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Hulk Hogan vs Gawker: What Does it Mean to You?

| March 14, 2016

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

weismanwriterBOSTON — At first blush, although there does not appear to be much blushing going on in the videotape of Hulk Hogan having sex with the then-wife of his former friend Bubba the Love Sponge recorded in 2012, Hulk Hogan’s $100 million lawsuit against online news website Gawker would not appear to be a highly significant test of the limits of the First Amendment.  But indeed, this case could well set a major precedent as to how not just Gawker, but talk radio hosts and others cover the celebrity news.

Hogan, under his real name Terry Bollea, is suing Gawker for publishing online portions of a video tape apparently done by Bubba the Love Sponge, whose former name was Todd Clem, but actually legally changed his name to Bubba the Love Sponge which should, in and of itself, probably tell us something.  Although Bubba and his then wife, Heather Clem, from whom he is now divorced, were aware that the sexual activity between Heather Clem and Bollea was being filmed, Bollea was not aware and the filming of him was done illegally.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

| November 3, 2015

beasleymediagroupBeasley Seeing Red Over Second Straight Month of Delisting for WBRN, Tampa.  The Tampa talk/rock hybrid that features Bubba the Love Sponge in morning drive was delisted from the September PPM survey by Nielsen Audio after independent contractor Bubba (a.k.a. Todd Clem) admitted to tampering with the PPM panel.  WBRN “Bubba 98.7” owner Beasley Media Group absorbed that blow even though Nielsen Audionielsen logo admitted that the panelist in question did not affect the ratings because he was found out in time for the September report.  Now, however, Beasley is upset with Nielsen’s decision to delist WBRN from the October PPM survey as well.  BMG president Bruce Beasley states, “Since the initial incident was reported to Beasley Media, we have had a constructive dialog with Nielsen as we were beasleybrucealso victimized by Mr. Clem’s actions.  We instituted remedial actions against Mr. Clem which had been reviewed in advance by Nielsen.  As Nielsen itself acknowledged, we cooperated fully with Nielsen to ensure the accuracy of their past and forthcoming ratings.  Therefore, we were blind-sided and disappointed to learn today (11/2) that Nielsen Audio will exclude WBRN-FM from the October 2015 ratings. Nielsen has not shared with us, its longstanding client, any specific evidence of ratings distortion which could have had any impact on the October 2015 Ratings Report, thus suggesting that this action is related solely to the ongoing litigation between Nielsen and Mr. Clem.  The fallout from this dispute may inflict collateral damage on Beasley, which, indisputably, has done nothing wrong.”  The litigation Beasley refers to is Nielsen’s $1 million dollar suit against Bubba for “damages” suffered by Nielsen as a result of Bubba’s ratings tampering actions.  With the release of the Tampa October 2015 PPM data, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the Tampa market are available here.

womentalkart15The State of Women on Talk Radio: Part 2.  Today (11/3), TALKERS magazine continues its multi-part story looking at the status of women on talk radio in 2015.  Written by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, it addresses one of the most-asked questions TALKERS editors hear: Why aren’t there more women on talk radio?  Today we explore the question: Is it blatant bias?  Karen Hunter, an author/journalist, Hunter College professor and SiriusXM Urban View talk personality, says culture is a large part of it.  “The men who are in charge of hiring primarily see women as only tackling topics that are women-oriented — domestic issues, relationships, child-rearing, shopping, cooking, etc.hunter, karen  When the reality is that many women are heads of households and are making the tough decisions daily that men make.  They are bosses and managers and leaders whose view of the world is as important as a man’s.”  WCRS, Greenwood, South Carolina owner and air personality Anne Eller adds more to the culture response.  Historically, “from station owners, to station managers to talk show hosts to disc jockeys, men were out eller, annefront and women were in support roles…I do believe all this is changing, but I believe our culture has been the reason.”  Eller says where she is in the South, the woman as the boss is a challenging role.  “In the South particularly, women that are leaders are not given the support they need by other women and in my role as a talk show host, quite often, I hear other women say, ‘Who does she think she is?’   It is a fine line between being ‘boss bitch’ and a female person.”  In this installment, we also hear from Greater Media Boston market manager Phil Zachary and Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen.  Read the entire piece here.

kdka95thKDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Celebrates 95 Years Today.  Today marks the 95th anniversary of the KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh broadcast of the 1920 presidential election results between Democrat James Cox and Republican Warren Harding.  The CBS RADIO-owned news/talk station is celebrating with a live broadcast from the Senator John Heinz History Center through 8:00 pm this evening.  Westinghouse Electric Company, KDKA’s original founder and owner, will sponsor the event.   The “KDKA Afternoon News,” hosted by Robert Mangino and Shelley Duffy will broadcast live from the Heinz History Center from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.  Current KDKA staff, talent and past personalities will attend the celebration.  KDKA host Mike Pintek, who came to KDKA in 1982, will serve as master of ceremonies during which Westinghouse SVP of communications Cassie Hagen will showcase the Westinghouse contribution to the radio industry.  Most radio people are aware that Westinghouse launched the world’s “first broadcast” delivering the 1920 election results.  Plans were finalized with the Pittsburgh Post to acquire election returns by telephone.  The election night broadcast began at 6:00 pm from a shack on the roof of the K Building of the Westinghouse Electric Company “East Pittsburgh Works” in Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania.

