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KFI, Los Angeles Management Meets with Black Activists; Promises Plan to Address Staff Diversity. KFI, Los Angeles afternoon drive duo John Kobylt and Ken Chiampou returned to the air this week after a seven-day suspension for insensitive language about Whitney Houston. Clear Channel Los Angeles management – as well as John and Ken themselves – met with a group of black activists to discuss the situation and, according to the Los Angeles Times, KFI is promising to devise a plan to address the station’s lack of diversity. Activist Jasmyne Cannick tells the paper, “KFI has 14 shows, and 13 of them are hosted by white men. There are no blacks in their newsroom. This fosters an environment where insensitive comments like this can happen. And they are not living up to Clear Channel’s statement of a commitment to diversity.” Management didn’t speak to the Times but local activist Najee Ali seems convinced the station is sincere about addressing their concerns. The Times quotes him saying, “The station pledged to make substantive changes in diversity. They are trying to build a bridge. John and Ken really want to put this behind them and move forward. Their voices are needed in Southern California and they have done some good things. We can’t throw out the baby with the bathwater.”
Entercom Reports 7% Drop in Revenue in 2011 Q4; FM Flips a Factor. During a conference call yesterday announcing Entercom Communications’ financial numbers for the fourth quarter of 2011, CEO David Field referred to his company’s station portfolio as having gone through some pretty big changes in the last 12 months with seven format changes – three in two of the company’s biggest markets. Of course he’s talking about blowing up San Francisco’s country KBWF-FM to create that market’s FM sports talk outlet as well as the changes in Boston to give sports WEEI an FM signal. Also, news/talker KMBZ, Kansas City and WBEN, Buffalo were given FM signals at the expense of music FMs. All this means an immediate loss of revenue that the company hopes will be paid back in time. In a statement, Field said, “These moves significantly enhance our future growth potential and are expected to contribute positively to revenue growth commencing in the second quarter. However, they diluted our fourth quarter revenues by 4%. Excluding political and stations reformatted in 2011, fourth quarter revenues were flat. We are optimistic on 2012 growth, bolstered by improving economic conditions, accelerating performance from newly reformatted stations and political advertising. And we are highly encouraged by strong industry fundamentals as innovation accelerates, audience usage trends remain outstanding and radio remains the most cost-effective major advertising medium.”
MSNBC Beats CNN in February Prime Time Ratings. CNN has been working to re-tool its programming to gain back some of the viewers it has been losing but the cable news/talk channel was not able to pull out a victory over competitor MSNBC in February despite the intense GOP primary election season – including a Republican debate – and the death of Whitney Houston. According to TVWeek, MSNBC averaged 988,000 total viewers during prime time in February to CNN’s 804,000.
Schnitt Happens in Detroit. Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host Todd Schnitt is pictured here in the studios at affiliate station WXYT, Detroit broadcasting live on Tuesday (2/28) as Michigan Republicans went to the polls to vote in the primary election. Detroit was one of Schnitt’s key stops on the road to the Republican National Convention which will take place in Tampa the week of August 27. Schnitt’s program is based at WFLA, Tampa from which he will bring his listeners a full-access pass.
Cumulus Media Networks Touts Affiliation Surge for “Red Eye Radio.” Since changing the tone of the program through the merger of “Red Eye Radio” with the “Midnight Radio Network” hosted by Eric Harley and Gary McNamara, Cumulus Media Networks reports it has added 22 new affiliates to the station’s roster. With major market O&Os WLS, Chicago and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington leading the pack, the network also reports stations including KCMO, Kansas City; WPRO/WEAN-FM, Providence; WGOW-FM, Chattanooga; and KKOB, Albuquerque have picked up the overnight talk show.
WDBO, Orlando Brings Mel Robbins Aboard for Live Midday Show. Cox Media Group’s WDBO, Orlando notes it will be the first time in 11 years the station will have a local weekday talk host when Mel Robbins takes over the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm slot, bumping Dial Global’s Clark Howard to the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am shift. Robbins hosts the A&E cable show “Monster in Law” and worked for five years as a public defender in Manhattan. The station says when Robbins isn’t doing her radio show or filming for TV she “travels around the country on speaking engagements for Fortune 500 companies. Robbins has appeared with Dr. Phil discussing her life coaching skills and is a regular on Anderson Cooper’s daytime program, ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ a bestselling author, and more.” Robbins’ program will originate from her rural Massachusetts farm but will make frequent trips to Orlando.
