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Peacock Sports Network Playing The Hits

| January 3, 2013

Part Two of a Special Feature

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor/West Coast Bureau Chief
LOS ANGELES — As sure as 2013 has arrived, personal resolutions have been made, and a plethora of prognostications will bombard us.

crystalball130Equally as predictable is that not long into this brand new year, those well-meaning self-promises will be severely compromised, and one’s forecasting ability becomes cloudy-looking, at best.

Here, however, is something that could actually be a trend this year: Don’t be surprised if clusters with multiple talk stations jettison one of those signals to sports.

Associated with that, we very well might witness a spate of under-performing (primarily talk) outlets transition to sports.

Read More

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

| October 10, 2012

Michael Savage Tells San Francisco Chronicle His Return to Radio is Imminent.  The San Francisco Chronicle reports former Talk Radio Network nationally syndicated talk star Michael Savage (who won his freedom from TRN in arbitration recently) plans to be back on the radio within two weeks.  Savage tells the paper, “I’ve got to get back before these (presidential) debates are over.  And when I do, it will be bigger than ever.”  Savage’s attorney, Daniel Horowitz, says Savage is in negotiations with three “major players” but wouldn’t say which ones or what station might serve as a flagship.

President Obama Calls in to Tom Joyner Show this Morning. This morning (10/10) on the Tom Joyner Morning Show President Barack Obama called in and spoke to Tom Joyner and Sybil Wilkes about the debate, the importance of voting, his focus on the African American Community, and his thoughts on winning this tight election.  In the opinion of the TALKERS editors, the President made several powerful news making comments.  To read a key excerpt from this exclusive interview, click here.

Programmer Marshall Adams Exits All-News WYAY, Atlanta.  Before joining the Cumulus Atlanta all-newser early this year, Marshall Adams served as program director at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh.  Now, the word is Adams has exited the fledgling all-news operations.  There’s no word from Cumulus who will take over the programming role at WYAY.

Mancow Show in Pre-Recorded Mode During Move to New Studios.  The Chicago-based and TRN-FM nationally syndicated Mancow program is airing taped shows this week as the program prepares to launch in its TV-radio simulcast format on October 22, according to Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder.  Mancow’s show will emanate from the studios of Fox TV-owned WPWR-TV, Chicago with the 6:00 am to 8:00 am hours being simulcast on TV.  Also, Feder reports that former “Ebert & Roeper” program executive producer Don Dupree has been hired as director and produce of the Mancow show.  Mancow’s program had been produced at Cumulus Media’s Chicago studios.

The Future of PDs: Brand Managers.  Perhaps the headline of this story should read the “present” of program directors as an increasing number of companies are adopting the title “brand manager” to describe the role of the radio station/group position historically known as “program director.”  With the likes of so highly respected and forward thinking a company as Saga Communications joining the ranks of those using this more expansive title RadioInfo recognizes the movement is shifting from trend status to a significant paradigm shift.  The concept is articulated by Saga Communications executive vice president Steve Goldstein in the following memo received by the company’s program directors in all formats, talk and music:

I have some very important and exciting news…

We truly live in a multi-platform world.  As a Program Director, you are now spending an increased amount of your time thinking about and working with our various digital platforms.  Whether it be the station website(s), social media such as Facebook, Twitter or crafting emails and texts, it’s all now a part of the PD’s day.  This is in addition to managing the external marketing feel and visual aspects of the brand.

And of course, all of this is on top of creating vital and compelling on-air radio with all of the moving parts of morning shows, music, talk programming, news, sports, etc.

So, we’ve been thinking a lot about how vastly different the job of the Program Director is in 2012 and where it is likely to go in the coming years.

We’ve been thinking about how successful programmers are morphing their skills to become proficient at not just managing the on-air product, but the overall brand.  And conversely, it has exposed the vulnerability of Program Directors who are not learning and growing as we become more digital.

When you drill it all down, what it really means is that the PD is no longer just a PROGRAM DIRECTOR, but a multi-platform BRAND MANAGER.

And so with the notion that things will continue to evolve, we are making a formal title change for all of our PDs from Program Director to Brand Manager.    This change is intended to not only reflect how people in our business think about the position of PD but how PD’s think about themselves.

