WMAL-AM/FM, Washington Moves Larry O’Connor to Afternoon Drive. Air personality Larry O’Connor has been heard during the 5:00 pm hour on Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM/FM, Washington since 2014, while also serving as co-host of the morning drive show “Mornings on the Mall” alongside Brian Wilson. Now, O’Connor will give up the morning co-host gig and host the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm daypart solo, effective January 2. WMAL program director and Cumulus VP, news/talk Bill Hess comments, “Larry’s success, both on our morning and 5:00 pm shows, has positioned him perfectly to re-open the local afternoon daypart on WMAL. He’s smart, entertaining, and an engaging storyteller who will anchor a program built on the stories of the day, with expanded service elements for our busy DC commuters.” O’Connor adds, “During this time of unprecedented change and interest in Washington DC, it’s an exciting and humbling opportunity to help facilitate an entertaining and provocative conversation on a station as important and influential as WMAL. During the four years I’ve been here in the Nation’s Capital, I’ve been so impressed with this community’s engagement in not only our government, but with issues that hit our kitchen tables every day – like pop culture, faith, and parenting.” WMAL is not renewing “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage which is currently airing from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. Meanwhile, the station is seeking a new co-host for the AM show. Interested personalities should send resumes to Bill Hess at: Bill.Hess@Cumulus.com.
iHeartMedia Flips Alternative WXZX, Columbus to Sports Talk. Using the brand “Sports Radio 105.7 The Zone,” WXZX, Columbus leaves alternative rock behind for sports talk. iHeartMedia is using FOX Sports Radio programming plus a local morning drive program hosted by Bruce Hooley and featuring Maddie Spielman (daughter of Chris Spielman, former Buckeye All American, NFL All Pro linebacker and Fox Sports announcer). The show will announce another co-host at a later date. Former WTVN, Columbus sports anchor Matt McCoy will provide special reports. The station will air play-by-play for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cincinnati Bengals. iHeartMedia Columbus VP of programming Michael McCoy comments, “Columbus has one of the best sports fan bases in the country and they finally a have a new destination for Columbus-based sports and entertainment radio in the morning, plus the best national lineup available the rest of the day.
Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy Takes Call from President-Elect Trump. Conservative news pioneer Chris Ruddy – CEO of Florida-based Newsmax – tells TALKERS magazine he received a phone call from President-Elect Donald Trump, who praised Newsmax’s coverage of the presidential race. Ruddy says he’s known Trump for about 20 years and, while the content of his conversation with the president-elect is private, says their talk revealed a man who is “remarkably relaxed and focused.” Ruddy gives his readers a preview of how Trump and his administration might operate, saying, “Trump has the best retail political skills of any politician I have seen. Only Bill Clinton comes close. This will serve him well in the sausage-making process of getting his policies through Congress.” Read Ruddy’s entire piece here.
Cubs Baseball Was Very Good to WSCR, Chicago. WSCR, Chicago program director Mitch Rosen checks in with TALKERS magazine to report that the historic Chicago Cubs season – culminating in the club’s first World Series crown since 1908 – was a boon to the CBS RADIO station in its first year as the team’s flagship station. Rosen reports that on November 2, more than 1 million people listened to WSCR throughout the day, including the extra-inning game seven. “There were times in game seven that half of all Chicago radio listeners were tuned into ‘The Score’ to hear the hometown call of Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer. What an amazing first year it’s been for WSCR as the radio home of Chicago Cubs games. To experience the World Series on this station as we approach our 25th anniversary makes this even more momentous. When ‘The Score’ first launched, the station was a day-time only frequency, now the same brand is the home of The World Champion Chicago Cubs.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Round One of November 2016 PPM Data. The first of four rounds of November 2016 PPM ratings 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 November 2016 survey period covered October 6 to November 2. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
Odds & Sods. This Thursday and Friday, morning talk personality Doug Stephan and his crew will be live on the nationally syndicated “On Air with Doug, Jen & Victoria” program. Stephan is no stranger to working holidays, giving local morning hosts all over the country time off. On Thanksgiving, Doug, Jen Horn and Victoria Keelan will again broadcast live and, while others are out spending their money on Black Friday, Doug and his team will be giving away an HP Laptop with a special Black Friday contest…..Genesis Communications takes back the operation of WIXC, Titusville, Florida and is airing the news/talk format also heard on its WWBA, Tampa on WIXC. Meanwhile, John Harper’s “WMEL” talk format – which had been heard in WIXC – moves to Astro Enterprises-owned WWBC, Cocoa Beach-Melbourne.
Former WOAI, San Antonio PD Pat Rodgers Dead at 67. The programmer who is credited with creating the modern version of WOAI, San Antonio died on Monday (11/21) at age 67 after complications from a massive heart attack. The station published a bio of Pat Rodgers on its website. It notes that Rodgers came to WOAI after a number of years at then-MOR/full service WTMJ, Milwaukee with the charge of turning WOAI into a contemporary news and talk powerhouse. “Rodgers built a powerful news operation and a stable of talk show hosts which included Carl Wiglesworth, and well as Eliza Sonneland, who was his co-host on the chatty ‘Morning Magazine’ program, as well as news legends Bob Guthire and George Jennings, and sports talk host Jay Howard. In fact, Pat created the Ticket Sportsradio 760.” Rodgers left the station in 1998 to pursue his dream of becoming a Roman Catholic deacon. He edited the Archdiocesan newspaper, managed Catholic Television, and was the press secretary to three Archbishops.
