Monday Memo: Help Wanted, Local Host. “Radio’s best years were between network programming that ended at the end of the 1950s and syndicated longform that now dominates talk programming and robotic music formats that displaced local DJs.” And, in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke suggests how that same business model can restore the local programming “which will always be broadcasters’ silver bullet against digital competitors.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Pack Your Bags. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says the demand for summer travel is very high and this category of advertiser is still adjusting to new protocols. “Consider the total packaging concept you can deliver. Many marketers in the travel industry look for strong inquiry and booking accountability. Be prepared with multiple options always considering easy access for your audience to respond. As categories regroup from pandemic business paralysis new opportunities will emerge. Adjust your thinking, planning and preparation now.” Read his column here.
KVI, Seattle Names Ari Hoffman Afternoon Drive Host. After joining Sinclair Broadcast Group’s news/talk KVI, Seattle earlier this year to fill in after Kirby Wilbur’s retirement, Ari Hoffman is officially named the permanent afternoon drive host, effective today (4/26). The station says Hoffman is a local businessman and civic activist who ran for Seattle city council in 2020 who has also appeared on FOX News, Newsmax, “The Dr. Drew Show,” “60 Minutes,” and the KOMO News documentary “Seattle is Dying.” He also reports regularly on Northwest issues in The Post Millennial. He says, “I am thrilled to be joining the amazing team at KVI. If I had known how much fun this gig would be, I would have started 20 years ago. I look forward to bringing common sense ideas and a fresh take on news, politics, and the culture wars to our listeners.” KVI program director Rick Van Cise says, “Our new afternoon host was right under our nose. What’s important to you is important to Ari. He has an engaging and entertaining perspective on local and world issues that’s enlightening and fun to hear!”
Rhode Island News/Talk Pro Ron St. Pierre Launches New Podcast. A story at RINewstoday.com highlights the new podcast being launched by Rhode Island talk radio pro Ron St. Pierre (right). The new program, “Ron and Jen’s Great Escape” – co-starring Jen Brien (left) – launches on May 3. St. Pierre was most recently hosting the morning drive show on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHJJ, Providence until the company declined to renew his contract back in December and, in an effort to save money, put the WTAG-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts-based Jim Polito show in WHJJ’s morning drive slot. During his career, St. Pierre has also served with crosstown WPRO-AM and WABC, New York, among other media outlets. Of his new podcast, St. Pierre says, “Our goal is to provide an escape from the negativity that can overtake conversation about the day’s hot topics…an escape from the banal repetition all too often associated with talk radio. Our goal is a positive approach to news and lifestyle topics with an infusion of humor across the board.”
Westwood One’s Hoops Coverage Generates 19.2 Million Listeners. Citing an IPSOS national audience study conducted April 9-11, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says its exclusive live coverage of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship generated 19.2 million listeners to the play-by-play action from all 66 men’s basketball games, including eight first-round and second-round games, plus regional semifinals and finals. WWO president Suzanne Grimes comments, “We are thrilled that audio audiences for our NCAA March Madness audio coverage returned so strongly. College basketball fans were excited to experience NCAA Men’s basketball and listened across our streaming, smart speaker, and broadcast platforms.” The IPSOS study also found that listening audiences were equally distributed across demographics with 31% of listeners aged 18-34, 41% 35-64 and 27% over the age of 65. Additionally, the coverage attracted a highly educated audience that was 6% more likely than average to be college graduates and 46% more likely to have an advanced degree. 56% of the audience was employed and nearly half (47%) had household incomes of $75,000 or more.
