Monday Memo: Help Wanted, Local Host. “Radio’s best years were between network programming that ended at the end of the 1950s and syndicated longform that now dominates talk programming and robotic music formats that displaced local DJs.” And, in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke suggests how that same business model can restore the local programming “which will always be broadcasters’ silver bullet against digital competitors.” Read it here.
Pending Business: Pack Your Bags. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says the demand for summer travel is very high and this category of advertiser is still adjusting to new protocols. “Consider the total packaging concept you can deliver. Many marketers in the travel industry look for strong inquiry and booking accountability. Be prepared with multiple options always considering easy access for your audience to respond. As categories regroup from pandemic business paralysis new opportunities will emerge. Adjust your thinking, planning and preparation now.” Read his column here.
KVI, Seattle Names Ari Hoffman Afternoon Drive Host. After joining Sinclair Broadcast Group’s news/talk KVI, Seattle earlier this year to fill in after Kirby Wilbur’s retirement, Ari Hoffman is officially named the permanent afternoon drive host, effective today (4/26). The station says Hoffman is a local businessman and civic activist who ran for Seattle city council in 2020 who has also appeared on FOX News, Newsmax, “The Dr. Drew Show,” “60 Minutes,” and the KOMO News documentary “Seattle is Dying.” He also reports regularly on Northwest issues in The Post Millennial. He says, “I am thrilled to be joining the amazing team at KVI. If I had known how much fun this gig would be, I would have started 20 years ago. I look forward to bringing common sense ideas and a fresh take on news, politics, and the culture wars to our listeners.” KVI program director Rick Van Cise says, “Our new afternoon host was right under our nose. What’s important to you is important to Ari. He has an engaging and entertaining perspective on local and world issues that’s enlightening and fun to hear!”
Rhode Island News/Talk Pro Ron St. Pierre Launches New Podcast. A story at RINewstoday.com highlights the new podcast being launched by Rhode Island talk radio pro Ron St. Pierre (right). The new program, “Ron and Jen’s Great Escape” – co-starring Jen Brien (left) – launches on May 3. St. Pierre was most recently hosting the morning drive show on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHJJ, Providence until the company declined to renew his contract back in December and, in an effort to save money, put the WTAG-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts-based Jim Polito show in WHJJ’s morning drive slot. During his career, St. Pierre has also served with crosstown WPRO-AM and WABC, New York, among other media outlets. Of his new podcast, St. Pierre says, “Our goal is to provide an escape from the negativity that can overtake conversation about the day’s hot topics…an escape from the banal repetition all too often associated with talk radio. Our goal is a positive approach to news and lifestyle topics with an infusion of humor across the board.”
Westwood One’s Hoops Coverage Generates 19.2 Million Listeners. Citing an IPSOS national audience study conducted April 9-11, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One says its exclusive live coverage of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship generated 19.2 million listeners to the play-by-play action from all 66 men’s basketball games, including eight first-round and second-round games, plus regional semifinals and finals. WWO president Suzanne Grimes comments, “We are thrilled that audio audiences for our NCAA March Madness audio coverage returned so strongly. College basketball fans were excited to experience NCAA Men’s basketball and listened across our streaming, smart speaker, and broadcast platforms.” The IPSOS study also found that listening audiences were equally distributed across demographics with 31% of listeners aged 18-34, 41% 35-64 and 27% over the age of 65. Additionally, the coverage attracted a highly educated audience that was 6% more likely than average to be college graduates and 46% more likely to have an advanced degree. 56% of the audience was employed and nearly half (47%) had household incomes of $75,000 or more.
TALKERS News Notes. On Wednesday, President Joe Biden will deliver his first speech to a Joint Session of Congress marking his 100th day in office. Salem Radio Network News is covering the speech for affiliate stations. SRN coverage will be anchored by SRN News U.S. Senate correspondent Bob Agnew and he’ll be joined by TOWNHALL News Capitol Hill correspondent Bernie Bennett…..Coverage of this year’s NFL Draft begins this week and ESPN“SportsCenter” anchors Elle Duncan and Kevin Negandhi are kicking off the network’s coverage on their “Get Up” morning show on April 29 and 30. They will also lead ESPN Radio’s NFL Draft broadcasts alongside NFL Front Office Insider Mike Tannenbaum, ESPN Radio’s Bart Scott and reporter Ian Fitzsimmons. ESPN Radio’s coverage will continue Saturday, May 1, with host Jason Fitz, NFL Draft analyst and Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy, Tannenbaum and Fitzsimmons…..C13Originals, a division of Audacy’s Cadence13, has signed on critically acclaimed bestselling author Shawn Levy for “Glitter and Might,” a documentary podcast franchise about power and influence originating from Hollywood. Season One will explore the relationship between legendary Hollywood mogul Lew Wasserman, a young actor named Ronald Reagan, and notorious labor lawyer Sidney Korshak, and the story of how they came together, and rose to become, respectively, the most powerful executive in Hollywood, the most powerful man in the world, and the most powerful lawyer in the country, forever changing the entertainment industry and the country itself.….The Independent Broadcasters Association is supporting COVID Remembrance Day on May 25 as a day of honor and reflection for those who have been lost to the pandemic. A special IBA members-only webinar is set for 2:00 pm ET on Thursday, April 29 to provide how-to instructions and outline the tools and resources that will be available to participating radio stations. COVID Remembrance Day is being produced by Paige Nienaber and CPR Promotions, in conjunction with partners MannGroup Radio, Benztown and P1 Media Group. Nienaber, who will host the webinar, says, “On COVID Remembrance Day participating stations and their listeners can reflect on the events of the past year, honor and give tribute to the victims, heroes, and people in their communities who have stepped up and been a part of the response effort. We hope every radio station in America will join us.”
