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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

| April 10, 2018

KFTK-FM, St. Louis Morning Host Jamie Allman Leaves TV Show Gig After Controversial Tweet.  If you guessed that this involves Parkland, Florida student David Hogg, you are correct. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that KFTK-FM, St. Louis morning show host Jamie Allman Tweeted a statement regarding Hogg, who is seen as the face of the student-led movement to change gun laws in Florida in the aftermath of the deaths of 17 students at the hands of Nikolas Cruz.  He wrote, “I’ve been hanging out getting ready to ram a hot poker up David Hogg’s ass tomorrow.”  As the paper reports, the context of Allman’s Tweet is unclear as his account has been locked.  Allman, in addition to his radio show, hosted “The Allman Report” on Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KDNL-TV “ABC 30,” but The Hollywood Reporter states that he resigned that gig after the backlash that included a number of advertisers reportedly dropping their ad campaigns on the TV station.  Allman continues to host his morning show on news/talk KFTK-FM.  The station is being operated under an LMA by Entercom as it is buying the station from Emmis Communications.

Entercom’s ’97.3 The Machine’ in San Diego Goes All Comedy/Rock; Sileo and ‘The Men’s Room’ Off the Air.  Local sports talker Dan Sileo and the Seattle-based “The Men’s Room” were both off the air on Entercom’s KEGY, San Diego “97.3 The Machine” yesterday, and likely will be today as well, as the status of the erstwhile sports talk/hot talk hybrid remains in question.  As of this morning, the station continues to play comedy bits and rock music.  If you’ve been following this story, you know that the ill-advised Tweet by Kevin Klein – hired to host the morning show – that used a picture of San Diego’s Coronado bridge and poking fun at its history of being a site of many suicides left his status with the station up in the air.  The San Diego Padres – for whom the station serves as their flagship for play-by-play – were upset with the station and publicly questioned their desire to continue with KEGY.  The absence of Sileo and “The Men’s Room” from the air seems to indicate Entercom is planning an overhaul of the station, but what form the station will take when the smoke clears is not known.  There is speculation the station will emerge as a traditional sports talk outlet.  Stay tuned.

Andy Bloom Named Operations Manager at Entercom’s Twin Cities Cluster. Programming pro Andy Bloom is returning to his hometown(s) to serve as operations manager for Entercom’s Minneapolis-St. Paul cluster that includes news/talk WCCO-AM, country KMNB “Buz’n @ 102.9” and adult hits KZJK “104.1 JACK FM.” Entercom Twin Cities SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “Andy has a successful track record programming radio stations and we are looking forward to having him join our Twin Cities team.  He has a clear understanding of our operational vision and is skilled at implementing winning business strategies.”  Bloom is certainly well known to Entercom EVP of programming Chris Oliviero, with whom he worked at CBS RADIO.  Oliviero came over to Entercom with the acquisition of the CBS RADIO stations by Entercom.  Bloom was most recently programming CBS’ Philly stations, including sports talk WIP-FM and news/talk WPHT.

FOX News Radio to Launch Early Evening “Benson and Harf” Program.  This new nightly show from FOX News Radio will emanate from the company’s newly named Tony Snow Radio Studio in Washington, DC and will co-star Guy Benson and Marie Harf.  The 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET “Benson and Harf” show will feature nightly expert guests to “discuss the news of the day and engage in powerful debate, providing fast-paced, thoughtful discourse on relevant stories pertaining to politics, media and culture.”  Benson joined FNC in 2013 and provides political commentary across FNC and FOX Business Network’s daytime and primetime programming.  Harf joined the network in 2017 to offer national security and political analysis across FNC and FBN’s daytime and primetime programming.  Most recently, Harf served as the senior adviser for strategic communications to Secretary of State John Kerry and previously held the position of deputy spokesperson for the State Department from July 2013 until May 2015.

Michael Clemente Named CEO of Newsmax Broadcasting. The Newsmax Broadcasting segment of Newsmax Media, Inc. airs the Newsmax TV channel.  The company announces that television executive Michael Clemente is joining the fold as CEO of Newsmax Broadcasting.  Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Michael is one of the most accomplished executives and producers in television and digital news.  He is widely respected in the industry and has won accolades for his high journalistic standards.  It’s an honor for us to have him leading our team.”  Clemente was with FOX News Channel for the past seven years as EVP of news.  In that capacity he oversaw all news programming, including live events, breaking news, documentaries, and specials.  He’s also served as senior producer for ABC’s “World News Tonight” and was executive producer of live and breaking news at CNN.  Clemente comments, “Newsmax has demonstrated the ability to adapt and thrive in the highly transformative digital news world and was one of the first major online outlets to create a TV brand in cable and OTT.  I’m excited to take on this new role at Newsmax during an incredible period of change, in a country eager for truth, understanding, and engagement in the news process.”

