CBS RADIO Re-Ups KYW, Philly’s Steve Butler. Programmer Steve Butler signs a multi-year contract renewal with CBS RADIO in which he’ll continue to serve as vice president of news programming, and program director of all-news KYW. In his capacity as vice president of news programming and news format captain, Butler advises eight of CBS RADIO’s all-news outlets on on-air and digital content and strategy. In his KYW Newsradio role, he oversees the station’s production and content, as well as the on-air and newsroom staffs. CBS RADIO EVP of programming Chris Oliviero comments, “CBS RADIO continues to be the industry leader in providing many of the nation’s largest cities with the trusted and credible local news and information that millions of listeners depend on day in and day out. Steve’s expertise and influence has helped shape the ongoing success of our iconic, eight all-news stations and will be critical in the continued growth of these brands for years to come. We are thrilled to have him lead in this important position.”
Cumulus Names Tim Shickles to PD Role at Sports WTRX, Flint. At the Cumulus Media operations in Flint, Michigan, the company names August Wallace operations manager for the entire cluster. At the same time, Tim Shickles is promoted to program director for sports talk WTRX “Sports Xtra 1330.” Shickles is also now programming sister country station WFBE “NASH 95.1.” Shickles has been an on-air personality for Cumulus Media Flint for the past seven years and will continue in his on-air role with WFBE. Ed Leick, vice president/market manager Cumulus Media Flint, says, “Cumulus is fortunate to have such incredible talents working in our radio stations across the country and right here in Flint, Michigan. It is my great pleasure to assist in moving these two fine broadcasters to the next level in their careers.”
Remembering Kay Zwerling. One of talk radio’s original partisans and supporters has passed away at the age of 95. For approximately 20 years, Kay Zwerling became a familiar central California on-air talent via Zwerling Broadcasting System talker KSCO, Santa Cruz-Monterey- Salinas, where she would write/voice commentaries on a variety of topics, especially politics and current events. Those short-form features were broadcast several times throughout the day. A compilation of those commentaries was incorporated into a hardcover book, “For KSCO, I’m Kay Zwerling.” She and her husband Bernard encouraged and supported their son Michael’s acquisition of Class B AM KSCO in January 1991. Nearly 18 months ago, KSCO added a 255-watt simulcast on K218CA (104.1). Commenting on his mother, Michael Zwerling states, “She had a fine mind, a great, clear speaking voice, and a special flair to be direct, logical, and concise with her thoughts. Over the years, I had the pleasure to see mom evolve and grow into a most popular and certainly the most admired personality on our family-owned, independent news-talk radio station.” According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “Kay Zwerling was the matriarch of a great radio broadcasting family that has made a real difference in the lives of the people of the Monterey Bay region for many decades. She was a savvy business person, locally-renowned author, and articulate on-air commentator. She should also be historically noted as an influential pioneer in advancing the position of women in the radio industry.” Listeners shared their thoughts and memories of Zwerling this past Saturday (1/7) in a two-hour KSCO special (10:00 am – 12:00 noon). Arrangements are pending for a family-only funeral for Kay Zwerling; a public celebration of her life will take place in the spring.
Today on TalkersTV: Consultant Holland Cooke presents a useful New Year’s Resolution – say more with fewer words. He says, “Life has become a wall of noise. In his latest TalkersTV video, he explains that “the best way to cut through the clutter is ‘word economy.’” Viewer warning: HC is a former high school English teacher. See the video in the TalkersTV box in the upper right-hand of this page.
Beasley’s Charlotte Deal Closes. The $24 million radio station deal that transferred ownership of news/talk WBT-AM/FM, sports talk WFNZ-AM and hot AC WLNK-FM from Beasley Media Group to Entercom has closed. If you remember, Beasley had to divest of some stations in Charlotte after the $240 million acquisition of Greater Media that closed at the end of last year.
The Yappy Tour Rolls Through Providence, RI. The recently published book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016), by veteran talk radio producer Bernadette Duncan, continues to burn up the airwaves. The coast-to-coast book tour rolled through Providence, Rhode Island Friday (1/6) as the author was interviewed by the legendary talk radio personality Dan Yorke for both his local radio (WPRO) and television (Fox 12 and MyRI-TV) shows. (The two are pictured above on the set of the TV show.) Duncan tells TALKERS, “Dan Yorke is an amazing interviewer. He really cuts below the surface and gets to the psychological heart of the topic in an intimate and credible manner. Being on the airwaves of WPRO, which is so richly steeped in radio heritage, was deeply gratifying to me. I am so grateful to the hundreds of broadcasters and thousands of radio enthusiasts who have been giving this book such wonderful support.” Yappy Days recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry King, Sally Jessy Raphael, Lou Dobbs, Tom Snyder, Gil Gross, Charles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.” Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature. Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the Spring of 2017. Duncan has already appeared on more than 50 local and syndicated programs. Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.
