Pete Kaliner Returns to WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for Early Afternoon Show. North Carolina talk radio personality Pete Kaliner is joining Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte as host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show, effective July 26. Kaliner, who has been hosting afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WWNC, Asheville, returns to the station where he spent a dozen years as news reporter and talk show host. Radio One Charlotte regional VP and market manager Marsha Landress says, “For three decades, ‘Noon to 3’ has been synonymous with an icon that is irreplaceable. We know that no one will ever replace Rush, and we’re not attempting to replace him. Bringing Pete Kaliner back to WBT represents our commitment to serving this community by utilizing his decades of experience in covering national issues and how they affect us here. We are excited by the future that having Pete on this team brings.” Kaliner says, “Returning to WBT is somewhat surreal, as it has been such a huge part of my life. Being a part of WBT for all those years meant being a part of Charlotte’s unique and inspiring story. WBT and Charlotte are inextricably connected by a century of history. I am sincerely humbled and honored to be entrusted to help contribute to the next chapters.” The station adds, “And, just as WBT has supported the community of Charlotte for over 99 years, Pete will join in this commitment to service by raising awareness to anti-poverty and animal welfare organizations as WBT approaches its Centennial celebration in 2022.”
Larry Elder Sues California Secretary of State for Keeping Him Off Recall Ballot. In a suit filed in California Superior Court, Salem Radio Network talk show host Larry Elder complains that California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has improperly applied the state’s election code that requires candidates for governor submit five years of tax returns. Elder is among a number of people who filed as a candidate in the September 14 recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom. Elder’s suit says that he fully complied with the code that requires filing of the tax returns and was informed by the Secretary of State that everything appeared to be in order and therefore the state’s Elections Code says it’s incumbent on the Secretary of State to correct any redacting errors that might have occurred. Further, Elder says the law requiring the filing of tax returns specifically applies only to “direct primary elections” so it’s debatable whether it applies to recall elections at all. Additionally, the way the law is being applied does not require Gavin Newsom to file his returns and this, Elder argues, violates his equal protection rights under California’s Constitution. Read the court filing here.
TALKERS Founder Michael Harrison Guests on 11th Episode of Limbaugh Tribute Podcast Series – Premiere Networks and EIB Network Presenting ‘Rush Limbaugh: The Man Behind the Golden EIB Microphone’ Podcast Series. This 12-episode podcast series is narrated by Rush Limbaugh’s longtime call-screener and “official show observer” James Golden, a.k.a., Bo Snerdley. Premiere Networks says, “The 12-episode series details legendary radio host Rush Limbaugh’s award-winning, 30-plus year career in radio that revitalized the spoken-word format and provided a platform for him to develop and lead modern conservatism in America. Featuring Limbaugh’s own words and never-before-heard stories shared by colleagues, friends and family, the series gives listeners a guided tour of the five-time Marconi Award winner’s historic journey from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to becoming the number one talk radio host in America. The series will also highlight Limbaugh’s lasting legacy.” Golden says, “The only blessing greater than working with Rush was knowing the man that he truly was. It is not only my honor, but also my duty, to help ensure his legacy is properly acknowledged. I want to thank Premiere Networks and the EIB Network for allowing me this profound opportunity.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “It is gratifying to share this incredible series with millions of Rush Limbaugh fans. Those who knew Rush best are providing an insider’s look at his life and career, presenting a true celebration and tribute to the greatest talk radio host of all time.” Michael Harrison states, “I am honored to be part of this magnificent project. Congratulations to the entire team at Premiere including the production wizards Phil Tower and Chris Kelly for their superb craftsmanship.” You can listen to the first 11 installments of this historic 12 part series including the latest featuring Michael Harrison and Salem Media Group VP Phil Boyce titled, “Talkers,” by clicking here.
