Wall Street Journal to Shutter Radio Division at Year’s End. Inside sources tell TALKERS magazine that the Wall Street Journal is going to shut down its radio division at the end of the calendar year. The announcement was made to staffers today (11/12). The WSJ and MarketWatch Radio Networks division has produced money and finance-focused feature reports as well as the daily morning drive program, “The Wall Street Journal This Morning,” hosted by Gordon Deal and Gina Cervetti plus a weekend edition of that program. It’s unclear how many staffers this change will affect but the company has employees in New York, Washington and South Brunswick, New Jersey.
WSJ Radio Demise a Repercussion from Anti-Limbaugh Campaign? The above story about the end of the Wall Street Journal’s radio products is bringing some strong reactions from within the news/talk radio industry. Former WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming and current principal of Florida-based News Doctor, Inc, Jim Farley, suggests people are missing the connection with this story. He says, “Since the high-powered leftie campaign against Rush Limbaugh advertisers after the Sandra Fluke controversy, spoken-word brands as benign as AccuWeather and Charles Osgood have been on ‘Do Not Buy’ lists from ad agencies. The announced shutdown today of Wall Street Journal and Marketwatch Radio makes them collateral damage in this chilling war on the First Amendment which is crippling non-controversial, fair and accurate radio news and information outlets.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison reacted quickly to Farley’s comments as well as other buzz generated around the industry per the alleged Limbaugh connection to the demise of WSJ Radio stating, “With all due respect to Jim – a past recipient of the TALKERS Freedom of Speech Award – industry observers and the trade press have been connecting these dots for quite some time now. Consultant Holland Cooke even ran a big headline in his newsletter distributed at our conference in June proclaiming, ‘THE BOYCOTT WENT TOO FAR.’ The problem is nobody seems to know what to do about it or has the clout to do anything about it….or worse, wants to do anything about it. This whole issue is wrought with a social disease common in political circles left and right – namely hypocrisy… the pursuit of victory at the cost of truth… and it is proving extremely detrimental to one of America’s most vibrant platforms of public policy conversation. Perhaps the folks at the NAB and the RAB (and even Media Matters) – if they really care about free speech and fairness, not to mention the beleaguered radio industry as a whole — should mount a unilateral campaign to educate the advertising community that has been unjustly persecuting the ‘innocent’ in its broad-brush blitzkrieg against political controversy. Perhaps the rest of us (meaning anyone even loosely associated with talk radio) should be more vigorously defending Rush instead of conveniently making him the scapegoat for our mounting economic woes, because looking at the big picture – it would be the right thing to do. This whole thing stinks and we are all to blame.”
Glenn Beck Opens Up About Health Issues. Now that he’s feeling better and recent medical treatments have him on the mend, Premiere Networks syndicated talk host and TheBlaze founder Glenn Beck told his audience on Monday that his health issues go back almost five years to when he was still hosting a show on Fox News Channel. Beck said he thought he had a painful form of neuropathy that was affecting his vision, his vocal chords, and his limbs but it turns out that was not the case. He also was not sleeping well, if at all, and says he’s been told he hadn’t had any real REM sleep in 10 years. Since going to the Carrick Brain Centers in Irving, Texas, he’s been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and adrenal fatigue and since undergoing hormone treatment, physical therapy, and making changes in how he eats, sleeps, and works, he’s “reversed the process.”
WMMS, Cleveland’s Rover Sets Up Fundraiser for Former Producer’s Family. Former producer of the “Rover’s Morning Glory” program on rock/talk hybrid WMMS, Cleveland – Rob Garguilo – exited that show recently to take a similar position with WHPT, Tampa’s Mike Calta program. Tragedy entered his life as his girlfriend Sarah and the couple’s children, 5-year-old Ben and five-week-old Serena were hit by a car while crossing a Largo, Florida street. The three are in critical condition in a Tampa hospital and Garguilo Tweets that Serena is on life support with no signs of brain activity. Now, Shane “Rover” French has set up a GoFundMe.com donation page to assist the family of his former producer. As of Wednesday morning, almost $18,000 has been raised for the family.
What Listeners Will Find Under the Tree. Each year, radio consultant Holland Cooke spends a week in early January in Las Vegas attending and reporting back to TALKERS readers about the technology being displayed at the massive Consumer Electronics Show. 2015 will be no different and recently Cooke was in New York for the annual preview show called CES/Unveiled. He writes that the top five wish-list items for this holiday season are (in order): tablets, notebook computers, TVs, smartphones, and video game consoles. Find out more of what’s being touted as big consumer electronics spending decisions during the next year here.
