Shari Gonzalez Promoted to Market President for iHeartMedia Miami. Radio sales pro Shari Gonzalez is promoted to market president for iHeartMedia’s Miami/Fort Lauderdale station group that includes news/talk WIOD, sports talk WINZ, WXBN “Black Information Network,” and eight music brands. She was most recently regional SVP of sales for the cluster. iHeartMedia division president Linda Byrd says, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to promote Shari into her first market president role. In the short time that we have worked together, I have seen her competitiveness, work ethic and ability to move her team in the direction we need to go. Shari has the experience and smarts to make a great market president of iHeartMedia Miami/Fort Lauderdale. She will be a great leader in one of our most important markets.” Gonzalez comments, “I am honored and thrilled for this opportunity. To continue to work with and now lead this incredible portfolio of brands and this ‘best-in-class’ team of talented, passionate colleagues is a dream come true. Miami/Fort Lauderdale is experiencing a boom like no other market in the country and the South Florida market is filled with a culture and uniqueness that is second to none. As our market continues to grow as a multi-cultural, global economic and entertainment destination, we at iHeartMedia Miami/Fort Lauderdale remain committed to being the largest and most meaningful connection to millions in South Florida.”
‘The Rich Eisen Show’ Joins Audacy for Live Streaming and On-Demand Service. Sports media personality Rich Eisen enters into a content distribution partnership with Audacy to add his “The Rich Eisen Show” to the Audacy digital platform. “The Rich Eisen Show” streams live daily from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm. The show, as well as his new podcast, “Just Getting Started,” are available on-demand on the Audacy digital platform. “The Rich Eisen Show” emanates from Los Angeles and is simulcast on NBC Sports on Peacock. Audacy EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano states, “Rich’s show is a terrific addition to our Audacy platform and reinforces our position as the unrivaled leader in local and national sports audio content. We’re thrilled to bring Rich’s mix of sports and culture to our audience, just in time for this week’s NFL Draft.”
Tricia Gallenback to Lead Cumulus Media’s Eugene Stations. Sales and management pro Tricia Gallenback is named the new vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Eugene, Oregon station group that includes news/talk KUGN-AM, sports talk KUJZ-FM, and three music brands. She most recently held the same position at Reno Media Group’s stations in Reno, Nevada. Prior to that she was director of sales for Beasley Media Group’s Fayetteville, North Carolina operations. Gallenback says, “It’s an exciting time to work in radio! Cumulus is a dynamic and innovative company and I’m honored that [Cumulus RVP] Don Morin invited me to join the talented team in Eugene. The Cumulus stations in Eugene are iconic brands and have a history of commitment to community and partnership success. I’m looking forward to discovering how much more we can accomplish together.”
Ernest Fears III Rises to Director of Sales at Radio One Washington, DC. Radio sales pro Ernest Fears III is promoted to director of sales for Radio One’s Washington, DC station group that includes sports talk WTEM-AM “The Team 980” and news/talk WOL-AM/W240DJ. Fears was most recently general sales manager for the station group. Fears says, “During my 40 years in the business in the DC market, I’ve had the chance to work with so many professionals that I have learned from. If not for them, I would not stand where I am today. I look forward to paying forward the help and guidance that I received to my team and their clients.” Radio One senior regional vice president Jeff Wilson adds, “For decades, Ernie has been one of the most respected leaders in Washington, DC media. But today, we celebrate his leadership and innovation moving forward as we blaze new trails while creating unprecedented solutions for our business partners.”
WWO Blog: What Changes in TV Viewing Mean for Radio. In this week’s Westwood One blog, chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard addresses the changes taking place in the television industry as viewers shift from linear TV to ad-free streaming options. This is a massive challenge for advertisers who’ve made TV a big part of their media plans. The piece is peppered with ominous stats, including: Nielsen’s just-released Total Audience Report reveals linear television’s weekly reach among persons 25-54 has dropped from 85% in Q3 2018 to only 77% in Q3 2020; pay TV lost 5.5 million subscribers in 2020; MoffettNathanson reports that residential penetration of traditional pay TV is down to 61% of occupied households. This is sharply reduced from pay TV’s peak 89% penetration in 2009; and according to MoffettNathanson, in Q4 2020, 67% of all broadcast network viewership was from the 50+ audience. So how does radio advertising play into this? Bouvard says that putting AM/FM radio in the plan generates triple the reach of connected TV – for example, adding 50 points of AM/FM radio to 250 points of TV (225 linear TV GRPs and 50 connected TV GRPs) generates a +24% increase in reach, triple the incremental reach lift that connected TV can add alone.