TTWN Expands Relationship with The JOY FM. The Total Traffic and Weather Network announces an expanded newswire content partnership with The JOY FM. Under the agreement, TTWN will provide news, sports, show-prep and audio content via its 24/7 News Source wire service to The JOY FM’s 14 radio stations across Georgia, Florida and Alabama. TTWN says that with a completely redesigned all-in-one broadcast interface, 24/7 News Source provides its affiliate partners with market-customized text and audio news, weather, sports, and entertainment updates, including format-specific content and show-prep, plus the ability to instantly click-n-share stories via social media. TTWN SVP of affiliate sales Jack Dunkle says, “TTWN delivers custom solutions for all formats to meet our affiliate partners’ needs, including more than 200 Christian Radio affiliates. We’re excited to expand our partnership with The JOY FM to provide more of their stations with trusted, premium newsroom content.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM is hiring Hollywood entertainment reporter Sam Rubin to contribute show biz reports to Steve Bertrand’s afternoon drive program on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Rubin is based at Nexstar’s KTLA-TV, Los Angeles and he also contributes to the NewsNation cable channel. WGN-AM vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells staffers, “These added resources help WGN report and tell stories that other audio platforms can’t deliver.”…..Compass Media Networks unveils the lineup of NFL games that it will make available to radio stations this season. The season starts on September 9 with the Dallas Cowboys at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Compass Media Networks says the schedule will feature a double-header every Sunday for all 18 weeks of the regular season along with full coverage of the Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders…..3G Broadcasting’s WADK-AM, Newport, Rhode Island adds a translator to its broadcast at 101.1 FM. Station owner Bonnie Gomes says WADK can now operate 24 hours and they’ll be rounding out the program schedule soon. “We’ll make the announcement as our programming increases, but we’re still going to be the source for wide, local news, and a resource to the community. That’s who we are, we’re not going to change.”…..The Undefeated columnist, commentator and host Clinton Yates is leading a new The Undefeated and ESPN podcast, “Black History Always,” produced by Roj Grobes, beginning July 28. Yates says, “With ‘Black History Always,’ we’re looking to remind people that who we are as a culture is a living, breathing entity in all parts of American society. It’s not just history books and social media. The humans who make up the fabric and backbone of this country aren’t all superstars or slaves. We contain multitudes and everyone deserves to be heard. So, tune in.”…..RAB announces that the deadline for entries for the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards has been extended to August 23. For more information and to register, click here.
Jiggy Jaguar Interviews Stars at Exxxotica Conference. Pictured above is Transmedia World Wide talk host James “Jiggy Jaguar” Lowe (center) at last weekend’s Exxxotica conference in Chicago interviewing two adult film stars for his radio program.
COVID-19/Paul-Fauci Battle, Infrastructure Bill, Critical Race Theory, Trump Books/Trump and the GOP, Bezos Space Flight/Philanthropic Awards, Western Drought and Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in all 50 U.S. states, vaccine hesitancy, and the Senate floor accusations between Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Tony Fauci; the status of Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill and Republicans’ plans to kill debate and negotiate a new bill; the ongoing backlash against teaching critical race theory in schools; the various books detailing the final year of the Trump administration and Donald Trump’s relationship with the GOP; Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space flight and his awarding $100 million to CNN’s Van Jones and chef Jose Andres; and the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
iHeartMedia Begins Massive Layoff of Air Talent. The exact number of personalities let go is not known at this point, but as iHeartMedia issued a press release yesterday explaining its new Markets Group management structure designed to “take advantage of the significant investments it has made in technology and artificial intelligence and its unique scale and leadership position in the audio marketplace,” it was firing local air personalities it deems not necessary to the company’s future success. iHeartMedia, like every other radio company, faces intense competition for listeners from digital music services and digital spoken-word platforms. Dayparts that aren’t crucial to a station’s revenue – usually nights and overnights – are often seen as not needing live, local jocks, especially when the company produces quality national programs to fill those hours. As for news/talk and sports talk hosts, the cost of maintaining a show with two or more personalities plus a producer is sometimes more than income from spot sales and other revenue streams can provide. iHeartMedia’s statement on the “employee dislocation” is as follows: “We are modernizing our company to take advantage of the significant investments we have made in new technology and aligning our operating structure to match the technology-powered businesses we are now in. This is another step in the company’s successful transformation as a multiple platform 21st century media company, and we believe it is essential to our future – it continues our momentum and adds to our competitiveness, our effectiveness, and our efficiency with all our major constituencies. During a transition like this it’s reasonable to expect that there will be some shifts in jobs – some by location and some by function – but the number is relatively small given our overall employee base of 12,500. That said, we recognize that the loss of any job is significant; we take that responsibility seriously and have been thoughtful in the process.” Some of those in the spoken-word formats who’ve exited the company include: Kerry Belkin, producer, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Leland Conway, host, WHAS, Louisville and WLPA, Lexington; Big Jim Donovan, host, WSYR, Syracuse; Andrew Downs, program director, KXNO, Des Moines; Jim Fisher, host, WOC, Quad Cities; Seth Harp, programmer and host, WFXJ, Jacksonville; Carl Harris, creative services director, Tampa Bay cluster; Travis Justice and Heather Burnside, hosts, and Sean Roberts, producer, Pete Kaliner, host, WWNC, Asheville, NC; Dave Levora, morning host, WOC, Quad Cities; Mike Lucas, host, WTSO, Madison; Ross Peterson and Chris Williams, hosts, KXNO, Des Moines; Jake Query and Derek Schultz, hosts, WNDE, Indianapolis; Chip Ramsey, weekend producer, WERC, Birmingham; John Ramsey and Mike Rutherford, hosts, WKRD, Louisville.
