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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

| January 6, 2021

Radio Programming Legend Tom Bigby Dies at 77. The programming mind that helped build some of the most successful radio stations in modern history has died at the age of 77 after several years of heart issues. Tom Bigby programmed a number of stations with heritage calls – WIFI, WNEW, KOST, and WXYT – but he’s best known for being the PD behind Philadelphia sports talker WIP. In noting his passing, a piece on the WIP website says, “Known for his at times contentious relationship with talent and his radio-ready voice, Bigby is the most well-known, well-respected, and most iconic PD in the history of WIP. His legacy will include many things, but from a WIP perspective, his belief that the Eagles were the biggest thing in town, and that the fans should be heard will be two of the most lasting for WIP. His ‘two-minute rule’ and ‘once during the week, and once on the weekends rule’ for callers will not be far behind.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison says, “Tom was a program director in the true sense of the title as it existed in radio’s most recent golden age. He understood just about every aspect of radio and applied that knowledge and experience to the well-balanced intersection of programming, sales, promotion, and technology that marked the great stations of that era and inspired them to value their air product above all else. He was also a quirky friend, formidable negotiator, and larger-than-life individual the likes of which make him a true industry legend.” At WIP, Bigby worked with Philadelphia talent that included Howard Eskin, Rhea Hughes, Angelo Cataldi, Glen Macnow, Tony Bruno, Jody MacDonald, and Mike Missanelli, to name a few. A number of these posted their thoughts about working for Tom Bigby at the WIP website. You can read them here. Bigby leaves behind his wife Phyllis, two children and four grandchildren.

Salem Media Group Unveils Podcast Platform. With the new year comes a new venture from Salem Media Group as it announces the formation of the Salem Podcast Network – what the company calls “a new entity focused on bringing conservative content to more listeners and viewers.” The network’s first podcast partner is author and documentarian Dinesh D’Souza, whose new podcast “Pardon Me!” will debut on January 11 across all podcast platforms, as well as SalemNow.com, YouTube, and Rumble. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “This is a natural extension of the Salem brand, which is already considered one of the strongest in conservative media. Salem will be producing more content with meaningful names on the conservative side, so look for more big announcements soon. The future for podcasting is unlimited, and our efforts will tightly focus on hosts who will contribute to our brand and to the message.” The company announces that WIND-AM, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” program director Marcus Brown is taking on the additional role of director of content strategy for the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Broadcast Division president David Santrella adds, “Salem’s brand of podcasting will remain consistent with what Salem is best known for — content that approaches the issues through a biblical worldview and a politically conservative lens. Podcast listeners will know that when they come to the Salem Podcast Network, they’ll find content that addresses the issues they care most about.”

WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence to Drop Andy Gresh Show. GoLocalProv.com tips us that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence and evening sports talk host Andy Gresh are unable to come to terms and Gresh will exit the station after his Friday evening program (1/8). Gresh tells the news site, “Basically, we have a business disagreement.” GoLocalProv.com reports that former Providence Journal sports reporter Kevin McNamara will host a one-hour program from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot will be filled a by a syndicated program.

