Kagan: WGN-AM, Chicago Valued at $58.4 Million. Media analysis firm Kagan, now an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence, issues a report on the volume of mergers and acquisitions in the U.S. broadcasting market during the second quarter of this year and concludes that Tribune Media’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago is worth $58.4 million. Tribune Media – the television stations and sole radio property – is being acquired by Sinclair Broadcast Group and WGN-AM will become one of just four stations owned by the TV giant. The others are Seattle properties hot AC KPLZ, all-news KOMO-AM/FM, and news/talk KVI. The Kagan report focuses largely on television deals but also reports on Emmis’ sale of KPWR, Los Angeles and notes Saga Communications’ exiting the TV business with its sale of television assets to Morgan Murphy Media. See the report here.
Newsmax Granted White House Briefing Room Seat. The Boca Raton, Florida-based conservative news organization was one of three to be granted a designated, permanent seat in the White House briefing room by the White House Correspondents’ Association. Newsmax joins Westwood One and Britain’s The Daily Mail in gaining the coveted full seat that puts the organizations on equal footing with outlets such as the Washington Post, Fox News and MSNBC. Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “This is truly an honor to be selected by our journalistic peers for this privilege. It testifies to Newsmax’s strong news brand and our enormous reach.” Reuters staffer Jeff Mason serves as WHCA president and he says, “The board considered multiple criteria during this decision-making process, including regular briefing attendance and commitment to the White House beat. We did not want scarce real estate going unused. We also looked at news outlets’ audiences, both in terms of reach and in terms of preserving (or in some cases adding) diversity in the briefing room. We took stock of the changing landscape of our industry.”
Gilbert to Host Night Show on ‘Real Talk KGX’ in Palm Springs. Coachella Valley radio personality Marshall Gilbert is joining Desert Broadcasters’ news/talk KKGX, Palm Springs “Real Talk KGX” to host the nightly 7:00 – 9:00 program, beginning Monday (7/10). Gilbert has been a presence on the radio in the market for the past 23 years. Station GM Garry Wing comments, “He’s been an integral voice in talk radio in the desert for more than two decades and we’re delighted that he’s chosen to join KGX as we continue to build on the notion that talk radio can be entertaining, compelling and interesting, without the anger, yelling and fake outrage that has permeated the airwaves for years.” The station notes that Gilbert learned a lot about local politics from his mentor Sonny Bono, serving as his campaign manager, and later as a member of the Palm Springs Airport Commission.
TALKERS News Notes. Well-known talk radio consultant Walter Sabo has for some time been dabbling first hand in the on-air aspect of the business, hosting a Sunday evening talk program on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia as Walter Sterling. Now, Mr. Sterling will be testing the waters of nationally syndicated radio as he fills in for Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon next Monday and Tuesday (7/10-11)…..Sports media pro Rock Riley is now the afternoon drive host on Genesis Communications’ Florida spots talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando – collectively branded SportsTalkFlorida. Riley is a former Bright House sports television personality who was with the network for 18 years…..With its new relationship with Fishnet Syndication full steam ahead, Dave Graveline begins offering a daily, consumer tech tips feature to radio stations. It’s called, “Into Tomorrow Daily with Dave Graveline,” and the program launches on Monday (7/10). Graveline says, “We give an entertaining and informative glimpse about consumer tech in a short, 60-second vignette every weekday. It’s kind of a condensed version of our weekly, three-hour weekend show that’s been on the air for 22 years!”…..In the wake of the controversy surrounding CNN’s decision to seek out the creator of the Trump vs CNN wrestling video and allegations the news organization is blackmailing that person, the Melanie Morgan/Brian Maloney-operated Media Equality Project is demanding CNN terminate reporter Andrew Kaczynski. His “KFile” project is responsible for tracking down the creator of the video that President Trump tweeted. The Media Equality Project is encouraging supporters to contact CNN advertisers to let them know they won’t support their products until Kaczynski is gone.
TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Continue Posting Today (7/6) with Norm Pattiz Podcasting Presentation. The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and its sessions are being posted to Talkers.com – one event per day. Already posted are the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor (including an introduction by TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein); the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke (including an introduction by Yappy Days author Bernadette Duncan); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity (with introduction by Westwood One host Jim Bohannon); the “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa (with introduction by Sabo Media CEO Walter Sabo) and the special presentation “The Trump Effect: Latest Research of Interest to News/Talk Radio” by Salem Radio Network SVP Phil Boyce (with introduction by Pioneer Valley Radio GM/host Brad Shepard). Posted today (7/6) is the special presentation “Podcasting and Local Radio” by PodcastOne excutive chairman Norm Pattiz (with introduction by Hubbard Radio SVP/programming Greg Strassell). Within the following days and weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year. The Talkers 2017: A New Era video page is sponsored by Backbone Networks, Broadcasters General Store and Comrex Corp. To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.
NAB to Honor David Field with National Radio Award. At the Radio Luncheon at this year’s 2017 Radio Show in Austin on September 6, Entercom Communications president and CEO David Field will be presented with the National Radio Award. NAB executive vice president John David says, “David’s passion for radio and his business savvy have led Entercom to new heights. We look forward to recognizing him for his continuous dedication and significant contributions to the business.”
North Korea ICBM Test-Trump Warning, CNN-Trump Wrestling Video Blowback, NPR-Declaration of Independence Flap, Trump Antietam Donation, NYC Cop Slain, Trump Visits Poland, Violent Chicago Fourth Weekend, Wimbledon Matches, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/5). North Korea’s successful test of an ICBM and President Donald Trump’s warning to the hermit kingdom; CNN faces blowback from critics accusing the news organization of blackmailing the Reddit user who originated the Trump-CNN wrestling video; the flap over NPR’s 4th of July tweeting of the Declaration of Independence and numerous critics’ failure to recognize the document and calling it an incitement to violence against the president; President Trump donates his paycheck to restoration projects at Antietam battlefield; the high-profile slaying of a New York City policewoman; Trump’s visit to Poland prior to this week’s G20 Summit; the aftermath of Chicago’s violent 4th of July weekend in which more than 100 were shot with 15 dead; the matches at the Wimbledon tournament; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Doug Gottlieb Coaches USA Team in 20th World Maccabiah Games. Pictured above is FOX Sport Radio syndicated sports talk personality Doug Gottlieb (left) with the USA Open Men’s Basketball team competing at the 20th World Maccabiah Games from July 4-18 in Israel. Gottlieb is leading a team of twelve Jewish athletes, ages 18-35, at the games, which is the world’s third-largest international sporting event, with more than 9,000 total participants representing 75 countries. While there, Gottlieb is broadcasting his program live from Israel. He is a three-time alumnus of Maccabi USA, having represented the United States as a member of the Open Men’s Basketball Team at the 15th World Maccabiah Games in 1997, the Pan-American Maccabi Games in Mexico City in 1999, and the 16th World Maccabiah Games in 2001, winning bronze, gold and gold medals, respectively.
Former CNN Anchor Frank Sesno Guests on Harrison Podcast. Former CNN anchor, White House correspondent and Washington, DC bureau chief Frank Sesno joins host Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “Up Close and Far Out.” Sesno is currently the director of the School of Media and Public Affairs at The George Washington University. He’s written a new book, Ask More: The Power of Questions to Open Doors, Uncover Solutions, and Spark Change (Amacom, 2017) in which he dissects the art and importance of asking the right questions as a journalist and in everyday life. Harrison and Sesno discuss the techniques of good interviewing plus the current relationship between the White House press corps and the Donald Trump administration, as well as the profound effects that social media and digital technology are having on society. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new urban format officially launches on low-power FM KTGP, St. Louis as “Mix 99.5.” According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the station is being run by SVP and operations manager Lou Thimes, Jr and features a number of well-known St. Louis radio personalities, including: Jim Gates, Niecy Davis, Tossin’ Ted, Nappy DJ Needles, Calvin King, Edie B, DJ VuDu, and Darrel “EZ” Eason. Music runs the gamut from mostly classic R&B to specialty shows including gospel music, blues, jazz, old-school hip-hop and talk…..Air personality “Hot Rod” Thompson joins Entravision’s country KNTY, Sacramento “101.9 The Wolf” to host the afternoon program. Thompson was most recently at Townsquare Media’s country KCTR, Billings, Montana “Cat Country 102.9.”
