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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

| February 25, 2020

Entercom Q4 2019 Net Revenue Up 1%; Full Year 2019 Up 1.9%. Releasing its 2019 fourth quarter and full-year financial data, Entercom Communications reports 2019 Q4 net revenue was $414.1 million, an increase of 1% over the same period in 2018.  For the full year of 2019, Entercom reports net revenue of $1.49 billion, an increase of 1.9% over 2018.  Entercom president and CEO David Field states, “I am pleased to report that Entercom achieved its fifth consecutive quarter of growth, completing a year in which the company delivered strong financial performance as net revenue, adjusted EBITDA, and adjusted net income per share grew 2% (3% ex-political), 10%, and 19%, respectively.  Our significant investments in podcasting, digital, and data and analytics, along with the expansion of our sports, networks and events businesses, are beginning to reshape our company and position us for sustained growth as we enhance our integrated, multi-platform offerings to advertisers increasingly interested in the undervalued and emerging audio space.”

ABC Audio Names Eric Johnson Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming.  News and broadcast producer Eric Johnson is named to the director and executive producer of podcast programming for ABC Audio, effective in mid-March.  ABC Audio vice president and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku says Johnson – who most recently served as senior broadcast producer at “Good Morning America” – “is an award-winning producer with a knack for storytelling who’s touched nearly every part of ABC News over his 13-year career here.  His strong relationships throughout the news division, coupled with his impressive experience in long-form and news programming, will make him a great asset to our flourishing podcast division.  In his new role Eric will build on the success of our existing podcasts and help design a fresh powerhouse podcast network.  He will strategically gather and organize podcast ideas and harness the talent, resources, and storytelling ability available across ABC News and Walt Disney Television.”  Johnson was honored with a duPont Award as co-producer of Diane Sawyer’s interview with Caitlyn Jenner and has won multiple Emmy Awards for projects including his role as senior producer of ABC News’ Town Hall “The President and the People: Race in America.”

Calendar Boy.  WPHT, Philadelphia mid-morning star Dom Giordano (above) is the creator and “host” of a 2020 wall calendar geared specifically to fans of the station, news/talk radio listeners and the local business community.  The idea started several years ago, when Giordano, a former educator, noticed that important events in American history such as the invasion of Pearl Harbor were left off most commercially produced calendars.  He then designed a calendar that not only includes a variety of such events but recognizes talk radio hosts and other items of specific interest to the listening audience.  Giordano appears on a number of pages dressed in period costumes further adding color to the collectable piece. The calendar, monetized by local sponsors who are also featured in its pages, is distributed free to listeners as a highly sought premium at WPHT events.

Newsmax TV Appoints Jason Villar VP of Research and Analysis. Marketing pro Jason Villar joins Newsmax TV as vice president of research and analysis.  In this position, Villar will head up data, market, and ratings analysis, and work closely with the company’s advertising and programming departments.  Villar had been serving as vice president of media and market research for FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, and FOX Digital for the last 10-plus years.  Newsmax CRO and EVP of national advertising Sam Moser says, “Jason was responsible for much of FOX’s forward-thinking research approach and we’re delighted he’s joined Newsmax TV to help make us America’s No. 1 choice for news.”

TALKERS News Notes. Topeka’s KMAJ-AM “The Big Talker” adds the KSTE, Sacramento-based, syndicated “Armstrong & Getty Show” to its program schedule for the 8:00 am to 11:00 am daypart.  The show says this move “continues the homecoming tour for Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty.  They were each born in the Midwest and they met when working separately in radio in Salina, Kansas.  They became a team when hired in Wichita and began their conservative talk show when they moved to KSTE-AM.”  KMAJ-AM is a Cumulus Media station…..WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk show host Simon Conway will also be heard on iHeartMedia’s WOC, Quad Cities beginning tomorrow (2/26).  Conway’s program is also heard on the company’s WMT, Cedar Rapids.  Conway says, “What an honor it is for me to now be live on both of President Ronald Reagan’s first radio stations.  I’m excited to hear from the WOC audience in Iowa and Illinois.”…..Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS-FM, St. Louis is bringing St. Louis Cardinals television play-by-play personality Dan McLaughlin aboard as lead Cardinals contributor.  In this role he’ll offer daily reports, interviews, and a one-hour weekly show, as well as filling in on other shows year-round.  Station operations manager and brand content director Tommy Mattern says, “I am extremely excited that Dan has joined the staff at ‘101 ESPN.’  It’s so important to increase our coverage of St. Louis Cardinals baseball and having the voice of the team contribute on multi-platforms is invaluable.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Prologue Projects are producing a new podcast titled, “5-4,” presenting “an irreverent take on the U.S. Supreme Court’s past.”  Each episode focuses on a pivotal case in which the justices make one of the most important decisions in recent memory – dissecting it from every angle and tearing it apart.  The first episode tackles Bush v. Gore. Future episodes take on the Supreme Court’s decisions on campaign finance, affirmative action, voting rights, and stop and frisk…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago District Golfer magazine editor Barry Cronin is the new co-host of the Saturday morning golf show “Scorecard” in Entercom’s WSCR “The Score.”  He’ll work alongside WSCR reporter and update anchor David Schuster.  The duo take over for Ed Sherman and Steve Olken, who resigned from the program after a 10-year run…..SB Nation Radio announces that in addition to having reporters at all NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament sites, it is adding Pat Kennedy and Daniel Ewing as analysts.  They will both make appearances on all network programs throughout the tournament.  Also, “SB Nation Tonight” host John Michaels will originate his show from the Final Four in Atlanta.