TALKERS News Notes.  Next Monday (4/16), the simulcast of WPEN-FM, Philadelphia’s afternoon program – “The Mike Missanelli Show” – begins on NBC Sports Philadelphia.  The program airs on Beasley Media Group’s “97.5 The Fanatic” from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily, but the TV simulcast will end at 5:00 pm followed by the “Philly Sports Talk” show on NBC Sports.  Missanelli says, “I’m extremely excited to be joining forces with NBC Sports Philadelphia. ‘97.5’ led the way in town to bring sports talk radio to the FM airwaves and now we are so looking forward to bringing it to television.  The show will continue to provide the very best in sports analysis and fun, entertaining radio.  I can’t wait for everyone to become part of it.”…..Boston television news figure Tony Pepper died at age 79 in the Boston suburb of Newton after complications from diabetes and heart disease.  In addition to his years spent on WBZ-TV, he co-hosted a talk radio program with Janet Jeghelian on WRKO-AM, Boston for two years in the early 1980s…..In conjunction with NBC Sports and NBC Sports Radio, Westwood One is presenting live, play-by-play audio coverage of the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, beginning tomorrow (4/11).  Kenny Albert – play-by-play – and Joe Micheletti – analyst – are serving as Westwood One/NBC Sports Radio’s lead broadcast crew and will call the 2018 Stanley Cup Final and select playoff games…..WPHT, Philadelphia morning host Chris Stigall is pictured at left in a screen grab of his most recent appearance on FOX News Channel.  Stigall says that in the Trump era, “FOX News knows one of the president’s most important constituency groups is talk radio.”  He’s been making regular appearances on FNC commenting on the Keystone State, how the 2018 mid-terms may play out, the special House race in PA-18, and how trade issues could affect Pennsylvania…..In the photo below, WGOW-FM, Chattanooga “Talk Radio 102.3” midday personality Brian Joyce is throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at the Chattanooga Lookouts-Birmingham Barons AA baseball game.  Joyce – who is also heard in afternoons on Cumulus Media’s sister Atlanta news/talker WYAY-FM “Talk 106.7” – says he warmed up a bit in the bull pen to avoid “air-mailing the first pitch.”  Coincidentally, Joyce played four years of Division 1 college baseball in his younger days.

‘Yappy Tour’ Rolls Into Academia.   Pictured above lecturing a college class in “journalism convergence” at Highpoint University in Highpoint, NC this morning (4/10) is Bernadette Duncan, author of one of the most-discussed radio books in the talk media industry, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Boozers, Schmoozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).  Duncan, a former producer, chronicles her 26 years as the woman behind the glass on shows hosted by such legends as Sally Jessy RaphaelLarry KingTom SnyderLou DobbsGil GrossCharles Osgood and others, covering a large swath of modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.”  Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of quirky guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature including: Donald TrumpOmarosa ManigaultDavid LettermanJoe BidenMike HuckabeeGeraldo RiveraJoan Rivers and dozens more.  Due to the strong response by hosts around the world to both the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the “Yappy Tour” has continue to roll on into 2018, sponsored by TALKERS magazine.  Duncan has already appeared on more than 130 local and syndicated programs since the book’s release in September of 2016.  Now, based on the book’s success and positive recognition, she has been invited to guest-lecture at colleges and universities advising students how to break into the radio business and carve out a career in producing and journalism.  In the past two months, she has spoken at such schools as Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY; Asnuntuck Community College in Enfield, CT;  American International College in Springfield, MA; and Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA.   Hosts, shows and schools interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.