Odds & Sods. On its recently acquired St. Louis AM signal KXFN, Salem Media Group debuts a station dedicated to health and wellness branded, “AM 1380 The Pulse.” The former sports talk station was purchased by Salem from Grand Slam Sports LLC’s receiver Detalus for $190,000. Shows airing on the station include “Dr. Asa on Call,” “Dr. Katherine Albrecht,” “The Dr. Daliah Show,” “Dead Doctors Don’t Lie,” and others…..At the Chicago operations of Salem Media Group, Michael Mann adds new duties as his title is expanded to director of sales strategy, broadcast media. Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella comments, “There has been a planned and deliberate ‘march’ since Michael joined us in Chicago which has resulted in consistent and impressive growth.”…..Tomorrow (1/10), Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is joining the “WTMJ Today” early afternoon program for an hour-long segment in which listeners will hear the mayor discuss the news of the day and issues important to him and the community. “WTMJ Today” is co-hosted by WTMJ executive producer for news Erik Bilstad and interim co-hosts including the representative for Wisconsin’s 37th Assembly District, John Jagler.
Deadly Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooting, Trump-Intelligence Community Meeting/Russia Hacking Allegations, Future of ObamaCare, Deadly Attack on Israeli Soldiers, Iran’s Rafsanjani Dies, Sunday’s Golden Globes Awards, and NFL Playoff Action Among Top Stories Over the Weekend. The fatal shooting of five travelers at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood airport; the allegations of Russian hacking of DNC emails and the related story of President-Elect Donald Trump’s contentious relationship with the intelligence community over the matter; the future of the Affordable Care Act and the GOP’s plans to alter the health care legislation; the deaths of four Israeli soldiers in an attack by a Palestinian; the passing of key Iranian Islamic Revolution architect Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; Sunday evening’s Golden Globes Awards; and the NFL playoff games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Michael Harrison Podcast Explores “The Real History of Fake News.” The award-winning, weekly PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” kicks off 2017 with an engaging discussion about fake news with Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) staff writer and senior Delacorte fellow, David Uberti. Uberti recently penned an article in CJR titled, The Real History of Fake News. It traces the long-standing practice of newspapers in America publishing hoaxes, falsehoods and blatantly slanted stories to manipulate public opinion all the way back to the founding of the republic. The fake news phenomenon, now greatly amplified and accelerated by social media and digital technology, was one of the most-discussed issues on news/talk radio this past year and promises to continue to be an area of concern moving forward. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
AJ Lurie Named to Market Manager Role at Beasley Wilmington. Now leading the Wilmington, Delaware duo for Beasley Media Group is AJ Lurie, who is promoted from his most recent position with the company’s Fort Myers-Naples cluster as director of sales. As vice president and market manager, Lurie will oversee the operations of hot AC WJBR and gospel WTMR-AM (licensed to Camden, New Jersey). About his new position, Lurie comments, “I am honored to begin working with the talented team in Wilmington. I have had the privilege of serving for more than a decade with our amazing Fort Myers cluster, which has prepared me for this next step in my career. I want to sincerely thank Bruce Beasley, Brad Beasley and everyone who showed faith in my abilities to move into this market manager position.”
Tim Hattrick Returns to KNIX, Phoenix. The iHeartMedia-owned country station announces that former station personality Tim Hattrick will join its morning show alongside Ben Campbell and Brooke Hoover for the “Tim, Ben & Brooke Show.” Hattrick served with the station as half of the “Tim & Willy Show” with Willy D. Loon from 1998 through 2007. He says, “I’m thrilled to join Ben and Brooke and so honored to come home to KNIX. I look forward to serving Phoenix again and continuing to build upon the legacy that KNIX has built in the community.”