TALKERS News Notes. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden will deliver his first speech to a Joint Session of Congress marking his 100th day in office. Salem Radio Network News is covering the speech for affiliate stations. SRN coverage will be anchored by SRN News U.S. Senate correspondent Bob Agnew and he’ll be joined by TOWNHALL News Capitol Hill correspondent Bernie Bennett…..Coverage of this year’s NFL Draft begins this week and ESPN“SportsCenter” anchors Elle Duncan and Kevin Negandhi are kicking off the network’s coverage on their “Get Up” morning show on April 29 and 30. They will also lead ESPN Radio’s NFL Draft broadcasts alongside NFL Front Office Insider Mike Tannenbaum, ESPN Radio’s Bart Scott and reporter Ian Fitzsimmons. ESPN Radio’s coverage will continue Saturday, May 1, with host Jason Fitz, NFL Draft analyst and Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy, Tannenbaum and Fitzsimmons…..C13Originals, a division of Audacy’s Cadence13, has signed on critically acclaimed bestselling author Shawn Levy for “Glitter and Might,” a documentary podcast franchise about power and influence originating from Hollywood. Season One will explore the relationship between legendary Hollywood mogul Lew Wasserman, a young actor named Ronald Reagan, and notorious labor lawyer Sidney Korshak, and the story of how they came together, and rose to become, respectively, the most powerful executive in Hollywood, the most powerful man in the world, and the most powerful lawyer in the country, forever changing the entertainment industry and the country itself.….The Independent Broadcasters Association is supporting COVID Remembrance Day on May 25 as a day of honor and reflection for those who have been lost to the pandemic. A special IBA members-only webinar is set for 2:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 29 to provide how-to instructions and outline the tools and resources that will be available to participating radio stations. COVID Remembrance Day is being produced by Paige Nienaber and CPR Promotions, in conjunction with partners MannGroup Radio, Benztown and P1 Media Group. Nienaber, who will host the webinar, says, “On COVID Remembrance Day participating stations and their listeners can reflect on the events of the past year, honor and give tribute to the victims, heroes, and people in their communities who have stepped up and been a part of the response effort. We hope every radio station in America will join us.”
Free-Form Radio Pioneer Bob Fass Dies at 87. The New York Times has the obit for legendary free-form radio personality Bob Fass, who died on April 24 at his home in Monroe, North Carolina. Fass hosted the “Radio Unnameable” overnight program on WBAI, New York for more than 50 years. Fass’s program could include any program element – avant-garde music, political talk, calls from listeners, and drop-in guests. He would have guests such as Abbie Hoffman or a young, still-largely unknown Bob Dylan. He once told an interviewer, “I’d put anyone on, because the idea was if you didn’t like what I was doing, three minutes later I’d be doing something else.”
COVID-19, Biden’s First 100 Days, Chauvin Verdict Aftermath, Border Crisis, and Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the severe outbreak in India; President Joe Biden’s administration approaches its 100-day mark; the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict and the larger issue of race relations in the U.S.; the crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; and Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
By Walter Sterling
Talk Show Host
Perhaps you are just starting to broadcast from your home. If so, these findings might be useful.
Salem Radio Network Adds Nightly, Syndicated Joe Walsh Show to Lineup. The change takes place on February 20 when WIND, Chicago-based talk show host (and former Congressman from Illinois) Joe Walsh takes over the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET show on the Salem Radio Network, bumping the Steve Deace syndicated show from the timeslot. Walsh hosts the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on WIND and will continue in that role, adding the syndicated, late night show to his duties. Salem SVP Phil Boyce comments, “We have been watching Joe work locally in Chicago and have seen outstanding development. His audience there continues to grow and we felt he would continue to do well on the national stage. Joe is a courageous and fearless warrior on the conservative side, who encourages his audience to take a strong stand for what is right.”
Casey Bartholomew to Program WFSX, Fort Myers-Naples. Longtime New Jersey-based talk radio pro Casey Bartholomew announces he’s been named the new program director at Sun Broadcasting’s news/talk WFSX, Fort Myers-Naples “92-5 FOX News.” He writes in a Facebook post, “This will, for a time, require me to give up being on the air on a daily basis. But, I will still be able to do my fill-in work, and it may provide a chance for me to do a daily show on the station in the future. This is an exciting, new opportunity for me and I hope it all works out the way I’m hoping. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Brad Fanning Co-Hosts Afternoons at KCSP, Kansas City. Kansas City sports talker KCSP “610 Sports” names Brad Fanning co-host of the afternoon program, “The Drive,” alongside Carrington Harrison and producer Ben Heisler. Fanning takes over the slot vacated by Danny Parkins who moved to Chicago to co-host middays at WSCR “The Score.” Fanning previously worked in the Kansas City market as a sports reporter for KCTV-TV.