Free-Form Radio Pioneer Bob Fass Dies at 87. The New York Times has the obit for legendary free-form radio personality Bob Fass, who died on April 24 at his home in Monroe, North Carolina. Fass hosted the “Radio Unnameable” overnight program on WBAI, New York for more than 50 years. Fass’s program could include any program element – avant-garde music, political talk, calls from listeners, and drop-in guests. He would have guests such as Abbie Hoffman or a young, still-largely unknown Bob Dylan. He once told an interviewer, “I’d put anyone on, because the idea was if you didn’t like what I was doing, three minutes later I’d be doing something else.”
COVID-19, Biden’s First 100 Days, Chauvin Verdict Aftermath, Border Crisis, and Oscars Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the severe outbreak in India; President Joe Biden’s administration approaches its 100-day mark; the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin guilty verdict and the larger issue of race relations in the U.S.; the crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; and Sunday night’s Oscars ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Howard Stern Signs Renewal with SiriusXM for Five More Years. During previous investor conference calls, outgoing SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer said he believed Howard Stern and SiriusXM would come to terms on a new deal and today’s announcement bears that out. Under the new agreement, Stern will continue to produce and host “The Howard Stern Show” exclusively for SiriusXM for the next five years, and the Howard Stern archive of audio and video will continue to be licensed to SiriusXM for an additional seven years. Stern says, “Fifteen years ago, I joined SiriusXM, a fledgling group of broadcasters. I had been in a toxic relationship with terrestrial radio. And no matter how well I treated the medium, no matter how successful I made them, they abused me. Going to SiriusXM liberated me. I felt like Tina Turner freeing myself from Ike. And despite the naysayers and the ridicule, we have persevered, and are thriving. I’ve been proven right about satellite radio over and over again. With this contract renewal, I can’t wait to see what else I’ll be right about. Certainly, I have a lot more to say about Metamucil crackers and stepmom porn. Plus, now that I can work from home, I simply don’t have an excuse to quit.” Meyer says, “As the leading audio entertainment company, we couldn’t be happier to have Howard, the leading host in all of radio and audio, continue to make SiriusXM the home for his show, channels, and archives while at the peak of his broadcasting career. Howard’s home has been SiriusXM and it will remain that way, but we’ve expanded SiriusXM in recent years too, and we are excited about finding the right ways that select content from Howard can find audiences on additional platforms. May I add, I consider Howard a close friend and look forward to listening to him for years to come.”
Ron St. Pierre Out at iHeartMedia’s WHJJ, Providence; Jim Polito Takes Over Morning Show. Longtime Providence air personality and programmer Ron St. Pierre has exited iHeartMedia’s news/talk WHJJ-AM, Providence where he hosted the morning drive show. Filling the programming gap is WTAG-AM, Worcester, Massachusetts-based morning personality Jim Polito. In 2016, iHeartMedia dropped the local morning show hosted by Adam Wright and Bo Sullivan on WHYN-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts and began simulcasting Polito’s show there. The WHJJ move puts the Jim Polito show in three of iHeartMedia’s New England markets.
Salem’s KRLA and KTIE Cut Ties with Brian Whitman. Southern California radio pro Brian Whitman exits Salem Media Group’s morning drive show “The Morning Answer” that he co-hosted with Jennifer Horn that was simulcast on KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino. Whitman shared the news on his Facebook page on Friday (12/4). He wrote, “I was provided the following from folks at Salem/KRLA this morning. The announcement was sent by the general manager to their kind and hardworking staff, making this news public. I’ll have very personal thoughts to share with members of the ‘Morning Answer Listening Family’ (as I came to know and regard you over many years) very soon. It will be in this space at a time that is more appropriate and comfortable. With all of my love and with the warmest gratitude for every moment that we’ve shared together, I offer words that I know fall far short of my heart’s sentiment. Thank you, thank you, thank you guys.” The message from management was as follows: “After eight years hosting ‘The Morning Answer,’ Brian Whitman will no longer be with us. We wish Brian all the best in the future. Chuck [Tyler] and I echo Phil Boyce who said, “Brian has been a hard-working and extremely talented employee for us for many years. We will always cherish his friendship, and our opportunity to work together at KRLA and KTIE.” Whitman was the liberal counterpart to conservative Horn.