Brian Sussman Exits KSFO, San Francisco. Eighteen-year KSFO, San Francisco talk show host Brian Sussman announces he’s leaving the Cumulus Media station where he’s been hosting the morning drive show. Sussman says that in April of 2019 he resigned due to an impasse in contract negotiations, but soon thereafter reached a temporary agreement to host the show four days per week through December (his brother, Brad Sussman, hosted the fifth day). But in October, Sussman was required to go on medical leave through the remainder of the year. That affected his plans for continuing into 2020. He tells TALKERS magazine, “Fortunately, I’m feeling great, but clearly all those years of scant sleep and starting show prep at 3:00 am finally caught up with me. The KSFO listening family – both locally and nationally – are such a loyal band of patriots. But what I’ll miss the most about our show is working with the best producer in talk radio, Sheri Yee, and my lovely and super-hilarious sidekick, Katie Green. Thankfully, Brother Brad has been doing a great job filling in for me and I hope he’s the future! Meantime, I appreciate KSFO’s management team for having been so considerate these past few months.”
Impeachment, Presidential Race/Democratic Debate, Iran Protests, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, Royal Family Controversy, Philippine Volcano Eruption, and MLB Sign Stealing Scandal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/14). The impeachment articles against President Trump set to move to the Senate; the Democrats hoping to challenge Donald Trump in November and last night’s debate in Des Moines; the protests in Iran over the Islamic Republic’s accidental shooting down of the Ukrainian International Airlines flight PS752; the Trump Administration’s progress in trade negotiations with China; the controversy over Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s stepping back from royal life; the deadly eruption of Taal Volcano in the Philippines; and the MLB’s handling of the sign stealing scandal were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Comrex Announces New Firmware in Conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack. News from Comrex Corporation reveals that the company has released firmware version 4.5p2, a new update for its line of IP audio codecs. This new firmware version is being released in conjunction with ACCESS MultiRack – a new multi-instance codec that provides seamless integration of all functions with legacy single-instance ACCESS codecs. This new firmware simplifies CrossLock connections between the new ACCESS MultiRack and legacy Comrex IP audio codecs. It replaces an older Adobe Flash-based GUI with an HTML5 web-based GUI as the default user interface. This new interface avoids the security risks posed by Adobe Flash, and is supported by all browsers. Users can upgrade their Comrex IP audio codecs using the free Device Manager application which can be downloaded here. If a user is updating a device from FW version 2.7.1 or earlier, they can contact Comrex Support for assistance.
TALKERS News Notes. Pictured here is Westwood One News correspondent Steve Kastenbaum covering last night’s Democratic presidential debate at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder notes that the hosts of WSCR, Chicago’s weekly golf show, “The Scorecard on The Score,” – Ed Sherman and Steve Olken – are leaving the station. The two have hosted the show at the Entercom sports talk station for the past 10 years. WSCR is expected to name new hosts for the show before it returns to the air in March…..KTBB, Tyler, Texas is the newest affiliate of FOX News Radio, subscribing to the FOX 5 Minute News Service on January 6…..FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade visited affiliate station WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta in December and senior operations and program manager Drew Anderssen says, “Few syndicated hosts, if any, create the kind of impact with affiliates and their communities that Kilmeade does. Brian participated in our 29th annual drive to provide Georgia foster children with gifts at Christmas. His impact helped us fulfill wish lists for over 9,000 foster kids, in partnership with St. Vincent de Paul Georgia and the Georgia Division of Family & Children Services!” Pictured below (clockwise from top left) are: Anderssen, “Kilmeade & Friends” senior producer Alyson Mansfield, Kilmeade, WSB traffic anchor Ashley Frasca, and WSB-FM “B95.5” morning personality Tad Lemire.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Beasley Media Group’s urban contemporary WDMK, Detroit “105.9 KISS-FM,” the nationally syndicated “Rickey Smiley Morning Show” is now heard in the 6:00 am to 10:00 am slot. Station program director John Candelaria says, “We are thrilled to have Rickey Smiley join ‘105.9 KISS FM.’ I have watched Rickey ascend to national superstar over the past 20 years and we are excited to have him leading the lineup for the ‘All New 105.9 KISS FM.’ Detroit is ready for a fresh new morning show!”
Today It’s Hannity, Tomorrow It May Be You. Nashville-based Westwood One nationally syndicated talk show host Phil Valentine writes today about the campaign being waged against Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks talk show host Sean Hannity for his reporting on and opining on the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich. Media Matters is targeting Hannity’s advertisers in what is likely an attempt to get Fox to take action against Hannity. Valentine says that those on the left cheering and those on the right standing idly by are potentially risking their own hides somewhere down the road if this effort is successful. “The radical left loves to call conservatives fascists, yet there is nothing more fascist than shutting down people who dare utter something counter to your world view. That goes for both sides of the aisle. It’s one thing to simply stop patronizing a business because of the causes or people they support. It’s another thing altogether to launch a vicious e-mail campaign of threats and intimidation.” Coincidentally, Sean Hannity will be presented with TALKERS magazine’s Freedom of Speech Award at Talkers 2017: A New Era in New York on June 2. Read Valentine’s entire piece here.
