Starnes Media Group to Purchase KWAM, Memphis. Conservative talk media personality and author Todd Starnes, via his Starnes Media Group, is acquiring historic radio station KWAM-AM, Memphis and translator W300DE, Memphis (107.9 FM) from Legacy Media for $685,000. Starnes produces his daily talk radio show – currently heard on some 60 affiliate stations – and commentary feature that is distributed by Hamilton Strategies. Starnes tells TALKERS magazine KWAM will be the flagship for his radio show. “Memphis is my hometown. And I’m glad to be coming back to the Mid-South. Memphis deserves a locally owned and locally run talk radio station. Our news, traffic and weather will be produced in Memphis by Memphians. And I can promise that all-new ‘The Mighty 990’ is going to be a blowtorch for freedom across the Mid-South.” Starnes parted ways with FOX News in October of 2019 after his contract expired and shortly thereafter launched his new radio programs and podcast.
NOW POSTED: New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. The new episode titled, “Wag the Tongue!” looks back at this past week of January 6-10, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston; Bill Brady, talk show host, KFNX, Phoenix; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Lee Elci, talk show host, 94.9 News Now WJJF, Southeast Connecticut; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Christopher Ruddy, president/CEO, Newsmax Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on: WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App. To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.
Cumulus EVP/CFO John Abbot to Exit in March. An executive-level change takes place at Cumulus Media as executive vice president and chief financial officer John Abbot announces he’ll leave the company in the beginning of March, after the company reports its full-year 2019 financial results. Meanwhile, the company is conducting a search for his successor. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “On behalf of the board and the entire company, I would like to thank John for his many contributions to Cumulus and for the strong finance and accounting organization he has helped build. After nearly four years of commuting to Atlanta from Connecticut, it’s understandable that John has decided to pursue new opportunities at a company based closer to his home. We appreciate his continued support through the transition and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.” Abbot says, “It has been a privilege and tremendously rewarding to work with Mary and the rest of the Cumulus team and I am truly proud of our many accomplishments over these past several years. I am confident in the company’s ongoing ability to achieve its objectives and I look forward to following Cumulus’ continued success in the years ahead.”
WABC, New York Renews Clint Arthur’s Sunday Night Talk Show. New York City news/talk WABC announces it has “extended its commitment” with “The Greatest Show of All Time,” the Sunday evening program that stars celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur, to continue to air at 9:30 pm through the end of 2020. Arthur says, “The mission of this show is personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more, and have more. As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.” Arthur is the author of best-selling books: What They Teach You at The Wharton Business School; Speaking Game: 7-Figure Speaker Secrets; and The Greatest Book of All Time. WABC is currently owned by Cumulus Media and is in the process of being sold to John Catsimatidis’ Red Apple Media for $12.5 million.
Management Changes at ESPN. After 15 years with the company, Traug Keller is retiring from his position as SVP of ESPN Audio. He moved into that role in 2004 after having served as president of ABC Radio Networks. He’ll officially exit the company next month. Also retiring from ESPN Audio is vice president of national radio programming and production Marcia Keegan. Assuming the leadership of the ESPN Audio division will be Dave Roberts, currently vice president of production, and Amanda Gifford, who holds the coordinating producer title. At the same time, Tim McCarthy, who leads sports talk radio outlet WEPN-FM, New York as SVP and general manager for the company, is taking on the same responsibilities for ESPN’s sports talk KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN 710.”
Kachinske Named OM for Cumulus Media Providence. Programming pro Mary Ellen Kachinske comes to Cumulus Media’s Providence cluster after most recently serving as program director at Hubbard Radio’s high-performing hot AC WTMX, Chicago “The Mix” for the past 18-plus years. In Providence, she’ll be program director for adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” and serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM and two other music brands. Cumulus Providence vice president and market manager Holly Paras says, “After an exhaustive nationwide search, I am pleased to have Mary Ellen Kachinske joining the Cumulus Providence programming team. The breadth of Mary Ellen’s experience will no doubt be felt immediately throughout the cluster. We look forward to her leadership and her ability to think strategically, in order to allow these well-established brands to continue to grow into the next decade.”