96-Year-Old PR Pioneer Leo Pearlstein Guests on Special Thanksgiving Harrison Podcast. If you are looking for a simple, great approach to preparing a Thanksgiving meal with turkey and all the trimmings, check out this week’s fun installment of the award-winning PodcastOne hit series “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison.” 96-year-old Leo Pearlstein, founder and CEO of the groundbreaking LA public relations firm Lee & Associates was a pioneer in the promotion and marketing of food during the second half of the 20th century. Pearlstein specialized in representing specific food industries (such as the egg farmers, salmon raisers and prune growers) and tying in celebrity endorsements to his remarkably creative PR campaigns. He was especially influential in elevating turkey meals from being primarily a Thanksgiving custom to becoming a mainstay of people’s diets all year round. He launched that campaign with celebrated sexy 1950s movie icon Jayne Mansfield. He even played a role in inventing the heat-resistant plastic turkey thermometer that pops up when the meat reaches a safe 180 degrees in the oven. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, 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 and RadioInfo.com.
Trump Transition, Pence-‘Hamilton’ Incident, Trump Meets with Television News Figures, Weekend Police Shootings, Kanye West Incident, Russian Military Build-Up, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/21). The process of the transition of the Trump Administration; the hullabaloo over VP-Elect Mike Pence’s encounter with the cast of “Hamilton”; President-Elect Donald Trump chews out television news figures at meeting at Trump Tower; the spate of deadly attacks on police officers that took place over the weekend; Russian military maneuvers and tensions over Vladimir Putin’s build-up of the nation’s forces; hip hop star Kanye West’s political rants and the sudden cancellation of his current tour; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Dave Ramsey and Daughter Rachel Cruze Present Program to Sold Out L.A. Audience. Nationally syndicated money talk radio star Dave Ramsey appeared at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on Tuesday, April 3 before a sold-out crowd of 1,200 for affiliate KFWB, Los Angeles. The subject of the evening was family and money and Ramsey’s daughter Rachel Cruze appeared with him as Ramsey shared his key principles on handling money and navigating family relationships. Cruze answered the oft-asked question, “What was it like growing up in Dave Ramsey’s house?” She also discussed how to teach kids life lessons, like the dangers of debt and the value of saving and giving. The event benefitted Habitat for Humanity of Greater Los Angeles. KFWB general manager Valerie Blackburn says, “We are thrilled with the event last night. It’s always a pleasure working with Dave, and adding his daughter Rachel into the mix just made it that much better. The audience looked terrific – it was a packed house of multi-generational listeners. KFWB couldn’t have asked for a more successful evening!” Pictured here are (from l-r): Howard Freshman, KFWB marketing director; Rosemary Hernandez, general sales manager; Dave Ramsey; Rachel Cruze; Valerie Blackburn, general manager; and Andy Ludlum, program director.
CBS Radio Signs on with TuneIn to Make Spoken-Word Content Available Online. CBS Radio announces it has inked a non-exclusive agreement with TuneIn to have content from its more than 40 news/talk, sports and all-news stations available via smartphones and the web. CBS local digital media president Ezra Kucharz states, “We have always believed in the value of great local content, and this agreement validates the demand we know exists for our original programming while at the same time creates a new revenue source for the company. By forging relationships with premiere distribution services such as TuneIn, CBS Radio will significantly grow its audiences by exposing our content to new listeners.”
Talk Legend Gene Burns Recovering from Stroke. It’s been no secret that San Francisco talk icon Gene Burns has been off the air at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s KKSF. On Tuesday (4/3), he posted the following on the NewsTalk 910 KKSF website: “To my listeners and friends in the NewsTalk 910 family. The past few weeks has brought a great number of changes, and a vast silence. For the silence, please accept my apologies. I have been recovering from a stroke, which has affected the speech center of my brain in the form of aphasia. In this third month of recovery, I am enthusiastic and thankful for the progress I have made, due in no small part to the great amount of help I have received from UCSF, St. Francis, and the Sutter Health care groups. Most days, I have speech therapy and visits from great friends and colleagues. I would like to wish everybody well, and to say thank you to the NewsTalk910 family for sticking by me. Many of the NewsTalk 910 line-up of hosts have reached out, including of course Len Tillem, my long time friend and advisor. A special thank you to my colleagues; to John, Gil, Rosie, Ed, Dr. Bill, James and the rest for stepping up to the plate for me. Most importantly; thank you to all of you who listen, Tweet, Facebook and tell friends about me, and my program. Although I do not have a specific date for my return to the air, I listen each day to NewsTalk 910, giving me motivation to re-join the conversation about the issues of the day.”