Chris Berry Appointed SVP of News, Talk and Sports for iHeartMedia. Radio programming, sales and management pro Chris Berry takes on the SVP of news, talk and sports post for iHeartMedia. The company says that Berry “will oversee our news, talk and sports brands, where he’ll provide strategic guidance for our spoken-word formats and connect key advertisers with iHeartMedia’s news, talk and sports audiences.” Berry has been serving as SVP/general manager for NBC News Radio and 24/7 News Network, a position he’ll maintain. During his career, Berry has been VP/GM for ABC News Radio and VP/GM of WMAL, Washington, to name a few. He joined 24/7 News Network as senior vice president and general manager in March 2011 and has spearheaded NBC News Radio’s editorial content since 24/7 News began syndicating the network in July 2016. Meet Chris Berry at Talkers 2017: A New Era in New York City on June 2. See details here.
WBAL, Baltimore Names Jeff Wade News Director. Baltimore news/talk WBAL “Newsradio 1090” names Jeff Wade news director, effective June 5. Wade comes to the Hearst Television-owned station from his most recent position with Binnie Media’s Concord, New Hampshire operations as director of news and talk programming. During his career, he’s also served with Saga Communications at news/talk WGAN, Portland as news director. WBAL president and general manager Cary Pahigian states, “Jeff has a deep appreciation for WBAL’s zealous commitment to 24/7 news coverage. His leadership, along with the skills and experience of our news team, will allow WBAL to fortify its position as Maryland’s leading radio news source.” Speaking about his new gig, Wade remarks, “I’m excited to be joining WBAL and the Hearst team. This is one of America’s iconic radio stations with a proud legacy as a news leader staffed by an all-star team of experienced and knowledgeable talent.”
iHeartMedia Promotes Programmer Brian Hall. Programming pro Brian Hall is upped to senior vice president of programming at the company’s Asheville operations. Hall has most recently been serving as program director for the company’s news/talk WWNC “News Radio 570,” progressive talk WPEK “880 The Revolution” in Asheville and WGVL, Greenville, South Carolina “FOX Sports 1440.” Music stations in the cluster include: adult hits W249AR “97,7 The Brew,” country WKSF “99.9 Kiss Country,” CHR WQNQ “Star 104.3,” and classic rock WQNS “Rock 105.1.” iHeartMedia area president for Asheville, Greenville and Greensboro Bill McMartin states, “Brian’s vast experience in Asheville will really help us continue to dominate the market in every format. We have an experienced team in Asheville who all have great respect for Brian and his ability to lead our programming efforts.”
Adam Carolla and Dennis Prager Begin Crowdfunding Effort for Free Speech Film. Yes, that’s right, conservative media figure and divinity scholar Dennis Prager, and podcaster/comic and atheist Adam Carolla are teaming up to produce a film titled, No Safe Spaces, that addresses the effects of political correctness on America’s college campuses. The idea for the film came about after the unlikely duo’s recent scheduled appearance at UC Northridge was cancelled by the administration. The event did go on after their lawyers pressured the college and their speeches were taped for the film. Now, they are beginning an Indiegogo campaign to raise $1 million over the next few weeks to complete production of the feature-length film that will examine the effects of political correctness on college campuses and how the phenomenon will affect America’s future as restrictions on free speech move beyond the campus to American society. Prager comments, “This is a story that must be told because the future of our country literally depends on what happens on these campuses. If these students don’t understand the very concept of free speech, our whole nation is in trouble.” The film takes Prager and Carolla to college campuses across the country, interviewing students and professors, comedians and commentators on the left and right, and those who have been impacted by the silencing of different voices on campus, analyzing the value of so-called safe-spaces.
PPM Analysis: Baseball Flagships. How did the first month of the 2017 Major League Baseball season go for radio play-by-play flagships? TALKERS magazine editor Mike Kinosian addresses that very question, reporting on the 6+ performances of baseball flagship stations based on data from the April 2017 PPM survey from Nielsen Audio. Ten stations saw their 6+ numbers go up at least one full share, with CBS RADIO’s KMOX, St. Louis shooting up 2.2 shares to an 8.4 share (and good for a #1 market rank). iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati was close behind, rising by 2.1 to a 9.3 share. See the whole report here.
TALKERS News Notes. In Chicago, Salem Media Group adjusts its programming on news/talk WIND by moving the Salem Radio Network’s Larry Elder show from overnights (1:00 am to 3:00 am) to the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot, followed by its “Jay Sekulow Live” program at 9:00 pm. The shows bump the Dave Ramsey program from the station’s program schedule, effective June 1…..Next season, Detroit Pistons games will be heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WXYT-FM, moving from Beasley’s crosstown WMGC. The NBA club’s games were originally heard on WMGC when it was a sports talk station – “Detroit Sports 105.1” – and remained there after the station flipped to classic hip hop and R&B. In the event of conflicts on WXYT-FM, Pistons games will move to the company’s all-news WWJ-AM.
