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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

| April 15, 2014

limbaughrushRush Limbaugh’s ‘Cure-A-Thon’ Raises $3 Million-plus for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  Last Friday (4/11), Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh held his annual “Cure-A-Thon” to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the show-long effort helped raise more than $3 million for the cause.  The annual event is executed in a relatively low-profile manner, that is, without a lot of promotion outside of Limbaugh’s program.  The large amount of money raised is indicative of the loyal and generous nature of his audience.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who listened to the entire program, comments, “Limbaugh did a masterful job of not simply asking for contributions, but educating his listeners about the diseases of blood cancer and the progress that is being made in finding the cure.  It was compelling radio.  Add to that his skill in weaving into the flow of the show other topics of the day from ObamaCare to his contrarian take on the selection of Colbert to replace Letterman and it was quite apparent that after all these years he is still an extraordinarily skilled talk broadcaster.”

bouloukosdonDon Bouloukos to Retire from CBS RADIO New York.  After 16 years with CBS RADIO and a career that spans 41 years, CBS RADIO New York senior vice president and market manager Don Bouloukos announces he’s retiring from the company effective June of this year.  Bouloukos first joined CBS RADIO in 1998 following the acquisition of American Radio Systems Inc. where he was co-chief operating officer.  Bouloukos comments, “It is never an easy decision to leave an industry you love, and a company and cluster of stations that have been such an important part of your life.  But after 41 years, it is time.”  Current CBS RADIO executive vice president, operations, Scott Herman will take over for Bouloukos and add supervision of the New York cluster to his duties.  The CBS RADIO New York group consists of all-news WCBS-AM, classic hits WCBS-FM, sports talker WFAN-AM/FM, all-news WINS-AM, CHR WNOW-FM and hot AC WWFS-FM.  Bouloukos continues, “I’ve been very fortunate to work for a company that allows you to operate stations as if they were your own and I take great pride in what we have been able to accomplish over the years.  Working with Dan Mason and Scott Herman has been an absolute pleasure.  My only regret is that I am not 21 years old and starting all over again.”

stouffervalKXL, Portland Names Val Stouffer News Anchor.  Radio news pro Val Stouffer joins Alpha Broadcasting’s Portland news/talker KXL “FM NEWS 101.”  The station reports that Stouffer will be part of the “Portland’s Afternoon News” program as co-anchor alongside news anchor Dan Mitchinson.  Stouffer’s news radio experience includes stops at the old WMAQ and WLS in her hometown of Chicago.  She’s also worked in Seattle at both KIRO and KOMO.  Alpha Broadcasting director of programming Scott Mahalick says, “Val is a win for KXL.  She brings significant news/talk knowledge and incomparable experience that will benefit not only our afternoon daypart but our entire station.”

nielsen logoFirst Round of March PPM Data Released.  PPM data from the first of four groups of 12 markets for the March 2014 period (February 27 – March 26) has been released by Nielsen Audio.  Those markets include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all the (subscriber) numbers here.  Managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian offers his “Ten Takeaways” from the report at RadioInfo.com here.

quinnrixBringing Creativity and Heightened Localism to the Radio Sales Department — with a Biographer.  Ft. Worth, Texas-based multimedia storyteller, biographer and marketing strategist Rix Quinn delivers a unique mix of creative writing and a down-home vocal presentation to any station’s local marketing arsenal, regardless of market size.  Learn more about this fascinating wordsmith and his ideas for adding new dimensions to local radio sales that straddle both the medium’s on-air and online space.  In a new article by special features correspondent Jeff McKay, Quinn says, “The service I provide is to help small businesses tell their story in features that run 250-300 words, which is fairly short, focusing on the unique experiences of the owner-manager of the business or the unique product or service that the business provides.”  He adds, “That can also include short-form generic features that ‘celebrate’ the tradition and community service of general local business categories such as stand-alone ice cream parlors, mom & pop hardware stores, garden supply centers, independent book stores, jewelry stores…the list is endless.  At the conclusion of each feature, the station tags it with individual examples of the category that are non-competitively located in different parts of the coverage area and makes them available to the advertisers at a very reasonable cost.”  To read McKay’s piece about Rix Quinn in its entirety, please click here.

ingrahamlauraLaura Ingraham Adds ABC Contributor to Her CV.  The announcement came on Sunday’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos that conservative media personality Laura Ingraham will join ABC News as a contributor.  She’s not giving anything up for the new role, either.  She’ll remain a Fox News Channel contributor and regular fill-in host for Bill O’Reilly as well.  She’ll also continue hosting her daily three-hour Courtside Entertainment Group-syndicated radio talk show.

shannonbobThe Conclave’s Bob Shannon Steps Down After Health Scare.  The executive director of The Conclave resigned from the Minneapolis non-profit on Monday, April 14, citing health issues.  Bob Shannon says in a statement, “Upon my return from the NAB late Thursday evening, I experienced a medical episode that brought paramedics to my home in the middle of the night.  Fortunately, the problem wasn’t as life threatening as was originally thought, but it has prompted some soul searching on my part.  Therefore, after consulting with my physician and my family, I have decided to curtail all business activities for the foreseeable future and will be resigning all of my obligations over the next few weeks.  Sadly, that includes the Conclave.”  Conclave chairman Mark Bolke comments, “Obviously, Bob’s health and well-being is my primary concern, and I respect his decision.  As executive director of the Conclave, Bob brought with him the passion of a real radio broadcaster.  Not only in regards to what made it so compelling in the past, but a vision of what it still can be.  He is a champion of the medium, and never afraid to tell it like it is.  It’s been a pleasure serving with Bob, a true gentleman, and we wish him the very best.”