hillsdaleDCstudio15Champagne Toasts, Dinner and Big Names Turned Out Last Night (11/2) for the Dedication of the Hillsdale College Boyle Radio Studio in DC.  Talk radio is alive and well and ready for future generations — thanks, in large part, to Hillsdale College.  The Michigan-based liberal arts school is rooted in educating young people about the United States Constitution and the principles that give it meaning.  And it’s betting on talk radio to be a driving force for free speech for generations to come.  The independent college charted a course last night with the dedication of its new state-of-the-art Boyle Radio Studio, just a stone’s throw from the US Capitol on Massachusetts Avenue.  The full-service facility is now officially part of the school’s extension in Washington, DC – The Allan P. Kirby, Jr. Center for Constitutional Studies and Citizenship.  The Monday night celebration included some big names turning out to show their support.  Among them, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and US Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), who were also guests on Salem Radio Networks host Hugh Hewitt’s show.  Hewitt inaugurated the Boyle Radio Studio with a live broadcast of his three-hour nationally syndicated program.  With a lit up Capitol viewed from the school’s balcony, guests enjoyed a front row seat to Hewitt’s live broadcast, as well as dinner and tours of the facility.  The evening activities capped off a full day of events that included two key presentations – “America’s Crisis of Constitutionalism” by Matthew Spalding, associate VP and dean of educational programs, the Kirby Center; and “The Future of Political Journalism” by John J. Miller, director, Dow Journalism Program.  These were followed by a tour of the nearby Newseum in the nation’s capital.  Speaker Ryan was very upbeat as he breezed through the crowd and shook hands before and after his radio interview with Hewitt.  Ryan told the crowd he’s a huge fan of Hillsdale College and the Kirby Center stating, “They’re doing a fantastic job of teaching young Americans about our constitution and our founding principles.”  Also in attendance was Bold Gold Media Group’s dynamic president/chief executive officer Vince Benedetto, a man described by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison as “one of the most promising up-and-coming young radio group owners in the nation – the kind of individual who gives this industry hope for the future.”  An active supporter of Hillsdale College and its passion for promoting talk radio and the Constitution, Benedetto, whose foundation funded Hillsdale’s brand new on-campus low-power radio station, WRFH 101.7 FM, and is contributing toward the DC extension, sees talk radio as the modern day town hall.  He tells TALKERS, “I think the way to get more younglundinbenedettoHaeglin15cap people tuned into radio is to have more young people in radio.  And so that’s what this is all about.  It’s to create a ‘bench’ that we don’t have right now.”  The full-service studio in Washington, DC won’t only be a place for students to learn their skills, it will also serve as a venue for out-of-town radio hosts to broadcast their shows free of charge when they’re in Washington.  Details to come on how broadcasters can utilize this service to the industry.  TALKERS has also entered into an agreement with Hillsdale’s Kirby Center as a DC location to produce and present occasional forums for on-air personalities and political figures to discuss the hottest issues of public policy.  Harrison says, “We are thrilled to be able to look forward to re-instituting our series of Washington, DC-based forums that were so successful back in the 1990s with so distinguished a partner as Hillsdale College in 2016.”  Hewitt, a huge fan of the school’s mission and a longtime friend with the school’s passionate president Larry Arnn plans to spend a lot of time there as well, telling TALKERS, “Whenever I’m in town, this is where I’m going to be broadcasting from.  I’m very grateful to be a partner with Hillsdale College.”

DGitalMedia logoDGital Media Partners with Stand Up NY Labs to form Comedy Voices Audio Network.  The goal of this joint venture between Spencer Brown and David Landau-led DGital Media and Upper West Side comedy club Stand Up NY is to “produce, market and distribute original comedy programming.”  Stand Up NY Labs is already producing comedy podcasts with A-list comics and this deal means DGital “will now have full production facilities in New York and will be involved in the production, distribution, marketing, events and sales of the existing audio platform as well as developing new content and events with the Stand Up NY comedy club.”  Coming aboard DGital as vice president of the Comedy Voices division is John McDermott, who’s served as VP Comedy & Entertainment for SiriusXM.  DGital chief content officer Chris Corcoran states, “We intend to build the leading digital audio platform in comedy with Stand Up NY Labs, which was conceived literally on top of legendary comedy club Stand Up NY.”

mid-westfamilybroadcasting logoMid-West Family Broadcasting Buys Four in South Bend Market.  Through its affiliate WSJM, Inc., Mid-West Family Broadcasting is purchasing four radio stations and a translator in the South Bend, Indiana market from Gray Television Group for $5.5 million.  The four stations – adult contemporary WNSN-FM, news/talk WSBT-AM, classic hits WZOC-FM, country WHFB-FM and translator W241AD (96.1 FM) – are currently pending acquisition by Gray from Schurz Communications.

Odds & Sods.   Nationally syndicated radio star and founder of TheBlaze media platform Glenn Beck is askingbeckglenn the Republican National Committee to consider TheBlaze TV as host of the ninth scheduled GOP presidential debate on February 26, 2016 in Houston.  Beck says his network is “prepared to produce a new kind of debate, in both substance and distribution.”  Beck would host the debate and – instead of journalists asking questions of the candidates – he “would invite the greatest new conservative thinkers westbrianand media voices in the country to question the candidates.”…..There’s a change in corporate structure at Nielsen Holdings.  The company is eliminating the chief operating officer effective January 1, 2016 and current COO Brian West is resigning his post, effective December 31…..Salem Media Group acquires the financial website DividendYieldHunter.com.  The company issalemmediagroup logo adding that to its current portfolio of publications targeting investors under the Eagle Financial Publications banner.  Eagle currently publishes products and services written by investment experts Mark Skousen, Doug Fabian, Nicholas Vardy, serial logoBryan Perry and Chris Versace.  Eagle also has three other financial websites: EagleDailyInvestor.com, DividendInvestor.com and ETFU.com…..Internet audio service Pandora strikes a deal with American Public Media to serve as the exclusive streaming partner for the podcast “Serial.”  The relationship means not only will Pandora stream season two of “Serial,” but it will also stream APM’s “This American Life” and offer season one of “Serial” on demand.  The launch date for season two remains a secret.

lundgrenfredLundgren: A Laptop and a Mic Don’t Make You a Broadcaster.  KCAA, Loma Linda founder and owner Fred Lundgren says he’s not against digital technology — or even podcasting — but he bristles at the notion that uploading or streaming to the internet is equivalent to (or better than!) broadcasting via AM/FM radio.  Read Fred Lundgren’s opinion piece here.

stigallWS15WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall and Co-Workers Enjoy Royals Series Win.  Even though he wakes up mostly Phillies fans each weekday morning on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Chris Stigall is true to his hometown Kansas City Royals.  He tells TALKERS magazine that he and his WPHT co-workers enjoyed watching the clinching game five at Citi Field on Sunday night.  He says the Mets fans were gracious and they had a blast.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: Stigall, WPHT PD Jared Hart, program executive producer Michael Cerio and WPHT news anchor and Stigall sidekick Paige Powers (also a KC native).