Manchester Bombing Aftermath, Trump’s International Trip, Trump-Russia Investigation, Obama MS-13 Controversy, China Criticizes U.S. Ship Movement, Trump Budget Proposal, and MLB, NBA and NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/24). The arrests of family members of Manchester bomber Salman Abedi and the task of preventing more attacks; President Donald Trump’s trip abroad; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia; a whistleblower alleges Obama’s Unaccompanied Children policy allowed MS-13 gang members to be settled in the U.S.; China lashes out at the U.S. after a Navy destroyer sails within 12 miles of its military, man-made island; the Congressional Budget Office’s report on the Trump Administration budget proposal; and MLB, NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cool Programming Opportunity. The Springfield, Illinois operations of Mid-West Family Broadcasting is seeking an operations manager for the four-station cluster consisting of news/talk WMAY-AM, adult contemporary WNNS, rock WQLZ, and country WUSW. The company is seeking candidates who possess the following qualifications: Love to coach and develop talent, especially in the talk format; can do an airshift in multiple formats; understand that a digital plan is not a banner ad and a station stream; realize that a remote appearance is the exact opposite of being remote to listeners; know how to make Selector sing; have the instincts to do it your way and not wait for a corporate mandate. If this sounds too good to be true, it’s not. It’s Mid-West Family Broadcasting in the Land of Lincoln: Springfield, Illinois. Mid-West is an employee-owned company. If you want to talk in strict confidence, send an e-mail, resume and salary requirements to Harvey Wells at: firstname.lastname@example.org. What’s sent to Springfield stays in Springfield. Mid-West Family Broadcasting is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Women and minority candidates are encouraged to apply.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. With the move of rock radio pro Jay Philpott from Cumulus Media’s WNNX, Atlanta to its Twin Cities rocker KQRS, the company is seeking Philpott’s replacement for the afternoon drive show on WNNX…..Hubbard Broadcasting VP/regional manager of Minnesota Dan Seeman announces that Jeff Hilborn is named general manager for the Hubbard Broadcasting radio stations in Brainerd, Minnesota. Hilborn will oversee adult contemporary WJJY, classic rock KLIZ-FM “The Power Loon,” country KBLB “B93.3,” oldies KUAL “KOOL 103.5,” sports talk KLIZ-AM and business news KVBR-AM. The stations were part of the group of 16 Omni Broadcasting outlets acquired by Hubbard the 2015 transaction. Hilborn will replace retiring general manager Mike Boen.
WOR, New York’s John R. Gambling Announces Retirement. New York City radio legend John Gambling – who followed in the footsteps of both his father and grandfather in entertaining Big Apple radio listeners – told his audience this morning (11/11) that he will retire at the end of the year. Gambling has worked in radio for the past 40 years, 35 of that in New York City. He told listeners his last show will be December 20. John R. Gambling is the grandson of John B. Gambling who was the morning host on WOR, New York from 1925 to 1959 when his son, John A. Gambling assumed the morning host role at the station. John R. co-hosted the “Rambling with Gambling” show with his father John A. on WOR from 1985 to 1991. Gambling states, “I have done and accomplished so much. My radio career has given me the privilege to entertain and inform millions of New Yorkers. Each day, to watch the greatest city on earth from behind the microphone has been a thrill and I’ve been blessed with an audience that has been loyal and engaging. To say it has been exciting doesn’t come close to the joy I have had.” Clear Channel is beginning a search for a replacement morning show.
WPHT, Philadelphia Airs Veterans Day Broadcasts. CBS Radio news/talker WPHT, Philadelphia is airing a day of remote broadcasts in honor of Veterans Day. Today, Rich Zeoli broadcast from the Delaware County Veterans Memorial from 6:00 am to 9:00 am. Midday host Dom Giordano is doing his show live from the 54th Media, Pennsylvania “Annual Veterans Day Parade.” During afternoon drive, “Talk Radio 1210” personalities Dick Morris, Gary R’nel and Rich Zeoli are broadcasting live from The Green Parrot Restaurant in Newtown.
Veterans Day Offers Radio Broadcasters the Opportunity to be Heroes. RadioInfo (TALKERS magazine’s sister publication on the music side) music editor/director Duane Doobie says that although most of the radio industry is open for business as usual today (including the trades), “In the communications business – particularly radio — you can probably do more to honor the true meaning of a holiday as significant as Veterans Day by going to work and raising consciousness about the meaning of the holiday. It sure beats taking a day off and paying tribute to the purpose of the observation by having a backyard barbeque or going to the beach or a sporting event and drinking a lot of beer, watching endless hours of a Twilight Zone marathon… or buying a car, or worse, planning to camp out on the sidewalk in front of a box store fully prepared to stampede your neighbors in order to save money on a new flat screen television or smart phone with the latest bells and whistles.” In a special commentary posted today (11/11) Doobie continues, “Our publisher Michael Harrison has been speaking at major industry events calling upon radio broadcasters to ‘never miss any opportunity to be a hero.’ He says it is a principle of radio broadcasting that strikes a chord into the very heart of what we are all about – a practice that is good for BOTH business and the soul. Thus, I ask you to look around and ask yourself, is your radio station – are you on your show – doing something special today to be a hero? Are you doing anything special today to be a hero by honoring the true heroes in every single market in America… our veterans?” To read Duane Doobie’s entire column, please click here.