Hubbard Radio Drops Sports Talker Chris Rongey; Re-Aligns Host Lineup. According to a report by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar, afternoon drive sports talk personality Chris Rongey has been let go from Hubbard Radio’s WXOS-FM, St. Louis. Rongey had been part of “The Fast Lane” afternoon show since replacing D’Marco Farr in 2017. The station moves midday host Jamie Rivers into afternoons alongside Anthony Stalter and Brad Thompson and promotes Alex Farrario to the midday show co-hosting with Brandon Kiley.
Talk Radio Host Michael Berry’s Good Month Includes Raising $1.3 Million for PTSD Foundation. KRTH, Houston-based, nationally syndicated talk host Michael Berry had a very good month in which his program helped raise $1.3 million for Camp Hope, the residential treatment center run by the PTSD Foundation of America, of which Berry is the national spokesman. The organization was laying off staff, including the vital folks who counsel suicidal veterans who struggle with re-integration after war. Berry teamed up with sponsor Jim “Mattress Mac” McIngvale, owner of the Gallery Furniture chain, to raise funds. During the whole of 2020, Berry’s efforts have raised $3 million for the organization, almost its entire budget. Additionally, Berry made national news on Monday (12/7) for his interview with Houston-based Goya Foods CEO Bob Unanue, during which Unanue said he gave U.S. Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez the company’s “employee of the month” award. This came after Ocasio Cortez called for a boycott on Goya products because Unanue publicly praised President Trump. However, Unanue says the boycott call produced a counter-protest in which supporters flocked to buy Goya goods. On top of that, Berry has added new affiliates, WPNN, Pensacola, Florida, and KNUW, Silver City, New Mexico and hopes to roll out seven new affiliates before the New Year. In case you missed it, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian profiled Berry back in October. Read it here.
PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. The Nielsen Audio PPM ratings survey in the month prior to the November election (October 8 – November 4) was not as generous to sports talk radio stations as it was to news/talk, still TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian reports that 46% of sports talkers were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the October 2020 survey. Gainers from October to November were led by RadiOhio’s WBNS-FM, Columbus “97.1 The Fan” (+0.7, 6.2 share) and Cumulus Media’s WGFX-FM, Nashville (+0.7, 6.0 share). Due to the pandemic’s effect on live sports, year-over-year comparisons have not been kind to the sports talk format and November 2019 to November 2020 is not different. 68% of sports talk outlets in PPM markets were down. However, 23% of stations gained with Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM, Dallas leading the pack (+1.6, 2.8 share). While no sports talkers claimed the #1 rank in their market during the November survey, iHeartMedia’s KXFN, Minneapolis came close, posting a 7.6 share good for the #2 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.
WJR, Detroit News Director Dick Haefner to Retire. After a 51-year career in radio news, WJR, Detroit news director Dick Haefner is retiring. Haefner, an award-winning newscaster, reporter, and news director, has been WJR news director since 1989. Cumulus Media says that “his tenure is unmatched by any other Detroit broadcast news director. He is one of the most recognizable news voices in his hometown of Detroit, signing on to radio news in 1969 and signing off on December 11, 2020, Haefner’s last day on-air.” The company goes on to note that “under Haefner’s leadership, WJR News has been honored with nearly every national and local news award in the broadcast business, including: the Peabody Award, Associated Press national award for Best Broadcast Reporting, Edward R. Murrow Awards, and numerous state news awards… Some of Haefner’s projects have changed laws. A series on suburban toxic waste dumps resulted in tighter rules for handling waste. An investigation of fraud at gas stations brought about new regulations on service station inspections and fuel hauling, and even changed the way the IRS taxes the fuel hauling industry. Among the biggest stories Haefner has broken are Coleman Young’s baby, the Nancy Kerrigan–Tonya Harding incident heard around the world, and Detroit’s two side-by-side sports stadiums.” Haefner comments, “Anything I may have accomplished is because of other people, my wife Judy, and my family who allowed me to pursue adventures in broadcast news, and especially my co-workers. My most important job was to put them in position to do their best work. What they accomplished every day is my greatest reward. I have had the best job in Detroit radio news for almost 32 years. I’m the luckiest person I know.”