Dial Global Touts NCAA Final Four Radio Listenership: More Than 20 Million Unique Listeners. As it did with its coverage of the NFL Conference Championships and the Super Bowl, Dial Global hired Edison Research to study how many Americans heard its coverage of the NCAA Final Four on the 512 radio stations across the country that carried it. Edison estimates 20.6 million tuned in to hear some portion of the broadcasts on Saturday, March 31 and Monday, April 2. Dial Global co-president and CEO David Landau says, “We are pleased that our previous research findings still hold true, people desire play-by-play sports on radio in a big way. Dial Global is proud to connect with fans nationwide through the greatest moments from America’s most popular sporting events.”
Jeff Haley Named CEO at Marketron. Industry watchers suspected that Jeff Haley had another gig lined up before leaving his position with the Radio Advertising Bureau, making way for Erica Farber to assume leadership of that organization. Haley will begin his term as president and chief executive officer of Marketron on April 16. A statement from Marketron says Haley “brings this tremendous experience to Marketron, where he plans to continue the company’s impressive growth since the launch of Mediascape, the media industry’s first open technology platform. Haley is excited to maintain and grow Marketron’s position as the leader in the space, and continue to provide its customers the standard in business efficiencies to increase revenues.”
Genesis Communications Media Names Bill Bokunic WIXC, Melbourne-Cocoa Beach Market Manager. Bill Bokunic will have two roles with Florida-based Genesis Communications Media: First, he’ll serve as market manager for 1060 News WIXC, Melbourne-Cocoa Beach; he’ll also serve as director of sales-news business for Genesis’ Orlando radio cluster. He’ll be handling the planning and marketing for Genesis’ ESPNFLORIDA.com and NEWSTALKFLORIDA.com and its event division which includes a partnership with Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Bokunic states, “I have been looking to relocate back to Central Florida in the media business. I am grateful for this opportunity to oversee the marketing of the digital publications, events, as well as the radio stations for Genesis in Central Florida. Genesis is moving rapidly into the multi-platform marketing business and I am thrilled to be a part of this business plan.”
Premiere Networks Promotes Bill Hickey to SVP of Engineering. Bill Hickey moves up from VP to SVP and Premiere notes he takes on some new duties. In this new position, Hickey will now be responsible for directing all studio operations and administration, while continuing to oversee engineering and technical operations for Premiere Networks’ studio facilities nationwide, including Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Chicago and Florida. Hickey will also continue to manage the company’s XDS satellite and internet-based delivery systems, Network Operations Center, and other studio and construction projects, as well as supervise a team of nearly 50 employees.
Canadian Pubcaster to Cut 650 Positions to Deal with $200 Million Shortfall. The CBC is announcing it plans to eliminate some 650 jobs in order to handle a federal government funding decrease of $115 million over three years combined with improvements in service the public broadcasting corporation has vowed to enact that makes for an approximate $200 million shortfall over three years. Reports indicate about 450 jobs will be lost this year with the rest to come over the next three years. Marc-Philippe Laurin is president of the CBC/Radio Canada branch of the Canadian Media Guild which represents most CBC employees outside Quebec. He tells the Globe and Mail, “Mostly, our members work in news. It’s what the CBC does most of with the staff it has. So it’s going to have an impact, but we’re expecting more details on that stuff in the days to come.”
Melody Burns Celebrates Three Years On Air in Albany. Local business consultant Melody Burns began hosting a brokered program on Paul Vandenburgh’s WGDJ, Albany three years ago. She quickly transitioned to a full-time paid talent and is, as she describes herself, “the only female conservative” on the air in Albany. Burns’ initial effort – called “Women IN” – focused on showcasing women in business and current events of interest. Her first program featured a local female cardiologist. She enters her fourth year on the radio doing the daily 11:00 am to 12:00 noon conservative talk show as well as a three-hour Saturday program. Burns tells TALKERS, “The best part of everyday is receiving not just the ‘good job – thanks for the ‘information’ e-mails but the ‘you are a right wing radical’ or ‘you are ignorant trash,’ or ‘you’re a right-wing extremist’ or one of my favorites, ‘you are Savage, Limbaugh and Levin in a skirt!’ e-mails. I would call Paul Vandenburgh the Yoda of talk radio – at least that’s what he has been to me.”
GOP Primary Race/2012 Presidential Campaign, Iran’s Role in Afghan Violence, Muslim Brotherhood’s Station in Egyptian Politics, Paul Ryan Budget, and European Economic Tensions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/4). The Republican primary race and the 2012 presidential campaign; concerns over Iran’s suspected role in Afghanistan violence; the role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s evolving political scene; debate over the Republicans’ Paul Ryan-authored budget; and new worries about Europe’s economic stability were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
KKOB, Albuquerque Celebrates 90 Years On Air Today. It was April 5, 1922 when the original KOB went on the air from Las Cruces, New Mexico (original studio pictured here). The station would move to Albuquerque in 1932. It moved up the dial to its current 770 frequency and boosted its power to 50,000 watts in 1941. Cumulus Albuquerque operations manager Pat Frisch tells TALKERS the station’s calls changed to KKOB in 1986 when Hubbard sold the station to Citadel. Hubbard wanted the KOB calls for the TV station that it still owns today. New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has declared today “770 KKOB Day.”