antinrobinPussycat Dolls Founder Robin Antin Joins PodcastOne.  The founder of the modern burlesque troupe The Pussycat Dolls – dancer, choreographer and actress Robin Antin – is producing a weekly podcast available on PodcastOne.  Fresh programs will be available on Tuesdays.  Her debut show today (4/15) will feature Kim Kardashian and Antin’s brother, famed hair stylist Jonathan Antin.  PodcastOne chairman and CEO Norm Pattiz says, “I’m really looking forward to this podcast.  Not only will it attract a huge audience, but working with Robin will be big time fun.  Her millions of fans will have unprecedented access as they listen to her every week on PodcastOne.com.”

gastineaumikeOdds & Sods.  At Clear Channel’s Seattle sports talker KJR, the station is debuting a show for local soccer fans dubbed, “Seattle Soccer Talk Live” and hosted by longtime market sports personality Mike Gastineau, who returns to the station he left two years ago.  The weekly show will air live from local pubs on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 and will focus on the MLS Seattle Sounders FC.  Gastineau recently self-published a book about the Sounders franchise…..The Wall Street Journal and MarketWatch Radio Networks picked up a few Excellence in Financial Journalism Awards from the NYSSCPA and New York Financial Writers Association.  Marketwatch.com Radio won honors for “Housing on Fire: Tips for Buyers and Sellers” by Alisa Parenti with producer Tracy Johnke; and the Wall Street Journal Radio Network was honored for The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal for his 16-day segment series addressing “the government shutdown’s impact on real people, the economy and business.”

cbsphillyCBS RADIO Philadelphia Prepares for 5th Annual Earthfest Celebration.  The Philadelphia cluster of CBS RADIO stations is partnering with the Clean Air Council to help sponsor its 5K Run for Clean Air at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Saturday (4/19).  CBS Philly SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield comments, “The CBS RADIO stations are proud to partner with the Clean Air Council in their mission to improve our region’s environmental and public health. As a huge voice in the region, we have a responsibility to use our power and reach to support such important issues.”  CBS RADIO Philadelphia participation will include the KYW Newsradio Kidcast Mobile Studio, that gives kids a chance to be a KYW news anchor.  WPHT “Big Money” host Steve Cordasco will present his weekly radio program live from 7:00 am to 10:00 am and will discuss the growing popularity of green or socially conscious investing.

beckaplugeBecka Takes Plunge for Boy with Cancer.  KOIL, Omaha talk show host Tom Becka is pictured here standing in the 50-degree waters of Lake Manawa in Council Bluffs, Iowa after jumping in on Monday, April 14 to raise money for a local boy with cancer.  Becka was part of a group of radio personalities and local politicians who took the “plunge,” including adult hits KOOO, Omaha’s Crash Davis and hot AC KQKQ, Omaha’s Jenny Olive.  The stunt was to benefit Landon Shaw, a Missouri boy with cancer who has inspired Facebook fundraising challenges.  On Friday before the plunge, the water was 60 degrees but a chill – along with some snow – moved through the area and the water was down to 50 degrees on Monday!

wjbcawardCelebrating ‘Station of the Year’ Honors.  Bloomington, Illinois news/talk WJBC was recently honored with the Illinois Associated Press Station of the Year Award.  Since 1999, the Cumulus Media-owned station has won the award three times.  It is given to one radio or television station in the state for its work with the Associated Press for continuing cooperation and contribution.  WJBC news director Stephanie Pawlowski says, “We are proud to continue in WJBC’s long tradition of community service.  The Associated Press has been a great resource for WJBC over the years and we are pleased to assist such an amazing organization in any way we can.”  WJBC has a seven-member news team, including an agribusiness reporter, and says that it produces more local coverage than any other station in Central Illinois.  Pictured here with the award are (from left to right): Bryan Bloodworth, sports writer; Adam Studzinski, news reporter/anchor; Pawlowski; Eric Stock, news reporter/anchor/sports director; Zac Dietmeier, news reporter/anchor; and Dan Westhoff, operations manager.

Boise and Denver Radio Personality Jon Duane Hellhake Dies.  On the radio he went by the name Jon Duane, both during his 10-year stint on the “Morning Zoo” at KPPL, Denver and as morning personality on KIDO, Boise.  Jon Hellhake passed away on Friday, April 11 after a two-year battle with cancer.  The Idaho Statesman reports the Boise native discovered radio in college and, after working in Denver, co-hosted the morning show at KIDO from 1998 through 2008 with Chris Kelly.

Kansas City Slayings, 2016 Presidential Race, Russian Aggression in Ukraine, Limbaugh-Colbert Flap, ObamaCare Criticism, Tax Day, and Blood Moon Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/14).  The killing of three in Kansas City by neo-Nazi, former political “candidate”; speculation about possible 2016 presidential candidates; Russia’s aggression in Ukraine and the taunting of a U.S. destroyer by a Russian fighter jet; the criticism by Rush Limbaugh of CBS-TV’s choice of Stephen Colbert to replace David Letterman; scrutiny of the rollout and effects of the Affordable Care Act; income tax returns become due on Tuesday; the first of four “blood moon” eclipses to take place over the next 18 months and some prophecies related to them were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

