My Adventure Becoming a Member of a Historic Rock Band
By Michael Harrison
My history with this colorful band goes back to 1971 when I played them just about every day on my WNEW-FM, New York morning show. They released two albums (Mercury Records and Kama Sutra Records) in that era that received critical praise and lots of airplay on FM album rock stations in NYC and beyond. They also had a hit single on AM top 40 radio – “Back When My Hair Was Short” in the early 1970s.
Monday Memo: “And The Winner Is…” Like the Super Bowl, this Sunday’s Academy Awards telecast is one of the few remaining events so many of us still witness in real-time. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke bemoans poorly prepared acceptance speeches, and urges “radio talkers to take the hint.” Read his column here.
Pending Business: Rates, Rotation, Negotiation. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that sellers focusing only on the packages management creates are not serving their clients as well as they could. “Ask the right questions, listen carefully and your advertiser will tell you how to sell them…or not. Yet most sellers are focused on their own goals pushing for the package of the week. They fail to listen, ignoring the advertiser’s goals.” Read his column here.
Morning Host Bob Flaherty’s Exit from WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts Prompts Programming Changes. The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports that Bob Flaherty exited Saga Communications’ news/talk WHMP-AM, Northampton, Massachusetts in late March after what he describes as “a couple of rants” about his thoughts on punishment for the gunmen responsible for mass shootings. He tells the paper, “I was fired. From what I can understand, this came directly from corporate, which is Saga Communications. It had to do with a couple of rants, I guess you would call them, over the last few weeks.” Flaherty, who hosted the morning drive show on the station for the past 11 years, says, “I have nothing but respect and love for my colleagues in Northampton. These are great, great people. I’ve enjoyed every minute.” The station is now airing Compass Media Networks’ “This Morning with Gordon Deal” in the morning drive daypart. It moved “The Thom Hartmann Program” to the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot and added the Howie Carr Radio Network’s “The Grace Curley Show” for the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. Regarding the changes in the morning programming, WHMP general manager Mike Ekblom says ultimately, his goal is to have local programming from 7:00 am to 9:00 am daily.
Dickey Broadcasting Flips WFOM-AM/W292EV, Atlanta to News/Talk. Shucking the sports talk format, Dickey Broadcasting Company announces WFOM-AM/W292EV, Atlanta debuts its new talk format and branding as “XTRA 106.3FM – Atlanta’s Most Conservative News & Talk Station.” The program schedule includes programming from FOX News Radio and Premiere Networks. The lineup is: “Morning XTRA” (Mondays only), “FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla,” “The Glenn Beck Program,” “The Rush Limbaugh Show,” “The Guy Benson Show,” “The Buck Sexton Show,” and “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory.” Dickey Broadcasting president David Dickey comments, “We are excited to announce the return of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and FOX News, among many other great names, to the Atlanta market. These voices have entertained and informed generations of Atlantans and will now continue to do so on ‘XTRA 106.3FM’ and streaming on the XTRA app. Atlantans deserve great options for their news and information. We are proud that we can deliver this popular content to millions of listeners who feel they’ve been disenfranchised by recent programming shifts.”
Ethics Board Rules in Favor of Valdosta, Georgia Mayor Scott James Matheson in Radio Show Complaint. The ethics complaint filed against Valdosta, Georgia Mayor Scott James Matheson has been dismissed by the city’s three-member ethics board by a 2-1 vote. Back in February, four Valdosta, Georgia community organizations petitioned the city clerk to look into what they called ethics violations by Matheson, who is also principal of Small Town Broadcasting, owner of talk outlet WDDQ-FM on which Matheson co-hosts the morning show. The organizations – Concerned Clergies of Valdosta, NAACP Lowndes Chapter, The Mary Turner Project, and Valdosta/Lowndes Community Alliance – say Matheson’s comments on his radio program included unsubstantiated claims of illegal voter canvassing and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud and that qualified as a violation of six tenets of the City of Valdosta’s Code of Ethics for elected officials. The board ultimately ruled that Matheson engaged in speech protected by the First Amendment.