SummitMedia Ups Brannigan to SVP of Programming; Johnson to Lead Wichita Cluster. Being promoted from president and general manager of SummitMedia’s Wichita operations to senior vice president of programming for the company is Beverlee Brannigan. As she moves into the corporate role, Todd Johnson is upped from general sales manager to president/GM for the Wichita station group. Brannigan served as president/GM of Wichita for nearly six years. Her previous programming experience has earned her a place in Country Radio Hall of Fame and she programmed country KFDI to a CMA Station of the Year Award. She says, “I am honored to join Bill Tanner and John Olsen on the SummitMedia programming team. We all share a commitment to radio that strongly connects with our audience.”
Iran Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 6-10. The killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces and its diplomatic aftermath was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the impeachment articles against President Trump. Coming in tied at #3 was the presidential race and the political speeches at last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, followed by the Australian bush fires and climate change at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.
Radio Sales Opportunity. Religious broadcaster Pillar of Fire International is seeking a full-time ad salesperson. The company says: “Star 99.1 is looking for our next great radio salesperson! This full-time position includes work in the office and travel throughout the NY metropolitan area to meet with customers and prospects. Over-achievers strongly encouraged to apply! A proven track record in radio or media sales is a pre-requisite and high standards of business integrity are expected. We offer a positive working environment and the satisfaction of doing a job that ‘counts.'” Qualified candidates should send letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Jobs, Star 99.1, P.O. Box 9058, Zarephath, NJ 08890. No calls please. Star 99.1 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.
PPM Analysis Extra: The ‘All Christmas’ Phenomenon. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a “bonus” PPM analysis based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 survey. Kinosian says that the shift to all-Christmas music has been a ratings boon for stations that adopt the change. “In our December 2019 ratings recap ‘extra,’ let’s see if playing wall-to-wall holiday hits is still growing strong or starting to wane. The following breakouts reflect those stations in the 48 PPM-markets that either increased their 6+ stat by at least one full share or faltered by that margin in the December 2019 sweep (November 7 – December 4). Hefty positive November 2019 – December 2019 movement is more often than not directly attributable to the all-Christmas music phenomenon.” See the report here.
More Music Radio News and Career Moves. New Haven urban AC WYBC-FM adds the “DeDe in the Morning” show to its program schedule, effective Monday (1/13). WYBC is operated by Connoisseur Media. The program is produced by Service Broadcasting’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and is syndicated by Compass Media Networks. DeDe McGuire says, “It is an absolute honor to be part of the legendary WYBC and we can’t wait to wake up New Haven. Thank you, [director of operations] Juan Castillo and the WYBC team for your support and confidence. We are going to have some fun together.” As part of this move, Castillo – who had been morning host – moves to the afternoon drive daypart…..In Nashville, air personality and program director Zigz, a.k.a. Chris Cox, is leaving one of his positions with Cromwell Media’s alternative WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz.” Zigz will continue to host the midday show but is relocating to Illinois as the result of his wife accepting a new gig. In the interim, current afternoon drive host and digital/social media coordinator Hayley St. John is handling programming duties. Station vice president and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon says, “Naturally, a decision like this didn’t come easy for Zigz and we most certainly had to respect his decision to be supportive of his wife’s career and the needs of his family. There’s no question Zigz will be missed but the good news is he will remain a key part of our team, anchoring the midday show.”…..Pictured below is Ultra Records recording artist Chelsea Cutler (right) appearing in front of a roomful of listeners as air personality Mikey V (left) interviews her on iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108.”
TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations – WFAN, New York Sports Talk Star Mike Francesa Video Now Posted for Viewing. A Livestream video recording of WFAN, New York sports talk personality Mike Francesa delivering the morning keynote address at the recent Talkers 2016: Bridging the Generations convention is now posted and available for viewing (7/1). Francesa spoke at the event on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY at the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important convention. He discusses the state of the radio business from the perspective of talent including podcasting and a variety of other aspects of the digital era. If you didn’t catch it live the first time around, this video is certainly not to be missed. To view it and the other videos from the convention now being posted, please click here.