Mary Walter Joins WMAL-AM/FM, Washington’s ‘Mornings On The Mall.’ Radio pro Mary Walter is named the co-host of the “Mornings On The Mall” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington. Walter is working with co-host Brian Wilson. She takes over for Larry O’Connor, who recently moved to the afternoon drive daypart. Walter was most recently with iHeartMedia’s WHAS, Louisville, hosting the evening program. She’s been a frequent guest host on WMAL in addition to guest host stints on FOX News Radio and SiriusXM’s The Patriot channel. WMAL program director Bill Hess comments, “Mary’s experience, energy, and familiarity to our audience made her the perfect addition to our team.”
WTMJ, Milwaukee Announces New Midday Show. The new midday show at E.W. Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee is being unveiled. The station moved Jeff Wagner to the late morning slot that opened up with the retirement of Charlie Sykes at the end of last year. Now, taking over the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is the “Scaffidi & Bilstad” show with Steve Scaffidi (center) and executive producer Erik Bilstad (left). Scaffidi was most recently mayor of suburban Oak Creek and an account executive at the Leonard & Finco Public Relations firm. He’s resigned from both posts to join WTMJ. Station VP/GM Tom Langmyer states, “We’re pleased to welcome Steve to our team. He brings a great depth of knowledge and local connection to add to his take on the news of the day. Steve is a Wisconsin native, has a deep background and so much life experience, beyond broadcasting.” News anchor and reporter Colleen Boland (right) will man the newsroom during the program. The show debuts on February 28.
ABC News Radio Makes Staffing Changes; Gearing Towards Covering Breaking News. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS magazine that the news organization is making staffing changes that signal a shift from putting its primary resources into newscasts and focusing more intently on the coverage of breaking news, “reflecting immediacy and producing additional program content” for their approximately 1,575 affiliates. ABC News Radio says it has parted ways with a handful of employees but is in the process of hiring for a number of positions that will exceed those eliminated. Those include: Affiliate Solutions Manager, Associate Producer, Country Reporter/Producer, Urban Reporter/Producer, and WGA Newswriter/Producer. An ABC News Radio spokesperson tells TALKERS, “These changes allow ABC News Radio to provide more two-ways, breaking news and anchored coverage which have become more important to stations. It is never easy when fellow employees leave and we wish the very best to these colleagues. The media landscape is always evolving and it’s critical we’re meeting stations’ needs every step of the way.”
Erik Kuselias to Host Daily Talk Show on Genesis Communications Florida Talk Stations. Known primarily for his work in the sports media business, Erik Kuselias is expanding his reach in Florida by hosting a daily, two-hour talk show on Genesis Communications-owned news/talk outlets WWBA, Tampa and WIXC, Titusville (on the Space Coast). Kuselias – a former ESPN and NBC Sports personality – currently hosts a morning drive sports talk show on the company’s sports talk duo WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. He’s continuing in that role in addition to the new program that airs from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. WWBA program manager Tom Paleveda states, “This is a natural progression for EK. We launched EK on the sports stations in both Tampa and Orlando last year. He is incredibly talented and will produce one of talk radio’s best programs. He will also continue to provide his brand of content on the company digital platforms, ‘News Talk Florida’ and ‘Sports Talk Florida.’”
Bubba the Love Sponge Files New Counterclaim Against Nielsen. The first time Bubba the Love Sponge filed a counterclaim against Nielsen, the court denied the motion ruling that it was difficult to discern the relevant facts due to the heavily redacted documents supplied by plaintiff Nielsen. That counterclaim included third parties Cox Media Group and CMG employee (and WHPT, Tampa personality) Mike Calta. But the denial was without prejudice, allowing Bubba’s lawyers to try again. And he has, this time leaving Cox and Calta out of the counterclaim. The counterclaim still alleges Nielsen entered into a conspiracy with Cox Media Group to get Bubba off the air in Tampa and interfere with his ability to do business with Beasley Media Group (owner of Tampa affiliate WBRN). The specific counterclaims are: Tortious Interference with Contractual and Business Relationships, Violation of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and Civil Conspiracy.
KFYO, Lubbock, Texas Names Dave King & Matt Martin Morning Hosts. Friday (2/17) was the last day for the “First News with Tom Collins and Laura Mac” on Townsquare Media’s news/talk KFYO, Lubbock, Texas. Assuming the morning show role are Dave King (right) and Matt Martin (left). The station says, “Both Dave and Matt are easy going, view the world from a conservative viewpoint, and want to interact with KFYO listeners. King is owner of Dave King Advertising in Lubbock. Matt Martin is a realtor with The Wyatt Team at Keller Williams.