WNYM, New York Adds Ben Shapiro for Afternoons. New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” announces it is adding the Westwood One syndicated “Ben Shapiro Show” to its daily lineup. Salem Media Group says the program will air at 5:00 pm (except on Wednesdays when it airs at 9:00 pm). Shapiro’s podcast will air evenings at 9:00 pm. To make room, the station moves the Kevin McCullough program to a 7:00 pm start. Additionally, WNYM is adding “Real Estate Today,” the official radio program of the National Association of Realtors hosted by Stephen Gasque, to its program schedule. It will follow “Eye on Real Estate” hosted by New York City real estate expert Dottie Herman. Salem Media Group vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “We’re always looking for ways to make our lineup stronger, and these changes will do just that. Shapiro is a rising young superstar on talk radio. The real estate show will give our listeners great information and content. Kevin McCullough will continue to do the great show we know and love.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former WJFK-FM, Washington afternoon drive host Chad Dukes teases a new sports talk program that’s set to debut on Monday (1/11). Dukes was fired by Entercom in October for what the company called “racist comments” on the “Big O and Dukes” podcast. The new program appears to be a digital streaming venture. His website says of the new program, “The Chad Dukes Show is going to be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re a looking for a radio show from Chad Dukes. Discussion of movies, video games, food, booze, music, football, fighting and copious amounts of ball busting. You want politics? You want COVID discussion? You want middle relief pitching analysis? Look somewhere else.”…..WOBT-AM/W267AF, Rhinelander, Wisconsin flips from country to sports talk. The NRG Media station is airing the complete weekday lineup from iHeartMedia’s sports WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “The Game” – Steve Czaban, John Kuhn & Brian Butch, The Crossover, Drew & K.B. – as well as FOX Sports Radio content in evenings and on weekends…..iHeartMedia Cleveland is launching two initiatives that it believes will improve the bottom lines of local businesses in 2021. All this month, local Cleveland area small businesses are encouraged to register online for the opportunity to be featured in a $25,000 iHeartMedia marketing plan. iHeartMedia Cleveland president Keith Hotchkiss says, “Last year was brutal for small businesses in our community. We believe the significant reach of our media assets, combined with this meaningful marketing campaign, will be the difference maker for a local company here in Cleveland. There are 36% fewer local businesses operating in the area than this time last year, according to Crain’s Cleveland.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of on-air pro Connie Kellie of the “Connie & Fish Morning Show” on Townsquare Media’s hot AC WLHT, Grand Rapids “Mix 95.7.” Kellie died on January 4 after a brief battle with liver cancer. Her radio partner Fish Calloway says, “Over 25 years ago, this incredible, smart and strong woman allowed me the opportunity to be a part of her radio career. Our journey will not only be with those who were touched by her immense talent but engraved in my heart. Thank you, Connie, for this adventure. I look forward to the day we meet again.”

MIW Group Announces Applications Now Being Accepted for ‘Mildred Carter Mentoring Program.’ The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group announces that the application window for the 2021 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is open. MIW says its heritage annual mentoring initiative “connects mentees with accomplished women recognized as leaders, mentors, and game-changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting.” The program is being sponsored by vCreative for the second consecutive year. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines will be selected for the 2021 program. The deadline to apply is January 29. See mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply here.

Georgia Runoff Elections, Electoral Vote Count/DC Protests, Trump GA Secretary of State Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Jacob Blake Case, and China Blocks WHO Scientists Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). Tuesday’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; today’s Electoral College vote count in the Senate and the protests taking place in Washington, DC; the aftermath of Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking a reversal of his loss in that state; the spiking number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of the vaccines; prosecutors in Wisconsin reveal no charges will be filed against officer in shooting of Jacob Blake; and China blocks two WHO scientists investigating the origin of the coronavirus from entering the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, June 12, 2017

| June 12, 2017

More Negative Press for Cumulus Media.  The New York Post story published over the weekend and shared across the radio biz didn’t delve into the company’s ratings or revenue numbers, it zeroed in on the biggest problem CEO Mary Berner is facing right now – its abysmal stock price.  Last fall’s one-for-eight reverse stock split was designed to prop up the company’s ailing stock, but that has not happened and it closed at 52 cents per share on Friday.  Read Claire Atkinson’s Post story here.

Cooke: Bat-Signal from Talk Radio. As consultant Holland Cooke writes today, the death of actor Adam West over the weekend doesn’t have anything specifically to do with radio, but there are lessons for radio practitioners that can be gleaned from pop culture events like this. Cooke writes that Nielsen still rewards horizontal maintenance.  “It sure did back then, when ABC-TV struggled to compete with CBS and NBC.  ‘Batman’ wasn’t just a mega-hit…it was two.  The show aired at 7:30 ET on Wednesday AND Thursday nights.  No matter how dire the cliffhanger, it would be resolved ‘tomorrow night, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel.’”  Read more here.