ESPN Audio Reorganization Puts Jim Pastor in Charge of ESPN Local. ESPN confirms the changes in the structure of its O&O radio stations and their websites. Former WMVP, Chicago “ESPN 1000” general manager Jim Pastor is named SVP of ESPN Local. This puts him in charge of the company’s three O&O stations (WMVP, Chicago; WEPN-FM, New York and KSPN, Los Angeles) as well as their websites and ESPNDallas.com. Current WMVP VP/GM John Cravens will take the new title vice president of local revenue and KSPN VP/GM Scott McCarthy will become vice president of local content and will report to Pastor. The move separates the national and local sectors with SVP Mo Davenport overseeing ESPN Network Audio. ESPN senior vice president, production business divisions Traug Keller says, “We have identified two key areas – network and local business – to align leaders with division priorities to provide better services and products for our fans. The successful partnership of our ESPN local websites and owned radio stations has helped our local business thrive. Organizing by function will allow us to leverage individual and team strengths across the entire business.”
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh’s ‘High School Tour’ Brings Teen Issues to the Fore. CBS Radio news/talk station KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh continues its “High School Tour” on Thursday, November 14 as midday talk host Mike Pintek broadcasts live from Woodland Hills High School in Churchill, Pennsylvania. The station states that the “’The High School Tour’ is a chance for KDKA to talk with students in different areas of our region about current events and the issues that affect them. Some of the topics Pintek has focused on are social media concerns, bullying, texting while driving as well as events in the current news cycle. The schools select students that participate in the broadcast.” During the broadcasts, Pintek elicits the perspective of the school’s superintendent, principal or other faculty.
Two More Stops Added to Stephanie Miller’s ‘Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour.’ WYD Media Management nationally syndicated talk show host Stephanie Miller (center) is taking her “Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour” out on the road again in 2014 and has added two more cities to the itinerary. Miller – along with fellow comedians and radio show contributors Hal Sparks (right) and John Fugelsang (left) – will be visiting the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin on March 29 as well as the Orpheum Theatre in Phoenix on February 14. The tour begins in Seattle on December 14 of this year at the Paramount Theatre.
WXOS, St. Louis Adds Thompson and Wheeler to Air Staff. Hubbard Radio’s sports talk WXOS “101ESPN” brings former MLB player Brad Thompson and sports talk pro Kevin Wheeler aboard the air staff. Wheeler begins hosting an eponymous show on November 25 to air in a yet-to-be-announced daypart. Thompson will join the afternoon drive “Fastlane” show alongside D’Marco Farr and Randy Karraker beginning in January. Thompson has been serving as a fill-in host for the station on its daily programs and most notably subbed for former St. Louis Cardinals star Chris Duncan during his recent recovery from brain surgery. Wheeler is coming to WXOS from his most recent position at crosstown news/talk KMOX where he hosted the “Sports Open Line” show as well as a pre- and post-game shows for both the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Blues. Program director Chris “Hoss” Neupert says, “Both Brad Thompson and Kevin Wheeler bring unique perspectives and experience to the ‘101ESPN’ team, and I am looking forward to getting them both on the air to enlighten and entertain our listeners.”
Broadcast Engineer Legend George J. Capalbo Passes at 86. Pioneering broadcast engineer George J. Capalbo passed away on Friday, November 8. He is remembered for his contributions to the radio broadcasting industry. Capalbo’s many accomplishments include serving as chief engineer for WRKO, Boston when the station launched as top 40 outlet “Big 68” in 1967. He also built the FM station WAAF, Worcester, now owned by Entercom, that serves both the Boston and Worcester metros. Capalbo is credited by WRKO’s then-general manager Mel Phillips with putting together a state-of-the-art broadcast facility for television and radio “from scratch” at 7 Bulfinch Place in Boston, and with developing WRKO’s radio automation system. Capalbo served as president of engineering for the RKO Radio division and supervised seven AM stations and seven FM stations in markets including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. He is also credited with building the RKO Satellite Network, the first radio satellite delivery network. For the RKO Satellite Network, Capalbo designed the distribution network in New York City as well as the news bureau in Washington, DC. Capalbo enlisted in the Armed forces in 1944 at the age of 17 right out of high school and served for two years until the end of World War II. He left the service with a rank of Radioman Second Class.