Neuhoff Ups Byerly to DOS and Associate GM for Decatur Station Group. Moving up from her general sales manager position at Neuhoff Communications’ Decatur, Illinois cluster is Kathy Byerly. She’s now director of sales and associate general manager for the group that includes news/talk WSOY, sports talk WDZ, hip hop WCZQ “HOT 105.5,” CHR WSOY-FM “Y103,” and country WDZQ “95Q.” Neuhoff COO Mike Hulvey states, “Kathy is a wonderful success story. She has grown a career from the front desk to market leadership. You can’t get much better than that. The group of Decatur stations and digital products are not only the market leaders, they also have been recognized among the best in the industry. Kathy will help support those traditions while driving more business to our advertising partners.”
Hanging Out at the Club. Nationally syndicated Westwood One talk host Michael Savage and his son, Rockstar energy drink founder Russ Weiner, crossed paths with President Donald Trump at the chief executive’s famous Palm Beach, Florida private club, Mar-a-Lago, this weekend. They were attending a dinner hosted by Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy when the president stopped by to say hello. Pictured (l-r): Ruddy, Trump, Savage, and Weiner.
Limbaugh-Touted Book Debuts at #6 on NYT Bestseller List. The latest book by conservative writer David Horowitz – Big Agenda: President Trump’s Plan to Save America – debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list at #6 in the hardcover nonfiction books and e-book/hardcover nonfiction categories. Newsmax reports that the book was released the week of President Trump’s inauguration and is being praised by Rush Limbaugh, among other conservative media figures, for its predictions about Trump’s agenda. Horowitz is founder of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
New Trump Travel Order, McMaster Named National Security Advisor, Trump’s Sweden Comment, McCain vs Trump, UK’s Anti-Trump Debate, Uber Sexual Harassment Scandal, Yiannopoulos Controversies, and NBA-NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/20). The Trump Administration issues new travel order exempting green card holders; President Donald Trump names Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster national security advisor; the controversy over Trump’s allusion to crime in Sweden and filmmaker Ami Horowitz’s allegations that violent crime there has spiked due to immigrants; Republican Senator John McCain’s role as a major critic of Trump’s policies; the British House of Commons debates denying President Trump’s state visit; the allegations of sexual harassment at Uber’s corporate headquarters and the company’s hiring former AG Eric Holder to investigate; the controversies surrounding media figure Milo Yiannopoulos, including his being uninvited to CPAC and Simon and Schuster refusing to release his book; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
TALKERS News Notes. Phoenix market broadcast legend Pat McMahon is being roasted on March 15 at local comedy club Stand Up Live in an event being organized by Bonneville news/talk outlet KTAR-FM. The “Tip of the Hat to Pat” roast is being hosted by KNIX personality Tim Hattrick and will feature rock legend Alice Cooper, as well as local celebrities Jude LaCava from Fox 10, John Holmberg from KUPD, authors Jana Bommersbach and Rita Davenport and former ADL director Bill Straus. McMahon says, “I’m feeling both honored and terrified at the prospect of this event. But you can be sure that I’ll be able to dish it out, just as well as I can take it.”…..New York Mets flagship station WOR, New York announces it will air play-by-play for 15 spring training games, beginning on February 24 when the Mets take on the Boston Red Sox…..The New York Times recently published a feature story about Premiere Networks host George Noory. In the piece, the “Coast to Coast AM” host discusses how “Coast to Coast AM” has evolved over the years, his open approach to stories and topics, and his relationship with his audience. Read the story here.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At the Atlanta cluster of Cox Media Group, Jaleigh Long is promoted to director of sales. She moves up from her general sales manager role. She’ll oversee the sales efforts for news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, CHR WSB-FM “B98.5,” classic hits WSRV “97.1 The River,” urban contemporary WALR “Kiss 104.1 FM,” and country simulcast WNGC/WTSH “Your Georgia Country.”…..At Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s rock WXRX, Rockford, Illinois “104.9 The X,” Zander – who’s been morning host and PD since joining the station in August of last year – moves to the afternoon drive slot. At the same time, Lori joins the station from crosstown competitor WKGL “96.7 The Eagle.”…..In the Lexington, Kentucky market, iHeartMedia drops sports talk on the simulcast of WWTF-AM and translator W239DJ at 97.7 FM and flips it to rock as “WTF 97.7 Lexington’s Rock Alternative.” Air personalities include Aly, Big Rig, Audrey, and Shroom…..Binnie Media says good bye to classic music on its WBQX, Thomaston, Maine and translator W245AA, Portland at 96.9 FM. WBQX takes on the classic hits format “FRANK FM” while the translator is simulcasting country station WTHT, Auburn “99.9 The Wolf.”
