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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

| January 6, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 20, 2015

| November 20, 2015

cainhermanChanges Coming to the Herman Cain Show in January.  TALKERS sources hear there are some changes coming to the WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show with the New Year.  Cain will remain with Cox Media Group’s WSB hosting the late morning show but Westwood One will no longer serve as affiliate sales and ad sales rep for the national syndication of the show.  TALKERS hears WYM Media will serve as affiliate sales rep and there will be a new ad sales rep, but that deal has not been inked yet.

wjr logoCumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit to Serve as Lions Flagship in 2016.  Detroit Lions play-by-play has been heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WXYT-FM for the past 12 seasons, but starting next year, the games will be heard on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR.  The Detroit Free Press is reporting the story and says many of the details are not known at this time.  Dan Miller and Jim Brandstatter are expected to remain in the booth going into next season.

wwhp logoNew Talk Outlet to Debut in Bloomington-Normal and Champaign, Illinois Markets.  The classic hits format will disappear from Smash Hit Media’s WWHP, Farmer City, Illinois on Monday and a news/talk outlet will spring up in its place.  Former WRPW, Bloomington “Cities 92.7” morning drive personality Ian Bayne will serve as morning host on the new “Newstalk 98.3.”  WWHP’s primary signal covers the area directly between the centers of the Bloomington-Normal and Champaign markets.

bellart15Art Bell and KABC, Los Angeles Collaborate for Thanksgiving Special.  Los Angeles news/talker KABC and paranormal talk legend Art Bell are presenting “An Art Bell Out-Of-This-World Thanksgiving Special” on Thursday, November 26 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.  This 12-hour specialkabclogo features programs hand-picked by Bell, who says, “We are thrilled to be back on the great 790 KABC, where we had great success.  My loyal fans will love that I’m personally hand picking the best 12 hours of out-of-this-world radio.” Bell’s nightly program, “Midnight in the Desert with Art Bell” (syndicated by his own Dark Matter Radio), is airing on AM/FM outlets in addition to its internet home base.

Odds & Sods.  The Grammy Award-winning band Train will perform at the official opening of CBS RADIO’s new New York performance space on Tuesday (11/24).  The company announces the opening of the Adorama Livecbsradio Theatre in Hudson Square in Manhattan, saying it will “serve as a showcase for artists, newsmakers, top athletes and other special guests.” It will play host to events from its six New York market radio stations, including sports WFAN and all-newsers WCBS-AM and WINS.  The company says that in the coming weeks the theatre will present performances by Southside Johnny and Shaggy, as well as live interviews with Chris Martin from Coldplay and Charles Osgood, host of “CBS Sunday Morning” and the syndicated radio feature “The Osgood Files.”  Today’s announcement marks the launch of CBS RADIO’s 11th performance space, wwtn logojoining outlets in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Detroit, among others…..Cumulus Media’s “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” in Nashville is presenting its annual “From Hunger to Hope Radiothon” on Monday, November 23 to benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission.  The station will share stories and invite listeners to make donations to the Nashville Rescue Mission.  WTN says that through the years its listeners have raised more than $750,000 for cause.

2015SportsHH logoLGTALKERS Magazine Presents the 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. Yesterday(11/19), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the fourth annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list ranks sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from #1 to #100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 15 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming. With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio. The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication. See the complete 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here!