TALKERS News Notes. The news that Apple is opening up in-episode analytics for its podcasts could be good or bad news for those selling ads on their podcasts, depending on how compelling those podcasts are.  Apple’s move will give podcasters the ability to find out how many people are listening to their content and where and when they stop listening or skip. Obviously, this gives advertisers much more information than simply that the podcast was downloaded or listened to…..SiriusXM presents exclusive national radio coverage of the 117th U.S. Open Championship from Erin Hills in Wisconsin, beginning Thursday (6/15).  Live coverage begins each day at 12:00 noon ET on both FOX Sports on SiriusXM and SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio.  SiriusXM’s Brian Katrek will anchor the play-by-play broadcast with former PGA Tour pro Mark Carnevale serving as the analyst….Sportscaster Josh Appel, the 2016 winner of the prestigious Jim Nantz Award as the nation’s most outstanding collegiate sports broadcaster,  joins Sports USA as a full-time NFL and college football play-by-play announcer…..Denyse Mesnik is named the national spokeswoman for the Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group, succeeding Kay Olin.  Mesnik is president of The Mesnik Group and the former longtime VP of corporate communications for Beasley Media Group.  The MIW Group is a volunteer organization helping women in the industry develop strong management and leadership skills and advocating the advancement of women to senior positions in radio broadcasting.

Gallagher at Greatest Generation Celebration. On Friday evening (6/9), the “American Spirit Awards Gala” took place in New Orleans.  The black-tie event celebrates individuals and organizations whose work reflects the values and spirit of those who served America during the World War II years.  Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw – author of the book The Greatest Generation – served as emcee.  Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk show host Mike Gallagher (third from left) hosting listeners from Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and South Carolina.  Each listener donated $3,500 to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

WFAN, New York Personality Richard Neer Enjoying Growing Alternative Career as Murder Mystery Author.   Does it ever cross your mind on a sleepless night that an angry listener might pull a gun on you, incensed at something you’ve said on the air?  That’s what happens to Wally Josephs, the outrageous “guy talk” personality in New York City radio legend (WNEW-FM and WFAN) Richard Neer’s new thriller The Last Resort (CreateSpace Publishing, 2017). The subtext is all radio – the financial troubles our industry faces and the extreme measures some are willing to take to save their careers. It’s Neer’s fourth in his Riley King murder mystery series and, according to reviews, the most compelling to date.  See if you can identify some of the real people that the characters are based on and catch all the subtle music references woven throughout.  By the way, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison plays himself in the book.  About the role, Harrison commented, “When they make the movie, I expect my part to be played by Harrison Ford or perhaps Sean Connery.”  It’s available on Kindle and in paperback on Amazon and it’s free to Kindle Unlimited readers.  Neer has an extraordinary half-century career as a pioneer in both album rock and sports talk radio. Many TALKERS readers will remember his best-selling work of non-fiction, FM: The Rise and Fall of Rock Radio (Villard, 2001).  For samples of all the books in the Riley King series, plus Richard Neer’s thoughts on sports, music and pop culture, or to book him as a talk show guest, check out www.RichardNeer.com.

Stanley Cup Finals, Warriors-Cavaliers Finals, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents, the related firing of FBI Director James Comey and his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee last week; President Donald Trump pushes the positive economic forecast since his inauguration; the fate of British Prime Minister Theresa May in the wake of the recent elections; the death of iconic “Batman” actor Adam West at age 88; the trial of Bill Cosby on rape charges; the success of the new Wonder Woman film; the Pittsburgh Penguins’ victory over the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Finals; the battle between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. After just over a year as the morning show host on Cumulus Media’s triple A KFOG, San Francisco, Matt Pinfield is leaving that gig to focus on his two Westwood One nationally syndicated radio shows – the weekly rock history show “Flashback,” and the nightly program, “Two Hours.”  The media personality and rock journalist says, “I’d like to thank my family at KFOG and Cumulus San Francisco, whom I love dearly, for giving me the freedom to concentrate on my two national radio shows for Westwood One, time to focus on my book, and to continue to work on developing TV and film projects.  I love the Bay Area and being part of the legacy of such a heritage radio station as KFOG!”…..At Entercom’s Atlanta hot AC WSTR “Star 94,” PM drive jock Mike Marino adds assistant program director duties to his responsibilities, and midday personality Heather Branch takes on the music director role…..KNIX, Phoenix APD and music director Anthony Allen, a.k.a. The AntMan, moves to Austin to begin serving as program director for iHeartMedia’s country duo KASE and KVET.  He’ll also hold down the afternoon shift on KASE.

