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Monday, November 12, 2012

| November 12, 2012

Clear Channel Pulls the Plug on Progressive Talk KPOJ, Portland.  The conspiracy theories from listeners and progressive talk fans are already pouring in – especially on the Portland-area blogs and mainstream media sites – but the notion that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is flipping KPOJ to sports talk for political reasons and not because of business factors has no basis in reality.  According to a piece in the local Willamette Week blog site, KPOJ’s recent 12-plus ratings were around a 1.0 share compared to some of its spoken-word competitors (news/talk KEX and KXL posted a 3.5 share and 5.0 share, respectively).  TALKERS is not privy at this time to how well Clear Channel was able to sell KPOJ but it should surprise few in the business that sports content has never been hotter from a consumption standpoint and political talk – whether conservative or progressive – is, from a sales perspective, controversial and therefore a much tougher sell, probably even in a progressive market such as Portland.  Local morning talk host Carl Wolfson was gracious in his public statement about the decision saying, in part, “I appreciate the opportunity they gave me for six years to be a voice for progressive causes in our state and nation.  I will miss all of my fun friends at work (my excellent producer Paul, remains employed!).  I love all of you, my loyal listeners.  It has been my honor to give a platform to all of the outstanding groups, volunteers, elected officials and good people who make Oregon so special.”  The station, considered one of the nation’s more successful progressive talk outlets for many years, also carried WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, Premiere NetworksRandi Rhodes and Mike Malloy.

Fox Sports Radio Takes Over in Portland.  Beginning Today, KPOJ, Portland becomes “Fox Sports Radio 620” and carries the full lineup of Fox Sports Radio Network programming that includes “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT The Brick plus other weekend programming.  Clear Channel Portland has the rights to Portland Trailblazers basketball (which airs on sister KEX) and Oregon State Beavers sports and the “Beaver Nation Live” show will continue to air on KPOJ from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily.  Operations manager Chris Sargent states, “Combining our rich relationship with the Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trail Blazers, and now Fox Sports Radio, this is a win-win situation for us.  We expect the new Fox Sports Radio 620 to serve the community with great access to sports information and entertainment, while setting the standard of sports excellence in Portland.”

Brian Wilson Exits WSPD, Toledo.  News/talk pro Brian Wilson leaves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WSPD, Toledo where he’s been program director, news director and afternoon drive talk host for more than seven years.  Wilson has long operated his Vacation Relief Services company and has been a host a such outlets as WABC, New York; KSFO, San Francisco; WRC, Washington; and WGST, Atlanta.  Wilson says via his Facebook page: “I am glad to have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of freedom and liberty to Northwest Ohio. Wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and goodbye to my listeners.  I will continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.”

Cox Media Splits WDBO, Orlando Simulcast; AM 580 to Sports Talk.  The AM/FM simulcast of news/talk on Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando ends today as the station takes up the ESPN affiliation and begins airing ESPN Radio’s lineup of nationally syndicated programming including “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and SVP & Russillo.  The move adds another sports talk outlet to the market that already includes Clear Channel-owned WYGM “The Game” the Fox Sports Radio affiliate; Star Over Orlando’s WRSO the Yahoo! Sports affiliate; and Genesis Communications’ WHOO “Sports Talk Florida” the NBC Sports Radio affiliate.  WDBO’s full program schedule should be known soon and it’s not clear at this point if the station will air any local sports talk.

Unlocking the Secrets of Twitter.  One of the radio industry’s most respected digital consultants offers tips on maximizing the use of Twitter to drive listeners to the station and increase ratings. TALKERS columnist Chris Miller of Chris Miller Digital warns that Twitter is not Facebook‘s “little sister” and should not be treated that way.  He says broadcasters can use Twitter to effectively enhance their radio brand by creating a “bulletin service” that promotes one element of upcoming programming and one element only; a “customer channel” that opens a link to a real, live customer serviceperson – a recording; and by creating “mico-targeting” initiatives which separates various factions of the total target audience for very specific aspects of the programming of primary interest to them.  Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.

WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast Sandy Relief Program.  During his midday show today, Cumulus Media Networks’ talk show host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast live from a Salvation Army post on storm-ravaged Island Park on Long Island in order to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief.  WABC states, “During the broadcast, singer and actress Katharine McPhee will interrupt filming the next season of her TV show ‘Smash’ to announce that she will match every donation dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 through her charitable foundation, McPhee Outreach (for a total of $100,000).”  McPhee says,  “I was looking for the organization on the ground that was doing the most to help Hurricane Sandy victims and I found that to be the Salvation Army.”  Rivera will be on the air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET.  He says, “There is no one who does more with less than the Salvation Army.  I’m hoping that my listeners and sponsors will step up and match the McPhee Outreach’s grant to raise more than $100,000 to help people rebuild their lives in the wake of this weather disaster.”