Jeff Pantridge Assumes Afternoon Duties at ‘ESPN 94.1’ in Norfolk. Norfolk sports talk outlet WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1” names Jeff Pantridge afternoon sports talk personality, taking over the role vacated by Nick Cattles, who moved to Boston for a gig at WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” During his career, Pantridge has served with CBS Radio at the former WHFS-FM, Tampa and he produced the WFLA-AM, Tampa show hosted by Todd Schnitt. He’ll continue to work with Max Media staffers Matthew Steinberg and A.J. Risser, who’d been co-hosting the afternoon show after Cattles’ departure.
Scripps News/Talker WTMJ, Milwaukee Debuts ‘Mobile’ Podcast Network. Milwaukee news/talk outlet WTMJ is unveiling its new “WTMJ Mobile” – a podcast network that includes popular WTMJ shows on-demand in addition to locally based podcasters from Milwaukee and Wisconsin. The Scripps-owned station says this pilot program also includes exclusive podcasts for the Green Bay Packers, Milwaukee Brewers and Milwaukee Bucks. WTMJ and WKTI VP news, talk, and sports programming for radio Tom Langmyer states, “This uniquely Wisconsin platform expands our content offerings, builds strong third party partnerships and takes Scripps’ Milwaukee brands to new levels.” WTMJ director of programming Eric Brooks adds, “‘WTMJ Mobile’ helps ensure our continued leadership position in spoken-word content. Our live programming every day is valued content for our listeners. With the podcast network, our audiences have full access to choose the unique, digital-first content they want and when. Our diverse list of offerings will continue to increase the impact of WTMJ throughout the region.” In addition to station-created content, WTMJ has partnered with Milwaukee organizations, including NEWaukee, the Milwaukee Brewing Company, Startup Milwaukee and many more to create a uniquely Wisconsin podcast experience. Director of marketing and innovation J. Pat Miller says, “With podcasting, WTMJ has exponentially expanded the amount of content we provide, while championing more local voices to engage our connected, vibrant listeners.”
New Sales Roles Filled at CBS Radio in Chicago. With the transition of John Cravens to a consulting role for CBS Radio in Chicago, the company announces that Chad Feldman is assuming the position of director of news and sports sales, in which he’ll oversee sales activities of all-news WBBM-AM, sports talk WSCR “The Score,” and play-by-play assets for Chicago Cubs and Chicago Bears broadcasts. At the same time, the company names Joe Mackay director of music sales for CHR WBBM-FM “B96,” triple A WXRT, country WUSN “US99,” and classic hits WJMK. Feldman – an 11-year CBS Radio Chicago staffer – was most recently GSM for WSCR. Mackay was serving as national sales manager for CBS Radio’s Detroit, Cleveland and Pittsburgh stations. About his new role, Feldman comments, “After a career devoted to sports radio, it’s humbling for me to be given the good fortune to lead four of the most iconic Chicago radio brands ever. Coming here from Washington, DC 15 years ago, I would never have imagined I would be given this opportunity. I am grateful and excited about what is to come.” The company also names general sales managers for four of its stations. They are: Paul Agase for WBBM-FM, Dan Richman for WXRT, Carla Ross for WJMK, and Sheila Mulcahy for WUSN.
Now Playing on Talkers TV: ‘Needless to Say…’ Consultant Holland Cooke says, “Your voice is competing for attention with a barrage of noise, thousands of other messages that vie for your listeners’ attention every day. To ‘break through,’ broadcasters and podcasters must ‘communicate clearly.’” Check out the Talkers TV video in the upper right-hand of this page in which Cooke offers specific coaching advice.
