By Holland Cooke
For years, as digital competitors have horned-in-on radio’s Time Spent Listening and enchanted advertisers, convention panels have talked-the-talk that we can’t just be a radio station any more…as cutbacks compromised the local content that will always be broadcasters’ silver bullet.
Shelley Rises to Executive Director of RTDNA/F. Longtime association member, former chairman of the board and current foundation secretary/treasurer Dan Shelley is named incoming executive director of the RTDNA and the RTDNF. He’ll begin his new position in September. Shelley is a veteran Edward. R. Murrow Award-winning radio, television and digital media executive. He’s served in key news positions with iHeartMedia, Radio One, CBS Television Stations and Journal Broadcast Group. He began his career at KTTS-AM/FM in Springfield, Missouri. RTDNA/F board chairman Vincent Duffy states, “Dan’s unique blend of experience, energy and deep understanding of our mission will position us for growth and continued success. His passion and dedication make him an ideal leader for our organization.” Shelley comments on his new position, “I am honored to take on this exciting new challenge at a critical time for our profession. More than ever, RTDNA plays an essential role in defending the rights of electronic journalists. I am looking forward to serving our members and advocating on their behalf.” This spring and summer, Shelley will oversee the development of RTDNA’s Voice of the First Amendment Task Force. Current executive director Mike Cavender, who previously announced his intention to retire, will provide transition assistance to the organizations through the end of the year.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago Media maven Robert Feder reports on Windy City radio legend Steve Dahl’s disappearance from his afternoon drive show on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM for more than a week. Feder writes that “an upbeat and energetic Steve Dahl returned to his afternoon show on Cumulus Media news/talk WLS AM 890 Wednesday (4/5) more than a week after he landed in the hospital for treatment of a perforated colon. Broadcasting from his home, the Chicago radio legend said he was diagnosed with diverticulitis. ‘I’m on some kind of weird diet right now,’ Dahl, 62, told listeners. ‘I really honestly am just so glad to not be in the hospital and not in pain. They can take away whatever they want from me in terms of eating. I can live with it.’” Read Feder’s column here…..WPHT, Philadelphia’s Rich Zeoli afternoon drive program is honored with an excellence in broadcasting award from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters in the category of Outstanding Local Personality or Team for large market stations. In a memo to staffers, program executive producer Greg Stocker writes, “Host Rich Zeoli and news anchor Dawn Stensland were recognized for their outstanding broadcast abilities and the Rich Zeoli show has brought home WPHT’s first award for this category. A very big congrats to Rich and the whole PM drive team. These awards are never won alone, with lots of tireless work off the air helping make all of our shows successful.”…..The team of Mike Rutherford and John Ramsey exits Union Broadcasting Louisville’s sports talk WLCL-FM, Louisville “93.9 The Ville.” In a post on SB Nation Card Chronicle, Rutherford shares his reasons for leaving the station’s afternoon show. He writes, in part, that “Working multiple jobs that I really and truly love is an unbelievable blessing, but all of them reaching their maximum level of demand at the same time is taxing.”…..Emmy award-winning broadcast journalist Elvira Salazar enters into a multi-year deal with Creative Talent Inc. for representation encompassing her work in television, radio, blogging and digital media. Salazar is a nightly news anchor with Mega TV and serves as a columnist with Newsmax Insider. Creative Talent president and CEO Steve Gallagher states, “Elvira has covered every major breaking news event in the past 25 years and regularly speaks out on immigration issues across the country on media outlets such as FOX News and FOX Business and she is a popular guest on radio talk shows nationwide. We are thrilled to be working with Elvira Salazar in getting her message out on every platform.”…..The central division of the Kroger grocery chain is honoring Neuhoff Communications’ WSOY, Decatur, Illinois “News/Talk 1340AM 103.3 FM” with its “Community Partner of the Year” award. WSOY was nominated and chosen for this prestigious honor for the impact of the WSOY Community Food Drive, an event that has raised more than 7.9 million pounds of food for local food pantries in its 15-year history. WSOY was chosen based on several key performance criteria, as well as general cooperation and enthusiasm toward achieving mutual goals. Previous honorees of the Community Partner of the Year Award include the Indiana Pacers and the Indiana Lottery. Vendors honored at the awards this year included Red Bull, The Dr. Pepper Snapple Group and the Hershey Company…..Salem Media Group announces that Heath Garlutzo will move from the company’s Phoenix station group where he’s been general sales manager to Colorado Springs to assume the general manager role there…..TALKERS magazine sends condolences to the family and friends of Neil Sargent, who passed recently from complications from lung cancer at age 85. Sargent was a much-loved broadcast executive whose last gig before retirement was CEO of TM Century. He’d also served with syndicators Unistar, Transtar. During his long career, he also managed radio stations.