Marc Jason Joins WQYK, Tampa Morning Show. Tampa country outlet WQYK announces air personality Marc Jason joins Veronica Young and Kevin Ebel as the third co-host of the Beasley Broadcast Group station’s morning show. Operations manager Tee Gentry comments, “It’s a great feeling to start this new year with Marc on the ‘QYK morning team with Veronica and Kevin! Marc has been an on-air radio personality in some of America’s biggest and most iconic radio cities, including Nashville, Las Vegas, Atlanta and Washington, DC. We’re definitely hitting the ground running in 2017!”
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Changes corporate structure at Cox Media Group mean corporate manager of radio and ratings research Paul Douglas exits the company after a 19 year stint…..Entercom brings Casey Osburn aboard to program hot AC KFBZ, Wichita “105.3 The Buzz.” Osburn, who will also work the afternoon drive shift at KFBZ, was most recently with Eagle Communications at its Hutchinson, Kansas operations…..CBS RADIO St. Louis announces that KEZK ,midday personality Trish Gazall signs a multi-year contract extension with the adult contemporary station. Gazall holds down the 10:00 am to 3:00 pm show that features her unique perspective on entertainment and current events, with a healthy dose of local community information. She also hosts the “Totally ‘80s Lunch” every weekday at noon…..iHeartMedia renews the contracts for the three hosts of the “Bama, Rob and Heather” morning show on country KVET, Austin. iHeartMedia Central Texas region president Breeanna Malik says of the trio, “We are so fortunate to have this amazing team in the iHeartMedia family. They are true Austin celebrities and we know our listeners and sponsors are ecstatic that they will be here for many years to come.”…..United Stations Radio Networks announces that programmer and on-air pro Steve Stewart is the new host of the syndicated country radio show “The Road.” Stewart also serves as PD and midday personality at iHeartMedia’s WEBG, Chicago “Big 95.5.”…..Adult contemporary WHUD-FM, Peekskill, New York (Hudson Valley market) adds the local “Night Rhythms” program hosted by Susan Browning for the evening daypart. Browning has been with the 6 Johnson Road Licenses-owned station on a weekends/fill-in basis for the past six years.
AC Augments Audience in Philly, Tampa, and Dallas. Managing editor Mike Kinosian takes note of the number of new adult contemporary stations signing on in top 20 markets. “The last time a major market station transitioned to adult contemporary was in April 2016, when iHeartMedia San Francisco’s urban-rhythmic oldies KISQ became “The Breeze.” Now that the all-Christmas music has come to an end, however, there are three new players under the AC banner.” He’s referring to “Star 102.1” in Dallas; “Today’s 96.5” in Philly; and “B 98.7” in Tampa. Read his report on these new stations here.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Plain talk: At too many stations – some with once-proud call letters – weekends are an embarrassment. Through utter neglect, stations injure ratings and leave money on the table.
In many cases, management doesn’t even listen on Saturday and Sunday, either because:
a) They don’t dare listen. It’s like a solar eclipse: “Look away!!!” They know their weekend is a wasteland of automation misfires and pay-for-play shows, the audition for which was the check didn’t bounce. Management just shrugs.
b) They can’t listen. There are more stations in the cluster than they can manage, and the one dismissively referred to as “the AM” gets short shrift. No names, but one station I hear airs the same disclaimer copy before and after paid shows. The voice (who was PD two-PDs-ago) says “THE FOLLOWING PROGRAM…” after the show has ended.
Hedgecock Gives Way to Benson on Radio America. After many successful years in national syndication – which followed a long reign as the king of talk radio in San Diego, Rodger Hedgecock is ending his daily long-form radio show to focus on his work as a TV commentator and elections coverage specialist for KFMB-TV, San Diego “CBS 8” and his production of the two daily reports he does for KFMB, San Diego. Radio America COO Mike Paradiso states, “Roger has been a strong leader in Radio America’s lineup for years and I want to thank him for his hard work and dedication. He will be missed.” Taking over Hedgecock’s nationally syndicated program is Chad Benson, whom Radio America describes as “a rising star from the Next Generation of talk hosts.” Benson debuts on March 30 from home base at Alpha Media-owned KUFO, Portland “Freedom 970.” About Benson, Radio America says the 44-year-old is “an accomplished talk show host boasting over 22-years-experience in the entertainment industry. He started in music radio in the 1990s at the legendary KRTH, Los Angeles as the executive producer of the Robert W. Morgan show and has also been featured on Los Angeles radio stations such as KZLA-FM and KNCI-FM and KWOD-FM in Sacramento. Chad has also honed his skills as a voice artist for several Hollywood productions, as fans of ‘Droopy the Dog’ hear Chad’s voice as the signature Hanna-Barbera character.” Alpha Media San Antonio OM/PD Greg Martin says, “Chad Benson is not the usual talk host. His entertaining style and passion for talk radio helped develop him into a great talent. He’s not afraid to go places the average talk host will not tread. Very unique.” Benson’s show will air 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET.
