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Monday, June 11, 2012

| June 10, 2012

Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts.  They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows.  In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree. 
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7.  Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference.  Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.”  During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts.  The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more.  Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy.  Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial.  Schultz concurred.  Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.

Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout.  This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”

Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year.  That figure is according to The New York TimesBrian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.

NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network.  According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.

Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte.  Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.

KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director.  CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.

Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance.  ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000’s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.

Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight.  Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.

The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September.  Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host  Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.

You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football.  That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.

Friday, March 23, 2012

| March 23, 2012

Media Matters Begins Paid Ad Campaign in Eight Markets Against Rush Limbaugh and Conservative Talk Radio.  The Associated Press is reporting that Media Matters for America will spend some $100,000 on an ad campaign in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Macon, Georgia and Cedar Rapids, Iowa asking people who hear the ad to call the Rush Limbaugh affiliate in their market and say, “We don’t talk to women like that in our city.”  Clearly, Media Matters is not backing off its attack on conservative talk media and any success it can claim for harming Limbaugh’s program – or conservative talk radio in general – will help bring in more donations to its cause.  And, according to Premiere Networks spokesperson Rachel Nelson, therein lays the rub.  “This is not about women.  It’s not about ethics and it’s not about the nature of our public discourse.  It’s a direct attack on America’s guaranteed First Amendment right to free speech.  It’s essentially a call for censorship masquerading as high-minded indignation.”  As this ideological and tactical war escalates, more important voices are entering the fray with a variety of takes on the issue.  For example, leading progressive talker of radio, television and live performances, Stephanie Miller tells TALKERS, “I, for one, as someone in radio for over 25 years, know that advertiser boycotts can cut both ways and hurt everyone in the radio business.  The other side can just as easily take something I said, or Ed Schultz said, and goes after our advertisers and stations, and then where does it end?  ‘You send one of ours to the hospital; we send one of yours to the morgue’?  If advertisers decide that talk radio in general is too controversial, we all lose!”  Miller tells TALKERS that she intends to extend invitations to both Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity to appear as guests on her nationally syndicated morning radio program (simulcast beginning Monday on Al Gore’s progressive Current TV) to present their side of the story in a non-confrontational  setting.  Dial Global-syndicated progressive talk host Thom Hartmann is also bothered by the anti-Limbaugh campaign.  “The Limbaugh boycott is bad for all talk radio; it’s harming progressive talk radio by shrinking the pool of companies willing to advertise on any type of talk radio.  If people want to be activists “against” or “for” a show, they should call station management, not advertisers.”

America’s Radio News Network Gives CNN Radio Affiliates Free Trial of its 24-Hour News Service.  With the CNN Radio news service going away after April 1, Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters says his company is offering the more than 1,100 CNN Radio affiliates the chance to take the America’s Radio News Network 24-hour top- and bottom-of-the-hour news service for 45 days contract and inventory free so they can make up their minds about their new news service without having to make a “snap decision.”  Masters says, “This is a simple courtesy extended to those former CNN stations giving them a six week ‘pressure relief valve’ where they could sample our fine product inventory free without pressure, giving them extra time to make the best decision.  Obviously we think that we are the best choice, but this offer was meant as a thoughtful courtesy to those stations that have not yet made up their minds – we don’t want them to be ‘high and dry’ on April 2.”  Masters says because of the growth of America’s Radio News Network’s long-form programming and the demand for short-form top- and bottom-of-the-hour news brought on by CNN’s sudden departure from radio news ARNN recently announced that it had moved up its schedule for the launch of its second news network to accommodate the needs of radio stations looking for “agenda free” short-form news.  ARNN EVP John McCaslin says, “We’re so confident that this is the best top- and bottom-of-the-hour news product on the air, we are willing to allow stations to air it, without inventory requirement contract free through May 15.  So, all you have to ask yourself is, ‘What am I going to do with over 700 extra minutes of local inventory, if I take ARNN up on its free sample offer?’”

All-News KROI-FM, Houston Fires Morning Anchor Scott Braddock.  It’s an unusual case but not unheard of and certainly becoming more relevant as intellectual property issues become more common in the industry.  Radio One’s KROI-FM, Houston recently dismissed morning drive news anchor Scott Braddock after he appeared on crosstown, non-commercial outlet KPFT-FM to discuss the Texas sonogram law and play audio of an interview that also had previously aired on his employer’s station.  He tells the Houston Chronicle he did so without asking permission and believes he had the right to air the audio, equating it with a reporter’s notes.  Radio One disagreed, stating it violated the terms of his contract – a contract Braddock says he had not signed – and it had no choice but to let him go.  Braddock says Radio One is overreacting and wonders why a station that worked hard to get him to come to Houston from Austin for the job would let one of its prime talent go as it works to get the nascent all-news outlet off the ground.