WSRQ, Sarasota Partners with Gannett’s WTSP-TV for Content. Florida Talk Radio-owned news/talk WSRQ, Sarasota (also heard on translator W295BH, Sarasota) enters into a deal with Gannett’s WTSP-TV “10 News” to locate two staffers from the television station in the former’s Sarasota studios. Sarasota reporter Isabel Mascareñas, along with “10 News” photojournalist Tim Burquest will be based in the newsroom, allowing “10 News” to quickly cover breaking news and events in the Sarasota area. Additionally, WTSP will provide video, weather radar and custom Sarasota weather forecasts for WSRQ. WSRQ general manager Susan Nilon states, “Our goal is to focus specifically on Sarasota issues. This partnership with ‘10 News’ allows for even better coverage of the wonderful place we call home.”
Embattled Toronto Mayor’s Radio Show Ends. Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s weekly radio program that aired on Bell Media’s CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” has been eliminated from the station’s program schedule by a mutual decision, according to station management. Rob Ford and his brother, Toronto city councilor Doug Ford, hosted “The City with Mayor Rob Ford” that aired Sunday afternoons from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Rob Ford has been at the center of a drug use scandal that has been a major news story not only in Toronto and Canada but across the United States as well.
FCC Tightens Divestiture Trust Policy with Townsquare’s Cedar Rapids Application. The long period of time during which radio stations have sat in divestiture trusts while still putting money into the pockets of the “previous” owners has been a sore spot for some broadcasters, but that is changing as the FCC signals it’s not going to approve long-termed trusts. The commission is approving the transfer of two of Townsquare Media’s Cedar Rapids stations – KKHQ-FM, Oelwein and KOEL-FM, Cedar Falls – to the Cedar Rapids Divestiture Trust on the condition that the term of the trust is two years and the trustee file reports every six months describing the efforts to sell them. In discussing the matter, the commission notes that the economy, and therefore the climate for buying and selling radio stations, is in much better shape than it was in 2008 when Clear Channel created the Aloha Trust. It notes that five years later, 37 of the 57 stations put in the trust have been sold with the sale of two more pending. The commission concludes that “a reasonable limitation on the duration of a divestiture trust will best serve the public interest by requiring the parties to a trust agreement to meet a deadline to place the stations with a new operator to ensure long-term compliance with the requirements of the Local Radio Ownership Rule.”
Glenn Beck Visits Asheville. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Glenn Beck is pictured here with WWNC, Asheville, North Carolina afternoon drive talk show host Pete Kaliner at the WWNC studios. Beck did his radio program from the station on November 8 while in town for the celebration of Reverend Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. The event was attended by some 900 well-wishers including Donald Trump and Sarah Palin.
Ronn Owens Disputes Reports of His Demise at KGO. Addressing yesterday morning’s lead story on the TALKERS magazine morning headlines, attributed to San Francisco media blogger Rich Lieberman, KGO talk show host Ronn Owens tells TALKERS there is no truth to the report that his contract will be bought out before it ends on December 31 and that the station will replace him with a newsy program. Owens also tells TALKERS he has no knowledge of Cumulus Media’s plans beyond his contract but says, “Cumulus has been totally nice to me.” Owens says Lieberman “has been attacking me for over a year for the changes that have taken place at KGO,” referring to the dismissal of other talk show hosts and staffers that took place after Cumulus assumed control of the station. Owens says Lieberman’s blog story is “totally made up.” He says, in fact, his agent is not Don Buchwald but is David Katz. He also says he does not make a seven-figure salary and never said that his ego is too big to be paid $300,000, as Lieberman reported. Regarding his future at KGO, Owens tells TALKERS, “San Francisco is the crown jewel of places to live and whatever happens after December 31 happens.”
CBS Radio’s Atlanta Sports FM Will Be “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.” Set to debut in mid-October, CBS Radio’s new FM sports talk outlet – the soon-to-be-former Triple A WZGC, Atlanta will take the handle “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game.” Media chatter around Atlanta is that the station may reveal its lineup as early as next week in order to give the sales staff something concrete to pitch to clients prior to the launch. Earlier media reports alluded to the possibility that “Two Live Stews” Doug and Ryan Stewart – recently dropped from crosstown WQXI “790 The Zone” – might pop up on the station but TALKERS sources indicate that will not be the case. The programming philosophy we’re hearing about for this station is being termed as “fresh.” Stay tuned!
Nation’s Biggest Talk Hosts Sign On to Petition Against TV Networks for Biased Election Coverage. The missive detailing a complaint against ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN for “rigging this election and taking sides in order to pre-determine the outcome,” is penned by the conservative Media Research Center’s L. Brent Bozell III but it is signed by some of the country’s top nationally syndicated talk show hosts. Premiere’s Rush Limbaugh, TRN’s Laura Ingraham and Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin signed the open letter. In it, Bozell writes, in part: “A free and balanced media are crucial to the health of this country. It is your duty as journalists – as outlined in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics – to ‘distinguish between advocacy and news reporting,’ while simultaneously ‘seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues.’ There is a reason why the media are viewed with such disdain by the American public, as evidenced by every recent poll on the issue.”