WAKR, Akron Names Bourquin Afternoon Host. Moving from his most recent position as host and sports director at WHBC, Canton, Sam Bourquin joins Rubber City Radio Group to host the 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm program at WAKR. RCRG president and general manager Thom Mandel says, “Having Sam become available is very serendipitous for us. We think he is smart and talented. He really understands how to communicate with a radio audience. We like that he is committed to our Akron-Canton area and Northeast Ohio.” Bourquin adds, “I’m looking forward to starting a new chapter in radio with a wonderful radio family at the Akron Radio Center. This is a great way to remain connected with old friends, make new friends and remain a part of the greater Akron-Canton community.”
Tough Q3 for Radio One as Radio Division Posts Net Revenue Decline of 8.1%. The company as a whole saw net revenue dip 5.3% but the radio division alone was hit worse as net revenue sank 8.1% compared to the same period a year ago on $112.2 million in net revenue. Radio One CEO Alfred Liggins comments, “Our radio business experienced a very soft quarter. We had a perfect storm of weak market revenues and soft ratings in our four largest markets, and political revenues were less than anticipated. We had some ratings challenges in Washington DC, Baltimore and Atlanta in addition to the new competitor in Houston. Management has taken steps to remedy these issues, including a format change in Houston from news to classic hip hop. The initial ratings for our new station, ‘Boom 92,’ are extremely encouraging, and should mean we reverse the annual $1.5 million of losses that we were incurring on the news format. Outside our top four markets, radio revenues for the third quarter were +1.5% against a flat market. Overall Q4 radio revenue is currently pacing 1.9% and I believe we will have positive momentum going into the New Year. Reach Media experienced a similarly weak third quarter, but is performing better in 4th quarter, consistent with the radio division.”
U.S.-China Carbon Emissions Deal, Lame Duck Congress, Iran Nuclear Talks, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Battle Against ISIS, Upper Midwest Cold and Snow, Net Neutrality Debate, and Kim Kardashian Mag Cover Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/11). Controversy over the carbon emissions deal struck between President Obama and China’s Xi Jinping; the possible legislation to be addressed by the lame duck congress; uncertainly about negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the ongoing fight against ISIS and the organization’s potential alliance with al Qaeda; the early cold and snow hitting the Upper Midwest; debate over the “net neutrality” issue and President Obama’s public statement about it; and Kim Kardashian’s recent nude magazine cover were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Day One from the Democratic National Convention. WYD Media’s Stephanie Miller (c) is pictured here in an “action” shot that shows the expansive media center in Charlotte from which she is broadcasting her nationally syndicated morning drive program. In this photo, she’s joined by Fox News Radio personality Alan Colmes (l) and Stephanie Miller show regular Jim Ward (r). There are more than 100 talk show hosts joining the news organizations covering the DNC in Charlotte that wraps up Thursday with President Obama’s evening speech accepting his party’s nomination for the ticket.
Greater Media’s WTKK, Boston Makes Brand Change and Boost to News Product Official. As TALKERS magazine reported yesterday, Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK has re-branded itself and is rededicating itself to providing Bostonians with more news and information and program director Grace Blazer makes that official. She says the station “will provide listeners in the Boston Metropolitan area with consistent ‘live and local’ news, traffic, and weather reports around the clock on-air, online and on their mobile devices. Through a partnership with Total Traffic, Greater Media Boston’s News Talk 96.9 FM-WTKK will deliver newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour 24 hours a day and traffic and weather reports every 15 minutes. In addition, WTKK will refer to itself as NEWS TALK 96.9 both on air and online to more accurately reflect its product.” Blazer says, “We are proud to be the only FM radio station with a 24 hour live and local staff of newscasters delivering timely, local and breaking news, accurate traffic reporting, and dependable weather forecasts. The addition of services to our already strong talk lineup makes News Talk 96.9 FM unique within the Boston market and also presents immediate opportunities for our advertisers.” Total News Source VP Chris Berry says of the new relationship, “An amazing amount of news is generated daily in Boston and New England. We are very pleased to be working around the clock with the team at News Talk 96.9 to assist in gathering and delivering news and information.”