Managing the assets of a brand is what you do today, and we think this new title better reflects the change in responsibility and overall outlook.

We discussed this during our recent General Manager meeting in Florida and it met with tremendous approval.

Congratulations BRAND MANAGER.

Saga Communications owns and operates more than 100 broadcast stations in 29 markets.

ESPN Confirms Central Florida Affiliates.  ESPN Radio remains on the Central Florida markets of Orlando – on Cox Media’s WDBO-AM beginning November 12 – and in Tampa Bay on Clear Channel’s WDAE.  The moves come after Genesis Communications elected not to renew its affiliation with ESPN radio on WBHO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando.  As we reported yesterday, Cox Media is flipping the AM side of WDBO-AM/FM to sports as “ESPN 580 Orlando” and will carry the ESPN Radio lineup including Mike & Mike, Colin Cowherd, and SVP & Russillo.  WDBO has not announced a local PM drive talent as this time.  ESPN senior vice president, production, business divisions Traug Keller says, “We’re pleased to team with Cox to broadcast ESPN Radio content on WDBO-AM 580, one of the strongest signals in the Southeast, and with Clear Channel to provide ESPN programming on 620 WDAE.  Our new affiliates in both Tampa and Orlando are a huge step up in signal strength, business acumen and our drive to grow our business with the best in the business.”

Tom Bauerle Re-Ups with Entercom’s WBEN, Buffalo.  Buffalo talk host Tom Bauerle is becoming synonymous with talk radio in the market as the Buffalo native signs a long-term contract extension to remain with WBEN hosting the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program.  Bauerle has been with WBEN since 2002.  He started his career in the market at Entercom sister WGR in 1982.  We worked for a few years outside the market at WTKN, Tampa-St. Pete and KMOX, St. Louis before returning to Buffalo in 1991.

XEPRS, San Diego “ESPN Radio 1700” Renews with ESPN for Three Years.  San Diego sports outlet ESPN Radio 1700 announces it strikes a deal with ESPN Radio to continue airing its programming in the market for another three years.  XEPRS is owned by Broadcasting Company of the Americas and carries Mike & Mike, “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” Hill & Schlereth, overnight and weekend programming as well as MLB and college sports play-by-play. Broadcasting Company of the Americas VP/market manager Norman Feuer states, “We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with ESPN Radio.  As San Diego’s sports leader, it’s only fitting to have a strong bond with the ‘Worldwide Leader in Sports.’  Programming the quality of ESPN Radio deserves a home in San Diego. We are proud to have our stations as that home.”

WSSP, Milwaukee Adds Ted Davis to PM Drive Show.  Ted Davis has served as the voice of Milwaukee Bucks basketball for the past 15 seasons.  Now, he adds a regular role at Entercom’s sports talk WSSP “Sportsradio 1250” where he’ll be part of “The Big Show” afternoon program with Steve “Sparky” Fifer, Ramie Makhlouf and Gary Ellerson.  Program director Tom Parker says Davis will begin during the basketball season adding hoops analysis.  “Ted will weigh in on the day’s top Wisconsin sports stories.  Of course he’ll share his unique perspective on Milwaukee basketball.  Ted is a sports talk pro who knows what fans want and will tell it like it is.”

Odds & Sods.  Entercom promotes WEEI-FM, Springfield, Massachusetts and WEEI-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts general manager David Oldread to director of sales and operations for the Worcester, Springfield and WVEI-FM Providence outlets for the Boston-based WEEI sports talk brand…..SiriusXM will broadcast a special “town hall” broadcast with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell live from SiriusXM studios on October 22.  NFL great Michael Strahan (also co-host of ABC TV’s “Live with Kelly and Michael” and analyst on “Fox NFL Sunday” ) will interview Goodell and the commissioner will take questions from the live studio audience…..CBS Radio’s WIP-AM/FM, Philadelphia donates $5,000 to Michael Vick’s Team Vick Foundation.  Vick says, “The city of Philadelphia embraced me, welcomed me here when the Eagles signed me – giving me a second chance to play the game that I love.  We at Team Vick Foundation are thankful to CBS Radio for supporting our work in the community and look forward to lasting partnership.”…..Tribune’s WGN, Chicago will air abbreviated editions of its “Sports Night” program to carry the two remaining presidential debates as well as the vice-presidential debate.  The VP debate is Thursday, October 11 and the two presidential debates are on October 16 and 22.