Weekends: Healing Talk Radio’s Achilles Heel. In a new article posted today in TALKERS, radio consultant Holland Cooke boldly states: “At too many stations – some with once-proud call letters – weekends are an embarrassment. Through utter neglect, stations injure ratings and leave money on the table.” He goes on to offer advice and insights designed to help programmers and management maximize weekends – including brokered programs – to improve station ratings, revenue and image in the community. He also appears on the latest installment of TalkersTV (upper right column box on every page of Talkers.com) with valuable information about how talk stations can make their Saturday and Sunday programming truly “Solid Gold Weekends.” To see TalkersTV, please check out the upper right box on every page of Talkers.com. To read Cooke’s new column, please click here.
McMahon: Determining How Long it Will Take for a Radio Show to Succeed. Just how long to give a new radio show to “take off” has been a debate in the radio business almost since the medium debuted. All parties would love the answer to be, “almost instantaneous,” but that’s not realistic. Bill McMahon, CEO of The Authentic Personality, writes in a column published in TALKERS magazine today that programmers must get realistic expectations from their superiors. But once the timeline is known, there are things that can be done to make success happen as quickly as possible. “Coaching focused on perfecting talents and strengths and highlighting appealing personal traits will significantly speed up the development process. Nothing slowed the development of the superstars of radio, true originals, like Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and Larry Lujack more than bad coaching from PDs and management that didn’t recognize and support their unique talents and strengths. Each was fired multiple times. All were told to fit into some current standardized success model and be anything but themselves. They refused. Each had his own instincts and ideas about the kind of show he wanted to do.” Read the rest of this enlightening piece here.
John Dickey and Michael Harrison to Conduct “Fireside Chat” at Talkers New York 2015. The agenda is being set for Talkers New York 2015 and one of the highlights of what promises to be a power-packed day of relevant discussions, presentations, and addresses will be a conversation between Cumulus Media executive vice president of content & programming, John Dickey and TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison. The presentation will be conducted in the informal, one-on-one “fireside chat” format. John Dickey is responsible for Cumulus’ sales, programming, marketing, promotion and engineering and will be able to offer comments, opinions and information about a wide variety of issues presently facing talk radio, as well as the entire spectrum of radio formats. Conference director Michael Harrison states, “There are few people as ‘plugged into’ both the day-to-day operations as well as the big picture of commercial radio in America today than John Dickey. He has extensive, first-hand knowledge about what’s happening in the business and plays an enormous role in influencing policy – plus he has a true passion for radio and its position in our society. I look forward to this session with enthusiasm and plan on it providing our attendees with a lot of valuable takeaways.” Save the date and register early. The 18th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual convention will take place on Friday, June 12, 2015. It will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district.” The all-day event – 9:00 am to 6:00 pm — is again expected to be a quick sellout. Registrations are priced at $299 per person with an early bird, discounted cost of $249 available until 5:00 pm ET on Friday, February 27. Registrations, which are only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities. The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees are again expected. Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card. For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413. Again, an early sellout is expected, so avoid being shut out by registering now! Speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.
Round Four of January PPM Data Released. The fourth of four rounds of January 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The survey period was January 1-28. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Salem Incorporates ‘Media’ into New Corporate Name. As a corporation with multiple media platforms, Salem Communications Corporation decides to change its name to Salem Media Group to better reflect “the dynamic growth” of its multi-media business. Salem CEO Ed Atsinger says, “Salem’s mission has always been to serve our two core audiences – Christian and conservative – with engaging and meaningful content. That mission brought us into radio, and it has guided our growth ever since. As more and more of our audience seek new ways to get information and inspiration, we have added new media platforms to our traditional radio offerings. Now nearly one-third of our total revenue comes from non-broadcast sources. This rebranding of Salem acknowledges our evolution and confirms our commitment to serve our market.” Salem says that in addition to its 106 radio stations and syndicated programs, it “owns several of the most influential brands in the Christian and conservative media space, including Crosswalk.com, GodVine.com, Christianity.com, BibleStudyTools.com, TownHall.com, HotAir.com, RedState.com, Human Events.com, the Conservative Book Club, and Regnery Publishing.