Obama Deficit/New Budget Deal, Russian Airliner Crash, 2016 Presidential Race, European Migrant Troubles/U.S. Immigration Policy, U.S.-Russia Military Tensions, Syria-ISIS Violence, Fred Thompson Dies, NFL Action, and Royals Win World Series Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/2).  The new, two-year budget deal and the Obama Administration’s raising the debt ceiling; the controversial crash of a Russian airliner in the Sinai Desert; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and the aftermath of last week’s GOP primary debate on CNBC; ongoing migrant issues in Europe and debate over immigration policy in the U.S.; military tensions between the U.S. and Russia; the Syrian civil conflict and ISIS activity; actor, politician and radio host Fred Thompson dies; the weekend’s NFL action and the Kansas City Royals’ victory over the New York Mets to win the 2015 World Series were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Nielsen vs Bubba: Round One

| October 19, 2015

By Steven J.J. Weisman
TALKERS
Legal Editor

 

weismanwriterBOSTON — The late, great Southern humorist Lewis Grizzard wrote a book titled, Elvis Is Dead and I’m Not Feeling Too Good Myself.  I thought about this recently as I considered the problems that are just in their early stages for syndicated Tampa-based talk radio host, Todd Clem, who uses the stage name Bubba The Love Sponge.  Bubba may not be dead, but he is certainly not feeling so good himself these days.  But don’t worry, Bubba, things aren’t as bad as you think – they are worse.

Clem is being sued in the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Florida by Nielsen Audio for more than $1 million on civil charges of fraud, conspiracy to defraud, interfering with business and contractual relations and violation of Florida’s Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act.  The Florida Deceptive and Unfair Practices Act is Florida’s version of the FTC Act which outlaws the broadly defined “unfair and deceptive acts and practices.”  Although the law is most often utilized by consumers, it also can apply to relationships between businesses as well.

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Monday, March 4, 2013

| March 4, 2013

DG-logoHorizontalDial Global Restructures Credit Status; Pays Down $15 Million of Existing Term Loan.  The industry has been watching the state of Dial Global’s debt situation and now the company announces that it, its lenders and certain of its stockholders have agreed to recapitalize the company’s existing credit facilities, other obligations and equity interests.  CEO Spencer Brown states, “The new agreements with our lenders represent a significant step forward for the company.  Once thesebrownspencer transactions close, we will have delivered our balance sheet and decreased cash interest expense.  The agreements will provide us with greater flexibility to actively manage and grow our business.  We look forward to closing these transactions in April and focusing on serving our clients.”  As part of the recapitalization, the company has entered into an Amended and Restated Credit Agreement, by and among the Company, General Electric Capital Corporation, as administrative agent and collateral agent, and the lenders party thereto which provides for a $15 million paydown of the company’s existing term loan and revolving credit commitments.  That agreement matures on October 21, 2016.  The company is also entering into a Priority Second Lien Credit Agreement among the company, the administrative agent, the syndication agent and the lender party for an additional $31.5 million through a term loan facility to the company, with a maturity date of July 21, 2017.  As part of this Dial Global agrees to issue it penny warrants to purchase 7.5% of the company’s common stock exercisable immediately following the consummation of the recapitalization.  Regarding the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement, dated as of October 21, 2011, lenders agreed to restructure their existing approximately $93 million in second lien obligations by amending and restating that agreement to provide for a $30 million term loan that matures five years after the expected closing of the recapitalization and exchanging approximately $63 million in remaining obligations under the existing Second Lien Credit Agreement for a new series of preferred stock of the Company.  Under various subscription and exchange agreements between the company and the holders of the company’s PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock, such holders have agreed, subject to the satisfaction of certain specified conditions, to exchange their PIK Notes and Series A Preferred Stock for equity securities of the company and have further agreed to make an additional equity infusion of $16.5 million.

villanuccijimCumulus Media’s News/Talk KKOB, Albuquerque and Talk Host Jim Villanucci Part Ways.  When talk radio personality Jim Villanucci’s contract came up at Cumulus Media’s KKOB, Albuquerque the company chose not to renew it.  Villanucci tells TALKERS magazine that he’d been reaching out to Cumulus for the past several months about a contract renewal but the company didn’t appear interested in talking so he exited after last Thursday’s program.  Cumulus AM stations program director Pat Frisch is sitting in the PM drive slot for now as he seeks out a replacement.  Villanucci’s program was a big ratings-getter for the station for many years.  It will be hard to replace the kind of steady performance he’s achieved at KKOB-AM.  Villanucci tells TALKERS, “I leave KKOB after 14 years looking forward to my next opportunity.  I have had so many wonderful years working with some of the finest broadcasters in the business in a market that’s been very good to me.  I wish the good people of Albuquerque and the folks at KKOB the very best.  I would especially like to thank my former GM Milt McConnell, and wish my friend and PD Pat Frisch good  luck going forward. ”  Villanucci has been an annual face on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred for years due to his consistent performance and ability to branch out beyond the often-predictable news/talk topics heard on so many stations in the format.