Cumulus Gives Myrtle Beach Sports FM Better Signal; Splits AM Simulcast Off. Cumulus Media Group is moving 93.9 The Team (WJXY-FM) to the 100.3 dial position currently occupied by CHR i100.3 (WSEA-FM) beginning March 5. There are programming changes as well. The station becomes ESPN Radio 100.3 and takes the ESPN programming with it as well as the local PM drive show hosted by Aaron Marks. He’s the sports director and will be charged with programming the station. The other change is the AM simulcast on WHSC splits off and becomes Fox Sports Radio 1050. That station will air DirecTV/Premiere Networks’ Dan Patrick live, Premiere’s Jim Rome, Fox Sports Radio programming and play-by-play sports including minor league baseball. WJXY-FM is in a trust to be sold. It’s still unclear if Cumulus will simply move the CHR format over to 93.9 while that signal is on the market. Aaron Marks says of the moves, “We are thrilled with the addition of Fox Sports Radio to our cluster of stations. If there has been one complaint about our station I have heard since I started here last July, it is that Dan Patrick is a great show but doesn’t sound good unless it runs live. The additional station will also allow us to provide the proper coverage to all of our local and regional colleges and professional teams. Every team can have a place to call home for all of their games and we’ll be able to add even more play-by-play than ever before at the high school, college, and pro level.”
Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher Broadcasts Live from WHK, Cleveland. In the wake of the tragic deaths of three high school students in the Cleveland suburb of Chardon, Mike Gallagher traveled to Salem Communications’ O&O WHK, Cleveland to broadcast his program live from the area on Tuesday. Gallagher railed against the news that the suspected shooter was bullied. “That’s ridiculous, in my view, to go down this path, of suggesting that bullying is somehow to blame. It might be part of the story, it might be part of the narrative. It might be factual. This kid’s some freak, who’s a goth who acts weird and is anti-social and he’s gonna get picked on. Well, welcome to the real world…please don’t pretend that the kids who can’t handle it, who say they’re bullied, and therefore have to go get a gun and blow kids brains out somehow aren’t evil. That IS evil. E-v-i-l. They are evil monsters who frankly ought to be executed for what they’ve done. This kid ought to face the death penalty for his cold-blooded acts of violence.”
Business TalkRadio Network Announces New Daily Schedule. Beginning March 5, Business TalkRadio Network adjusts its afternoon schedule with the addition of “The Big Biz Show” with Bob “Sully” Sullivan airing from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET; “Catalyst Radio Show” from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm; and the Tom O’Brien show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. President and CEO Michael Metter states, “Sometimes in life things work out for a reason and this is truly one of those reasons. We are proud about Bob ‘Sully’ Sullivan coming back to BTRN and even more so that he is anchoring our midday block. With ‘Catalyst Radio’ our partners will truly embrace this Superman of the business world along with Tom O’Brien, a seasoned pro in the financial world. You’ve seen them on many of the national television news outlets now experience them on your radio stations through Business TalkRadio Network.”
Virginia Tech and WJFK-FM, Washington Renew Multi-Year Deal. CBS Radio’s Washington, DC sports talk outlet WJFK-FM and Virginia Tech IMG Sports Network strike a deal that will see Hokies football and men’s basketball play-by-play on the station’s schedule through the 2014-15 season. The deal also includes airing of the weekly “Tech Talk Live” show featuring the school’s football and basketball coaches.
Ohio School Shooting Fatalities Grow, GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Rising Gas Prices, and Government Waste Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/28). The fatal Ohio high school shooting; the Michigan and Arizona primaries and the larger 2012 presidential race; rising gas prices and Iran’s role; and the new report of redundant government programs and the money they are wasting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Dave Ramsey Helps Celebrate 90 Years for WOR, New York. Nationally syndicated financial talk sensation Dave Ramsey broadcast his program live from the Big Apple on February 27 – the first day his show aired live on WOR, New York’s program lineup. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “Rarely in life, even as broadcasters, do we get the opportunity to affect the lives of many in one fell swoop. Well, WOR is doing just that by airing the advice and wisdom of the great Dave Ramsey daily, in our coveted 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm slot on 710am. At a time when the entire Tri-State area is stressed and in need of help with their finances, WOR comes to the rescue with Dave’s sage knowledge and direction which can, and has, changed the lives of many for the positive. We are blessed to have him.” While there, Ramsey helped WOR celebrate its 90th anniversary on the air. Pictured here (from l-r) are WOR personalities Joe Bartlett, Dr. Joy Browne, Ramsey, Joan Hamburg and Dave Spencer.