Susan O’Connell Retires from Compass Media Networks; Robert Blum Rises to Senior Manager of Affiliate Sales. Affiliate sales pro Susan O’Connell is retiring from her position as vice president of news/talk affiliate sales with Compass Media Networks, effective December 31. At the same time, the company announces that Robert Blum – a Compass Media staffer since 2011 – is being promoted to senior manager of affiliate sales for news/talk/sports. O’Connell has been in the news/talk affiliate sales business for the past 40 years, the last six with Compass Media. She previously served with the Wall Street Journal Radio Network, ABC Radio Networks, CBS News, and the Progressive Radio Network. She comments, “The best part of my job has always been working with great broadcasters. Thank you all for sharing your time, talent, and friendship over the years. Compass Media Networks was the perfect place to wind up. Representing our stellar news/talk lineup and being part of this team has been an honor and a privilege.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann says, “Susan is a total superstar, friend, and treasured colleague. Through hard work, perseverance, and cunning, Susan established Compass Media Networks as a dominant player in news/talk programming with over 750 leading news/talk stations airing over a dozen hours of our daily, live, and original news-talk programming.”
COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Trump Challenges, Biden Transition, Stimulus Package, Georgia Runoff Elections, Pornhub Allegations, and Presidential Pardons Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the pleas from authorities to follow mask and gathering mandates, and the status of vaccines; Donald Trump continues legal challenges to the results of the presidential election; President-Elect Joe Biden continues his administration’s transition; the debate in Congress over a new stimulus package; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the allegations that porn giant Pornhub has promoted underage actors; and reports of Donald Trump’s pardon plans 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. On-air pro and urban media personality Charlamagne Tha God, a.k.a. Lenard McKelvey, and iHeartMedia renew and extend their relationship. The deal means the co-host of the WWPR, New York “Power 105.1”-based, nationally syndicated “The Breakfast Club” will continue to work with iHeartMedia for the next five years. He says, “I give my sincerest thanks to iHeart for empowering me over the past decade to be the best talent that I can be, and for honoring me as an owner and executive. I love the audio business and iHeart is the biggest and best audio company in the world. As co-founder and chief creative officer of the Black Effect Podcast Network and now senior creative officer of cultural content and programming at iHeart, all I want to do for the next five years is continue to move the culture of radio and podcasting forward by curating a new era of voices, programming, and events. GOD IS GREAT! Now, it’s time to get back to work.”
WHYN, Springfield Cancels Adam Wright and Bo Sullivan AM Show. Listeners to iHeartMedia-owned news/talk outlet WHYN, Springfield, Massachusetts will be surprised on Monday morning when they hear the local Adam Wright and Bo Sullivan program has been replaced by the Jim Polito show from the company’s sister station WTAG, Worcester – about 50 miles away. Adam Wright, who replaced popular market personality Brad Shepard in 2014, tells MassLive.com that the ratings for the show were good and he chalks his firing up to the contemporary “nature of the radio business.” Sullivan had been with the station for more than 20 years. iHeartMedia has been trimming its employee roster gradually, market-by-market over the past month or so, in contrast to making large cuts at the end of the year, as it’s done in the past. Meanwhile, Jim Polito is no stranger to Springfield. He served as chief investigative reporter for WGGB-TV, Springfield for a number of years and worked at WFXT-TV, Boston, as well. It will be interesting to see if programming from Worcester will fly in Springfield. Meantime, the locally familiar Brad Shepard has launched a Springfield-based, online media station, Pioneer Valley Radio that carries, not only his own daily show, but a wide array of locally oriented, personality public affairs and news programs.
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of April 2016 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of April 2016 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The April 2016 survey period covered March 24 to April 20. You can find the complete 6+ ratings numbers from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Twelve Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
The Presidential Race Top News Talk Story for Week of May 9-13. Once again, the activities of the candidates for president and Tuesday’s West Virginia and Nebraska primary elections were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the ObamaCare funding court ruling. Coming in at #3 was the controversy over the Iran nuclear negotiations, followed by the allegations Facebook alters its trending topics away from conservative stories 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Holland Cooke Inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame. The Ocean State is known for having a long, rich history of great radio and radio stars, including, of course, the late, legendary Walter “Salty” Brine. In a gala dinner at the Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI that included a veritable who’s who of radio industry notables from all over the country, the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame inducted its class of 2016. Among the inductees, noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke of Holland Cooke Media. During his early career, Cooke was an air personality at WPRO and PD at WSNE. In 1984, Providence-based Outlet Broadcasting promoted him to operations manager of their then-owned all-news WTOP, Washington, DC – a position he held for the next seven years. From there Cooke went on to a stellar career of innovation and success in many branches of radio and communications including his role as special events correspondent and contributing columnist for TALKERS magazine and RadioInfo. Cooke will be a featured speaker at the forthcoming TALKERS 2016: Bridging the Generations convention next week on Friday, May 20 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. Other 2016 RI Radio Hall of Fame inductees include Bob DeCarlo, Bill George, Mike Gorman, Bruce Palmer and Debbie Rich. Special service awards were presented to Karen Kutniewski and Denise Laprise, and the Legacy Station of the Year was presented to JB105. Pictured at last night’s gala event celebrating with Holland Cooke (l-r): legendary programmer Jay Clark; TALKERS/RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison; “Good Day” host Doug Stephan; Entercom Boston VP/market manager Phil Zachary; Holland Cooke, “Money Pit” host Tom Kraeutler, CBS News Radio legend Joe Connolly; and retired RAB executive/radio marketing great, Dick Rakovan.
