Supreme Court | TALKERS magazine - “The bible of talk media.” : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Tag: "Supreme Court"

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

| April 7, 2021

Gordon Smith to Leave NAB Leadership Role at Year’s End. The National Association of Broadcasters announces that president and CEO Gordon H. Smith will leave his position and transition to an advisory and advocacy role effective December 31, 2021. NAB’s chief operating officer Curtis LeGeyt will become the next president and CEO of NAB effective January 1, 2022. In a video message to members, Smith said, “It has been my great honor to give the lion’s roar for broadcasters – those who run into the storm, those who stand firm in chaos to hear the voice of the people, those who hold to account the powerful – and to stand with those of the fourth estate who have the hearts of public servants.” Smith joined NAB as president and CEO in November 2009. Previously, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. NAB joint board of directors chairman Jordan Wertlieb (president of Hearst Television) thanked Smith for his service to the industry. “Gordon is the ultimate statesman, bringing people together from both sides of the aisle to discuss ideas, find common ground and lead NAB to success on countless fronts. On behalf of the leadership of NAB, we extend our sincere gratitude for more than a decade of service to the broadcast industry. We look forward to continuing to work with Gordon and benefiting from his guidance for years to come. I am also delighted to share that NAB is in the enviable position of having cultivated top talent within the organization to provide for a smooth and stable transition in leadership. Curtis LeGeyt has the utmost confidence of the NAB leadership and staff to lead our association into the future.” LeGeyt has been with NAB for nearly a decade, during which time he led several highly successful legislative advocacy efforts on behalf of broadcasters, including the permanent reauthorization of the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act Reauthorization (STELAR), inclusion of $1 billion in RAY BAUM’s Act to reimburse stations impacted by the spectrum auction repack, and successful passage of the Music Modernization Act. Prior to assuming his current role as chief operating officer, LeGeyt served for five years as NAB’s executive vice president, Government Relations. Before joining NAB, LeGeyt was senior counsel to then-Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (VT). He says, “I am honored and humbled to be named the next leader of this great organization. To represent the broadcast industry and the local stations that bind our communities together in a moment of such tremendous change across the media landscape is a privilege. Our stations’ role in communities across this country has never been more important, and I look forward to working every day to ensure their ability to grow and thrive.”

SCOTUS Declines to Hear Alex Jones Appeal. According to numerous media reports, including this one from NBC News, the U.S. Supreme Court will not hear the appeal requested by radio and internet personality Alex Jones of his sanction by a Connecticut court. Jones was sanctioned in 2019 for what he said on his radio show about an attorney for the relatives of the victims of the Newtown massacre and for violating numerous court orders to turn over documents to the families’ lawyers. Judge Barbara Bellis also barred Jones from filing a motion to dismiss the case and added she would order Jones to pay some of the families’ legal fees. Jones argued that his words were the exercising of his First Amendment rights. Jones is being sued by some of the families who lost loved ones in the shooting after Jones claimed that the shootings were a hoax and who consequently suffered harassment and threats from Jones’ fans. Jones earned the sanction after claiming on his radio show that an attorney for the families tried to plant child porn on his computer by sending it in encrypted email files. In Connecticut, that state’s Supreme Court ruled that sanctions were proper because Jones’ words were an “imminent and likely threat to the administration of justice.”

WHCU, Ithaca Adds SRN’s Dennis Prager to Early Afternoon Daypart. Ithaca, New York news/talk WHCU is adding Salem Radio Network’s Dennis Prager show to the lineup in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Joe Salzone is news director at the Saga Communications station, and he says, “We polled our listeners on a Rush Limbaugh replacement show over the past month and Prager was their top choice. While they know that Rush’s show was great, they also understand that radio is best as a live, topical medium and that running repeats of Rush segments was not what they ultimately wanted to listen to.” WHCU operations manager Chris Allinger adds, “Dennis will be a good fit for WHCU. He is intelligent, educated, and will bring those assets to the regional airwaves. Replacing a legend like Rush is not easy, but Dennis has been successfully doing his nationally syndicated weekday show in the exact same time period for over 20 years, so his track record is already proven.”

Todd Starnes Show Joins WMLB, Atlanta. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is joining the program lineup on WMLB, Atlanta “Freedom 1690” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The station is owned by Delmarva Educational Association but is being operated under an LMA by the Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network that owns conservative talk duo WJFN-AM/FM in the Richmond, Virginia market. John Fredericks says, “Now more than ever, as Leftist elites continue their unprecedented power grab and assault on Christians, Todd stands at the beachhead of defending people of faith everywhere.”

Nielsen: Consumer Sentiment About COVID-19 Recovery Improving. According to a new study by Nielsen that addresses American consumer sentiment about COVID-19 and media usage, people 18 and older are showing “increased confidence with respect to consumer behavior.” Nielsen says the survey looked at three segments reflecting attitudes about the pandemic. People who are “Ready to Go,” those who “Proceed with Caution,” and consumers who “Wait and See” when it comes to resuming normal behavior. The “Ready to Go” segment peaked at 61% in the March 2021 survey compared with 34% in April 2020. The more pessimistic group of Wait and See consumers dropped to 9% in March 2021 compared with 29% a year ago. Other key consumer sentiments include: 82% now say that stores that were closed have started to open again compared with only 40% in April of last year; 64% agree that it is safer than it was a month ago, compared to 38% in April 2020; and 72% agree that their town is starting to emerge from the crisis versus 44% a year ago. The study showed that heavy radio listeners are more likely to make big-ticket purchases within a year. Heavy radio listeners are 18% more likely to purchase or lease a new or used vehicle in the next year, and 64% are more likely to buy a house in the next twelve months, compared to total adults. Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly comments, “As Americans continue to navigate the pandemic, the future looks promising. Consumers are becoming more optimistic and resuming more normal activities, especially heavy radio listeners. AM/FM listeners are more likely to be out and about and spending more time in their vehicles.” You can see more in a Nielsen webinar here.

‘The Biz Tape’ Launches on Nashville Podcast Network. The Bobby Bones-led Nashville Podcast Network is launching a new program called “The Biztape” hosted by Colin McKay and Joe Wasilewski. “The Biztape,” formerly known as “That’s Showbiz Baby,” is a weekly podcast covering all things music business and media. Hosts McKay and Wasilewski are music industry professionals who provide insight into the business and technical side of these closed-curtain industries. McKay and Wasilewski say, “We searched for a long time to find a podcast that discussed the music business from the business side. We wanted more advice and more depth than just ‘work hard.’ We decided to fill the void by creating ‘The Biztape’ so we could get as nerdy as we always wanted to with it. Thankfully, with the help of Bobby Bones and the Nashville Podcast Network, we have the opportunity to continue that dream and we can’t wait to start creating with such a passionate and unique brand.”

iHeartMedia Debuts New Podcast ‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton.’ A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast is being launched titled “In Fact with Chelsea Clinton” and hosted by the former First Daughter and public health expert. The podcast joins the iHeartPodcast Network that is already home to “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton” and “Why Am I Telling You This? with Bill Clinton.” iHeartMedia says, “‘In Fact with Chelsea Clinton’ will pull back the curtain on some of the biggest public health challenges of our time. Each week on the podcast, Clinton — who holds a doctorate in international relations, a masters in public health, and teaches at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health — will sit down with experts, activists, and an assortment of surprising guests who share her passion for science, evidence and, of course, facts.” In the podcast’s debut episode, Clinton sits down with Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness, who has been a vocal advocate for people with HIV/AIDS since publicly sharing his own HIV-positive status in 2019; activist Peter Staley; and Dr. Oni Blackstock, an HIV physician and health equity advocate, to explore the trajectory of HIV/AIDS from the early days of activism through modern day.”

New Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher Show to Launch on PodcastOne. A new, eponymous podcast starring Kelly Osbourne and Jeff Beacher is debuting on PodcastOne in which Osbourne and Beacher will create a live theater experience and feature their dynamic and outrageous personalities and uncensored conversations with a diverse list of celebrity guests and famous friends. They will discuss everything from the latest current events to fitness, weight-loss, fame, stories of inspiration and beyond. Osbourne and Beacher will be joined by regular co-host Donny Davis, original star of “Beacher’s Madhouse” and one of the most well-known activists for little people. The podcast will record and film from the penthouse of the iconic Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel – former home to “Beacher’s Madhouse” theatre. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Kelly and Jeff together are a showstopping dynamic. We couldn’t be more excited to welcome them to PodcastOne and know that their show will be destination programming for podcast audiences.”

‘104.5 The Team’ in Albany Names Dan Bahl Brand Manager. Two months after previous brand manager and on-air host Tom Gozlowski was let go from the station, Townsquare Media’s WTMM-FM, Albany “104.5 The Team” announces that Dan Bahl joins as the new brand manager and afternoon drive co-host. Bahl partners with incumbent air personality Jeff Levack on the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. Bahl has been operating his own sports website and podcast network. He says, “I am extremely honored and excited to join ‘104.5 The Team’ and the Townsquare Media family. I am really looking forward to having great debates and conversations with Jeff Levack and the ‘104.5 The Team’ listeners, as well as strengthening the brand on-air, online, and across social media.” Townsquare Media director of content Matty Jeff comments, “We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the Townsquare Media local team here in Albany. Dan’s leadership, acumen across all platforms, and passion for sports will broaden the reach of the great local on-air and digital content we create daily on ‘104.5 The Team.’”

COVID-19, Voting Legislation/McConnell Threat, Matt Gaetz Investigation, Biden Infrastructure Plan, Border Crisis, Derek Chauvin Trial, and China Military Exercises Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; Georgia’s vote restriction law, the Democrats’ Voting Rights Bill, and Mitch McConnell’s threats to businesses that protest Georgia’s law; allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz had relationships with underage girls; the battle in Washington over President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; and China’s military exercises near Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, April 2, 2021

| April 2, 2021

The Michael Harrison Wrap Reaches 100 Installment Milestone.  This weekend’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” marks the program’s 100th episode.  It is heard weekends on stations and regional networks coast to coast in the US and across the UK and is available on a market exclusive basis to stations in syndication by Talk Media Network (TMN).  For affiliate information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Trillions and Trillions,” looks back at this past week of March 29 – April 2. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkDerek Hunter, talk show host, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupRichard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeartPodcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Supreme Court Unanimously Overturns 3rd Circuit Court’s Vacating of FCC’s Ownership Regulations. As most media watchers are aware, in 2017 – after what many radio operators say was a long time coming – the FCC concluded that three of its ownership rules no longer served the public interest and it repealed the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule and the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule and it modified the Local Television Ownership Rule. Shortly thereafter, a collection of public interest and advocacy groups known as the Prometheus Radio Project appealed the FCC’s ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals which vacated the FCC’s reconsideration order holding that the record did not support the agency’s conclusion that the rule changes would have minimal effect on minority and female ownership. The FCC petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case and yesterday (4/1), it ruled that the FCC’s rule change was not “arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).” The unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court said, in part, “In challenging the FCC’s order, Prometheus argues that the Commission’s assessment of the likely impact of the rule changes on minority and female ownership rested on flawed data. But the FCC acknowledged the gaps in the data sets it relied on, and noted that, despite its repeated requests for additional data, it had received no countervailing evidence suggesting that changing the three ownership rules was likely to harm minority and female ownership. Prometheus also asserts that the FCC ignored two studies submitted by a commenter that purported to show that past relaxations of the ownership rules had led to decreases in minority and female ownership levels. But the record demonstrates that the FCC considered those studies and simply interpreted them differently. In assessing the effects of the rule changes on minority and female ownership, the FCC did not have perfect empirical or statistical data. But that is not unusual in day-to-day agency decision making within the Executive Branch. The APA imposes no general obligation on agencies to conduct or commission their own empirical or statistical studies. And nothing in the Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to conduct such studies before exercising its discretion under Section 202(h). In light of the sparse record on minority and female ownership and the FCC’s findings with respect to competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity, the Court cannot say that the agency’s decision to repeal or modify the ownership rules fell outside the zone of reasonableness for purposes of the APA.”

The NAB Comments on the Supreme Court’s Ruling. The National Association of Broadcasters issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s overturning the 3rd Circuit Court’s vacating the FCC’s ownership rule changes. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “NAB commends today’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that the FCC’s recent and long-overdue modernization of its broadcast ownership regulations was lawful and appropriate. It is critical that the Commission continue to examine its media ownership rules to ensure that America’s broadcasters are able to compete and meet the needs of local communities across the nation in today’s media landscape. We look forward to working with the Commission on this effort given the essential role radio and television broadcasters play for all Americans.”

Meadowlark Media Secures $12.6 Million in Funding. According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter, Meadowlark Media – the company formed by former ESPN president John Skipper and former ESPN radio and cable personality Dan Le Batard – has raised $12.6 million in a “Series A funding round.” Investors include DAZN, DraftKings, Snap Inc. chairman Michael Lynton, EMJ Ventures, Verance Capital, Wasserman, and Carmen Busquets. The THR story says the money will be used for “key hires” and for the “first slate of projects.” Skipper says, “With the intense competition to retain audiences at established media and to attract customers to new streaming services, we and our investors see an exciting opportunity for Meadowlark to work with the industry’s best storytellers to add the highest quality sports-focused original programming to their existing entertainment offerings.”

Buffalo Association of Black Journalists Meets with Cumulus Buffalo in Aftermath of Rob Lederman Firing. According to a report by WKBW-TV, Buffalo, the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists has met with local management of Cumulus Media’s WGRF-FM “97 Rock” in the aftermath of the firing of morning host Rob Lederman and the suspension of morning show cast members Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein. Cumulus took the punitive actions after the three engaged in a bit about color of famous black women’s skin. BABJ issued a statement noting that Cumulus has implemented steps to “accelerate diversity training in Buffalo” and has scheduled meetings with members of Buffalo’s Black community. The statement also says BABJ is pleased with the “progress being made at ‘97 Rock’ and Cumulus Media” and is advocating for increased diversity at the cluster.

Westwood One Presents Coverage of Men’s and Women’s NCAA Final Four and Championships. This weekend’s NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four games as well as both championship games are being presented by NCAA exclusive national audio partner Westwood One. The broadcast of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Final Four begins on Saturday with The Final Four Show at 3:30 pm ET leading up to the first game between the Houston Cougars and Baylor Bears, followed by coverage of the semifinal between the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs and the UCLA Bruins. The NCAA Men’s Championship Game will tip off on Monday with the pre-game at 7:00 pm ET and the game following at 8:00 pm. Westwood One will also present coverage in Spanish, called by Rafael Hernández Brito, former Puerto Rican national team coach Carlos Morales, and Clemson Smith Muñiz. Westwood One’s presentation of the NCAA Women’s Final Four this afternoon at 5:45 pm ET, as South Carolina takes on Stanford, followed by Arizona versus Connecticut. Coverage of the Women’s National Championship Game will be on Sunday at 5:30 pm ET. The Westwood One broadcast crew for the Women’s Final Four will include Ryan Radtke on play-by-play and Debbie Antonelli as lead color analyst, her 18th time in that role and 25th year overall. Krista Blunk will serve as pregame, halftime, and postgame host.