LFM’s KKFN, Denver Re-Signs Clough.  Late-morning talk host Sandy Clough re-ups with Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver sports talker KKFN.  The terms of the deal were not announced and Clough’s extending his contract with the station comes shortly after the sports talk outlet re-upped fellow air talent Scott Hastings and Joel Klatt.

 

Aaron Matthews Named PD at WWSR, Lima, Ohio.  Maverick Media fills the program director position at sports WWSR, Lima “93.1 The Fan” with market veteran Aaron Matthews.  He takes over for Ryan Reker who exited Maverick’s Lima cluster to become program director at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne.

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Opinion: Talk Radio’s Renaissance Requires Open-Minded Ownership.  Talk host and programmer Tom Becka – currently heard on KRWK, Fargo and KOIL, Omaha – says that the post-election reflection on talk radio’s future reminds him of his days as a stand-up comic traveling the country and talking with people whose concerns went far beyond the political process in Washington, DC.  “The truth is what is important to most talk show hosts is not important to most people on the street.”  Becka says hosts must be broader in their approach and management has to be willing to change.  Read his opinion piece here.

Canada’s CRTC Approves New English-Language Talk Station for Montreal.  The new English-language talk formatted station won’t hit the airwaves in Montreal until late spring of 2013 but Canada’s broadcasting regulation agency – the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has approved the application for the new station.  The company applying for the license is owned by three Montreal businessmen and the outlet will be the sister station to the French-language talk outlet that’s also been approved.  The French station will operate at 940 AM – a signal that’s been dark in Montreal for two years.  Currently, Montreal is served by Astral Media’s English-language talk outlet CJAD.

 

Five Easy Fixes to Improve Your PPM Numbers

| July 30, 2012

By Walter Sabo
Chairman
Sabo Media

NEW YORK – You’ve heard the horror stories about talk stations losing a third of their audience when measured by PPM.  There are talk stations that have gone up in PPM and other formats have benefitted from the new measurement technique.

After tracking the stations that have done better and formats that have improved while being surveyed by PPM, here are simple techniques for you to use today that will boost PPM-measured cume.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

| July 5, 2012

“Independence Day Wednesday” Provides Talk Radio with Interesting Programming Opportunities.  According to a TALKERS magazine survey of talk stations across the country, the rare occurrence of July 4th falling on a Wednesday this year and not lending itself to a convenient four-day weekend, gave talk radio programmers an array of options in filling the schedule.  Many gave their star performers the day off and replaced them with their own “best ofs.” Others used fill-in hosts – some cleverly taking it upon themselves to create their own Fourth of July “specials.”  Others just did their shows as per the usual schedule.  Almost all report that they spent extra time and attention revisiting the meaning of the holiday and the historic roots of American independence.  Independence Day gives radio stations the opportunity to become engaged with local military, public safety, emergency response, community service and charitable organizations in their regions.  WHYN, Springfield, Mass. morning co-host Brad Shepard performs his annual ritual of serving as master of ceremonies at the local East Longmeadow Independence Day Parade – a major two-hour regional tradition in Western Massachusetts drawing thousands of people.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, a resident of the area who attends the event each year, states, “Brad Shepard does a wonderful job announcing the details and color of this superb local parade for a large crowd of people who line the sidewalks and pack the town square in an idyllic New England small-town setting.  It is an example of a beloved hometown radio personality engaging in true community involvement and a joy to behold.”  Harrison (l) is greeted by Shepard (r) at the parade reviewing stand during a break in the action for a quick TALKERS photo.

When Is a Death Threat Free Speech?  TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman explains some of the legal background in the murky area of free speech and language that can appear to be a threat to someone’s health or life.  In the wake of the case of Timothy Demeuse – a Milwaukee man charged with a misdemeanor for writing threatening language about WIBA, Madison-based talk host Vicki McKenna – Weisman says what is considered a punishable offense is not always easy to predict.  Read his column here.