KDKA, Pittsburgh Hosts Marcellus Shale Expo.  The possibility of large natural gas reserves in the Marcellus Shale is a major ongoing story for Western Pennsylvania and CBS Radio’s KDKA is hosting a Marcellus Shale Expo on Thursday, October 11.  The event is sponsored by Range Resources, a developer of natural gas extraction technology.  The day’s events will include panel discussions hosted by KDKA’s Mike Pintek and Robert Mangino and will include representatives: Frank Brooks Robinson, Jr., of the Governor’s Action Team; Petra Mitchell from Catalyst Connection and Rep. Jim Christiana from Beaver County.  Afternoon session panelists include Alan Eichler of District Oil & Gas Operations; Rep. Marc Gergely from Allegheny County and John Ubinger from PA Environmental Council.  Matt Pitzarella from Range Resources will serve on both panels.  Mike Pintek will broadcast his program on site from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Hearst Television President David Barrett to Receive Broadcasters Foundation of America’s 2013 Golden Mike Award.  Awarded annually to a broadcasting executive who has championed the BFoA’s mission, the 2013 Golden Mike Award will be given to Hearst Television president and CEO David Barrett at a gala black-tie fundraiser at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on February 25.  Broadcasters Foundation of American chairman Philip J. Lombardo states, “David has been a vigorous champion of the Foundation’s mission to help broadcasters who are in desperate need.  David’s exemplary leadership at Hearst, his commitment to the Foundation’s charitable cause, and his dedication to community service have earned him this acknowledgement.  We are proud to honor him.”

Newt Talks Politics with Alan Stock.  Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (and recent presidential candidate) poses for a photo with KDWN, Las Vegas morning drive host Alan Stock at the Beasley news/talk station’s studios.  Gingrich appeared on Stock’s program to talk about the presidential race and took calls from listeners.

Presidential Race Polls, Obama ‘Big Bird’ Ad Controversy, Romney Foreign Policy Speech, and Jerry Sandusky Sentenced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/9).  New polling data showing Mitt Romney gaining on or pulling ahead of President Obama; the controversy of the use of the Children’s Television Workshop’s Big Bird in an Obama ad; Mitt Romney’s recent foreign policy speech; and the sentencing of former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

| October 2, 2012

TRN Promotes Jerry Doyle to Network Slot Where Savage Aired.  Calling it the show with which “stations will get more light and less heat, a show that they can sell locally with pride, but also a show that will respect its stations, advertisers and audiences with a brilliance that sets great shows apart from good ones,” Talk Radio Network moves Jerry Doyle into the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm PT time slot formerly held by Michael Savage.  TRN states, “For too long, we’ve had to choose between ratings and salability, but no longer…Jet pilot, Wall Street investment banker for 10 years, Hollywood star for 12 years, former congressional nominee and now radio giant who has earned his right to this spot for close to nine years, Jerry Doyle is the future of talk radio.  He will bring massive audiences through word of mouth because he is brilliant and funny, showing both emotional and intellectual range that is beyond rare.”  As it announces Doyle’s move into the West Coast afternoon drive slot, TRN promises, “He understands the advertising business like few others; Jerry is a triple-rated William Morris Agency voice-over artist who has voiced national ads for AT&T, Chevrolet, TGI Fridays, Anheuser-Busch, Panasonic, The US Armed Forces and many others.  Jerry will work with his stations reading their ads and promos, because he understands radio isn’t about host ego, it’s about high levels of performance, and it’s about business.”  Michael Savage exited TRN last week after winning in arbitration to get out of his contract with the syndicator.  Filling in for Doyle’s program in his previous network time is Dr. Bill Wattenburg until a permanent replacement is named.