| October 2, 2013

TalkersLA2013Eyes (and Ears!) on News/Talk Radio as Recent Ratings Trends Spur Criticism.  As the September PPM data continues to roll out, industry watchers and mainstream media writers and analysts are scrutinizing talk radio’s numbers – as well as its programming.  Citing a perceived slow-but-steady decline in ratings for the news/talk format in general, critics are wondering if the political “right-versus-left” programming philosophy has become tiresome to all but the staunchest news/talk radio fans and is resulting in the generally lower numbers in Nielsen Audio’s PPM and diary ratings.  Some high-profile cases have been cited, including KFI, Los Angeles’ kfilogodecline in 6+ PPM ratings over the past year from being one of the country’s best-performing news/talk stations in one of America’s most vibrant markets.  Just today (10/2), Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the state of Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago and its declining place in the wls-am logoratings race.  The reasons for the states of these stations are open to analysis – including, but not limited to, the possibility that Nielsen Audio’s PPM methodology is less than perfect – and could easily vary from market to market.  When talking ratings, what are usually not included in the recent criticism of news/talk as a format are: the #1 showing for Cox Media’s WSB-AM, Atlanta (which carries the oft-maligned Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity); wsb logoCumulus’ WMAL, Washington’s rise in the September PPM; CBS Radio’s high-flying KMOX, St. Louis; Bonneville’s steady-performing KIRO-FM, Seattle; Cox’s WOKV, Jacksonville; and the two Milwaukee news/talk outlets that have kmoxconsistently performed as two of the top six stations over the last year – Clear Channel’s WISN and Journal’s WTMJ.  Constant awareness and analysis of the sound and perception of one’s stations are the hallmarks of good operators and effective programmers should care about how the format is perceived.  But discovering what’s “wrong” with a format or a station is not easy and not always possible given the limited information available.  In the words of TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, “The first people out there ready to proclaim news/talk radio as being dead are usually people who see the world primarily through a political lens who disagree with the ideology of the hosts they dislike.  Political news/talk radio is cyclical and will always come back from the brink when there’s inevitably a new chapter in contemporary issues.  Regardless, the good thing that hopefully will come out of this ratings down-tick will be some of the major operators giving consideration to different forms of talk and even news/talk that are just being ignored.  There are so many potential ways of doing ‘talk radio’ it is crazy for so many stations to bunch up around one predominant style.  Everyone should spread out and claim and develop new territory on the spectrum of possibilities.”  This topic will be one of those addressed at the Talkers Los Angeles 2013 conference taking place next Thursday, October 10 at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood.

nielsen logoNielsen Begins Synergies; Sean Creamer and Debra Delman to Exit Ratings Giant.  Nielsen responded quickly to TALKERS last week after we reported that the “$20 million in creamerseansynergies” the company hopes to realize with the acquisition of the former Arbitron would cost jobs.  The company stated it had “no plans to reduce headcount at this time.”  Perhaps that applies to the rank and file and not the executive strata because it’s now being reported that former Arbitron CEO Sean Creamer and CFO Debra Delman will leave Nielsen at the end of the year.  Though Nielsen has not released a statement about the changes, it’s expected that other executives may also be headed for the door.  Both Creamer, Delman and most of the other high-level execs who might follow the two have clauses in their contracts that will give them very nice golden parachutes.  Creamer could realize almost $7 million in total compensation and Delman’s take is just shy of $2 million.

espndeportesESPN Deportes Radio Extends NFL Deal.  Sports giant ESPN reports that its ESPN Deportes Radio unit has reached a new multi-year agreement for media rights to the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 National Football League seasons.   Under the agreement, the network will have exclusive Spanish-language rights to Monday Night Football, the 2013-2014 National Football Conference Playoffs, the 2014 Super Bowl, 2015 Pro Bowl and the 2014-2015 American Football Conference Playoffs.  ESPN Deportes Radio general manager Oscar Ramos says, “We’re incredibly excited to add NFL to our diverse roster of programming.  U.S. Hispanics are becoming avid NFL fans and this new deal allows us to deliver the content they want in the language they prefer.”

warrenrobinsonMEDIA BROKER SPOTLIGHT: Diane Warren and Jean Robinson – MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology).  In this week’s installment of Media Broker Spotlight, Sandi Bergman of RadioTVDeals.com interviews media brokers Diane Warren and Jean Robinson of MMTC Media Brokers (run by Bounceology) located in San Antonio, Texas.  MMTC Media Brokers specializes in locating properties and selling them to potential minority, multicultural and women buyers. In addition to telling their fascinating story, they share several outstanding opportunities that they have among their listings that would be of interest to first-time buyers. To read the entire installment of Media Broker Spotlight, please click here.

siriusxmcramerCNBC’s Jim Cramer Featured on SiriusXM ‘Town Hall.’  CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer (left) recently took part in SiriusXM’s “Town Hall” series for a Q&A with SiriusXM personality Pete Dominick (right).  The program will be aired on Friday, October 4 on its Indie channel.  The conversation – which took place before an audience of SiriusXM listeners – covered financial markets, fiscal trends, the economic state of the nation, and the story of Cramer’s personal road from hedge fund manager to popular CNBC host.  Dominick is a stand-up comedian who has opened up for Cramer on his “Mad Money Back to School Tour.”

millercheckTwo Weeks in a Kennel Reaps Rewards for KIDO’s Kevin Miller.  KIDO, Boise morning drive host Kevin Miller (right) is pictured here with ASPCA senior director Tami McReynolds (left) and Canyon County Animal Shelter director Barb Hutchinson (center) showing off the check for $35,000 the CCAS received after Miller helped get more than 300 animals adopted.  To achieve that and win the $35,000 prize, Miller spent two weeks living in a makeshift kennel from which he broadcast his morning program.  The contest is national in scope and – with Miller’s help – the CCAS is the only shelter to win the prize twice.

Government Shutdown, ObamaCare Enrollment Begins, Scrapped Hillary Clinton Programs, U.S.-Iran Relations, and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/1).  The battle between the GOP and the Obama Administration and the government shutdown; the enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act begins; two television projects on the life of Hillary Clinton are scrapped; possible diplomatic relations between Iran and the U.S. and the former’s nuclear program; and the effects of the government shutdown on the U.S. financial markets were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, September 9, 2013

| September 9, 2013

trn logoTRN Issues Response to Reports of Financial Problems at the Company.  TALKERS magazine has received a press release from Talk Radio Network and CEO Mark Masters in response to reports of financial problems at the company.  Below is the full press statement as received from TRN at 2:30 pm ET on 9/9:

ARE YOU DIAL GLOBAL’S (WESTWOOD ONE’S) NEXT VICTIM?