TALKERS News Notes. A new true crime series from PodcastOne is premiering tomorrow (4/20) called “Final Days on Earth” that features longtime CBS News journalist and producer Claire St. Amant. The program is an investigative podcast franchise from Cold Case Productions that examines mysterious deaths that have elements of an accident, murder, or suicide – and sometimes all three. In season one – “The Life and Death of Dammion Heard” – St. Amant investigates the baffling disappearance and mysterious death of Texas state champion wrestler Dammion Heard…..iHeartMedia announces its exclusive podcast partnership to launch the NFL’s podcast network that includes the distribution of NFL Media’s existing podcasts, (“Around the NFL,” “Move the Sticks,” “NFL Fantasy Football,” “Huddle and Flow,” “NFL Total Access: The Locker Room,” “Good Morning Football” and “NFL Legends”) as well as the co-production and distribution of two dozen new original podcasts. iHeartMedia Digital Audio Group CEO Conal Byrne comments, “Our partnership with the NFL is an incredible moment for iHeart – and the podcast industry, period. The NFL represents sports at its highest level – with the greatest athletes and the most heart-pounding games the world has seen. These are legendary stories, and we can’t wait to roll out a slate of incredible new podcasts to capture it all – for iHeart’s huge audience and the NFL’s massive fanbase alike.”…..Audacy reveals the launch of “Ultimate Mock Draft 2021,” a six-episode series leading up to the NFL Draft presented in partnership with the Locked On Podcast Network. The series will be released in 45-minute episodes, weekdays from today through next Monday (4/26). The series is hosted by Brian Peacock and Matt Williamson and episodes include a dive-deep into each team’s needs, draft strategy, player short-list, and “Ultimate Mock Draft” pick for the first round of the NFL Draft. Audacy VP of sports Matthew Volk says, “No other sports platform has the unique combination of national voices combined with the localized and team-specific influencers and opinion leaders, and this series will help get football fans fully prepped for this year’s draft, no matter their favorite team. Each year, the NFL Draft helps turn the page to the upcoming season and we’re looking forward to previewing this year’s event alongside our partners at Locked On.”
Mass Shootings/Gun Control, COVID-19, Border Crisis/Immigration Policy, Daunte Wright Shooting/Derek Chauvin Trial, U.S. to Exit Afghanistan, Newsom Recall/Caitlyn Jenner Challenge Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The spate of mass shootings in the U.S., including at the FedEx facility in Indianapolis, in Austin, and at a Kenosha bar, as well as the related issue of gun control legislation; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the lifting of restrictions in numerous states; the large number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the police shootings that killed Daunte Wright in Minneapolis and Adam Toledo in Chicago and the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin; President Joe Biden’s order to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan by September 11; and the recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom and the report that Caitlyn Jenner is among potential challengers were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Alpha Media to Buy WFTL and WMEN in Palm Beaches. This deal brings two spoken-word formatted AMs into Alpha Media’s West Palm Beach station group, joining current holdings adult contemporary WEAT “Sunny 107.9” and hot AC WRMF. News/talk WFTL, West Palm Beach and sports talk WMEN, Royal Palm Beach are being sold by Mark Jorgenson’s ACM JCE IV B, LLC to Alpha for $ 2 million. Jorgenson’s firm acquired the stations from James Crystal in a 2015 bankruptcy auction. Alpha begins operating the two stations under an LMA until closing.
Westwood One and Entercom Partner to Syndicate ‘Beyond Reality Radio.’ Last August, Entercom launched the “Beyond Reality Radio” program across a number of its news/talk stations. Now, the company is partnering with Westwood One to put the program into national syndication. “Beyond Reality Radio” airs weeknights live from 12:00 midnight to 2:00 am ET and is co-hosted by Jason Hawes, co-founder of The Atlantic Paranormal Society and the creator and star of Syfy’s hit “Ghost Hunters,” and JV Johnson, a long-time paranormal investigator and former publisher and editor of TAPS’ ParaMagazine. Entercom stations airing the show include: KJCE, Austin; WRKO, Boston; WBEN, Buffalo; KEZW, Denver; WSKY, Gainesville; WYRD, Greenville; WBZU/WKZN/WILK, Wilkes-Barre; KMBZ, Kansas City; WWL, New Orleans; WBT, Charlotte; and KNSS, Wichita. Westwood One will roll out syndication to stations nationwide and represent ad sales as it launches on March 6.