sileodanDan Sileo Exits WQAM, Miami.  The statement from sports talk host Dan Sileo is brief and indicates the two sides were not seeing eye-to-eye on programming philosophy, “Our differences revolve around content issues and we wish each other the best.  As for me and my style of sports talk, I will never change.”  Sileo joined Beasley Broadcasting’s WQAM, Miami for the PM drive show after a successful stint at Clear Channel’s WDAE, Tampa.  He then moved to middays.

masonirelandL.A. Daily News Ranks Top Sports Talk Personalities Heard in Market.  To TALKERS editors, the thing that stands out about this list is that there are enough sports talk radio hosts – both local and nationally syndicated – to put together a ranking for the Los Angeles market.  But there are and KSPN’s Steve Mason and John Ireland tied for #1 this year with KLAC, Los Angeles’ Petros Papadakis coming in at #3 (there is no #2 since Mason and Ireland tied for #1).  Papadakis’ partner Matt “Money” Smith ranked #5 this year.  The paper also ranked the top nationally syndicated sports talk hosts heard in the L.A. market and the top three were: 1) Dan Patrick of DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio; 2) Petros Papadakis and Matt “Money” Smith of Fox Sports Radio; and 3) Jay Mohr also of Fox Sports Radio Network.  Nice compliment for Jay Mohr since he’s only been in the gig since the beginning of the year.  And speaking of Jay Mohr…

mohrjayComedian, Actor and Sports Nut Jay Mohr Focuses on Fox Sports Radio Gig.  To show how serious he is about his new full-time gig as midday sports talk host on the Fox Sports Radio Network, Jay Mohr tells TALKERS magazine,Fox Sports Radio Logo “Honestly, I have turned off the sitcom and movie noise to concentrate on the radio show; those other doors are closed right now.  I cannot be on the phone trying to figure out how I am going to leave a studio at ‘this time’ to be on a movie set at ‘that time.’”  In this profile piece, TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian talks with Mohr about his radio influences, love of sports, comedy road work and how he got into the sports talk game by subbing for Jim Rome, and finally to his first full-time sports talk job.  He says of the fill-in work, “I thought if I could keep doing this, one day I might be able to do it for a living.  I listened to Jim for many years and he really changed sports talk radio.  He made it fun again.  My job is to reset the dial a little and bring everybody back to the fun part of it.”  Read the entire story here.

berrymichaelRising Talk Radio Star Says Host Endorsements Should Be Interesting (and a Whole Lot More).  He also says the goal of advertising on radio should be results – a simple concept often overlooked by sales and programming departments in their rush to sell the ads, give the client what they want and then get the spots on and off the air as quickly as possible.  Michael Berry is one of news/talk radio’s most dynamic and promising rising stars.  His mid-morning program is heard on KTRH, Houston as well as seven other respected talkers around the country.  Today (3/4) in an exclusive TALKERS piece he makes a number of powerful points about the marketing and delivery of advertising within the news/talk radio medium making the point that although host endorsements are an important technique to get the sponsor’s message across, the real trick is to do it in a way that also gets them results while proving to be a tune-in, and not a tune-out factor.  Berry (who will be speaking at Talkers New York 2013 on June 6) advises when it comes to writing and delivering commercial spots: 1) lose the copy points; 2) less is more; 3) trust the value of the endorsement (and don’t overload with justification); 4) be conversational throughout, building to the call to action; and 5) resist gimmicks and games.  To read this important article or pass it along to someone in your station or company who will benefit by it, click here.

morsechuckTalk Radio Pro Chuck Morse Joins IRN/USA Radio Network.  Boston-based talk personality Chuck Morse begins a daily, two-hour talk show (airing from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET) via the IRN/USA Radio Network.  Morse says of his new enterprise, “I am honored to work at the network founded by economist Larry Bates and award-winning talk pioneer, the late Marlon Maddoux.  I look forward to working with talk host Chuck Bates who carries on the tradition of excellence at IRN/USA.  With a national audience, I hope to follow in the footsteps of my mentor, the late Jerry Williams, who developed an intense bond with his callers and audience.”

baldwinstephenBaldwin/McCullough Radio Show Co-Host and Actor Tops Fundraiser Effort on Celebrity Apprentice All Stars Show.  Stephen Baldwin, actor and co-host of the nationally syndicated talk radio show “Baldwin/McCullough” (co-hosted by talk radio personality and XtreMedia CEO Kevin McCullough), and his team raised more than $600,000 for the American Red Cross during last night’s season premiere of NBC’s “Celebrity Apprentice All Stars.”  That sum set a new record for the most ever raised in a season kick-off episode.  Baldwin is competing for the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Foundation named in honor of his mother.

millerchrisWelcome to the Concept of Core-Casting.  It is a simple and elegant idea that puts one of the most effective radio broadcasting uses of social media into perspective and focus.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller writes today (3/4) about how social media provides radio programmers and talent with a pipeline to communicate directly with their most ardent listeners and fans.  Miller writes, “There are companies outside radio who are learning how to use social media to leverage the power of their most valuable customers.  One day, some smart radio group is going to figure out that social media is not just more broadcasting in a different medium.  Neither is it just a matter of getting likes, shares and comments.  While most mass marketing involves some form of trolling for cume, this is different.  This is like the sales department taking its 10 biggest clients on a cruise.   It’s core-casting.”  To read Chris Miller’s entire piece, click here.