Comrex to Display New IP Audio Gateway at NAB Show 2017. This new product is called Opal – a portmanteau for Opus Portal – and it’s an IP audio gateway that creates a studio internet audio portal. Install it in your studio and then anyone accessing it through a computer or Android device (with a microphone, earpiece, and browser) is able to broadcast from their computer or phone in high fidelity. High quality return audio is also provided to the guest. This product is optimal for audio programs and news departments that regularly use remote guests. It allows them to deliver “studio quality” sound without the need for any special equipment on their end. Comrex notes that “Opal is ideal for users who need to coordinate call-ins with non-technical remote guests – guests can simply click a link and connect instantly. Opal establishes the link using the Opus encoder, for excellent fidelity and low delay. Opal can support two connections at once and provides two independent professional audio I/O ports to the studio. Opal occupies 1/2U of rack space, and two can fit side-by-side in a 19” rack shelf. Connections to Opal can only be made from browsers that support WebRTC (Chrome and Firefox) at this time. Check it out in Las Vegas April 22-27.
TALKERS News Notes. And the winner is… Motel 6! The hospitality chain takes home the gold in the Westwood One Sports Sound Awards – the fourth annual contest to determine the most popular audio commercials aired the Super Bowl broadcast. The winner was Motel 6’s ad in which spokesman Tom Bodett tries to incorporate millennial lingo to promote the hotel chain. Bodett says the ad truly was “on fleek.” In 2nd place was also Motel 6 with their ad “Disclaimer,” which found Bodett trying his best to not mention certain trademarked names that would land the hotel chain in legal trouble. Finally, in 3rd place was Hagerty Insurance’s spot in which it pulled on the heartstrings of car lovers everywhere while taking listeners back to the first car they owned…..SiriusXM announces the appointment of political analyst and former Hillary Clinton aide Zerlina Maxwell as director of progressive programming. In this new role, Maxwell is overseeing the editorial direction of the Progress 127 channel. SiriusXM says, “With the addition of the progressive and feminist stalwart, the left-leaning channel has positioned itself with a renewed focus on both activism and resistance to the actions of the new Trump administration.” Maxwell served as the Clinton campaign’s director of progressive media. She’ll report to SiriusXM VP/GM of talk programming Dave Gorab…..Radio station operators currently using satellite AMC-8 (139 degrees West Longitude) have until June 30 to repoint their satellite dishes to migrate to the new AMC-18 at 105 degrees West Longitude. There are five networks that use AMC-8 and are moving their service to AMC-18: Learfield, Orbital Media Networks (OMNi), Premiere Networks, Skyview Networks and Westwood One, in addition to syndicators who lease their satellite time from these five companies…..American Private Radio, distributor of “Our American Stories” to more than 40 U.S. radio markets is offering a Presidents Day special for radio stations that would like to air the program on Monday, February 20. Host and APR CEO Lee Habeeb says the Presidents Day special will be “a beautiful tribute to arguably the most important historical figure in U.S. history, our first President George Washington. We will weave together anecdotes, memoirs and biographical accounts of the public – and personal – life of Washington, including magnificent story-telling authentically narrated by two-time Pulitzer-Prize winning author and biographer David McCullough, who has written extensively about our nation’s first President.” For information on securing this special presentation, contact Our American Stories at 239-470-9297 or via email email@example.com.