Elvis Duran Chats with Miley Cyrus at iHeartSummer ’17. WHTZ, New York “Z100” and Premiere Networks syndicated personality Elvis Duran (right) chats with pop star Miley Cyrus (left) at the iHeartSummer ’17 Weekend on Friday and Saturday (6/9 & 10) at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The event included performances by DJ Khaled, Halsey, Miley Cyrus, Backstreet Boys, Fifth Harmony, Noah Cyrus, Tinashe and Luis Fonsi.  Photo: Getty Images for iHeartRadio.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

| January 23, 2013

malzbergsteveConservative Talk Host Steve Malzberg Begins New Project with Newsmax.  Longtime New York City conservative talk host Steve Malzberg – he’s worked at WABC and WOR – is joining the talk media initiative of Newsmax, the Florida-based conservative news and opinion outlet.  Malzberg is doing an afternoon drive program (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET) that will air online in both audio and video formats and for which Newsmax will seek terrestrial radio affiliates.  Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy states, “When I first heard Steve Malzberg on WABC he was an innovator in bridging radio content with other media.  He developed that talent further at WOR with ratings success and I think he will bring the same type of innovation and success to Newsmax TV.”  The program will emanate from Newsmax’s New York City offices and begin on February 4.

schnitttoddSchnitt Versus Bubba: Day 4.  The defamation case Compass Media Networks talk show host Todd Schnitt filed against Bubba the Love Sponge (Todd Clem) was back in session Tuesday after a break for the Monday holiday. bubba Plaintiff Schnitt took the stand (as did Bubba producer Brent Hatley) and told the jury how his life and career changed after Bubba returned to the air in Tampa in 2008 and the morning show battle began.  In order to win the case, Schnitt must convince the jury that he suffered damages and that’s what he tried to do on the stand yesterday as he painted a picture of feeling harassed both via email and telephone and in person through physical confrontations with the “Bubba Army” as Todd Clem’s radio fans are called.  WTSP, Tampa reports that when asked if his reputation had been harmed, Schnitt replied, “Yeah, I consider myself, still, a broadcaster in good standing.  But um… not as good as it used to be.”  That Schnitt and his wife were affected by the battle being waged by Bubba is pretty clear.  The goal for Schnitt’s attorney is to get the jury to believe that Bubba the Love Sponge was responsible for their pain and suffering.

farleyjimWTOP’s Jim Farley to Retire.  He’s not going anywhere right away but WTOP, Washington vice president of news and programming Jim Farley announces he’ll work full time through 2013 and step down into a consultant role with Hubbard and WTOP after that.  In his official announcement, he says he’ll remain dedicated to the brand.  “I bleed WTOP blood and am deeply invested in our continued success.  I plan to stay involved until I start to drool conspicuously.  I’ll be a proactive resource for Joel Oxley, Laurie Cantillo, WTOP, and Hubbard, and I will visit often.  I have so many good friends in this building and spent the best part of my long career here.  On to the next chapter, but not until 2014.”

finebaumpaulSports Talk Host Paul Finebaum Begins Sitting Out a 90-Day Non-Compete.  Birmingham-based sports talk host Paul Finebaum has exited Cumulus’ WJOX, Birmingham and, according to the Birmingham Business Journal, his representatives say he will not entertain any media offers until the 90-day window has closed.  Finebaum had been in a legal battle with Cumulus earlier this year but after numerous back-and-forths in court ended up working to the end of his deal with the company.  That deal ended Monday.  The smart money is on Finebaum landing at Cox Media’s crosstown WZNN but Finebaum’s camp is saying nothing until the 90-day period is over.  (WZNN is one of a number of signals that Cox Media has put up for sale.)  The paper also reports that Cumulus does have the right to match any offer Finebaum receives within the 90-day period but after that, Finebaum’s a free agent.

cbssportsradiologoCBS Radio to Flip WNEW-AM, Washington to Sports Talk.  For four months, CBS Radio aired “1580 Gov.Biz Radio” on WNEW-AM, Morningside, Maryland in the Washington, DC metro in hopes of competing with Hubbard Broadcasting’s WFED “Federal News Radio.”  Now TALKERS learns that CBS will flip the AM signal to sports talk using the national programming from CBS Sports Radio Network.  The station will also apply for the WJFK-AM call letters to match up with sister DC sports talker WJFK-FM.