fantasyNXS logoNew Fantasy Sports Platform Provides Radio with Turnkey Method of Tapping into Booming DFS Industry. Tampa, Florida-based FantasyNXS is providing a custom-designed way for radio stations, networks, and personalities to generate revenue from the booming fantasy sports industry. FantasyNXS is the first online mall for daily fantasy sports (“DFS”). According to company president and CEO, David B. Hirsch, “Our platform enables radio stations, networks and personalities to get into the DFS business at no cost and provides them with a new and engaging way to monetize their audience.” Hirsch adds, “When a broadcast entity joins FantasyNXS as a partner, we create a customized hub or ‘storefront’ for them that features their branding, content and contests. It also has its own, easy-to-remember URL on our site, which facilitates off-line promotion and advertising.” What distinguishes FantasyNXS from the current big dogs in the fantasy sports business – DraftKings and FanDuel? Hirsch tells TALKERS that FantasyNXS provides a different business model, more game formats and free-to-enter promotional contests. He states, “Our business model is completely different. Think of us as the first online shopping mall for daily fantasy sports. Our platform enables third parties to get into the DFS business for themselves. We build a customized hub or storefront for our partners on our website. We then create contests for them designed to appeal to their target audience. These contests appear in their hub and in the general game lobby for all FantasyNXS members to play. Our partners promote their contests by driving prospects to their hub. We administer the contests and take care of all compliance and back-office operations. We then split the net proceeds we earn from each contest with our partners.” Hirsch explains, “We also offer more game formats than anyone in the business, including Salary Cap, No Cap and Top-X. We also offer all three of these formats in our proprietary ‘Beat the Pro’ setting, which is ideally suited for radio celebrities. In ‘Beat the Pro,’ all of the contest’s entrants compete head-to-head, but collectively against the celebrity show host. Everyone who beats the celebrity splits a portion of the prize pool. ‘Beat the Pro’ offers a fantastic way for radio personalities to personally engage their audiences.” How do participating broadcasters make money? According to Hirsch, “FantasyNXS works off of a revenue split. Our partners earn a portion of the net proceeds we earn from the contests they promote. Also, our partners are credited as the referring affiliate for all FantasyNXS members who sign-up through their hub. This means recurring revenue every time one of these members enters any cash-entry contest in FantasyNXS. Our turn-key system can put a station into the DFS business with no cost.” Hirsch advises, “We can put radio entities into the DFS business, but they will have to actively promote their contests and drive prospects to their hub. The more they promote, the more money they’ll make.” Broadcasters licensed to states that forbid DFS or have network listeners banned from playing due to their local state laws can become involved in another, non-monetary version of the FantasyNXS platform that specializes in “social gaming.” Has the recent negative news about some states’ stances on fantasy sports impacted the millions of people who regularly play fantasy sports? “Of course,” states Hirsch. “In particular, the recent cease and desist letter presented to FanDuel and DraftKings by the New York State Attorney General has left a lot of fantasy sports fans on the sideline. In the coming months, you’re going to see more of this type of activity as our society comes to grips with the daily fantasy sports phenomenon. We ultimately believe that DFS will continue to thrive, but in a regulated environment.” Broadcasters interested in learning more about FantasyNXS can email Brad Fain at brad@fantasynxs.com or click here for more information.

talkersten logoSyrian Refugee Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 16-20.  The political debate over U.S. policy toward Syrian refugees was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 was the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris.  Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS and following at #4 was the investigation of the bombing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Desert.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s entire chart here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallJesse Ventura Joins Michael Harrison for New Episode of ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (11/17), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined by former Minnesota governor and prolific talk media personality Jesse Ventura for a conversation described by Harrison as, “One of the up-closest and farthest-out episodes of this show ever.” Ventura currently hosts a weekly program on Ora TV titled, “Off the Grid with Jesse Ventura,” (www.ora.tv) in which he serves up an unfiltered dose of his opinions and commentaries on the issues of the day delivered in his trademark tell-it-like-it-is “wrestling rant” style. Ora TV is the trailblazing video platform launched several years ago by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim with Larry King as an internet platform upon which the legendary King could continue his post-CNN hosting career. Harrison – an admitted professional wrestling fan – and Ventura talk about the old days of the entertainment-sport when the future movie star andventurajesse governor was making his mark as a colorful “bad guy” in the ring and then as the first “heel” color commentator (prior to Ventura, all ring commentators were biased toward the fan favorites – known as “faces.”) Ventura broke new ground as an announcer who openly rooted for the bad guys – know in the profession as “heels.” The conversation moves on to some heavy, controversial and provocative subject matter. Ventura discusses how his high-profile, anti-defamation/unjust enrichment lawsuit against the late Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame (in which the court ruled in his favor) has led to him to presently being blackballed by the mainstream media. Ventura talks about his critical views on U.S. foreign policy, the George W. Bush Administration, hypocrisy, and several conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and the war on terror. He talks about his show, “Off the Grid,” and how the title is reflective of his current lifestyle in which he lives part of the year in Mexico, untethered to paved roads, government provided utilities and, to a large extent, the internet. He discusses his turning to atheism and pacifism…and leaves a tantalizing hint that he just might become involved in the forthcoming race for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party – which has shown interest in him as a possible candidate. To hear the conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