Red Zebra’s Washington Redskins Radio Network Re-Inks Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen.  National Football League Hall-of-Famers Sam Huff and Sonny Jurgensen have both re-signed with the Washington Redskins Radio Network for the 2012-2013 football season.  The two will be in the booth with play-by-play man Larry Michael and WTEM, Washington’s Rick “Doc” Walker will serve as sideline reporter.  Due to the rigors of travel, the 78-year-old Huff will work 12 of the 20 games – all home games and two road contests.  Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff have been broadcasting Washington Redskins games together since 1981 – a span of over 600 broadcasts, including 25 playoff games and all three Super Bowl victories.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment promotes programmer Tony Travatto who moves from his post as OM and PD at CHR WNCI, Columbus to Detroit where he’ll serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes progressive talk WDTW and sports talk WDFN…..Spanish-language broadcaster Univision unveils the Univision America national talk radio network lineup that debuted on July 4.  The lineup – which is expected to be heard on all of the company’s AM talk stations – includes a morning drive news block; relationships expert Dra. Isabel; current events talk with Fernando Espuelas; political talk with Helen Aguirre; and a sports talk show featuring Rafael Hernandez Brito…..Carl Amari’s “Hollywood 360” weekly nostalgia and trivia show is being syndicated nationally via Syndication Networks Corp. and Salem Radio Networks.  The WIND, Chicago-based show is expected to be carried on many Salem Communications-owned stations.

Newspaper Decline Spells Opportunity for Talk Radio Sales.  The problems facing daily newspapers are opportunities for local talk radio sales executives writes H & H Communications president Al Herskovitz.  In this column, Herskovitz explains talk radio’s proven ability to drive traffic to the web combined with the unique personalities on the stations give it a one-two punch of marketing effectiveness.  Read Al’s column here.

Fourth of July Holiday, SCOTUS ObamaCare Decision Aftermath, 2012 Presidential Race, Mid-Atlantic Storm Damage, and National Malware Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/4).  Holiday topics discussed on news/talk radio on July 4th included the holiday itself; the aftermath of the Supreme Court’s ruling on President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; the 2012 presidential race; the lingering effects of the recent Mid-Atlantic storms; and the threat of a nationwide malware attack on internet users, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, May 14, 2012

| May 14, 2012

TALKERS TV: WTOP Reporter Does All Field Reports on iPhone or iPad.  Things have changed, at least technologically, since WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein joined the heritage all-news outlet in 1999.  The newsroom was still equipped with reel-to-reel tape recorders and the portable bag phones that weighed as much as 15 pounds.  Since 2010, Neal has earned the distinction of being the first major market radio reporter who does all of his field production on an iPhone or iPad.  This week TALKERS TV presents the final installment of an exclusive three-part feature on the inner workings of all-news giant WTOP with an interview with Neal Augenstein in which he explains the theory behind and the method of using Apple’s smart phone as an extremely innovative and convenient tool for gathering, producing and presenting news in a multimedia venue.  See TALKERS TV at the top of the column on the upper right side of this page.

New Media Seminar New York Nears Sellout – Features Power-Packed Agenda.  Thursday, June 7 promises to be an important and exciting day for talk radio and related talk media as the East Coast installment of the industry’s largest and longest-running convention nears a sellout.  More than 60 industry leaders are scheduled to speak including (in alphabetical order): Nancy Abramson, executive director, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chuck Armstrong, APD, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, “Bax and O’Brien” morning show, Rock 102, Springfield, MA; Rennie Bishop, PD WWRL, New York; Jim Bohannon, host, Dial Global Radio Networks; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Dr. Joy Browne, host, WOR Radio; Laurie Cantillo, PD, WTOP, Washington, DC; Kevin Casey, VP/managing editor, TALKERS; Michael Castner, host, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media; Andy Dean, host Premiere Networks; Dave Elswick, PD, KARN, Little Rock; Boomer Esiason, host, WFAN, New York; Barry Farber, host, Talk Radio Network/CRN Digital Talk Radio; Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP, Washington, DC;  Terry Foxx, PD, KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; Ian Freeman, co-host, Free Talk Live; Mike Gallagher, host, Salem Radio Network; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Heidi Harris, host, KRLA, Los Angeles/KTIE, San Bernadino; Matthew B. Harrison, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC;  Gabe Hobbs, president, Gabe Hobbs Media;  Jim Horn, PD, WSBA, York;  Gov. Mike Huckabee, host, Cumulus Media/Fox News Channel;  Rusty Humphries, host Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Lionel, president, LionelMedia.com; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP Radio, CBS News; Chris Oliviero,  SVP programming, CBS Radio; Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications/Portland; John Parikhal, president, Joint Communications; Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service;  Mark Riley, host, WWRL, New York; Walter Sabo, president, Sabo Media; Todd Schnitt, host, Compass Media Networks; Ed Schultz, host, MSNBC/The Ed Schultz Show;  Doug Stephan, president, Stephan Multimedia; Chris Stigall, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas;  Peter Thiele, PD, WMCA/WNYM, New York; Joe Thomas, PD, WCHV, Charlottesville; Paul Vandenburg, president/GM, WGDJ, Albany; Steven J.J. Weisman, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; with more to be announced. A full agenda will be posted here tomorrow.  Also, today is the final day that discount rooms for seminar attendees at the nearby Doubletree will be available.  For registration and hotel information call 413-565-5413.