TALKERS News Notes. A deal between direct mail firm We Mail America.com and the Independent Broadcasters Association to “bring the We Mail America.com business model to independently owned radio markets of all sizes.” A press release says, “We Mail America.com is reinventing the traditional direct mail model by coupling it with a full suite of digital advertising services that works precisely and in conjunction with each radio ad campaign and mail deployment. This comprehensive view of advertising fortifies audio marketing strategies across all mediums, screens, and devices.” IBA president (and Adams Media CEO) Ron Stone says, “Independent radio has never had so many competitors, and direct mail is certainly one of them. We Mail America.com brings a no-nonsense approach to direct mail and provides radio operators a new tool for their clients. The model that [We Mail America.com founder] Gary [Pizzati] has created enables independent stations to add a new source of revenue to their cluster that does not just move money from one pocket to the other.”…..Audacy’s C13Originals is expanding its longtime partnership with Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and #1 New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham to launch Shining City Audio, a podcast studio co-venture focused on creating a wide-ranging slate of audio documentaries and series centered around history with some of the most well-respected historians and voices joining at launch. The Shining City Audio initial 2021 slate features two new series written and narrated by Meacham: “Fate of Fact,” a limited-run series examining the question of how and why so many conservative Americans have become prone to disinformation and anti-democratic narratives, and a daily podcast focused on this day in history…..SiriusXM today announced that it has acquired 99% Invisible Inc., the company owned by Roman Mars, the creator, host, and executive producer of the “99% Invisible” podcast. The acquisition brings the podcast host and his team to SiriusXM, where they will continue to operate 99% Invisible, the podcast “What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law,” and develop new podcast projects…..Observing the reaction to the “Saturday Night Live” cast’s befuddlement at the news that Elon Musk will host an upcoming episode of the sketch comedy show, KZRG, Joplin, Missouri program director Peter Thiele is inviting Musk to appear as guest host on “KZRG Morning News Watch.” He says, “Elon Musk is one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs! We are proud to invite him to be the guest host of the ‘KZRG Morning News Watch!’ Joplin, Missouri’s convenient location on two major freeways with a fantastic airport makes this offer even more tantalizing.”
COVID-19, Biden 100 Days Address, Deadly Police Shootings/Race Relations, Iran-Israel Tensions/John Kerry Allegation, Southern Border Crisis, Newsom Recall, and Oscars Show Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/26). The rates of positive COVID cases in U.S. states, the rollout of and concerns about vaccines, and the overwhelming cases and deaths in India; President Joe Biden’s Wednesday address before Congress marking his first 100 days; protests over recent deadly police shootings of Black citizens and the call for a complete release of body camera video in the death of Andrew Brown Jr.; the military tensions between Iran and Israel and the allegation former Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Israeli air strikes with Iran’s foreign minister; the mass of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; petitioners gather enough signatures to put the recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom on the ballot; and Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
KOA, Denver’s Mike Rosen Dials Back Radio Duties; Mandy Connell to Assume Midday Show. Denver talk radio icon Mike Rosen is stepping down from his daily midday talk show at iHeartMedia’s news/talk KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” after close to 30 years with the station. Rosen – also a longtime columnist for The Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post – will continue to work with the company’s Denver talk stations as a contributor, a regular weekend host and a political commentator. He’ll also serve as an occasional guest host on both KOA and sister KHOW “TalkRadio 630.” Rosen comments, “Doing my brand of radio, with 24/7 research and show prep, takes a work week of more than 60 hours. After 35 years on-air, I’ve decided to give myself a little more well-earned leisure time as I pass my 71st birthday. I’ve been with KOA for almost 30 years and have loved every minute of it. It’s a wonderful station with a glorious history and a great team of people. I couldn’t bring myself to just walk away from it, and a full-fledged retirement wouldn’t suit a Type-A guy like me. So, I’m delighted to still have a presence with KOA as a part-time, on-air contributor. While this may disappoint my long-time loyal listeners, to whom I’m eternally grateful, I hope they will find a little of Mike Rosen at least better than none at all.” KOA program director Greg Foster is moving current KHOW morning drive host Mandy Connell to Rosen’s midday show, effective January 4. He comments, “Mandy has a knack for creating solid, entertaining shows. Nobody can replace Mike Rosen, but we’re confident that Mike’s fans will connect with Mandy and she’ll bring a new perspective to KOA NewsRadio.” Foster has not announced who will assume the morning show duties on KHOW.