Hip-Hop & R&B “Bounces” to Detroit. The mystery regarding what would succeed sports on Greater Media Detroit’s WMGC has been answered: It’s “105.1 The Bounce – Detroit’s Throwback Hip Hop and R&B.” Representative artists will span from 2Pac and Ice Cube to Drake and Rihanna. Vice president and market manager Steve Chessare states, “Greater Media is thrilled to unveil this fun and unique new format in the Motor City. We look forward to providing a fun, fresh new sound featuring some of the best throwback hip hop and R&B sounds over the past for our listeners to enjoy.” Greater Media senior vice president of program development Buzz Knight adds, “We are thrilled that our great Detroit cluster is adding a new brand for our audience and our customers.” Detroit’s “Bounce” was introduced today (Friday, 7/1) at 12:00 noon and is playing 10,000 songs in a row; its on-air line-up will be announced soon. News of an impending WMGC format transition was made earlier this week. In the past six Nielsen Audio PPM ratings sweeps, the sports station failed to rise above a one-share (6+). Its .9 in May places it at #23, while CBS Radio‘s WXYT-FM “The Ticket” not only notches a 7.3 (6+), it reigns at #1.
Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Taps O’Reilly President/CEO. The appointment of Terry O’Reilly as president/chief executive officer follows the recent consolidation of talk WESA and triple A WYEP into a single public media entity. Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corporation board president Harris Jones comments, “We are excited that Terry will lead the team we have built. His experience and expertise will help accelerate our efforts to deliver high-quality global, national and local music, news, information and cultural programming that is engaging, relevant and inspiring. His diverse background also serves us well as we extend our strong broadcast brands across digital media and other emerging platforms.” O’Reilly states, “It is an honor to join WYEP and WESA, the two leading public radio stations in my hometown of Pittsburgh. The media industry is at a critical inflection point and public radio is well-positioned to thrive by focusing on what it does best – allowing each of us the opportunity to hear, listen, learn, and participate. Pittsburgh’s public radio stations remain remarkably strong, with growing audiences, in this changing media environment.” For the past seven years, O’Reilly – who begins his new duties in just over four weeks (8/1) – was senior vice president and chief content officer for Twin Cities PBS. Prior to that, he spent approximately 30 years in the commercial television industry. Over the last six Nielsen Audio PPM ratings periods, WESA (1.9, #12, 6+) has registered a 1.9 four times and a 2.0 the other two; WYEP (#13, 6+) notches a 1.3 for the third time in the last six sweeps. The market’s 6+ market leader is iHeartMedia classic hits-oldies outlet WWSW (10.2, 6+).
PPM Analysis: All-News. Based on PPM data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2016 survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of all-news stations to see how the 2016 presidential race has influenced their ratings. There is a bit of a similarity between the month-to-month and year-to-year comparisons, in that, 63% of the sample in our overview was down April 2016 – May – 2016 (6+) and 58% of our all-news panel experienced May 2015 – May 2016 6+- erosion. The typical all-news station in May 2016 has a 6+-share of 4.21 and finishes tenth in its respective market (#10.15). See Mike’s entire report here.
Tobin Joins New York Times. WBUR, Boston senior producer Lisa Tobin departs the Boston University-owned public outlet to join the expanded audio content division of The New York Times as an executive producer. Stated in a memo announcing Tobin’s arrival was mention that “Modern Love,” the first podcast “to briefly displace ‘Serial’ at the top of the charts, was Tobin’s idea.” The memo further states Tobin has “launched feature shows, like the literary advice podcast ‘Dear Sugar Radio,’ based on the cult-favorite advice column. She has developed newsy shows, including a daily podcast produced in partnership with The Boston Globe during the trial of [Boston Marathon bomber] Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and she has incorporated audio into giant multimedia projects.” Once Tobin has settled in, she and editorial director Samantha Henig plan to solicit podcast ideas from their NYT colleagues.
