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Thursday, July 25, 2013

| July 25, 2013

khow logoTalk Host Mandy Connell Grabs KHOW, Denver Morning Gig.  Moving to Denver from Clear Channel’s WHAS, Louisville is talk show host Mandy Connell who takes over the morning drive show on the company’s KHOW, Denver effective August 19.  The program host position opened after longtime KHOW connellmandymorning man Peter Boyles exited the company.  Connell states, “Moving to Denver has been my goal for many years.  The city is vibrant, beautiful and full of great people.  When you throw the mountains into the mix, there simply isn’t a better place to be.  When you listen to my show, you’ll hear the things you and your friends talk about.  Pop culture, politics and those questions about life you ponder are all fair game – only funnier.”  Connell moved from WINK, Fort Myers to WHAS in 2010 to host the mid-morning show.  Clear Channel Denver VP of programming Greg Foster states, “We’re fortunate to have a host of Mandy’s caliber at the helm of TalkRadio 630 KHOW’s morning show.  Mandy’s entertaining style, humor and passion are sure to connect with TalkRadio 630 KHOW’s listeners and advertisers.”  A number of years ago while she was still hosting at WINK, Mandy Connell was selected by the TALKERS editorial board to have the honor of presenting the award for “Woman of the Year” to that year’s recipient, Laura Ingraham.  At the time, while still a relative newcomer, Mandy told the crowd that someday she hoped to have developed a strong enough career in the radio business to be the recipient of that award herself.  Looks like she may well be on her way to fulfilling that prophecy!

wapi logoCumulus Media to Flip FM Side of News/Talk WAPI, Birmingham to Sports in Deal with ESPN for Paul Finebaum.  That’s the report from AL.com although confirmation from Cumulus Media and ESPN has not been received.  Formerly Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum recently announced a deal wapi-fm logowith ESPN that would give him a syndicated sports talk show plus other opportunities with the sports media finebaumpaulgiant.  He exited Cumulus Media’s sports talk WJOX, Birmingham in January of 2013 after working out his contract and to explore other options.  Now, he’ll return to WJOX via ESPN but the deal appears to include Cumulus adding another sports talk station to the market to carry ESPN’s national programming and the report is that news/talk WAPI-AM/FM will sacrifice its FM signal to the new station.  ESPN had an affiliate in the market in SummitMedia’s WZNN – the former ‘ESPN 97.3 The Zone’ – but the company is flipping that station to a still-to-be-determined music format saying it couldn’t make money as the second sports talk station in the market.  Finebaum’s new radio show is expected to debut on August 12.  AL.com published the ESPN logo you see here reporting it’s been seen circulating in Birmingham on posters.

castnermichaelMark & Dave Exit News/Talk KEX, Portland; Michael Castner Takes Over PM Drive.  Mark Mason and Dave Anderson leave Clear Channel’s Portland news/talk station KEX and Michael Castner, who’d been with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network for the past several years hosting the discontinued “The Daily Wrap” program, is now hosting the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm show.  Prior to joining WSJRN, Castner worked at Clear Channel’s WRNO, New Orleans.

kftk logoKFTK-FM, St. Louis’ Dave Glover Talk Star Search Contest Names Winner.  Afternoon drive talk show host Dave Glover announces the winner of the talk host search contest executed by the Emmis news/talk gloverdaveoutlet.  St. Louis native Brian Moncey won the search based on votes cast online.  Moncey picked up 52% of the final week’s votes with a record-breaking 263,000 total contest votes cast and he’ll get the chance to host the 5:00 pm hour of Glover’s program (the date for the show has not been set).  Moncey comments, “When I was coming up with a name for the show I asked my friends if they had any suggestions.  They immediately replied “So, monceybrianHere’s the Thing” because that’s what I say ALL THE TIME.”  Moncey says he will talk about “the insanity that’s going on in the world and the mundane of every day.”  He was among 10 talk show hopefuls selected by the Dave Glover show to compete after submitting a two-minute audio entry.  The contestants then faced off in a head-to-head battle with the participants receiving the most online votes advancing to the next round.  The final round consisted of Tom Wall, a St. Louis surgical instrument technician (16%); Randy Johnston, founder of Lighthouse Architects, Inc. in St. Louis (32%); and Moncey, a creative project manager specializing in videos (52%).   “NewsTalk 97.1” program director Jeff Allen states, “We’ve done this contest in the past and wanted to bring it back this year.  Our listeners loved it and responded with huge online voting numbers and, who knows, we may find a new talk star.”  His submission can be heard at www.971talk.com/star.

mackallkevinConsultant Kevin Mackall Joins Clear Channel as SVP of Visual Branding.  Longtime MTV executive Kevin Mackall has been working for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment on a consulting basis on visual packages for the company’s marquee events such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival and projects like the national country and top 40 television spots.  Now, he assumes the title senior vice president of visual branding.  The company says that in this capacity he’ll “manage the company’s visual branding production including station logos, television commercials, outdoor campaigns and brand packages for Clear Channel events such as the iHeartRadio Music Festival, iHeartRadio Album Release Parties and the iHeartRadio Ultimate Pool Party.”  He’ll report to president of national programming platforms Tom Poleman, who says, “By having him on the team full time, I’m excited that we’ll now be able to spread his creative expertise more deeply through Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, including station branding, iHeartRadio Theater productions and logo projects.”

opieanthonySiriusXM’s Opie & Athony Show Broadcasts Live from Montreal’s ‘Just for Laughs’ Festival.  The Opie & Anthony show on SiriusXM is broadcasting live from Montreal’s ‘Just for Laughs’ comedy festival today and tomorrow (7/25-26).  The satcaster states that, “along with comedian Jim Norton, O&A are bringing their uncensored, unpredictable SiriusXM show to Montreal…offering fans a rare opportunity to see ‘The Opie & Anthony Show’ live and in person.”  Also, the duo will host a special “Midnight Surprise” performance at Theatre Sainte-Catherine on Friday, July 26 beginning at 11:59 pm ET, featuring a special lineup of comedians personally curated by them that will be revealed on that morning’s live radio show.  The O&A cast and crew will be on hand for the Montreal festivities.

kdkapaiFCC Commissioner Ajit Pai Visits KDKA, Pittsburgh.  FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai spent Thursday at CBS Radio’s KDKA, Pittsburgh where he spoke about his work concerning the future of the AM band including the related issues of signal quality, HD radio, the future of digital AM, expansion of translator availability for AM broadcasters and regulations in general.  Appearing on the Mike Pintek program, Pai stated, “The FCC needs to consider the best of these suggestions because time, frankly, is not on the side of AM, especially among younger listeners because they are going to be fickle as they can be and if we don’t provide an AM radio outlet for them, they’ll go elsewhere.”  Pai also addressed the bandwidth issue and explained to KDKA listeners how the digital explosion is eating up available bandwidth.  “If you’re watching video on an iPad, you’re consuming 128 times more bandwidth than you would be making a phone call on a cell phone.  That bandwidth is a scarce resource, it has to come from somewhere…so, one of the things we at the FCC are trying to do is make more spectrum available…it’s been a big challenge, we don’t have a lot of spectrum just sitting there.”  Commissoner Pai (center) is pictured here with staff from CBS Radio Pittsburgh.