FBI Raids Trump Attorney Cohen’s Office, Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-Syria Military Policy/Chemical Attack, Zuckerberg Congressional Testimony, Rick Scott Senate Bid, Kimmel-Hannity Feud, Mexican Border Security, U.S.-China Tariffs, and MLB and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/9). The FBI executes warrants on Donald Trump attorney Michael Cohen after receiving information from special counsel Robert Mueller; the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the Trump administration’s military policy in Syria and the recent, deadly chemical attack on civilians; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress on Cambridge Analytica data usage; Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott to challenge Democrat Bill Nelson for U.S. Senate seat; the war of words between Jimmy Kimmel and Sean Hannity over the former’s poking fun at First Lady Melania Trump; Trump’s plan to use the U.S. military to defend the Mexican border from illegals; the threat of a tariff war between the U.S. and China; and MLB and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Country radio programming pro Lance Houston is named PD for iHeartMedia Chicago’s WEBG, Chicago “BIG 95.5.”  Houston – who joins the Windy City operations of iHM from the company’s WBWL, Boston “101.7 The Bull” – will also serve as midday personality.  Houston reports to Tommy Austin, SVP of programming for iHeartMedia’s Chicago Region…..Programmer John Richards is the new program director at iHeartMedia’s country WQIK, Jacksonville.  In this position, Richards is also taking on programming duties at the company’s WTNT, Tallahassee and WPAP, Panama City, Florida.   Richards says, “I’m excited to be back in Jacksonville at WQIK.  I have history with the brand, and now another opportunity to add something to its tapestry.  The management team is terrific, and the staff is passionate.  It really shows in the quality of the product.  I appreciate the opportunity to contribute.”  Richards was most recently market president and iHeartMedia’s Corpus Christi and Harlingen-Brownsville-McAllen, Texas markets…..Westwood One is launching a new, weekly syndicated Saturday program called “Jayde,” starring Jayde Donovan.  Donovan is well-known as co-host of the WPLJ, New York morning show, host for the “Westwood One Backstage” broadcasts and her various television endeavors.  WWO says the new, three-hour show is “an upbeat, fun, and empowering show built for Saturday mornings to target the fierce, fabulous women who are doing it all – even if that means they are still wearing yesterday’s make-up while driving carpool to soccer practice.  The show will be a mix of interviews with celebrity moms, real life stories that inspire, and great music, all creating the perfect cocktail for a young, fresh, and inspired female-driven radio show.”…..iHeartMedia Seattle radio personality Marty Riemer – morning show co-host at KJR-FM “95.7 The Jet,” is being featured in an upcoming episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters International.”  Riemer works on air from Germany to join co-host Jodi Brothers for the “Marty & Jodi Show.”  The HGTV program addresses the Riemer family’s decision to move to Berlin, Germany, Marty’s experience co-hosting a cohesive morning program from Germany, and how the family met their unique balance of needs – including a central city location, reliable internet connection, and proximity to their children’s school…..In honor of Elvis Duran being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame, Sierra Automated Systems presented the Premiere Networks syndicated morning host with a gold “Hall of Fame Edition” iSL console (pictured below) at the NAB Show in Las Vegas.  From left to right are: Elvis Duran, “Shotgun” Tom Kelly, and SAS president Eddie Fritz.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

| March 29, 2018

Don Imus Says ‘Good-Bye’ to Listeners After 50 Years On-Air.  Today (3/29) was the last live “Imus in the Morning” program on WABC, New York.  Don Imus served up an emotional monologue as only he could do, then left the broadcast booth and let “best-of” Imus show segments play for the rest of the morning.  Imus was forced into an early retirement by Cumulus Media’s need to cut costs as it moves through Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization.  He said, “I know in my heart there’s been nobody ever better on the radio than me.  I mean that.  I’m telling you how it is.  Nobody ever did this.  Nobody.  But, it wasn’t me who did this.  I’m gonna miss you.  Because you were the one – and I don’t know who ‘you’ is – I always thought and still think I was always talking to one person.  I didn’t know if you were male or female, I just knew there was one person that I talked to and that would listen to me…I know you’re going to miss me, but you have no idea how much I’m gonna miss you.”

Ben Shapiro Returns to Radio with Westwood One-Distributed Daily Podcast.  Conservative media star Ben Shapiro says, “The Daily Wire and Westwood One are doing something unprecedented; we’re launching the first podcast-to-talk-radio transition ever.  And we’re doing it in five of the top 10 DMA markets in the country, which is amazing in and of itself — no show launches with this constellation of stations.  We already have an enormous digital audience and we can’t wait to extend that audience to more traditional platforms.”  Cumulus Media-owned stations WABC, New York; KABC-AM, Los Angeles; WLS-AM, Chicago; WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; WYAY-FM, Atlanta and KKAT, Salt Lake City will air the program, as well as Bonneville‘s KTTH, Seattle (where Shapiro previously hosted his own talk radio show).  WLS-AM will air the program nightly from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  In New York, the show replaces the Curtis Sliwa-hosted “The Drive at Five” program at 5:00 pm ET.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb tells staff in a memo, “Curtis has held down the ‘Drive at Five’ for about two years and has done a magnificent job making that hour a strong round-up of the news of the day with the Curtis touch.  And yet, we have been given the opportunity to air one of the hottest commentators in the country in Ben Shapiro.  To say that he has hit the podcast world by storm would be an understatement.  Everyday, he is one of the top podcasters in any genre, ranking in the top 10 or top 15.  It’s for a reason.  He is brilliant, informative, and opinionated.  This podcast to broadcast is in the perfect spot between Savage and Levin.”

Curtis Sliwa to Appear at WLS-AM-Sponsored Screening of Vigilante.  Speaking of New York City icon Curtis Sliwa, he is in Chicago today for tonight’s appearance at the Chicago premiere of the Guardian Angel’s film Vigilante at the NBC Tower.  The event is taking place at the WLS-AM 890 Sound Lounge performance theatre and is being hosted by WLS-AM morning personalities Big John Howell and Ramblin’ Ray Stevens.  Sliwa will take part in a Q&A with premiere attendees.  He’s hosting his WABC, New York show from Chicago today.