wlwClear Channel Gives WLW, Cincinnati an FM Presence.  It’s not a big presence – 99 watts on the translator W233BG at 94.5 – but according to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, the signal reaches most potential listeners within the market’s I-275 loop.  Clear Channel bought the translator from Northern Kentucky University and then moved the city of license from Port Union, Ohio to Cincinnati.  Kiesewetter reports there’s been no comment from Clear Channel about why the need for an FM presence for “The Big One,” but speculates getting the market dominating talk station on FM where more people are listening is what local management wants in the long run.  Another thing to consider is smart phones with radio receivers get FM, not AM.

KHRO, El Paso Talk Host Hector H. Lopez to run for Mayor.  KHRO, El Paso afternoon drive host Hector H. Lopez has filed papers to run for mayor of El Paso.  The election is May 11 and at this time there’s no indication when Lopez will step down from his radio show.

nj1015christiejanoffThe VP Meets the Governor.  New Townsquare Media regional vice president Greg Janoff (second from right) meets New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (second from left) on Tuesday, January 22 before he goes on the air on WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” for his monthly “Ask the Governor” program.  Pictured here with the governor and Janoff are “Ask the Governor” host Eric Scott (right) and New Jersey 101.5 brand manager Eric Johnson (left).

Obama’s Second Term Agenda, Israel Parliamentary Election, Benghazi Attack Testimony, and Gallup American Optimism Poll Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/22).  The agenda for President Obama’s second term as outlined in his Inauguration speech; the parliamentary elections in Israel and Benjamin Netanyahu’s likelihood to remain as prime minister; the pending testimony from Hillary Clinton on the Benghazi attack; and the Gallup poll that concludes American optimism is at its lowest point since the Carter Administration were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

| January 4, 2012

Don Martin Interviewed on TALKERS TV.  He is one of the most influential management figures in sports talk radio.  Don Martin wears both national and local feathers in his sports cap serving as vice president/general manager of Fox Sports Radio and general manager/program director of sports talk KLAC, Los AngelesTALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian caught up with Martin at the recent Los Angeles Regional Talkers Forum (10/20/11) and interviewed him about the state of sports talk radio including the local and national perspectives, where to find new talent and the importance of stations having play-by-play associations with a popular sports franchise.  Martin also discusses the impact that the PPM is having on the sports talk genre saying that it is showing the format in a positive light.  According to Martin, sports talk radio is one area of the talk media world that is less impacted by these difficult times than most.  He credits the fact that so many talented hosts are out of work as providing a vibrant talent pool from which to pick when openings come and points to the continual crop of retiring athletes as being another source of potential sports talk broadcasters.   Check out this must see video in the TALKERS TV box on the right side of this page.

KSFO, San Francisco Makes Program Changes; Melanie Morgan Returns to AM Drive and J.D. Hayworth Takes Over Late Mornings.  Almost four years after exiting the AM drive show she co-hosted with Lee Rodgers, Melanie Morgan is back on the Cumulus Media station alongside morning host Brian Sussman.  KSFO program director Paul Hosley states, “We’re thrilled to have Melanie back on KSFO.  She’s very popular with listeners and we’re looking forward to her many contributions on the revamped morning show.”  Cumulus fills the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot vacated by Rush Limbaugh when the Premiere Networks star moved across town to Clear Channel’s new KKSF with former Arizona congressman KFYI, Phoenix talk host J.D. Hayworth.  Hayworth says of his new gig, “As a ‘recovering’ Congressman, I’ll ‘pull back the curtains’ and explain why politicians do the things they do.  With the help of KSFO listeners, we’ll endeavor to provide common sense and clarity in these challenging and confusing times.”

Bob Lonsberry to Host Local Show for Clear Channel’s WSYR-AM/FM, Syracuse.  Bob Lonsberry tells the Syracuse Post-Standard he’ll make his new show local for Syracuse listeners even though he’ll be a commuter from his home market of Rochester where he hosts the midday show on WHAM.  Lonsberry takes over the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm program beginning January 9.  The shift was formerly held by Jim Reith who exited the station at the end of October.  Lonsberry tells the paper, “I want something that literally speaks to a Syracuse listener, is representative of them and is a service to them.”  Lonsberry will lead into WSYR-AM/FM’s 5:00 pm news-oriented  “Daily Wrap with Joe Galuski and Kevin Schenk.”