Flores Appointed High Desert Broadcasting LSM. Former Lazer Broadcasting Oxnard-Ventura national and regional sales manager Renee Flores joins High Desert Broadcasting as local sales manager for its seven-station cluster in Lancaster, Palmdale, and the Antelope Valley (Southern California). High Desert president Miles Sexton comments that Flores, “brings a rare combination of experience in both product marketing and broadcast sales to this position, along with proven team leadership accomplishments. We are thrilled to have her join our management team to oversee the sales operation of this dominant radio cluster.” Flores points out that she has lived “in this exciting and growing portion of the Los Angeles metro area. It is great to be returning with such a wonderful opportunity to grow and serve the diverse business community here.” Flores’ prior background includes being general sales manager for Lazer Broadcasting’s three Oxnard-Ventura stations, as well as handling sales for the company’s 25 California and Nevada stations. High Desert’s seven stations are KOSS “NewsTalk 1380”; regional Mexican KCEL “Que Buena 96.1”; hot AC KGMX “K-Mix 106.3”; alternative KKZQ “The Edge”; classic rock KQAV “The Quake”; KMVE “Classic Top 40”; and regional Mexican KUTY “La Mera Mera 1470.”
Johnston Joins Westwood One in EVP Role. Joining the company as executive vice president, Midwest division in the network sales department is Doug Johnston. The company says he’ll “oversee revenue development and multi-platform brand integrations across all Westwood One assets, including network sales, spot sales, platform, digital, and events. Johnston is based in Chicago and reports directly to Westwood One president Steve Shaw.” He comes to WW1 from his most recent post as SVP, sales, central region, for Premiere Networks.
Odds & Sods. Adding another daily show to his current role as afternoon drive personality on iHeartMedia’s legendary WHO, Des Moines, is Simon Conway. Today (2/23), he begins hosting the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids…..Fusion and ESPN Radio are announcing an agreement in principle for the former to simulcast the Dan Le Batard radio program beginning this spring. The three-hour broadcast will air weekday afternoons from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm ET.
Cool Job Opportunties. Several outstanding career opportunities are currently open at Journal Broadcast Group‘s news/talk/sports WTMJ, Milwaukee. WTMJ has taken traffic reporting in-house, after working with an outside vendor, and is building its own 24-hour on-air/digital traffic center. There are opportunities for traffic reporters. The station also has a rare opportunity for a sports anchor/sports talk host. WTMJ is also searching for an experienced digital content producer/morning show producer. In sports marketing, WTMJ is adding another sports account manager position to sell Green Bay Packers football and Milwaukee Brewers baseball. See these and other great opportunities at Journal Broadcast Group’s Milwaukee Operations here.
RAB on 2014: Off-Air and Digital Help Bolster Spot and Network for Flat Revenue Year. The annual report on radio’s revenue for the previous year from the RAB is released and the organization states that radio ended Q4 and full year 2014 with revenue comparable to those reported at year-end in both 2013 and 2012. Radio’s digital and off-air sectors delivered impressive growth rates throughout the year, which also saw slight dips in the spot and network sectors. For all of 2014, spot revenue was down 3% and network revenue dipped 4%. Those decreases were offset by the rise in digital (up 9%) and off-air revenue (up 16%). RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments, “Radio held its own in 2014 with radio revenue remaining steady despite an economic climate which saw some businesses tightening their spending in Q4 due to reduced consumer confidence. Digital revenue growth indicates that radio is meeting marketers’ growing commitment to reach consumers via all digital ad channels, and this continued growth confirms radio’s position as a true marketing partner.”
ABC News on the Red Carpet at the Oscars. At last night’s 87th Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, ABC News was on the red carpet interviewing the stars in advance of the annual awards program. Pictured here is ABC News’ Jason Nathanson (right) speaking with comic, actor and record producer Kevin Hart (left).
Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke Comments Cited in Dial Global’s SEC Filing. Talk radio has long been saddled with the label of “controversial programming” that makes it a difficult sell on the national level. Agencies have numerous other marketing options through which clients can get out their message. Especially for family-oriented goods and services, why take a chance on “controversial programming?” But Rush Limbaugh’s Sandra Fluke comments last March brought renewed bad PR to the format and, as was discussed at both of TALKERS magazine’s New Media Seminars this year (June in NYC and October in Los Angeles), the scarlet letter weighs heavy upon the talk radio business. So much so that Dial Global – in reporting to the SEC – cited Limbaugh (not by name) as part of the reason the company is taking a $67.2 million impairment charge. Here’s what the company says: “We normally perform the required impairment testing of goodwill on an annual basis in December of each year. As a result of several factors, which had a significant impact on our fourth quarter bookings and sales, we performed an interim analysis of our goodwill carrying value as required by ASC 350, Intangibles-Goodwill and Other. We believe our 2012 results were adversely impacted by, among other things, late cancellations in ad buys (which we believe was a by-product of the election and renewed economic uncertainty), competitive factors, such as a greater diversity of digital ad platforms (into which ad budgets have flowed) and increased competition from our major competitors, and advertisers’ response to controversial statements by a certain nationally syndicated talk radio personality in March 2012.” Talk radio is unlikely to become “family friendly” in the eyes of agencies anytime soon and talk sellers appear resigned to having to carve out new niches of advertisers and work hard to get and keep them. For big corporations with a lot of debt, that’s not a comforting thought.
Dial Global Voluntarily De-Lists from the NASDAQ. As a result of the company’s low volume of trading combined with other factors, including the associated costs of maintaining its listing on the NASDAQ, Dial Global announces it will undertake the delisting process beginning on or around November 26 and be completed on or around December 6 of this year. Dial Global will remain a publicly traded company – it reports no plans to go private – but the stock will be traded on the OTC Pink Sheets.
Envision Radio Networks Develops “America Weekend” Program. Calling it the “next generation of weekend talk radio,” Envision Radio Networks says the new “America Weekend” program is “a break from the usual brokered programming and rerun political fare of most news/talk stations, ‘America Weekend’ covers the lighter side of news and lifestyle issues facing today’s on-the-go talk listeners while maintaining revenues from paid hosts.” Envision states the show provides six hours of live programming on both Saturdays and Sundays from 9:00 am until 3:00 pm EST and accommodates up to four local expert slots per hour, with frequent break-away points for sports, weather or other local programming. Since the programming is broadcast live via satellite, ‘America Weekend’ is able to stay current by addressing breaking and developing stories of national interest as they happen. Anchoring the show will be “top-level, nationally recognized” hosts joined by high-profile guests. Programmer and consultant Kipper McGee is executive producer of the show and he states, “It’s been said that ‘weekdays are for ratings, weekends are for revenue.’ However, now we’re seeing the damage that poorly rated weekend programming is causing weekday shows. Listeners are forced to find other weekend options, and increasingly are not finding their way back to the radio station.” Envision president and CEO Danno Wolkoff says, “‘America Weekend’ is all about maintaining revenue opportunities for radio stations from long-form brokered programs in a new and innovative way. We have always believed that there is a better way for radio to monetize its Saturday and Sunday programming without sacrificing quality. Finally, ‘Content is King’ again on weekends.” Interested stations can visit www.envisionradio.com or contact Melissa Bachtel at 216-831-3761 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
CBS Sports Radio Network Names Damon Amendolara Overnight Host. When CBS Radio’s new national sports network debuts on January 2, WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” evening host Damon Amendolara — “D.A.” — will be the network’s overnight host manning the 2:00 am to 6:00 am shift. Amendolara has been with the Boston sports talker since it debuted in 2009. He is also the sideline reporter for the New England Revolution on Comcast and a frequent guest and fill-in host for CSN’s Sports Tonight/Sports Sunday. He serves as an anchor on CSNNE’s “Pregame Live” and “Postgame Live,” appears on Fox 25 Boston, while contributing to NFL Films and the NFL Network’s Top 10 series, ESPN News’ Air Check and NFL Films Presents on ESPN. CBS Sports Radio director of programming Eric Spitz says, “D.A. is an all-star in Boston and his energy and understanding of the sports world will no doubt translate to a national platform. Damon is certainly the man to keep listeners engrossed overnight, and his work at stations across the country, covering a multitude of different sports, will be beneficial to our listeners. His success and following on our local radio station and his charitable endeavors in the community prove he will make a great addition to our already outstanding lineup at CBS Sports Radio.”