Presidential Race, Weinstein Verdict, Covid-19 Epidemic, Financial Markets Tumble, Trump in India, Kobe Byrant Memorial/Lawsuit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/24).  The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; the guilty verdicts in the sexual assault trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein; the status of the coronavirus epidemic and concerns about the ability to avert a pandemic; the world’s financial markets dive as China’s productivity is affected by Covid-19; President Trump’s visit to India amidst adulation and protests; and Monday’s memorial for Kobe and Gigi Bryant in Los Angeles were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Learning the Sports Talk Radio Biz! Pictured above (from l-r) are: WAXY-AM and WQAM, Miami sports talk host Channing Crowder, Miami Dolphins center/long snapper Taybor Pepper, Dolphins quarterback Jake Rudock, Dolphins linebacker Terrill Hanks, and WAXY-AM and WQAM host Marc Hochman.  Hochman tells TALKERS that while the NFL Combine is going on in Indianapolis, the Miami Dolphins offer their current players the chance to participate in a “Business Combine” where they can learn real estate, investing, and even broadcasting as players prepare for a life after football.  Hence the three Dolphins above were at the Entercom South Florida studios getting an afternoon of broadcast instruction from former Dolphins LB Channing Crowder and Hochman.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Mike Preston is named program director for Cumulus Media’s Dallas country stations KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” and KSCS “New Country 96.3.”  Preston most recently served as SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Baltimore and PD for country WPOC and adult hits WQSR “102.7 JACK FM.”  Cumulus Dallas-Houston RVP Dan Bennett says, “These two country brands, each in their own distinctive way, have captured the hearts of DFW country music fans.  We believe Mike Preston is the right person to lead our talented teams into the future.  Mike has had big success in his career as a creative PD who knows how to coach big time talent.  We can’t wait to have him in Dallas to further ignite two of the most-listened-to country stations in America.”…..Programmer Jamillah Muhammad exits Taxi License Corp’s urban AC KJLH, Los Angeles “Radio Free 102.3” where she was operations manager…..Air personality Jenna Owens is leaving her daily role with the YEA Networks-syndicated “Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” to focus on her Fitish skin care business.  Owens will continue her weekly “That’s What I Like” segment that airs each Friday and will become a correspondent for the show, doing press junkets in New York and Los Angeles, reporting live from events like SXSW, Coachella, and more.  In addition to the correspondent role, she’ll team with her “The Kidd Kraddick Morning Show” co-host, J-Si Chavez, to launch a weekly podcast, also called “Fitish,” that will be produced and distributed by YEA…..Public radio triple A personality Cindy Howes is joining WUNC, Raleigh to host the 12:00 noon to 6:00 pm daypart on the public media company’s triple A streaming station WUNC Music.  Howes was previously with triple A WYEP, Pittsburgh as morning personality and host of the “Folk Alley and the Basic Folk” podcast…..Rachel Hubbard is promoted to executive director at Oklahoma State University’s news/talk/adult alternative KOSU, Oklahoma City.  She most recently served as news director at the station.  Hubbard comments, “I want to fight for public media in Oklahoma.  Oftentimes, people look at news outlets that are outside of Oklahoma and talk about the things they’re doing well, and I don’t see any reason why we can’t own that right here in Oklahoma and have a media resource that is ours – it’s made by us and it’s made for us.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

| December 4, 2013

sargentchrisClear Channel Programmer Chris Sargent Departs. Clear Channel Portland vice president of programming Chris “Sarge” Sargent leaves the cluster effective immediately.  In addition to his VP duties, Sargent for the past 20 months was the cluster’s operations manager.  He programmed classic hits-oldies KLTH, news/talk KEX, progressive-talk-turned-sports KPOJ and classic rock KFBW. Sargent joined the Portland cluster over four years ago from Fort Wayne, Indiana.

loganbruceBruce Logan Named VP of Programming and Ops at CBS Radio Houston.  Programmer Bruce Logan exits his regional programming manager role at Clear Channel’s Greensboro, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina clusters and his national country brand coordinator post to join CBS Radio as vice president of programming and operations manager for the six-station Houston cluster that includes: hot AC KHMX, sports talk KIKK, country KILT-FM “The Bull,” sports talk KILT-AM, CHR KKHH “Hot 95.7,” and Spanish KOLO.  He’ll also have day-to-day programming responsibilities for “The Bull” and “Hot 95.7.”  CBS Houston SVP and market manager Sarah Frazier says, “Bruce has a reputation as one of the premier country radio programmers in America.  We have admired his work for some time and are thrilled we have an opportunity to bring him into the division.  I am equally excited about his leadership skills and ability to build teams which is so important in today’s cluster environment.”

jericho show logoPro Wrestler Chris Jericho Joins PodcastOne.  World champion wrestler Chris Jericho – also a New York Times best-selling author and lead vocalist of the metal band Fozzy – is launching his podcast on PodcastOne.  The program, “Talk Is Jericho,” premieres today (12/4) with Steve Austin as Jericho’s first guest.  Jericho dishes out his unique take on all things pop culture and life in general as he interviews some of the biggest names in entertainment from wrestling and music to TV and film with new episodes delivered every week at PodcastOne.com.  Jericho comments, “I’ve been considering doing a podcast for years now, but wanted to find the right people to work with.  Now after being hooked up with the fine folks at PodcastOne, I know I’ve found the right place!  I’m stoked to bring you the biggest names in show biz every week to discuss all things pop culture, music, pro wrestling and kumquats.  Get ready Jerichoholics…The Pod Of Thunder has arrived!”  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “As an entertainer, Chris is so much more than a world champion wrestler.  He’s an actor, an author, lead singer in a rock band and radio broadcaster.  With a package like that and the proven success of PodcastOne programs like the Steve Austin show, this is clearly a great bet.  Actually, more like no bet at all.  We’re thrilled with our new partnership.”