iHeartRadio Music Awards Announces Best New Artist Nominees. When the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Awards take place on Sunday, March 5 at the Forum in Los Angeles, one of the awards to be given will be the Best New Artist. The ultimate winner will be chosen by fans from all categories of popular music. The first step was naming the nominees in each category. Now, the finalists have been named. They are: Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist: The Strumbellas; Best New Country Artist: Kelsea Ballerini; Best New Hip-Hop Artist: Chance the Rapper; Best New Latin Artist: CNCO; Best New Regional Mexican Artist: Joss Favela; Best New Pop Artist: The Chainsmokers; and Best New R&B Artist: Bryson Tiller. The awards show will be televised live on TBS, TNT and truTV at 8:00 pm ET and simulcast on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide, as well as on iHeartRadio.
PPM Reliability Issue Re-Surfaces at Philadelphia Conference. Last year’s intense debate over the reliability of Nielsen Audio’s PPM technology and the promise by 25-Seven Systems that its Voltair processing unit can improve detection of a station’s PPM encoding is being renewed. The issue came to the fore at yesterday’s 2016 New Radio Conference in Philadelphia presented by Jerry Del Colliano. Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity and Harker Research’s Richard Harker presented a session titled, “Nielsen – Getting Around a Rigged Ratings System,” during which Harker presented his own study showing how talk radio suffers under the PPM methodology. Nielsen’s John Snyder was there and took the stage to argue Harker’s and Hannity’s points. But the most newsworthy moment took place when Hannity told Snyder he would sign an affidavit promising not to take part in a class action suit against Nielsen if the company would agree to meet with them on the matter. Snyder agreed. This issue will be addressed at the 2016 Bridging the Generations conference at Hofstra University on May 20 when TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison conducts a “Fireside Chat” with Sean Hannity.
Salem to Present Special Luncheon Discussion at TALKERS 2016 on the Relationship Between News/Talk Radio and the Conservative Movement in America. The TALKERS editorial board is pleased to announce the addition of a very special presentation sponsored and produced by Salem Radio Network that will take place during the 1:00 pm luncheon at TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations on Friday May 20th on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. It will explore the ongoing, complex relationship between the news/talk radio format and the evolving state of the conservative political movement in America. Moderated by Salem Media Group SVP Phil Boyce, the speakers will include Salem syndicated stars (in alphabetical order) Larry Elder, Mike Gallagher and Hugh Hewitt. Speaking on behalf of the board, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “This is very exciting! Phil Boyce is one of the acknowledged programming gurus in the talk media space and the star power and intellectual mass of Elder, Gallagher and Hewitt on one panel will be extremely informative and dynamic. This is a subject that is widely misunderstood and misrepresented in the mainstream press. It should prove quite interesting indeed.” The agenda for this event – the 19th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important national convention – continues to grow providing an impressive who’s who of the field’s most notable figures from all ends of the spectrum in programming, sales and technology. However it is nearing a sellout, so register now. For registration, sponsorship, hotel and agenda information, click here.
Erik Kuselias to Host Mornings on WHOO, Orlando. Sports media personality Erik Kuselias is launching his new morning show on Genesis Communications-owned sports talk outlet WHOO, Orlando “Sports Talk 1080 The Team,” on Monday (4/11). During his career, Kuselias has worked at ESPN, The Golf Channel, and, most recently, as a personality with NBC Sports Radio. In addition to airing from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on WHOO, the program will be streamed on its SportsTalkFlorida.com platform.