WTOP Newsman Donates iPhone to Newseum. It’s unclear whether WTOP, Washington news reporter Neal Augenstein was the first American radio news reporter to use the iPhone as his “sole” reporting tool, but Augenstein sure has attracted a lot of interest after it became known how he was using the device. Poynter.org reports the donation to the Washington, DC museum of news and related technology. Newseum Curator of Collections Carrie Christoffersen tells Poynter.org, “We collect all sorts of things that relate to changes in news technology. It was really interesting to us, since he’s doing all of his audio interviews, editing, video work, all on his iPhone, with some supplement from an iPad. He’s enabled himself to be very, very on-the-go.” There are no immediate plans to display the device but Christoffersen says their exhibits are always changing. Augenstein is pictured here being interviewed recently for Talkers TV about his use of the iPhone for reporting. Check out the cool five-minute video here.
Odds & Sods. Radio pro Turi Ryder fills in on Tribune’s WGN, Chicago for midday talk host John Williams today…..Filling in today for Talk Radio Network’s Rusty Humphries is KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock.
Inside the Locker Room. In the photo here, KLAC, Los Angeles and Fox Sports Radio Network hosts Petros Papadakis (l) and Matt “Money” Smith (r) interview Los Angeles Lakers greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (second from left) and Jerry West (second from right) at a recent live listener event. Abdul-Jabbar and West offered Lakers faithful their takes on the team’s new coach and the team’s prospects for the 2012-13 season.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Tom Gresham’s “Gun Talk” weekend program is added to the lineup at KAVA-AM/FM, Pueblo, Colorado; WEZS, Laconia, New Hampshire; and KOHI, St. Helens, Oregon…..“America Tonight” with Kate Delaney is picked up by WLSC, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina…..Fox Sports Radio Network programming is added to new affiliate KOPJ, Portland…..ESPN Radio programming is picked up by Cox Media’s WDBO-AM, Orlando.
Petraeus-Broadwell Scandal Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 12-16. The ever deepening scandal involving ex-CIA director David Petraeus and biographer Paula Broadwell was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS. At #2 this week was the Benghazi attack investigation. At #3 was the “fiscal cliff” Washington lawmakers are facing followed by Obama Administration Cabinet changes at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly ranking of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is published at Talkers.com every Friday. View this week’s entire chart here.
WTOP, Washington Expands Multi-Platform News Operation; News and Programming Pro Laurie Cantillo Named to Newly Created Program Director Position. Former WABC, New York program director Laurie Cantillo joins Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington where she’ll work closely with vice president of news and programming Jim Farley for the organization that is also announcing the expansion and restructuring of its news and broadcasting staff. In a statement, WTOP explains, “One of the primary reasons for the new structure is to redefine the news workflow. Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process. A story’s execution will be determined at its origin. It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile. In addition to Cantillo joining the organization, other staff changes include: Current director of digital operations John Meyer moving into the newsroom as the architect of the social and digital strategy as it comes together with the current broadcast operation; current news director Mike McMearty becomes senior news director; assistant news director Mitchell Miller is upped to news director; Mike Gartell is now managing editor; Gary Emerling is named senior digital editor; and Darci Marchese becomes executive producer. Jim Farley states, “We will now have both a digital editor and a radio editor working together 24/7. No other radio station in America does this. And we are not just talking the talk; we are hiring more people, re-evaluating everything we do and making the necessary changes no matter how sacred or ingrained. The future is digital and WTOP will be the leader heading into that future.” Regarding Laurie Cantillo’s joining the WTOP operation, Farley says, “Laurie is one of the best, most-admired and well-liked program directors in America. She has solid news credentials, a great track record of ratings success in major markets and a great understanding of the power and potential of digital and social media.”
NPR Uses Grant for Digital Media Training and Multi-Platform News. Through a $1.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPR is expanding its training initiatives to increase the use of digital tools both at NPR member stations and in the NPR newsroom. According to NPR, “Building on successful training piloted by NPR a few years ago, the grant provides for the development of extensive training for more than 70 local public radio stations. Topics include strategies to build multi-media news operations, writing for the web, photography and the role of social media in newsgathering. These resources will dramatically improve the ability of participating stations to broaden and deepen their news production and better serve both new and existing audiences. The grant will also fund digital coaches for NPR journalists.” NPR chief executive officer Gary Knell says, “NPR is a major force in media today, helping more than 34 million people make sense of what is going on in the world. These digital training resources will ensure that NPR and hundreds of member stations nationwide continue to pioneer the use of new technologies to connect with new and existing audiences.”