Denver Woman Charged with Felonies After Telling Tale of Escaping Jury Duty on KOA.  Last October Susan Cole appeared on KOA, Denver’s Dave Logan program and told the story of how she got out of jury duty by dressing bizarrely and pretending to suffer from mental illness.  Unfortunately, Denver District Court Judge Anne Mansfield was listening and, due in part to Cole’s memorable performance in court, investigators were able to figure out who she was.  According to the Denver Post, Cole used the name “Char from Denver” on the radio program and investigators linked her to her pen name Char Cole. She published a book that details her struggles with domestic abuse under the name and offered it to investigators to prove her life story and the mental illness claim, but she was unable to show she suffers from PTSD which she claimed at her jury appearance.  It’s unclear what penalty, if convicted, the 57-year-old Cole faces.

Sales: H&H Communications’ Al Herskovitz Announces the Winners of His 2012 Hersky Awards for Talk Radio Sales Excellence.  For the fifth year running, sales and marketing pro and TALKERS columnist Al Herskovitz recognizes some of the industry’s shining stars in the sales, commercial and ad copy arenas.  Read Al’s humorous yet insightful piece here.

KILT, Houston AM Drive Co-Host Marc Vandermeer to Leave Radio Show.  The NFL’s Houston Texans are taking their broadcasts in-house and current KILT morning drive co-host Marc Vandermeer will leave the CBS Radio sports outlet to become director of radio broadcasting for the team.  KILT serves as the flagship for the Texans and Vandermeer tells the Houston Chronicle he’ll still be affiliated with the station.  “It’s awesome to be able to work for an NFL team and to be involved in all aspects of their radio programming.  I’m not saying goodbye to Sports Radio 610, so I will still maintain my relationships there.  It’s the best of everything for me.”  Program director Gavin Spittle tells the paper Vandermeer will exit in late May or early June and he will begin looking for a replacement to work alongside co-host John Lopez.

KKFN, Denver Re-Ups with Talk Host Alfred Williams.  Lincoln Financial Media sports talk host (and former Denver Bronco star) Alfred Williams signs a contract renewal to remain in the co-host seat alongside Darren “D-Mac” McKee on the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program.  In a statement, Williams says, “I am excited to continue to be a part of ‘The Fan.’  I love getting to interact locally with the Denver sports fans everyday and am happy to know I’ll be able to do it for many years to come.”

WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach Host Tara Servatius Exits Blog Position After Controversial Image Draws Criticism.  Morning drive co-host Tara Servatius has left her position as a blogger for the non-profit John Locke Foundation after she used a doctored photo of President Obama in drag with a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken in front of him to accompany the piece about the president’s opposition to the North Carolina marriage amendment.  Servatius apologized for the photo stating, “I am genuinely sorry my inclusion of the photo along with my blog post has caused controversy for the John Locke Foundation.  If it has offended anyone, I sincerely regret that.  That was certainly not my intention.  It was meant to illustrate Obama’s southern political strategy, nothing more.  An honest reading of the piece itself shows there is nothing offensive in it.”  WRNN-AM/FM owner Next Media Group says the issue will not affect Servatius’ status with the station.

Los Angeles Sports Talk Personalities Joe McDonnell and Doug Krikorian to Host Daily Internet Show.  Southern California sports talk personality Joe McDonnell, who’s been doing sports update work at KNX, Los Angeles, will begin a daily internet sports talk show with former radio partner Doug Krikorian, according to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan.  The McDonnell-Douglas show will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm on a yet-to-be announced URL.  McDonnell was a major presence in the Los Angeles sports media scene going back to the 1980s but he disappeared from sports talk radio after leaving KLAC in 2008.  He made the local news after undergoing gastric bypass surgery and losing some 400 pounds several years ago.  The new show debuts on April 9 with a live broadcast from Legends Sports Bar in Long Beach.