New York Festivals International Radio Program Awards Announces Finalists. The winners in all categories will be announced on June 20 at a ceremony at Manhattan Penthouse in New York City. This competition – since 1982 – has been honoring the World’s Best Radio Programs℠, receiving entries from radio stations, networks, and independent producers from around the globe. New York Festivals Radio Program Awards executive director Rose Anderson states, “This year’s entries are truly inspiring, they embody creativity, innovation and brilliant storytelling. These exceptional programs engage, entertain, inform, and transport the listener and are a testament to the power of the human voice.” NYF’s Grand Jury selected 296 Finalists from entries submitted from 29 countries worldwide. Entries were judged on production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity and use of the medium. Finalists from U.S. broadcasters include: ESPN’s “The Death of Lennon Lacy,” Best Investigative Reporting; Westwood One’s “America in the Morning,” Best News Magazine; SiriusXM’s Joe Madison, Best Regularly Scheduled Talk Program; CBS RADIO Boston’s “Too Many Memories: The Bruins-Canadiens Rivalry, Sports & Recreation; SiriusXM’s Opie Radio, Station Promotion; and PodcastOne/Goodphone Communications’ “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” Culture & The Arts.
New St. Louis Affiliate for ‘The Dana Show.’ The Radio America nationally syndicated “The Dana Show” with host Dana Loesch adds WDSZ, St. Louis “1260 AM The Answer” to its roster of affiliate stations. Loesch, who began her radio career on Emmis’ crosstown KFTK-FM, launches on the Salem Media Group-owned station on Monday (5/16) from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Station general manager Greg Lhamon says, “I’ve watched Dana’s radio show take off since the early days of her career eight years ago. This is an exciting addition to our lineup.”
Odds & Sods. WABC, New York recently presented some one-on-one interviews with two of the three remaining presidential candidates. Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump appeared on the “Imus in the Morning” program discussing his scheduled meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan and his comments about John McCain’s military service. On WABC Radio’s “Election Central with Rita Cosby,” Democrat Bernie Sanders stated Donald Trump should release his tax returns, he criticized New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s support of concealed carry permits in the state and said his focus is on winning a majority of the delegates and then working on the super delegates who favor Hillary Clinton…..Nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs collaborated with musician/producer Jacob Gossel to create a new chant song for UNLV’s football and basketball teams. The tune is called “Rebel Up.” Wachs – a 1993 grad of the school – says they are working closely with UNLV music professor and band director Tony LaBounty, who says, “‘Rebel Up’ says it all and will help us take it to the next level.” Hear a bit of the song here…..CBS RADIO St. Louis stations AC KEZK, news/talk KMOX, and hot AC KYKY are presenting “St. Louis Uncorked” on June 3-4 at the intersection of Market and Tucker in downtown St. Louis. In addition to music from Rachel Platten, Nick Fradiani, Ingrid Michaelson, and We the Kings, local support acts will perform. Attendees can sample an array of wines, beer, and spirits while tasting food from local vendors throughout the free weekend event.
KFBK, Sacramento Holds Mayoral Debate. Sacramento news/talker KFBK-AM/FM drew about 400 area voters to a mayoral debate on Wednesday (5/11), produced in cooperation with Inside Publications. The iHeartMedia-owned station’s Kitty O’Neal and John McGuinness hosted the debate along with moderator Bob Graswich at the Clunie Center in Sacramento. The event was live streamed on KFBK.com and video is available on the station’s website. Pictured above are (from l-r): McGinness, O’Neal, Graswich, and candidates Angelique Ashby, Darrell Steinberg and Tony Lopez.