carsonjonCarson and Beckman Promoted at Idaho Broadcasting Groups.  The Moscow, Idaho-based broadcasting companies IdaVend BroadcastingInland Northwest Broadcasting and KRPL Inc. announce two promotions.  The company’s current promotions director – Jon Carson – is upped to executive director of promotions for the nine-stationbeckmanamberly radio group beginning January 2014.  Carson has been with the company for more than two years and commutes between the station groups’ two locations in Moscow and Lewiston, Idaho.   Carson recently earned designation as CRSM, Certified Radio Sales Manager, from the Radio Advertising Bureau.  With the expansion of his team, Carson is overseeing a team of two promotions directors.  The Moscow promotions director will oversee promotions for the six-station group, Inland Northwest Broadcasting, and KRPL, Inc.  The Lewiston promotions director will oversee promotions for the three-station group, IdaVend Broadcasting.  Additionally, Amberly Beckman is promoted to promotions director for the Moscow-based group from her most recent position as promotions director at the Lewiston-based stations.  She has served with the company for the past two years.

raytomThe Sad State of Radio Broadcast Engineering – Part 2.  Around Labor Day, TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray wrote a  powerful article that asked, “Where have all the broadcast engineers gone?”  He was inundated with responses — not just from across the country – but from around the world!  Obviously, he hit a nerve with everyone.  Ray reports, “I have heard from Australia, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan and Ireland.  Obviously, this is a universal topic and I have been overwhelmed.  Additionally, I was both surprised and not surprised at the bitterness in many of the responses.  Broadcast engineers are a unique group.  It’s difficult, though not impossible, to find a more dedicated group of people in any business.  We take it personally.  The station becomes part of us and is what we do.  And once that is disrupted, even if the person is in a much better place, it is taken personally.  I can relate.”  In a long-awaited follow-up to that article, Tom Ray posts a powerful and informative “Part 2” today (12/4) that goes into even more depth on this complex and important topic – raising issues and offering solutions – that lies at the very foundation of the state of today’s radio station business. It is must reading for anyone who cares about the present and future state of radio station operations.  To read it in its entirety, please click here.

homewizards‘Home Wizards’ Show Partners with Media Management Group.  KFWB, Los Angeles-based weekly home improvement show “Home Wizards” – hosted by Cindy Dole (left) and Eric Stromer (right) – joins the New York-based MMG Radio Network.  Home Wizards is a nationally syndicated radio show and multimedia content brand.  The show feeds live from KFWB Saturdays from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm ET.  In addition to Dole’s and Stromer’s work on the radio on digital platforms, Eric is a regular on NBC‘s “Today Show.” MMG president Jeff Schwartz comments, “Cindy and Eric are familiar to millions of Americans who enjoy home improvement and decorating.  They have a great on-air chemistry that resonates with both men and women while creating an inviting environment for sponsors.”  Cindy Dole adds, “Home Wizards is a true multimedia opportunity to engage with your audience every day!  We needed a team that excels in that space and are so impressed by how MMG masters the art of turning sales and marketing into a higher-level connection that delivers meaningful results!”

edisonresearchEdison Research to Work with Triton Digital on ‘Infinite Dial’ Study.  Arbitron’s absorption into the Nielsen fold has had an impact on the annual “Infinite Dial” study that Edison Research has been producing in partnership with the radio ratings firm.  Edison announces that it will be conducting the long-running study of consumer media usage with Triton Digital when the new study is released in March of next year.  Edison states that the study has been “one of the most widely cited and well-regarded studies on digital media usage, eagerly awaited each year and used by advertisers and content providers.  Hundreds of start-ups, advertising agencies, established businesses, financial analysts, and academics all make extensive use of the study each year.”  Edison Research president Larry Rosen comments, “We’re hard at work making the 2014 version of ‘The Edison/Triton Infinite Dial’ the best ever.  Edison has always sought to provide thought leadership and Triton Digital is the recognized leader in digital audio measurement with its MRC-accredited Webcast Metrics platform.  Our two companies have come together to continue the tradition of ‘The Infinite Dial’ and the tracking of consumer media trends in the digital economy.”

deptrojohnWPRO, Providence Talk Host John DePetro Files Police Complaint Alleging Threat.  WPRO, Providence late morning talk show host John DePetro filed a complaint with the Providence Police alleging that he was threatened outside the radio studios on Tuesday morning by two men he did not know.  The men apparently took issue with his comments about a labor union protest that happened in September.  According to a report in the Providence Journal, DePetro expressed his opinion of union leaders after a union protest at a fundraiser for State General Treasurer Gina Raimondo allegedly served to intimidate attendees and prevent others from attending.  DePetro reportedly said, referencing a female union leader, “What a disgrace.  You are an embarrassment…You are parasites.  You are cockroaches.  You lie.  You are union hags. There’s another word I’d like to use…it begins with a W. and an H. and an O. and an R. and an E. and an S.  See if they can spell that.”  Labor unions have since called for a boycott of WPRO until DePetro is fired.  DePetro has said that if the men who threatened him are caught, he will press charges.

sunbroadcastgrouplogoSun Broadcast Group Contracts with Jelli for Cloud-Based Ad Platform.  SBG CEO Jason Bailey announces that his company is investing the resources necessary to affect the “much-needed change to measurement and accountability in network radio” that he’s been publicly calling for as it will deploy Jelli, Inc.‘s cloud- based adjelli logo platform across its entire network that will make it easier and faster to buy and run radio advertisements.  The change will start immediately across all of Sun’s Hispanic products including CNN en Español, Fox Deportes, AccuWeather en Español and its national Latino Advantage network.  Sun Hispanic content partner, Stardome Media Group, has also committed to the platform change.  A roll out to Sun’s general market offerings will begin in early 2014.  Bailey comments, “I have been asking leaders large and small to stand with me and implement true change in how we conduct business across our industry.  Radio has been living in the dark ages when it comes to baileyjasonsunaccountability.  We’re being eaten alive by the real-time metrics of digital audio competitors and our best answer, RADAR, still requires busy planners and buyers to go back months after a campaign to see what should have run.  Today we stand proud to put our entire sales and programming schedules on the line and make a real change for this great industry.”  In a statement, SBG says it is agreeing to finance equipment and installation costs for each affiliate they service.  It has also been working with Jelli’s team of engineers to enhance the ad platform and include delivery of short-form content and features, allowing for real time measurement of sponsorships and integrated product placement in addition to relieving local affiliate workload in scheduling and running network content and ads.