walshjoe‘AM 560 The Answer’ Chicago Host Joe Walsh to ‘March for Peace.’  Former Illinois congressman Joe Walsh – currently hosting the afternoon drive show at Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” – will join New Beginnings Church Pastor Corey Brooks for the “Let us Live” Peace March in downtown Chicago on Saturday, July 27.  Brooks was a recent guest on Walsh’s radio show in the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict.  Brooks state, “We have an epidemic and although this is a problem on the South Side in the black community, it’s an issue that we cannot resolve on our own.  We need help to figure out a way for young black males to stop killing young black males.  We’re asking everyone to join us to raise the level of awareness and let people know this is not a black issue, it’s a humanitarian issue.”  Walsh adds, “While so many leaders have been grandstanding, Pastor Brooks is doing a lot to help fix the hurt and reduce the violence in Chicago.  I’m honored to join him for this peace march.  This is all about unity.  No matter what color you are, this problem belongs to us all.”

skoogarneIndustry Mourns Death of CBS Seattle Engineer Arne Skoog.  As reported in Radio World, longtime CBS Seattle engineer and RF facilities manager Arne Skoog passed away on Monday, July 22 after a battle with colon cancer.  Radio World technical advisor and director of engineering & MIS at CBS Radio Seattle Tom McGinley is quoted saying, “Our beloved Arne Skoog lost his battle with colon cancer on July 22, 2013.  A number of us were able to see him in recent days and spent some cherished moments reminiscing about many of the memories and the wonderful contributions he has made to our enterprise over the past 20-some years he has served us.”

Edward Snowden Enters Russia, Zimmerman Verdict Aftermath, Anthony Weiner Pressured to Drop Out of NYC Mayoral Race, Detroit Bankruptcy Filing and Caroline Kennedy Nominated as Ambassador to Japan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/24).  Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden is granted temporary asylum in Russia; the aftermath of the George Zimmerman verdict; the exploding controversy over Anthony Weiner’s run for NYC mayor; the Detroit bankruptcy filing; and President Obama’s nomination of Caroline Kennedy for Ambassador to Japan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

| June 26, 2013

npg logoClear Channel Faces Suit by Photo Company Alleging Illegal Use.  National Photo Group LLC has filed a complaint in United States District Court Western District of Texas alleging Clear Channel radio stations infringed on its copyrights by using pictures of various celebrities on the websites of some of its radio stations.  The complaint names 11 CC radio stations and alleges photos of celebrities including Jason Aldean, Ashton Kutcher, Demi Moore, Drew Barrymore and others were used without permission and with knowledge that the photos were copyrighted.  NPG is seeking $150,000 per infringement plus legal fees and any other relief the Court deems just and proper.

marrtomlgWCBM, Baltimore Extends Talk Host Tom Marr’s Contract Through 2017.  Baltimore talk radio institution Tom Marr will be heard on WCBM through 2017 as the station’s vice president, Nick Mangione. Jr., announces the station extends his no-cut contract for another four years.  The official announcement was made June 24 by WCBM program director and operations manager Sean Casey at the start of Marr’s show that day.  Mangione, Jr. states, “I am delighted we have reached the agreement on the extension. To quote my late father, Tom is still at the top of his game both as a broadcaster in general and talk show host in particular.  We are delighted he will be on the air until 2017 with WCBM and he just may decide to stay longer.  There will always be room for him in the WCBM family.  Tom has a good sense for the business.  As an example, he is the first one to suggest that we add both Sean Hannity and Mark Levin to our lineup.  Tom has a large following within the reach of our 50 thousand watt transmitter and is building a solid national and international following on WCBM’s worldwide reach via the internet.”  Marr, who began his career as a high school sports broadcaster on WWDC-AM, Washington, DC in 1960, says, “I am deeply honored that Nick and the Mangione Family Enterprises agreed to the extension.  I look forward to the challenges ahead for talk radio and its increasing role in the media especially in view of our relationship with the digital world.”

brienjenWBZ-AM, Boston Names Jen Brien Overnight Talk Host.  After the retirement of Steve LeVeille last year, the station has been featuring a number of talk radio personalities in the overnight slot.  Now, program director Peter Casey announces Jennifer “Jen” Brien is named to the permanent position.  The station says the program “will be a mix of pop culture, current events, politics, and the comings and goings of people in New England.”  In addition to WBZ-AM’s monster signal that penetrates the entire East Coast at that time of night, the show can be heard on CBS Radio’s Radio.com.  Brien joined WBZ from Entercom’s crosstown news/talk WRKO where she hosted a daily program.  She has also hosted shows on WPRO and WHJJ in Providence, and WCOD and WXTK on Cape Cod.  Before beginning her career in radio, Brien spent more than five years as a soldier in the United States Army where she was selected for the prestigious “Soldier of the Year” award.

bennettalexSiriusXM Cancels Long-Running Alex Bennett Show.  One of modern talk radio’s true pioneers, Alex Bennett, has reportedly been let go “without cause” from SiriusXM Satellite Radio‘s “Sirius Left” channel where he was doing the daily 7:00 am to 10:00 am program.  Bennett has been with Sirius for almost a decade and, according to insiders close to the host, was caught by surprise and is “distraught” over what transpired.  Bennett has had a colorful, unique on-air career that goes back to the late-1960s when he was the lone talk show host on the old WMCA, New York when it was still the “Home of the Good Guys.”  He subsequently went on to do both rock music and talk broadcasting serving as one of the original prototypes for the pop culture-oriented (some call it “shock jock”) and “progressive” genres of modern day talk radio.  Between WMCA and Sirius, he served in ground-breaking stints at such great stations as WPLJ in New York and KMEL, KITS (“Live 105”) and KQAK (“The Quake”) in San Francisco.  At press time, it is not clear if this was a cost-cutting move on the part of Sirius or indicative of a re-direction in programming.  Bennett is still on the air and is reportedly doing his final program for the satellite radio service this Friday.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “In my opinion Alex Bennett is one of the most important talents ever to grace a microphone during my lifetime.  His show on WMCA — in which he did extremely progressive talk about the issues of the day such as the Vietnam War — was on a station that was otherwise a hip music station.  In the midst of all the fun, cool hipness of the rock ‘n’ roll and the zany DJs of that fabulous station, Bennett was fearlessly talking to the kids about extremely important controversial issues.  That show served as the original inspiration for me to launch an issues-oriented talk show (“Harrison’s Mic”) five years later on rocker KMET in Los Angeles and my own talk career that paralleled my music radio work.  If I had not heard Alex Bennett in 1969, there might not have ever been a TALKERS magazine.”

cookehollandHOLLAND COOKE: The Future of AM/FM in the Car.  Radio consultant Holland Cooke reports from the Consumer Electronic Association’s Connected Car Conference in New York City and her says that the bottom line after “four-and-a-half-hours of thoughtful discussion, research, and prognostication by automotive, electronics, and media thinkers:  Whatever the dashboard is about to morph into matters less to AM/FM radio than what’s already happened.”  Cooke writes that people who matter have already connected their media to the car speakers and offers some thoughts about what radio programmers can do to stand out from the digital competition.  Read his analysis here.