Geraldo Follows Through on Promise to Sue Cumulus for Breach of Contract. After being “locked out” of the WABC, New York studios in late November with Cumulus Media apparently deciding it was ready to end Geraldo Rivera’s midday talk show on the station, Rivera said he would sue Cumulus Media for reneging on its deal to extend his contract through 2016. Bloomberg Business is reporting the suit was filed on Wednesday (12/8). Cumulus has not commented on the matter but Rivera says, in a suit filed in New York, that his agent negotiated a deal to extend his $600,000 per year deal with then-Cumulus EVP John Dickey, which he alleges new Cumulus leaders broke upon assuming control of the company. Back in November, Rivera threatened the suit via his Facebook page on which he wrote: “It is not about the money…Because of their unforgivable disrespect, I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in my salary.”
Elisa Jaffe Named Afternoon Anchor at KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle. Seattle all-news KOMO-AM/FM lost a valued broadcaster this past August when Jane Shannon passed away unexpectedly. Now, the Sinclair Broadcast Group-owned station announces that KOMO-TV news pro Elisa Jaffe will co-anchor the afternoon drive program with Tom Glasgow from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. KOMO-AM/FM program director Rick Van Cise states, “Elisa is known and respected around the Northwest for her decades of hosting KOMO-TV’s ‘Northwest Afternoon’ and anchoring and reporting on KOMO 4 News. She brings the perfect balance of personality, news credibility and compassionate storytelling to KOMO’s drive home.” Jaffe comments on her new position, “I could never fill our friend Jane Shannon’s shoes but it’s an honor to follow in her footsteps.”
Odds & Sods. Filling in today on iHeartMedia’s South Florida sports talker WINZ, Miami is former WUCS-FM, Hartford “97.9 ESPN” Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower who hosts Andy Slater’s 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm program…..Good Karma-owned sports talker WUUB-FM, West Palm Beach “ESPN West Palm” announces Miami Dolphins EVP of football operations Mike Tannenbaum is joining the station for a weekly edition of its “ESPN West Palm Tonight” program as a recurring guest. Tannenbaum will join host Jeremy Marks-Peltz Thursdays at 6:20 pm through the Super Bowl. He’ll discuss the latest news from the Miami Dolphins and the NFL, and give his perspective as a current front office executive, and former agent and general manager…..FOX Sports Radio syndicated sports talk host Jay Mohr is nominated for a Grammy Award for his recent comedy album Happy. The actor and comedian released the album that’s the result of his one-hour comedy special filmed during the Santa Barbara LOL Comedy Festival. It features a “hilarious set of intimate stand-up comedy stories about his marriage to Nikki Cox, raising two kids, and great lessons in ironic behavior. This special aired on Showtime Comedy and has the distinction of being written entirely by Cox, who for years has been Mohr’s trusted collaborator and creative partner.”
Trump Muslim Ban Proposal Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 7-11. GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s proposal that all Muslims be prevented from entering the country to prevent terrorist strikes was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was the activities of the rest of the 2016 presidential candidates. At #3 was the San Bernardino shootings aftermath, followed by the Paris Climate Summit at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Guardian Fund Annual Appeal Underway. Most broadcasters are aware of the outstanding work that the Broadcasters Foundation of America does aiding broadcasters and their families who are beset by unforeseen disasters or medical emergencies. Now, in an appeal to the industry titled, “Taking Care of Our Own,” Guardian Fund chairman and Whitney Media president and editorial director William O’Shaughnessy cites BFoA vice chair Dick Foreman who says, “It’s really all about taking care of our own.” O’Shaughnessy states, “We are broadcasters. And on that, and that alone, do we base our appeal to assist the hurting and almost forgotten in our own tribe.” The BFoA reports that “last year, relying on your essential and vital contributions to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund, we dispatched almost $850,000 in life-sustaining grants. We need your urgent assistance to continue that mission.” It’s simple to make an online contribution by going to the BFoA’s site here.
WRKO, Boston Unveils New AM Drive Show and Partnership with The Globe’s Boston.com. It’s been no secret that Entercom’s WRKO, Boston would move morning talk personality Jeff Kuhner to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot after declining to renew Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh show, but the station is now announcing its new morning drive programming. Leading the show will be Boston media pro Kim Carrigan. Former crosstown sports WEEI personality Jon Meterperel will join Carrigan along with show producer David Cullinane. Still more interesting is the station’s joint venture with the Boston Globe Media Partners-owned online platform Boston.com. WRKO says the new show – the “Boston.com Morning Show” – will consist of “four hours of rapid-cadence news, talk and trending live from the newsroom at Boston.com. The show will lean heavily on contributing writers and columnists from the highly-trafficked, regional website as well as national correspondents from ABC News.” The new lineup will be live and local from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm (Barry Armstrong’s Financial Exchange airs from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon and Boston talk legend Howie Carr’s show holds down PM drive) for the first time in more than 20 years, according to the station. Entercom Boston VP/market manager Phil Zachary says this is a logical evolutionary step for the talk format. “On the cusp of the 2016 election cycle, it’s very clear traditional talk radio is facing strong headwinds. As ideological lines blur and new technologies afford almost limitless tractability in audio news options, now is the time to deliver highly targeted, local content that’s unavailable to consumers anywhere else. This new lineup, anchored by our alliance with New England’s second largest news website, squarely positions WRKO for the next decade.” The lineup debuts Monday, June 29.