CBS Sports Radio Announces Scott Ferrall to Be Late Night Host.  When CBS Radio’s new 24/7 national sports talk network kicks off in January, longtime sports talk pro Scott Ferrall will hold down the 10:00 pm to 2:00 am ET slot with his “Ferrall on the Bench” program.  So far, we know the new CBS Sports Radio network will feature Jim Rome for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot followed by Doug Gottlieb from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  Network director of programming Eric Spitz says, “Scott is widely recognized as having set the standard for what a successful national evening sports radio show should be.  He’s got an amazing knowledge of sports that rivals even the most noted experts, and with his fast-paced style of high-octane sports talk, listeners and our affiliates are guaranteed to get the very best program each and every night.”  Ferrall is currently hosting a sports talk show for SiriusXM.  In the past he has worked for SportsNet New York, several NHL properties, Fox Sports Radio, and Sportsfan Radio Network, as well as major market stations in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta, Miami and Pittsburgh.

Don Wade Update from Chicago.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago morning host Don Wade came through his brain surgery successfully and is resting at home, according to wife and on-air partner Roma.  In case you missed it, the longtime WLS-AM morning personality was diagnosed with a growth in early September for which he underwent surgery last Thursday.  Now, the Wades’ agent, Eliot Ephriam, tells Feder, “The surgery went as expected and Don came out of it really well.  We’re awaiting the results of tests and that will determine what’s next.”  Don Wade is expected to remain at home for several weeks.  Station executives report the duo had good ratings news as the September PPM numbers indicate WLS-AM was #1 with listeners 12+ from 6:00 am to 10:00 am scoring a 7.0 share – the program’s highest ratings in more than four years.

Genesis Communications’ SportsTalkFlorida Aligns with NBC Sports Radio.  Several months ago, Genesis Communications stated it was going to drop the ESPN Radio affiliation for its sports talk stations WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando.  Now the company reveals its programming plans and its new affiliation with the fledgling NBC Sports Radio network.  The stations have been named “NBC Sports Talk 1040 The Team Tampa Bay” and “NBC Sports Talk 1080 The Team Orlando,” respectively.  The new lineup at the two stations includes: local host David Baumann in AM drive; DirecTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; local host Whitney Johnson from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; for PM drive, WHBO airs local host Charlie Bernstein and WHOO broadcasts local duo Mike Tuck and Jerry O’Neill; both stations air NBC’s Erik Kuselias.  Both outlets are carrying sports news updates from NBC Sports Radio.

Clark Howard Returns to Middays at WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando.  The Mel Robbins program, heard from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm at Cox Media’s WDBO-AM/FM, Orlando will exit that time slot and Clark Howard will return to that time slot beginning October 12.  Howard was bumped to the late night 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot back in March when WDBO brought Robbins aboard for a live midday program.

 

KOZN, Omaha Names Damon Benning Morning Co-Host.  Former Nebraska running back and 1996 Orange Bowl MVP Damon Benning is named co-host of the 7:00 am to 11:00 am show alongside Gary Sharp on NRG Media’s “1620 The Zone.”  Benning has served as an analyst on the Big Ten Network, NET Television, Cox Communications, and made numerous guest appearances on “1620 The ZONE” over the years.  Today he begins on-air duties on “Sharp & Benning in the Morning” with KOZN sports director Gary Sharp.  NRG Media Omaha market manager Andy Ruback says, “For years we have had Benning on the station as he has been a vital part of our broadcast team and our extensive Husker coverage.  Now, we will be able to take advantage of his expertise full time, all year long.”

WISN, Milwaukee Talk Host Mark Belling Faces Backlash for “Thug” Comments.  Community activists in Milwaukee are promising a rally on Thursday to demand an apology from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment talk host Mark Belling who hosts the PM drive show on news/talk WISN.  Activists in the market are upset with comments Belling made about Derek Williams – an African-American man – who died in the back of a Milwaukee Police squad car.  An account from the Milwaukee Journal states Williams pleaded with officers for help saying he could not breathe but they ignored his pleas and he died.  The case was recently reclassified as a homicide.  Critics say Belling’s characterizing Williams as a “dirty, rotten thug” was inappropriate and not relevant to the care he should have received while in police custody.

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio’s KRLD-AM, Dallas “Newsradio 1080” announces the hiring of award-winning weatherman Bob Goosmann as chief meteorologist for the station.  VP of news/talk/sports Bruce Gilbert states, “Bob lives and breathes North Texas weather and greatly respects KRLD’s commitment to accurate and dependable forecast information every ten minutes.  ‘NewsRadio 1080 KRLD’ listeners can rely on him, not only for accurate forecasts, but also for the information they need to stay safe when severe weather strikes.”  Goosmann most recently served as chief meteorologist for KDAF-TV, Dallas…..Clear Channel’s Quad Cities cluster enters into a deal with New Young Broadcasting Holding Company’s KWQC-TV, Davenport, Iowa that has the TV station producing news and weather content for news/talk WOC and other cluster stations in exchange for CC creating daily entertainment reports for the television station.