wznn logoSummitMedia to Pull the Plug on Sports Talk In Birmingham.  SummitMedia announces it will drop the sports talk format on WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and flip to a different – most likely music – format.  SummitMedia EVP and COO David DuBose tells the Birmingham News, “We have been evaluating the sportsfinebaumpaul format in light of multiple factors, including [Paul] Finebaum‘s placement.  After nearly two years, it became clear the market did not support two competing sports stations.  “Therefore, we have determined we should focus on other format opportunities.”  SummitMedia purchased the Birmingham cluster from Cox Media Group earlier this year.  The station was flipped to sports in August of 2011 when Cox had its eye on building the station around mega-successful Southeast sports personality Paul Finebaum by bringing him over from Cumulus Media’s crosstown sports WJOX.  Finebaum, who’d had legal squabbles with WJOX and wanted out of that relationship, ended up working out his contract there, sat out a non-compete and will begin a new sports talk radio venture with ESPN based out of Charlotte.  It’s believed he will return to WJOX via ESPN syndication when the new program debuts later this summer.

mynorthwest logoBonneville Seattle Brings Unique Talk to MyNorthwest.comThe Bonneville Seattle cluster that includes news/talk KIRO-FM, sports KIRO-AM and talk KTTH is beginning a series of unique audio programs to the web venture it calls MyNorthwest.com.  Dubbed “MyNorthwest Chats,” the weekly, one-hour programs will stream on Wednesday’s from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm beginning with today’s chat featuring nationally acclaimed restaurateur Tom DouglasMyNorthwest.com editor Stephanie Klein says, “We’re excited to have the opportunity to connect our readers directly to the experts and start an inspiring dialogue that makes an impact.  We want the conversation to spark a chain of discussion in our readers’ lives.”  Other chats lined up for July include talk show host Michael Medved and Seattle Mariners insider Shannon Drayer.

ryderturiProgramming Changes at WGN, Chicago; Turi Ryder to Exit.  Chicago radio pro Turi Ryder has been in the late night slot at Tribune’s WGN, Chicago since the beginning of this year but now the company says it’s going in a different direction and will end her program.  Ryder will get a chance to say goodbye to her WGN listeners as she’ll work this evening and Thursday before wrapping things up there.  The station has not announced what will air in the time slot.  Ryder also hosts “America Weekend” for Envision Radio Networks.

wproCumulus Media’s WPRO-AM, Providence Tackles Immigration Issue with Live Debate.  News/talk WPRO-AM’s Tara Granahan is moderating a debate that will take place today at the Providence Marriott from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm called, “Green Light on Green Cards,” featuring a panel of experts from each side of the illegal immigration issue.  The granahantaradiscussion will be streamed live online at the station’s 630wpro.com and will be the center piece of a “WPRO Special Report” scheduled to air during the “WPRO Morning News with Gene Valicenti” the week of July 1.  The debate features two immigration lawyers, a state representative, a member of the local clergy and the head of an illegal immigration enforcement organization.  The stations states, “The debate will address the issues that have emerged from illegal immigration including; licenses for illegal immigrants, how immigration effects the Rhode Island economy, and potential solutions moving forward.”

telesouth logoTeleSouth Communications to Buy WOSM, Ocean Springs, Mississippi.  TeleSouth operates the Mississippi talk radio network known as “SuperTalk Mississippi” and the purchase of WOSM, Ocean Springs (103.1 FM) – between Biloxi and Pascagoula on the Gulf Coast – will be added to that network.  The company states, “The addition of WOSM to the network will give coast listeners the best choice in Mississippi programming with ‘The Gallo Radio Show,’ ‘The JT Show’ and ‘Head to Head with Matt Wyatt and Richard Cross,’ all homegrown programs that keep a watch on state government, entertainment, sports, unique happenings in Mississippi, with a local take on national issues.”  In addition to Mississippi-based programs, ‘SuperTalk’ is also home to Cumulus Media NetworksMike Huckabee and Compass Media NetworksLars Larson and Todd Schnitt.  WOSM is owned and operated by Charles Cooper and airs Christian programming.  TeleSouth CEO Steve Davenport states, “We are excited about growing the ‘SuperTalk Network’ with the addition of WOSM.  Mr. Cooper has worked hard for years building an audience loyal to traditional family values.  We are confident that WOSM listeners will hear those values in the programs featured each day on ‘SuperTalk.’”  Long-time coast talk show host and programmer Kipp Greggory will serve as general manager of WOSM.

rutherforddaveCHQR, Calgary Talk Host Dave Rutherford to End Daily Show.  Canadian talk show host Dave Rutherford will wrap a 21-year career hosting a daily talk show at CHQR, Calgary after his last show on July 26.  The conservative personality and pedigreed newsman tells the Edmonton Journal he believes the broadcast news industry is dumbing down and there may be no place for a broadcaster like him.  “I don’t think there’s the desire to ask the next question, maybe to ask any questions.  But I sense that the whole industry, the broadcast news business, television and radio, is dumbing down.”

cnnradioThe End of the Line for CNN Radio.  The service was a shell of its former self after Dial Global ended its distribution of the news product and replaced it with NBC News Radio last year, effectively becoming a digital-only product.  Now, CNN states that after completing “a review of its radio business,” it “has made the decision to cease production of CNN Radio podcasts, effective immediately.”  CNN has indicated that some of the staff will be relocated to positions elsewhere in the company.

huntallenAllen Hunt to End WSB, Atlanta Program.  Christian broadcaster Allen Hunt announces he’ll end his Sunday evening program that has aired on WSB, Atlanta since its inception after the June 30 broadcast.  Hunt says he was approached by Cox Media to move the time of his program and he decided that due to his busy schedule with the Dynamic Catholic Institute and the requested change, he decided it would be better to end the show.  Hunt built the program at WSB and, for a couple of years, put the show into national syndication.

mohrbillboardThe Roving Jay Mohr Billboard.  Fox Sports Radio Network nationally syndicated host Jay Mohr’s flagship station, “AM570 FOX Sports LA” (KLAC, Los Angeles) surprised Mohr with a mobile billboard promoting his program.  While Mohr was on the air, the billboard stopped by the studio during its route through Los Angeles and the show crew seized the opportunity for a quick photo-op.  Pictured here (from l-r) are: intern Ben Haley, technical producer John Ramos, social media producer Matty Cox, assistant producer Justin Frosburg, Mohr, update anchor “Diamond” Dan Beyer, associate producer Mike Lingard and executive producer Greg “Hong Kong” Toohey.

Former KMOX, St. Louis Personality Bruce Bradley Dies.  Bruce Bradley was a personality on CBS Radio’s KMOX, St. Louis from 1986 to 1992.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports he passed away on Saturday, June 22 in Lake St. Louis at age 79.  Prior to his career in St. Louis, Bradley also worked in the New York, Philadelphia and Boston markets.