Talkers New York 2015 “Big Picture” Panel Video Posted Today. “The Big Picture,” one of the major panel discussions at the recently concluded (6/12) Talkers New York 2015 mega-conference, is posted today on Talkers TV. The session covers a range of important issues pertaining to the state of talk media from a wide variety of perspectives. Introduced by TALKERS legal editor (and Bentley University law professor) Steve Weisman and moderated by TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (both not pictured here), the panel includes (from left to right): Chris Oliviero, EVP programming, CBS RADIO; Joe Sciacca, editor-in-chief, Boston Herald/Boston Herald Radio; Craig Schwalb, PD, WABC, New York; Karen Hunter, host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; Alan Colmes, host/commentator, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel; Julie Talbott, president, Premiere Networks; and Holland Cooke, consultant, Holland Cooke Media. The session covers the position and future of the stick; the psychology of being a talk host; the challenges of local, independent station ownership; the broadening of the news/talk menu as it relates to partisan politics, preserving major market heritage radio brands; the role of urban talk; the glass ceiling in spoken-word radio; the emerging new relationship between radio and newspapers and more. To view the video in its entirety please click here.
New Shows Debut on PodcastOne. Comedian, actress and bestselling author Heather McDonald debuts “Juicy Scoops with Heather McDonald” on PodcastOne, beginning today (6/25). The network says McDonald “asks the questions everyone wants to know and discusses the hottest and most controversial topics each week.” Also “The Fraze & Bentley Podcast,” hosted by radio personality, actor and comedian Frazer Smith, and actor, magician and comedian Jim Bentley launches. PodcastOne says, “The duo is serious about comedy, but it’s all fun and games as they invite podcast regular and burlesque dancer Harper Rose to the mic each week, in addition to a myriad of their famous friends.” Jon Lovitz is the duo’s first celebrity guest.
Three Hosts Quit KLZ, Denver Over Disagreement with Management. Denver talk outlet KLZ is without three of its hosts after Ken Clark, Kris Cook, and Randy Corporon resigned from the Crawford Broadcasting station. According to a story in the Denver Post by Lynn Bartels, The three – who hosted separate shows on the station – had given 30-day notices of their resignation but exited before that period had elapsed after they were instructed not to book former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo as a guest. Tancredo is playing a role in controversy surrounding Colorado Republican Party Chairman Steve House and station manager Don Crawford Jr. told the hosts he didn’t want Tancredo booked as a guest until Crawford could determine for himself what Tancredo’s role in the call for House to resign was all about. Read Bartels’ story here.
Odds & Sods. It’s being called “a new national headline news service and full-time satellite radio channel produced by a dedicated team of FOX News journalists and contributors.” The joint effort from SiriusXM and FOX News will launch this fall and is part of a multi-year agreement between the two. SiriusXM says the channel, under the watch of FOX News senior vice president of news Jay Wallace, will be “staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year” to “deliver the day’s top stories at any time.”…..Kevin Radich joins CBS RADIO-owned all news KCBS, San Francisco “All News 106.9 FM/740 AM” as weekday sports reporter. Radich served as afternoon sports reporter on Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk KGO until earlier this year…..The Radio Television Digital News Association’s Edward R. Murrow Award winners are being announced and there are several to report today. ABC News wins a total of five awards, including the Overall Excellence in Television and Overall Excellence in Radio awards for the second year in a row. ABC News president James Goldston comments to his staff, “I want to extend a special congratulations to [ABC News] Radio for a banner year – winning three more Murrow awards. Radio stations count on ABC News Radio when news breaks. The radio team works tirelessly with unmatched production and groundbreaking reporting every day.” RTDNA recognized the radio division for Breaking News – The Shooting at Fort Hood, Brad Mielke for Sports – Spartan Racing and Writing – Scott Goldberg. (pictured at left is the ABC News Radio staff celebrating its honors.) At the local level, all-news WCBS, New York “Newsradio 880” is honored with “Overall Excellence in Large Market Radio.” The winning entry included coverage of the east Harlem gas explosion, New York City police protests, and the murders of New York Police Department officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Also, Rivet Radio – a multi-platform media company that produces customized audio news and feature stories – was recognized for “Best Use of Sound by a Small Online News Organization.” News reporter and producer George Drake Jr. conceived, wrote and produced the piece, “The Story of Marvin the ‘Street Greeter’,” which profiled a Chicago resident spreading joy within the bustling metropolis…..Former WUCS, Hartford and Maxim Radio personality Michael Bower sits in on iHeartMedia‘s sports talker WINZ, Miami for Andy Slater tomorrow from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