WABC, New York Officially Announces Chris Plante Show for Late Mornings.  A couple of weeks ago TALKERS magazine reported that WABC, New York program director Craig Schwalb told the staff that WMAL-AM/FM, Washington-based talk host Chris Plante would be filling the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart when the “Bernie & Sid Show” moves to mornings on April 2.  Now, the station makes that official, welcoming Plante to the lineup.  The press release says the New York audience knows Plante from his work covering the U.S. military and intelligence community for CNN.  Plante says his political party is “Practi-crat,” “because of my distinctly practical political leanings…As any school child knows, as a broadcaster, if you could choose one radio station in one market in the English-speaking world, it would be WABC in New York.  I’m honored to join the team.”

Cumulus Media Releases Q4 2017 and Full-Year Financial Figures; Radio Group Down 3.9%.  The company as a whole reports net revenue down 1.9% compared to the fourth quarter of 2016.  Separating the radio station group from syndicator and sales arm Westwood One, the radio station group dipped 3.9% in Q4 of 2017, while Westwood One rose 2.5%.  For all of 2017, Cumulus Media net revenue was basically flat at $1.13 billion; the radio group was down 1.9%; and Westwood One was up 2.8%.  President and CEO Mary Berner says, “Our 2017 financial performance is a true testament to our employees’ hard work and commitment to our turnaround plan.  Having also made the decision to definitively address our overleveraged balance sheet, we look forward to completing our financial restructuring and continuing our progress in the months ahead.”

Cumulus Responds to Objections to Plan of Reorganization.  After Wednesday’s filing of objections to Cumulus Media’s Plan of Reorganization by the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and the Cross-Holder Committee, the company issued the following statement: “Today’s objections to our Plan of Reorganization by the UCC and the Cross Holders were anticipated – they are normal parts of the restructuring process and will not impact our restructuring timeline.  We look forward to emerging from the restructuring process with a stronger foundation and to continuing to execute our turnaround plan which remains on track both operationally and financially.  Both objections largely reiterate statements that have already been made through the restructuring, which we believe have no merit, and we remain confident that we will successfully address these claims through the Court process.”

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. TALKERS managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February PPM survey, today focusing on public news/talk.  Comparing the January and February PPM surveys, 38% of public news/talk stations saw their 6+ AQH shares go up while 46% went down.  A year-over-year comparison indicates that 54% of stations in the survey went up (6+), with 36% losing AQH share.  During the February survey, two public news/talk stations – KQED, San Francisco and KOPB, Portland – ranked #1 in their respective markets.  KQED also was #1 in the adjacent San Jose market.  See the whole report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Boston-based New England talk show host Howie Carr just published his latest book, this one a jab at Hillary Clinton’s book of the same name, titled, What Really Happened: How Donald J. Trump Saved America from Hillary Clinton.  President Trump Tweeted praise for Carr’s book.  “@HowieCarrShow just wrote a book which everyone is talking about.  He was a great help.  He is a veteran journalist who had a great influence in NH and beyond.  He calls it the most amazing political campaign of modern times.  The book is called, ‘What Really Happened.’ Enjoy!”…..ESPN adds a new podcast from Bomani Jones to is slate of podcasts.  “The Right Time with Bomani Jones” launches on Tuesday, April 3.  New, hour-long episodes will drop each Tuesday and Thursday.  Jones says, “I’m really looking forward to rebooting ‘The Right Time’ and moving it into the future.  We want to do as much as we can with the flexibility of the podcast format to take what was a three-hour radio show and make it into an even better podcast.  I really think the audience we served before – many of whom consumed the show digitally – will be happier with what’s next and the content will attract new listeners.”…..SiriusXM is again providing comprehensive national audio coverage of the 2018 Major League Baseball season.  Subscribers can access live play-by-play of every regular season and postseason game, as well as 24/7 news, talk and analysis on the exclusive MLB Network Radio channel.