Monday, October 12, 2015

| October 12, 2015

cookeholland‘Typical Is Your Enemy.’ Those are the words of radio consultant Holland Cooke, who writes today in TALKERS about the dangers of not standing out in the modern media era.  He says, “Someone JUST-tuning-in at 14 past the hour on a cloudy morning hears the announcer assure that the next Traffic & Weather Together On-the-Threes update is just nine minutes away.  Or “WHAT A NIGHT AT WRIGLEY!” teases a sportscast into spots.  Are we naïve enough to think people aren’t toting smartphones?”  What used to keep people tuned in to your station now tells them there’s something they need to know and busy people can use your tease to get the news from a digital source instantly.  Whether you program a talk station or a music station – or both – read Holland Cooke’s warnings about typical-ness and what to avoid here.

kfi logoKFI, Los Angeles Makes Midday Changes; Mark Thompson and Elizabeth Espinosa Exit.  While iHeartMedia-owned news/talker KFI, Los Angeles has not issued an official statement about the status of its 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm show, the Facebook page of the Mark Thompson and Elizabeth Espinoza show confirms that the duo has exited the station – although Thompson will continue to make regular appearances on the station’s Tim Conway Jr. show.  TALKERS sources in Los Angeles report KFI news anchors Gary Hoffmann and Shannon Farren will assume hosting duties for the early afternoon show.

namb logoNational Association of Media Brokers Announces New Officers; Glenn Serafin Named President.  Professional organization the National Association of Media Brokers, serving those who represent buyers and sellers of radio and television stations and relatedserafinglenn businesses, elected a slate of officers at its semi-annual meeting during the recent Radio Show in Atlanta.  Re-elected to a new two-year term as president is Glenn M Serafin, director of Tampa, Florida-based Serafin Bros., Inc.  Eddie Esserman, a director of Media Services Group, is the new vice-president.  Roger Rafson – owner of CMS Station Brokerage – continues serving as secretary for another two years.  Greg Guy will serve another two years as treasurer.  He is a managing partner of Patrick Communications.