      The truth about the proposed merger between Dial Global/Westwood One and Cumulus is a dark one for our industry.  Dial Global/Westwood One’s market power in programming and sales representation, combined with Cumulus Network’s programming and distribution power in the top 100 U.S. markets, will have a devastating effect on most every area of the radio industry. Our previous experience with Dial Global/Westwood consists of improper, illegal, and/or unethical conduct that is set forth in the second amended complaint http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf in our pending antitrust action against Dial Global/Westwood One and others.   If this merger is allowed to occur, the results of our previous experiences with Dial Global/Westwood One will be magnified tenfold to radio stations and content producers, which will be at the mercy of the newly empowered Dial (Westwood One)/Cumulus and the leverage that can be brought to bear by this new behemoth.

If this merger is allowed to occur, the culture of corruption at Dial/Westwood, as described in our second amended complaint, and other filings, will surely infect and spread within the new behemoth entity and victimize the rest of the industry, resulting in a super monopoly.

Sadly, the actions described in the second amended complaint are forcing the TRN companies to cut back to the basic operating essentials pending resolution of the multiple issues raised in their legal actions against Dial Global/Westwood One.  We had hoped that the change in management at Dial Global/Westwood One would bring about a new paradigm focused on correcting the prior harms in a manner which would be helpful to our companies and the industry as a whole.  Sadly, recent events have shown that the opposite is true and that the behaviors that gave rise to the lawsuits against Dial/Westwood One are endemic throughout the Dial/Westwood One monopoly.   The ruthless and unethical behaviors that have continued through multiple executive teams at Dial/Westwood are breathtaking in their scope and arrogance.

We encourage the rest of our industry to stand together, and with us, now.  We have been in business for 20 years, and have had excellent relationships with the other companies in our industry during that time.  But this is a horse of a different color.  Please contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition (antitrust@ftc.gov) and the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice (antitrust.complaints@usdoj.gov or (202) 307-2040), your state’s Attorney General, and your local member of Congress about the dangers of this proposed merger and its threat to your First Amendment rights, business and products.  As for us, we will continue to pursue Dial Global/Westwood One in federal court and other appropriate forums, for monopoly and other improper behaviors, expose the behaviors described in the second amended complaint,  and achieve ultimate victory from the tragedy that Dial Global/Westwood One have imposed upon our companies and others within the industry.

DIAL/WESTWOOD ONE SCORES INITIAL VICTORY WITH ARNN

The actions described in the second amended complaint with respect to America’s Radio News Network (“ARNN”), and additional actions which will be the subject of future filings, have now succeeded on an interim basis with respect to ARNN.  Specifically, ARNN has been forced to suspend its broadcast operations, effective at the close of its broadcast day on Friday, September 6, 2013, pending the successful outcome of its actions against Dial Global/Westwood.  ARNN has arranged for appropriate feeds to be provided to its affiliates for a reasonable period of time to enable them to secure alternate programming.

AS TO RUMORS OF OTHER ONGOING OPERATIONS

All of the TRN companies have been severely damaged by the Dial Global/Westwood One conduct addressed above and also addressed in the various legal actions which the TRN companies have brought, or will bring, against Dial Global/Westwood.    That conduct has forced all of these companies to make wrenching internal decisions and to take painful internal actions.  As Dial Global/Westwood One has been collecting our advertising revenues, but refusing to pay them over to us or to account for them, these companies have now been forced to reduce as many operating costs as possible.   However, the current rumors of an alleged shutdown of broadcasting operations for non-ARNN programming are unfounded.  Broadcasts of the other programs are continuing without interruption.

CALL TO ACTION!

If Dial/Westwood can do this to us, they certainly can do this to you – so you need to join together, and with us, in opposing this dangerous merger, with as much force as you can muster, so that you can have a future that is not controlled by a monopoly http://www.trn1.com/uploads/files/SecondAmendedComplaint.pdf

wadedonromaDon Wade Passes at 72.  Longtime WLS, Chicago morning personality Don Wade – who hosted the program with his beloved wife Roma – died on Friday at the couple’s Florida home.  It was almost a year ago that Wade suffered a seizure and was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  He underwent an operation but never returned to the air at WLS.  Roma Wade posted the following statement on the WLS website (in part): “Last Friday morning, my hero, my best friend, my soulmate left this mortal coil behind and entered the realm of spirit while wrapped in my loving arms.  God blessed us with almost an entire year since Don’s surgery to embrace life, love, family, and adventure, all while knowing that his time on this beautiful earth was drawing to a close.  What a gift!  What a joy to be entrusted with my magnificent man’s care for that precious time.”  Wade began his work at WLS in 1985 with Roma by his side, remaining with the station as it transitioned to talk in 1989 and moving to AM drive.  Current Salem Radio Network VP, news & talk programming Tom Tradup was VP and GM of the station and charged with flipping it to talk including firing some of the most beloved DJs in Chicago history. He says Wade stayed with the newly formatted station, “Don’s infectious good humor, intelligent grasp of the issues, and his uncanny ability to connect one-on-one with men and women throughout Chicagoland convinced me he had to stay.  He and Roma (in those days they kept their marriage a secret) were the very first ‘hires’ I made at the new WLS Talkradio 890.  Over the years, Don’s popularity—and our ratings and revenue—soared as he and Roma woke up countless hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans.”  Chicago media writer Robert Feder has more on Wade’s passing here.