Odds & Sods. There is a rolodex alert for ABC News Radio, which relocates from 125 West End Avenue (New York) to ABC News headquarters at 47 West 66th Street (New York, NY 10023). Remaining at the West End Avenue address though are sports outlet WEPN-FM “ESPN New York” and Spanish sports WEPN-AM “ESPN Deportes 1050” ….. Two weeks from tomorrow (Saturday, 7/16) is the first-ever WCMC “The Fan,” Raleigh “Beer Academy.” The event of the Capitol Broadcasting sports outlet benefits the Me Fine Foundation and will be held at Bull Durham Beer Company inside the Durham Bulls Athletic Park. Joe Ovies of “The Fan” and executive brew master Sebastian Wolfum will teach listeners how to make their favorite beverage and educate them on North Carolina beers. There will be two 90-minutes sessions, one starting at 1:00 pm and the other at 3:30 pm ….. As part of a multi-year exclusivity pact between Salem Media Group Twin Cities’ KYCR “Business 1440” and North Dakota State University, all regular season games and any post-season contests of the five-time defending champion Bison football team will be available in Minneapolis-Saint Paul on KYCR. Salem Media Group Twin Cities general manager Nic Anderson remarks, “Bison football is serious business, and ‘Business 1440’ is the serious voice of Twin Cities business news and financial information. It is a winning combination.” The first game of the 2016 NDSU Bison football season is (Saturday) August 27 at 6:30 pm.
‘Brexit’ Aftermath Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the European Union was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the U.S. presidential race. Coming in at #3 was the GOP’s Benghazi report tied with the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server and, at #4, was the Istanbul terror attack. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Trio Added to New York Public Radio Board. Joining the board of trustees of New York Public Radio are author-Roots drummer-“The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” regular Questlove; investor David Tisch; and entertainment attorney Marc Chamlin. Board chair Cynthia King Vance comments, “Questlove, David, and Marc each bring a deep understanding of the value and potential of public radio, and a commitment to working with our highly engaged board to advance our mission and help us reach our digital, content, and audience development goals. Their appointment broadens the base of expertise on the board; we are thrilled to have them.” Chamlin chairs the television group at Loeb and Loeb. Tisch is managing partner of New York City-based angel capital firm BoxGroup. Meanwhile, 30+-year board member Billie Tisch has been elected to its honorary board.
Nielsen Audio Tells Clients it Won’t ‘Support Voltair.’ During today’s subscriber webinar, Nielsen Audio reported that its testing of the audio processor Voltair revealed nothing substantial to indicate the unit positively affects the ability of the PPM units to pick up the watermarked audio signal under normal circumstances. According to sources taking part in today’s webinar, Nielsen reports the unit could improve the reception of the watermarks in some cases but it’s difficult to determine if that reflects “true listening.” The result is that the company says it will not “support Voltair.” It is stopping short of requiring the Voltair unit be removed from subscribers’ audio chains as Canada’s Numeris ratings agency has done. It’s not clear from a legal standpoint whether Nielsen could require stations to remove the units in the U.S. Today’s webinar also addressed improvements to the PPM technology and told subscribers that it is rolling out a new encoding monitor that will be delivered to all subscribers in 2016.
Kay, WEPN-FM Agree to Three-Year Extension. The just-signed pact with afternoon drive host (3:00 pm – 7:00 pm) Michael Kay will keep the television voice of the AL East New York Yankees at WEPN-FM “98.7 ESPN,” New York through 2018. As it has since February 2014, “The Michael Kay Show” (with co-host Don LaGreca) will continue to be simulcast on the YES Network. WEPN-FM general manager Tim McCarthy comments, “Mike has been the cornerstone of ESPN Radio New York the past 14 years and his audience is growing. He is a familiar and friendly voice for the New York sports fan. His credibility and passion each day provide New York listeners an entertaining and informative choice for their commute home. He is one of the best in the sports business and I am proud he will remain part of the 98.7 FM team.” Kay remarks that after 14 years, he is “thrilled to remain with 98.7 FM and [have] this opportunity to continue doing sports talk radio in a fun, entertaining way. Don and I do not take our positions or the loyalty of our listeners who spend their afternoons with us for granted. They are part of our family – and we treat them that way. I am really excited about [the station’s] future and I am very happy to remain with such a great company, ESPN.” Bronx native/Fordham University graduate Kay covered college basketball and the New Jersey Nets for the New York Post. He got his first television job in 1989 with MSG Network, where he won three Emmys. Three years later, he became a Yankees’ broadcaster on WABC-AM and the team’s play-by-play announcer when YES launched in 2002.