musicindustryreunion15Second Music Industry Reunion Planned for New York Takes Place this Wednesday (10/14).  There are still a handful of free tickets left for a very popular informal annual gathering that brings together several generations of music and radio industry professionals in a fun, warm and fuzzy atmosphere.  By popular demand, a second “Music Industry Reunion” has been set by its organizers to take place in New York, following the tremendous recent successes of its first three installments in Los Angeles and its debut in New York last year.  The informal event is open to all members, past and present, of the music and music-related industries free of charge, including a huge turnout from radio.  It will take place at El Original Tex Mex (735 10th Ave. NYC) on Wednesday, October 14 between 6:00 pm and 11:00 pm.  The reunion is again being organized by veteran record executive Jon Scott and a committee of music industry veterans, past and present. These events have become tremendously successful, with each of the first four drawing a larger crowd of colorful legends on both coasts than its organizers originally anticipated.  And now, according to Scott, “The demand for a fifth (the second in NYC) necessitates that we do it again.  Not only do past attendees want to come back, but we are hearing from great folks around the country who, upon learning about our first four events, want to participate going forward.”  Last October’s Big Apple installment of the Music Industry Reunion drew more than 250 people including luminaries such as Ron AlexenburgJohnny BarbisDanny BuchHarvey LeedsJim DelBalzoPaul RappaportJudy LibowRoxy MyzallTony BerardiniPatty Martin and many more.  Scott explains, “I really thought the first Los Angeles Music Industry Reunion would just be a one-time event, but it was a smash and the two follow-ups in Los Angeles and the first one in New York were successively bigger.  Now even more people keep asking, ‘When is the next one?’  I am thrilled that old music friends attend these events and have a wonderful, rare opportunity to connect with colleagues they haven’t seen in years.”  Scott adds, “The next night, Tony Martell will be honored at the 40th anniversary of his wonderful charity, The T.J Martell Foundation and hopefully we’ll see you there, too.”  The party is free with no host food and bar – but because of space limitations, it is important to make reservations as early as possible.  Members of the Music Industry Reunion NYC organizing committee include: Jon Scott, Greg Lee, Johnny Barbis, Judy Libow, Roxy Myzal, Ted UtzWayne McManners, Harvey Leeds, Steve LeedsPete Gidion, Jim DelBalzo and Jesse Scott. Organizer Jon Scott sums it up: “Keep in mind, this is not an ‘official’ convention or seminar being put on by an industry trade association or publication.  There is no charge, no fee, and no agenda, except for seeing each other!”  Scott continues, “Lots of laughs, stories, and the amazingly positive synergy of just hanging with each other!  By the way, on October 14th, 1947, the sound barrier was broken. I know many of us have broken some kind of sound barrier in our career!  A perfect night to have a party!”  For more information about the forthcoming second Music Industry Reunion New York, call Jon Scott at 818-981-9876 or via email at jon@jonpaulscott.com.  To register click here.  Music Industry Reunion New York is being made possible by a grant from RadioInfoRadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “This is one of the most teary, huggy, and emotionally touching industry gatherings for anyone who has made friends in the business over the years.  I am so pleased that RadioInfo has been able to contribute to it happening and we can’t wait to see everyone this Wednesday evening in New York.

Odds & Sods.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN, Chicago evening personality Justinkaufmannjustin Kaufmann is off the air at the station “indefinitely” dealing with a “private and personal matter.”  Kaufmann joined the station in April of this year after a 21-year career as a producer at Chicago Public Media…..Detroit Red Wings hockey and Detroit Tigers baseball will be head on CBS RADIO’s sports talker WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket” for years to come.  The station and Olympia Entertainment have inked a comprehensive multi-year agreement that includes play-by-play rights to both teams, as well as marketing and promotional activities across CBS RADIO’s Detroit stations.  Dan Dickerson, will continue to host abcnewsComiconnyc15the Tigers pre- and post-game shows, as well as weekly off-season show “Hot Stove.”  Red Wings announcer Ken Kal will host “Inside Hockeytown” weekly throughout the hockey season.  Plus, all-news WWJ will add three new, one-hour shows including “Inside The Arena,” to keep fans up-to-date on the development of the new Detroit Red Wings hockey stadium; “Inside The Ballpark,” which will include the latest news and information about the Detroit Tigers upcoming season, and “Inside District Detroit” focusing on all things related to the expansion of “The District.”…..New York Comic Con invaded the Javits Center last Thursday through Sunday and ABC Radio was on the scene.  Pictured here at left with a couple of the attendees is ABC Radio entertainment producer Steve Iervolino.