Gene Burns to Begin KKSF, San Francisco Show Next Week After Apparent Health Issues.  The new lineup at Clear Channel’s KKSF, San Francisco began this week but former KGO talk host Gene Burns was missing in action.  Numerous reports in the media trades cite a mini-stroke suffered by Burns as the reason he’s not on the air.  However, Bay Area blogger Rich Lieberman reports that Burns did not suffer a stroke of any kind, that he has another unspecified medical condition and is expected to be on the radio next week.

WXOS-FM, St. Louis Tweaks Lineup; Former Cardinal Chris Duncan Moves to PM Drive.  Hubbard Radio’s 101 ESPN (WXOS-FM) moves former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan from his role on the evening show to “The Fast Lane” PM drive program where he’ll work alongside Randy Karraker and D’Marco FarrBob Ramsey, who had been part of the “Fast Lane” show, moves to the 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show with co-host Brian Stull for the newly named “Stully & Rammer” show.  Ramsey also maintains his role as voice of the St. Louis Billikens calling St. Louis University men’s basketball games on the station.  Program director Kent Sterling states, “We are excited to put Chris Duncan on ‘The Fast Lane.’  He is a unique communicator with an incredible work ethic, and a great guy.  He has lived a life in the eye of the sports hurricane and he speaks with an authority that is captivating.  Media is all about finding great communicators and Chris is one of the most gifted in America.”

CBS Radio Announces Debut of DC All-News Outlet.  CBS Radio’s all-news WNEW-FM, Washington will hit the airwaves on January 19 and will feature the following talent lineup: Bill Rehkopf and Amy Morris in AM drive, Jenny Glick and Chas Henry in middays, Evan Haning and Nancy Lyons in PM drive, and Sarah Jacobs and Cheryl Simone in evenings.  Program director Robert Sanchez says of the new station, “We are very excited to have put together such a great group of professionals who have spent many years covering local and national news.  Each brings a specialty to WNEW creating a great team which will deliver important and compelling news that matters to local residents.  When Washington needs to know, this team will have them covered.”

Rob Williams New OM/PD at WQRT, Cincinnati; New PM Drive Show Debuts.  The Florence, Kentucky-licensed talk station owned by Christian Broadcasting System Ltd. names former Clear Channel programmer Rob Williams operations manager and program director for “Real Talk 1160” – WQRT.  Williams replaces Cary Pall.  At the same time, as talk host Andy Furman begins his new position hosting morning drive on the Fox Sports Radio Network, he leaves WQRT and makes way for “The Other Guys” afternoon sports talk show featuring Fox Sports Ohio’s Jeff Piecoro, former producer and co-host of the Furman show Rick “the Brick” Wall, and Metro NetworksJeremy “J-Lance” Lance.

Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions, Fracking-Related Earthquakes and Financial Markets Activity Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/3).  The GOP Iowa Caucuses held yesterday, Iran’s nuclear ambitions and warnings to the U.S. about carriers in the region, reports of earthquakes in Northeastern Ohio thought to be related to oil and gas fracking and the first financial markets activity of the new year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Mona Lipschitz Debuts New Column.  Full of gossip, rumors, personal asides and unbridled opinion about the industry and the people in it, Mona Lipschitz debuts her new column “Straight from The Lip” today at Talkers.com.  In it she offers some keen insights about recent changes at Merlin Media and Cumulus Media as well as some pointed advice for Anderson Cooper.  Mona has been the news editor of TALKERS magazine for the past 21 years and she knows where all the bodies are buried in this business.  Let the dishing begin!  To read the first installment of “Straight from The Lip,” click here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