TALKERS News Notes. The Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated program “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at KROS Broadcasting’s KROS-AM, Clinton, Iowa…..The podcast network Ramble announces the launch of “Crazy Stupid Fangirls,” a new weekly podcast hosted by YouTube star Elle Mills and creator Michelle Platti. Ramble – a studio division of Audacy’s Cadence13 – says the podcast features the longtime friends and fellow fangirls diving into pop culture spanning decades from all angles, debating and dissecting their favorite movies, music, streaming shows, television, artists, creators, iconic moments and more. In addition to sharing their own fangirl picks and stories on the show, Elle and Michelle will be joined by a wide range of guests who will share their favorites.

COVID-19, Vaccines, Variants and Origins Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The combination of COVID-19 stats, vaccines, concerns about variants, and questions about the origin of the coronavirus made up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 29 – April 2. At #2 this week was the Derek Chauvin trial tied with race relations, and police reform. Following at #3 was the Joe Biden infrastructure stimulus initiative and the related U.S. economy. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

| November 18, 2020

NAB and FCC Challenge Third Circuit Court’s Action on Ownership Changes in the Supreme Court. In a brief filed with the Supreme Court of the United StatesNational Association of Broadcasters, the Federal Communications Commission (and fellow petitioners Bonneville International Corporation, Connoisseur Media LLC, Fox Corporation, News Corporation, News Media Alliance, Nexstar Inc., The Scranton Times L.P., and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.) are asking the Supreme Court to reverse the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that vacated the FCC’s ownership rules changes. As industry watchers are aware, after adopting a Reconsideration Order, the FCC repealed the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule, the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and the TV Joint Sales Agreement Attribution Rule. It also established a modest presumptive waiver of the Local Radio Ownership Rule for parties seeking approval of a limited number of transactions involving radio stations in markets that contain multiple “embedded” markets. In the brief, NAB and the FCC argue that Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 directs the FCC to review its media ownership rules every four years and to “repeal” or “modify” any rule that is no longer “necessary in the public interest as the result of competition.” They note that no party challenged the FCC’s statutorily mandated competition analysis, nor did the Third Circuit question it on the merits. Yet, they argue, the Third Circuit concluded that the Commission inadequately considered the effect of those changes on minority and female ownership – even though Section 202(h) says nothing about that issue. On that ground alone, the Third Circuit vacated all the Commission’s rule changes (as well as other agency actions in these consolidated cases) and ordered the agency to collect additional statistics on ownership diversity. The same divided Third Circuit panel has repeatedly elevated its policy concerns over the statutory text and purported to retain jurisdiction over the FCC’s Section 202(h) orders, effectively blocking review by any other court for more than 15 years. The petitioners are asking the Supreme Court to rule on “whether under Section 202(h) the Commission must produce and consider statistical evidence or conduct an in-depth theoretical analysis regarding effects on minority and female ownership before repealing or modifying media ownership rules that it determines are no longer ‘necessary in the public interest as the result of competition.’” Oral arguments for this case have not been scheduled yet.

Michigan Station Owner Jamie McKibbin Dies in Boating Accident. The owner of McKibbin Media GroupJamie McKibbin – died in a boating accident on Clendening Lake in Harrison County, Ohio on Sunday (11/15). McKibbin and James ‘Bud’ Miller were on a hunting trip when the accident happened. McKibbin and his wife Katina own the company that includes news/talk WKHM-AM/W268CA, sports talk WKHM-HD2/W270CJ “FOX Sports 101.9,” country WIBM-AM/W240DG and CHR WKHM-FM in the Jackson, Michigan market and adult contemporary WCSR-FM in the Hillsdale, Michigan market. On the WKHM-AM website the company posted his obituary that says, “Jamie achieved his lifelong dream of owning radio stations with the purchase of the Jackson stations in December 2019, followed by the addition of his hometown stations in Hillsdale in February 2020. He was also involved with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and had recently joined its board of directors.” McKibbin is also survived by his 14-year-old son Walker.

TALKERS News Notes. News comes from NAB that the 2021 Audio Engineering Society fall convention will co-locate with NAB Show on October 11–13, 2021 in Las Vegas. NAB says, the co-location brings together the premiere convention for pro audio professionals with the world’s largest convention encompassing media, entertainment, and technology. The AES Show will take place at the Westgate Hotel, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center where NAB Show will be held. The AES fall convention was previously co-located with NAB Show New York at the Javits Convention Center annually in October from 2017–2019. The two events were held virtually in 2020. NAB EVP of conventions and business operations Chris Brown says, “We are excited to be building the most significant, in-person media and entertainment event of 2021 and are ready to bring the industry together once again at NAB Show in October. Together with AES, we will provide unparalleled access to critical information, inspiration and solutions for audio engineers and content creators.”…..iHeartMedia and podcast network and production studio Cloud10 Media are partnering for a two-year production and distribution deal  that will “leverage Cloud10’s diverse slate of curated celebrity-hosted audio programs and iHeartMedia’s national cross-platform network in order to reach a wider audience of consumers across the country.” As part of the deal, all existing and upcoming Cloud10 Media podcasts including “Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best,” “Daddy Issues with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson,” “Work in Progress with Sophia Bush,” and more will be distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network and will be promoted across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network…..FOX Sports Radio reports record audience gains across multiple digital platforms for October 2020. FSR says it experienced its best streaming month of all time in October, with total listening hours increasing +28% year-to-year. Additionally, the FOX Sports Radio Podcast Network’s audience grew +123% year-to-year in October, marking FSR’s second-best month ever in terms of podcast listens. FOXSportsRadio.com also experienced its second-best month in history with October page views growing +46% year-to-year, and the network’s YouTube channel saw its views increase by +41% year-to-year in October…..SiriusXM announces a new long-term agreement with the NBCUniversal News Group under which the simulcasts of MSNBC and CNBC will continue to air on SiriusXM, as will the TODAY Show Radio channel. TODAY Show Radio is a 24/7 channel dedicated to TODAY and is home to exclusive radio programs hosted by some of the morning show’s stars. Under the new agreement, SiriusXM also becomes the exclusive advertising representative and end-to-end ad tech platform for a broad slate of NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC podcasts. In addition to live airings of TODAY, the channel features exclusive weekly programs including “The Hoda Show” hosted by Hoda Kotb (Mondays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET) and “Off The Rails” (Tuesdays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET) with co-hosts Al Roker, Dylan Dreyer, and Sheinelle Jones…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago Public Media is naming Sasha-Ann Simons host of the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm “Reset” talk program on WBEZ-FM. Simons is currently a host and correspondent at American University’s WAMU-FM, Washington, DC. She takes over for Jenn White who left WBEZ to take on the hosting duties for the WAMU-FM-based “1A” program syndicated by NPR. Since her departure, Justin Kaufmann has been serving as interim host. Simon begins her duties on December 14.

WPG-AM, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Makes ‘Insider 100 Power’ List. Calling it “a coveted, tough list to make,” WPG-AM, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley tells TALKERS magazine he is honored to make Insider NJ’s “Insider 100 Power” list. He adds, “It’s a real professional honor to be included and I’m so appreciative with what they wrote about me.”