Monday, August 19, 2013

| August 19, 2013

mrc logoEight More Arbitron PPM Markets Gain Accreditation by MRC.  The Media Rating Council gives accreditation to eight more Arbitron PPM markets – making the total number of accredited markets 26.  In making the announcement, Arbitron notes that the MRC is not granting accreditation in the remaining 22 markets at this time.  The eight newly accredited markets include: Cleveland, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Denver-Boulder, Detroit, Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood, Pittsburgh, Portland OR, and Nassau/Suffolk (Long arbitronIsland).  They join the 18 markets the MRC is voting to continue accreditation: Atlanta, Baltimore, Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Milwaukee-Racine, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Riverside-San Bernardino, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, St. Louis, and Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater.  Arbitron executive vice president, service innovation and chief research officer Gregg Linder states, “MRC accreditation for our PPM markets is a company-wide priority at Arbitron, and we are pleased the MRC continues to recognize our ongoing efforts to improve Sample Performance Indicators and other quality metrics in our Portable People Meter ratings services.  Continuous improvement remains our watchword, for PPM and for all our ratings and software offerings and we are focused on earning accreditation for the balance of our PPM markets.”

theblaze logoFormer CNN Producer/Reporter Joins Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.  Steve Krakauer – former CNN digital producer and media reporter – is named vice president of digital content for TheBlaze.  In his work at CNN, Krakauer oversaw the social and digital output of the CNN domestic U.S. television programs.  He also managed the team that ran @CNN — the network’s flagship Twitter account.  Krakauer joined CNN in November 2010 as the digital producer of “Piers Morgan Tonight.”  At TheBlaze, Krakauer will be responsible for growing the network’s presence across all digital media.  TheBlaze president and chief content officer Joel Cheatwood states, “Steve was one of the first people to truly recognize the growing relationship between digital media and traditional television and has built a remarkable track record integrating the two media.  We are excited to have Steve join TheBlaze as we continue to be at the forefront of creating a television network designed for the 21st century.”

schultzedEd Schultz Returns to Weeknights on MSNBC.  It hasn’t been quite five months since MSNBC moved “The Ed Show” from weeknights at 8:00 pm to a Saturday and Sunday 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot with Ed Schultz saying the move was for personal and professional reasons.  Now, the Hollywood Reporter writes that MSNBC president Phil Griffin asked Schultz to return to weekdays in the 5:00 pm slot replacing the first run of “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”  Matthews’ show will only air at 7:00 pm beginning August 26 when Schultz returns to weekdays.  Griffin told the publication, “Ed has proven himself no matter where we’ve put him.”

nprCEO Gary Nell to Exit NPR to Head Up National Geographic.  NPR CEO Gary Nell announces he’s leaving the public radio company after 21 months on the job.  In a letter to staff, he says, in part, “As president and CEO, supporting NPR’s success – your success – has been my highest ambition.  Working together, we have put NPR on more solid footing to continue to deliver the highest-quality journalism and programming.  We have launched innovative new platforms and made meaningful strides in attracting new audiences and new funding.  We have promoted a series of collaborations in news gathering, development, and a digital future.  And we have an exceptionally strong leadership team in place that is charting an ambitious path for our future.  We also face challenges, including the mandate to bring NPR to break-even cash operations.  We are completing a plan to focus our limited resources which support our essential services to stations and audiences.  We will present that plan to the Board soon, go over it carefully, and make it a reality.”  Nell took over the reins of NPR in December of 2011 after the high-profile departure of former CEO Vivian Schiller.  During her tenure, Juan Williams was fired after making comments on Fox News Channel admitting to feeling nervous when seeing people dressed in Muslim garb on airplanes.  Also, NPR fundraiser Ron Schiller (no relation) was recorded denigrating conservatives at a lunch meeting.

grahamkevinBoston Herald Reports Kevin Graham Will Succeed Jason Wolfe at WEEI-FM, Boston.  There is no confirmation from Entercom Boston market manager Jeff Brown about the Boston Herald’s recent report that KFNZ, Salt Lake City “1320 KFAN” program director and afternoon drive co-host Kevin Graham will take over the program director post at the station.  According to his bio on the KFNZ website, Graham was one of the key architects of KFNZ back in 1996 and has worked as programmer at KTAR-AM, Phoenix; WXYT, Detroit and other sports talk outlets.  In addition to programming KFNZ, Graham co-hosts the Gunther & Graham pm drive show with Kyle Gunther.  Longtime program director Jason Wolfe exited the station last week and the Boston media is rife with speculation about the status of the station’s air talent – especially morning duo John Dennis and Gerry CallahanCBS Radio’s crosstown WBZ-FM “The Sports Hub” has been topping WEEI-FM in recent ratings reports.  Still, the Herald also reports that Dennis and Callahan have been assured that they are not on the chopping block at this point.