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Talks Suicidal Man ‘Off the Ledge.’  After an agitated and despondent man who had barricaded himself inside a Tampa-area business and was threatening to kill himself called the Bubba the Love Sponge program on Friday, Bubba (Todd Clem) was able to calm the man enough that he put his weapon down and was taken into custody by local police.  The man, identified as Corey, locked himself inside The Car Store, a business owned by Bubba’s friends Todd and Shellie Herndon.  The man is a family friend of the Herndons.  Bubba says, “I’m just glad The Herndons are safe, no deputies were harmed and this gentleman can get the help he needs.”

teinowitzharryHarry Teinowitz Exits ‘ESPN 1000’ Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports ESPN O&O WMVP “ESPN 1000” is going with a two-man PM drive show featuring Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic as the station has cut ties with Harry Teinowitz after 12 years.  Feder reports a memo to the staff read, in part, “At 6:00 pm this evening Harry Teinowitz signed off air for the last time at ESPN Chicago.  Throughout the many years that Harry has been with us, he has served in many different roles and has helped to establish the ESPN brand in Chicago.  Harry’s contributions will be felt for years to come in every department at ESPN Chicago.  We wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”  Afternoon drive on sports talk radio is, by many industry executives, considered to be more important than AM drive.  Feder reports the most recent PPM data show crosstown rival WSCR leads the market in the Men 25-54 demo with a 7.2 share compared to WMVP’s 3.4 share.

raytomRadio Broadcasters Still Learning About IP Codecs.  Last week’s TALKERS article by technical editor Tom Ray about the proper use and application of IP codecs raised several questions from readers indicating there is still a lot to be learned about this emerging technology that promises to be the next step beyond ISDN in remote audio delivery.  Today (3/4), the industry’s leading technical wizard addresses some of those issues — namely 1) the most important thing to have in place to use IP codecs effectively; 2) how to integrate service between brands of the device made by different manufacturers and get them to “talk” to each other; and 3) how to go about purchasing and testing an IP codec.  To read Tom Ray’s informative article or pass it along to the person at your station or company who manages technical issues and equipment, click here.

scheinadamOdds & Sods.  Sports talk personality Adam Schein joins SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Radio.  Beginning March 11, Schein will host “Schein on Sports” live from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm ET on the Mad Dog Radio Channel.  He had “The SiriusXM Blitz” alongside 2002 NFL MVP Rich Gannon on the NFL channel…..TVNewser reports former “Good Morning America” senior executive producer Jim Murphy will serve as executive producer for CNN’s new morning show that will be co-hosted by Chris Cuomo.  It had been rumored that Erin Burnett would be moved to mornings alongside Cuomo but reports indicate that many not be the case…..In other TV news, the New York Daily News reports Matt Lauer is on the hot seat since “Today” has fallen behind “Good Morning America” and the local “Good Day New York” on Fox5 in New York City.  The story indicated morale on the set is low and conflicting reports about whether a new executive producer will join the show are adding to the problems.  Several sources are indicating Matt Lauer may not be long for the program.

Monday, February 25, 2013

| February 25, 2013

nms2013logoMike Francesa to Address Industry at Talkers New York 2013.  The list of major speakers continues to grow as WFAN, New York afternoon drive sports talk goliath Mike Francesa joins the roster of industry leaders who will be speaking at “TALKERS New York 2013,” the 16th annual installment of talk radio’s longest-running and most important francesamikeannual convention.  Francesa will deliver a solo keynote address titled, “The Sports Talk Radio Phenomenon.”  He will discuss how sports talk fits into the general radio industry, where it is going both locally and nationally and how it operates within the business model of the PPM world.  Francesa, who has been a major host on WFAN since the late 1980s, is also seen across the nation on the YES Network simulcast of his radio show and hosts a syndicated weekend program “The NFL Now” in addition to participating in numerous other sports broadcasting projects.  He is currently ranked number one on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk Radio Hosts holding the position as the Most Important Sports Talk Radio Host in America.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The addition of Mike Francesa as the sports talk radio keynote speaker at this year’s conference puts it over the moon.  One of the big buzzes of the business is the relentless growth of this exciting branch of the talk radio universe.  Who better than the king of the format to give insights into the genre’s place in the scheme of things?  We are delighted!”  More headliners will be named in the coming days along with the 50-plus speakers that will be participating in the conference.  The event is set for Thursday, June 6, 2013 at the Concierge Conference Center on Manhattan’s East Side.  Registration for the day including all activities and food service is $199 per person.  An advance sellout is expected due to space limitations.  Registration is limited to members of the working media and can only be taken via telephone.  For registration and sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.  Complete agenda details are being posted daily.  Stay tuned.

schnitttoddTodd Schnitt Not Giving Up on Bubba the Love Sponge Lawsuit.  The Tampa Bay Times reports talk show host Todd Schnitt has fired his legal team, hired a new lawyer and is continuing to pursue legal action against former crosstown rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem).  The first trial ended in a victory for Bubba as the jury decided not to awardbubba Schnitt and wife Michelle damages for defamation over a series of criticisms and accusations Bubba leveled at Schnitt when he competed with Bubba in morning drive as MJ Kelli.  Now, Schnitt has fired C. Phillip Campbell and Jonathan J. Ellis and has hired Wil Florin to represent him and his wife.  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the bizarre elements of the previous trial:  Campbell being pulled over for DUI while driving the car of a young paralegal who, unbeknownst to him, worked for Bubba’s lawyer’s firm; the tip-off to police that Campbell was driving the car was made by someone from that same firm; and Bubba’s lawyers had possession of Campbell’s briefcase for 18 hours (though they say they didn’t open it).  That missing briefcase is the basis for the new suit.  How this will end is anybody’s guess, but one thing is for sure: Both Schnitt and Clem are spending a lot of money on legal fees.  Yes, they are getting a lot of publicity for their radio programs but it is very expensive publicity.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Added to American Forces Network.  Courtside Entertainment Group announces today that the Laura Ingraham show is being added to the American Forces Network with the opportunity to be heard by more than one million U.S. service members and their families.  Ingraham states, “It is fantastic to be back on the air – and it feels even more special knowing that all of our friends listening on Armed Forces Network can hear us around the globe.  The energy and enthusiasm from listeners, affiliates and advertisers since I returned to the airwaves has been overwhelming.  From Tucson to Jacksonville, from Washington, DC to Seattle, Americans are energized and enthusiastic about our daily conversation about our country’s past, present and future.  Politics is important – but so is the culture around us.  As a single parent of young children and a cancer survivor, I have a unique perspective that connects me with listeners of all political stripes.  Our conversation is a fun-filled ride that moves beyond the Beltway to the real-life ups and downs we all face.”