Trump’s Continued Challenge of Election/Fires HS Official, Biden Transition, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccines, Holiday Get-Together Controversy, Georgia Recount/Runoff Elections, and Big Tech Senate Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/17). The continuing rhetoric from President Trump about the election results and his firing of Homeland Security official Chris Krebs for vouching for the integrity of the vote; the transition of the Joe Biden administration; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for future cases, and the progress on vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna; the contentious issue of mandates against large gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas; the presidential election recount taking place in Georgia and that state’s January runoff elections for its U.S. Senate seats; and testimony from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Kasper joins Alpha Media Canton as evening host for its hot AC WHBC “Mix 94.1.” Cluster content director Gabriel Carrillo says, “It’s not often you get the opportunity to bring in a talent with whom the audience is intimately familiar. When [OM] Bo Matthews and I had the chance to sign-on Kasper to the team it was a no-brainer. Finding someone with an instant connection to the market is very rare to find. We sound LOCAL and on the pulse of what is going on in our community. His experience in both Cleveland and Youngstown give our station a true Northeast Ohio feel.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime classic rock WONE-FM, Akron air personality T.K. O’Grady, who passed away at the age of 66 from natural causes. WEWS-TV, Cleveland reports that O’Grady worked in radio for 40 years and joined Akron’s Rubber City Radio in 1998. WONE-FM posted on its website that there will no service or calling hours due to COVID-19, adding, “May his memory be eternal.”

Is it Against the Law for Terrestrial Radio to Say “Shithole” on the Air in Covering Trump Story?

| January 12, 2018

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

BOSTON – It is hard to give a definitive answer to the above question which is part of the problem because the indecency standards for broadcast radio are not particularly clear.  In 2012 when the Supreme Court ruled on this matter in response to enforcement decisions against Fox and ABC, the Supreme Court, unlike the lower appeals court did not rule that the present indecency rules violated the First Amendment.  Instead, by a vote of 8-0 they ruled in favor of Fox and ABC thus overturning the FCC’s decisions and fines against the networks on the grounds that the standards were too vague and there was not sufficient notice when the FCC changed its interpretation of its rules.    Specifically, the court indicated that, “This opinion leaves the Commission free to modify its current indecency policy in light of its determination of the public interest and applicable legal requirements.”  The FCC has not made any substantial changes to its indecency rules and has kept them in force, largely without any controversy for the last six years.

Read More

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

| January 13, 2016

savagemichaelSupreme Court Denies TRN’s Appeal of Savage Decision.  This is a case that goes all the way back to talk host Michael Savage’s 2010 suit to be freed of his contract with Talk Radio Network, claiming the company did not properly execute the right-to-match provision in that contract.  Savage won in arbitration in 2012 and was victorious at the Appeals Court level before TRN took the case all the waytrn logo to the Supreme Court.  On Monday (1/11), the Supreme Court denied TRN’s petition to hear the case, leaving the Appeals Court’s decision stand.  Savage, who’s been working for Westwood One since October of 2012, was awarded $863,454, plus other monies owed him by TRN, plus ownership of his archives by the arbitration panel.  Speaking to WND.com, Savage states, “After many, many years and over a million dollars of legal fees, justice has prevailed.  TRN has never paid me one dime of the money they were supposed to pay me.”

iheartmedia logo smalliHeartMedia Re-Organizes Senior Executive Structure; Four Promoted to Division President.  Saying that these structural changes will “push both decision-making and resources closer to the markets, with every market now better aligned to deliver more focused resources closer to their listeners and advertisers,” iHeartMedia announces the elevation of four EVPs of operations to division president titles, overseeing four new geographical regions.  New division presidents are: Hartley Adkins, president of the Northeast Division and Corporate Operations will also oversee multi-cultural and strategic initiatives and communication for the Regions, working closely with Corporate teams; Greg Ashlock, president of the West Division, will also serve as the senior business leader representing the company in the Western U.S. across all divisions; Matt Martin, president of the Central Division, will also continue to oversee the company’s Sales Operations Center as well as direct and develop the company’s internal training programs; and Tom McConnell, president of the Midwest/Southeast Division, will also continue to work with the Regions on operational needs.  iHeartMedia says the new structure replaces its Major and Regional Market groups organization.  Now, the company will be comprised of four geographic Divisions, each led by a new Division President.  The Divisions are strategically organized into 36 Regions that will address the needs of both listeners and advertisers based on geography.  Chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The new structure under the leadership of Hartley, Greg, Matt and Tom adds nimbleness and new resources for our markets and stations.  We are taking advantage of our size and unparalleled assets to empower our people and our markets by giving them better access to all our cutting-edge resources, from digital to data, our programmatic automated ad buying system, research and technology and more, letting them take advantage of the big investments we’ve made and use them to benefit their listeners and advertising partners in their region.”

kfi logoKFI, Los Angeles Tweaks Show Times; Bill Carroll Not Being Replaced.  With the recent departure of midday personality Bill Carroll (announced last week), iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles talk outlet is shifting the show times to cover his three-hour show.  Bill Handel hosts mornings from 6:00 am to 10:00 am; duo Gary Hoffman and Shannon Farren air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm; afternooners John & Ken are on from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and evening host Tim Conway Jr. now hosts the 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm show.

ramseyChicago16Ramsey Sells Out in the Windy City.  The 2016 edition of nationally syndicated talk radio star Dave Ramsey’s Smart Money tour began with a sold out crowd in Chicago on Tuesday (1/12) at Willow Creek Community Church.  Ramsey’s event focused on “how to win with money, get out of debt and invest for the future.”  Financial expert and speaker Chris Hogan joined Ramsey on stage.  The event was a part of Hogan’s Retire Inspired book tour, which launched in New York on January 11.  Ramsey combined forces with local affiliate WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” to promote the Chicago appearance.  Station GM Jeff Reisman says, “WIND was thrilled to have Dave and Chris Hogan share their financial wisdom to more than 4,500 attendees.  Dave’s daily radio program provides practical and actionable financial advice so people can stop living paycheck to paycheck and provides sponsors with an established and highly credible forum for their commercial message.”  Pictured here with Ramsey are Salem Chicago director of sales Michael Mann (left) and Reisman (right).

arichanceKRDZDavid Chancellor Teams with Air Temkin on ‘ESPN San Antonio.’  Market sports broadcasting pro David Chancellor is joining Ari Temkin as co-host of the midday show “The Hardline with Ari and Chance” on KZDC “ESPN San Antonio,” airing daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.  Chancellor is an award-winning sports anchor for WOAI-TV “News 4 San Antonio.”  Alpha Media San Antonio station manager Bob Brown comments, “David has had a periodic presence on ‘ESPN San Antonio’ for some time and we realized a long time ago that he’s a TV guy who really gets radio.  We couldn’t be more pleased to have David join us full time as the co-host of the new, three-hour version of ‘The Hardline with Ari and Chance.’”

stigallFOX16O’Reilly Brings in Philly Perspective in Cop Shooting Case.  Covering the shooting of Philadelphia police officer Jesse Hartnett by alleged gunman Edward Archer – a suspect who has told police he shot Hartnett “in the name of Islam” – Fox News Channel personality Bill O’Reilly welcomed WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive personality Chris Stigall (pictured) to his show for the latest details and a local perspective.

Odds & Sods.  Chicago Cubs radio play-by-play voice Pat Hughes has been honored as the 2015 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association…..At Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton, “New Jersey 101.5,” Fred Bennett exits the president and chief revenue officer role.  Taking over for Bennett is Ron DeCastro who was most recently with CBS RADIO serving as general sales manager for CHR WBMP, New York “92.3 AMP Radio.”