New Categories, Broad Scope of Esteemed Jury Panel Mark 2017 New York Festivals’ “World’s Best Radio Programs’ Awards. This year marks the 35th annual “World’s Best Radio Programs” awards presented by New York Festivals. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian speaks with New York Festivals International Radio Program competition executive director Rose Anderson, who tells him the competition is unique because virtually everything is covered from news programs; news features; documentaries; entertainment; drama; talk; promos; audio books; podcasts; and student work. Anderson says “It really is all things audio. It is most important to us that we make New York Festivals Radio Program awards a destination for people all over the world who are creating radio that is interesting, innovative, and of very high quality…This year, we have added four pretty interesting categories. They are ‘Best Live News Special,’ ‘Music Podcast,’ ‘Personalized Podcast,’ and ‘Heroes Documentary,’ with the latter a bit more than a biography profile documentary. ‘Heroes’ would be ordinary people whose extraordinary acts have influenced others.” Read more about the New York Festivals International Radio Program competition here.
Gorsuch Nomination, Trump Campaign-Russia Investigation, Bannon Exits NSC, Trump and Xi Jinping Meeting, North Korea Missile Threats, Syrian Gas Attack, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/5). The status of the nomination of Neil Gorsuch for the U.S. Supreme Court; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign personnel and Russian agents and Obama Administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice’s role in unmasking them; presidential adviser Stephen K. Bannon exits the National Security Council; President Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping meeting at Mar-a-Lago; concerns about North Korea’s advancing nuclear missile program; the deadly gas attack on Syrian civilians and the political blame game; and the first games of the Major League Baseball season were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Hanging with the GOAT. WQAM, Miami afternoon show personalities (from l-r) Zach Krantz, Channing Crowder, and Marc Hochman – of the “Hochman, Crowder, and Krantz” show – chatted with all-time victories records-holder and Miami Dolphins legendary coach Don Shula (seated) at a recent remote broadcast at Shula’s Steakhouse in Miami Lakes, Florida.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twenty-seven year radio pro Lori Tournay Liggett is promoted to general sales manager for Cumulus Media Nashville’s music stations country WKDF “NASH FM 103.3” and WSM-FM “95.5 NASH Icon,” and urban contemporary WQQK “92Q.” Liggett joined Cumulus Nashville in 2015 as general sales manager for WQQK. Prior to that, she was with CBS RADIO Detroit. She states, “I am honored to lead the WQQK, WSM-FM and WKDF sales team. Broadcast and digital media is constantly evolving and Cumulus Nashville puts local client solutions, employee development and our communities at the forefront of everything we do. I look forward to continuing these efforts.”…..Rock KFMB, San Diego “100.7 KFM-BFM” afternoon personality Mike Vasquez is promoted to program director for the Midwest Television station. He takes over for Garett Michaels, who exited the PD post in January…..Danny Hill is back with Alpha Media’s CHR KLLY, Bakersfield “Energy 95.3” as program director. Hill posts on Facebook that he’s psyched to be back at the station. He exited KLLY two years ago to take a management gig at Hawaii Media’s Kauai station group…..iHeartRadio’s “Artist Stories,” presented by State Farm, was honored for the Best Film & Video – Unscripted (Branded) category in the 21st Annual Webby Awards – an international award that honors excellence on the Internet…..iHeartMedia announces the addition of a number of acts to its Daytime Village Presented by Capital One at the 2017 iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. New artists added to the bill include: Halsey, Little Mix, Bleachers, Niall Horan, Bebe Rexha, and Cheat Codes.