millerchrisMad Social Networking Skills.  Noted digital radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Chris Miller tackles the question, “So what is it that differentiates ‘mad’ social networking skills from ‘casual’ skills, or just plain competency?”  Does it involve video shooting and editing, coding, HTML, or actual IT knowledge?  In a new column posted today (9/9) Miller writes, “There’s more to being a good jock than listening to yourself talk.  There’s more to being a good sales manager than just knowing a lot of clients.  And, there’s more to having ‘mad’ social networking skills than being passionate about posting a ton of stuff!”  He goes through five levels to which truly effective social networking skills must rise to be truly effective.  They are: 1) Know your target; 2) Know how to talk and listen to your target; 3)  Learn how to write well and with style; 4) Understand what fits and doesn’t fit in terms of actual content; and 5)  Actively remain engaged to know if your message is reaching the target.  To read Chris Miller’s entire column, please click here.

iheartradiotalkClear Channel Launched Update App for iHeartRadio Talk.  The beta version of iHeartRadio Talk was released in July was done with what president of digital Brian Lakamp admits is “very limited mobile functionality.”  But now the company is offering new updates for iOS and Android apps to allow users to access more talk content.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment states, “The updated apps will feature a directory for talk that now allows users the ability to browse and select from hundreds of programs.  For the first time ever, segments from ‘The View’ and ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’ will be available to coincide with ABC‘s new season.”  CC believes that iHeartRadio Talk is “the first audio platform offering on-demand, listener-created talk content alongside popular news, celebrity and entertainment audiosodes…The service is trending to be a more popular feature for men than women, though iHeartRadio’s demographic has traditionally skewed more female, allowing the digital service to attract a burgeoning audience.”

esiasonboomerBoomer Esiason Debuts on Boston’s ‘Sports Hub.’  The ever-busy Boomer Esiason – co-host of the ‘Boomer & Carton’ morning drive show on CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York, sports TV personality and color man for WestwoodOne’s Monday Night Football broadcasts – is debuting on CBS O&O WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” today.  For the past couple of years, Esiason made a Monday morning appearance on crosstown WEEI, Boston with John Dennis and Gerry Callahan.  The segment was recorded before Esiason went on the air on WFAN.  Now, Esiason continues reaching Boston sports fans with his expertise with WBZ-FM’s Toucher & Rich.

salisburyseanSean Salisbury Teams with John Harris for Midday Show on Yahoo! Sports Radio.  Former NFL quarterback and sports talk media pro Sean Salisbury becomes part of the Yahoo! Sports Radio network lineup as co-host of “The War Room” with John Harris airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET daily.  Yahoo! Sports Radio CEO David Gow states, “Sean is a big-time addition to our lineup.  He does his homework, he is insightful and he is not afraid to voice his opinions.   And the combination of Harris and Salisbury provides some of the strongest football coverage in sports – we are delighted to announce his addition at the start of the NFL season.”  Salisbury adds, “I am excited to join Yahoo! Sports Radio and to work with John Harris.  I really look forward to working with the entire team there and creating great shows.  During his media career, Salisbury has worked for ESPN and CBS Radio.  He is currently on the Dallas Cowboys pre-game show for Fox Sports TV in Dallas.

siriusxmExecutive Changes and Promotions at SiriusXM.  An internal memo from SiriusXM president and content officer Scott Greenstein informs staff of some new management changes and congratulates those who’ve been promoted.  First, Jeremy Coleman, head of talk and entertainment for much of the past 10 years is named senior vice president, Howard Stern channels.  Greenstein notes that Coleman “worked closely on the initial development of the channels before Howard’s official launch on SiriusXM in 2006, and is now excited to move over to work with Howard and his team on further growth.”  Also, Tim Sabean is named senior vice president, entertainment and comedy.  He’ll oversee the comedy channels, as well as a variety of other key entertainment assets including: Opie & Anthony, Piolín Radio, Jason Ellis, Ron & Fez, Covino & Rich, and Dino Costa, as well as the Radio Sex channel.  Dave Gorab is promoted to vice president and general manager, talk programming.  Greenstein says Gorab has been instrumental in building the news and political talk channels and will expand his oversight to include politics, news, women’s, family, health, educational, religious and specialty talk programming.

mikemorrisbobsansevereCumulus Sports Talk “105 FM The Ticket” in Minneapolis Adds Local Talk with Help from Tom Barnard.  The Twin Cities sports talk tri-mulcast of WGVX (105.1), WGVZ (105.7), and 105.3 FM – up ‘til now relying on content from CBS Sports Radio Network – is adding a local PM drive program beginning todaybarnardtom featuring Mike Morris (left) and Bob Sansevere (right) from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Tom Barnard – morning institution who’s heard on the company’s rock KQRS – will also be heard on the station as the third hour of Barnard’s podcast will be aired from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm on the sports station.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Neal Justin reports Barnard is bringing former WCCO personality Don Shelby aboard his three-hour podcast as his sidekick and he’ll also be part of the third hour sports talk segment.  KQRS operations manager Scott Jameson tells the paper, “We’ve got two well-performing rock stations and it’s smart to leverage those brands to help our baby brother grow up.”

wtoplogoVeteran Journalist Mike Murillo Joins WTOP, Washington.  Mike Murillo becomes part of the WTOP, Washington staff as an anchor and reporter beginning today (9/9).  Most recently, Murillo worked at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia as anchor/reporter, studio technician and web andmurillomichael social media manager.  Prior to his stint in Philly, Murillo was a reporter at “FM News 101.9” in New York.  Murillo says, “Like many in this business, for years I have admired WTOP from afar.  I am truly excited to now become a member of this amazing news team.”  WTOP program director Laurie Cantillo adds, “Mike does it all.  Not only is he a seasoned anchor and street reporter, he’s a skilled web designer and broadcast technician.  We’re excited to have him join WTOP’s team of broadcast and digital journalists.”

