Weekend for Dial Global Sports.  The first round of the NFL playoffs is here and Dial Global is providing radio broadcasts of the four Wild Card round games this weekend.  Play-by-play of the NFL playoffs has been a successful venture for Dial Global (and Westwood One before that).  Last year, the company commissioned a study by Edison Research to calculate listenership to the playoff games and the Super Bowl which, according to Edison, pulled in 23.1 million unique listeners to last year’s championship game, underscoring how many Americans aren’t able to be near a TV and turn to the radio to hear the big game.

snlkaganSNL Kagan Reports Current TV-Al Jazeera Deal a Challenge for Middle East Operator.  The pending $500 million sale of Al Gore-founded cable news/talk channel Current TV to Qatar-operated Al Jazeera is a bounty for Al Gore and Joel Hyatt but will likely be a big hurdle for Al Jazeera.  SNL Kagan states, “We think Al Jazeera may have to drop the license fee to zero in order to gain widespread support for carrying the channel in the U.S., a move that would certainly imperil its economic model, which relies upon license fees for 80% of the network’s revenue.  But maybe this is the only way for Al Jazeera America to gain a solid foothold in the U.S…In the U.S., the channel is available only in New York; Washington; Burlington, Vt.; Toledo, Ohio; and Bristol, R.I., versus 250 million households across the world in 120 countries.”

weei logoEntercom’s WEEI Expands Its Brand in the Granite State.  New England’s Boston-based WEEI sports talk radio brand expands in New Hampshire adding its eighth affiliate – Great Eastern Radio’s WZEI, Meredith.  WZEI is a class A FM covering the Lakes Region of New Hampshire.  The station will carry the entire WEEI daily sports talk lineup, its weekend programming and Boston Celtics basketball.  Great Eastern CEO Jeff Shapiro says, “We are very excited to bring coverage of everything New England sports to the Lakes Region of New Hampshire with 101.5 WZEI.  Great Eastern Radio and WEEI have a great partnership that has been key to great sports programming in northern New England for the past few years, and we look forward to extending that for years to come!”

kgologoKGO, San Francisco Wins Regional News Awards.  Cumulus Media’s KGO, San Francisco picks up two 2012 awards for broadcasting excellence from the NorCal Radio Television News Directors Association.  The station won “Best News Broadcast” for the in-depth coverage of the Occupy protest and closure of the Port of Oakland anchored by Bret Burkhart and Chris Brecher; produced by Linnea Edmeier and Laura Podolak.  The judges said it “grabs you right out of the box (with) passionate and engaged reporting (and) paints a good word picture of what was going on.”  KGO reporter Scott Lettieri won “Best Light Feature Reporting” for his “Spotlight 810” piece on inmates performing Shakespeare in San Quentin.  The judges said it was “interesting and meaningful,” with a “great mix of dramatic Shakespeare readings, music, (and) inmate reflections on what they’re gaining personally by taking part.”  KGO program director Paul Hosley says, “We’re humbled by these awards.  The 5:00 pm hour is highly popular with listeners and features contributions from the entire news team.  We’re thrilled to have Scott Lettieri recognized for his remarkable work as well.  Scott is a master story teller and it showed in this report about inmates performing Shakespeare behind bars.”

Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York Celebrates 20th Anniversary.  Bloomberg’s WBBR, New York is celebrating its 20th anniversary as Bloomberg Radio – the 24-hour business and financial news outlet in the Big Apple.  To mark the occasion, anchor Tom Keene and reporter Charlie Pellett will join staffers at the New York Stock Exchange to ring the closing bell.

‘Fiscal Cliff’ Legislation Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 31 – January 4.  Debate over and passage of the laws designed to avoid the “fiscal cliff” was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, putting it at #1 on the Talkers TenTM.   Coming in at #2 was the Boehner House Speaker vote.  At #3 was financial markets activity followed by Hurricane Sandy aid legislation at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.