Trump Travel Ban Court Fight, Elizabeth Warren vs. Jeff Sessions, Trump and U.S. Murder Rate, U.S.-Yemen Relations, Kremlin Demands Apology from FOX News, and Status of ObamaCare Repeal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7). The court battle over President Donald Trump’s order preventing travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations; Senator Elizabeth Warren is silenced for impugning a fellow senator in the debate over Jeff Sessions’ AG nomination; controversy over President Trump’s statement that the U.S. murder rate is the highest it’s been in 47 years; Yemen requiring permission for further strikes against Islamic State targets after its claim that civilians were killed in the recent U.S. raid; the Kremlin’s demand for an apology from FOX News after Bill O’Reilly called Vladimir Putin a killer during his Sunday Trump interview; and the administration’s and GOP’s plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WFTL’s Rich Stevens Visited by an ‘Angel.’ Pictured above is WFTL, West Palm Beach late morning host Rich Stevens sitting in the studio with “Charlie’s Angels” star Cheryl Ladd. The actress and 1970s icon made a rare, in-studio appearance with Stevens. The two talked about her work on the classic TV program, golfing with O.J. Simpson and her being on the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson, among other things.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Program director Mike Preston is exiting Entercom’s country KKWF, Seattle “100.7 The Wolf” and rhythmic oldies KHTP “HOT 103.7” to pursue his next radio gig. Preston says that, after seven years with the company in Seattle, he’s ready to move on. “I’m very proud of what my teams have accomplished, making ‘The Wolf’ the top country brand in the market and putting our newest brand, ‘HOT 103.7,’ on the map in a big way. I’m grateful to Jack Hutchison, Dave Richards, Pat Paxton, and Mike Moore for the opportunity to put country ‘under my belt’ and to pioneer the classic hip hop and R&B format.” Entercom Seattle VP of programming Dave Richards will be in charge of the stations as a successor to Preston is sought…..The Adams Radio Group cluster in Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland has a new vice president and general manager. Paul Burton joins the company from the crosstown iHeartMedia cluster where he was vice president of sales. Adams CEO Ron Stone comments, “It is rare that you get an opportunity to partner with someone that literally can change your life. I have spent the past several months as the interim GM while searching for the right person to lead our organization in Delmarva. Paul is that person. His excitement and commitment to excellence is second to none.”…..Afternoon personality and assistant program director Todd Michaels exits Beasley Media Group’s country KCYE, Las Vegas “102.7 The Coyote” after two years with the station.
New Documentary About ‘70s Rock Band Gunhill Road Showcased at Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The early seventies NYC-based album rock band, Gunhill Road – best known for one big hit single ‘Back When My Hair Was Short” – got a lot of media attention a couple of years ago with the unexpected release of their reunion album “Every 40 Years.” Now a new documentary (also titled “Every 40 Years”) chronicling the group’s colorful story, spearheaded by the filmmaker son of one of the band’s members, had its world premiere Monday evening (2/6) as a special feature of the prestigious Santa Barbara International Film Festival. For 25 years, director Eric Goldrich knew close to nothing about his dad’s (Steve Goldrich) band Gunhill Road. A tribute concert to the band’s old manager and owner of the famous nightclub The Bitter End incited the band’s return to the stage. With the excitement of seeing his father play music with Gunhill Road again, Eric sought to document the performance. They were billed with Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary) that night, along with many other legendary musicians, but what the future held was unknown. Two years later, Gunhill Road reunited to record a brand new 19-track album, consisting of unrecorded songs that they had written in the ’70s and ’80s. Eric convinced co-director Benjamin Friedberg to join him on the unique journey of creating a documentary following the return of Gunhill Road. Through Eric and Ben’s discovery, they learned how much Gunhill Road meant to its fans, and how close they got to breaking out as successful artists. They were the only band ever managed by The Bitter End’s owner, Paul Colby, and Kenny Rogers produced their second album. They opened for some of the greatest acts in history, including George Carlin, Bette Midler, Soupy Sales, Jim Croce, Lily Tomlin, Poco, the Carpenters, and many more. As a band, one could say they failed. They’re even called a “One Hit Wonder.” Yet, in their 60’s, they came back to play together again 40 years after they broke up. A story of courage, doubt, regret, and liberation, the new film documentary “Every 40 Years” is described as being about chasing your dream down one more time. The band played a special concert for its fans at the nearby Santa Barbara club, The Red Piano, following the screening of the film. Eric Goldrich tell TALKERS that plans are in the works to showcase the documentary at other film festivals around the country and eventually find it a home on one of the cable or internet film channels. To view the trailer for the film, please click here.
Gunhill Road stopped by heritage rocker KTYD-FM, Santa Barbara to do an interview on the station’s morning show in conjunction with the premiere of their documentary at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival. Pictured (back row l-r): Gunhill Road members Steve Goldrich and Paul Reich, and KTYD-FM morning co-hosts Lin Aubuchon and David Perry. (Front row): Gunhill Road member Glenn Leopold.