Republican Primary/2012 Presidential Campaign Again Tops Talkers TenTM News/Talk Chart.  The GOP primary race and the greater 2012 presidential campaign again tied for the most-talked-about topics on news/talk radio during the week of March 19-23 landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for another straight week .  Coming in at #2 was Iran’s nuclear weapons program tied with U.S.-Israel relations.  At #3 was soaring gas prices tied with President Obama’s approval ratings and at #4 was the controversy over the slaying of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the most-talked-about stories and people of the week as heard on news/talk radio across American based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge picks up major market affiliate WWRL, New York…..Dial Global’s Michael Smerconish adds Boise affiliate KYWN.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

| September 22, 2011

Tara Servatius and Dave Priest New Morning Duo at WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach.  The Myrtle Beach Sun News reports former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host Tara Servatius and radio pro Dave Priest replace Steve Porter as host of the station’s morning drive show.  NextMedia Radio market manager Barry Brown says in a release that the station is making changes to better serve the full-time residents of Myrtle Beach.  “WRNN is offering a fresh, new, unique voice to entertain and inform and a new conversation for Myrtle Beach from 6:00 to 10:00 weekday mornings.  WRNN extends a welcome to those who may not regularly listen with the addition of Tara Servatius.”  Porter, who would only say he wishes the station well and is moving on, invested in the station back in 1995 and has been involved in the programming since that time.

GHB Broadcasting’s Sports WIST, New Orleans Adds New Morning Host.  Former Times Picayune Saints beat writer Brian Allee Walsh hosts the morning drive show from 6:00 am to 8:00 am.  WIST general manager Dan Frazier says the show is followed by the Dan Patrick program with the rest of the day featuring local programs:  Larry Holder and New Orleans Hornets studio personality Gus Kattengell host the locally produced “Sports Hangover” show from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm followed by local host Eric Asher from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and local legend Kaare Johnson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  The station – the flagship for Tulane University athletics – features a rotating cast of local sports experts and personalities for its weeknight evening programming.

Current TV Names Jason Odell EVP, Technology.  The commentary and information-intensive cable channel announces it brings aboard Jason Odell to oversee IT, web engineering and broadcast engineering.  The company states that Odell “brings two decades of experience in media systems management and broadcast engineering on a number of platforms to Current as the network ramps up its TV and digital programming with a focus on news analysis and political commentary.  Most recently, he consulted for CNN, and helped the network introduce innovations such as augmented reality, and the use of immersive graphics driven by election data, for use in election coverage.”  Odell reports to Current president David Bohrman and says of his new position, “I’m very excited to be a part of Current.  This network has innovation in its DNA.  With the election fast approaching, we have our work cut out for us, but I am confident that with this team and with David Bohrman at the wheel we can get this thing up to ramming speed, and provide viewers with the truth, and a unique, much-needed perspective on politics.”

Genesis Communications Network Adds Two Shows to its Lineup.  GCN begins syndicating the “Common Sense Club” hosted by Scott Hennen airing daily from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and the Mike Siegel show that airs daily from 11:00 pm to 1:00 am ET.  GCN says of Siegel, “He applies real world expertise delivering solutions to everyday problems.  Mike hails from Brooklyn, and is a communications consultant, a media giant, a big-mouth lawyer, a liberal-turned-conservative and an advocate of business.”  It notes that Hennen, “has been a guest host for Sean Hannity and Jason Lewis.  Named ‘The Rush Limbaugh of the Prairie’ by The Wall Street Journal, Scott has also authored a new book titled, Grassroots: A Common Sense Action Agenda for America about the game-changing force in American politics — the Tea Party movement.”

Media Matters Produces Weekly Show on Sirius XM.  The six-week, two-hour weekly program will air on Sirius XM’s Left channel live Saturdays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon (with replays on Sunday) beginning September 24.  “Media Matters Radio” will be hosted by Media Matters EVP Ari Rabin-Hart and executive producer Bradley Herring.  The program promises to “systematically analyze a cross section of print, broadcast, cable, radio, and Internet media outlets for conservative misinformation and alert listeners to take action.”

GOP Candidates to Debate, Palestinian-U.N. Statehood Bid, Stock Market Activity and Obama Debt Reduction Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21).  The 2012 presidential GOP candidates and their debate scheduled for this evening, the Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, Dow drops in trading and President Obama’s plan to reduce the nation’s debt were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research by TALKERS.

Bob & Tom Comedy Bus Tour Kicks Off.  The Premiere Networks syndicated Bob & Tom show kicked off the Bob & Tom Comedy All-Stars Bus Tour this week with an appearance at Cracker’s Comedy Club in Bob Kevoian’s and Tom Griswold’s home base market of Indianapolis.  The tour – now in its sixth year – features a rotating ensemble of comedians appearing on stages all across America.  This tour will hit cities including: South Bend, Indiana; Dubuque, Iowa; Colorado Springs; Salt Lake City; Boise; Richland, Washington; and more.  Pictured here are (from l-r):  Chick McGee, Dan Cummins, Kristi Lee, Bob Kevoian, Tom Griswold, April Macie, Donnie Baker and Shane Mauss.