Glenn Beck Gets Apology from American Airlines After Rude Service. The Premiere Networks-syndicated radio host told his audience he was treated rudely by a flight attendant on a weekend flight from Newark to Dallas – ostensibly for his political views – and would never fly American again. Beck told his national radio audience the male flight attendant “fawned over” the other passengers but slammed a can of soda down in front of him and “barked” at him, treating him as “subhuman.” The airline tweeted an apology and went further issuing the following statement, “We are sorry for the experience Mr. Beck had on a recent flight. The comfort and satisfaction of our customers are very important priorities to us and we take these matters seriously. We have reached out to Mr. Beck’s office and are actively looking into the situation.”
Matt Fox Exits NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton. The morning show at NextMedia’s WHBC, Canton, Ohio will consist of co-host Pam Cook and Canton Repository sports columnist Todd Porter for now as Matt Fox exits the station to take a position outside the radio business. The Repository reports Fox cited the early morning hours – a 3:45 wakeup call – as one of the reasons he’s choosing to leave the show he’s been co-hosting with Cook since February of 2011. He took over for Fred Chenevey at that time and the program was his first full-time radio gig. He continues to co-host the “Around the House with Matt and Shari” home improvement show that airs on the local PBS TV outlet.
Big Changes at Chicago Public Media; Big Shoes to Fill at WBEZ. Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports on the announcement that afternoon talk host Steve Edwards is leaving his “The Afternoon Shift” talk show on CPM’s WBEZ, Chicago to take a new post at the University of Chicago. Edwards has been with Chicago Public Media for 14 years, serving in a number of capacities during that time, including as director of content development and program director. It was just last February that the 41-year-old public media pro returned to the air to host “The Afternoon Shift.” On his new position as deputy director, programming at the University of Chicago’s new Institute of Politics, a public policy and public service institute led by David Axelrod, Edwards tells Feder, “What motivates me is trying to create a deeper understanding of the world around me and trying to share that with people. How do I touch and transform people and communities? How do I uncover insights and share them with others? Journalism has been an amazing place where those values and skill sets intersect. And I think my new role at the Institute of Politics represents another place where they do as well.” Meanwhile, CPM has retained Livingston Associates to help find Edwards’ successor. Read Robert Feder’s full story here.
Clear Channel Takes Aim at CNN with Its ClearVision In-Airport TV Network. Providing what it calls an alternative to CNN’s news-only airport network with a debut at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, Clear Channel Outdoor’s Clear Channel Airports division unveils ClearVision. The company says it’ll provide content to travelers from numerous sources, including: “CBS with offerings from CBS News, CBS Entertainment, CBS Daytime, and CBS Interactive, among others; NBC, with shows including The Today Show, Smash, The Voice, Grimm, America’s Got Talent and The Office; daily headlines from around the world from The Wall Street Journal’s WSJ Live; and sports from the Tennis Channel with original programming like the travel series Destination Tennis and highlights from major tournaments like the French Open and US Open.” This is a partnership with connectVISION Digital Networks and CCO says it “provides airports, content partners, and advertisers with an unparalleled ability to reach and engage air travelers – through customized content ranging from local news to top network shows and live events. Airports ultimately will be able to leverage WiFi services to provide travelers accustomed to on-demand content access to the ClearVision network on their smartphones, iPads, and laptops.” There’s no word from Clear Channel on what other American airports with which it’s negotiating but the company sounds very dedicated to this market and you can bet there will be more airport deals announced in the near future.
Sports Biz Today Produces Daily Updates. Sports Biz Today is launching a new daily product called “Sports Biz Update” – a two-minute feature in which host Fred Wallin gives listeners the headlines of what is going on in the world of sports business. Fred Wallin is a veteran of sports talk radio, both locally in Southern California and nationally. Wallin has hosted ‘Dodger Talk,” “Angel Talk,” “Kings Talk,” and “Bruins Talk” on various Southern California radio stations. He has hosted programs on KABC, KFI, KLAC, KIEV, KFOX and 1150 AM in Los Angeles. Nationally, Wallin has hosted programs on The Sports Radio Network, The American Sports Radio Network, Prime Sports, The Sports America Radio Network, and the Cable Radio Network, and presently on Sports Overnight America, Fox Sports Radio Las Vegas and KCAA Riverside, California.