Sabo Sez:  If Every Station Was a Talk Station…  “Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station.  How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener?  They couldn’t all take the same approach, they would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics,” says Sabo Media president Walter Sabo.  In his latest column for TALKERS, Sabo says that’s why spoken-word radio must be differentiated and targeted just as music-based radio is and therein lays the key to making a profit from an FM talk station.  Read Walter Sabo’s piece here.

Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast from WABC, New York-Sponsored Job Fair.  Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York and sister Hot AC WPLJ-FM are sponsoring the “Putting America Back to Work” job fair being held tomorrow (5/15) at the Jacob Javits Center and WABC and KABC, Los Angeles talk host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program live from the event.  Part of the broadcast will feature a panel of experts and CEOs discussing practical advice and tips for job seekers.  Cumulus New York states there will also be some 100 job recruiters from a wide range of industries with positions available on the scene.

KFWB, Los Angeles Re-Ups with NBA’s Clippers.  The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles sign a multi-year extension to keep the franchise’s games on the station.  Details of the terms are not being disclosed per team and station policy.  Station general manager Valerie K. Blackburn states, “We are so happy to forge forward with our relationship with the Clippers who have captured the hearts of Southern Californians and fans across the country.  The Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a fan favorite in this town and are an extremely important part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality programming to our listeners.”  KFWB is operated by the KFWB Asset Trust and the KFWB License Trust, divestiture trusts under the management of Diane Sutter, president and CEO of ShootingStar Broadcasting.

Cumulus Media Signs With Triton Digital for Its Online Platform.  The country’s second largest radio station operator (measured by station count) will move the online platform of its more than 530 radio stations to the Triton Digital platform, according to a story in Radio InkCumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states the company’s stations will be able to take advantage of the services provided by Triton Digital as well as providing a standard platform which will enable the transition to putting all of the company’s stations on iHeartRadio as announced several months ago.  It is expected the Cumulus stations will be available on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio within the next 45 to 60 days.

Greater Media Charlotte Names Billy Black Imaging Director.  News/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and talk intensive sister Hot AC WLNK-FM have hired imaging pro Billy Black to serve as the imaging director for the stations.  For the past 10 years Black has worked at Clear Channel’s rock WRXR-FM, Chattanooga where he served as morning show host, program director and imaging director.  Greater Media Charlotte marketing administrator Jessica Reeves RoBards says, “He has imaged a ton of Clear Channel stations and made work parts and shells from scratch for companies like Frost Bytes.  This is unique because most imaging guys use pre-made beds and work parts, he makes his own.  He also had a stint at Media Base.  He will image both stations.  His ideas and creativity are something these stations have been craving.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cumulus Media nabs market manager Kevin Waltman from Clear Channel’s Tallahassee operations that include news/talk WFLA-FM.  Waltman heads up Cumulus’ Montgomery, Alabama cluster that includes news/talk WLWI and sports talk WMSP…..Forever Broadcasting is picking up a stronger signal for its “TJ Network” news/talk format based at WTJS, Jackson Tennessee.  It will swap with Grace Broadcasting Services giving Grace its WTJW-FM, Humboldt, Tennessee at 105.3 plus $525,000 and get WTGP-FM, Trenton, Tennessee at 97.7…..SiriusXM names National Soccer Hall of Famer John Harkes host of its daily soccer talk show “The Football Show” that airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am.  Harkes will be joined on the show by co-hosts Charlie Stillitano and Neil Barnett.

If Every Station Was a Talk Station

| May 14, 2012

By Walter Sabo
President
Sabo Media

NEW YORK — Radio’s original programming slate was completely random.  As a new, experimental medium, all radio stations aired a vast array of programming from operas to farm news to live music.  Until 1940 there was an actual legal debate about whether or not recorded music could be aired on the radio.  See it here.

Every Station is a Talk Station.  Now What?

Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station.  How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener?  They couldn’t all take the same approach.  They would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics. There would be talk stations for teens, 18-24 men, 25-34 women and 35-54 year old professionals.  You would hear talk stations just for parents, singles, sports fans, all news for people over 50 and for people under 25.  In L.A., New York and San Francisco there are over 60 viable signals; the possible format iterations would match the scope of human interests.

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