Beasley WMJX-WBZ-FM Exchange Is Complete. The asset exchange between Beasley Broadcast Group and Entercom Communications, in which Beasley gave hot AC WMJX, Boston and $12 million cash to Entercom in exchange for sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub,” is complete. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “The addition of WBZ-FM to our broadcast portfolio highlights Beasley’s focus on premium local programming and content and is complementary to our five other radio stations and digital operations in the Boston market. Throughout Beasley Broadcast Group’s 56-year history, we have actively managed our station portfolio with the goal of serving the communities where we operate with the best local programming and brands, diversifying our operations, managing risk and improving financial results. The addition of WBZ-FM to our portfolio addresses all of these strategic objectives as it strengthens our company’s presence and commitment to locally originated content in the Boston market.”
WABC, New York’s Curtis Sliwa Says Goal Is to Be on the Radio for Christmas. The WABC, New York radio personality recently underwent an eight-hour surgical procedure for Crohn’s disease that resulted in the removal of half of his small intestines and half of his large intestines. Curtis Sliwa tells TALKERS magazine, “I am now taking fentanyl for the pain relief – which is 10 times more powerful than morphine. The goal – as I continue to receive blood transfusions and get fed through an IV – is to be home for Christmas. The surgeons all said that they would be home for Christmas with their families and they agreed that the goal for me should be likewise. Many of our listeners on Christmas have only their terrestrial radio as their friends. Many are older, single, or are shut-ins. Without radio they would be super-depressed. It is for some their only friend. This Christmas will mark 27 years in talk radio for me. I will do a live program with my family on air and in the WABC studios. I’m lucky to be alive and I want to share my Christmas with all those who have no one to share their Christmas with.”
CBS Sports Radio Network to Launch New ‘Taz and the Moose’ Morning Show. The new “Taz and the Moose” show will replace the current “Gio and Jones” program in the 6:00 am to 9:00 am daypart on the network. CBS SPORTS RADIO says the new block of “entertaining, energetic, and engaging sports talk” will be anchored by professional wrestling world heavyweight champion and popular podcast host Taz, a.k.a. Pete Senerchia, and CBS SPORTS RADIO talent and TV host Marc “The Moose” Malusis. Gregg Giannotti of “Gio and Jones” is joining Boomer Esiason for mornings on WFAN, New York, effective in January. CBS SPORTS RADIO director of programming Eric Spitz states, “We’re extremely excited for the debut of ‘Taz and the Moose.’ As the host of an extremely successful podcast, Taz has done an amazing job of transitioning from a successful career as a professional wrestler into sports broadcasting. Moose has hosted two popular weekend shows on CBS SPORTS RADIO since our launch five years ago. I know he is ready for this opportunity.”
Michael Harrison Says “Radio Is Now a State of Mind” in TechRepublic Video. According to TALKERS founder Michael Harrison, the culturally iconic paradigm of “radio” being a closed system consisting of a production company that produces and broadcasts a linear procession of scheduled programs in standardized parcels of time from a local building via a transmitter and tower to a specialized appliance with the capacity of AM/FM reception on a specific frequency licensed by the government is a limited and archaic definition of the term as it applies to the process of popular news, sports and entertainment audio broadcasting in the modern era. In an exclusive video interview conducted by CBS Interactive senior reporter Dan Patterson for Tech Republic posted yesterday (12/19), Harrison says the aforementioned system still has some life in it in terms of audience and revenue but it is increasingly fading on both counts with each passing year in the digital era. It is being replaced by the digital extensions of the original concept that include podcasting, on demand programming and a multi-channel array of branded programs that enjoy the non-standardized and unlimited manipulation of space and time. Harrison says the traditional concept of “radio” that most of its practitioners and fans grew up with is now basically “a state of mind” that simply influences the spirit and flavor of a far more diverse set of products and listening methods. The challenge facing the radio business at this time is dealing with stifling debt accrued during the waning years of the analogue era while comfortably transitioning into a digital revenue model. “The digital age has made it difficult for all media that sells advertising to evolve into the new business model,” Harrison says. “It’s much more difficult to sell advertising for the same amount of money.” He adds, “We haven’t really come up with a way yet to comfortably embed advertising into the digital space. It’s very obtrusive. It’s annoying.” Harrison suggests, “For radio shows to be successful in today’s digital age, they must target an audience that is underserved and passionate about a particular topic and then gain credibility with them. All of the content must be pertinent, good, and credible for people to believe in it.” Harrison sums it up, “The good news for people looking to get into the radio business is that it’s easier than ever to get your foot in the door with the technology that is available today. However, the bad news is that it’s much more difficult to fight through the noise to make your voice heard and brand gain traction. For just engaging an audience, the bar has never been higher.” To view the interview in its entirety, please click here.