Bi-Partisan PROMOTE Act Would Let Copyright Owners Opt Out of Uncompensated Radio Airplay for Their Songs. Radio station owners – as well as the National Association of Broadcasters – are no happier with this new bill (fully titled the Performance Royalty Owners of Music Opportunity To Earn Act) sponsored by U.S. Reps Darrel Issa (R-CA) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) than they were with the recently filed Fair Play Fair Pay Act that would force payments to AM/FM stations for playing copyrighted material. This PROMOTE Act would allow copyright holders of electronic performances – in most cases the record companies themselves – to not allow their material to be aired by AM/FM stations if they don’t believe they’re being compensated fairly. Issa says this proposal hits both sides of the free-play-in-exchange-for-promotion argument where they live. Issa says, “Our bill puts forward a workable solution that would allow those who would otherwise be paid a performance right to opt out of allowing broadcasters to play their music if they feel they’re not being appropriately compensated. This is a win-win that helps solve this decades-long problem in a way that’s fair to both parties.” Radio station owners hate the idea almost as much as being forced to pay the copyright fees. But TALKERS editors wonder how many labels would really remove their music from AM/FM playlists unless they are paid. This could also adversely affect certain radio stations and not others. Remember that iHeartMedia and Cumulus have negotiated deals (the details of which are private) with a number of major labels and label groups that include compensation for AM/FM airplay.
By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — It’s tempting to credit “House of Cards” for inventing binge watching. But Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Roku, and YouTube are following – not leading – consumers’ on-demand expectation, and their appetite for more than just more-of-the-same.
Radio is late to the party, playing catch-up as podcast TSL swells, and radio dollars leak to digital. Ask any GM about car dealers; and how corporate is barking for more digital revenue.
Cooke: NAB Radio Show Wrap Up. Radio consultant Holland Cooke wraps his coverage of the 2015 NAB Radio Show in Atlanta with this report. In it find HC’s takeaways from sessions that addressed radio commercial creative, selling radio in the multi-media world, consumers’ views of the state of the automobile dashboard, plus AM revitalization and the FCC. Republican FCC commissioner Michael O’Reilly was the only commish to attend and, regarding the contentious issue of an open window for FM translator applications by current AM station owners, he said, “The AM translator solution is the #1 solution. How could it be left out of any package of reforms?” Read Cooke’s report here.
News and News/Talk Well Represented in NAB’s 2015 Marconi Awards. All-news KYW, Philadelphia picked up the 2015 Marconi Award for Legendary Station, announced last night (10/1) at the NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show held at this year’s Radio Show in Atlanta. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP, Washington grabbed the Marconi for Major Market Station of the Year and Cox Media Group’s news/talk KRMG-AM, Tulsa was honored with the Medium Market Station of the Year award. On the talent side, KRMG morning personality Dan Potter picked up the Medium Market Personality of the Year and WSOY, Decatur, Illinois morning host Brian Byers won the Small Market Personality of the Year honor. In the spoken-word format categories, Cox’s WSB-AM, Atlanta won News/Talk Station of the Year and CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York was honored with Sports Station of the Year. See all the winners here.
September PPM Data and RadioInfo‘s ‘Twelve Takeaways.’ Rather than distributing ratings information for 12-PPM markets apiece over a four-day period as it generally does, Nielsen Audio doubled up its September 2015 schedule. It released data from 23 markets Tuesday (Tampa was delayed) and 24 markets the following day (Wednesday, 9/30). You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations in those 47 markets here. Simultaneous with that, TALKERS magazine’s sister radio trade pub RadioInfo enthusiastically unveils an augmented modification of our already powerful ratings coverage as managing editor Mike Kinosian expands his “Top Ten Takeaways” to encompass all markets every month. In this “Twelve Takeaways” overview, we focus on noteworthy happenings in Riverside, Sacramento, San Antonio, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Kansas City, Orlando, Columbus, San Jose, and Austin. The September 2015 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. Check ’em out here.