Packed Talkers New York 2015 Conference a Hit with Attendees. Talk media industry practitioners jam-packed the India House in Manhattan’s Financial District on Friday, June 12 for a full day of presentations, panels and speeches as TALKERS magazine celebrated its 25th anniversary serving the talk radio industry at its 18th annual New York-located national conference. The day began with a continental breakfast and reception titled, “Breakfast with Hannity,” sponsored by the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk radio superstar. WFAN, New York sports talk legend Mike Francesa kicked off the presentations with a powerful and informative welcoming speech. Panel discussions included such topics as “The State of Radio Ratings,” “The Big Picture,” “Generating Talk Radio Revenue,” “Programming Talk Radio in 2015,” “Variety, The Spice of Life,” and “Navigating a Talk Host Career.” The program also included a one-on-one “Fireside Chat” between TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison and Cumulus Media EVP, content & programming John Dickey, plus the TALKERS Awards Presentation during which WOLB, Baltimore morning host Larry Young received the “Humanitarian of the Year Award,” Howard Stern co-host Robin Quivers received the “Woman of the Year Award,” CBS Radio News VP Harvey Nagler was presented the “Lifetime Achievement Award,” and ABC Television, director, business continuity Howard B. Price received the “Freedom of Speech Award.” Michael Harrison states, “We are deeply gratified, humbled and grateful by the SRO turnout and the tremendous love and support we have consistently received that has allowed TALKERS and all its various projects to make it to the quarter-century milestone. This conference exuded a level of confidence about the future of the talk industry held by its key players that we haven’t seen in years!” Video of each of the sessions and presentations will be made available online via Talkers TV, along with detailed story and photographic coverage of the conference, beginning next week. Above right, FOX News’ Brian Kilmeade, WFAN’s Mike Francesa and Sean Hannity share a joke. Lower left, Premiere Networks’ Julie Talbott (left) presents the Woman of the Year Award to Robin Quivers (right).
iHeartMedia to Create New Boston Home for Rush Limbaugh on WKOX. Dropping the Spanish music format “Mia 1430,” iHeartMedia will launch “Talk 1430” WKOX on Monday, June 29 with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh as the centerpiece along with company stalwarts Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck surrounding him. WKOX is licensed to Everett, Massachusetts and its primary signal covers the city of Boston and reaches many of its suburbs. iHeartMedia is going with a sports and talk hybrid using FOX Sports Radio content in addition to syndicated talk programming. Here’s the lineup: “FOX Sports Daybreak with Andy Furman & Mike North” in AM drive; Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon; Limbaugh; Sean Hannity from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; “America Now” from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight; and FOX Sports Radio during overnights. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We are excited to bring this powerful lineup of talk show hosts to our cluster here in Boston. We are confident that the biggest names in the talk radio format will serve our listeners and advertisers well.”
Canada’s Numeris Orders Voltair Units Disabled Until Further Notice. Canada’s Numeris – formerly called the Bureau of Broadcast Measurement – has ordered all Canadian radio stations to disconnect their Voltair units from their audio chains. The audio processor manufactured by 25-Seven – a division of TelosAlliance – has been a controversial topic within U.S. broadcast circles recently for reportedly enabling stations in Nielsen’s PPM markets to “amplify” the encoding that PPM receivers use to “hear” in order to give stations credit for listening. As was discussed at the Talkers New York 2015 conference on Friday (6/12) on the “State of Radio Ratings” panel, Voltair is currently being tested by Nielsen but no such edicts have been issued here. Canada’s Numeris states in a letter to station owners that the order to shut off Voltair comes because of the “importance of a level playing field.” Numeris admists it doesn’t know if the technology is affecting ratings or not but that it expects to have an analysis of Voltair done within 60 days.
Cumulus Media Elevates Hess to Corporate PD of News/Talk. A session moderator at last Friday’s (6/12) “TALKERS New York 2015,” Bill Hess takes on corporate responsibilities in addition to his role as program director of Cumulus Media Washington, DC news/talker WMAL-AM/FM. According to Cumulus executive vice president of content and programming John Dickey, “Bill is one of the format’s best minds. We look forward to sharing him within our company.” Senior vice president of content and programming Mike McVay comments, “This promotion enables us to take advantage of Bill’s previous experience as a corporate programmer and rewards him for the amazing job that he is doing at WMAL.” Hess remarks, “I deeply appreciate – and am incredibly energized by – this opportunity to work with John Dickey, Mike McVay, and our team of talented programmers as we continue to drive the success of the industry’s leading platform of news-talk brands, both on-air and digitally.” Formerly senior vice president of programming for Air America Radio, Hess was brand manager for Clear Channel/iHeartMedia and was PD of talk stations in Providence (WHJJ); Springfield, Massachusetts (WHYN-AM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (WTAG), as well as operations manager of Washington, DC progressive talker WWRC, sports WTEM, and conservative talk WTNT. The Philadelphia native has programmed FM music stations in Washington, DC (adult contemporary WASH and classic rock WBIG); Providence (hot AC WSNE and classic hits-oldies WWBB); Springfield, Massachusetts (hot AC WHYN-FM); and Worcester, Massachusetts (adult contemporary WSRS).
New Course Set at WRKO, Boston. In a press statement announcing the hiring of Alison Harris as sales manager for Entercom’s news/talk WRKO, Boston, VP and market manager Phil Zachary says filling this two-year-vacant post signals the station’s readiness to forward with the next step in its evolution. He comments, “Like every talk radio station in America, WRKO has been evolving with the changing media habits and demographic shifts in our society. We did not want to fill this important position until our course was set for the future and we found the perfect candidate. I’m thrilled we’re now at that point and that Alison was available to us.” Harris is a 22-year media pro who was most recently with Clear Channel Outdoor’s Washington, D.C./Baltimore Division as vice president of sales. The Boston news/talk will part with Premiere Networks’ Rush Limbaugh next month and says it will announce its new, official lineup a little later this month.