GOP Tax Reform Plan, Amtrak Crash, North Korea Nukes/WannaCry, Trump Approval Rating/Hillary Favorable Rating, Jerusalem Capital Recognition, Sexual Misconduct Cases, California Wildfires, and NFL and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/19). The Senate passes the Republican tax reform plan; the investigation into the deadly Amtrak crash in Washington state; North Korea’s nuclear threats and the U.S. government’s blaming the hermit kingdom for the WannaCry computer virus; President Trump’s approval rating sinks to 35% and Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating dips to 36%; U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley warns nations U.S. is “taking names” of those voting for resolution against U.S. recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital; the ongoing discussion about sexual misconduct; the status of the Southern California wildfires; and NFL and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming changes take place at Radio One’s Philadelphia operation as urban contemporary WRNB adds new drive time shows. Beginning January 4, “The Quincy Harris Morning Show with K Foxx” and “The DL Hughley Show” join the roster for mornings and afternoons, respectively. Radio One says Quincy Harris is returning to radio after 15 years. He’s been serving with WTXF-TV, Philadelphia “FOX 29” on the “Good Day Philadelphia” show. Now, after two seasons on that program, Harris is hosting his own “FOX 29” show “The Q” weekdays at 12:00 noon. A statement from the company says, “For the past two years, WRNB programming has ranked 13th to 16th in the 25-54 demo. Although we share in our listeners’ admiration for our impacted talent, as this change wasn’t easy for us either, it is critical that we take calculated risks to re-imagine and reposition this station for long-term success. Radio One’s commitment to the Black community is unwavering. In fact, it is the impetus for our changes and the passion that drives our work daily.”…..At Riviera Broadcasting’s adult contemporary KOAI, Sun City West/K235CB, Chandler “Oasis 95.1 & 94.9” (Phoenix market), Monica Nelson returns to the station to host the 12:00 noon to 5:00 pm show. Director of operations Marc Young comments, “We are excited to welcome Monica back to our company after a brief hiatus. Monica is beloved for her sincere connection to the community and her fans. Her wit, humor, and real-life experiences will once again be enriching the Phoenix radio airwaves.”…..WAY-FM, Louisville adds Ben Smith as community impact director/operations coordinator. Smith has most recently served with Thy Word Radio Network in Evansville, Indiana…..iHeartMedia names Pedro Javier González has been SVP of programming for iHeartLatino. González reports to Enrique Santos, chairman and chief creative officer for iHeartLatino and Brad Hardin, EVP and general manager for iHeartMedia’s national programming group.
NextRadio’s Future Analyzed in Indy Business Journal. The business publication based in Emmis’ chairman Jeff Smulyan’s hometown has published a story that looks at the next 12 months – a period it reports experts say “will determine whether Smulyan’s years-long quest ultimately succeeds or fails.” Of course, the Indianapolis Business Journal is referring to NextRadio – the initiative that seeks to have cell carriers activate the FM chips in smartphones. As radio industry watchers are probably aware, NextRadio has deals with Sprint, AT&T and one in the hopper with T-mobile to turn on the FM chips in smartphones sold by those carriers. The next target is Verizon. Obviously, carriers make their money off data usage and the NextRadio app allows users to listen to FM radio stations using a fraction of the data they would use accessing services like Spotify or Pandora. So, gaining the cooperation of carriers is a challenge. The piece also notes that there is a hurdle to leap in getting the advertising industry on board as media buyers tell the paper the radio industry needs to get triple the current total of 4 million users in order to have the attention of the ad industry. But NextRadio president Paul Brenner tells IBJ, “We’ve been talking to national ad agencies in the biggest markets and we haven’t found one yet that hasn’t fallen in love with this in five minutes.” IBJ’s Anthony Schoettle writes, “NextRadio’s interactivity allows stations for the first time to offer coupons and on-the-spot purchase opportunities to listeners. Revenue sharing from these new ads likely will be key in attracting and maintaining deals with cell phone providers.” Read his entire piece here.