TALKERS News Notes. In the Triangle market, Capitol Broadcasting’s sports talk WCMC, Raleigh “99.9 The Fan” and its affiliate digital platform WRALsportsfan.com partners with contributor Lauren Brownlow to present a special, eight-episode podcast investigating the “supernatural history” of North Carolina State University and the legendary “curse” that haunts Wolfpack Nation. Brownlow says, “Growing up in North Carolina and covering the area teams for over a decade, I’ve long been fascinated with the dedication of NC State fans in spite of a recent string of bad luck, which contrasts sharply with a rich and successful overall athletic history. When I learned about the recently conceived concept of ‘NC State Stuff – What can go wrong for NC State will go wrong,’ and that it had a name, I knew I had to learn more about it. I’ve never believed in it, but I kept an open mind going into this podcast and wanted to figure out, once and for all, if there’s anything to it.”…..Entertainment consulting firm Paragon Media Strategies names Michelle Conrad as social+mobile+digital consultant. Paragon CEO Mike Henry said, “It’s great to add a true Millennial to Paragon’s consulting ranks. Michelle Conrad is a native digital user and lifelong social media explorer. Michelle brings hands-on experience working with entertainment brands, including ABC, Nickelodeon and GoPro. She is uniquely suited to ensure that the social, mobile and digital experience is completely in synch with the overall brand experience.”…..Westwood One reports the results of a Nielsen study it commissioned to examine the return on investment for advertisers using WW1’s coverage of NFL football and NCAA basketball play-by-play. WW1 says some of the key findings of the study include that, 1) radio elevated key brand perceptions. For example, those exposed to Westwood One’s NCAA basketball audio were 37% more likely to indicate the motorcycle manufacturer was the brand for people like them versus those who were not exposed to the campaign; 2) the radio campaign had significant advertiser recall among key demographics for the brand. Among those who have ever owned a motorcycle, those exposed to Westwood One’s NCAA basketball audio were 72% more likely to recall the brand’s ads; and 3) radio had a stunning impact on every stage of the purchase funnel, including purchase intent: Compared to those who had not heard the campaign, those exposed to the radio campaign had a 63% increase in plans to purchase the brand. See more of the results in WW1 chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard’s blog post here…..The Radio Advertising Bureau names 17-year RAB staffer Tiffiney Wyatt to the newly created position, business development & insights associate. At the same time, joining the membership team at the RAB is Rita Landells.
Trump’s Travel Ban Battle, North Korea Missile Incident/Trump Security Questions, Michael Flynn Under Fire-Resignation, California Dam Concerns, ‘SNL’ Trump Sketches, Tumultuous GOP Town Halls, and Sunday’s Grammy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/13). The court battles over his original travel ban and potential new executive travel orders from President Donald Trump and related protests over his perceived anti-immigration stance; North Korea’s weekend test of an ICBM and related questions about presidential and national security after Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe learned of and discussed the matter in the Mar-A-Lago dining room; National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn resigns after ongoing questions about his improper communications with Russian diplomats; the status of a Northern California dam spillway as it threatens the residences of some 200,000 evacuees; the flap over the series of Trump Administration spoofs aired on “Saturday Night Live”; the raucous town hall receptions some GOP lawmakers are receiving in their districts; and Sunday night’s Grammy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Music radio pro Zakk Babb stays in the Entercom family in his new position as afternoon drive personality and imaging director for CHR WZPL, Indianapolis. Babb has been hosting evenings at Entercom’s hot AC WSTR, Atlanta “Star 94.1” – a position he’ll continue to hold as he’ll voice track the show from Indy…..Due to his ongoing cancer treatment, John Thomas is stepping away from his SVP of programming role at iHeartMedia’s Springfield, Massachusetts cluster in which he oversees programming at news/talk WHYN-AM, hot AC WHYN-FM, and country WRNX. In a Facebook post, Thomas writes, “After a lot of prayer, weighing the pros & cons and deep soul-searching – I’ve decided to resign from my position @ iHeart in order to FOCUS 100% on my HEALTH! Over the course of the next several weeks – I’ll be transitioning in order to put myself in the BEST possible position to benefit from the clinical trial that I started a few weeks back.”…..Cumulus Media announces that the nationally syndicated Kidd Kraddick show – starring Kellie Rasberry, Big Al Mack, J-Si Chavez and Jenna Owens – is the new morning program on its CHR KBIU, Lake Charles “HOT 103.3.”…..In the Lafayette, Louisiana market, programming pro Tyrone Davis exits Delta Media’s urban contemporary KFXZ “Z105.9” where he’d been serving as program director and music director. His duties will be assumed by operations manager Erik Tobias.
Bloomberg and CBS RADIO Partner to Make WNEW-FM, Washington into ‘Bloomberg Radio.’ A new agreement between CBS RADIO and Bloomberg results in the launch of “Bloomberg Radio” on WNEW-FM, Washington. The transition from CBS RADIO-programmed all-news to Bloomberg’s programming means the station will deliver “business and financial news along with non-partisan coverage of politics, policy, power, and influence to Washington, D.C.” The programming will also be heard on WJZ-HD2 at 105.7. In a press statement, Bloomberg says this deal “marks the launch of Bloomberg Radio on its first FM station. Led by Bloomberg’s Washington bureau and the company’s global news operation, Bloomberg 99.1 will draw upon the strength of reporting from 2,400 journalists in 150 news bureaus across 73 countries. Bloomberg News, one of the world’s leading financial news organizations, produces 5,000 stories a day and has received more than 800 awards since it was founded in 1990, including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting.” The station will also air an audio simulcast of Bloomberg TV’s “With All Due Respect” with hosts Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. Global head of Bloomberg Television & Radio Al Mayers comments, “As we enter this critical election year, there’s no better time to introduce Bloomberg Radio to Washington. On the heels of recent expansions in Europe and Asia-Pacific, this launch marks an important step in our mission to extend the reach of Bloomberg Radio into the most important regions of the world. We will tap into the deep expertise of our Washington bureau to provide insights and analysis on policy and politics that listeners cannot easily find elsewhere.”