Odds & Sods.  CBS Radio freelance reporter Donna Francavilla tells TALKERS magazine she is returning to TV for the first time in 15 years.  Though she will continue her freelance for CBS Radio, Francavilla has accepted a temporary, part-time on-air position at WBMA-TV, Birmingham, Alabama.  She recently won first, second and third place national communication awards from the National Federation of Press Women, serves as an Edward R. Murrow judge, freelances occasionally for Oprah’s OWN Network, and established a consulting company called Frankly Speaking Communications, LLC…..Cox Media Group’s news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton is the local affiliate for Cleveland Browns football.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

| May 8, 2013

cumulusCumulus Q1 Revenue Drops 1.3%.  The 2013 first quarter revenue numbers for Cumulus Media were $232 million – a decrease of $3.1 million or 1.3% compared to the same period a year ago.  In its filing with the SEC, the company attributes the drop to “lower political revenues and general lower advertising spending in some of our markets.”

dickeylewLew Dickey Says Underperforming Stations Improving But Not Fixed; Syndicated Talk ‘Continues to Be Challenged.’  During the Tuesday conference call with investors announcing Cumulus Media’s 2013 first quarter revenue figures, CEO Lew Dickey addressed the syndicated talk division’s performance as well as six of its major market news/talk stations.  Quick to address the 10 major market stations he’d blamed for pulling down the entire company’s previous revenue totals, he said, “Several of our big news/talk stations are now growing, including: WABC – which is leading the pack in New York, KABC in Los Angeles, WLS in Chicago, KSFO in San Francisco, WMAL in Washington, D.C. and WJR in Detroit, all are growing.  Our team is working very hard, and we’ve adapted to ad market changes. And again, these stations are nowlimbaughrush posting revenue growth.”  He only vaguely touched on the Rush Limbaugh controversy during Q&A saying network sales has been challenged but is starting to pick up.  Dickey praised the company’s heritage AM talkers for their potential and stated, “Our charge over the next five years is to continue to expose our audience and all of these major markets to the industry’s most talented performers while developing the next generation of talk radio superstars.  By the way, this is true for our sports talk stations as well.”  Dickey said that original group of 10 trouble franchises is down to six.  “And we confirm our earlier statement that this original group of 10 stations would be negative in the first quarter, flat in Q2 and then rebounding in the back half of the year to post positive full year growth in 2013. And in fact, we can say that we’re actually a little ahead of that schedule right now.”  But he also noted that while WBAP, Dallas is starting to come around, KGO, San Francisco – which it turned to largely a news station – is still not where they want it to be.  Regarding the company’s deal with CBS Radio and the CBS Sports Radio Network, Dickey reports the rollout has reached almost 300 affiliates and is surpassing expected revenue targets.  “We are highly encouraged by our early success and expect CBS Sports Radio to be a material growth driver in 2014 and beyond.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  You can read the entire transcript here.

hendriephilTalk Radio Network and Phil Hendrie to End Syndication Effort.  Talk Radio Network announces that it will cease syndication of the Phil Hendrie radio program as of June 25, 2013.  TRN began syndicating the program in 2007 after it had been parted from its original syndicator – Premiere Networks – for about a year.  TRN CEO Mark Masters states, “I believed in Phil then, and I still think he is a comic genius on air.  He will always be a radio icon to me.  We are proud to have rebuilt the Phil Hendrie show by adding over 100 stations, along with creating robust growth to Phil’s online presence, but, due to world events, the economy, and the state of radio in this country, we have decided to go in another direction in that daypart – we wish Phil all the best in his future endeavors.”  From his perspective, Hendrie issues the following statement: “Phil Hendrie has elected not to pursue any further association with Talk Radio Network.  As he delves deeper into his successful digital platform and ongoing television and film work, Hendrie remains open to terrestrial radio opportunities, but only those with strong sales, marketing and programming support.”

guthriekimCox Media Group Promotes Kim Guthrie to EVP Radio; Jane Williams to EVP Television and Marian Pittman to VP of News & Marketing for TV.  Cox Media Group announces several promotions.  Kim Guthrie, who had been serving as senior vice president of radio, overseeing all of the company’s radio stations, is promoted to executive vice president of radio and she reports to new CMG president Bill Hoffman.  Guthrie joined Cox Radio in 1998 as VP and GM for its Long Island, properties and has been Regional VP for Cox Radio, where her stations have won multiple honors – including Marconi awards, Crystal Awards, New York Air Awards, AWRT Gracie Awards – for programming excellence and outstanding community service.  Hoffman says of Guthrie (and EVP of television Jane Williams), “Both are proven CMG leaders and are highly respected throughout the media industry.  Kim and Jane, along with our local leadership, have ensured our broadcast stations’ ongoing success, and I am honored to have them in these vitally-strategic executive positions.”  At the same time, Marian Pittman is promoted from her post as station manager of WSB-TV, Atlanta to vice president of news & marketing for television for the company.

chapmanjJ Chapman Heads Up Woof Boom Radio to Buy Indiana Stations.  The Backyard Broadcasting Muncie, Indiana market stations that Woof Boom is buying include: hot AC WLBC, oldies WERK, sports talk WXFN, news/talk WHBU, and classic rock simulcast WMXQ and WMQX “Max.”  Jerry “J” Chapman’s Woof Boom Radio is made up of a group of local investors, headed by Chapman, who have formed Woof Boom Radio, a nod to the longtime dominance of WFBM in Indiana broadcasting from the beginnings of radio in the 1920s until the mid-1970s.  The other owners include: Ray Kennedy, Conormara Investments;  Jason Farmer, managing director of WestBridge Investments; and Aaron Reitz.  In a statement, Woof Boom says of Chapman, “A 17-year radio woofboom logoexecutive with Indianapolis-based Emmis and most recently with Maverick Media of Rockford, Illinois, Chapman is a graduate of Hanover and literally grew up in the broadcasting industry.  His father led Indianapolis WFBM Radio & TV for three decades, and J got an early start in the media business when assigned by his father to mow the grass at the TV station’s north side Indianapolis transmitter site.”  Chapman says of his new venture, “I’m very excited to come home and put my years of experience in the vibrant radio industry to good use back in Indiana.  The stations we’re acquiring are vital links between listeners and the local community.  We intend to utilize those radio resources to help grow our customers’ businesses and to improve the quality of entertainment and information in our new communities.  Best of all, the management of this group of stations will be local to serve local needs.  We want to make a great thing even better, and Woof Boom Radio intends to start off on the right foot.”