Salem Media Group Adds John & Leah Show to Seven O&Os. The Envision Networks-syndicated weekend program “The John and Leah Show” featuring hosts John Ziegler and Leah Brandon is added to seven new stations owned by Salem Media Group. They are: KRLA-AM, Los Angeles; KNTH, Houston; KLFE-AM, Seattle; KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KTKZ, Sacramento; WGTK-FM, Greenville, South Carolina; and WLSS, Sarasota, Florida. Salem Media Group SVP/spoken word format Phil Boyce comments, “John and Leah is a wild ride across all kinds of topics including the hot stories of the week. I promise you will learn something and be entertained. John and Leah have been doing great radio since their KFI [Los Angeles] days, and the ride now continues on Salem stations. Welcome aboard!”
Odds & Sods. Radio news pro Monica Rix is leaving her position at Cox Media Group’s WDBO-FM, Orlando “News 96.5” to become a Manhattan-based reporter for FOX News Radio…..CBS RADIO adds a daily, two-hour live program to its Play.it platform hosted by pro wrestling star Taz, called, “The Taz Show: Bodyslams & Beyond.”…..Former WUCS, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower is sitting in for Jeff “Defo” DeForrest on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WINZ today (8/24) and tomorrow (8/25)…..The Bubba The Love Sponge Foundation has donated $2,200 to the Gulfport Pirates Youth Football Program. The Gulfport, Florida program has had to overcome financial difficulties, putting its season at risk, as it attempts to overcome a $12,000 deficit. League vice president Sophia Dottin told Bubba their team works with low-income, high-risk children.
Volatile World Markets Top News/Talk Topic Over the Weekend. Issues-oriented talk radio, as monitored by TALKERS magazine, was strongly focused on the financial markets activities both in the United States and across the world during broadcasts over the weekend. The markets – most of which closed sharply down on Friday – opened to volatility this morning (8/24). Aspects of the greater discussion included the relationship between the United States’ and China’s economies, political responsibility for markets stability, and economic recovery and jobs creation in America.
WMAL, Washington’s Larry O’Connor Ties the Knot! Oklahoma City was the site of WMAL, Washington radio personality Larry O’Connor’s marriage ceremony to his lovely bride Meredith. Telling us that it was an honor to serve as his best man, WPHT, Philadelphia morning host Chris Stigall sends TALKERS magazine this great selfie from the nuptials. Pictured (from l-r) are: Stigall, Meredith O’Connor, Larry O’Connor, and maid of honor Jacqueline.
Bouvard Joins Cumulus Media as CMO. Former president of sales for Arbitron – Pierre Bouvard – is named chief marketing officer of Cumulus. The New York City-based media research, sales, and marketing expert will direct Cumulus’ strategy for its local and national brands. Cumulus president and chief executive officer Lew Dickey comments, “Pierre is one of the radio industry’s most effective advocates. He understands the power of our great medium and is uniquely positioned to leverage audience insights to help advertisers take full advantage of our platform to deliver national scale with local activation. Incremental data beyond ratings is rapidly becoming the most important component in advertising decisions; we are excited to have Pierre leading our effort to help our clients achieve a superior return on investment.” Bouvard – who begins his new assignment today (Wednesday, 3/18) – states that, “Cumulus is America’s fastest growing major radio group. Over the last ten years, their national revenues have grown tenfold from $50 million to $500 million. They have transformed themselves into a major market, cross-media national platform through the merger of Westwood One and Cumulus Radio Networks; launch of the ‘Nash’ country music lifestyle brand; and the Rdio online radio partnership. Radio is the soundtrack for the American worker and ‘king of the road.’ Cumulus has impressive solutions for advertisers and agencies to reach the right audience and accomplish their brand and sales objectives.” Most recently, Bouvard was senior vice president of sales for TiVo Research & Analytics. Prior to his lengthy Arbitron tenure, Bouvard was executive vice president of Coleman Insights.