Obama’s TPP Trade Deal, Charleston Church Slayings Aftermath/Confederate Flag Issue, 2016 Presidential Prospects/Bobby Jindal, Freddie Gray Autopsy Results Revealed, OPM Hack, Iran Nukes Negotiations, and Obama LGBT Pride Event Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/24). The U.S. Senate votes to give President Obama fast-track authority over the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement; the aftermath of the Charleston Church slayings and the matter of flying the Confederate flag on public property; the growing list of 2016 presidential prospects grows as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal enters the GOP primary race; the results of the Freddie Gray autopsy are acquired by the Baltimore Sun; questions about how much information was available to hackers into the Office of Personnel Management; The U.S.’s offer to provide Iran with nuclear technology; and talk about the scene at President Obama’s LGBT pride event at the White House were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Short Ideas for a Short Week. As the industry returns from a holiday weekend, digital media consultant Chris Miller offers some quick thoughts regarding your digital efforts. If you’re still wondering about the changes Facebook made that affect the way content lines up on your news feed, Miller has three items to consider. Also check out his thoughts on the type of content you put on your station website and whether that content lines up with your brand’s “message.” Plus, Chris has a final word about attitude. Check it all out here.
Promotions Conflict at Philly Eatery Brings Abrupt End to Live Broadcast. The Philadelphia Daily News is reporting that the quick shutdown of a WIP, Philadelphia remote broadcast with afternoon hosts Anthony Gargano and Rob Ellis at Chickie’s & Pete’s may not have been the result of an ISDN breakdown but the fact that rival Greater Media sports talker WPEN personality Jon Marks was also at the establishment for a personal appearance. The paper reports that about 30 minutes into Gargano’s and Ellis’ broadcast, WPEN’s Marks arrived along with rock WMMR jock Matt Cord for a $1,000 MetroPCS giveaway in another part of the pub. The Daily News goes on to write that Chickie’s & Pete’s management tried to move Marks and Cord to a different part of the restaurant but Greater Media refused. CBS tells the paper the ISDN problem was the issue and while no one else is commenting, it appears it could have been nothing more than a scheduling snafu that ruffled the feathers of the stations involved.
Linder Joins WMEN, West Palm Beach for Afternoons. The JCE Licenses-owned sports talk station names Jon Linder host of the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, replacing Andy Slater who left for Clear Channel’s sports talk WINZ, Miami “The Sports Animal” in December. Linder joined WMEN as a fill-in host last year. He’s worked at Beasley’s WQAM, Miami serving as a sports reporter and studio host during Miami Hurricanes football broadcasts from 2010 through 2012.
Cleveland Host Faces Jury Trial in Domestic Violence Charge. WKNR, Cleveland sports talk host Tony Rizzo will appear in Medina Municipal Court on February 27 for a jury trial after being accused of domestic assault by his wife Catherine Rizzo in December. Rizzo remains on the air at Good Karma-owned WKNR. The company issued a statement after the incident leading to the charge calling Rizzo “an exemplary teammate and member of the community and his status with us is unaffected.” Police were called to Rizzo’s home after his wife called them saying she had locked herself in the bathroom after Rizzo choked her and hit her in the face. Rizzo pleaded not guilty on December 9.
KCAA, Lorma Linda, California First to Accept Bitcoins for Airtime. The Fred Lundgren-owned news/talk station that serves the Riverside/San Bernardino market is claiming it’s the first radio station in North America to Bitcoins as payment for advertising and airtime. The station says it signed its first programming agreement purchased with Bitcoin on January 17. KCAA utilized a service called “Coinbase” to process the payment. Lundgren comments, “Our first transaction paid us 9.4 Bitcoins, which Coinbase displayed as approximately $7,200.00 USD. These funds will appear in our bank account in two to three business days.” Lundgren adds, “The value of Bitcoin as a digital currency will grow as more businesses accept it. I predict it will become a viable alternative to ever increasing bank charges.”
Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Emcees Senate Campaign Fundraiser. KTRH, Houston-based talk show host Michael Berry is headlining a fundraiser for U.S. Senate candidate Col. Rob Maness (USAF, Ret.) on Friday, January 24, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Berry’s program is heard on stations across the U.S. including on WJBO, Baton Rouge from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Maness is running for the Senate seat currently held by Democrat Mary Landrieu.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Sochi Olympics Terror Threats, Syria Torture Allegations, ObamaCare Criticism, Wendy Davis Bio Questioned and Chris Christie Sandy Aid Charge Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday; concerns over security at the Sochi Winter Games; new allegations of the Assad regime’s use of torture in Syria’s civil conflict; criticism of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act; Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis’ life story disputed by critics; and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces charges of misappropriating Hurricane Sandy aid were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Grace Blazer Lands at Clear Channel Miami. Former WTKK, Boston program director Grace Blazer is the new PD at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s news/talk WIOD and sports WINZ, Miami. She exited the Greater Media talk station when it flipped to rhythmic AC at the end of 2012. Prior to WTKK, Blazer programmed WPHT, Philadelphia. In a statement, Blazer says, “The depth of Clear Channel’s resources is phenomenal. Working for our industry’s leading media company and programming WIOD and WINZ is a superb opportunity. I’m excited to partner with Alex Tear, Lonny Anger and the talented staffs of ‘News Radio 610/100.3FM’ and 940’s ‘Sports Animal’ to grow these stations.” The programming position at WIOD and WINZ opened up when Ken Charles moved up to the VP of programming position at Clear Channel’s Sacramento cluster.
Hermain Cain Joins Fox News Channel as Contributor. Nationally syndicated talk show host Herman Cain becomes part of the Fox News Channel stable of contributors. Cain, who took over the late morning slot long held by talk radio pioneer Neal Boortz at Cox Media’s WSB, Atlanta and his national syndication distributed by Dial Global, will make regular appearances on FNC where EVP of programming Bill Shine says in a statement, “Cain’s impressive resume makes him a valuable addition to the Fox News and Fox Business lineup. As a political expert with business savvy, he brings an important voice to the nation’s debates.” In addition to his recent run for president, Cain also was CEO of the Godfather’s Pizza chain and held the CEO position at the National Restaurant Association.
NY Post Reports CBS Radio New York Weighing WFAN-AM/FM Options. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick writes that the brass at CBS Radio in New York City is weighing its programming options for the sports talk tandem of WFAN-AM and FM as the company must be eager to get the fledgling CBS Sports Radio Network programming on in the largest market in the country. Currently, the full schedule of WFAN programming is heard on both signals but the need to get the new national network some Big Apple exposure is pressing. A statement from the company to the Post goes, “We have a number of great options and are closely examining each one.” At issue is the fact that WFAN-AM’s 660 signal is huge and the 101.9 FM signal is decent but nowhere near as far-reaching as 660 AM. Will the local sports talk remain on 660 AM and the national network appear on 101.9 FM? Will it be the other way around or a mixture of the two? As Mushnick hints, you can bet some of the WFAN stalwarts – including PM driver Mike Francesa and AM drive duo Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton – would like to stay on the huge 660 AM signal. CBS Radio is expected to make a decision within the next few months.
Dial Global to Cease SEC Reporting. The company cites, among other things, “the relatively limited historical volume of trading in the Company’s common stock and the applicable federal securities laws” as one of the reasons it will suspend its reporting obligations under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Dial Global’s board of directors determined that such action would be in the best interests of the company. It says, “In reaching this conclusion, the Company’s Board of Directors considered numerous factors including the compliance costs associated with filing periodic reports with the SEC and the diversion of management attention from other matters that result from being a reporting company.” Dial Global left the NASDAQ and its stock is traded on OTC Pink. It states, “There can be no assurance, however, that a trading market in the Company’s common stock through the over-the-counter market or any other market will be maintained.”
David Landau Gets Nice Severance from Dial Global. Technically it’s not a severance but regardless, former co-CEO of Dial Global David Landau will receive $600, 000 per annum for the next two years plus other unspecified benefits after the company decided to re-align its corporate management structure and make Spencer Brown sole CEO and former co-CEO Ken Williams president.
WPRO, Providence Lets Ron St. Pierre Go. In a move that appears to be about saving money, Ron St. Pierre exits his role as PM drive host Buddy Cianci’s sidekick/executive producer. GoLocalProv.com reports that this is the latest in a series of moves at the Cumulus Media station that began with the ouster of Andrew Gobiel from the WPRO morning show and the re-assignment of Tara Granahan from the AM show to other news duties. The station brought WJAR-TV anchor Gene Valicenti in to host the morning program. St. Pierre has served at WPRO as program director – the first time in 1988 – as general manager, and as host of the station’s morning show. Ron can be reached at email@example.com.