WABC, New York Names Rita Cosby Political Editor. This new title comes with expanded duties for Emmy-winning journalist Rita Cosby at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York. As political editor, Cosby will “cover the 2016 U.S. presidential race and other major political stories, bringing the freshest angles and key newsmakers to WABC Radio, including exclusive interviews with the most important and intriguing candidates.” WABC says Cosby will continue to host her eponymous Sunday morning show and will debut a new weekly election round-up show, “Election Central with Rita Cosby,” on Sunday, December 20, at 7:00 pm. Her first guests will include GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. She’ll oversee a weekly political column for “Election Central,” 77 WABC Radio’s weekly political e-newsletter, and contribute interviews to Westwood One News Network. WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “Rita’s vast political experience and unparalleled access to the major political players continue to make her a huge asset to 77 WABC in this expanded position.”
BIA/Kelsey Releases 2016 Local Media and Advertising Predictions. Advertising and marketing research and advisory firm BIA/Kelsey is releasing its predictions about local media advertising for 2016. The company says that this report “contains more than 20 predictions for the year ahead, offering insights for BIA/Kelsey’s key coverage areas, including mobile, social media, online media, search, online video, programmatic advertising, software, print media, small-business marketing, local media sales, broadcast media, publishing and the on-demand economy. As a teaser, the firm offers its Top 10 predictions (the whole report can be purchased) for 2016. The Top 10 highlights selected nuggets on the impact on local media and advertising by millennials, mobile payments, Facebook, Google, data-driven ad sales, yellow pages, ad attribution, programmatic advertising, the on-demand economy and online video. Some of the highlights investigated in the report include predictions that: Millennials will drive the next wave of marketing innovation; data-driven local ad sales becomes the new normal; the march of programmatic continues; and more. See more here.
‘Mike & Mike’ to Be Inducted into NAB Broadcasters Hall of Fame. At the NAB Show Radio Luncheon in Las Vegas next April 19, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, hosts of ESPN Radio’s daily morning show “Mike & Mike,” will be inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame. The program celebrate its 15th anniversary in March of this year. NAB EVP of Radio John David comments, “Golic and Greenberg, with their mix of sports savvy and humor, have been informing and entertaining fans for more than 15 years. The two have seamlessly combined their passion for sports with radio, and we are honored to add them to our distinguished Hall of Fame.”
Michael Medved Discusses His Battle Overcoming Throat Cancer and Other Compelling Issues. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Networks talk star Michael Medved gets “Up Close and Far Out” with Michael Harrison on the new installment of the hit PodcastOne series posted today (12/15). In a touching, candid conversation, Medved talks about his battle against throat cancer this past year that threatened not only his voice, but his life as well – including how it opened a whole new vista of understanding and appreciation to his thought processes and philosophy. In addition, Medved and Harrison talk about Donald Trump and his impact upon the Republican Party and the conservative movement in America. They also get into a broader conversation about Medved’s alternate career as a movie critic including the role he played in bringing awareness of Ed Wood’s “Plan 9 from Outer Space” to historic infamy as the worst picture of all time. To listen to this not-to-be-missed media freaks’ delight in its entirety please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player boxes located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.
KGMZ, San Francisco Adds FOX Sports Radio Programming. San Francisco sports talk outlet KGMZ “95.7 The GAME” is adding FOX Sports Radio show to its program schedule. The Entercom sports talker will add the Ben Maller show to its late-night daypart airing from 11:00 pm to 3:00 am as well as “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” airing from 3:00 am to 6:00 am. Additionally, KGMZ is airing FOX Sports Radio weekend programming from personalities including: Anthony Gargano, Lincoln Kennedy, Michael Harmon, Jason McIntyre and others.
2016 Presidential Race/GOP Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of December 14-18. The activities of the candidates for president in 2016 and Tuesday’s GOP primary debate tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 were the terror threats school districts including New York, Los Angeles, and Houston received. Coming in at #3 was the battle against Islamic State, followed by the U.S.’ refugee and immigration policies at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.