vulpifrankVulpi Joins USRN as VP/GM Content Affiliations. Former My Traffic Department vice president of sales Frank Vulpi is tapped to become vice president/general manager of Content Affiliations for the United Stations Radio Networks (USRN). Vulpi will oversee roughly one-dozen staffers marketing the network’s programming services. “Frank’s wealth of experience on both the station and the network side of the business is an incredible asset for our company,” comments USRN executive vice president Charlie Colombo. “He understands the needs of our clients; he knows the new platforms; and he knows how to develop and maintain those essential relationships with our affiliates. He is joining an already successful team.” Vulpi’s approximately 30-year industry background includes being general sales manager of New York City’s WYNY. In addition, he spent 15 years with Bloomberg‘s media division, ultimately running its radio and television syndication departments.

hdradio logoHD Radio to be Standard on the 2015 K900. The seventh Kia-made vehicle to have HD Radio as a standard feature will be its 2015 K900. The luxury sedan will join the recently-launched Cadenza, along with the Forte, Optima, Sorento, Soul, and Sportage as other Kia vehicles to offer the digital AM & FM format. HD Radio is – or will be – available as a factory-installed feature from 33 automotive brands including Acura, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, GMC, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Jeep, Kia, Land Rover, Lexus, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, MINI USA, Mitsubishi, Porsche, Ram, Rolls-Royce, Scion, SRT (Chrysler), Subaru, Tesla, Toyota, Volkswagen and Volvo. The 2015 Kia K900 is expected to arrive at dealers during the first quarter of 2014.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago Helps Raise More Than $554,000 for Tornado Victims.  In response to the widespread damage of the November 17 storms throughout Illinois, Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago partnered with the McCormick Foundation, WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune to host the Illinois Tornado Relief Effort on Tuesday, November 26.  The fundraising initiative took place over a 24-hour period, with WGN Radio hosts rallying listeners to donate to the newly established Illinois Tornado Relief Effort.  WGN listeners, in addition to major donations from Medline Industries Inc., Cadence Health, Wintrust Financial Corporation and the FDC Foundation, contributed to a total of $554,087 raised.  The McCormick Foundation matched the first $500,000 raised at 50 cents to the dollar, providing an additional $250,000 in funds and bringing the total amount available to grant to $804,087.  WGN president and general manager Jimmy de Castro says, “The Illinois Tornado Relief Effort continues the WGN Radio tradition of reacting quickly to take care of our listeners in need.  It’s also another example in a long list of generous giving from the Chicago community.  We thank our partners at the McCormick Foundation, WGN TV, and the Chicago Tribune as well as generosity of our listeners, viewers, and readers for helping rebuild the lives of those impacted by the devastating storms.”

wrsb logoUpstate New York Business Talker Flips to Sports.  Genesee Media Corp.’s WRSB, Canandaigua (plus translator W286AE, Fairport) and WASB, Brockport flip from business talk as “Business 1310” to sports talk using programming from CBS Sports Radio Network.

bigjohndogparkDaytona Beach Talker Gets Dog Park Re-Opened.  WELE, Ormond Beach, Florida – being operated by Goliath Radio under an LMA – recently put its community-oriented philosophy to work to help re-open a closed dog park in Daytona Beach.  Goliath Radio talk show host Big John, a former member of the Volusia County Council, came to the rescue when resident Mary Nichols (pictured here) found herself and her dogs locked out of the park that had been open since 2001.  It turns out Big John had helped create the park when he was on the County Council.  When Nichols showed up at the radio station to complain about the closure, Big John put her on the air and took calls about the park that had become the center of a dispute between the county and the suburban city of Holly Hill.  Big John urged the sides to find a compromise.bigjohn  Within 20 minutes of the broadcast, the outline of an organization of dog owners/lovers that might operate the park came together; a local veteran’s club offered a meeting room and support to bring it together and support for maintaining the dog park was offered.  By the following Thursday, the Friends of the Holly Hill Dog Park was formed and able to show a broad base of support to the County Council which voted to reopen the park for 90 days while officials and the newly-formed support group work out details for ongoing operation.  Big John tells TALKERS, “People are ready and willing to do good things if we just give them a chance to figure out how.  Radio can be the bridge to coming up with answers and actions in our communities that benefit everybody.”

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

| August 21, 2013

wgnlogoBig Changes Coming to WGN, Chicago; Cochran to AM Drive and an FM Signal in Tribune’s Future.  The Chicago Tribune lays out some of the changes that will take place at Tribune Company’s legendary radio property on September 3.  With the hiring of radio executive and former WLUP-FM chief Jimmy de Castro in the spring of this year, cochransteveindustry watchers knew changes were afoot.  De Castro wasn’t hired to run things as they were.  And now we know some of the ideas de Castro has been considering over the summer.  Former midday host Mike McConnell – a WLW, Cincinnati alum brought in by former bosses Randy Michaels and Kevin Metheny – has already moved to the company’s online decastrojimmyeffort WGN-2.  Now, Tribune reveals that air personality Steve Cochran – ousted from the station in 2010 – will return to host AM drive.  Current AM drive host Jonathon Brandmeier will move to a digital property dubbed wgnfm.com until the company can acquire an FM signal on which to build a new station.  The paper reports that husband-and-wife team Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano will likely host the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show and overnight host Bill Leff will be partnered with a player-to-be-named-later for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon show.  Garrybrandmeierjonathon Meier remains in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot but is expected to take on a name partner soon.  Another return of talent from the pre-Randy Michaels days are Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey (former midday “Girlfriends”) who will do a weekend program on WGN.  The AM radio property will also build using blocks from its WGN-TV sibling, starting with the branding slogan “Chicago’s Very Own.”  De Castro says the station will use WGN-TV personalities more often, including Dean Richards and Tom Skilling.  As for the future FM property that will start as a digital station, de Castro says, “We’re going to create it as a radio laboratory.  We’re going to build it up until we get an FM and then we’re going to put them all on a talk FM.”  The story notes that any purchase of an FM will come after the company sheds its newspaper division.  That may happen in 2014 if a buyer (or buyers) can be found.