Jack Taddeo Joins NRG Media’s Waterloo/Cedar Rapids Operations. Consultant and radio management pro Jack Taddeo is the new general manager for NRG Media’s Waterloo and Cedar Rapids, Iowa stations: rock KFMW, Waterloo; classic hits KOKZ, Waterloo; sports talk KWLO, Waterloo; and news/talk KXEL, Waterloo. NRG Media chief operating officer Chuck DuCoty comments, “We couldn’t be more pleased to have Jack Taddeo on board. He is an outstanding broadcaster who demonstrates strategic vision, outstanding coaching skills and great leadership.”
Larry Gifford: Radiodays Europe 2015 – Day Three. The overriding theme of the just-concluded three-day radio conference in Milan, Italy was the future of content distribution, according to consultant and talent coach Larry Gifford, who filed a series of special reports for TALKERS magazine. “Talk of the future of radio and audio was pervasive. ‘The connected age,’ ‘second screens,’ and ‘visualizing radio’ were some of the buzz phrases heard throughout the three days. Everyone seemed to be talking about how important it is to embrace video, studio cams, and social media,” Gifford writes. Get more of Gifford’s summary of the event, including some insight into how one Australian morning show is embracing the digital platform, here. (Pictured here is Gifford delivering his “30 Ideas in 45 Minutes” session on Tuesday. Photo by James Cridland.)
Bold Gold Media Forms Foundation for Training Tomorrow’s News/Talk Broadcasters. The broadcasting company that operates nine commercial radio stations in Northeast Pennsylvania and Upstate New York is announcing a new effort “to help prepare tomorrow’s frontline communicators.” Bold Gold Media Group is establishing the Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation – a non-profit organization that is an altogether separate and distinct entity from Bold Gold’s commercial broadcast operations. Bold Gold says the Foundation will focus its efforts on providing funding and resources to educational organizations that train tomorrow’s broadcast and media leaders. While the Foundation encourages young people in all areas of broadcasting, it is currently placing particular emphasis on supporting the advancement and training in the various spoken-word and informational formats such as news and talk. Bold Gold president Vince Benedetto states, “Radio broadcasting is the most powerful, informative, and persuasive medium in the world, and the news and talk formats are extremely demanding, and like all media, evolving… and we need the best and brightest communicators of tomorrow to begin preparing for these fields today. Investing in the future providers of our communication needs is imperative. The most trusted broadcasters have always been those who could provide timely, reliable and compelling information and entertainment you couldn’t find anywhere else… they were live and they were local. That’s still true and even more important than ever, but powerful broadcasting is now about being on-air, online, mobile, social, live and local! That’s what future leaders in our medium need to be preparing for, and the Foundation intends to support efforts that seek to do just that.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “This is a very exciting initiative. Vince Benedetto is a rising young star among station group owners who are passionate about radio and dedicated to having it continue to grow to the fullest extent of its potential.” The Bold Gold Broadcast and Media Foundation will be having its Inaugural Fundraising Event on Tuesday evening the 19th of May at Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, PA, and will feature citizen-journalist James O’Keefe, of Project Veritas, as the guest speaker. To support the work of the Foundation and to purchase tickets to the May 19th event, go to www.BoldGold.org, or email the Foundation at: info@BoldGold.org. Meet Vince Benedetto at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12. To register, call 413-565-5413.