Clear Channel’s WTAM Scores Indians Renewal.  According to Northeast Ohio’s Chronicle-Telegram, Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland has won the rights to Indians baseball – for how long, though, is not known.  The report has not been confirmed by Clear Channel.  WTAM – which has been the home of Indians baseball for the past 14 years – was reportedly getting a strong challenge for the play-by-play rights from CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talk WKRK “92.3 The Fan.”

Obama-Romney Debate Preview, Iran Nukes Threat, Potential New ObamaCare Challenge, and Fate of ‘Fast and Furious’ Guns Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1).  The looming presidential candidate debate; concern over Iran’s nuclear weapons program; a new, potential  Supreme Court challenge to President Obama’s Affordable Care Act; and the charge that guns from the ‘Fast and Furious’ program ended up in Mexican drug cartel’s hands were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

| September 11, 2012

Media Ad Spending Flat in Q2; Radio Up 1.9%.  According to data from Kantar Media, media ad spending in the U.S. was basically flat in the second quarter of 2012 with an increase of 0.9% compared to the same period a year ago.  The first quarter had showed signs of improvement when ad spending grew 2.9%.  Radio, on the back of a double-digit increase in network radio spending (21.4%), grew by 1.9% compared to the same quarter a year ago.

Charlie Bernstein Joins Sports Talk WHBO, Tampa for PM Drive.  The Genesis Communications station announces Sports Media Interactive editor-in-chief is the new afternoon drive host at the Tampa sports talk outlet and Genesis’ Sports Talk Florida.  Genesis VP of programming Len Weiner states, “Charlie promises to be a knowledgeable and entertaining show host.  His NFL contacts will bring insight from a perspective not being offered in the local market.”

NPR Names Izzi Smith Director of Programming.  The public radio content creator announces Israel “Izzi” Smith becomes director of programming with the organization effective in November.  Smith, who will report to vice president of programming Eric Nuzum, has worked with NPR as a consultant over the past 15 years.  Nuzum says Smith has been involved with such programs as “’Radiolab,’ PRX’s ‘The Moth Radio Hour,’ ‘State of the Re:Union with Al Letson,’ and ‘The Public Radio Talent Quest’ with PRX and CPB.  Izzi is a true ‘connector,’ always trying to link good ideas, people, and stations to serve audiences in bigger, more inclusive ways.”  Nuzum states Smith’s primary responsibilities will be “working with all of our ‘acquired’ programs (those programs carrying the NPR name, but produced by partners—such as ‘Fresh Air,’ ‘Snap Judgment,’ ‘On The Media,’ and ‘Car Talk’) as well as with our on-air fundraising and promotion teams to improve our ability to help you serve your local audiences. He’ll also prove invaluable to us as we continue to grow our program development efforts at NPR.”

Yahoo! Sports Radio Debuts New Evening Show with Bob Ryan and Marty Tirrell.  The hour-long “Calling All Sports” program airs on the network from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm daily and features longtime Boston Globe sports columnist Bob Ryan – who recently retired from the venerable paper – and KBGG, Des Moines PM drive sports talk host Marty Tirrell.

Talk Radio Star Phil Hendrie Finding Success in Television.  TRN-FM nationally syndicated talk host Phil Hendrie is having a successful 2012 with projects away from the radio mic as well as with his radio program.  Hendrie, who has been involved in television and movies for more than a decade, is appearing in the new movie, “This Is 40,” which follows the characters created in the 2007 film “Knocked Up” for Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann by writer and director Judd Apatow.  The movie hits theaters in December.  Hendrie has also had a recurring role in the TV sitcom “New Girl,” he’s appeared in the movie “Last Call” and does voice work for the animated version of “Napoleon Dynamite.”