| December 28, 2011

Iowa Political Ad Money a Sign of Things to Come?  Radio and television broadcasters sure hope so as the Republican candidates for president spent some $10 million in Iowa this month in advance of the state’s caucuses next month.  Jennifer Jacobs’ article in the Des Moines Register doesn’t give a complete breakout of TV and radio ad spending so it’s difficult to know exactly how much radio has benefitted from the blitz, but here are some of the totals:  Rick Perry spent $2.86 million on TV; the super PAC pushing Mitt Romney spent $2.85 million on radio and TV; Ron Paulspent $1.37 million; a pro-Perry PAC spent $1.33 million; and Romney’s campaign spent $1.1 million.  That tally is not a complete total of all money spent but keep in mind that more cash will come to radio and TV in the days leading up to January 3.  The photo of Mitt Romney reading TALKERS in New Hampshire depicted above appeared on the February 2008 cover of TALKERS magazine’s print edition reflecting polticians’ strong interest in the election-charged medium of talk radio.  Let us hope that 2012 brings even more such interest as talk radio looks to precious campaign money as a form of relief from the financial struggles still facing most advertising-based media.  Stay tuned to Talkers.com for continuing coverage and analysis of the advertising/financial component of Election 2012 all the way through November.

Walter Sabo Honors Lynn Samuels with Exclusive TALKERS Tribute.  Noted spoken-word programmer, radio executive and broadcast consultant Walter Sabo played a significant role in the discovery and career of the late Lynn Samuels filling in some of the information missing in most of the press coverage of her untimely death and further analyzing her unique talent.  He writes, “Lynn Samuels died and you will never hear anyone like her. That’s why she was a star…You could pull ANY part of her show and make a promo.  You know how long you have to hunt for a quote for a promo from most airchecks?  No trouble with Lynn; pick a random minute and you’d have a promo…”  Read the entire Walter Sabo tribute to Lynn Samuels here.

Tribune’s WGN, Chicago to Adjust Weekend Schedule in the New Year.  Chicagoans will hear more of WGN’s daily stars on the weekends in 2012.  Program director Bill White tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder that, when the station is not airing sports, highlights of Jonathon Brandmeier’s and Garry Meier’s programs will air on Saturday afternoons while Sunday afternoons will feature the week’s best of John Williams and Mike McConnell.  “We think it will be a great alternative to the infomercials and paid programs that air on Chicago’s other talk stations.  Of course we continue to provide live and local news, weather and traffic reports 24/7,” White tells TOC.  Other new weekend fare includes a 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm Sunday program hosted by Brian Noonan and “WGN Weekend Late Night” featuring weekly highlights from Bill Leff’s overnight program.  “Legally Speaking,” hosted by attorney Karen Conti, is one casualty and has already aired its last program.  White says Conti will still contribute to the station but her show has ended at WGN.  Conti hosted the program with her late husband Greg Adamski for years.  Adamski passed away suddenly last February.  Conti tells Feder she’s disappointed but is exploring other local media opportunities.

Cumulus Des Moines Swaps Morning Shows; Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside to FM News/Talk.  The current AM drive shows at Cumulus Media’s classic rock KGGO-FM and news/talk KWQW-FM are trading places on January 2.  Premiere NetworksBob & Tom move to KGGO-FM while Lou Sipolt and Heather Burnside move across the hall to the company’s news/talk “98.3 Wow FM” (KWQW) to host “The Des Moines Morning News with Lou and Heather.”  Cumulus Media SVP of programming Mike McVay says, “We’re excited to be able to bring 20-plus years of morning success to our news/talk station and can completely eliminate the music on their show in favor of more of why Des Moines-area listeners want to listen to Lou and Heather.  It’s for them and what they have to say.”

CBS Radio’s WNEW-FM, Washington, DC Airs Rock History Prior to All-News Flip.  DCRTV.com’s Dave Hughes notes CBS Radio Washington began airing the special “The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll” after the Christmas music ended.  Just when the all-news format debuts is not known, but it’s expected to hit the air in mid- to late-January.   Hughes also reports the rumor that WJLA-TV, Washington senior assignment editor Gregg Micklos is taking the position of assistant news director at the soon-to-be FM news outlet.

2012 Presidential Race/Iowa Caucuses Run-up, al-Qaeda Iraq Attacks, Kim Jong Il Funeral and Bill Maher Tebow Flap Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/27).  The run-up to the Iowa Caucuses for the GOP candidates for president, the Christmas Day bombings in Iraq whose responsibility was claimed by al-Qaeda, the funeral of North Korea’s Kim Jong Il and the flap over Bill Maher’s criticism of Tim Tebow were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.