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‘Big Picture’ Panel to Tackle Broad Strokes View of Radio’s Rapidly Evolving Role in 21st Century Media. The power-packed agenda for the forthcoming 18th annual installment of the longest-running and most important talk media industry national convention is taking shape. The event’s traditional convergence panel, “The Big Picture,” will feature a lineup of speakers including (in alphabetical order): Alan Colmes, personality, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, Holland Cooke Media; Joe Sciacca, editor-in-chief, Boston Herald/Boston Herald Radio; and Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks with two more industry heavyweights to be confirmed shortly. The eclectic discussion will be moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison who states, “I love moderating this panel. It goes in many directions and is not afraid to explore esoteric speculation about what is lurking just over the horizon and around the next corner.” Harrison adds, “It is always full of valuable takeaways for our attendees.” The session will be held as part of the day-long conference set for Friday, June 12 at the India House Club in the Big Apple’s historic Financial District. 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 (tomorrow). 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! More speakers, panelists and agenda updates will be announced here in the coming days.
Detroit’s WMGC Shores Up PD Vacancy. The program director opening at WMGC “Detroit Sports 105.1” has been filled, as the Greater Media outlet taps Dave Shore for the position. Vice president and market manager Steve Chessare comments, “Dave’s experience in overseeing sports radio in major markets made him the perfect choice to lead [our] team. We are absolutely thrilled to have him help us take the station to the next level.” Shore – who will begin his Motor City assignment next month (3/23) – most recently was operations manager of ESPN Radio Los Angeles’ KSPN and was the pre-game host of the station’s broadcasts of the NBA‘s Los Angeles Lakers. For seven years, he was sports director/on-air talent for ESPN Radio Dallas’ KESN and he did television play-by-play for Texas Tech basketball, as well as pre-game duties for the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. In 2007, Shore launched Capitol Broadcasting Raleigh’s WCMC “99.9 – The Fan” and managed co-owned sports WDNC “620 – The Buzz” and WCLY “1550 ESPN Deportes.” Shore succeeds Jason Dixon, who was the first program director WMGC hired in August 2013 when the station transitioned from adult contemporary to sports. Ironically, Dixon arrived at WMGC after a three-year stint as operations manager/program director of the same three Raleigh sports stations (WCMC, WDNC, and WCLY) on Shore’s resume.
Williamson to New CMG Digital Post. Sales and management pro Rachel Williamson is the new director of digital revenue development for Cox Media Group. The company says that in this role, she’ll focus on working with the company’s 59 radio brands “to drive our digital revenue growth and integrated sales.” She joins CMG from her most recent post with Cumulus Media as director of national sales. Cox senior director of digital solutions Jesse McCambridge says, “We are very excited to have Rachel join our team. We have experienced tremendous growth in digital across the company and Rachel’s experience brings industry expertise and focus on integrated marketing solutions.”
Bay Area Talk Personality Ethan Bearman Highlighted in HuffPo Piece. Talk radio personality Ethan Bearman – currently heard on his regular weekend shows on KSFO, San Francisco (where he does a lot of fill-in work), via his GCN-syndicated program and as a regular sub on WPHT, Philadelphia – is one of five “agents of change” that writer Greg Archer profiles in a recent piece in the Huffington Post. About Bearman, Archer writes, “In just a short span of time, Bearman’s nationally syndicated radio talk show…has quickly risen among the ranks as one of the more thought-provoking outings on the airwaves. Why The host is unabashedly witty, yes, but he’s also deeply interested in current events, politics, science, tech and other rich topics. Beyond that, he appears to have a rare gift of being able to dissect half-truths, offering realistic takes on complex topics, and somehow allow the listener to find a curious and perhaps unexpected respite with him somewhere in the middle of ‘The Here And Now.’” Read the HuffPo piece here.