Presidential Race, State of the Union Address, Sean Penn ‘El Chapo’ Trip, Battle Against Islamic State/Istanbul Bombing, Sinking Oil Prices/World Financial Markets, Record Powerball Jackpot, and NFL Playoffs/Alabama Wins College Football Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/12).  The activities of the candidates for president; the build-up to President Obama’s final State of the Union speech last night; the controversy surrounding actor Sean Penn’s trip to Mexico to interview drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman; the fight against Islamic State and the terror bombing in Istanbul; plummeting oil prices and its effect on the world’s financial markets; the $1.5 billion record Powerball jackpot; and the NFL playoffs and Alabama’s victory of Clemson in the College Football Championship game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

harrisonMHCNN16Michael Harrison:  Trump’s a “Shock Jock” That’s Now Running for President.  TALKERS publisher/founder Michael Harrison was invited to comment on the Donald Trump presidential candidacy yesterday (1/10) on the CNN media analysis program, “Reliable Sources.”  The premise of the segment was to discuss whether or not it was conservative talk radio that specifically set the stage for Trump’s surprisingly successful showing in the polls because the medium taps into the anger and frustration felt by a large number of Americans about the state of the country and the politicians in Washington, DC.  The insinuation was that conservative talk radio was stoking the aforementioned anger thus providing what program host Brian Stelter described as “fertilizer” for the early stages of Trump’s campaign.  Harrison disagreed that talk radio’s early coverage of Trump’s candidacy gave him the boost that launched his domination of the GOP field or that talk radio was fueling anger in the first place.  According to Harrison, the anger and frustration of American citizens has been building for a very long time now and that it isn’t just the far right that is angry, stating a case could be made that Bernie Sanders (popular among progressive hosts) appeals to a broad, angry segment of the left.  Harrison said it was a wide variety of factors that led to Trump’s success in the polls and that talk radio is but “one of many media” that are playing into it.  Harrison described the media, including talk radio, as basically serving its own “strategic” interests, thus giving tremendous coverage to Trump to capitalize on his proven appeal as a ratings attraction.  Harrison said, “Donald Trump is responsible for Donald Trump’s success and if any media can be credited with fueling it, you must credit NBC’s “The Apprentice.”  Speaking off-air, Harrison states, “The original premise of the segment was that conservative talk radio was one of the seminal causes of not just widespread anger in America – but hate as well – and that Trump is now feeding off of that… a suggestion that I cannot get behind whatsoever.”  Harrison adds, “Trump has all the skills of the great so-called ‘shock jocks’ who have been stirring up controversy for years.  He’s a talented blend of Howard Stern, Don Imus, and Rush Limbaugh all rolled into one extraordinary attraction.  Does that make a great talk media entertainer?  Yes.  Does that make a great provocateur?  Yes.  Does that make a great stimulator of important conversation?  Yes.  Does that drive great ratings in a fragmented media marketplace?  Yes.  Does that make a great president?  God help us if we actually have the chance to find out.”

FCC Dumps Indecency Complaints; Seeks Public Comments on Policy

| April 8, 2013

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

BOSTON — Somehow it seems particularly fitting that the FCC chose April Fools’ Day to issue a press release in which it indicated that as a result of its review of its broadcast indecency rules following the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of FCC v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., it had managed to reduce its backlog of pending indecency complaints by more than one million — which represented 70% of the outstanding pending complaints.  How, you might ask, was the FCC able to carefully evaluate more than a million complaints in only six months?  It was easy.  These cases were summarily dismissed for various reasons, such as being beyond the FCC’s five-year statute of limitations, involved cases outside of the FCC’s jurisdiction, contained insufficient information or were not actionable due to previous established precedents.  Cases were also dismissed for being, in the FCC’s words “too stale to pursue,” although there is no FCC definition of staleness.  It is also interesting to note that the FCC has not brought an action against a broadcaster for indecency since 2008 and that order of the FCC against Fox involving the 2003 broadcast of the show “Married by America” — which originally carried a $1.18 million fine, later reduced by the FCC to $91,000 — was ultimately voluntarily dismissed by the FCC in September of 2012.

A cynic might find it curious that the reason for the staleness in those cases was the FCC’s total ignoring of these cases for years, although in the FCC’s defense, a reasonable case could be made for the agency’s hesitance to act in the last few years as Fox’s challenge to the indecency regulations made its way through the federal courts and ultimately to the Supreme Court which decided the case (sort of)  on June 21, 2012.  However, as for the cases that were dismissed for having insufficient information or being not actionable due to previously established precedents, those facts should have been readily apparent to the FCC years ago.

Read More

Friday, June 22, 2012

| June 22, 2012

Victory, But No Clarity at the Supreme Court.  The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Fox TV and ABC and against the FCC in a decision announced yesterday.  The high-profile cases involving fleeting occurrences of nudity and four-letter words on the two TV networks came to an end with the Court ruling as many, including TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, thought it would: in favor of the broadcasters.  But as Weisman writes, the decision was based on a violation of the Due Process clause and ignored the larger question of the FCC’s definition of indecency.  “As for the overriding question of the unconstitutionality of the rules themselves, the Court ruled that it did not even have to answer that question because the application of the FCC’s indecency rule was improperly done in a manner that violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.”  Read Weisman’s analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision here.

Sports Talk Radio Gets Another National Network as CBS Radio Teams with Cumulus Media Networks to Offer Talk Shows, News and More.  The skyrocketing popularity of sports talk radio is bringing another major network player into the business.  CBS announces it will put the resources of CBS Radio and CBS Sports together to build a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week lineup of national programming called CBS Sports Radio.  The company is partnering with Cumulus Media Networks which will provide affiliate sales and ad sales for the network and the content will air on 67 of Cumulus Media’s stations.  The long-form talk aspect of this network will debut on January 3, 2013 but hourly CBS Sports news updates will begin on September 4 of this year.  This entry of CBS into the sports radio game creates a much more crowded field of players once dominated by just a few.  Soon ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio Network, and Yahoo! Sports Radio will be joined by the recently announced collaboration between NBC and Dial GlobalNBC Sports Radio – and CBS Sports Radio.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “For more than two decades we have owned local sports radio and appreciate great talent and programming that resonates with listeners and elicits passionate dialogue and debate.  We are bullish our expertise and prior achievements will allow us to successfully complement our existing businesses while expanding into what until now has been a largely unchallenged sector of the radio business.”  Exactly how CBS will staff the new national sports talk radio network is something we’ll see develop over the next six months.  It certainly has a trough of excellent talent at its local sports talk O&Os and the company indicates affiliate stations will have the opportunity to “regionalize their lineup by choosing from select programs currently featured on CBS Radio or Cumulus sports stations.”  That means an affiliate station in the Mid-Atlantic, for example, could elect to carry a program that emanates from WIP, Philadelphia or WJFK-FM, Washington.  Regardless of how this new enterprise develops, suffice it to say the sports talk radio business is getting much more competitive.

Genesis Communications Announces End of ESPN Relationship in Tampa and Orlando.  ESPN Radio has been a part of Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando for the past 10 years but president Bruce Maduri says in a statement that they believe it’s time to develop more local – and exclusive – talent.  Maduri states, “ESPN Radio makes its once-exclusive programming readily available to the public on multiple audio and video channels and platforms, such as web radio, satellite radio, mobile devices, broadcast television, cable TV and more.”  And Maduri cites the cost of the programming as a factor.  He says they’ve enjoyed their 10-year relationship with ESPN but will end their relationship with ESPN by October 1.