Good Writing Is at the Core of Digital Success. Writing for the internet is a very different art form than writing for the radio. Noted radio digital consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller says, “Good writing is at the heart of what we do online, and how we communicate with our fans. Don’t just do it for the art of it; do it because it can help stretch your few thousand Facebook fans into tens of millions of annual impressions. Do it because it will help get your tweets re-tweeted. We’re talking about building your numbers here!” Miller advises TALKERS readers to avoid three common mistakes in writing for the web: 1) over-selling; 2) being boring; and 3) social desperation. Read his entire piece here.
WINTER ADVICE: Be Sure to Install Deicers on your Antenna. It is not too late to do it or to be concerned. The failure to properly install deicers on your antenna to save a few bucks in the short term can not only interfere with the quality of your signal, it can put you off the air entirely, not to mention cause severe costly damage to your components and even create a major fire hazard. TALKERS technical editor and noted engineering consultant Tom Ray says, “While money is tight all over, the last thing you need is your transmitter and/or building to be a smoking hulk. Consult with someone qualified to guide you. Think of it like buying an insurance policy. You may not want to spend the cash, but it could save you a bundle in the long run. Read Tom Ray’s entire article here.
Trump-Maher Suit “Stretches Credulity.” TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes that the $5 million suit Donald Trump is filing against Bill Maher has no chance of success, little chance of getting a day in court and could incur sanctions against Trump and his attorney for filing a frivolous lawsuit. In case you missed it, Maher went on “The Tonight Show” in January and – based on the color of Trump’s hair – joked that he would donate $5 million to a charity of Trump’s choice if he would produce his birth certificate to show he is not the son of an orangutan. Read more of Weisman’s account about why this spat is still going on and upon what legal ground the complaint stands (or doesn’t as the case may be). It’s here.
XtreMEDIA Syndicated Host Dani Johnson Profiled in Forbes. The host of the weekly XtreMEDIA-syndicated Dani Johnson program was profiled on Forbes.com on Thursday and, according to XtreMEDIA CEO Kevin McCullough, the story went viral “with 15,700 shares on Facebook in a little more than a day. Heading into the weekend it was still the ‘Most Popular’ and ‘Most Read’ piece on Forbes.com.” McCullough tells TALKERS, “Her story as a broke homeless woman to becoming a multiple millionaire to even now helping others get out of debt, restore relationships, and expand their influence is a story that rocketed her from one affiliate station in January of 2012 to 95 stations and counting in January of 2013. Dani is the most important voice in all of American media – not just talk radio – that most of the nation still hasn’t heard from. Hundreds of thousands of lives changed for the better, only proves the point that she has something that real audiences are looking for… connection!” Read the Forbes story here.
Cumulus Media Networks’ Mike Huckabee Debuts Today. The number of affiliates set to air the Mike Huckabee show is pegged at somewhere between 175 and 200. The eager anticipation of Huckabee’s debut would not be so intense were it not for the facts that the show airs live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET – the same time period as Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh – and that the latter is recovering from the backlash and intense consumer media scrutiny that followed the Sandra Fluke controversy. Regardless, the industry will certainly be watching how Huckabee’s Cumulus Media Networks program takes off but the consumer media appears to be salivating at the notion that Limbaugh has “competition.” The fact, of course, is that every radio show has competition of one sort or another and Limbaugh has faced high-profile talent in his daypart in the past – most notably from Fox News Channel superstar Bill O’Reilly for a number of years. Mike Huckabee will succeed if he hosts a compelling program that grabs listeners. Broadcasters understand that will happen or not independent of what other talk show hosts are doing or whether they are facing a “crisis.” As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison told Politico in a piece published over the weekend, “This isn’t an election, it’s an industry. There’s room for both, just like there’s room for Letterman and Leno. Yes, every competitor hurts Limbaugh. But Huckabee is basically just another competitor. If he takes a little away from Limbaugh, fine. But he also has the potential to expand the talk radio audience.”