trn logoJim Watkins Returns to Talk Radio Network.  Radio pro Jim Watkins served with Talk Radio Network for 13 years as director of affiliate relations and executive producer for the syndication company.  Now, TRN Syndications, Ltd. announces it is engaging Watkins “to spearhead several new projects within TRN and to assist in the growth of the existing affiliate base of the multiple TRN networks and many radio stars that TRN watkinsjimsyndicates.”  The company states Watkins will oversee new business development and growth-strategy projects for the TRN Networks that distributes Andrea Tantaros, Jerry Doyle, Rusty Humphries, Erich “Mancow” Muller, Monica Crowley, “America’s Morning News,” Michio Kaku, Louie Anderson, Roy Masters and America’s Radio News Network, and a complete weekend lineup of a variety of talk programming.  CEO Mark Masters says he’s thrilled to have Watkins leading his affiliate department at this most crucial time.  “Jim is deeply entrenched in talk radio and has developed alliances with key programmers across the country.  As the country ramps up into the mid-term elections, talk radio has never been more vital to facilitating the national debate.  Jim really understands the vitality of talk radio better than most people in the industry today.”  Watkins previously programmed news/talk stations for Clear Channel, as well as South-Florida based Meridian Broadcasting, and also served as producer for some of the top air talent in the country, including Michael Savage, Mike Gallagher, Barry Farber, and others.  He adds, “Talk radio reaches the most affluent and loyal audience of any format, and it does so by allowing for a free exchange of ideas which can and does influence public policy in a big way.  To have one of the best rosters of talent to be found anywhere gives me a great sense of pride.”

hartmannNationally Syndicated Host Thom Hartmann Debuts Daily Caller Column.  Liberal talk media star Thom Hartmann begins writing a weekly column for the conservative digital publication Daily Caller in which he addresses an issue from his own perspective followed by a conservative or libertarian rebuttal.  In his first column – dubbed “Liberally Yours” – Hartmann asks the question: Should the Post Office be in charge of your e-mails?  You can read the piece here.  Hartmann – whose radio program is syndicated by WYD Media Management – was recently honored by TALKERS magazine ranked at #7 on the Frontier Fifty 2013 – A Selection of Outstanding Talk Media Webcasters (see that entire feature here).  In addition to his AM/FM radio program, Hartmann’s digital efforts have earned him recognition by TALKERS for his forward-thinking business model that pushes his content into exciting new areas.

beasleyScott Webb Joins Beasley South Florida as Production Director.  Beasley Broadcast Miami announces the appointment of Scott Webb as production director for its three-station cluster that includes hip hop WPOW “Power 96,” country WKIS “99.9 Kiss Country” and sports talk WQAM “560 Sports Radio.”  In this new post, Webb will be responsible for overseeing the voicing and production of commercials for the stations.  Webb owns Scott Webb Radio Imaging based previously in Washington/Baltimore that he founded in 2001.  Prior to launching his own firm, he was creative services director and morning co-host at WJMO, Washington, D.C.  He has also served as creative services director at WHUR, Washington, WMMJ, Washington and KRBV, Dallas.  WKIS operations manager Ken Boesen states, “Scott brings exceedingly strong production skills, top-quality voiceover abilities and a fun work ethic to Beasley Miami.  He’ll be a great addition to the team and will help make our production department the strongest in South Florida.”

celtics logoBoston Celtics and WEEI/WRKO Part Company; Will CBS Radio Swoop In?  The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that Entercom and the NBA’s Boston Celtics have ended negotiations to continue airing games on sports talk WEEI-FM and news/talk WRKO this season after being unable to come to terms.  Now the question is will CBS Radio’s WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” be able to secure the play-by-play rights?  In the ongoing and bloody battle between the two sports talk stations, a snare of Celtics hoops would give WBZ-FM three of the four major sports in town:  Patriots football, Bruins hockey and Celtics basketball – leaving WEEI-FM with Red Sox baseball (no small potatoes, obviously).  As Finn notes in his piece, CBS Radio owns enough stations in the market to cover any conflicts between the several teams’ games.  Finn writes that Entercom and the Celtics had a revenue-sharing agreement under the old deal but it’s unknown if there was also a rights fee.  Historically, CBS Radio has been willing to pay big dollars for play-by-play rights if it believes it can justify the expense down the road.

wknrlogoGood Karma Lets Three Go at WKNR, Cleveland.  In a report on Cleveland.com, Good Karma trims its staff by three as sports talk outlet WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” says goodbye to sports talk host Kenny Roda, Browns beat reporter Will Burge and Indians beat reporter T.J. Zuppe.  Burge tells the news outlet that although he was a little surprised by the changes, he says, “I guess you can never be too surprised in this business when they say they want to meet with you about some big-picture changes.”  Roda Tweeted to fans, “Thanks to all who have made the last 21 years at WKNR a remarkable, unforgettable & amazing journey. I enjoyed sharing it with you all.”