Odds & Sods. Boston journalist and talk show host Michele McPhee told her listeners on Friday afternoon that she expects to beat the charges leveled against her after a late night incident on Thursday that resulted in her being arrested for DUI, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. McPhee – heard on WMEX, Boston in afternoon drive – says she can’t comment specifically on the advice of her attorney. She was pulled over after a police officer reported seeing her car swerve on I-93 in South Boston. The Boston Herald reports she became belligerent with the officer and even sustained a head injury while the officer was arresting her…..Salem Media Group names Randy Bush general manager of its Little Rock station group that includes Christian contemporary KKSP, Christian teaching KDIS and news/talk KHTE “96.5 The Answer.”…..Townsquare Media announces Mike “Sandman” Sanders is the new operations manager for its Billings, Montana cluster that includes news/talk KCHH “Newstalk 95.5.” He was most recently with Riverbend Communications as music director and afternoon personality at adult contemporary KCLE, Idaho Falls “Classy 97.3.”
Nielsen Audio Releases Fourth Round of May 2015 PPM Data. The fourth and final round of May 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, Providence, Raleigh, Norfolk, Nashville, Greensboro, West Palm Beach, Jacksonville, Memphis, and Hartford. The May 2015 survey period covered April 23 through May 20. You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS and RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.
NJBA Conference and Gala Begins This Week. The annual New Jersey Broadcasters Association Conference and Gala opens this week in Atlantic City with his year’s theme: “Broadcast Has New Attitude.” NJBA president & CEO Paul Rotella states, “We’re going to hear from a variety of voices during this conference which will provide you with the latest and most substantial evolution in research, technology and advancement in audience measurement.” During the conference, the NJBA will be honoring FOX News’ Judge Andrew P. Napolitano as its recipient of the Howard L. Green Humanitarian of the Year. Also, Greater Media’s Peter Smyth will induct Dan Finn, Harry Hurley, Dick Swetits, and Kevin Williams into the NJBA Hall of Fame.
‘Get Well’ Wishes to Gabe Hobbs. Longtime radio pro and Gabe Hobbs Media principal, Gabe Hobbs is recovering from a ruptured disc in his lower back. He writes to the industry that he’s been largely unable to communicated while literally “on his back” in the hospital for the better part of the last two weeks. He writes, “As some of you may have heard, I have been hospitalized with a ruptured disk in my lower back for a couple of weeks. My back just seemed to explode on the afternoon of May 26th and I’ve been largely unable to answer emails, phone calls or texts ever since. I couldn’t even sit up or walk for 9 days. I’m finally able to do a little work on the computer and have somewhat cogent phone conversations at this point…My apologies as I know many of you are wondering if I just dropped off the face of the earth. Everyone at TALKERS wishes Gabe a speedy recovery.
WGN Makes it Official: Roe Conn to PM Drive. Thanks to Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the arrival of longtime, former WLS-AM personality Roe Conn to the afternoon drive daypart at Tribune Media’s news/talk WGN is not a surprise – Feder broke the news last week. But now, the company officially announces Conn will move into PM drive and bump Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder to late mornings with John Williams leaving that daypart and being featured as part of WGN’s Saturday programming. Williams also hosts a daily show at CBS RADIO’s WCCO, Minneapolis and had been doing double duty. The changes take effect on January 26. WGN Radio VP of content and programming Todd Manley says, “Roe craves what’s behind the curtain of breaking news. He’s a master of investigative conversation, so you’ll learn and you’ll laugh.” WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling and news anchor Mark Supplesa will be regulars on Conn’s program. Manley adds, “We’re building an even stronger bridge between our radio journalists at the Tribune Tower and the incomparable newsroom at WGN-TV.” Regarding the new Saturday programming, Manley says a Saturday edition of “The Business Lunch” with host Steve Bertrand will follow the Kathy & Judy show from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm. “The World of John Williams” will air from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and will integrate with mobile app urVibe, a news-polling social platform that he developed. Sports talk show “The Beat,” with hosts Jarrett Payton, Connor McKnight and Adam Hoge, will air from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
USA Radio Networks Adds Late Night Show. Soon to air in the 12:00 midnight to 3:00 am ET slot on USA Radio Networks is “The Real Side Radio Show with Joe Messina.” USA Radio Networks says, “Research reveals a growing number of workers are clocking in for the graveyard shift. Once reserved for blue-color workers, there are now a significantly increasing number of white-collar employees working evenings or nights.” Tim Maranville is chief content officer at USA Radio Networks’ parent company Cross Platform Media Group. He says, “Now second and third shifters can continue a live engaging conversation about America with Joe Messina’s ‘The Real Side.’ They deserve a straight shooter like Joe.” Cross Platform CEO Sam Hassell adds, “Joe is a tremendous asset to our expanding platform of programs. Overnights is a significantly under served time period for live national content. Another win for our affiliate and sponsorship partners.”