Rumors of Major Syndication Changes in Philadelphia and New York; Smerconish to Bump Limbaugh from WPHT. And possibly more than that…but first things first. A very hot rumor out of Philadelphia has WYD Media-produced Michael Smerconish’s nationally syndicated program airing live 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm on CBS Radio’s news/talk WPHT– where Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh does right now. Smerconish is currently delayed to PM drive on WPHT. Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor wrote about the other part of this rumor in his morning blast on 4/6: Merlin Media may be planning to go talk and not all-news on WKDN-FM, Philadelphia – its new property which is still airing Christian programming from prior owner Family Stations. With former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host (and Philly native) Al Gardner hired to program and possibly host mornings at WKDN-FM and Rush Limbaugh possibly soon-to-be-available (plus Premiere’s Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck available, as Tom Taylor points out), a move to talk would be much less personnel intensive and would enjoy the ability to grab three of the biggest news/talk personalities in the business. But there’s more…other chatter coming out of New York is that Merlin Media has been talking to Premiere Networks about bringing Rush Limbaugh to its all-newser FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM) if Cumulus Media decides to put new national syndication rollout Mike Huckabee on WABC in Limbaugh’s place. Then one would have to ask the question, “Would Merlin do the same with WWWN-FM, Chicago if Cumulus bumped Limbaugh in exchange for Huckabee on its news/talker WLS?” Stay tuned.
KFAQ, Tulsa Talk Host Pat Campbell Responds to Deadly Shootings. KFAQ, Tulsa morning drive talk host Pat Campbell tells TALKERS his program responded very quickly to a series of shootings in the city in which five citizens – all African American – were shot and three died. Campbell says he hosted a special Saturday noontime edition of his program to address the crimes and seek the public’s assistance in capturing suspects. He tells TALKERS, “I had the mayor in the studio urging calm but more importantly, cooperation with the police. We urged listeners that might have any information to call the Crime Stoppers Hotline and the good news is that a tip came in around 4:00 pm that led to the arrest of the suspects early Sunday morning. This is an example of talk radio at its best! Rather than becoming a wedge like we’ve seen in the Trayvon Martin case, 1170 KFAQ brought the community together and got the bad guys off the street.”
WQAM, Miami Standing By Sports Talk Host Sid Rosenberg After DUI Arrest Last Week. WQAM, Miami afternoon sports talk host Sid Rosenberg was back on the air on Friday after spending most of Thursday in jail following an early morning arrest on DUI and driving on a suspended license charges. Rosenberg, who has spoken publicly about past substance abuse issues and has talked of having twice been to rehab, is being supported by his superiors at the Beasley sports talk outlet. The Miami Herald reports WQAM program director Lee Feldman stating, for now, Rosenberg is not being suspended. WQAM general manager Joe Bell declined to comment to the paper.
Matt Lauer to Remain with NBC’s “Today.” The months of speculation about the future of television talk host Matt Lauer have come to an end as NBC announced Lauer has signed a multi-year contract to remain with the network’s morning news magazine program. The buzz in the industry included rumors Lauer would rejoin Katie Couric at rival ABC. Though Couric is set to begin a new chapter in her career at ABC with her own daytime talk show, ABC’s “Good Morning America” has been closing the ratings gap between it and “Today.” On Lauer’s signing, NBC News president Steve Capus tells The New York Times, “Matt is the franchise, and our franchise player has decided to keep leading our team.” The Times story notes that “Today” has been in first place in the morning news show ratings for the past 16 years.
Fox News Channel Brings Santita Jackson Aboard as Contributor. The daughter of Rev. Jesse Jackson left Midway Broadcasting’s WVON, Chicago due to budget cuts last fall. Now, Santita Jackson is named a contributor for Fox News Channel. Santita Jackson is also producer of Jesse Jackson’s weekly Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show “Keep Hope Alive.”
Raubin Pierce Leaves On-Air Position with WIBW, Topeka for Management Post at Manhattan Broadcasting. Raubin Pierce co-hosted the “On the Other Hand” talk show with co-host Megan Mosack at Morris Communications’ WIBW, Topeka and served as the company’s director of information technology. He’s left those duties to become operations director and head of new media at Manhattan Broadcasting in Manhattan, Kansas. The company operates four stations in the Manhattan market including news/talk KMAN. Pierce tells the Topeka Capital-Journal, “This was just a fantastic opportunity. There was just no way that I couldn’t do this.”
Longtime South Florida Broadcaster Patricia Anderson Dies from Cancer at 54. Trish Anderson was well known on South Florida radio. During her career she worked as a producer, voice-over talent, sports reporter and traffic reporter at stations including WINZ and WIOD, Miami. Anderson battled breast and bone cancer. She passed away on March 31.
Johnny B at Wrigley Field. That’s WGN, Chicago morning drive host Jonathon Brandmeier (center with sunglasses) surrounded by the Chicago band The Fold at the Captain Morgan club at Wrigley Field on Opening Day. The Fold won the station’s contest to write an original song celebrating the Chicago Cubs. The winning song – “Let’s Go Cubbies” – is being played at the beginning of each Cubs game broadcast on WGN this season. The band was with Brandmeier on Opening Day to perform the song live at WGN’s pre-game broadcast and live remote.