talkersradio logoBrent Seltzer and Meg McDonald (“Brent & Meg”) Sign Up as Charter Members of TalkersRadio Lineup.  The married couple team of “Brent & Meg” (Brent Seltzer and Meg McDonald, pictured below) join the initial lineup of the soon-to-be-launched experimental internet talk station, TalkersRadio.  They will be hosting a Monday through Friday, two-hour Los Angeles-based program titled, “The Brent & Meg Show,” that will stream live between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm ET with possible re-streams at other times during the following 24 hours.seltzermegbrent  According to TalkersRadio GM David Bernstein, “There never has been a ‘Brent & Meg Show’ prior to TalkersRadio.  They are coming together to do this specifically because the station is designed for these kinds of experiments.  Although they’ve been married for 28 years and have been in the media business doing everything from amazing short-form features to ground-breaking public relations campaigns for years, the idea of them being on the air live as a team hosting a long-form talk show is the brainchild of Michael Harrison who has been after them to do this for over two years now since hearing them bounce off each other in the ongoing short-form feature ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large.’  “I am excited about the potential of this show.  We envision it to be in the tradition of the classic husband/wife chat shows of the golden era – except with its focus fully planted on a 21st century foundation.”  The short-form feature “Brent Seltzer, Still at Large” — written, produced and performed by the couple — has accrued a dedicated multi-platform cult-following on Podjockey.com and XM Satellite Radio after having broken out in 2008 as a hot commodity at KSRO, Santa Rosa.  According to the couple, “Outraged by the cable TV political bloviates, we invented ‘Brent Seltzer, Still at Large’ as a panacea to the anger and complacency that radio was becoming.  We figured that since all the extreme right wingers and extreme left wingers were only preaching to their targeted choirs, we could have an extremely good time talking about anything to everyone.  It is our intention to continue that tradition on the ‘Brent & Meg Show.’  Absolutely no politician, celebrity, corporate business practice, social custom, anything or anybody will be safe from our scathing, biting and hopefully humorous and entertaining observations.  Hey, we just wanna have fun!”

Brent Seltzer is legendary in the annals of West Coast radio having worked as a personality “rock ‘n’ roll newsman” on two of the most storied signals in rock radio history – KMET, Los Angeles and KGB, San Diego — as well as  LA’s KZLA-FM/AM, KNX-FM, and KMPC. He has also been a popular radio writer working for years at companies such as Watermark (“American Top 40”) and its founder Tom Rounds’ celebrated international company, Radio Express.

Born into a Hollywood show business family, Meg McDonald’s mother was the popular character actress Elisabeth Fraser and her father was the dancer Ray McDonald.  Although a native of Santa Monica, her parents divorced when she was very young and her Mom moved to New York to co-star with Phil Silvers in his popular comedy, “You’ll Never Get Rich,” later known as “The Phil Silvers Show.”  As her mother went to work in many classic films, TV shows and Broadway shows, Meg found herself surrounded by gifted writers including Neil Simon, Norman Lear and Gore Vidal.  Returning to LA after a few years, Meg never thought of herself as a performer, so she majored in Journalism at LACC, but chose a career in public relations where she has forged an award-winning history as founder of her own shop, McDonald Media Services.  Strikingly beautiful with a big gorgeous voice, she always wanted to be on-air but was too shy to take the shot, until she met Brent Seltzer. “The Brent & Meg” show debuts on TalkersRadio Tuesday, September 10.  For more information about TalkersRadio call 413-565-5413 or email GM David Bernstein at david@talkers.com.  TalkersRadio streaming is powered by Backbone Networks.

wowoamshowWOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne Morning Show to Begin TV Simulcast.  Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Fort Wayne will begin a simulcast of one hour of “Fort Wayne’s Morning News with Charly Butcher on local NBC affiliate WISE-TV “NBC33” on September 23.  The television outlet will air the 6:00 am hour of  Butcher’s program using several high definition cameras placed in the studio and newsroom at WOWO.  Program director Ryan Wrecker says, “What we’re doing is taking a historic show in the market and advancing it to a new medium.  Finding new platforms for our product is an important part of our station strategy, and we think this is going to make a big impact not only in the market but it’s what should be expected for news/talk stations looking for ways to gain a younger audience share.”  Butcher states, “We’re excited to bring a show we work very hard on every morning to NBC33.  It’s another way for listeners to get a behind-the-scenes look at what we do and get all the information they need every morning.  I’m not excited that I might need to start wearing make-up.”  Pictured above is the WOWO-AM/FM morning show in action (Butcher at right.)

MLB LogoSiriusXM and MLB Reach Six-Year Extension.  Satcaster SiriusXM and Major League Baseball have reached an agreement to extend their relationship for another six years.  As a result, every regular season and post-season game will be available on both Sirius and XM platforms through 2016.  The deal also includes select exhibition games and Spanish-language broadcasts.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein states, “Baseball has been an essential part of our programming lineup and we’re very happy to extend our relationship with MLB to deliver the games to our subscribers for many years to come.  We’re especially pleased to now offer the games to SiriusXM subscribers whether they listen through Sirius radios, XM radios, the SiriusXM App or online.”

NPR Producer Teshima Walker Dies at 44.  After a two-year battle with colon cancer, NPR executive producer Teshima Walker passed away on Friday morning.  Walker had been executive producer of the Michel Martin-hosted “Tell Me More” program since 2011.  She’d been with the show in various capacities for four years prior to that.  During her career she had worked at WBEZ, Chicago and served as a producer on the Tavis Smiley program.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

| October 4, 2012

September PPM Numbers Continued: Highlights of Talk and Sports Stations.  TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian reports on the September PPM numbers rolling in and writes about the movement of some talk and sports stations.

  • In market # 11 Detroit…this is the second straight month that CBS Radio controls the top four spots; however, country WYCD (+.5 from August) trades places with sports sibling WXYT-FM, which is down one full share.
  • In market # 13 Seattle, Bonneville’s talk KIRO-FM remains in the top three with a slight jump (+.1 from August) to a 4.8 share while sister sports talk KIRO-AM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.8.
  • In Phoenix – market #14 – Clear Channel’s news/talk KFYI rises nicely one full share to a 5.3 while Bonneville’s KTAR-FM slides (- .4 from August) to a 3.2.
  • In market #16 Minneapolis, news/talk WCCO tumbles seven-tenths to 6.4 (#3 to #5).  The last time the CBS Radio talk powerhouse had a 6+ stat that low was in July 2011 (6.4, as well).  Also, tied in August at 3.1, sports rivals Clear Channel-owned KFXN (+.3, #13) and Hubbard‘s KSTP-AM (-.4, #16) are now separated by seven-tenths.

For more PPM data and ratings analysis, visit our sister publication RadioInfo’s ratings section here.

KDWN, Las Vegas Talk Host Alan Stock to Host Special Election Season TV Program.  Morning drive host Alan Stock also hosts a nightly interview and news show produced for Vegas TV (cable 14/HD1014) airing at 9:30 pm called “Eye on Vegas with Alan Stock.”  This month, Stock will add a special weekly show to his work on Vegas TV called “News & Views 2012” set to air Wednesdays at 5:30 pm.  Stock tells TALKERS, “It is a special series for the election season only on during the month of October.  The great news is it is already sold out from an advertising standpoint.  The show includes a panel of four people – two liberals and two conservatives.  The first show aired on Wednesday the 3rd on the topic of the economy.  Other topics will include civil rights (gay marriage, etc.), illegal immigration, foreign policy and Obamacare/medical care in general although the topics might be modified depending on what news is breaking.”