Wainwright Officially Named WSYR, Syracuse Morning Host. Talk pro Mark Wainwright became the go-to guy when the late Joe Galuski first became ill and was required to take time away from the mic, and now Wainwright has been hired as the morning drive host at iHeartMedia’s “Newsradio 570 WSYR.” Galuski was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2014 and died in May. Wainwright first did fill-in work at the station in March of 2013. iHeartMedia SVP of programming Rich Lauber comments, “Mark Wainwright has become a familiar voice to our listeners and he has developed great relationships with our staff and clients.” Wainwright spent more than 25 years in radio before leaving the business in 1997. He says, “I felt right at home here after my first hour on the air at WSYR. Our late colleague Joe Galuski spent more than two decades building a successful and highly regarded morning program, and I am committed to continuing that success. I just wish this all came under happier circumstances, as Joe Galuski is dearly missed by me – and the Central New York community.”
WOLF-AM, Syracuse Flips from Classic Hits to Sports. Using Fox Sports Radio Network for programming, Wolf Radio Inc.-owned WOLF-AM, Syracuse drops the classic hits format for sports talk branded as “Fox Sports 1490 Syracuse.” Shows airing on the station include: “Jay Mohr Sports,” the Dan Patrick show, the Rich Eisen show, “Steve Gorman Sports!,” “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North,” JT “The Brick,” and the Jason Smith show. Station manager Sam Furco states, “This is very exciting for Central New York. We have done a lot of research and testing for this format. We have every confidence this format will be a hit for listeners and local businesses.”
PPM Analysis: MLB Flagships. TALKERS magazine managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian presents this report analyzing Nielsen Audio PPM survey data for stations serving as flagships for MLB play-by-play broadcasts. In this report, Kinosian looks at the performances of those outlets over the past four PPM surveys, fluctuations from June 2014 to June 2015, where those stations rank in their markets, leaders in market share and much more. See this entire report here.
Compass Media Networks Begins Syndicating Joe Pags’ Show. San Antonio-based talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo broadcasts from flagship station WOAI and is heard on a number of iHeartMedia news/talk stations. His 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm CT daily program is now being syndicated by Compass Media Networks which says it will handle exclusive syndication of the show. Pags comments, “I love entertaining and am thrilled to bring my unique brand of talk radio to a wider audience with Compass Media Networks.”
Sports Talk Show Host, Author and Album Rock Radio Pioneer Richard Neer Interviewed by Michael Harrison on “Up Close and Far Out.” Actually, it is more of a startlingly intimate conversation between two old friends than a formal “interview” per se. WFAN, New York sports talk host Richard Neer returns to the Podcast One weekly international hit “Up Close and Far Out” hosted by TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison for the second installment of an intermittent, ongoing conversation between the two about their days together during the formative years of album rock radio. This series of conversations between them will appear on the podcast in approximately two-month intervals. In this latest chapter posted today (7/21), they dredge up personal memories and juicy details about the 10 months they spent together launching and building the progressive rock format at the legendary WLIR, Long Island between 1970 and 1971 – during which period they were catapulted from being obscure 21 year old college students playing beautiful music on a struggling station to becoming well-known personalities and music programmers at one of the leading FM rock outlets in America – WNEW-FM, New York. They talk about the nature of the times, the emergence of the counter-culture and the challenges they faced in programming a free-form, “underground” station within a highly competitive, contentious, and uncharted environment. It is a story about drugs, groupies, music, street-cred, politics and generational upheaval. According to Harrison, “Richard successfully broke ground on chronicling some of these colorful, historic events in his landmark book, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001), but this new series of candid, uninhibited conversations presented within the context of my podcast draws upon the spontaneous spoken word to really dig up and display the amazing details, color and emotions of those very special, long-gone times.” This marks the 20th installment of “Up Close and Far out with Michael Harrison.” The podcast is targeted to an audience described as “media freaks around the world.” Initial guests include radio’s Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Mark Levin, Thom Hartmann, Ronn Owens, Nick Michaels, Dr Joy Browne and Alan Colmes; music legend Linda Ronstadt; space pioneers Buzz Aldrin and Dr. Alan Stern (of the New Horizons mission); teenage celebrity interviewer Pavlina Osta, techno-biologist Rebecca Costa; cybersecurity expert Steve Weisman as well as leading edge, multimedia journalists Chris Ruddy and Joe Sciacca. To listen to the entire Harrison/Neer episode, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player located in the right hand column of every page of TALKERS.com.