Former WKRK, Cleveland Personality Charged with Money Laundering. According to a report from Cleveland.com, former WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan” producer and personality Joseph Gerard Spooner, a.k.a. J.G. Spooner, is facing a charge of money laundering after allegedly shifting $7,300 from a GoFundMe account to his personal bank account. The GoFundMe account had been set up by Spooner to collect donations to help a childhood friend of his — Allyson Thadeus-Zappe – who was suffering from cystic fibrosis. She died in 2015. Her family reports that Spooner offered to use his name recognition in the market to help raise funds for Allyson. The family never saw any of the money donated to the account. A subsequent investigation by police led to the charges. CBS RADIO told Cleveland.com that Spooner had recently been terminated from his position. Read the story here.
The Presidential Race, Battle Against Islamic State, U.S. Immigration Policy/European Migrant Troubles, Miss. Religious Freedom Law, and Merle Haggard Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). The activities of the candidates for president and the aftermath of the Wisconsin primary; the ongoing fight against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria; debate over the immigration and refugee policies in the U.S. and the related migrant problems Europeans are dealing with; the new Mississippi law that allows businesses to refuse to serve gays based on religious reasons; and the death of country legend Merle Haggard were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dick Morris to Leave WPHT, Philadelphia Talk Show. The notorious political operative has been hosting the afternoon drive program on CBS RADIO’s WPHT, Philadelphia for the past 18 months, but now informs the company he will exit after the mid-term elections to return to the political campaign business, focusing on assisting Republicans in 2016. Dick Morris made the announcement on his Wednesday program and the Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that CBS RADIO Philly SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield says, “He has done a great job for WPHT and we knew his busy schedule might one day make doing a daily radio show difficult.” Rayfield expects to have news of the station’s plans for the daypart as soon as next week. Philadelphia talk radio pro Gary R’nel co-hosts the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm show alongside Morris and has been a largely unsung component of the program’s professional smoothness and appeal. Also, it is reported in the Daily News story that noted media consultant Walter Sabo has been seen at the station in recent weeks and has even recently hosted several talk programs during nighttime hours under a fictitious name – fueling speculation that the Sabo Media CEO is either involved in the station as a consultant or even more provocatively as a potential replacement for an on-air talent opening. Although Sabo’s involvement is officially denied by CBS market management, TALKERS magazine editorial intelligence indicates it is not unusual for well-known programming consultants to occasionally moonlight as fill-in talent simply for the sake of keeping their first-hand “feel” for the format active… or as is likely in the case of Sabo, simply for the fun of it. Regarding developments at WPHT, Walter Sabo tells TALKERS, “Under [OM] Andy Bloom and [PD] Jared Hart, WPHT has become a dynamic, Philadelphia radio station. They’ve made a series of great decisions, they will make the right one again.”
New Local Show to Debut on WHBO, Tampa and WHOO, Orlando. The two sports talk stations are operated by Genesis Communications and, although they carry the slogan “The Team,” are branded collectively along with the website of the same name, “Sports Talk Florida.” Now the simulcast adds a new local show to the program lineup. Debuting in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot is “The Front Office,” hosted by Tom Veit, a.k.a. The GM. The station says the program “will take a unique look at the Central Florida sports world giving listeners the perspective from those that make the deals and the sports insiders that know how they’re made. Veit is a seasoned sports executive with over 25 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industry.” Veit comments, “With 10 major professional sports teams and seven all sport Division I collegiate programs in Florida, there needs to be a place during the midday to talk local sports. Every day there will be passionate debates on the hot topics. After spending so many years working in the Central Florida sports scene, the one thing I know is that there is passion from every point of view.”
Westwood One’s Unique Fourth Down. Pro football fans this Sunday (10/26) will experience either pure nirvana or pigskin overkill when Westwood One airs four consecutive NFL games. The league’s “International Series” affair between the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons from London’s Wembley Stadium kicks off the coverage, beginning at 9:00 am (ET). Assigned to that contest are Dave Sims and Mark Malone. Kevin Lee and Ross Tucker will call the Houston Texans versus Tennessee Titans game, which starts at 12:30 pm (ET). Immediately following, the Philadelphia Eagles play the Arizona Cardinals, with Tom McCarthy and Rod Woodson handling play-by-play and analysis duties, respectively. Wrapping up Westwood One’s quadruple-header marathon is the 7:30 pm (ET) tussle between the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, with Kevin Kugler, James Lofton, and Chris Doering doing the broadcasting honors.
On the Scene in Ottawa. As Canada deals with the attacks at the country’s National War Memorial and Parliament that happened on Tuesday, ABC News Radio‘s Aaron Katersky is on the scene. He’s pictured here just down the road from the Parliament building in Ottawa reporting after Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Canadian Army reservist Nathan Cirillo who was serving as a guard at the capitol.