versnickartArt Versnick Named GM at WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  Resort Broadcasting news/talk WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware “The Talk of Delmarva” announces Art Versnick joins the station to serve as general manager.  In making the announcement, company president David Schoumacher states, “Art is a seasoned broadcast professional who brings great knowledge to our very important heritage radio station.  It was imperative to secure the future of this franchise with a pro, and we’ve done that by bringing his talent to work with our staff.”  Versnick comments, “I’m thrilled to be joining this heritage station – with its local air staff – almost unheard of today in news/talk radio.  The dedication of this staff and ownership to provide Sussex County with quality and local programming will continue and move to the next level in providing listeners and advertisers a local forum.”

wtmjweloveJournal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Begins Sponsored Live Broadcast Series.  Journal Broadcast Group’s news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee announces the debut of the “We Love Wisconsin Tour” that will see the morning show broadcast live from sites across the state.  Sponsored by All American Window & Door, the first live broadcast event will be Friday, August 23, at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend where “Wisconsin’s Morning Newslangmyertom with Gene Mueller” will broadcast from 5:00 am to 8:30 am.  The tour will continue in Wauwatosa in September, Madison in October and Green Bay in November.  Journal Broadcast Group vice president of news/talk programming Tom Langmyer says, “As ‘Wisconsin’s Radio Station,’ WTMJ is excited to celebrate individual communities that make our region so special as a whole. Gene Mueller and his team will explore the history of each town, introduce listeners to special people and discover fun things to do along the way.  We’re pleased to partner with All American Window & Door on this adventure.”  During the live broadcast event, Terri Lodwick, owner of All American Window & Door, will present a $1,000 donation to a local charity.

Odds & Sods. Hubbard Radio Washington D.C. properties WTOP and Federal News Radio are honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility for the use of flexibility and other aspects of workplace effectiveness as a workplace strategy to increase business and employee success…..Hubbard Radio’s WXOS, St. Louis “101 ESPN” agrees to a deal through Learfield Sports to carry University of Illinois football play-by-play for this season…..NFL Hall of Famer Joe Namath guests on Sports USA’s “Conversations with Joe Morgan” this week.  Morgan’s program is heard on some 80 affiliates across the country.  Namath’s podcast, produced by Sports USA, debuts next week…..Indiana Radio Watch tips TALKERS that Zach Bonahoom exits Federated Media’s news/talk WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne where he hosted a Saturday talk show.

NSA Surveillance Program/UK Threatens Guardian, Egypt Violence, ObamaCare Implementation, OK Ballplayer Slaying, and Clinton Foundation Expenses Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/20).  The scope of the NSA surveillance program and the UK’s threats against the Guardian paper; continuing violence in Egypt and the U.S.’s relationship with its government; the implementation of the Affordable Care Act; the killing of an Australian baseball player by teens in Oklahoma; and the report of the Clinton Foundation’s travel expenses were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, January 21, 2013

| January 21, 2013

ARNNlogoAmerica’s Radio News Network Delivers Inauguration Coverage.  Anchored by ARNN’s Rachel Sutherland, the network will provide coverage of the Inauguration Day activities.  In addition to live reportssutherlandrachel throughout the morning, ARNN will cover: The oath of office for President Barack Obama, administered by Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, Jr.; The oath of office for Vice President Joseph Biden, administered by Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor; musical artists James Taylor, Kelly Clarkson, and Beyoncé. James Taylor will sing “America the Beautiful,” Kelly Clarkson will perform “My Country Tis of Thee,” and Beyoncé will sing the National Anthem; the presidential inaugural parade, which includes members from all branches of the armed forces of the United States.

kuhnerjeffWRKO, Boston Broadcasts from Inauguration Day in Washington, DC.  You’d expect to see a lot more conservative stations broadcasting from Washington, DC today if Mitt Romney had beaten Barack Obama but still, some are covering it as the news event that it is and WRKO, Boston AM drive host Jeff Kuhner is originating his show from the Nation’s Capital this morning.  Special guest commentary will include Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky at 7:15 am and conservative commentator Pat Buchanan at 8:30 am.  In addition to Kuhner’s morning program, the station will broadcast coverage of the Inauguration from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon.

cainhermanHerman Cain’s Nationally Syndicated Program Begins Today.  The succession of Herman Cain into the daily syndication slot held by Neal Boortz for so many years happens today with the Dial Global program debuting on some 80 affiliate stations.  It airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Cain, who hosted a nightly program in Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta before taking a leave from radio in order to run for president, says of his new show, “Buckle your seat belts, because we are in full-blast mode.  I’m excited and inspired to be a voice against ignorance and stupidity.  This is a year when Americans are confused and worried about how government will impact them personally — with taxes, with health care changes, with their jobs, and the economy.   I want to use my life experience to inform them, and to prepare them.”  Dial Global SVP and general manager of news and talk Amy Bolton says of Cain, “A true American success story, Herman Cain came from humble beginnings, had a vision, worked hard and became a successful businessman, presidential candidate and now talk radio phenomenon.  Known for his no-nonsense style and ability to connect with everyday Americans, Herman Cain promises to deliver great radio.  Dial Global is thrilled to partner with Cox Media Group and Herman as we launch the next talk radio star.”

sileodanBeasley’s WQAM, Miami Suspends Dan Sileo for Twitter Comments.  Sports talk host Dan Sileo’s attack on Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews has earned him a two-day suspension from his midday sports talk show today and tomorrow.  The incident started when Sileo criticized the sports media for not covering the Manti Te’o story the way he felt it should have been covered and singled out Erin Andrews.  After Andrews Tweeted back she’d never covered a Notre Dame game, Sileo again Tweeted, “Love Erin Andrews either naked or in a porn. Not at a sports desk.”  He apologized for that remark.  Management at WQAM is not commenting other than to confirm that Sileo will be out for two days.