Former TheBlaze Staffers Launch Autonomous Publication. A number of former staffers with Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze are launching a new publication on the Medium blog-publishing platform called Autonomous. As reported by CapitalNewYork.com, former TheBlaze vice president of digital content Steve Krakauer is leading the venture that will include other former Blaze staffers Raj Nair, LaVern Vivio, and Chris Knowles. Also involved will be former Blaze CEO Chris Balfe. The story also notes that this will not be a full-time job for any of the participants, at least initially. Read the piece here.
Odds & Sods. WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire personality Jack Heath will participate in the “Voters First Forum” at which Republican candidates for president will appear. Heath will moderate the forum – note it’s not being called a debate – that will be aired on C-SPAN…..At Curtis Media’s news/talk WPTK, Raleigh, Doug Kellett exits his morning show role there after three years with the station…..In San Diego, financial advisor George Charles Cody Price is ordered to pay more than $1 million in fines and restitution in a settlement agreed to in U.S. District Court. Price had hosted a financial advice program on Midwest TV’s KFMB, San Diego in 2011. He was accused of defrauding investors.
WAUK, Milwaukee’s Steve Haywood Dead at 49. Milwaukee native and longtime sports media personality Steve Haywood died on July 19 after a 15-year battle with various health issues including Type 2 diabetes, cardiomyopathy, and kidney problems. Haywood co-hosted “The Game” with Bill Johnson on Good Karma-owned sports talker WAUK, Milwaukee “ESPN Wisconsin.” The station’s website features a piece by Drew Olson in which Good Karma CEO Craig Karmazin states, “Steve distinguished himself with his passion, knowledge and relationships with his beloved Milwaukee Bucks, and the city of Milwaukee. In doing so, he created a partnership between ‘ESPN Milwaukee’ and the Milwaukee Public Schools, which brought attention and advocated for student athletes throughout the city. He will be missed.”
Iran Nuclear Deal, Obama Race Database, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Climate Change-Western Drought, Social Security-Gun Surrender Proposal, ISIS Atrocities, Chattanooga Attacks Aftermath, and Immigration-Sanctuary Cities Issues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The UN’s approval of the Iran nuclear deal and the Islamic state’s subsequent threat to “trample upon America”; the Obama Administration’s building of a racial database of Americans; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and John Kasich’s hint he’ll enter the race; the subject of climate change and the ongoing Western drought; President Obama’s proposal to require Social Security recipients who don’t manage their own affairs to surrender their guns; atrocities being perpetrated by ISIS; the aftermath of the attacks on Chattanooga military facilities and the state of mind of Mohammod Abdulazeez; and the issues of illegal immigration and the policies of sanctuary cities were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
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Limbaugh to Leave WRKO, Boston – Again. This is not the first time that Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh might not be heard on the Entercom news/talk outlet. His show was heard on iHeartMedia-owned crosstown WXKS-AM for a little more than two years before returning to WRKO in 2012. Now, Premiere says in a statement that it and Entercom management were unable to come to terms on a renewal deal. “We were unable to reach agreeable terms for the Rush Limbaugh show to continue on WRKO. A final broadcast date will be announced in the near future. Rush Limbaugh airs daily in every measured media market in America, and we look forward to announcing exciting news for our Boston listeners soon.” iHeartMedia flipped WXKS-AM to business news using Bloomberg after its time as a news/talker with Limbaugh and such local personalities as Jeff Katz. It will be interesting to see where the Limbaugh show pops up in Boston. Unless there’s a format flip to talk in the future for an iHeartMedia FM – and we doubt that’s likely – the list of potential quality AM signals that might be a home to the show are few. Still, it’s possible that this is just a stage of the process that will see the two sides come to terms eventually. It would be a shame to see Limbaugh’s show languish on an inferior AM signal – seems like a lose-lose situation for both sides.