sabowalterThe Secret of Managing Controversy.  As the talk radio industry grapples with the dilemma of balancing the two realities of controversy (on the plus side, it attracts loyal audience – on the downside, it attracts enemies and scares advertisers) noted media consultant and TALKERS columnist Walter Sabo offers a simple solution.  In an article posted today (5/8) he cites a simple but powerfully effective method used by some of the greatest talk radio managers of all time:  Let the hosts be opinionated, controversial and even outrageous – but keep the station itself absolutely neutral!  He goes on to explain why this is key to a successful operation.  To read Walter Sabo’s entire piece, click here.

kion logoMark Carbonaro Remains with KION, Salinas in News Capacity.  Yesterday, TALKERS reported that Mark Carbonaro was out at Clear Channel’s KION, Salinas, California as the company was importing KSTE, Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty for morning drive.  We learn via The Californian that Carbonaro remains with the station handling the morning drive news operations and other news department duties.  General manager Rhonda McCormack tells the paper, “We are continuing to evolve our product with new and compelling offerings that will complement Mark’s contributions and allow him more time and flexibility to cover local news and events.  It was a business decision.  We think Armstrong & Getty will resonate well with the audience on KION.  Mark Carbonaro is on Monday – Friday, 6:00 am to 9:00 am with Armstrong & Getty.  Mark reports on the local news, sports, weather and traffic, plus expert segments that will run throughout the day, Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings in the 10:00 am hour, ‘The Saturday Insider with Mark Carbonaro.’”

winercherylCheryl Winer Named National Account Manager for Sun Broadcast Group.  Radio sales pro Cheryl Winer is named national account manager for Sun Broadcast Group where she’ll work from the company’s New York City office assisting in servicing the company’s fast-growing roster of agency and client partners.  Founder and CEO Jason Bailey states, “2013 has been such an exciting time in our company’s growth.  With the addition of Cheryl to our first-class sales team I truly believe we send a clear message to the industry that Sun Broadcast Group is, and will continue to be, the leader in a very new kind of service for network radio advertisers and program suppliers.”  Speaking about her new position with Sun, Winer says, “Over the past several years I have been searching for an entrepreneurial environment, which would replicate my experience at Premiere in the early days.  I am so very excited to say that I have found that in Sun Broadcast Group!  I look forward to participating in the growth of this fast-paced, cutting edge company.”

arbitronArbitron Reports Q1 Revenue Up 5.1%.  Income for the ratings firm was down to $0.60 per share for the first quarter of 2013, compared to $0.64 per share during the same period in 2012.  However, income was up 5.1% on revenue of $111.8 million compared to the same period a year ago.  The company states that costs and expenses increased 8.3% from Q1 2012 to Q1 2013.  “In addition to the $3.2 million of expenses related to the pendingcreamersean Nielsen transaction, costs in the quarter increased as a result of planned incremental investments in Arbitron Mobile panels, costs associated with address-based sampling, in-person recruiting, and cell-phone household recruiting.”  President and CEO Sean Creamer states, “In the first quarter, we continued to pursue our long-standing objectives: maintaining our investments in the quality of our radio ratings services, growing our core revenue, and entering new markets such as digital radio, cross-platform, and mobile.  Our focus on the quality of our core services helped us achieve Media Rating Council accreditation of four additional Portable People Meter markets in February.  Our goal remains achieving or maintaining accreditation in all our syndicated radio markets.  We continue working to leverage our investment in the PPM technology and consumer panels utilizing our platform in new initiatives such as advertising and promotion effectiveness studies, while enhancing our measurement capabilities for radio and across platforms.”

sagaSaga Communications Q1 Net Revenue Down 1.3%.  To use the words of Saga Communications SVP, treasurer and CFO Sam Bush, the first quarter of 2013 was “challenging” for the company.  In a conference call with investors, Bush reports that the company saw a dramatic decline in political advertising from the first quarter of 2012 to the same period in 2013.  Gross national revenue was also down by more than $500,000 but a good quarter for local revenue helped combat that drop.

salemcommunicationsSalem Communications Sees 1.3% Revenue Dip in Q1.  That’s across the board for all of Salem’s platforms and comes largely because Salem had such an outstanding 2012 in the political advertising category.  Breaking things apart a bit, CEO Ed Atsinger reports that the company’s business news segment is doing well, increasing 4% while the news/talk radio division was down 7%.  The Christian teaching formats were down 3% though the Christian contemporary group was up 5% compared to the same period a year ago.  The Salem Radio Network was down 10% from Q1 in 2012.

wtoplogoWTOP, Washington Site the Victim of Hacking.  Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington and its sister WFED had their websites hacked earlier this week.  The attacks may have affected visitors using Internet Explorer but not other web browsers.  A message on WTOP.com states, “WTOP.com is currently dealing with a malicious cyber attack.  We are working diligently to contain and stop the attack, and apologize for any inconvenience this has caused.”  The Washington Post reports that an internet security expert says the hackers installed two types of malware – one designed to look like an anti-virus software service that would get the subscriber’s credit card number, the other designed to control clicks from the user’s computer to inflate the number of actual clicks on digital ads.