Trump-Russia Investigation, Stormy Daniels Case, Kim Jong Un in China, Stevens’ Second Amendment Repeal Suggestion, Parkland Student-Ingraham Feud, California Sanctuary Cities Controversy, ‘Roseanne’ Re-Boot,’ Sacramento Unrest, the NCAA’s Final Four, NFL Rule Changes, and NBA Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/28). The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the suggestion by Republicans that the FBI, CIA, and the Obama Administration coordinated early in the investigation; the legal actions targeting President Trump related to the Stormy Daniels affair allegation; North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un visits Chinese President Xi Jinping; the controversy over Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ editorial calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment; the feud between Parkland shooting survivor David Hogg and FOX News’ Laura Ingraham; the legal battles over the California sanctuary cities policies; the success of the first episode of the “Roseanne” re-boot and Roseanne Barr’s support of President Trump; the unrest in Sacramento in the aftermath of the fatal police shooting of Stephon Clark; the NCAA Men’s tournament Final Four; free agency signings in the NFL; today’s MLB season openers; and NBA action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  In Chicago, Entercom makes changes in morning drive at CHR WBBM-FM “B96” and ousts “The J Show” with host J Niice, a.k.a. Jamar McNeil, and cast members Gabe, Shelly, and Minnie.  Meanwhile, Chicago media maven Robert Feder reports that Kevin Buchar, a.k.a. DreX, is headed back to the Windy City to assume the morning daypart there…..Beasley Media Group adult hits WBEN-FM, Philadelphia is welcoming Emmy Award-winning celebrity chef Rachael Ray as keynote speaker at the station’s 2nd annual “Her Story Luncheon” on Saturday, April 14.   The luncheon is being hosted by Kathy Romano, host of 95.7 BEN FM’s “Her Story” program.  The Saturday morning show features dynamic women who are making a significant impact in the community…..iHeartMedia’s hip hop WKTU, New York reveals the lineup for this summer’s “KTUphoria 2018” concert at Jones Beach Theater.  Performing this year will be: Dua Lipa, Ne-Yo, Charlie Puth, Enrique Iglesias, Sting & Shaggy, Pitbull and more to be announced…..Midwest Communications names Corey Schaefer brand manager for CHR KOYY, Fargo “Y94.”

Friday, May 4, 2012

| May 4, 2012

CNN Ratings Cause for Concern at Headquarters.  The executives at Time Warner and subsidiary CNN/U.S. are displeased with cable news/talk channel CNN’s performance in the April Nielsen ratings after much time and money has been spent tweaking the programming there.  The New York TimesBrian Stelter reports that sources say Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes has made his dissatisfaction with the channel’s performance known to his subordinates.  Over the past 18 months CNN has made numerous programming changes including replacing Larry King with Piers Morgan in the 9:00 pm ET slot; the addition of Soledad O’Brien as host of the morning show; and a new 7:00 pm ET show with Erin Burnett.  CNN has long stated publicly that it delivers a unique news product around the clock with which advertisers like being associated.  In fact, the entire CNN unit (including other domestic and international channels) is poised to make a record $600 million in operating profit this year.  The company issued the following statement in response to reports about the April ratings.  “Despite the perennial ratings stories and quotes from anonymous sources, CNN continues to deliver quality journalism which is uniquely valuable to audiences, advertisers and distributors.  In fact, CNN is on track to deliver its highest profits in its history and continues to reach more people on more platforms than any other TV network.”  Still, as Brian Stelter writes, “Performance of CNN/U.S. drives public perception — and employee pride — and declines there may gradually damage CNN’s networks as a whole.” TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison adds, “CNN would probably do better in both ratings and revenue if they stopped obviously competing with Fox News Channel and MSNBC in trying to be entertaining and opinionated concentrating, rather, on really being journalistic on a level not seen for years on American television.  There is an opening in the marketplace for such a product a mile wide and a deep need and hunger for it by a significant segment of the public.”

CC Media Holdings Reports Q1 Revenue Hike of 3%.  That 2012 first quarter revenue increase comes as CC Media Holdings posts $1.36 billion in revenue compared to the $1.32 for the same period a year ago.  Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – which excludes the parent company’s outdoor divisions – was up 6% or $39 million compared to the first quarter of 2011.  CC Media Holdings CEO Bob Pittman states, “Since the start of 2012, we have continued to invest in our rapidly growing digital products and services, while strengthening our operations to better serve our marketing partners and our consumers.  We have enhanced our ability to help our partners take advantage of the unique size and scale of our media, entertainment and outdoor assets, with a particular focus on multi-platform solutions that no other company is able to deliver.”

KTRS, St. Louis Officially Announces Martin Kilcoyne Midday Host.  Monday’s story announced CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis was parting company with midday talk host JC Corcoran and would replace him with KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director Martin Kilcoyne.  The station makes that official with general manager and partner Mark Dorsey stating, “Martin is a proven broadcaster, both in television and radio, and KTRS looks forward to bringing his personality, wit and opinions to the airwaves.”  Kilcoyne will assume the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show beginning Monday, May 14.  He says of his new gig, “I am thrilled to have an opportunity like this.  I’m a sports guy, but I love to talk about all things.  The plan is to have a show that St. Louis will find lively, topical and fresh.  I’m not Ted Koppel, but I’m also not Ted Baxter.”

First Quarter Positive for Salem Communications.  The first quarter of 2012 has been pretty good for Salem Communications and subsidiary Salem Broadcasting.  The parent company is reporting an increase of 6.1% on revenue of $54.3 million compared to the same period one year ago.  On the broadcasting side, Salem is up 2.9% on revenue of $44 million.  Broadcasting still makes up the bulk of Salem’s revenue but digital continues to perform well rising 33% over the same period in 2011 on revenue of $7.4 million.  The company is bullish about Q2 projecting a revenue increase of a couple percentage points with a total revenue goal of more than $55 million for the quarter.