Nielsen: Radio Gives ‘Brand Lift’ to American Family Insurance. From a study with the help of Katz Radio Group looking to prove the effectiveness of radio advertising, Nielsen Audio engaged in a study to measure the brand impact of a radio campaign on insurance decision makers (ages 25-64). The analysis included insurance decision-makers who tuned in to one or more stations airing American Family Insurance commercials and compared their engagement with the company to that of decision-makers who did not listen to those stations. Nielsen says, “The results of the study showed that radio increased brand health metrics, particularly among decision-makers seeking new insurance, in the areas of favorability, recommendation and intent to request a quote from American Family Insurance. The study found that insurance decision-makers who heard the campaign were 25% more likely to request a quote from American Family Insurance than those who didn’t hear it. And brand-switchers who were exposed to the campaign were nearly twice as likely to request a quote, highlighting radio’s ability to influence the insurance company’s best prospects.” Read more here.
Howard B. Price: For AM/FM Radio, Doing Good is Good for Business. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison speaks with the ABC Television Networks director of business continuity, Howard B. Price on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast, “Up Close and Far Out,” about the responsibility licensed AM, FM and television stations have to serve the public with timely and accurate information during both natural and man-made disasters. According to Price, “This is why we hold the license.” Aside from all the entertainment elements that radio provides and that Price says he “enjoys as much as anyone else,” he points out, “That is not, however, why radio stations are licensed – they are licensed to serve the public interest, convenience and necessity.” Price continues, “And while that definition can certainly include quality entertainment and programming that stimulates and enlightens – at the end of the day, what it is all about is being there in times of crisis… making sure that our communities stay informed, that decision-makers have the information that they need in real time, and to be able to apply the necessary time and resources to be able to deal with emergent events. This is the role that radio was born to play.” Price explains what he describes as the essential element of this truth. “If you want to keep people focused on the idea that terrestrial radio is still relevant, that electrons flying out of tall sticks on a single channel is still a very important thing for us to preserve and enhance, then you not only have to talk the talk – you have to walk the walk. And ‘walking the walk’ means that when your community is in crisis, you’ve got to be there to inform them. You’ve got to be able to put people on the street, you’ve got to be able to go to the scene of wherever news is breaking, and make sure that people have the information that they need both to calm them and comfort them as well as provide them with the essential information that allows them to make the right decisions for themselves and their families and businesses.” Price adds, “The old line for radio still exists… you go to any old-time sales manager and he’ll tell you radio is a street business, it’s a retail business and nothing is truer about that than when it comes to reporting the news in local communities.” According to Price, nothing can be more important to the survival of terrestrial radio than remaining visible and relevant to their local communities. He also explains how this philosophy applies to music radio as well as talk and all-news formats, citing examples including how, in the wake of 9/11, Scott Shannon and Todd Pettengill flipped their WPLJ, New York morning music show around “on a dime” from being an entertainment show into serious news mode without the benefit of having a news department. They became “comforters in chief” and did an extraordinary job of rising to the occasion. Price points out that music stations that cede listeners to talk and all-news stations during a serious crisis are foolish to give their listeners reasons to punch out because they might not come back. Harrison and Price also discuss ways in which any radio station – regardless of budgetary and resource limitations – can be fully prepared to serve its listeners in this fashion during a severe emergency explaining that in this day and age of convenient digital communications and citizen journalism, there is no excuse not to be ready to go into action. Michael Harrison states, “Although many people still believe that the idea of radio rising to the occasion and super-serving its audience in times of crisis might seem idealistic, quaint, naïve, and unrealistic – even ‘boy scout’ – that it ironically might be THE answer to AMs and FMs maintaining their importance and relevance going forward.” Harrison concludes this fascinating podcast by suggesting that terrestrial radio should always treat its audience with compassion, empathy, and a deep-seated desire to be helpful and give anyone who might be listening the support they need just getting through the pain, rigors and hardship of day-to-day life as a human being in a highly pressured, dangerous world. To listen to the entire podcast please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com. “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison” is a presentation of Podcast One. Howard B. Price will be receiving the Gene Burns Memorial Award for Freedom of Speech at Talkers New York 2015 on Friday, June 12.