President Obama’s Global Warming Policy, SCOTUS Gay Marriage Rulings, George Zimmerman Trial, Paula Deen Freefall, and Texas Anti-Abortion Bill Fails Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/25).  President Obama’s policy to bypass Congress to enact greenhouse gas emissions regulations; the Supreme Court’s rulings on gay marriage issues; the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin; the demise of Paula Deen’s media career in the wake of allegations of racist language; and the failure of anti-abortion legislation in Texas were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

| May 22, 2013

techsurvey9Jacobs Media’s TechSurvey9: News/Talk Breakout.  Consulting firm Jacobs Media held a webinar yesterday in which it broke out data relative to the news/talk format from its all-radio TechSurvey9.  A key point for talk radio programmers comes from the answers to the question, “Why are you listening to less AM/FM radio than in the past?”  The study indicates 49% said it was because they are not enjoying the programming.  The next most common response was because of a lifestyle change.  After that, the responses were: 17%, too many commercials; 10% listening to SiriusXM; and 9% listening to internet radio.  Some of the key points from the study indicating unique attributes of regular users of news/talk radio:

  • They are big users of email – especially for building a relationship with their favorite news/talk station.  They are less likely to connect with the station via Facebook or Twitter.
  • 74% report their primary reason for listening to AM/FM radio is for news, traffic and weather information and 42% cited the need to find out what’s going on locally – much higher than users of other radio formats.
  • News/talk users are #2 in owning a car with a digital dashboard (compared to other format fans) with 13% reporting they own one.
  • Social media use for news/talk fans indicates they are far more likely to be on LinkedIn – likely due to the “professional” status of many listeners.  They are least likely of all format fans to “like” a Facebook page and are not especially frequent users of Twitter compared to other format P1s (although use of Twitter increased 17% over the 2012 survey).
  • 65% of news/talk listeners downloaded digital radio apps and, compared to users of other radio formats, were more likely to download your station’s app and the TuneIn app.
  • Compared to the same study period one year ago, news/talk fans’ use of internet radio rose 15%; saw a 36% increase in the use of tablet devices; and a 19% increase in the use of the digital dashboard.

finebaumpaulPaul Finebaum to Join ESPN August 1.  The formerly Birmingham, Alabama-based sports journalist and talk show host will change his home base to Charlotte for his new gig with ESPN. Paul Finebaum, who had a tumultuous last two years with Cumulus Media at WJOX in Birmingham, will not be moving to SummitMedia’s crosstown WZNN “97.3 The Zone” as many industry watchers had suspected.  Instead, Finebaum will take his radio program to ESPN where it will air on ESPN Audio and the ESPN-owned SEC Network, destined to debut in August of 2014.  According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, Finebaum will also make 100 appearances on ESPN’s cable TV channels.  After entering into a couple of legal battles with former long-time employer Cumulus Media over the course of several years, Finebaum agreed to work out his contract and exit radio in order to sit out his non-compete and start fresh somewhere else.  He left WJOX in January of this year.

clearchannelClear Channel Announces Bid to Push Back Debt with Bond Exchange.  Clear Channel Communications announces it is seeking to push off some debt until 2021 via a $2.1 billion bond exchange.  The company is offering to swap $796.3 million of 10.75% notes due in 2016 and $1.28 billion of 11% payment-in-kind notes due in 2016 for the new debt that would come up in 2021.  The notes will pay 12% in cash and 2% through the issuance of payment-in-kind notes.   Bloomberg’s Mary Childs reports, “Free cash flow at the San Antonio-based broadcaster hasn’t exceeded $340.9 million in any year since its 2008 buyout by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP.  Credit-default swaps tied to the bonds of the company, which owes about $20.8 billion total, are at about the lowest in two years, a sign investors are open to refinancing, Bloomberg data show.”

coxenterprises logoCox Enterprises Announces $1 Million Donation to Oklahoma Tornado Relief.  The parent company of Cox Media GroupCox Enterprises – announces that in partnership with the James L. Cox Foundation it is donating $1 million in support of relief and recovery efforts.  “Cox Enterprises is committed to supporting the victims of this terrible storm,” says Jim Kennedy, chairman of Cox Enterprises. “As a company that operates multiple businesses in Oklahoma, we are committed to helping our employees and the communities we serve recover from this disaster. In providing this assistance, we also encourage others to support the local relief and recovery efforts.”  Cox Enterprises operates multiple companies in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, including: Cox Communications, Total Resource Auctions – Oklahoma City, Total Resource Auctions – Tulsa, news/talk KRMG, Fox23, My41, country KWEN, Tulsa “K95,” hot AC KRAV, Tulsa “Mix 96” and rock KJSR, Tulsa “Rock 103.”  “In this difficult time of recovery and rebuilding, our hearts go out to the families affected by the tornadoes,” states Percy Kirk, senior vice president and general manager, Cox Communications Oklahoma. “This gift is a symbol of our commitment to our community and it is our hope that it will provide comfort and relief to many.”  In addition to the cash donation and in-kind public service announcements, Cox’s local media properties in Tulsa are hosting a series of community fundraisers.

kdkafmlogoCBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Hosts Remote Auditions for Sports Talk Host.  CBS Radio Pittsburgh sports talk outlet “Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan” is hosting open auditions for a weekend sports talk show on the station.  The open auditions rounds begin this weekend and will take place at five different locations over the next four weeks.  The company states, “Participants will be judged by station personnel on their ability to rant on a random sports topic.  Ten entrants from the open auditions will be selected to move on to the semifinal round to be held at the Tilted Kilt in the North Shore on Monday, June 24.  From there, the top four entrants will move on to the Finals at Sidelines Bar and Grill in Sewickley to be judged during a live broadcast with Andrew Fillipponi on KDKA-FM on Thursday, June 27 from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Program director Ryan Maguire says, “We’re looking for the next great Pittsburgh sports talk show host – someone who can grow into a superstar.  We’re eager to see which member of this passionate fan base can take advantage of this very rare opportunity.”

fontlinesoffreedom logo‘Frontlines of Freedom’ Returns to WOOD, Grand Rapids for Flagship Station.  The Talk Media Network-syndicated program dedicated to all things military and hosted by retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Denny Gillem returns to its original flagship station WOOD, Grand Rapids.  Talk Media Network’s Josh Leng reports that the weekend “Frontlines of Freedom” program will air live from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on WOOD beginning June 1.  Gillem says of the move, “Six years ago my co-founder and I created ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ on WOOD radio.  June 1 is the show’s six-year anniversary.  It’s a great honor to be returning to our roots at the finest station in West Michigan.”  The program began in 2006 as a special Memorial Day show called, “A Colonel’s Salute to Veterans” that won a Michigan Broadcasters Association award.  One year later the weekly program was founded at WOOD.  Phil Tower, director of news & content programming at Clear Channel’s WOOD, states, “Few persons are held in such high regard as the men and women of our military, so it’s a natural fit to welcome ‘Frontlines of Freedom’ back to our WOOD radio lineup.”