Obama Poll Bounce, Campaign Fundraising Influx, Health Care Reform and Chicago Teachers Strike Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/10).  Poll numbers showing President Obama with a five-point lead over Mitt Romney; the cash being raised by the two presidential candidates; continued debate over health care reform; and the teachers strike in Chicago were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, June 22, 2012

| June 22, 2012

Victory, But No Clarity at the Supreme Court.  The United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of Fox TV and ABC and against the FCC in a decision announced yesterday.  The high-profile cases involving fleeting occurrences of nudity and four-letter words on the two TV networks came to an end with the Court ruling as many, including TALKERS legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman, thought it would: in favor of the broadcasters.  But as Weisman writes, the decision was based on a violation of the Due Process clause and ignored the larger question of the FCC’s definition of indecency.  “As for the overriding question of the unconstitutionality of the rules themselves, the Court ruled that it did not even have to answer that question because the application of the FCC’s indecency rule was improperly done in a manner that violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment.”  Read Weisman’s analysis of the Supreme Court’s decision here.

Sports Talk Radio Gets Another National Network as CBS Radio Teams with Cumulus Media Networks to Offer Talk Shows, News and More.  The skyrocketing popularity of sports talk radio is bringing another major network player into the business.  CBS announces it will put the resources of CBS Radio and CBS Sports together to build a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week lineup of national programming called CBS Sports Radio.  The company is partnering with Cumulus Media Networks which will provide affiliate sales and ad sales for the network and the content will air on 67 of Cumulus Media’s stations.  The long-form talk aspect of this network will debut on January 3, 2013 but hourly CBS Sports news updates will begin on September 4 of this year.  This entry of CBS into the sports radio game creates a much more crowded field of players once dominated by just a few.  Soon ESPN Radio, Fox Sports Radio Network, and Yahoo! Sports Radio will be joined by the recently announced collaboration between NBC and Dial GlobalNBC Sports Radio – and CBS Sports Radio.  CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason states, “For more than two decades we have owned local sports radio and appreciate great talent and programming that resonates with listeners and elicits passionate dialogue and debate.  We are bullish our expertise and prior achievements will allow us to successfully complement our existing businesses while expanding into what until now has been a largely unchallenged sector of the radio business.”  Exactly how CBS will staff the new national sports talk radio network is something we’ll see develop over the next six months.  It certainly has a trough of excellent talent at its local sports talk O&Os and the company indicates affiliate stations will have the opportunity to “regionalize their lineup by choosing from select programs currently featured on CBS Radio or Cumulus sports stations.”  That means an affiliate station in the Mid-Atlantic, for example, could elect to carry a program that emanates from WIP, Philadelphia or WJFK-FM, Washington.  Regardless of how this new enterprise develops, suffice it to say the sports talk radio business is getting much more competitive.

Genesis Communications Announces End of ESPN Relationship in Tampa and Orlando.  ESPN Radio has been a part of Genesis Communications’ WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando for the past 10 years but president Bruce Maduri says in a statement that they believe it’s time to develop more local – and exclusive – talent.  Maduri states, “ESPN Radio makes its once-exclusive programming readily available to the public on multiple audio and video channels and platforms, such as web radio, satellite radio, mobile devices, broadcast television, cable TV and more.”  And Maduri cites the cost of the programming as a factor.  He says they’ve enjoyed their 10-year relationship with ESPN but will end their relationship with ESPN by October 1.