Michael Brown Autopsy Report/Ferguson Tensions, Mid-Term Elections, Ebola Pandemic Threat, Monica Lewinsky Speech, Canadian Killings, Battle Against ISIS, and Renee Zellweger Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/22). The unofficial release of the autopsy report on Michael Brown indicating he was shot at close range and the tensions in Ferguson, Missouri; the looming mid-term elections and speculation about a majority change in the Senate; the Ebola pandemic threat and the Obama Administration’s response; the revisiting of the Monica Lewinsky–Bill Clinton affair after Lewinsky’s recent speech blaming the Drudge Report for “ruining” her life; the recent killings in Canada related to homegrown “jihadists”; the coalition battle against ISIS in Iraq; and the flap over actress Renee Zellweger’s changed appearance were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Sean Hannity Broadcasts from Israel. Nationally syndicated talk radio superstar (and Fox News Channel prime time personality) Sean Hannity broadcasts his Premiere Networks-syndicated radio program from a radio station in Tel Aviv (left) while touring Israel to report on the conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hannity will host his show from Israel again today (8/5) before returning to the United States. Premiere reports that on his program Hannity has been reporting on numerous aspects of the conflict including “the Iron Dome anti-missile technology protecting the country from militant rockets, the Hamas tunnels used to capture and kill Israelis, what life is like there under constant threat, and more.” At right, Hannity (center, in denim) is pictured standing on a military-style bulldozer interviewing Israeli troops near the Gaza border.
Dr. Joy Browne Returns to the Air in NYC. Formerly based at crosstown WOR, New York (and syndicated from Buckley Broadcasting’s old WOR Radio Network for many years), Dr. Joy Browne is now heard in New York again via Salem Communications WNYM, “AM 970 The Answer.” WNYM VP and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “Joy is a consummate radio pro. Her show was consistently one of the most talked about shows on WOR. Her voice was prematurely silenced across the street, as was John Gambling’s, and it is my pleasure to allow her many fans to find her again.” Browne’s show is currently syndicated via Radio America. She comments, “I am beyond thrilled to be back on the air in New York and working with John Gambling and Jerry Crowley and Lou Dobbs again makes it feel like coming home. We have been besieged by listeners who wanted to know where I went and how to find me, and now they will know.” Salem Communications market VP Phil Boyce adds, “The talk radio format is nothing without superstars who have built that unique bond with their audience. Not all stations understand that anymore, so we are able to make that happen on our New York stations. The addition of Joy Browne proves that.”
Trimmer to Program WRVA and WRNL, Richmond. Moving from Clear Channel’s Rochester, New York cluster where he programmed news/talk WHAM and sports talker WHTK “Sports 1280,” is Aaron Trimmer who heads south to the company’s Richmond, Virginia station group to serve as director of programming for news/talk WRVA and sports talk WRNL-AM. Trimmer – a Richmond native – takes over for PD Jimmy Barrett who now focuses on his WRVA morning drive hosting responsibilities.
Entercom Q2 Revenue Dips 1%. Considering the recent Q2 financial reports by some other broadcasters, the 1% drop in net revenue could be considered a plus. Entercom’s revenue was $100.2 million during the second quarter of 2014. The company reported that free cash flow decreased 21% to $15 million. Entercom CEO David Field states, “Revenue declined 1% from the prior year as results were impacted by sluggish business conditions during the quarter. Operationally, we continue to focus on developing our powerful local brands, content and digital capabilities and building our new SmartReach Digital division. These efforts are enhancing our value to listeners and customers and raising our growth potential. Broadcast radio fundamentals are strong with growing, massive audience reach and a superior ROI to competitive forms of media.” Entercom reduced its outstanding debt by $4.1 million (net of cash) during the quarter. As of June 30, 2014, the company had $7.1 million in cash and $489.8 million of senior debt and senior notes.