constantinilynneVeteran Media Executive Lynne Constantini Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  The former EVP of affiliate sales and marketing at Scripps Networks Interactive and SVP of programming at Time Warner Cable joins TheBlaze as president of business development.  In her new position Lynne Constantini will oversee the growing network’s content distribution efforts, as well as affiliate marketing, advocacy, business affairs and business development initiatives.  She previously negotiated TheBlaze’s successful carriage deal with DISH as an outside consultant.  Constantini says, “As a cable industry executive and consultant, I have been attracted to the rare independent network that has strong, unique content and a passionate engaged audience that drives results for operators and that is what I have found with TheBlaze.  TheBlaze is unlike other start-up networks; it has a built-in loyal audience, a full slate of live, original programming, speaks to an underserved and growing conservative audience and has extensive marketing reach through affiliated media assets including on radio and on the web.  I am excited to work with Glenn, Chris Balfe and the rest of the team on building TheBlaze and continuing the network’s success in improving the businesses of its distribution partners.”

cookehollandListeners Are Busy and Talent Is Spooked.  That’s the assessment of radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke who asks broadcasters the provocative question:  “RU@Speed-of-Life?’  In today’s article, Cooke says radio programmers must get up to speed (literally) with the intense pace of modern life which, when coupled with the PPM, puts tremendous pressure to manage air time in a way that is in keeping with today’s breakneck tempo.  For example he advises hosts not to begin their shows by listing all the things they’ll be doing before the show ends.  He says programming clock designers should go the extra step in designing transitions between programming elements (such as newscaster to talk show host segments) in a completely seamless manner.  Never stop the action through over-explanation.  Don’t miss this timely and informative piece.  Read it here.

baileyralphTalk Host Ralph Bailey Begins KERN, Bakersfield Program Next Monday.  After quitting his talk show at Buckley Broadcasting’s crosstown KNZR on Thursday after an eight-year stint, Ralph Bailey will take over the PM drive program on American General Media’s KERN.  Bailey wrote on his Facebook page, “It is official!!!  I signed a contract today to join American General Media.  I’ll be Scott Cox‘s guest today at three and begin my own 3-6 p.m. drive time show on Monday, March 4.  I could not be happier!  I have security in a business that is not that secure and for the first time in my life I’m making a little scratch!  I’d like to thank Rogers Brandon and Toni Snyder.  It is great to feel wanted and appreciated.”

californian logoKERN, Bakersfield’s Scott Cox to Anchor The Californian-AGM Morning Show Endeavor.  Talk radio personality Scott Cox is moving away from the PM drive slot that Ralph Bailey is taking over in order to host a new morning program that is a joint effort of American General Media and The Bakersfield Californian.  The show – “First Look with Scott Cox” – will emanate from The Californian newsroom in which a radio studio has been built.  While KERN will coxscottprovide the producers and technical expertise, the newspaper’s reporters will be regular guests during talk segments.  Californian CEO Richard Beene says of the initiative, “The Bakersfield Californian has always prided itself about being on the cutting edge of technology (our website bakersfield.com was launched back in 1995) and we are keenly aware that readers and advertisers are finding new ways to obtain content and reach their advertisers.  That’s why change is part of our company culture, and serving our readers and advertisers on multiple platforms is something we talk about every day.”  The program will also be streamed live in high-definition video on the paper’s website.  Beene writes in his editorial in the paper, “’First Look’ will add to The Californian‘s existing video programming, which includes ‘BVarsity Live,’ live local sports and breaking news.  The Californian plans to expand its live video programming later this year.  So yes, newspapers are alive and well, changing and evolving.  Join us in March for ‘First Look.’”

millerchrisNot All That Glitters is Gold.  According to radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller, broadcasters should avoid falling under the spell of Facebook “likes” and the impulse to “go viral” — which he describes as “shiny, distracting objects.”  He advises, “The number of Facebook ‘likes’ you have is almost completely without meaning.  In addition, working to have something go viral is probably taking you away from what you should be doing!”  Read Chris Miller’s informative and valuable article here.

benandskinESPN O&O KESN, Dallas Parts Company with Ben & Skin.  Sports talk KESN, Dallas and midday personalities Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade were not able to come to terms on a new contract and the duo have left the station.  They wrote on their Facebook page. “We have declined a final offer from ESPN on a new deal.  We’re parting ways with them for now.  Future is unwritten.  Thank you for your support throughout the years.  We are eager to write the next chapter of our adventure.  Stay tuned.”

sweeneyjohnJohn Sweeney Exits WGDJ, Albany.  The former Republican congressman from New York began a one-hour daily talk show at Capital Broadcasting’s “Talk 1300” two weeks ago but has left the station.  The Albany Times-Union reports John Sweeney’s exit comes after it became apparent that the 11:00 am to 12:00 noon time slot was too much for the attorney and political consultant.  Owner and GM Paul Vandenburgh told the paper too many unforeseen scheduling conflicts have made the show untenable.