Meet One of Talk Media’s Hardest-Working Talents: Larry O’Connor.  And today is a very busy day for Larry O’Connor.  First, he’s filling in for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall in AM drive; after an hour break he fills in for Dial Global’s nationally syndicated Dennis Miller; then he joins Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt as a guest on Hewitt’s annual live broadcast from Disneyland in Anaheim.  Who is Larry O’Connor?  The former manager and producer in the Broadway theater industry joined the Breitbart empire writing for Big Hollywood and became Andrew Breitbart’s choice to run the multi-media arm where he came to be in charge of Breitbart TV and he’s now editor of the video and multi-media arm of the Breitbart News Network.  Given his position, O’Connor has an interesting view of the talk media landscape and he tells TALKERS magazine, “I have been fortunate to launch my career in this new age where I could broadcast on the internet for relatively low costs and within months build a loyal and vibrant audience with no more promotion than Facebook and Twitter alerts.  Streaming my show at Breitbart News has allowed me to cater to the passionate center-right political news junkie that makes up our audience and it perfectly mirrors the hard-core talk radio audience.  I am also fortunate to be the multi-media editor and curator for the Breitbart sites which puts me in the position of seeking out the choicest sound bytes which I hope will end up on playlists for talk radio shows from coast to coast.  By having that task all day long, it puts me in the news cycle that is in the wheelhouse of talkers up and down the aisle.”  The untimely death of Andrew Breitbart certainly affected the late conservative icon’s business but O’Connor tells TALKERS things there continue to move at a lightning pace.  “The radical re-design of our site, which was Andrew’s final project, has been a resounding success.  But the new design also has put enormous pressure and demands on our dedicated editorial staff because unlike our old blog format, the new design requires us to be on top of the news cycle and constantly posting fresh, relevant content on a constant basis.  The loss of Andrew is a void that, frankly, will never be filled.  But it is comforting to know that his business partner and long-time best friend Larry Solov is there every day over-seeing us and keeping Andrew’s vision alive and thriving.”  Meanwhile, O’Connor continues to be heard at local stations across the nation.  He’s recently filled in at such historic signals as WOR, New York; WLS, Chicago; WABC, New York and more.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Nationally syndicated progressive talk star Randi Rhodes hosted an iconic entertainment figure on her Premiere Networks program as Cher called the show on Wednesday to talk about being vilified for speaking out as an entertainer.  Cher told Rhodes, “I…try to do my part, try to do more than my part for helping people with my money and with my speaking…They just can only vilify you by just saying the most heinous things.  They don’t talk about your ideas, or what you think.  They talk about what kind of a person you are and then they vilify what kind of a person you are.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles spotlights the city of Santa Monica in its next “KNX on Your Corner” event.  News anchors will broadcast live from the café Back on the Beach throughout the day and “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will lead a private networking luncheon for local business leaders, titled, “Your Money, the Markets & the Economy,” with special guest, James Hausberg, managing director and partner of HighTower Advisors at Santa Monica Ford Lincoln…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago is named Chicago Market Station of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association for the fifth straight year.  At the recent awards ceremony WGN picked up six other first place honors including Best Local Radio Newscast, Best Sports Story, and Best Website…..SiriusXM – in association with ESPN Radio – offers subscribers complete coverage of Wimbledon beginning Monday, June 25 through Saturday, July 7.

CRN Digital Talk Radio Adds Three Telecom Systems to Its Affiliate Roster.  Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the addition of three new telecommunications systems to its affiliate roster which will carry CRN’s more than 100 shows and talk radio programs on their audio-only video channels for subscribers.  Home Net of Kutztown, Pennsylvania; CML Telephone Cooperative Association of Meridien, Iowa; and LISCO (Local Internet Service Company) of Fairfield, Iowa will carry all seven of CRN’s broadcast networks on dedicated audio channels.  CRN CEO Mike Horn states, “We are excited to join with Home Net, CML and LISCO and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining programming for the at-home listening experience.”

‘Fast and Furious’ Case/Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 18-22.  The case of Congressional Republicans’ attempt to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not delivering documents in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program and President Obama’s invoking executive privilege in the case was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was the G20 Summit and the Russia-Syria connection followed by the Euro Zone debt crisis and the global financial markets activities at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Dave Ramsey show is added to the program schedule at CBS Radio’s KRLD, Dallas…..KFNX, Phoenix picks up Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee…..Compass Media NetworksFree Beer and Hot Wings morning drive show is added to the program schedule at WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; KBAZ-FM, Missoula, Montana; and WQCK-FM, State College, Pennsylvania…..The Money Pit Home Improvement Show joins the lineup at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WTHQ, Paducah, Kentucky; and KQWC-FM, Webster City, Iowa.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

| January 11, 2012

SCOTUS Hears Broadcast Indecency Arguments; Sweeping Changes Unlikely.  TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman says although Attorney Carter Phillips – representing Fox Television – argued convincingly that broadcasters are responsible to their audiences and advertisers and would not, therefore, engage in a “race to the bottom” with regard to indecency, he believes the Supreme Court will not throw out the current indecency rules as some broadcasters might hope it would.  Attorneys representing the Federal Communications Commission, Fox Television and ABC Television argued before the Court yesterday for the first time since the Pacifica case in 1978.  Read Attorney Weisman’s analysis here.

TRN Entertainment Syndicates Former KGO Weekender Dr. Bill Wattenburg.  Bill Wattenburg was one of the KGO, San Francisco talk show hosts let go by Cumulus Media in December.  Now, TRN Entertainment begins offering Dr. Wattenburg in national syndication Sunday evenings from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am ET beginning January 22.  TRN Entertainment CEO Mark Masters says, “We are ecstatic to have a person of Dr. Bill Wattenburg’s caliber join our network.  His vast knowledge of science and physics will enlighten all of his listeners.  We believe he will quickly develop legions of dedicated fans that want to improve their personal knowledge and way of life.”  Bay Area talk radio listeners are aware of Dr. Wattenburg’s credentials but the rest of the nation may not know that he is a senior research scientist at the Research Foundation, California State University, Chico; and a scientific consultant for the University of California Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and many other institutions.  He is a former nuclear weapons designer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; a former member of the US Air Force Scientific Advisory Board; and a former UC Berkeley professor of electrical engineering.  TRN Entertainment describes Dr. Wattenburg’s show as “mostly an open-line, listener-driven call-in show in which he answers questions ranging from fixing cars to physics, and everything in between.  His combination of experiences and scientific background give him a great wealth of knowledge that he applies to entertain and inform his audience.”

Clear Channel Takes Another Step Toward Making iHeartRadio a Ubiquitous Media Application.  The broadcast giant announces it is making its application programming interface (API) and affiliate program available to third parties and developers so they can integrate its content and services into their own products, web pages and apps.  Clear Channel states, “Developers will have the opportunity to create their own innovative versions of iHeartRadio on their platforms.  The iHeartRadio API includes access to many of the service’s features, including its live broadcast and digital-only stations and Custom Stations as well as a deep social media integration.”  Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lakamp says, “Opening our API will unlock exciting opportunities to enrich the unique, combined live and custom radio experience that only iHeartRadio provides.  This move also builds on our commitment to be everywhere our listeners expect us to be, with the best products and services.”  The company is clearly moving full-speed-ahead to compete in digital media distribution device race and this is another smart move to try to enhance iHeartRadio’s useage.

CBS Radio Names Two More to WNEW-FM, Washington Staff.  When CBS Radio’s all-newser WNEW-FM, Washington debuts on January 19, Lisa Baden will be handling the traffic reporting in one of the nation’s most congested commuter markets and Jill Schlesinger joins the station for twice-hourly business reports.  Baden has been broadcasting traffic reports in the DC market for two decades, most notably with crosstown WTOP-FM and Metro Traffic before that.  Schlesinger is editor-at-large of CBS Moneywatch and also hosts her own nationally syndicated weekend financial talk program syndicated by Dial Global.