Pandora Eyeing Talk and Sports Formats. In an interview with Sonali Basak for Bloomberg, Pandora CFO Michael Herring hints the company is planning to add talk and sports talk content to its service, though the type of content and when it might appear on Pandora is not known at this time. Herring points to the popularity of talk and sports by commuters in autos as the reason for his company’s interest in the formats. “Music’s an important piece of radio listening in the car, but if there’s a place where spoken word is also equally, and more important really, it’s in the car…As the car becomes more important, thinking about other types of content that are important for the car becomes more critical. That’s why Sirius spends so much money on Howard Stern, sports and news.” Basak reports that Pandora is currently available in about 33% of cars while SiriusXM can be accessed in about 71% of autos. Usage by Pandora listeners in cars rose from about 2.5 million people during the second quarter of 2013 to about 7 million during the second quarter of 2014. Read the entire Bloomberg piece here.
Hofstra University’s WRHU Named College Station of the Year. The student-operated station WRHU, Hempstead, New York “88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University” has been named the best college station in the country, according to The Princeton Review. The publication rates colleges in America and, as part of that, also ranks college radio stations. Hofstra University’s WRHU came in #1 this year after being ranked #5 last year. The station is the flagship radio outlet for the NHL’s New York Islanders since 2010 and is the first and only college radio station to have an exclusive broadcasting agreement with a professional sports team. WRHU is a finalist for a prestigious 2014 Marconi Radio Award from the NAB as the top non-commercial station in the country. The station’s reporters have won top honors from the New York Associated Press Association, the Press Club of Long Island, the Society of Professional Journalists and New York Women in Communications. TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison, who began his illustrious radio career on WRHU (when it was still using the call letters WVHC) and is a charter inductee of the WRHU Hall of Fame, states, “I am so proud of this great radio station’s progress and accomplishments over the years since I first broadcast there in 1967. This ranking is a tribute to the fantastic faculty staff running the operation and to the entire Communications Department at Hofstra which, in my opinion, is second to none in American academia.” Harrison sits on the Hofstra University Department of Communication advisory board.
KMG Networks’ Krantz to Work with Sun Broadcast Group. A new partnership struck by Sun Broadcast Group and Krantz Media Group/KMG Networks will have KMG president and CEO Gary Krantz joining SBG as strategic advisor. The companies say that “together, Sun and KMG will focus on new initiatives in content, digital, and services to superserve media partners in the audio entertainment sector. These exciting new opportunities will be separate initiatives from existing and planned partnerships that Sun and KMG are involved with, respectively.” SBG CEO Jason Bailey adds, “Gary and I have known each other for years and have always shared the same exciting vision for this industry. With all that’s going on in the network radio space there are countless opportunities to make a real difference with amazing program partners who share our passion for change. I’m stoked to work more closely with KMG on a professional basis in advancing our mission to make radio an experience for a whole new generation.”
Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of July 2014 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). The survey period was June 19 through July 16. TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here. In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ten Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at RadioInfo.com here.
Odds & Sods. Talk radio personality Bradlee Dean, host of the “Sons of Liberty” syndicated radio series, has been honored with the Education Liberty Award from the Education Liberty Coalition for his appearances on their behalf at some 350 high schools in 24 states nationwide. Among the goals which Dean has been promoting is ELC’s campaign for students to study at their own instructional level and for parents to make school choices for their children. Dean’s most recent stop was in Marietta, Georgia…..Genesis Communications‘ sports platform – Sports Talk Florida – is providing “exclusive coverage” of Tampa Bay Buccaneers training camp complete with live practice updates, video interviews, and behind-the-scenes developments with reporters Jenna Laine and Amanda Borges. Genesis says that its digital platform, along with the affiliated radio stations WHOO, Orlando and WHBO, Tampa, are keeping Bucs fans informed. The company says, “With a plethora of exclusive photos, written articles and video content covering the Buccaneers, Sports Talk Florida leads the way in merging radio, web-based media, mobile sharing and social media.”
Israel-Hamas Violence, ISIS Iraq Campaign, Ebola Outbreak Scare, Mid-Term Elections/2016 Presidential Race, Immigration Reform/Southwest Border Crisis, Russian Ukraine Aggression, and James Brady Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/4). The ongoing violence in the Gaza Strip; the continuing campaign by ISIS to create a caliphate in Iraq and Syria; the threat of the Ebola virus as a possible pandemic; the looming mid-term elections and the possible candidates for president in 2016; the battle in Washington over immigration policies and the border crisis in the Southwest; Russia’s support of Ukrainian rebels and the probe of the downing of Flight 17; and the death of Reagan Administration Press Secretary and anti-gun crusader James Brady were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.