Nielsen Audio Releases Second Round of February 2015 PPM Data. The second of four rounds of February 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington (D.C.), Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. The February 2015 survey period covered January 29 through February 25. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Newsmax Feed Network Achieves 67 Million Uniques in February. According to data from comScore, Newsmax Media’s Newsmax Feed Network posted a record 67.4 million unique visitors last month. The Newsmax Feed Network is a proprietary syndicated headline box that is carried on more than 2,000 websites, making more than 1 billion page impressions monthly. The Feed Network box carries unique Newsmax content headlines along with sponsored advertisements. Newsmax reports that it “has gained enormous traction recently, and a bevy of well-known publisher brands make up the network, including National Review Online, Boston Herald, Breitbart News Network, dozens of local ABC, NBC, and CBS News affiliates via independent television station groups Gray, Nexstar, and Schurz Communications, as well as community newspaper networks Horizon Publications and Gatehouse Media.” Newsfeed Network manager Kevin Mallon comments, “We are very excited about the latest comScore numbers. More and more publishers are choosing to implement the Newsmax Feed because of the relevant and quality content we provide, while yielding them robust revenue from our sponsors.” Company VP of business development Matt D’Lando adds, “Our Feed Network focuses on a clear demographic of 45-plus baby boomers, the largest demographic group in the nation with the highest disposable income.”
WTOP PD Alumni Club. Two former program directors of all news WTOP, Washington, DC – Laurie Cantillo and consultant Holland Cooke — pose for a selfie today at Inside Music Media publisher Jerry Del Colliano’s annual Media Solutions Conference in Philadelphia. Cantillo is a guest speaker at the full-day event discussing methods of increasing radio station website traffic, something she has proven to be able to do quite well before leaving her position at WTOP last week.
Odds & Sods. The internet-based talk show “Behind Enemy Lines Radio” – hosted by NYC Republicans, attorney Gene Berardelli and Army combat veteran Russell Gallo – is joining the AM/FM platform as it will be heard Thursdays at 1:00 pm on Forsythe Broadcasting’s WNJC, Washington Township, New Jersey (Philly market). The show joins the “Conservative Commandos Radio Network” in creating a block of conservative programming heard every day from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm on WNJC…..CBS Sports Radio programming will emanate from Indianapolis beginning April 2 for coverage of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. Shows airing from the Indiana Convention Center will include Doug Gottlieb and Tiki & Tierney…..Joining the Yahoo Sports Radio national lineup for a daily 10:00 am program is former Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney and his sports talk radio partner Lanny Ford. Together, they host “Inside the Lines,” heard on WZGV, Charlotte “ESPN 730.”…..New to SiriusXM’s Insight channel is a new show called “The Briefing Powered by Dartmouth College,” – an “all-new radio show giving listeners a lively hour that dissects the history, facts, and perspectives shaping the week’s news.” The bi-weekly show will be hosted by Michael Mastanduno, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Nelson A. Rockefeller Professor of Government at Dartmouth.
Pluggin’ Podcasts on Boomer & Carton. Former pro wrestler Taz, a.k.a. Peter Senerchia (center), enjoys a mock choke-hold from Boomer Esiason (left) as he appeared on WFAN, New York along with Craig Carton (right) to promote his new wrestling podcast titled, “The Human Podcast Machine” that is available on Play.It, CBS RADIO and CBS Local Digital’s podcast platform.
Ken Birdsong Celebrates 50 Years in Radio. WENG, Englewood, Florida morning drive host Ken Birdsong is celebrating 50 years in radio on March 27. He started his career when he was just 15 at his hometown station KWOC, Poplar Bluff, Missouri. He then went on to work for stations in the Show-Me State cities of Kennett, Jefferson City, Moberly, and Osage Beach. He also put in a stint in Mt. Airy, North Carolina (the heart of Andy Griffith country) and did afternoons in Las Vegas. In 2002, he joined WENG and served as general manager until 2012.
Iran Nukes/GOP Letter, Israeli Elections/Netanyahu’s Future, Hillary Clinton Email Probe, 2016 Presidential Prospects, OU Racist Song Case, and Dick Cheney Playboy Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/17). Iran’s nuclear program and the controversy over the letter sent to the nation by GOP senators; the Israeli elections and Benjamin Netanyahu’s status on the world stage; the ongoing probe over Hillary Clinton’s use of private emails for State Department business; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the furor over an OU fraternity’s videotaped racist song and the university’s reaction; and Dick Cheney’s criticism of President Obama in his recent Playboy interview were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.