cookehollandBased on How People Consume Audio Content, Radio Sorts into Two Categories:  Live and Archived.  According to radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke, it is important for programmers to be cognizant of the two basic “piles” that radio falls into when it comes to how it is utilized by listeners.  They are basically determined by the content’s time-sensitivity.  In an exclusive article, Cooke outlines the major programming elements that fall into each of these categories and offers tips on how to best position them.  To read Cooke’s piece click here.

schnitttoddSchnitt vs Bubba: Day Three.  On the third day of testimony in the defamation suit talk show host Todd Schnitt has filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem), much of the testimony revolved around that of Florida Statebubba Attorney Mark Ober.  He’s the state’s attorney who prosecuted Bubba the Love Sponge after his ill-fated wild boar slaying back in 2001.  The Tampa Bay Times reports Bubba had contended that Todd Schnitt’s wife Michelle, an assistant state’s attorney had conspired with Ober to bring the charges against him.  Ober denied there was any conspiracy between him and the Schnitts to prosecute in that case and said that Michelle Schnitt was fresh out of law school and not working on felony prosecutions at that time.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago’s Parent Tribune Company Has New CEO.  Former Discovery Communications COO Peter Ligouri has been named the CEO of Tribune Company by the board of directors.  Ligouri takes over the media company that has suffered through a long and tumultuous bankruptcy.  But for those at news/talk WGN, Chicago – the company’s only radio property – the fear of being sold can be put on the back burner…for now.  In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Ligouri says he’s not “going into this job with a fire-sale sign.”  There has been speculation that there is interest in selling off the newspaper business and just focusing on television.  But Ligouri tells the Times that, though he can’t rule out that the new owners would want to sell the newspapers, the company has “unparalleled media assets, iconic brands in major markets and very talented, creative employees.”  As for the company’s Chicago properties including WGN radio, Ligouri states, “When you look at Chicago, a great radio asset in WGN radio, a great local TV station in WGN and an iconic newspaper … you know that you have great penetration in that city.  I think the opportunity is being outward focused and saying if so many of these people are coming to Tribune properties over the course of their daily lives, what can we do for them that will keep them informed and keep them with us?  Servicing the user will create a natural flow from platform to platform.”

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Re-Brands WIND, Chicago as “AM 560 The Answer.”  The Chicago news/talk outlet WIND is being re-branded by owner Salem Communications as “AM 560 The Answer” a branding that the company’s stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas and Columbus also carry.  Salem vice president and director of spoken word formats Phil Boyce created the brand for WNYM, New York and is installing it in markets where it seems to fit.  He says WIND will still continue to reflect its Chicago personality.  “There is a unique attitude and spirit in Chicago, and we will capture it with the promos, liners, and on-air imaging.”

scprSouthern California Public Radio Employees Vote to Join SAG-AFTRA.  The almost 70 staffers at Southern California Public Radio – reporters, anchors, producers, and program hosts – have voted to join SAG-AFTRA, according to the Los Angeles Times.  SCPR is a nonprofit organization that is part of American Public Media and operates KPCC, Los Angeles; KUOR, Redlands; and KVLA, Coachella.  SAG-AFTRA issued the following statement: “We’re pleased and excited with the results of the union election at KPCC.  We are looking forward to working with the new SAG-AFTRA bargaining unit in partnership with KPCC management to negotiate a first contract.”

millerbidenStephanie Miller and the Veep.  WYD Media nationally syndicated progressive talk host Stephanie Miller (second from left) is pictured here with Vice President Joe Biden at the 2013 Green Inaugural Ball honoring President Barack Obama held yesterday evening at the Newseum in Washington, DC.  Here with Miller and Biden are “West Wing” actress Melissa Fitzgerald (left) and the Green Ball’s Shelley Cohen (r).

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

| January 16, 2013

michaelsrandyRandy Michaels Speaks About Tribune Company in Newspaper Piece.  Sam Zell declined to be interviewed for a four-part series in the Chicago Tribune about the parent company’s financial and legal odyssey but former Tribune CEO and radio executive Randy Michaels did contribute to the story.   The piece charges that both Zell and Michaels never really understood the business (newspaper) or the culture of the place they were trying to save.  But Michaels tells the Tribune he believed he had to get the newspaper’s staff to move quickly adapting to the digital age or it would be too late.  Michaels says, “I cared a lot about that company, and while I recognize that there’s plenty that people might disagree with, I worked hard to keep those brands relevant in a changing world.  We thought that by knocking down some of the walls, by bringing in a looser culture and getting rid of all the bureaucracy, that we had a chance to outperform.  I thought it was my role to challenge everything.”  The piece cites the reluctance among the Tribune staffers to accept the forced change in culture and highlights some of the resentment felt when Michaels’ former radio colleagues were brought into executive positions.

methenykevinProgrammer Kevin Metheny Named WJR, Detroit PD.  Programming pro Kevin Metheny is the new program director at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR, Detroit.  Metheny had been interim program director at Clear Channel’s country KMNB, Minneapolis “Buz’n 102.9” after leaving WGN, Chicago in November of 2010.  Prior to his stint at WGN, Metheny was operations manager a Clear Channel’s Cleveland cluster.  Metheny states, “I’ve long admired WJR from 90 miles across Lake Erie where I put 760 on a button the day I landed in Cleveland. ‘The Great Voice of The Great Lakes’ is a gold standard collection of impossible-to-duplicate treasures and I’m thrilled to join the Cumulus team.”   Cumulus news/talk/sports corporate programmer Jim Mahanay adds, “Kevin brings a wealth of experience and knowledge of the spoken-word format to the legendary WJR.  We are excited to have him on the team!”