Armstrong & Getty Reportedly Suspended for Call to Criticize Islam. The suspension has not been confirmed by Clear Channel Sacramento management but the duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty were off their KSTE, Sacramento flagship station as well as KKSF, San Francisco (where the show is simulcast) on Tuesday morning after the show sent out a press release promoting its call to listeners to post videos and photos critical of Islam and the prophet Muhammad to “flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up. In other words, free speech,” stated Jack Armstrong. The political blog The Right Perspective is reporting the duo have been suspended though it doesn’t state a period or confirmation of the sanction. KTXL-TV, Sacramento produced a piece on the controversy and also was unable to get a comment on record from Clear Channel’s Sacramento management.
Radio’s Strengths in the Media Landscape. Radio consultant Holland Cooke says the best session he attended at the recent 2012 Radio Show in Dallas was by Arbitron senior VP/marketing Bill Rose and highlighted how “Radio provides opportunities to reach consumers when advertising is relevant to what they are doing.” Cooke says, “This document [the study cited] is a powerful selling tool, and real instructive to programmers and on-air talent…especially on-air talent that sells (and smart on-air talent does).” The data Rose used in his presentation was from USA Touchpoints, a national sample that captures media usage, shopping behavior, emotional mindset, via smartphone app, every half hour, from 10-day panelists. Read Holland Cooke’s report and analysis here.
WWNC, Asheville AM Drive Co-Host Jerri Jameson Moves On. Morning drive co-host Jerri Jameson announces she will exit the Clear Channel station October 12 to pursue other interests. Jameson writes on her station blog, “After more than 10 years with Clear Channel Asheville, it is time for me to move on from radio. It was a difficult decision. I have gotten to know some truly wonderful people in our great community and for that I will always be grateful. Waking up each morning to share the daily goings on around town, the state and the world with you has truly been an honor I will treasure forever.”
The Young Guns of Talk Radio. Ask anyone, especially those working for the consumer media, and they’ll tell you that personalities working as hosts on news/talk stations are all old, white men. Radio’s general lack of a “farm system” doesn’t help that misconception much, but the truth is there are young people – some men and some women – working in news/talk radio today. Tomorrow at Talkers.com, executive editor Kevin Casey writes about some of those broadcasters and their thoughts on being young and on the air in the news/talk business.
Willie Geist to Join NBC’s “Today.” According to Brian Stelter’s Media Decoder in The New York Times, MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” cast member Willie Geist will become co-host of the 9:00 am hour of NBC’s “Today” program. The deal has not been officially announced and Stelter reports Geist will still appear on “Morning Joe,” probably during the 6:00 am hour but will give up the “Way Too Early” 5:30 am newscast he’s been anchoring. It’s also believed Geist will fill in for Matt Lauer when he is absent.
Rumors of Big Names Being Sought to Run CNN. Sony chairman Howard Stringer is one of the executives rumored to be on the list of those being sought to take charge of struggling CNN when current chief Jim Walton leaves at the end of the year. The New York Post reports a source inside CNN states, “We should know something in a month, perhaps before the elections. Unlike CNN International, we just don’t have someone with a mission. We need our Roger Ailes.” Other media execs reportedly being considered are former NBCUniversal president and CEO Jeff Zucker, former ABC News president David Westin, and former NBC News chief Neal Shapiro.
Odds & Sods. CBS Radio’s all-news KNX, Los Angeles takes its “KNX on Your Corner” live remote series to Glendale, California on October 19. The day of programming will include features about Glendale’s history, current issues and plans for future growth. Coverage will include live interviews with city officials and other special guests. The station will continue the series in Beverly Hills on December 7…..SiriusXM will present live coverage of the 2012 Ryder Cup golf tournament. The biennial event pits the US against Europe and is being played this year at Medinah Country Club in Illinois.
Part of the Skyline. CBS Radio’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia is now a part of the city’s skyline after the station put up a new, lit call letter sign atop its offices at 400 Market Street in downtown Philly. The KYW logo and the iconic CBS “eye,” were hung over this past weekend and faces east, making it visible from Camden, New Jersey, I-95 and the Ben Franklin Bridge. The station notes this was not a simple building procedure. “The difficult process of hanging an illuminated sign above street level, particularly in the downtown area, took five years before receiving city zoning and art commission approval. KYW is now the only radio station in Philadelphia County to be granted this right.”
Obama on ‘The View’ and at the UN, Iran’s Bluster, Criticism of Religious Figures, Libya Aftermath, and NFL Replacement Officials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/25). President Obama’s Appearance on ‘The View’ and his speech at the United Nations; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s blustery speech at the UN and his appearance on Piers Morgan; criticism of religious figures; analysis of the aftermath of the Libya attack and furor over the NFL’s replacement officials were some of the most-talked-about-stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.