Premiere Networks’ Andy Dean Hits 50-Affiliate Mark.  Nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean, host of “America Now,” marks the 50-affilliate plateau.  Premiere Networks SVP of affiliate relations Peter Tripi says, “The rapid growth we’ve experienced with this program is a testament to Andy’s talent, dedication and hard work.  We look forward to reaching many more milestones together.”  Dean’s program is heard on talk outlets across America including WSB, Atlanta; KSTE, Sacramento; WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton; WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville; and KNST-AM/FM, Tucson.

National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Announces Honorees.  It’s the time of year when the NSSA announces winners of its best-of honors for their accomplishments in 2011.  Here are just a few of those just announced:  WGN, Chicago morning sports anchor and Northwestern Wildcats football and basketball play-by-play announcer Dave Eanet is named the 2011 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year.  WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “Dave Eanet is a tremendous broadcaster and a class act.  His passion, integrity and professionalism are apparent in everything that he does and we’re proud to have him on the WGN radio team.”…..Drew Deener of Sports Radio 790 WKRD, Louisville is named Sportscaster of the Year in the State of Kentucky.  Deener hosts “The Early Birds Morning Show” and “The Cardinal Insider” on WKRD.  He also serves as the TV play-by-play voice of University of Louisville football and basketball on WHAS-TV…..KOZN, Omaha’s Kevin Kugler, host of the popular sports talk program “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” and play-by-play host of the College World Series, earns the Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year award for the eighth year.  KOZN program director Neil Nelkin states, “It truly is remarkable that someone this early on his career would be recognized at this level and at this frequency.  It just goes to show how much talent Kevin has behind the mic and in the world of sportscasting.”

Former St. Louis PM Drive Team Thom and Jeff Begin Internet Initiative.  The longtime PM drive team at Emmis’ alternative KPNT, St. Louis, Thom West and Jeff Burton, are producing an internet talk show available via iTunes or their website.  Thom and Jeff were “downsized” in August and began producing podcasts in September.  They say they are now averaging 40,000 downloads per day.  The team has grown to include Scottie “Boom Boom,” Coach, and Kara the Lesbian.  Daily guests add to the non-stop entertainment including comedians, visits from bands, athletes, and local and national celebrities.  Jeff Burton says, “I really enjoyed the old radio show but with the added people and no FCC regulations we are free to do and say whatever we want…and we do!”

Longtime WMAL, Washington Personality Bill Trumball Dies at 77.  Bill Trumball retired from WMAL, Washington in 1996 after spending more than 35 years with the station.  He was partnered with Chris Core on the “Core and Trumball” show for many of those years.  He passed away on January 10 from respiratory failure.

New Hampshire Primary, Iran Saber-Rattling and World Financial Markets Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/10).  The GOP race to take the nation’s first primary election of the 2012 presidential campaign, the ongoing saber-rattling by Iran and speculation about its drive to develop nuclear weapons and the state of the world’s financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 9, 2012

| January 9, 2012

Talk Radio Hosts Invade New Hampshire.  The New Hampshire Primary election is tomorrow (1/10) and in what has become a talk radio tradition – the New Hampshire Primary Radio Row – is putting the candidates and the issues on the air for local listeners and national audiences alike.  The radio row event is organized by TALKERS magazine and the Talk Radio News Service and includes more than 45 programs broadcasting live from the Manchester Radisson.  National programs include: Dial Global’s Neal Boortz, Thom Hartmann and Michael Smerconish; Radio America’s Roger Hedgecock; Genesis Communications Network’s Kate Delaney; Syndication One’s Al Sharpton and Warren Ballentine; Main Street Radio Network’s Alan Nathan; “A Touch of Grey” with Carole Marks; Michael Skoda; Dr. Gina Loudon; and Ed Morrissey.  Local talk hosts include: WOR, New York’s John Gambling; WTKK-FM, Boston’s Jim Braude and Margery Eagan; WTKK’s Michael Graham; Stephen K. Bannon of KABC, Los Angeles; Marc Bernier of WNDB, Daytona Beach; Michael Berry of KTRH, Houston; Lee Davis of WYDE-FM, Birmingham; Scott Hennen of KNOX, Grand Forks, North Dakota; Mark Skoda of WMPS, Memphis; Lisa Wexler of WFAS, Westchester, New York; Ken Pittman and Phil Paleologos of WBSM, New Bedford; Richard Girard of WGAM, Manchester; Paul Westcott of WGIR, Manchester; Dan Mitchell of WKBK, Keene; George Russell of WSMN, Nashua; Mark Johnson of WDEV, Waterbury, Vermont; Steve West of WKVT, Brattleboro, Vermont; John Harper of WUVR, Dartmouth, New Hampshire; Tony Lopes of WVBF, Taunton, Massachusetts; and Jeff Santos of WWZN, Boston.

SCOTUS Hears Indecency Arguments Tomorrow.  This day seems like a long time coming but tomorrow the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments about the FCC’s handling of broadcast indecency.  The case comes to the Court with regard to television violations but the rules are the same for radio.  Recent fines against ABC and Fox were overturned by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals after the court ruled the regulations are vague and unevenly applied – especially concerning the difference between how the rules are applied to over-the-air broadcast versus cable and satellite.  That’s what ABC and Fox will argue tomorrow.  The FCC will argue that even in the current era, most Americans expect broadcast TV (and radio by extension) to be “relatively safe” media for family consumption.  Many legal observers believe that the likely ruling from the Supreme Court will be the request that the FCC make the indecency rules very clear and that its method of enforcement be just as clear.  Interestingly, former FCC chairman Michael Powell – who now works for the National Cable & Telecommunications Association – is quoted by Bloomberg saying if he were voting on the cases in question again, he would dissent this time.  “I’ve always been deeply troubled by the way the First Amendment changes when you change channels.”

Programmer Neil Larrimore Lands KFYI/KGME, Phoenix PD Position.  Clear Channel Phoenix names former KMBZ, Kansas City program director Neil Larrimore PD for news/talk KFYI and sports talker Xtra Sports 910 (KGME).  CC Phoenix director of operations and programming Smokey Rivers states, “Neil is the perfect complement to our Phoenix programming team.   He is totally immersed in the flow of news and sports.  In this ‘that’s so thirty seconds ago’ age, having a quality programmer focused solely on the output of our information products is essential to maintaining our quality edge.”  Larrimore, who recently exited Entercom’s Kansas City news/talk outlet, says, “Information is the lifeblood of all media, now more than ever.  The opportunity to work with these powerful brands and continue to evolve them on-air, on-site and online, is extraordinary!  I can’t wait to get started!”

Rick Barber Retires from KOA, Denver.  After 30 years on the air in Denver, Rick Barber retires from his late-night talk show on Clear Channel’s KOA, Denver.  The Clear Channel station is filling the time with Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM.”

Drew Steele Takes Over AM Drive on WFSX-FM, Fort Myers; Trey Radel Exits to Run for Congress.  Trey Radel announces his candidacy for Florida’s 14th Congressional District seat and exits the morning drive show at Meridian’s “92.5 Fox News” (WFSX-FM) in the Ft. Myers/Naples market.  Meridian hands the reins of the morning drive show over to Drew Steele.  Radel is a longtime media figure in the market serving as anchor on WINK-TV for years before joining “92.5 Fox News.”  Radel is running as a Republican for the seat being vacated by Connie Mack who’s running for the U.S. Senate.