Benghazi Whistleblower, Cleveland Women Freed from Captivity, Sanford South Carolina Race, Immigration Amnesty Issue and North Korea Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/7).  The testimony about the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; the case of the Cleveland women freed from captivity after 10 years; the South Carolina race for House seat between Mark Sanford and Elizabeth Colbert Busch; the amnesty for illegal immigrants issue; and North Korea’s military threats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

| May 7, 2013

huckabeemikeMike Huckabee Considers Radio Future in Arkansas Business Story.  In a piece that ran in Arkansas Business yesterday, Cumulus Media Networks nationally syndicated talk host – and former Arkansas governor and U.S. presidential candidate – Mike Huckabee speaks openly about his current media projects and how his political experience has helped his media career.  Huckabee gives no clear indication he’ll stop doing the daily three-hour show, but neither does he sound all-in when he states, “Within the next month, I’ll decide if I want to continue it or not. I know we will, but it’s just such an incredibly intensive process that I really have to decide that I want to spend that kind of time…”  Huckabee describes the long days preparing for the program and how he works that in with his Fox News Channel weekend program.  “I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting in it and what the return is.  How long it will take to make it what I call hopefully disgustingly profitable.  That’s what one always hopes for in a deal like this.”  Read the entire story here.

kinosianmikeCan Radio Overcome its Smothering Debt and Be a Viable Business in this New Era?  That, according to Michael Harrison is THE existential question facing the industry today — and one that TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo tackle head-on in a blockbuster article posted May 2 in BOTH trade publications.  Researched and written by TALKERS/RadioInfo west coast bureau chief/managing editor Mike Kinosian, this extensive piece taps deeply into the christianedexperience, wisdom and vision of a stellar panel of industry power-players who share their real world perspectives of this pressing issue that directly ties into the future of radio as both a medium and a business.  They include (in alphabetical order): Sandi Bergman of MyMediaBroker, Ed Christian of Saga Communications, smulyanjeffErica Farber of the RAB, Charlie Gross of Newsweb Radio Corp., Michael Harrison of TALKERS/RadioInfo, Jerry Lee of WBEB (“B101”) in Philadelphia, Chuck Lontine of Headwaters MB, David Pearlman of American Radio Systems, Ed Perry of WATD in Marshfield, MA, Tom Quinn of Americom Broadcasting, Jeff Smulyan of Emmis Broadcasting, Peter Smyth of Greater Media and Dave Van Dyke of Radiate Media.  Upon the publication of this information-packed article, TALKERS/RadioInfo VP/executive editor Kevin Casey states, “This is one of the mostsmythpeter important pieces published in the radio trades in years and I advise anyone in this business who cares about its future to take the time to read it thoroughly.  It dives right into the most pressing issue facing all of us today and provides insight from all angles – big-time groups, large and small market stations, investment banks, services providers, and advertising advocates.  A piece like this gets to the very heart of what will determine radio’s future – its ability to function and options to consider as a viable business in a daunting, obstacle-ridden environment.”  Read Mike Kinosian’s story here.

kion logoMark Carbonaro Out at KION, Salinas, California; Armstrong & Getty In.  According to a report in The Californian, local morning drive host Mark Carbonaro’s program has been replaced on KION, Salinas with the Sacramento-based Armstrong & Getty show.  Californian writer Jeff Mitchell reports that calls to local management were not returned prior to his deadline.  Both KION and Armstrong & Getty’s home station KSTE are owned by Clear Channel.

wnsr logoWNSR, Nashville to Get FM Simulcast in June.  Nashville Sports Radio’s WNSR, Nashville will simulcast on 95.9 in addition to its 560 signal early this summer.  The station says it will position itself as “Nashville’s SportsRadio 560 on 95.9 FM.”  The new FM signal will be located near the Davidson/Williamson County line, providing excellent 24-hour coverage of WNSR’s programming.  General sales manager and afternoon host Thom Abraham states, “Before the Predators and Titans, WNSR brought sports programming to the airwaves in Nashville.  This station has stayed true to the format for over 15 years and we are now excited to make it available on the FM band.  The new logo puts the emphasis on WNSR, which has stood for Nashville’s Sports Radio since 1997, something we are very proud of, and something I have come to appreciate since coming here four years ago.”

foxnewsradioFox News Radio Offers Memorial Day Weekend Specials.  The network is offering two hour-long special programs for air during the Memorial Day Weekend.  “Remembering Iraq” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Griff Jenkins and reflects on the 10 years since the United States entered the Iraq War.  Jenkins will take a look at the front lines and those who were affected by the war, including the men and women who served as well as their spouses and children.  “The Next Disaster” is hosted by Fox News Channel’s Janice Dean.  It’s a multi-part series that examines disasters, including tornados, earthquakes and terrorist attacks and how to best prepare for them. Additionally, Dean will take a look at how weather forecasting and other technology have helped people prepare for natural disasters in the past and will also report on the impact of early warnings.  More information about the specials can be found on the Fox News Radio affiliate website in the specials section.

wdae logoSports Talk WDAE, Tampa Gets FM Simulcast on 95.3.  The signal is 250-watt translator W237CW that was most recently simulcasting the audio of Clear Channel’s hip hop WBTP “95.7 The Beat.”  CC flips it over to sports talker WDAE.  The AM 620 signal of WDAE covers the market just fine but now the station will have an FM presence that’s strongest in St. Petersburg, Pinellas Park and Clearwater.

Benghazi Cover-up Allegations, Syria-Israel Tensions, Obama OSU Commencement, and North Korea Missile Threat Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6).  New information regarding the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the political ramifications; military tensions between Israel and Syria; President Obama’s commencement speech at Ohio State University over the weekend; and the North Korean missile threat were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.