West Virginia-Based Host Caiden Cowger Becomes ‘Youngest’ Syndicated Talk Personality. Via his own Cowger Nation Media Network, 17-year-old Caiden Cowger embarks on a venture syndicating his eponymous talk show. The program airs on WBUC, Buckhannon, West Virginia; WFSB, Quitman, Georgia; and newest affiliate WXMB, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; and others. Cowger says his interest in becoming a talk radio host began at an early age. “When I was around seven or eight, I recall going with my grandpa into a bookstore and picked up a book titled, It’s My America Too, by Ben Ferguson (generally recognized as the youngest talk host – at age 20 – to be nationally syndicated ). I remember thinking, ‘Wow, it would really be neat if I could do something like that.’ About five years later, I began my radio career.” Cowger names Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin as his influences and also recognizes American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer and Fisher’s producer Jeff Reed as being supportive mentors for his talk radio career. See Cowger’s website here.
Odds & Sods. New York City sports pro Jared Max joins the FOX News organization. FOX News Headlines 24/7 brings the radio pro aboard to serve as a sports reporter and provide up-to-the-minute sports coverage for the new SiriusXM satellite radio channel that launches on October 5. Max’s resume includes time working for CBS RADIO’s all-news WCBS-AM, New York; ESPN O&O WEPN, New York; WFAN, New York, and Bloomberg Radio…..The newly partnered Ryen Russillo and Danny Kanell are getting a video simulcast for their ESPN Radio sports talk show. Effective Monday, October 5, the Russillo & Kanell show will be simulcast from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm on the sports giant’s ESPNEWS channel…..A note from E.W. Scripps-owned news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee – the station announces it has re-signed with the NBA’s Bucks to continue to serve as the flagship station for the Bucks Radio Network. Station vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer comments, “The Milwaukee Bucks organization is in a tremendous building and growing phase, and is a vital part of our community. WTMJ has been a proud partner with the Bucks for many years and we’re excited to continue to serve as the Bucks radio home for years to come.”…..In observance of National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Entercom’s news/talk WORD, Greenville, South Carolina is presenting a two-hour special program on Tuesday, October 6. The program is being hosted by the station’s Jenna Kochenauer – herself a victim of domestic abuse – with special guest panelists Sharon Totherow, director of local non-profit Domestic Violence Assistance; Judy Munson, assistant solicitor, domestic violence division, 13th Circuit Court; and Carl Smith, a local counselor with experience working with batterers through an intensive treatment and counseling program.
U.S.-Russia Syria Tensions Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of Sept 28 – Oct 2. The military action begin taken in Syria by Russia and President Obama’s meeting with Vladimir Putin over the matter was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week. At #2 was a tie between Donald Trump’s tax plan and the activities of the candidates for president in 2016. Coming in at #3 was the aftermath of Pope Francis’ visit to the U.S., including his reported meeting with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, followed by the House hearing with Planned Parenthood exec Cecile Richards 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.
Big Day for All-News at Marconi Awards: WBBM-AM, Chicago Wins Legendary Station Award. The NAB/RAB Radio Show is the site of the annual Marconi Awards and this year, CBS Radio’s WBBM-AM, Chicago took home the Legendary Station Award. Other news and talk-related winners included: Cox Media Group’s KRMG-FM, Tulsa taking home Medium Market Station of the Year; CBS Radio’s WBZ-AM, Boston winning News/Talk Station of the Year; Brian Byers of WSOY, Decatur, Illinois winning Medium Market Personality of the Year; and KTCK, Dallas taking home Sports Station of the Year. This year’s “NAB Marconi Radio Awards Dinner & Show” was hosted by “Shotgun Tom” Kelly of CBS Radio’s KRTH-FM in Los Angeles. The show also featured a performance by Grammy Award-Winning band The Mavericks from Big Machine Label Group.
Rush Limbaugh Tells Affiliates Taking Show to Satellite Radio Would Be a “Betrayal.” Speaking at a party in his honor to celebrate 25 years in national syndication hosted by syndicator Premiere Networks, talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh told industry insiders – many of whom were station owners and programmers who carry his program – that “I can’t thank you all enough because without you and all of the people who run the radio stations I’m on, I wouldn’t be possible.” Speaking about the importance of the relationship between the personality and the radio station, Limbaugh said from his earliest days in radio, he’s always believed that “it takes the radio station to make the personality, the personality can’t make the radio station.” He said that at industry gatherings such as the Radio Show he is invariably asked if he would ever go to SiriusXM and he said, “The first moment the question was asked, I’ve always looked at that as a betrayal, if I were to do that because of the opportunity to be on your radio stations has provided me and I honestly believe it’s a lifetime commitment. I don’t think it’s a debt I can ever fully repay.” Limbaugh went on to allude to the controversial nature of talk radio – and his image in particular – when he added, “And Lord knows, I’ve put you through hell.” (The room responded with rousing laughter.) “Probably more times than even I know! I’m aware of the times I know. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that whatever the obstacle or controversy – whenever it pops up – that you all hang in there. One thing that’s such a blessing of freedom: I don’t have to worry when those things happen that you’re going to be affected by whatever the media is attempting or whatever detractors are attempting. The one thing that fuels me and gives me confidence and strength is I know I’m not going to lose you all…and I’m going to be forever grateful.”