Legal Battle May Ensue Over Merlin Media’s Blago Billboard.  This billboard pictured here is one of several purchased by Merlin Media in the Chicago area promoting all-news WIQI-FM – FM News 101.1.  Crain’s Chicago Business reports Merlin consultant John Gehron commenting on the marketing campaign saying, “We wanted to have something that we thought would be fun and get people’s attention.”  And apparently it has.  Attorney Sheldon Sorosky, who represents former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich – currently serving a 14-year prison sentence for corruption – says the use of Blagojevich’s image may violate an Illinois law prohibiting one’s image from being used for commercial gain without one’s consent.  Sorosky tells Crain’s it’s called the Right to Publicity Act and it states, “A person may not use an individual’s identity for commercial purposes during the individual’s lifetime without having obtained previous written consent from the appropriate person or persons.”  Sorosky says they have not decided whether to take legal action or not at this point.

Ric Edelman Celebrates 20 Years on the Radio This Weekend.  Nationally syndicated talk show host Ric Edelman, host of “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman,” marks 20 years on the radio with his broadcast this weekend.  Edelman, an award-winning financial advisor, heard along with financial advisors Brandon Corso and Anderson Wozny, is heard in 56 markets including on WABC, New York; WLS, Chicago; and WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC.  He says, “It is a genuine privilege to do this show.  As I always say, ‘Money doesn’t come with instructions,’ so I’m honored for the opportunity to share my knowledge with so many listeners from across the country.”  Edelman, a member of TALKERS 2012 “Heavy Hundred,” is also seen on public television across the country as his TV program of the same name is in its second season.

Pamela Furr to Join New Atlanta All-Newser.  Talk show host and news anchor Pamela Furr confirms via Facebook that she’s headed to Atlanta to become part of the Cumulus Media FM all-news outlet slated for WYAY-FM in a few weeks.  The company has confirmed it will turn the outlet into an all-news station soon and obviously has begun hiring.  Furr most recently worked full time at Clear Channel’s WPTI-FM, Greensboro-Winston-Salem as co-host of the morning drive show.  She’s been freelancing doing news at CC’s WRDU-FM, Raleigh the past few weeks.

Atlanta Business Chronicle to Provide Content for Cumulus’ “All News 106.7.”  When Cumulus Media flips the switch on WYAY-FM, Gainesville, Georgia turning it into “All News 106.7,” the Atlanta Business Chronicle will provide exclusive business updates at :20 and :50.  In a statement, Cumulus co-COO John Dickey says, “Our partnership with the Atlanta Business Chronicle is consistent with our mission of bringing the most credible news and information to Atlantans 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  ABC is the definitive business news brand in Atlanta and 106.7 will be the definitive radio news and information brand in Atlanta.”  ABC publisher Ed Baker states, “It’s exciting that intelligent Atlantans are finally getting a much-needed all-news format.  We’re very excited to be a part of something new and different.  Quality business reporting is more important than ever and this partnership will allow us to deliver something special to our community.”

Cumulus Brings Celebrity News Blogger Perez Hilton Aboard for Nightly Radio Show.  At the same time the company announces that the new “Perez Nights Live” will replace Dial Global’s “Billy Bush Show” on stations where it airs and expects the show to debut on about 50 affiliate stations.  “Perez Nights Live” will feature Perez Hilton and co-host Adam Bomb and will consist of celebrity news chatter and music.  Cumulus co-COO John Dickey states, “Successful contemporary stations all have one thing in common: They keep their listeners on the cutting edge of music and pop culture.  Leading stations in our business set trends.  Perez doesn’t report on pop culture, he is pop culture.  ‘Perez Nights Live’ will take the important evening daypart and turn it into a brand enhancing experience.”

2012 Presidential Race Lands Atop Talkers TenTM for Fifth Straight Week.  The 2012 presidential campaign was again the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week of April 30 – May 4, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.  The race barely beat the case of Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng which landed at #2 followed very closely by President Obama’s Afghanistan visit and the government’s release of Osama bin Laden documents tied at #3.  The shocking death of retired NFL star Junior Seau came in at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is published each Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart for this week here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliation Roundup.  The “At Home with Bob Vila” feature from Compass Media Networks debuted this week on such signals as KOGO-AM/FM, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; and KVON, Napa, California…..Courtside Media Group’s “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” is being aired on Hubbard Broadcasting’s WTOP-FM, Washington…..“The Small Business Advocate with Jim Blasingame” is picked up by WZFG, Fargo; WHTX, Youngstown; and WGGH, Marion, Illinois….. “The Doctor’s Orders Radio Show” with Dr. Kipp Van Kamp is added to WTKI-AM/FM, Huntsville, Alabama and WEKI-AM/FM, Decatur, Alabama.