WTKK, Boston Sells Out ‘Ultimate Town Hall Meeting.’  Greater Media news/talk outlet WTKK, Boston “News Talk 96.9” announces its “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” set for Saturday, October 13 at Boston’s historic Faneuil Hall has sold out all 800 seats but the station will give away five Presidential Packages (including front row seats, exclusive meet-and-greets, and more) to listeners starting next week.  The “Ultimate Town Hall Meeting” is moderated by WTKK morning hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan and includes a prominent panel of WTKK’s on-air hosts and contributors including local personality Michael Graham, WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish, Cumulus Media Network’s John Batchelor, Compass Media NetworksRon Insana and the Boston Globe’s Brian McGrory.  Program director Grace Blazer states, “News Talk 96.9’s all-star panel will debate the ‘state of the state’ of the 2012 presidential election and the hotly contested Scott BrownElizabeth Warren Massachusetts Senate race.  Our entire team is looking forward to engaging in smart and entertaining debate for our audience and our advertisers.”

WGN, Chicago Honored at 2012 Radio Mercury Awards.  Tribune’s news/talk WGN, Chicago won a 2012 Radio Mercury Award in the “Radio Station Produced” category for the “Shifty Eyes” spot created for local business Oak Park Natural Pet & Fish.  The commercial was written and produced by WGN Radio commercial services manager Jason Skaggs.  WGN vice president and general manager Tom Langmyer says, “We’re honored as a station and proud to have such a talented person in Jason on our team.  Jason creates unique and memorable messages that deliver real results for our advertisers.  He gets it.”  The 2012 Radio Mercury Awards are part of the 2012 Advertising Week Conference in New York.  The Radio Mercury Awards, the only competition exclusively devoted to radio, was established in 1992 to encourage and reward the development of effective and creative radio commercials.  For more on other winners, see the coverage at our sister publication RadioInfo’s site here.

Changes at the Top at Blue Star Media Group.  Effective immediately, Blue Star Media Group president and CEO Michael Metter exits to pursue interests outside the radio business and former executive vice president Jeff Weber returns to the company to lead it as consulting operations executive.  Blue Star owns and operates Business TalkRadio Network; Lifestyle TalkRadio Network; WLFP, Pittsburgh; WGCH, Greenwich, Connecticut and recently sold KNUU, Las Vegas.  Weber, who resigned from Blue Star in December of 2011 after 10 years of running the operations, says, “What a great opportunity to return to work with our exceptional staff and the fine content product we provide our more than 1,000 affiliates and the outstanding programs our owned stations air for their listeners.”

Breaking with Your Church on a Secular Talk Station.  KDKA, Pittsburgh weekend talk show host Johnna Pro writes about a recent discussion about contraception on her program that led to, as she calls it, a crisis of faith.  Pro’s experience is one many religious talk show hosts who work on secular stations face – agreeing with or breaking with Church teachings in the course of discussing the issues and having an opinion – something talk show hosts must have to survive in this business.  Read Pro’s story of how one Catholic talk show host handled a real on-the-air conflict here.

Kuhner in Boston.  Washington Times columnist and host of “The Kuhner Report” on Entercom’s WRKO, Boston (airing from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon daily) Jeff Kuhner is pictured here in the Boston studios of WRKO.  Kuhner visited the station earlier this week.  WRKO assistant program director Bill Cooksey says, “The response to Jeff has been overwhelming.  He’s going to be a star in no time at all, and I’m glad he’s with us.”

Presidential Debate, Libya Consulate Attack Investigation, Obama ‘Race Speech,’ and Iran Nukes Program Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/3).  Anticipation of last night’s presidential debate; the ongoing analysis of the fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya; controversy over the video of a 2007 Barack Obama campaign speech in which he questions why largely African-American Katrina victims were treated differently than other disaster victims; and Iran’s nuclear weapons program were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.