raytomTECHNICAL WATCH: Radio Moves Beyond ISDN to Deliver Studio Quality Remote Audio.  Welcome to the Age of the IP Codec.  Back in the “good old days,” if you wanted to get audio from point A to point B you had basically two choices: a dedicated land line from good old Ma Bell (a.k.a, the phone company) or you sent a tape.  Then, Ma Bell decided to get rid of dedicated equalized services – at least interstate.  These days, it’s very difficult if not impossible to get a dedicated broadcast service even in the same city.  This prompted devices like the Comrex two-line and three-line frequency extender systems.  These allowed someone to utilize two or three dial-up lines to get audio from one place to another with reasonable audio quality.  The next step was ISDN – a digital dial-up service.  With the development of devices such as the Telos Zephyr, FM quality audio was easily passed, with very little audio delay, between two locations.  This has been the norm now for close to 20 years.  Enter the IP codec – essentially ISDN on steroids.  IP codecs utilize the internet as the transport medium.  Now, for just the cost of the internet service you already have installed, you can literally transport audio all around the world – in many instances with slightly more round-trip delay than with ISDN, but that is easy to work around using mix minus.  Noted radio technical consultant and TALKERS columnist Tom Ray brings us all up to speed on this new era in remote audio delivery in a must-read clear and concise article, here.

tradupguatemalaSalem Radio News Series Spotlights “The Poorest of the Poor.”  SRN vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup (pictured here in Guatemala) spent the last week in that Central American country as Salem Radio News prepared a news series titled, “The Poorest of the Poor.”  Speaking about his experience there, Tradup tells TALKERS, “Guatemala is only a few hours by plane from the U.S., but living conditions for youngsters are light years away.  And the statistics take on heartbreaking new meaning when you actually spend time with children there.  We embedded with the American relief agency Food for The Poor to cover both the tragedy and the hope for impoverished children in Guatemala.”  Tradup says Guatemala has the highest malnutrition rate of any country in the Western Hemisphere.  The week-long SRN News special series will profile the challenges facing government and private agencies targeting ways to reverse the grim statistics on malnutrition and infant mortality in Guatemala.

bloomlisaOdds & Sods.  Lisa Bloom – daughter of former radio and television talk show host (and high-profile attorney) Gloria Allred – is joining NBC’s “Today” show as a legal analyst says TVNewser.  Bloom hosted the CourtTV show “Lisa Bloom: Open Court” from 2001 to 2009…..Arbitron’s Carol Hanley is named to the Allliance for Women in Media board of directors.  Hanley serves as SVP, chief sales officer for Arbitron.

kdkaharlemshakeHarlem Shake Takes Over KDKA.  The YouTube phenomenon “Harlem Shake” invades the newsroom at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  This still shot is from a video posted on the KDKA-TV website and shows late morning talk host Marty Griffin (in the Santa hat) leading the rest of the crew – including morning hosts Larry Richert and John Shumway and Shelley Duffy, PM drive host Bill Rehkopf, midday host Mike Pintek, sports reporter and weekend host Rob Pratte and creative services director Kelly Pidgeon – in boogeying to the tune.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

| February 13, 2013

pattizpaulgoyetteRon Paul Joins Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment for Daily Feature.  Longtime Texas congressman and former presidential candidate Ron Paul will begin a deal to produce two daily one-minute features with the help of libertarian talk radio pro Charles Goyette as sidekick.  (Pictured here are – from left to right – Paul, Pattiz and Goyette.) The program will be available as a podcast and will be distributed to radio stations nationally via Norm Pattiz’s Courtside Entertainment Group and Launchpad Digital Media beginning March 18.  Pattiz states, “There’s no questioning the fact that Ron Paul is one of today’s most impactful leaders.  His thoughts and opinions have created a significant and loyal following that has made its presence known throughout the country.  That following includes college campuses, corporate offices and everything in between.  His new radio show for Courtside and his digital presence via podcasting create a platform that will be hugely successful.”  Paul says, “I am very excited to have this opportunity to take the message of freedom to more people than ever, especially now when our country needs it so much.  Radio and podcasting are a much more powerful means of communication than speaking on the floor of Congress.  I welcome this chance to work with Norm and Courtside and interact with America in a new way, delivering a message that is timelier than ever and a philosophy that people are clearly hungry to hear more about.”

schnitttoddSchnitt Versus Bubba: Take Two?  According to the Tampa Bay Times, Todd Schnitt has filed a motion for a new trial in his complaint against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) based on the fact that Bubba’s lawyers had his attorney’s briefcase for 18 hours and that Bubba’s lawyers should have been disqualified from representing Bubba.  This all stems from the bizarre situation that happened toward the end of the three-week trial when a paralegal named Melissabubba Personius — who worked for Bubba’s attorneys (from the firm Adams & Diaco) but did not identify herself as such — had drinks with Schnitt lawyer C. Phillip Campbell, Jr. at a local steak house.  Campbell left the restaurant with Personius in her car and was pulled over for DUI five blocks later.  At the time, circumstances indicated the possibility Campbell was set up by Personius – something Schnitt’s team believes was the case.  Personius and Adams & Diaco attorneys all pleaded the Fifth when questioned by the judge at the time.  New statements from the restaurant’s valet could help Schnitt’s case in that regard.  But the Times reports Bubba’s legal team is also collecting evidence and preparing for additional legal action.  On January 30, the jury found Bubba not guilty of defaming Schnitt and his wife.

berrymichaelHouston Talk Host Michael Berry Helps WWII Veteran and Vandalism Victim.  After 93-year old decorated World War II veteran Elbert Wood’s home was vandalized in mid-January by two local teenagers, KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry got the word out about the case via his radio show.  Very soon, more than $45,000 in cash donations had been pledged and local contractors promised to help Mr. Wood restore his home.  The work was completed and Wood is living in the home.  The case has been a big local story in Houston for the past month.

houseofcardsRadio Should Follow TV’s Lead.  Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist, Holland Cooke cites Netflix‘s new original movie “House of Cards” starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright as an example of how radio should approach the presentation of its varied menu of products in the new digital age.  Cooke points out that just like this variety of media and appliances that we now lump together under the umbrella of “TV,” radio must also become extremely mindful of its emerging multiple configurations and program/distribute content accordingly, saying we’re not just AM and FM anymore.  Never before has it been more imperative for radio to differentiate between its live and on demand products – as well as its imported and original content.  Read Holland Cooke’s article here.