Profiling Courage.  That’s KIRO-FM, Seattle talk show host Dave Ross (r) pictured with Sgt. Leroy Petry (l).  Ross recently interviewed the Medal of Honor recipient for inclusion in the Memorial Day radio special “A Grateful Nation” – a one-hour program produced by the Fisher House Foundation and distributed by Premiere Networks.  Sgt. Petry is an Army Ranger who lost his hand while saving two comrades after he grabbed and tossed an enemy grenade during a battle in Afghanistan.

Monday, April 30, 2012

| April 30, 2012

Cumulus Makes it Official:  WYAY-FM, Atlanta to Go All-News in May.  The Atlanta Business Chronicle confirms what’s been rumored as Cumulus Media COO John Dickey announces the company’s classic hits WYAY-FM – licensed to Gainesville, Georgia – will flip to all-news in mid-May.  Dickey tells the Chronicle, “As big a city as we’ve got and as diverse and cosmopolitan a community, not to have an all-news product creates a huge opportunity.  It was an easy decision for us to take advantage of it…Pop culture, celebrity news and entertainment news have really become news today.  That has intermixed with hard news to create a different product.”  Atlanta had WCNN – now SportsRadio 680 the Fan – operating as an all-news outlet in the late 1990s but that was on AM and Cumulus believes now is the right time to put an all-news product on the FM band.

KTRS, St. Louis Cancels JC Corcoran PM Drive Show.  Veteran St. Louis radio personality JC Corcoran exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after hosting the PM drive show for the past 18 months.  St. Louis Today’s Deb Peterson reports management at the station was not returning calls seeking comment but that other sources indicate that KTVI-TV, St. Louis sports director and former KFNS, St. Louis talk host Martin Kilcoyne will take over the program.  Corcoran’s sidekick Trish Gazall is reportedly remaining with the station.  Other changes including a slight shift in programming as John Hadley moves his late-night show to the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot allowing Chicago-based Steve Cochran to host just his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program at the station (he had been doing a split shift with an early evening show as well).

Feature Series – Part 4: Innovation Sets You Free…to Make Money.  Sabo Media president Walter Sabo concludes his four-part TALKERS series on FM talk.  In this piece, Sabo discusses the importance of creating time and a place to innovate.  Sabo notes that radio has no laboratory for experimentation.  “If you come up with a new format or promotional idea, where and how do you test it?  Success in a live medium depends on a specific dynamic with a live audience.  As a rule you can’t ask people how they want to be entertained.  You can present them with entertainment and see if they applaud.”  Sabo offers several ways to test new programming, including your HD channel.  “Finally, a good use for HD channels: Experimentation.  If you want listeners to try a new medium, give them something new to listen to.  It doesn’t cost more money to play different songs.  The promise of HD radio is breathtaking.  New programming attracts early adopters and that’s what new hardware demands.”  Sabo says this article is a preview of 15 action-packed minutes that he will deliver at the New Media Seminar in New York on Thursday, June 7.  This exciting industry-only event will be a certain sellout.  For registration information call 413-565-5413.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.

FCC Decision to Require Political Ad Info Posted Online for TV Stations Has Radio Execs Watching DC.  For now, only television stations in the top 50 markets in the country are being required to post their public files – including their political ad rates – online.  But some radio operators are nervous about this cascading to their medium.  This decision is only popular with some political groups that believe too much money is spent on politics and is tarnishing the process.  The NAB is not pleased and states, “NAB respectfully disagrees with today’s FCC decision and we’re disappointed that the Commission rejected compromise proposals proffered by broadcasters that would have brought greater transparency to political ad buying.  By forcing broadcasters to be the only medium to disclose on the internet our political advertising rates, the FCC jeopardizes the competitive standing of stations that provide local news, entertainment, sports and life-saving weather information free of charge to tens of millions of Americans daily. We appreciate Commissioner McDowell‘s thoughtful and compelling dissent, and we will be seeking guidance from our Board of Directors regarding our options.”  Some communications law observers believe there are problems with this new policy and we’re likely to see this end up in court.

Michigan Talk Host Michael Patrick Shiels to Host New TV and Radio Show Beginning in Early May.  Michael Patrick Shiels previously hosted the morning show based at WJIM, Lansing and was heard on other markets via the Michigan Talk Network.  His relationship with WJIM owner Cumulus ended and now he announces he’s struck a deal with WSYM-TV, Lansing to produce and distribute a new morning show that will be simulcast on WSYM-TV and on the radio in markets yet to be announced.  WSYM-TV VP/GM Gary Baxter states. “FOX 47 is proud to continue its partnership with Michael Patrick Shiels and launch his new program.  There is simply no one like him on radio or TV in the state of Michigan.  Michael Patrick’s show allows us to have the biggest names in politics, business and Michigan sports on our air every morning.  Our viewers might see Governor Snyder and Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford on the same show — what great television!”