Meet One of Talk Media’s Hardest-Working Talents: Larry O’Connor.  And today is a very busy day for Larry O’Connor.  First, he’s filling in for WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall in AM drive; after an hour break he fills in for Dial Global’s nationally syndicated Dennis Miller; then he joins Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt as a guest on Hewitt’s annual live broadcast from Disneyland in Anaheim.  Who is Larry O’Connor?  The former manager and producer in the Broadway theater industry joined the Breitbart empire writing for Big Hollywood and became Andrew Breitbart’s choice to run the multi-media arm where he came to be in charge of Breitbart TV and he’s now editor of the video and multi-media arm of the Breitbart News Network.  Given his position, O’Connor has an interesting view of the talk media landscape and he tells TALKERS magazine, “I have been fortunate to launch my career in this new age where I could broadcast on the internet for relatively low costs and within months build a loyal and vibrant audience with no more promotion than Facebook and Twitter alerts.  Streaming my show at Breitbart News has allowed me to cater to the passionate center-right political news junkie that makes up our audience and it perfectly mirrors the hard-core talk radio audience.  I am also fortunate to be the multi-media editor and curator for the Breitbart sites which puts me in the position of seeking out the choicest sound bytes which I hope will end up on playlists for talk radio shows from coast to coast.  By having that task all day long, it puts me in the news cycle that is in the wheelhouse of talkers up and down the aisle.”  The untimely death of Andrew Breitbart certainly affected the late conservative icon’s business but O’Connor tells TALKERS things there continue to move at a lightning pace.  “The radical re-design of our site, which was Andrew’s final project, has been a resounding success.  But the new design also has put enormous pressure and demands on our dedicated editorial staff because unlike our old blog format, the new design requires us to be on top of the news cycle and constantly posting fresh, relevant content on a constant basis.  The loss of Andrew is a void that, frankly, will never be filled.  But it is comforting to know that his business partner and long-time best friend Larry Solov is there every day over-seeing us and keeping Andrew’s vision alive and thriving.”  Meanwhile, O’Connor continues to be heard at local stations across the nation.  He’s recently filled in at such historic signals as WOR, New York; WLS, Chicago; WABC, New York and more.

Odds ‘n’ Sods.  Nationally syndicated progressive talk star Randi Rhodes hosted an iconic entertainment figure on her Premiere Networks program as Cher called the show on Wednesday to talk about being vilified for speaking out as an entertainer.  Cher told Rhodes, “I…try to do my part, try to do more than my part for helping people with my money and with my speaking…They just can only vilify you by just saying the most heinous things.  They don’t talk about your ideas, or what you think.  They talk about what kind of a person you are and then they vilify what kind of a person you are.”…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles spotlights the city of Santa Monica in its next “KNX on Your Corner” event.  News anchors will broadcast live from the café Back on the Beach throughout the day and “KNX Business Hour” host Frank Mottek will lead a private networking luncheon for local business leaders, titled, “Your Money, the Markets & the Economy,” with special guest, James Hausberg, managing director and partner of HighTower Advisors at Santa Monica Ford Lincoln…..Tribune Company’s WGN, Chicago is named Chicago Market Station of the Year by the Illinois Broadcasters Association for the fifth straight year.  At the recent awards ceremony WGN picked up six other first place honors including Best Local Radio Newscast, Best Sports Story, and Best Website…..SiriusXM – in association with ESPN Radio – offers subscribers complete coverage of Wimbledon beginning Monday, June 25 through Saturday, July 7.

CRN Digital Talk Radio Adds Three Telecom Systems to Its Affiliate Roster.  Sunland, California-based CRN Digital Talk Radio announces the addition of three new telecommunications systems to its affiliate roster which will carry CRN’s more than 100 shows and talk radio programs on their audio-only video channels for subscribers.  Home Net of Kutztown, Pennsylvania; CML Telephone Cooperative Association of Meridien, Iowa; and LISCO (Local Internet Service Company) of Fairfield, Iowa will carry all seven of CRN’s broadcast networks on dedicated audio channels.  CRN CEO Mike Horn states, “We are excited to join with Home Net, CML and LISCO and provide their customers with our top-rated and highly entertaining programming for the at-home listening experience.”

‘Fast and Furious’ Case/Executive Privilege Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 18-22.  The case of Congressional Republicans’ attempt to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt for not delivering documents in connection with the ‘Fast and Furious’ program and President Obama’s invoking executive privilege in the case was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing in the #1 spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Following at #2 this week was the 2012 presidential race.  At #3 was the G20 Summit and the Russia-Syria connection followed by the Euro Zone debt crisis and the global financial markets activities at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  The Dave Ramsey show is added to the program schedule at CBS Radio’s KRLD, Dallas…..KFNX, Phoenix picks up Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee…..Compass Media NetworksFree Beer and Hot Wings morning drive show is added to the program schedule at WZGM, Asheville, North Carolina; KBAZ-FM, Missoula, Montana; and WQCK-FM, State College, Pennsylvania…..The Money Pit Home Improvement Show joins the lineup at WMCD-FM, Statesboro, Georgia; WTHQ, Paducah, Kentucky; and KQWC-FM, Webster City, Iowa.