Odds & Sods. Clear Channel names Melissa Forrest market manager for the San Diego cluster. Forrest most recently served with CC at the Atlanta cluster where she was president and market manager in charge of the company’s radio stations, the Total Traffic Network and the Georgia News Network…..TRN and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries is putting his passion for cigars together with his own brand and is working with Cuban-born cigar-making legends to create his own limited-edition El Presidente cigar. Working with Don Lino creator Nestor Miranda and master blender José “Pepin” Garcia – both Floridians now – Humphries made 300 boxes of the cigars. He says, “It’s not made to be an everyday smoke. There’s not that many of ‘em. I only wanted to do a limited amount. I wanted to honor a president each time. When they’re gone, they’re gone. So each cigar is a collector’s item in its own right.” Humphries is pictured here with U.S. Senator Marco Rubio who declared the cigar “bueno.”…..Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show “The Money Pit” partners with TuneIn to create a 24/7 home improvement channel on the audio service. “Money Pit” co-host Tom Kraeutler says, “We’ve experienced rapid growth of our program through our existing online assets. But with over 40 million monthly active listeners, TuneIn has the infrastructure and leadership to help us expand that listener base in ways never before possible and we’re thrilled with the opportunity to share our home improvement insights with this new audience.”…..Dr. Michio Kaku – renowned theoretical physicist, best-selling author and host of Talk Radio Network’s “Science Fantastic” – has been selected through a vote of IPC members to keynote the trade group’s biggest electronics industry event next spring in San Diego. “Kaku’s keynote will present a vision of life in the year 2100 culled from ideas of 300 of the country’s most influential scientists. He will explore revolutionary advancements in medicine, energy production, artificial intelligence and aeronautics that will forever change our way of life – including innovations like internet-enabled contact lenses, cars that will drive (or even fly) themselves and brain sensors that will let us move objects using only the power of our minds.”…..Mike Rosso joins Continental Electronics as vice president of sales and marketing, where he’ll be responsible for maintaining and developing Continental’s global market presence. Continental bills itself as a “global leader in broadcast transmitter equipment. It is the foremost supplier of advanced RF transmission technology and the world’s most experienced designer and builder of the highest power radio broadcast equipment.”
Fox Sports Radio Network Launches Daily Big Ten Football Show. The new show, an extension of the weekly Big Ten show, debuted yesterday on affiliates including WDFN, Detroit, KFXN, Minneapolis and WSSP, Milwaukee. Dubbed “BTN Live,” the show airs live daily from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET and is hosted by Big Ten Network personalities Dave Revsine, Gerry DiNardo, Howard Griffith and others.
WEEI, Boston Announces Patriots and NFL Coverage. The Entercom sports talk brand – heard throughout New England on numerous company-owned stations and affiliates – announces its fall football programming. VP of programming and operations for Entercom Boston Jason Wolfe reports coverage of Patriots football features the return of Patriots Friday and Patriots Monday that includes exclusive interviews with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Its “Gameday” broadcasts on home game days will emanate from Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill at Patriot Place in Foxborough. WEEI has also secured a number of current and former Patriots players as well as NFL experts – including (WFAN, New York and “NFL Today” host) Boomer Esiason who chats with morning hosts Dennis & Callahan each Monday – to join coverage of the team on its shows throughout the week during the football season. Wolfe states, “We’ve made it a priority to provide Patriots fans with the most compelling and comprehensive coverage of the team that we can. With Patriots Monday and Friday and our slew of NFL Insiders, WEEI will be the place to be to keep up with the Pats throughout the season.” Actual game play-by-play rights are owned by WEEI’s crosstown competitor – CBS Radio-owned WBZ-FM, Boston 98.5 The Sports Hub.
Are Hard Times Hitting Television Talk, Too? The New York Post reports on rumors that Comcast’s NBC is taking a serious look at morning television talk’s “Today” for possible budget cuts in the wake of its “ratings woes.” With the story of Jay Leno’s recent voluntary pay cut to help save staffer jobs at “The Tonight Show,” the story questions whether “Today” co-host Matt Lauer will take the same path there to save the positions of lower-level staffers such as makeup artists and writers. In the piece, one person is quoted saying, “It will be the little people who go first — the makeup people, writers, but these people have families, and it will put pressure on Matt to do the right thing.” Lauer reportedly makes $25 million per year. Commenting on the rumors, a rep for “Today” states there will be “absolutely” no staff cuts at the program.
Michael Strahan Officially Named Kelly Ripa’s Co-Host. The former New York Giants football great is officially named the permanent co-host of the “Live!” show, replacing Regis Philbin, who retired from the show late last fall. Kelly Ripa has been hosting the show solo and with a parade of potential co-hosts doing live auditions since then. But, according to People, Ripa made the announcement official that Strahan would be her new co-host.
Presidential Campaign/Democratic National Convention, National Debts Hits $16 Trillion, and Syria Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/4). The presidential campaign and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte; the national debt hitting the $16 trillion mark; and the ongoing violence in Syria were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.