stilestonyTony Stiles to Join The Next News Network.  Talk radio personality Tony Stiles, host of his eponymous program heard Saturdays on NRG Media’s KOIL, Omaha “The Mighty 1290,” announces he’s accepted the news anchor position at Chicago-based internet news network The Next News Network.  Stiles states, “I am honored that after only seven months on the air in Omaha, that my show, ideas and personality has resonated nationally through a loyal audience by word-of-mouth, radio and internet access.  This coming Friday night I will continue my role of frequent anchor until I assume the daily desk in early summer.”  The Next News Network founder Gary Franchi says, “As the founder of Next News Network, I became aware of Tony’s ability to attract an audience as I followed his rapid growth and heard his show.  Tony is a perfect fit for our 24/7 internet newscast which, like Tony, is the first of its kind.”

stigallchrisCBS News Reporter Tells WPHT, Philadelphia’s Chris Stigall Her Work and Personal Computers Compromised.  In a story that has since gone viral after being picked up by numerous consumer news outlets, with the allegations the DOJ has been investigating AP and Fox News reporters as the backdrop, CBS News investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson told WPHT, Philadelphia AM drive host Chris Stigall her work and personal computers are being analyzed as part of an investigation.  Attkisson said she could not point the finger at the DOJ but the speculation is that it’s a possibility.  Attkisson has been reporting on the Benghazi attacks story.

sportsusaSports USA Announces College Football Schedule.  Sports USA unveils its 2013 schedule of college football contests saying it “consists of 18 games featuring the best teams in college football.  Defending national champion Alabama, unbeaten Ohio State, Texas A&M, (with Heisman Trophy winning QB Johnny Manziel) Michigan, Florida, and LSU will be among the teams featured this year.”  Sports USA president Bob Moore says, “We are pleased to provide these incredible matchups to our nearly 400 affiliates nationwide.  Additionally, we are providing a sideline reporter for each game.”  The season kicks off with USC at Hawaii on August 29 and wraps up with the Independence Bowl on December 31.  Other key match-ups include Florida at LSU on October 12, Michigan versus Michigan State on November 2 and Alabama at Auburn on November 30.

delaneykateOdds & Sods.  “America Tonight” nationally syndicated talk show host Kate Delaney is doing some fill-in work this weekend for NBC Sports Radio Network.  Delaney, who earlier in her career worked at WFAN, New York, will sit in from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET on May 26 and from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on May 27…..CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angelesknx logo continues its “KNX on Your Corner” remote broadcast series on June 7 as it takes a comprehensive look at the Orange County city of Fullerton.  During the live broadcast from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm, community leaders including Mayor Bruce Whitaker, council members, Chief of Police Dan Hughes and other special guests will be interviewed.  Additionally, a special series by KNX investigative reporter Charles Feldman will look at the double-barreled impact on the city of the “Great Recession” and the high-profile fatal beating of a homeless man, Kelly Thomas, by members of the Fullerton Police Department nearly two years ago.

espnESPN to Begin Mega-Layoffs.  At this point the company’s only public statement has been, “We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs.  While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.”  It’s unclear how many ESPN Audio staffers will be affected but the company, which employs about 4,000 in the United States and another 3,000 in other parts of the world, could be in the hundreds according to some reports.  ESPN is a huge source of revenue for principle parent Disney (20% is owned by Hearst) but some industry watchers speculate that ESPN’s increasing costs in acquiring precious play-by-play contracts – especially considering new entrants into the field including CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 – is forcing it to be more cost-conscious.

walshprotestIRS Protest Led by WIND, Chicago’s Joe Walsh.  Former Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh is pictured here (with megaphone) on the street outside the Dearborn Street offices of the Internal Revenue Service in Chicago protesting the agency’s targeting of conservative and religious groups.  The rally was organized and led by Walsh, who hosts his own evening talk show on Salem Communications’ WIND, Chicago, “AM 560 The Answer.”  Walsh states, “It’s time to send a message that our First Amendment rights will not be denied by an out-of-control administration.”  Dozens of protesters joined Walsh during the lunchtime gathering.

IRS Targets Conservatives, DOJ Fox News Investigation, Oklahoma Tornado Aftermath, Benghazi Attacks Case, and Anthony Weiner to Run for NYC Mayor Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/21).  The IRS’ targeting of conservative groups; the investigation by the Department of Justice into Fox News Channel reporters; the aftermath of the deadly Oklahoma tornado; the ongoing scrutiny of the Benghazi attack and disgraced former NY Congressman Anthony Weiner’s bid for mayor of New York were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

| March 27, 2013

pittmanbobBob Pittman to Take Over Chairman of the Board Role at Clear Channel.  CC Media Holdings, Inc., in an SEC filing announcing the annual meeting of stockholders on May 17, moves to replace Mark Mays as chairman of the board with current board of directors member and company CEO Bob Pittman.  The filing states, “We believe that having the chief executive officer also serve as our chairman of the board provides us with a clear leadership structure.  As our chairman and chief executive officer, Mr. Pittman will continue to provide our board with insight into our operations and help facilitate the flow of information between management and the board.  Subject to his re-election as a director, Mr. Mays will remain a member of our board and we will continue to benefit from his experience as our previous chief executive officer.”

browns helmetGood Karma’s WKNR and CBS Radio’s WKRK Team Up to Grab Cleveland Browns Football from Clear Channel.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Cleveland Browns football – for years heard onwknrlogo Clear Channel’s rock WMMS and news/talk WTAM – will air on WKNR “ESPN Cleveland” and WKRK “92.3 The Fan” beginning this fall.  Obviously, the unusual aspect of this is WKNR is owned by Craig Karmazin’s Good Karma and WKRK is CBS Radio’s sports outlet in Cleveland – both stations competing for the same listeners.  According to the piece, games will also air on CBS’ classic rock WNCX.  The Plain Dealer reports thatwkrklogo CC, CBS and Good Karma were all bidding for the rights when the latter two decided to work together.  Here’s how it is supposed to happen in the fall: a Rob Chudzinski coach’s show will air (on which station it’s not yet known) and the “Cleveland Browns Daily Show” on WKNR will expand from one hour to two.  Game days will see WKNR broadcast a four-hour pre-game show and WKRK will broadcast a two-hour post-game program.  It is expected that the booth team of Jim Donovan and Doug Dieken will remain in place.

kramerweezieEntercom Ups Weezie Kramer to Station Group President.  Weezie Kramer has been with Entercom as a regional president since 2005.  Now, the company promotes her to station group president putting her in charge of all 121 Entercom radio stations.   In this post she will supervise  Entercom regional presidents Michael Doyle and Deborah Kane and chair the company’s operating committee.  She’ll also continue to be in charge of a number of the company’s 23 markets and report directly to Entercom president and CEO David Field, who says, “For years we have operated with three wonderfully talented regional presidents, but the time has come to align our station group under a single operational leader to drive stronger organizational cohesiveness and effectiveness. In elevating Weezie to this role, we will enhance our coordination and clarity and drive faster decision-making. She will continue to work closely with Deborah Kane and Michael Doyle, providing an outstanding leadership team for our markets.”