Beasley Modifies Corporate Name for Radio Group. In a move that the company says reflects “the broad and expansive reach of on-air, digital and collateral radio products that are available to Beasley’s listeners and advertisers,” Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. reports that the various entities that previously held the company’s portfolio of 53 radio stations in 12 markets now become Beasley Media Group. The publicly traded parent company, headquartered in Naples, Florida, remains Beasley Broadcast Group, Inc. and continues to trade as “BBGI” on NASDAQ.
WEEI, Boston Rewards Dale Arnold with New Contract. Longtime Boston sports media figure Dale Arnold – sometimes criticized for being stodgy and “old school” – assumed the afternoon drive co-host slot alongside Michael Holley last spring and was told if he helped bring the ratings up in the daypart, he’d get a new deal. Today, Entercom announces that after 10 months on WEEI in afternoons, “ratings are up 59% with WEEI’s target audience of Men 25-to-54, and their program routinely ranks in the top three, up from sixth place last winter.” So the company is signing Arnold to a new contract. WEEI brand manager Kevin Graham says, “Dale Arnold has one of the most complete and diverse sports resumes in Boston broadcast history. He is the only person to have done play-by-play for the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins, Celtics and Revolution in addition to having called college football, basketball and hockey. Most importantly, Dale’s name is synonymous with class and character, and the impact he’s made since returning full time is undeniable.”
Sabo: The Lessons of Lowell Bud Paxson. Media consultant Walter Sabo worked with Lowell Bud Paxson – the founder of the Home Shopping Network – who died earlier this week. In a column published recently, Sabo relates some of the media lessons he learned from working with Paxson and observing his operation. While Paxson was better known for his creation of the Home Shopping Network and Pax TV, Paxson owned radio stations during his career. Flying in the face of convention and trusting one’s instincts are two of the character traits Paxson had. Read more from Walter Sabo about what radio operators can take away from the life and legacy of Lowell Bud Paxson here.
Odds & Sods. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is in the hot seat today as he appears on all-news KNX, Los Angeles’ “Ask the Mayor” program airing at 10:00 am PT. KNX anchor Tom Haule and chief investigative reporter Charles Feldman will co-host the program and listeners are invited to call or Tweet questions. Topics to be discussed include: the city’s crime rate, the mayor’s agenda for the New Year, safety at LAX, Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat and the city’s preparedness for a terrorist attack…..Glimmerglass Radio – which bills itself as “the only green living talk radio station in America” – marks its one-year anniversary in business and says it has completed its programming lineup of 54 radio programs dedicated to news and information related to all things green. John Kosmer founded the Upstate New York-based digital station “to meet the rising interest in energy, the environment and healthy lifestyles.”…..Basketball legend Oscar Robertson will host a special Martin Luther King Jr. Day program on SiriusXM’s NBA Radio channel on Monday. The hour-long program will be co-hosted by SiriusXM’s Jason Jackson during which Robertson will share his experiences in the civil rights struggle and discuss what Dr. King’s legacy has meant to players of his era as well as those in today’s NBA…..Yahoo! Sports Radio will be part of the media mayhem that leads up to the NFL’s Super Bowl this year. The network will broadcast 17 hours daily from Glendale, Arizona including the Steve Czaban, Travis Rodgers, “Prime Cut with Sean Salisbury and John Granato,” “Sports X Radio” shows plus a special weekday series of “Talk of Fame.”…..Westwood One Sports continues its broadcast coverage of the NFL postseason with broadcasts of this weekend’s NFC and AFC Conference Championship games.
SRN’s Bill Bennett Addresses Idaho Legislature. Pictured here with Idaho Governor Butch Otter (left) is Salem Radio Network personality and former U.S. Secretary of Education Bill Bennett (right). Bennett, who hosts the “Morning in America” program, spoke before the Idaho legislature on the topic of education, commending the station on its education program and encouraging lawmakers to “provide more and better STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) curriculum in the state’s schools.”
Charlie Hebdo Aftermath/Islamic Extremists, ISIS Syria Strikes/Boko Haram Violence in Africa, Obama Immigration Policy, Boehner Floor Speech Rips Obama, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Plummeting Oil Prices/World Financial Markets Activity, and NFL Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The aftermath of the deadly assault on Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo and the greater topic of violent Islamic extremists; the ISIS strikes in Syria and the deadly assaults in Africa at the hands of Boko Haram; the immigration reform policy of the Obama Administration; House Speaker John Boehner’s floor speech criticizing President Obama’s policies; potential GOP candidates for president in 2016 including Mitt Romney, Rand Paul, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, and Rick Santorum; falling oil prices and the effects on the world’s financial markets; and this weekend’s NFL conference championships were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.