trn logoTalk Radio Network Unveils Seven New Weekend Programs.  In what Talk Radio Network CEO Mark Masters calls a focus “on helping our affiliated stations make more money,” the company launches seven new programs this weekend, beginning with “Making America Laugh with Louie Anderson.”  The comic brings “his brand of humor and warmth to the radio airwaves – covering topical news, taking listener calls, and riffing withandersonlouie comedic and celebrity guests.”  Other programs lifting off this weekend include: “Nutzz & Knight Radio” hosted by Gordon “Lug Nutzz” Stewart and actor Christopher Knight (Peter Brady from “The Brady Bunch”).  TRN calls it “a hysterical, fast-paced, and irreverent action/motorsports lifestyle and entertainment radio program, featuring interviews with personalities from NASCAR, the NHRA, and IndyCar to action sports athletes, musicians, and the entertainment industry.”  “All Action Sports Radio” is dedicated to complete coverage of the action sports industry – surfing, skateboarding, BMX, Motocross, skiing, snowboarding, and more.  “The Brian Oxman Show” features the former high-profile attorney for Michael Jackson and the Jackson family.  “Blueprint of a Champion Radio Show” is a proprietary goal-setting and success program for student athletes brought to life through radio hosted by Neil Mason, a standout college athlete, Olympic coach and successful entrepreneur.  “The Anthony Vultaggio Show” is a general issues talk program.  “The Hibbard Show” is hosted by husband and wife team, Dave and Marhnelle Hibbard and is geared toward helping people in both their professional lives and in their personal lives.

wspd logoScott Sands to Program WSPD, Toledo.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announces programmer Scott Sands will take over the program director role at news/talk WSPD, Toledo and sister rock outlet WIOT.  Sands most recently was involved in launching CHR WWHX, Bloomington, Illinois with Vallie/Richards/Donovan.  He also partnered with Vallie/Richards/Donovan to launch and program Main Line Broadcasting’s modern rock WCLI, Dayton “Click 101.5.”  Until earlier in the fall, Brian Wilson had been serving as program director and afternoon drive host.

coxmediagroupCox Media Settles with Todd Schnitt; Jury Seated in Complaint Against Bubba the Love Sponge.  The Tampa Bay Times reports that the defamation suit by talk show host Todd Schnitt against long-time Tampa market rival Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) continues as a jury was seatedschnitttodd yesterday morning.  However, Schnitt’s suit against Cox Media (Clem’s employer) has been settled.  The paper reports that Cox Media and Schnitt reached a settlement on Friday, the terms of which were not disclosed.  Cox Media Tampa market manager Keith Lawless is quoted telling the Times, “(The settlement) was a business decision, but in no way reflects that we are not in support of Bubba.  It’s not such a bad thing that all our focus is now on defending Bubba.”  Meanwhile, a jury of six with four alternates has been seated in Schnitt’s suit against Clem but not without some drama as the Times reports both sides initially agreed to the make-up of the jury, then Schnitt’s lawyers asked to reconsider.  Immediately Clem’s attorneys asked for a mistrial but the judge declared the jury selection final and swore in the jurors.

campbellpatOdds & Sods. With Compass Media Networks talk host Todd Schnitt tied up in court in his suit against Bubba the Love Sponge, he’ll be missing some time on the radio.  KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive host Pat Campbell is subbing for Schnitt on his 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program on Thursday, January 17…..Former WTKK, Boston talk host Michael Graham fills in for crosstown WRKO afternoon drive host Howie Carr on Thursday…..The big Oprah Winfrey interview with Lance Armstrong will air on Winfrey’s OWN cable channel on Thursday evening but SiriusXM will get the firstgrahammichael crack at distributing the audio of the interview on Friday on its Oprah Channel…..Hubbard Broadcasting’s  WTOP, Washington is hosting a special “Ask The Doctor” program featuring Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, today at 10:00 am to help listeners learn more about the flu.  The hour-long Q&A session will answer a number of concerns related to this year’s harsh flu season and more with WTOP mid-day anchors Mark Lewis and Debbie Feinstein hosting and taking calls from listeners…..Michael Patrick Shiels, host of “Michigan’s Big Show,” will broadcast his syndicated morning show live from Monte Carlo, in the principality of Monaco, on Friday, January 25.  The special, international broadcast will originate from the historic Hotel de Paris next to the famed Casino de Monte-Carlo and guests on the program will include: actor Roger Moore, singer Shirley Bassey, residents of Monaco, as well as a representative of Monaco’s Royal Family.

dial global sportsDial Global Sports Distributes NFL Conference Championships.  The NFL’s conference championship weekend takes place on Sunday and Dial Global Sports brings affiliate stations exclusive radio play-by-play of the San Francsico 49ers vs Atlanta Falcons matchup and the Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots game.  The NFC Championship game is being called by Dave Sims alongside Hall of Famer James Lofton as analyst and Tony Boselli on the sidelines.  The AFC Championship game is being announced by Kevin Harlan with the play-by-play, Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as analyst and Mark Malone on the sidelines.

wgnlogoWGN, Chicago and NHL’s Blackhawks Agree to Five More Years.  Now that NHL hockey is set to return, Tribune’s WGN, Chicago and the Chicago Blackhawks have announced they will extend their deal for the station to be the exclusive market radio home of the team’s play-by-play broadcasts.  The new, five-year deal will keep WGN as the team’s flagship station through the 2018-19 NHL season.  WGN Radio DOS and interim general manager Jeff Hill says, “We are proud to extend our relationship with the Blackhawks and bring the excitement of hockey play-by-play to our listeners.  The fast pace of the broadcasts provide an incomparable energy and we look forward to delivering the best hockey broadcasts for the next six years.”

Debt Ceiling Debate, Gun Legislation Proposals, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Controversy, ObamaCare Costs, and Lance Armstrong ‘Oprah’ Interview Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/15).  The battle between the Obama Administration and Congress over raising the debt ceiling; threats by the president to use executive powers to write new gun legislation; the controversy over the movie “Zero Dark Thirty”; the costs brought about by the Affordable Care Act; and Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.