stephandougDoug Stephan’s “Good Day Crowdfunding Show” to Put Entrepreneurs in Front of Giant Audience.  Doug Stephan’s nationally syndicated morning radio program – now in its 25th year – is inviting entrepreneurs to the largest crowdfunding pitchfest ever.  In a statement, Doug Stephan says, “‘The Good Day Crowdfunding Show’ brings the buzz of a broadcast radio reality series and pits crowdfunders in a contest judged by crowdsourcing industry thought leaders. hayesmike Entrepreneurs and businesses interested in raising capital, social lending and fundraising websites for their products, charity projects and creative ideas are invited to ‘pitch the experts’ on the first crowdfunding radio reality series.”  Good Day Crowdfunding has launched its own pre-launch to build community where crowdfunders can engage at http://GoodDayCrowdfunding.com.  Inside the community is a unique incubator project, Startup America Crowdfunding, where participants are guided from start to finish through successful money-raising campaigns.  The release continues, “As part of the project, creators of the best ideas will get a shot on the ‘Good Day Crowdfunding Show,’ to pitch their idea to millions in a fast-paced reality format.  The incentive is simple: The better the idea, the more promotion and airtime to over 3 million daily listeners across the US and online.”  The addition of the crowdfunding segment to Stephan’s program comes as the program begins working with Mike Hayes, current host of “StartUp America News” and an expert in entrepreneurship.  Hayes states, “This new reality based radio program is the ‘American Idol’ of crowdfunding.  Our intention is to help boost the impact of crowdfunding on America’s economy by creating and supporting crowdfunding success stories across any available platform.  We want to enable anyone, anywhere to follow, and fund their dream projects.”  Others joining Good Day for this project include: PR expert Ronjini Mukopadhyay, who has been central to several highly successful crowdfunding campaigns including StickNFind; entrepreneur Danny Kastner, a contestant on ‘The Apprentice’ and developer of Crowdjammer, a crowdfunding community solution designed to drive campaign backers to any crowdfunding project; and social impact marketer Robin Eschler, host of “Socially Conscious Investing” online radio and a pro in social lending, impact investing and online marketing.

cookehollandDentists are Prime Prospects for Radio Advertising.  Have you noticed when you visit your friendly family dentist lately that the office has likely evolved from projecting a serious “professional” environment to more “commercial” one with signs promoting elective cosmetic procedures (such as teeth whitening), electric toothbrush sales, awards programs for recruiting new patients and “like us on Facebook” display cards? The fact is, dentistry has changed over the years and today’s young crop of dentists find themselves in a business that requires far more media promotion than their cavity-filling forebears ever thought about (or would consider appropriate).  In a helpful article posted today (3/27) noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke sinks his canines into a potentially lucrative sales lead category.  Read it here.

madisonjoeWashington-Based Talker Joe Madison Exits WOL, Washington.  Talk radio personality Joe Madison’s program has been based at SiriusXM for several years and the show was carried by Radio One’s WOL, Washington after the latter had served as Madison’s base for more than a decade.  Now, Madison’s program is off WOL and solely available on SiriusXM’s “The Power” channel.  Radio One doesn’t appear to have a permanent AM drive replacement for Madison yet as midday host Ron Thompson has been sitting in.

finebaumpaulBirmingham Sports Media Personality Paul Finebaum Inks Book Deal.  Former WJOX, Birmingham sports talk host Paul Finebaum has signed a deal with Harper Collins that, according to SBNation.com, will tell the story of his radio show and its effect on the SEC.  Finebuam tells Al.com, “Primarily, it’s about the culture of the show and how the culture of the show interacts with the SEC.  But it does quickly go through my career and how we got to this point.  There will be commentary on why the SEC is better than everyone else.  It will certainly talk about the dominance of not only Alabama, but the conference.  The radio show will be woven in and out of the book, featuring little vignettes on the callers.”  Harper Collins plans to officially announced the deal this week.  Finebaum’s regionally syndicated radio show – now off the air after he left Cumulus Media’s WJOX and is sitting out a non-compete period – was also heard on SiriusXM.  It is expected that once the non-compete period elapses in late April, Finebaum will cross the street and base his program from WZNN, Birmingham “ESPN 97.3 The Zone” which is in the process of being sold by Cox Media Group to SummitMedia.

biakelseyBIA/Kelsey Sees Radio Station Online Growth Rising at Faster Pace.  The media advisory firm reports that, according to its first 2013 Investing in Radio Market Report, “Radio industry over-the-air revenues inched slightly upwards in 2012, increasing to $14.3 billion, a 1.5% change fratrikmarkfrom the year before.”  The company goes on to say that the “slight change is due in large part to the sluggish overall economy for 2012 and the increased competition radio faces in the local media market.”  It notes “station revenue mix will continue to shift somewhat and income from online advertising is expected to rise at a rate of about 10.8% annually over the next five years versus 2.5% from over-the-air.”  For 2013, BIA/Kelsey forecasts over-the-air radio revenues should see 2.3%, or $14.7 billion, again due to the slightly stronger economy.  BIA/Kelsey forecasts radio’s online revenue growth will reach $818 million by 2017, while the industry’s combined total revenue will reach $17 billion by 2017.   Vice president and chief economist Mark Fratrik states, “As the digital marketplace continues to rise in all sectors of advertising, radio is improving its listener engagement online and benefitting from the value of its web and mobile assets.  Overall, the industry is still recognized as an important part of the media mix as it continues to meander around, rising slightly with the rate of inflation but not keeping up with the economy.”

narvaezmonicaArbitron Names Monica Narvaez Hispanic Broadcaster Account Specialist.  In a role newly created, Arbitron Inc. appoints Monica Narvaez Hispanic broadcaster account specialist.  The company reports her duties will include: promoting the power of Spanish-language radio; generating solutions to help address Hispanic radio group needs; and developing programs for Spanish radio group training initiatives.  Narvaez has been with Arbitron for 10 years.  Prior to joining Arbitron she served with Nielsen as a web trainer, working with TV station research directors and sales executives using Scarborough Research.

millerdennisOdds & Sods.  Dial Global’s Dennis Miller interviews former Massachusetts Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on his nationally syndicated show today (3/27)…..Legendary actor and CRN Digital Talk Radio personality Robert Conrad says he is doing fine despite rumors on the internet this week that he has passed away.  Conrad, who hosts his own show on the network on Thursdays from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm PT, says, “I’m feeling well and in good health so I’m very surprised to hear that I’ve passed away, I must’ve missed that memo.”  The CRN studios received numerous calls from his listeners about the report…..Current.org reports that University of Alabama Birmingham-owned non-commercial WBHM, Birmingham news director Tanya Ott is moving to Georgia to take on the vice president/radio for Georgia Public Broadcasting.

waxylogoThe FCC Approves Move of WAXY-FM, Miami Signal.  Lincoln Financial Media’s acquisition of CBS Radio’s former AC WEAT, West Palm Beach was executed with the intent of bringing the now-WAXY sports talk FM simulcast signal closer to the Miami market.  After Clear Channel objected to the move, the FCC overruled that objection and LFM gets the okay to move the signal to its new city of license Miramar.  The 104.3 signal has been simulcasting WAXY since LFM took control.

njba logoNew Jersey Broadcasters Association Backs FM in Smart Phones.  The New Jersey Broadcasters Association passed a resolution on Tuesday, March 26 at its board meeting in support of the Sprint FM Chip proposal, reaffirming the absolute need to enable all cell phones within the United States to include (and activate) FM receiver capabilities in smartphones and other consumer electronic  devices.   NJBA president Paul Rotella states, “This is a rotellapaulmatter of vital importance to inform and protect our citizens especially in times of natural disaster, severe weather or other emergencies that require the unequalled power of radio to reach the public.”  The NJBA believes that because of the strength of broadcast and the power of the airwaves, local radio and TV stations are often the only available communications medium during disaster situations.  Rotella continues, “New Jersey Broadcasters see the value of making radio receivers available and installed in all telecommunications devices owned and used by the public, foremost of those is the ‘smart phone’ and, therefore, the New Jersey Broadcasters Association supports the agreement with Sprint to produce and sell over 30 million smart phones in three years with fully functional FM radio receivers as part of their ‘smart Phones’ and service for same.”