Bobby Bones EAS SNAFU to Cost iHeartMedia $1 Million. The Federal Communications Commission has laid down a $1 million fine for country WSIX-Nashville and Premiere Networks parent company iHeartMedia for the misuse of the EAS tones. The company admits to misuse of the tones and will pay the penalty. The agency writes in its ruling that the “FCC has long prohibited the transmission of actual or simulated EAS tones in circumstances other than a real alert or an authorized test.” WSIX-FM, Nashville – Bobby Bones’ flagship station – aired a false emergency alert during the broadcast of the nationally syndicated show and, as the FCC writes, “broadcast or transmission of emergency tones outside an emergency or authorized test violates FCC regulations designed to protect the integrity of the EAS system. False broadcast of an emergency signal can cause unnecessary public concern and undermine the urgency of real alerts. While commenting on an EAS test that aired during the 2014 World Series, Bobby Bones, the show’s host, broadcast an EAS tone from a recording of an earlier nationwide EAS test. This false emergency alert was sent to more than 70 affiliated stations airing [the show] and resulted in some of these stations retransmitting the tones, setting off a multi-state cascade of false EAS alerts on radios and televisions in multiple states.” In the last six months, the Commission has taken five enforcement actions totaling nearly $2.5 million for misuse of EAS tones by broadcasters and cable networks.
RTDNA: Technology in Newsrooms. The fourth part of a series from the Radio, Television, Digital News Association and Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper focuses on newsroom technology and the plans news directors have to upgrade or add to current equipment. Though the bulk of the article deals with television news, radio is addressed. Papper reports that, according to his questionnaires returned by news directors, plans to acquire new technology have nosedived over the years. “Three years ago, 38% of radio news directors and general managers said they’d be making no technology purchases in the next year. Two years ago, the number rose to 44%. Last year, 69.3% said nothing. This year, the abstention crowd is up to an astonishing 78.6%.” Read more from the study here.
Odds & Sods. Jim Fronk exits Great Eastern Radio’s Concord, New Hampshire where he wore two hats as co-host of the “New Hampshire Wake-Up Show” on news/talk WTPL and as midday jock on sister classic rock WLKZ “104.9 The Hawk.”
Voice of ‘Letterman’ Visits CBS Sports Radio. “Late Show With David Letterman” voice Alan Kalter visited CBS Sports Radio’s “Gio and Jones” program to talk about the final three shows hosted by David Letterman. Kalter chatted about his favorite sports guests on the show and his first day on the job at Letterman. He also teased the surprises to come on the final show that airs Wednesday (5/20) on CBS TV. Pictured here are (from l-r): Gregg Giannotti, Kalter, and Brian Jones.
2016 Presidential Prospects/Iraq Policy Questions, Stephanopoulos Clinton Donations Scandal, Hillary Clinton Emails Case, Deadly Texas Biker Brawl, and Iran Nukes-Gulf Military Actions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The potential candidates for president in 2016 and the issue of the U.S.’s Iraq policy being put before the Republican candidates; the scandal at ABC News over George Stephanopoulos’ donations to the Clinton Foundation; the continuing investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email matter; the deadly biker brawl in Waco, Texas over the weekend that took the lives of nine bikers; and the Iran nuclear program questions and the Gulf nation’s current naval operations in the region were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.