RAB Cites Borrell’s Positive Forecast for Radio’s Digital Sales Growth. According to research from Borrell Associates, the radio industry will rise above the half-billion-dollar mark in digital advertising this year based upon revenue that is projected to grow by 18%. The study, titled, “Benchmarking: Local Radio Stations’ Online Revenues,” was done on behalf of the Radio Advertising Bureau. It indicates that radio stations added or reassigned as many as 750 new employees to focus on digital ventures last year, causing revenue to grow 16% in 2014. More than one-third of the radio managers surveyed indicated that they had at least one employee exclusively assigned to digital operations, up from 11% last year. Also, more than 33% of those surveyed said their stations were either setting up a “digital agency,” were planning to set one up soon, or already had one. Some other findings from the report include: Nearly two-thirds believe their sales reps are talking to the wrong buyers when trying to sell digital; and 77% gave sales training a number 1 or number 2 priority in terms of what would boost their station digital sales the most. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber comments on the study, “It’s important to look at all available revenue data in order to provide our industry members with additional market barometers. We’re making tremendous strides in radio’s digital growth, and this survey continues to provide us with areas to focus on and invest in to truly maximize this revenue stream.”
Salem Brings Eric Metaxas Aboard for Daily Talk Show. Although Eric Metaxas is a well-known author, speaker and TV personality in the Christian community, Salem Media Group says his new daily talk show could cross over to the news/talk format. Metaxas will begin hosting his new radio show on April 20, airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET. Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce says, “We are extremely enthusiastic to have Eric join the Salem platform. I have tried to get Eric to join us for two years, and this opportunity seemed to be a perfect match. He’ll do a great show every day that will inspire listeners and help stations grow their audience.” In a press statement, Salem notes that Metaxas is the author of the bestseller, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet Spy (Thomas Nelson 2011) as well as a recent Wall Street Journal column titled, “Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God.”
Odds & Sods. Washington-Baltimore all-news WNEW-FM is adding talk to its lineup in the evenings and overnights. It’s adding the Dave Ramsey show to air from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm as well as the KMOX, St. Louis-based “America Overnight” with host Jon Grayson…..Hubbard Radio’s Washington all-news WTOP and sister WFED “Federal News Radio,” as part of a restructuring of their sales department, promote longtime national sales manager Jeffrey Wolinsky to director of federal and national sales.…..KBBO, Yakima, Washington flips from talk to sports. The Ingstad-owned station becomes “The Fan 1390 AM” and the Yakima Herald reports much of the station’s programming will be piped in from Bonneville’s KIRO-AM, Seattle, including: “Brock and Salk” and “Danny, Dave and Moore.”…..WRVA, Richmond afternoon drive personality Jeff Katz (left) had the opportunity to interview Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe (right) at the iHeartMedia studios in Richmond and the two posed for a quick photo after the broadcast.
The Big Apple Drive Timers. Posing for a quick pic in the WOR, New York studios are the station’s drive time stars Sean Hannity (center), and new morning duo Todd Schnitt (right) and Len Berman (left). Hannity’s radio show is syndicated by iHeartMedia’s Premiere Networks and airs in the afternoon slot on WOR. Berman and Schnitt recently partnered up to host the morning drive show on the station. Schnitt is also heard in afternoon drive (Eastern Time) on stations across the country via Compass Media Networks.
BFoA to Honor Mel Karmazin. Legendary broadcasting executive Mel Karmazin will be honored with the 2015 Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award presented by the Broadcasters Foundation of America at its annual breakfast Wednesday, April 15 during the National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas. Karmazin retired from his CEO post at SiriusXM in 2013. Prior to that, he was president and COO of Viacom. He served as CEO of CBS Corp following his work as chairman and CEO of CBS Radio, which followed the merger of Westinghouse/CBS and Infinity Broadcasting. The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. It salutes its namesake Lowry Mays and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation.
Department of Homeland Security Funding Battle, Obama Amnesty Order, FCC’s Net Neutrality Proposal, 2016 Presidential Prospects, ISIS Brutality, Iran Nukes, and the Bill O’Reilly Journalistic Ethics Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/25). The battle in Congress over the funding of the Department of Homeland Security; the status of President Obama’s amnesty order; the FCC’s proposal to regulate the Internet as a utility and the possible ramifications; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the brutal violence being perpetuated by ISIS and controversy over labeling the militant organization “Muslim”; the potential for Iran to acquire nuclear weapons; and the flap over accusations against FNC’s Bill O’Reilly of journalistic lapses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.