SCOTUS Gay Marriage Arguments, Costs of ObamaCare, North Korea Threats, Euro Zone Jitters, Dow Continues to Soar, and Amanda Knox Re-Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/26).  The debate over the legality of gay marriage as the Supreme Court hears arguments; the costs of the Affordable Care Act; North Korea’s military threats; uncertainty in the euro zone after the Cyprus affair; the still-soaring Dow; and the Italian court’s ruling to re-try Amanda Knox were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

| March 5, 2013

cbsradio logoLes Moonves Still Says CBS Likes Radio.  If CBS is interested in selling its radio properties, CBS president and CEO Les Moonves isn’t spilling the beans.  CBS presented at Deutsche Bank’s DbAccess 21st Annual moonveslesMedia and Telecom Conference yesterday and when asked by Deutsche Bank’s Douglas Mitchelson about the flat performance of radio in general, Moonves said the company still likes radio for its cash.  “We like radio.  Once again, low-single digit growth, revenue, OIBDA.  It’s still a very great cash business with great margins.  We still like running it.  We have no intent to sell it as many people are watching terrestrial radio today as watching 10 years ago, even with all these things going on with satellite and everything else.  It is what it is.  We like the business, it produces cash every year.  We like having the amount of cash we have, where our balance sheet is certainly in great shape, partially because of radio.”

wjox logoCumulus-Cox Suit Over Birmingham Sports Programmer Settle; PD Returns to WJOX.  The battle between sports talkers WJOX – owned by Cumulus Media – and crosstown start-up WZNN – owned by Cox Media Group but soon to be officially acquired by SummitMedia along with Cox’s other Birmingham stations – has been a hotbed of legal action over the past couple of years.  But as the closing by SummitMedia on WZNN “97.3 The Zone” nears, one battle appears to have been settled.  Programmer Ryan Haney – who jumped from WJOX to WZNN back in late January only to have his move challenged in court by Cumulus – returns to WJOX.  The Birmingham News reports neither side is commenting on any such deal.  Haney’s contract had expired more than two years ago but he’d been working as an at-will employee.  He left WJOX the same day popular sports talk personality Paul Finebaum left at the expiration of his contract.  Finebaum is not working in the business as he is expected to join WZNN after his non-compete expires.

cookehollandSo, You Want to be Syndicated?  Noted radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke says, “I can help you…but first, can I talk you out of it?  Even though being syndicated seems to be the dream of most local or even wannabe radio talk show hosts, having your show run on a string of stations around the country is a goal that 1) is extremely difficult to attain; and 2) might not be worth the effort at this point in the industry’s evolution.  Read Holland Cooke’s fascinating, eye-opening explanation of what you will be facing, in addition to suggesting workable and realistic alternatives, in a blunt, informative article by clicking here.

greggcherriKYW, Philadelphia Promotes Cherri Gregg to Community Affairs Reporter.  CBS Radio all-news KYW, Philadelphia ups reporter Cherri Gregg to community affairs reporter.  In this new role, Gregg will be shedding light on the numerous issues, neighborhoods and area leaders affecting community life in the Delaware Valley across a variety of time periods for the station.  Gregg joined KYW in 2011 as a general assignment reporter while completing a Masters in Journalism at Temple University.  She came to the station from the legal field where she had practiced for eight years at two Am-Law 100 law firms.  The company says that although she enjoyed the practice of law, her true passion is reporting on stories that matter to the community.  In January 2010, she quit her job at a top Philadelphia law firm to pursue her passion full time.  Director of news and programming Steve Butler states, “Cherri has been a terrific addition to the KYW Newsradio staff and we’re pleased she will be focusing on developing stories from the grass roots,  Covering all aspects of the Delaware Valley community is job-one for our staff, and we’re glad to have her continue that Newsradio legacy.”

granatopendergastKGOW, Houston Shuffles Lineup; Granato and Pendergast to PM Drive.  The lineup at Gow Broadcasting’s KGOW, Houston will feature Yahoo! Sports Radio morning personality Steve Czaban and current AM drivers John Granato and Sean Pendergast will move to the PM drive slot beginning Monday, March 11.  The Houston Chronicle reports Adam Clanton and John Wessling – the afternoon drive team since last August have exited the station.  In the Chronicle piece, owner David Gow addresses the station’s recent poor ratings which have failed to have the station appear in the most recent survey.  “We look forward to our ratings coming back up with this lineup.  We’ve been frustrated with the Arbitron results for a period of months. But the driving factor is the chance to put together this new lineup that will roll out on Monday.”  Czaban will be followed by DIRECTV/Fox Sports Radio’s Dan Patrick with John Harris hosting the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm program.

sportsusaOdds & Sods.  Sports USA is presenting exclusive national terrestrial radio coverage of all three legs of horse racing’s Triple Crown.  The company is partnering with Mike Penna’s Horse Racing Radio Network for the events.  Each two-hour broadcast will begin at 5:00 pm ET and will feature the live call of each race from the track announcer along with live trackside reports…..ESPN Radio’s Championship Week coverage begins with the inaugural “Greenberg & Greenberg in the Morning” show this Friday, March 8 from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET where Mike Greenberg will be joined by former Virginia Tech men’s head basketball coach Seth Greenberg for a hoops-heavy, four-hour broadcast.  The network is also airing the Big 12 Semifinals and Championship as well as every game of the ACC Tournament……SiriusXM teams former NFL QB Rich Gannon with Bruce Murray for “The SiriusXM Blitz” program that airs weekdays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm ET on its NFL Radio channel.

elswickcapitolA Capitol Idea.  KARN-FM, Little Rock afternoon drive host and program director Dave Elswick is hosting live broadcasts twice per week from the Arkansas State Capitol in order to keep his listeners up-to-date on the latest state political news (and, of course, Dave’s opinions concerning said news!).  Pictured here at a recent broadcast from the capitol building are (from l-r): guest host Laurie Lee, Elswick, Saline County Clerk Dennis Milligan, and Arkansas Tea Party activist David Crowe.