jordantomCBS Radio’s WWJ, Detroit Names Tom Jordan AM Drive Co-Anchor.  The CBS Radio all-news outlet will add Tom Jordan to the morning drive program alongside current news anchor Roberta Jasina.  Jordan, currently a San Diego morning TV anchor with KUSI-TV, San Diego is a three-time Emmy Award-winning anchor and reporter.  Mlive.com reports he co-anchored two Emmy award-winning newscasts for coverage of the September 11th terrorist attacks and the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan.  He was also awarded an Emmy for coverage of the 2007 Southern California wildfires.  Jordan is expected to join the WWJ team on March 4.

loudonginaDr. Gina Loudon Launching National Show.  Although she has yet to become a talk media “household name,” multi-media talker Dr. Gina Loudon is becoming increasingly well-known within the industry for her numerous star qualities and unique profile among the upcoming crop of conservative politically-oriented hosts.  Loudon’s new radio talk show, the “Dr. Gina Show,” scheduled for launch February 25 will originate in San Diego and air two-hours live daily between 10:00 am and 12:00 noon PT.  Produced and distributed in conjunction with Chesapeake Portsmouth Broadcasting and Liberty Alliance, the Dr. Gina Show will be initially carried by Virginia outlets WHTK, Portsmouth;  WLVA, Lynchburg; and WLES, Bon Air.  Dr. Gina was a regionally syndicated PM drive host in Birmingham, AL with Crawford Broadcasting until May of last year, when she gave up her show to move with her family to the West Coast.  Since then, she has been a sought-after guest host on KRLA and KABC, Los Angeles; KOGO, San Diego and others, while appearing on  Fox News Channel, Fox Business, and other TV talk shows for signature blend political and psychological commentary.  She is also the anchor for the popular online program PolitiChicks.TV.  Loudon has a background in Psychology (two MA degrees and a PhD) that she integrates as a major part of her on-air presentation.  She has accrued practical insider know-how in politics, as the wife of a senior Missouri State Senator for two terms and dips into her insight to real life issues as the home schooling mother of five, including one adopted son who has Down Syndrome.  Stations interested in the new Dr. Gina Show can contact it executive producer, Jason Browning at jsnbrowning@gmail.com  or 217-653-2238.

thisamericanlife logoWBEZ, Chicago and PRI Prepare to Air Chicago School Violence Programs.  The WBEZ, Chicago-produced and Public Radio International-distributed “This American Life” program tackles the school gun violence problem in Chicago – specifically at Harper High School – on shows to air this weekend and next.  But the program did more than just do research about the problem, it went into the school and experienced it.  WBEZ states that Harper’s administration gave three reporters unusual access for a full semester, five months.  When violence struck, the reporters recorded the staff as they jumped into action.  They recorded private, difficult meetings with families and students.  The result is a portrait of school administrators who know their students well, and take energetic measures to keep these teenagers alive.  Program host Ira Glass says, “For everything we’ve all heard about children and gun violence, there are basic things we don’t hear so much about.  Like what it’s like to live in neighborhoods that have to cope with so much bloodshed.  This is a school that knows this problem in a way that most of us around the country don’t.”  Last school year, 29 current and recent Harper students were shot.  Twenty-one were wounded; eight died.  The special episodes begin airing the same day President Obama travels to Chicago to talk about urban gun violence.  The number of murders in Chicago climbed last year, while in many big cities like New York and Los Angeles, the number has been steady or declining.  Last weekend, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was buried.  Her death made national news after being shot in a Chicago city park a week after performing at an inaugural event in Washington.

whamradiothonClear Channel Rochester to Begin Two-Day Radiothon to Benefit Children’s Hospital.  Two of Clear Channel’s Rochester radio stations – news/talk WHAM and triple A WDVI “The Drive” – will broadcast a two-day radiothon to benefit Golisano Children’s Hospital.  The annual “Drive for Miracles Radiothon” hits the air tomorrow and Friday and will feature appearances by local personalities including: Chet Walker, Bob Lonsberry, Joe Lomonaco, and Bob Matthews from WHAM and JP Hastings, “The Mayor” Pete Kennedy, and Julie from “100.5 The Drive.”  Over the past decade, the annual “Drive For Miracles,” conducted with the support of the Children’s Miracle Network, has raised over $1 million for the hospital.

Dixon OmniMedia Launches Radio reMIND.  Dixon OmniMedia founder Derrick Jonzun calls it “a new listener loyalty tool for ‘front loading listeners.’”  The concept is pretty simple: it’s a service that calls each of your opt-in listeners and plays a personalized message, reminding them your program is about to air.  Dixon OmniMedia states that stations can now connect with listeners on a personal level with show reminders in their talent’s own voices.  It calls it appointment listening on an organic level, plus a great way to increase listener engagement.   Jonzun says, “As host of a weekly syndicated show, I’ve always looked for ways to connect to my audience beyond the normal social sites.  In an industry that centers around the human voice, there is no tweet, email nor text that can match a personal call from an air-talent.  Radio reMIND is a must have for internet stations and specialty shows.”

rehmdianeDiane Rehm Named Arab American of the Year.  The WAMU, Washington-based public radio host and journalist is named ‘Arab American of the Year for 2013’ by ACCESS, the Detroit-based Arab American human services nonprofit organization.  Diane Rehm will be honored at the prestigious 42nd Annual ACCESS Anniversary Dinner on Saturday, April 27, at the Marriott Detroit Renaissance Center.  Rehm has hosted her eponymous program from the WAMU studios for the past 30 years.  It is distributed nationally by NPR.

Obama State of the Union Address, Christopher Dorner Case, North Korea Nuke Threats, and ObamaCare Costs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/12).  The president’s state of the union address; the case of alleged killer and former cop Christopher Dorner; the threats of nuclear attacks by North Korea; and the costs of the Affordable Care Act were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.