Standard & Poor’s Downgrades CC Media Holdings on Long-term Debt Concerns. Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Michael Altberg states that softening ad demand and the uncertain global economy may slow the growth of revenue for Clear Channel’s parent company and while the ability to pay the debt that comes due in 2012 and 2013 isn’t seen as a problem, the notes that mature in 2014 and 2016 are bigger issues. The company faces secured and unsecured debt maturities of $2.9 billion in 2014 and $12.3 billion in 2016. S&P notes CC Media Holdings is considered highly leveraged and that could negatively affect its ability to re-finance before those debts come due. When that time comes, anyone looking to buy a radio station might find opportunity in what could potentially be the biggest fire sale selloff of sticks in recent history.
CBS Local Digital Media Partners with Examiner.com for Content Creation. The network of websites and mobile apps that make up CBS Local Digital Media is entering into a content creation relationship with Examiner.com to produce unique content for CBS’ locally targeted properties in more than two dozen major markets across the country. Examiner.com is a leading online publisher featuring local expertise from over 85,000 contributors, known as Examiners. The lifestyle content created through this partnership is described as “‘Best Of’ guides and ‘Top Spots’ lists covering a range of topics including arts and culture, shopping, food and drink, nightlife and music, as well as travel and outdoors.” CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Over the course of the past 18 months we’ve built a platform that quickly garnered interest from millions of users searching for the best local news, information and entertainment. Taking our vision one step further by working with a stable of contributors with expertise in their field will greatly enhance the audience’s experience. This is not just about telling you where to go and what to see – it’s providing ‘insider access’ to a city you may be visiting or have lived your whole life that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Dr. Joy Browne Appears on TALKERS TV. She is by far the most successful psychology and relationships talker on radio in America. WOR Radio Network star Dr. Joy Browne is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at the seventh annual “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence and teenage dating abuse presented recently by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor Liz Claiborne, Inc. The event was held in the showroom at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the fashion company. Browne candidly discusses the state of relationship talk radio’s place within the news/talk playing field and explains the connections between psychology and all the hot issues discussed within the genre. To view this not-to-be-missed video, see TALKERS TV at the right on this page.
Glenn Beck’s GBTV Takes Over “Apocalypse” Reality Show. The program was once called, “Apocalypse, PA” when it ran on the History Channel last year but on Beck’s online venture GBTV it will be called, “Independence USA.” It follows Frank Belcastro and his family as they prepare to survive in a post-apocalyptic world by such means as devising a car that runs on wood instead of gasoline, becoming expert hunters and creating his own alcohol for barter when the money system collapses. According to TVNewser, the program debuts on January 18 with new episodes every Wednesday. It is the first reality show to become part of Beck’s GBTV where his own daily TV program is seen.
KFI, Los Angeles Debuts New Food Show with Neil Saavedra in January. The program is called, “The Fork Report,” and will have its premier airing on Saturday, January 7 hosted by KFI’s Neil Saavedra. The station says, “‘The Fork Report’ will be a food show like no other food show, delving into all things edible. The show will run the food gamut from local restaurants to kitchen gadgets, interviews with chefs to food news (like recalls, new products). If you can eat it or it’s a gizmo to help you prepare it…Saavedra talks about it.” Saavedra also hosts the KFI-based and Premiere Networks syndicated “Jesus Christ Show” and serves as the director of marketing for the Clear Channel station.
Katy Pavelonis Named VP of Sales at Grand Slam Sports. The St.Louis-based sports media company operates KFNS, St. Louis, KFNS.com, St. Louis Sports Magazine, Grand Slam Sports Promotions, SportsRadio 1380 and SportsRadio1380.com. Katy Pavelonis previously served as VP/director of sales at CBS Radio’s St. Louis cluster that includes news/talk KMOX. On her new position, Pavelonis states, “I am excited about starting with Grand Slam Sports. Having sold Cardinal baseball, Blues hockey and University of Missouri products in the past, I know how passionate the sports fans are here and how supportive the local advertising community can be for local sports. Marketing the incredible media mix that Grand Slam Sports provides to those advertisers is something I am very much looking forward to.”
NTSB Cell Phone Ban, 2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue and Iraq Troop Withdrawl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that no personal electronic devices be allowed to be operated by motorists in the U.S., the GOP race to challenge President Obama in the 2012 election, Congressional leaders’ work to deal with the budget deficit and the payroll tax cut issue plus the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.