KMOX, St. Louis Personality Charlie Brennan Celebrates 25 Years at CBS News/Talker. St. Louis talk show host Charlie Brennan (pictured here at left) celebrated his 25th anniversary on news/talk KMOX today (9/20) with a live broadcast in front of a packed audience at the Anheuser-Busch Biergarten. Brennan first began broadcasting on KMOX on September 20, 1988. He was joined on the air this morning by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews – his very first guest on KMOX. Also calling in with kudos today were: Joe Buck, Bob Costas, Larry King, Morley Safer, Juan Williams, Jennifer Griffin, Senator John McCain, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, singers Ricky Skaggs and Michael McDonald, Tony La Russa, Joe Garagiola, Bob Pettit, Ted Koppel and George Vecsey. Through a proclamation, Mayor Francis Slay declared today “Charlie Brennan Day” in St. Louis.
Hill Joins WWL-AM/FM, New Orleans. Former WWL-TV, New Orleans news anchor Angela Hill will come out of her short-lived retirement September 30 to begin 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm duties on Entercom news/talk station WWL-AM/FM. “It doesn’t get any bigger than this,” Entercom New Orleans vice president and general manager Chris Claus states.” Angela is one of the most respected, popular, and beloved personalities in New Orleans. Hill retired from WWL-TV earlier this year and comments that she was “always looking for the next chapter” of her life. “Radio allows you to connect with and engage people on a more personal level. When you add the power and reach of WWL radio, we can do great things. My show will be engaging, fun, and attract big-time guests – the sky’s the limit.” According to WWL operations/program director, Diane Newman, “Angela Hill is a trusted journalist, an amazing interviewer and a great listener.” Hill will succeed “Talk Gumbo with John ‘Spud’ McConnell,” but Claus points out McConnell, “isn’t going anywhere. We have big and exciting plans for him” that apparently will be announced on-air on Monday, September 23.
Premiere’s George Noory Appears on ‘The View’ with Whoopi Goldberg. On Thursday, September 19, “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory made an appearance on ABC TV’s “The View” for the debut of a new segment called “Out of this World with Whoopi,” which showcases Whoopi Goldberg’s fascination with the paranormal. During the segment, Noory shared a few stories of ghost sightings and cursed objects, and told the audience how his fascination with the paranormal began as a child. Goldberg asked him about peoples’ fascination with the unexplained and Noory said, “People want to know why we are here, who we are, and is there life after death….and that’s what we do, we try to find answers.”
Odds & Sods. ESPN Radio personality Mike Greenberg – co-host of the “Mike & Mike” morning drive program – is named grand marshall of Northwestern University’s Homecoming Parade. Greenberg is an alumnus of the school and will revisit the campus the weekend of October 4-5 and be an honored guest during the festivities…..WTAG, Worcester morning drive host Paul Westcott sits in for nationally syndicated talk host Andy Dean tonight (9/20, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET) on his Premiere Networks program “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..Chicago Bears tight end Martellus Bennett signs a deal to become an on-air personality on CBS Radio’s WSCR, Chicago where he’ll make weekly appearances on the “Boers and Bernstein” show at 5:00 pm every Monday during football season, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune.
U.S.-Russia Tensions Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 16-20. Scrutiny over the Obama Administration’s relationship with Russia and president Vladimir Putin relative to the Syria issue was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. Following at #2 was the deal for Syria to turn its chemical weapons over to Russia to avoid a U.S. strike. At #3 was the Washington Navy Yard slayings, and at #4 was the ongoing debate over the funding and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio. It is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS and is posted every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.