ESPN Radio Celebrates 20 Years in Operation.  Once just a small part of the ESPN cable television-focused broadcasting company, ESPN Audio is now a major component of the ESPN brand.  In January of 1992, ESPN Radio consisted of weekday drive-time commentaries on about 100 affiliates.  The network now has 300 full-time affiliates and ESPN owns four stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Dallas.  SVP of ESPN Audio Mo Davenport states, “In 20 years, we’ve gone from airing only weekday, drive-time commentaries on 104 radio stations, to the amazing success of “Mike & Mike,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Scott Van Pelt, Doug Gottlieb, and having ESPN Radio become the most-listened-to sports stream on the planet.  Additionally, our local markets give fans the local angle on air and online. It is a tribute to our listeners and our team, which pushes us forward to greater success in serving the sports fan.”

Jim Rome Takes TV Show to CBS Sports Network.  There’s no official confirmation from ESPN or Jim Rome’s camp but Big Lead Sports is reporting that Jim Rome’s “Rome is Burning” show will soon disappear from ESPN2 and Rome will begin a TV presence on the new CBS Sports Network.  The site reports that Rome was offered a multi-year deal to remain with ESPN but he’s choosing to begin TV life anew with CBS’ new cable initiative.  There would appear to be no affect on Rome’s radio program with Premiere Networks as a result of this.

KNX, Los Angeles Business Series Offers “The Business of Going Green.”  The next event in all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ Business Breakfast Series is titled, “The Business of Going Green” and takes place Friday, January 20 at 8:00 am at the Los Angeles Convention Center.  CBS Radio Los Angeles says “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will moderate a discussion that will explore how a sustainability strategy can be good for generating revenue and why being socially responsible doesn’t have to mean being fiscally irresponsible.  The free event will include a resource expo, continental breakfast and expert panelists H. David Nahai and Paul Polizzotto.  Nahai was senior advisor to the Clinton Climate Initiative and is president of David Nahai Consulting Services which advises and assists public and private entities involved in the environmental sector.  Polizzotto is president of EcoMedia, a division of CBS Corporation, whose mission is to raise public awareness about environmental issues.

KIRO-FM, Seattle Debuts New Local Food Show.  Hosted by local restaurateurs Tom Douglas and Thierry Rautureau and produced by Tina Cole, “Seattle Kitchen” airs Saturday mornings at 8:00 and Sundays at 10:00 am.  As you’d expect, the program will feature restaurant reviews of Puget Sound eateries as well as recipes and, of course, fielding listeners’ questions.  Program director Larry Gifford says, “Tom and Thierry are a natural fit and great addition.  For the weekend chef, who better to learn from, laugh with and relax to than these guys?”

Friday, November 18, 2011

| November 18, 2011

A Complex Web of Debt.  There’s little reason to wonder why large radio companies are trying to find every available dollar – and that is most visible to the industry and the public in the form of reductions in force – when we read today’s news of Cumulus’ bankruptcy filings.  According to Bloomberg, a subsidiary of Cumulus Media Partners (which Cumulus Media Inc finished purchasing in August) — AR Broadcasting Holdings — was put into Chapter 11 bankruptcy as it owes creditors as much as $100 million with assets of between $10 million and $50 million.  AR Broadcasting Holdings consists of stations in San Francisco, Houston and Dallas.  AR Holdings states it has a prepackaged plan “supported by 100 percent of one class of creditors that voted for the restructuring proposal.”  Another Cumulus subsidiary, CMP KC LLC – owner of two stations in Kansas City and two in Houston – has been in default on debt.  It also is filing a pre-packaged bankruptcy protection plan that will cut the debt from almost $95 million to about $20 million and lenders in turn will end up with equity in the stations.

WBAL, Baltimore’s Ron Smith Ends Chemotherapy.  Baltimore talk radio legend Ron Smith announced Thursday (11/17) that he will continue to host his daily talk show on the Hearst news/talk station he’s worked at as a host for 27 years as long as he can, but he is ending his chemotherapy.  Smith announced on October 17 that he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer that has spread to other organs.  The 69-year-old personality said at the time his doctors believed he had a chance to beat the disease with treatment.  However yesterday he told his listeners he would end chemo and receive only palliative care.

The RTDNA Asks for Electronic Coverage of SCOTUS Health Care Case.  When the United States Supreme Court hears arguments on the constitutionality of the Obama Administration’s health care law, the RTDNA hopes to be able to have TV cameras and audio recording devices in the chamber.  RTDNA chairman Kevin Benz writes to the Court, “Health care overhaul has divided the nation since it was signed into law.  The Court’s ruling undoubtedly will shape the 2012 presidential campaign and most certainly will serve to define Congress’ ability to address national issues.  There is no better time than in anticipation of this watershed case for the Supreme Court justices to suspend the ban on cameras in the courtroom and to allow live electronic coverage of this and other proceedings of keen interest and import to the American public.”  It’s unlikely the Court will allow this as it historically has had little interest in putting itself into the mainstream electronic public media landscape – no matter how convincing the argument for such coverage may be.

Canadian Freedom of Speech Case to Hit Courts.  Damian Goddard was fired from Toronto-based Sportsnet in May after firing off a Tweet that the only “true marriage” is that between a man and a woman.  Goddard is a devout Catholic and believes he has “2,000 years of Christian history” backing him up.  Sportsnet claims it intended to fire Goddard before the Tweet and has documentation of that but Goddard’s attorney says he’s yet to see any such documentation.  What this appears to come down to is Canada’s intense restrictions on free speech.  The six-year-old law that made gay marriage legal in Canada even contains a clause that clearly states citizens have the right to freedom of conscience, religion and speech with regard to this matter.  One attorney anonymously tells the National Post, “Hate speech needs to be related to inciting violence, not hurting feelings.”  The Canadian courts will eventually have to rule on whether citizens – including broadcasters – have the right to express their beliefs if done so responsibly.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Talk Radio Network/Washington Times produced “America’s Morning News” with John McCaslin and Dana Mills adds WLVJ, Boynton Beach, Florida; KEWI, Little Rock; WRCG, Columbus, Georgia; and WFDM, Fort Walton Beach, Florida…..America’s Radio News Network has its “Afternoon Edition” with Ernie Brown picks up WCFO, Atlanta; WFBL, Syracuse; and WUTI, Utica…..The “Free Talk Live” Sunday evening edition with Mark Edge and Stephanie is added to the schedule at WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina…..Dial Global’s Clark Howard joins the lineup at KVI, Seattle and WIBX, Utica…..Dial Global’s “Jill on Money” with Jill Schlesinger adds WMGG, Dunedin, Florida and WDNG, Anniston, Alabama.

Catching Up with Regis!  ABC News Radio’s Andrea Dresdale (r) interviews TV personality Regis Philbin (l) as he makes his way from an appearance on “The View” to the set of “Live with Regis and Kelly” for one of his final press conferences as co-host of the program.  Today is the 80-year-old Philbin’s last program as he retires from the daily morning talk program he’s hosted since it went from a local New York show into national syndication in 1983. Philbin successfully morphed from a game show host to talk show host and holds the Guinness Book of World Records top spot for most time spent on television – almost 17,000 hours!

‘Occupy’ Shutdowns/Protests Top Talk Radio Topic for Week of November 14-18.  The closing of many of the nation’s ‘Occupy’ encampments and the resulting protests landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week.  Following at #2 is 2012 presidential race. At #3 is the European debt crisis and the related financial markets activity followed by the Penn State scandal at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart by clicking on the banner below.