Sequestration Issue, North Korea Threats/Dennis Rodman Remarks, Iran Nuclear Build-Up, Surging Dow, and Jeb Bush in 2016 Rumors Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/4).  The ongoing sequestration issue; North Korea’s threats against South Korea and Dennis Rodman’s cozying up to Kim Jong-Un; Iran’s nuclear build-up; the surging Dow Jones industrial average; and Jeb Bush’s not ruling out a run for president in 2016 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, February 8, 2013

| February 8, 2013

wjox logoCumulus Wins First Round in Birmingham Non-Compete Case.  A federal judge in Birmingham has ruled that sports talk WZNN “ESPN 97.3” program director Ryan Haney cannot work for the Cox Media station until more evidence is heard at a hearing scheduled for March 4.  The Birmingham News reports wznn logoCumulus sought the prohibition after Haney – who had been with its crosstown competitor WJOX for the past 14 years – left the PD job there on January 21and began working at WZNN a week later.  Cumulus claims Haney breached the six-month non-compete in his contract.  Cumulus also states Haney could not work for a competitor during that time without giving Cumulus a chance to match the prospective employer’s offer.  The animosity between the two sports talk stations did not begin with Haney’s case.  In 2012, Cumulus and Birmingham sports talk personality Paul Finebaum engaged in a legal tussle over his employment situation but Finebaum eventually worked out his contract with WJOX and is sitting out a six-month non-compete after which it is widely assumed he’ll join WZNN.  On a side note, Cox Media has put its Birmingham properties – including WZNN – up for sale.

dickeybloombergLew Dickey Tells Bloomberg “We’re Seeing a Shift in Spoken-Word Radio.”  During an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey discussed his company’s plans involving marketing vertically based on the lifestyle appeal to consumers interested in certain types of entertainment.  Although still bullish on Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, Dickey sounded much more behind sports than news/talk.  “We’re seeing sort of a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports.”  When asked why he stated, “I think people may be tired of all the partisan bickering so the ratings are a bit down in talk but they’re moving up nicely in sports.”  Dickey said the reason sports is so popular among advertisers is because advertisers follow the audience and sports is popular right now.

question mark 1Question of the Day: Why Do Radio Stations Still Announce School Closings?  As the big Blizzard of ’13 begins to rumble across the Northeast (2/8), TALKERS monitors have been hearing morning shows across the region reading the perfunctory long lists of school closings within their listening areas.  While there is no doubt that localism is proving to be a valuable asset to radio – especially when the medium rises to the occasion of serving the public interest during natural disasters and weather events – we have to shake our heads and wonder why so much valuable airtime is spent on reading these seemingly endless lists.  Is it a matter of serving the public or just trying to sound like you’re doing so?  It is a well-known (to parents and students alike) fact that most school districts in America post their snow status on their websites as soon as the information is available.  If stations want in on that action they can list all the closings on their websites as well and announce that availability on the air.  Considering that most, if not all, schools in a region close for blizzards, it would make a lot more sense to only announce those schools that might be choosing to remain open.  Programmers might think that announcing school closings on the air over long chunks of time makes the station sound local and in touch – but in truth, it makes the station boring and seem out of touch.

ktck logoCumulus Birmingham Imports Sports Talk Duo from KTCK, Dallas.  In a story related to the one above, Cumulus sports talker WJOX, Birmingham is bringing the duo of Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison from its Dallas sports outlet KTCK “The Ticket” in to take over the midday slot.  The position opened up after Paul Finebaum exited the PM drive show at the end of his contract and the station moved “The Jox Roundtable” with Lance Taylor, Ryan Brown and Jim Dunaway to the PM drive position.  McClearin and Harrison hosted a weekend program at KTCK.

kinosianmikeTALKERS Spotlight: The Talk Radio Watchdogs.  There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.”  He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks.  They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there.  Does the industry still value this breed of talk host?  Does the public still want to listen to them?  Do their station managers support them?  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft.  Read his story here.

whfs logoCBS Radio’s WHFS, Tampa Makes Lineup Changes.  The new FM sports talk station CBS Radio put on the air in Tampa in August undergoes some changes.  “Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan” cuts the morning show with Kirk McEwen and Chris Dingman to three hours and shifts Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot.  The PM drive show with Rich Herrera and Anthony “Booger” McFarland moves to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot.  Evening host Todd Wright exits the station and The Fabulous Sports Babe moves from overnights to the evening show.  CBS Sports Radio Networks’ Scott Ferrall and Damon Amendolara round out the late night and overnight shifts, respectively.

tuneinlogoTuneIn Adds Four Pubcasters to its Offerings.  Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has agreed to strategic alliances with major public broadcasters KQED, San Francisco; KCRW, Santa Monica; KEXP, Seattle; and American Public Media, which includes Southern California Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Classical South Florida and nationally distributed programs. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley states, “KQED, American Public Media, KCRW and KEXP have a rich history of offering listeners engaging, cutting-edge programming while supporting the radio community.  Our goal at TuneIn is to bring the best programming from around the world to everyone, for free, wherever they are, and partnering with these respected public broadcasters brings us one step closer to that goal.”  TuneIn also just unveiled a new website design featuring a new content-first display with large album cover photos and trending stations.

wgnlogoOdds & Sods.  Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Chicago Blackhawks Live” promotional series on February 18 at the city’s Old Town Pour House.  The promotion is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the 2012-2013 season featuring current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives with “WGN Sports Night” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan, and Andrea Darlas.  WGN began hosting these events during the 2011-2012 season and sold them out in record time…..SiriusXM announces legendary recording artist Tony Bennett will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with an audience of SiriusXM listeners, moderated by Alec Baldwin, at the SiriusXM studios in New York City as part of its “Townsiriusxm Hall” series.  It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 13, and will air on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, on the Siriusly Sinatra channel and on the SiriusXM Stars channel…..Clear Channel announces that Houston Astros play-by-play will shift from news/talk KTRH to its sports talk KBME “Sportstalk 790” beginning this season…..In another baseball note, Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with the MLB’s Reds through the 2017 season…..The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which benefits Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – are celebrating their 60th year working together to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.  Part of that celebrating will include the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Entercom’s WEEI and New England Sports Network on August 27 and 28.  The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.

kyw scholarshipKYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship.  CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio awards the Richard Monetti Scholarship to local high school student Kimberly Coterwas (second from right) – one of the 86 students to graduate from KYW Newsradio 2012 Fall Newstudies program.  She receives a $2,000 scholarship.  The award was announced at the Newstudies Graduation ceremony on January 31.  The Richard Monetti Scholarship is awarded every year to the Newstudies student who demonstrates the most potential and enthusiasm throughout the six-week student reporter program.  The scholarship is named for Richard Monetti, a 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988.  Additionally, 11 other students who participated in the Newstudies program received awards.  CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry.  It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well, and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”

schiffpeterTALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Radio America’s Peter Schiff program picks up new affiliates for the program including: KPAM, Portland; WGUF, Ft. Myers, Florida; WEZS, Concord, New Hampshire; KFAR, Fairbanks, Alaska; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois…..  “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WTBF, Troy, Alabama.  Also, existing affiliate combo WGVA, Geneva and WAUB, Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of New York adds Free Talk Live’s live Sunday show.

Sequester Cuts and Tax Hikes Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8.  The debate in Washington over the coming sequester budget cuts and more tax increases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, earning it the top spot on the Talkers TenTM.  Coming in at #2 was immigration reform.  At #3 was the costs of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and at #4 was gun legislation proposals.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.