Tom Joyner Vows to Stay Connected with Tri-State Fans Via Digital Media.  The EmmisESPN deal and consequent merger of the Kiss FM format with WBLS-FM, New York leaves his nationally syndicated urban morning show in the lurch.  But Tom Joyner believes very strongly in the power of Black radio and the need for shows like his in the Black community.  In a memo to Kiss FM listeners, he writes, “I am saddened that an important Black voice is going silent in New York City, especially during this important election year.  Along with the Tom Joyner “Morning Show,” the Michael Baisden show and Rev. Al Sharpton’s Sunday program will also be off the air in NYC in this transition.  Black radio has been and always will be an extremely important motivational force in the community.  Although social media currently gets a lot of credit and rightfully so, nothing can replace the role Black radio plays in empowering, informing and entertaining Black people.  You can’t believe everything you read on social media but studies do show that most people believe what they hear on black radio.  That makes me feel proud and reminds me of my responsibility to be there for them each morning.”  Joyner encourages his audience in the Tri-State area to listen via his smartphone app or via BlackAmericaWeb.com.

Compass Media Networks’ “At Home with Bob Vila” Debuts Today.  The new daily feature hosted by home improvement icon Bob Vila and produced and distributed by Compass Media Networks hits the air today at affiliates including KOGO, San Diego; WTKK-FM, Boston; KMJ, Fresno; KFNN, Phoenix; KVON, Napa, California and more.  Compass Media Networks VP affiliate sales Adam Wilbur states, “Stations in all formats – sports, news/talk, all-news, country, AC and classic hits have signed up for Vila.  In another week, we will announce additional stations in New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Washington, DC.  With over 90% name recognition with Americans, program directors appreciate the power of Bob’s brand – and sales managers love the ability to sell the feature locally.”

Actor Stephen Baldwin, TV-Radio Host Dani Johnson and Talk Host Kevin McCullough Announce Effort to Aid Starving Orphans.  The 2012 in 2012 charity effort is named that because, as XtreMedia CEO and principal Kevin McCullough states, the goal is to rescue 2,012 orphans from starvation during the year 2012.  McCullough’s weekend radio show partner Stephen Baldwin and television and radio host Dani Johnson are partnering to spearhead this program.  Baldwin says a child can be fed for a mere 25 cents per day.  “When I toured the places these children sleep and live in, I couldn’t help but be moved to do something about it.  My whole family saw with our own eyes children who were dying or would die soon, simply because they had no food.  It is imperative to me, my media company, my family, my business partners, and every one I come into contact with to let them know how vital 25 cents can be.  It can literally feed a meal to a child who literally will die without it.”  Kevin McCullough says, “Our partners are delivering life-healing food for the rate of feeding an orphan for an entire year, for just $92 – this is how simple it is to save a life?  How can we get more people involved?  How can we rescue more children?  These questions haunt me each night…”  McCullough and company are teaming up with two charities experienced in feeding children – Food for Orphans and King’s Ransom Foundation and they are seeking other media partners for this quest.  “If you are a television, radio or new media personality who has a passion to help hungry kids, we would love for you to join us in this amazing quest.  We will link arm in arm with anyone and everyone who is moved to do this, to be part of it, and to see orphans fed.”

Nationally Syndicated Radio Feature Host Akos Jankura Develops New Weekend Show; Seeks Products or Inventions from Public to Feature.  Inventor and international presenter Akos Jankura – who writes and produces the nationally syndicated radio feature “Akos the Solutionist” – teams up with John Cremeans to create a weekend radio show based at WFLA, Tampa on which they will make it possible for one inventor to pitch their product or invention.  The show will premiere Saturday, May 5 at 4:00 pm on WFLA and people with products or inventions are asked to visit MyCoolInventions.com to submit their entry.  Jankura says, “Many people don’t know that one of our most successful TV shopping channels actually began on radio.  I’ve teamed up with John Cremeans also known as ‘The Doctor of Shopolgy,’ John has logged over 25,000 hours of live television shopping and is a pioneer in our industry.  He is skilled at getting arm-chair inventors to make their best pitch for their product which is so important in the early development process.”  Jankura says together the two have more than $2 billion in sales.  The team is poised to identify products and inventions that can become the next great hit.  Their hands-on process invites everyday inventors or people with great ideas to join the inventive group at MyCoolInventions.com and sign up to receive information and tips that will guide them through the process of taking a product to market.

In Memory of a Radio Pioneer: Pete Fornatale.  TALKERS sports editor Richard Neer worked closely with rock radio legend Pete Fornatale who passed away last week at age 66.  Although, as Neer writes, Fornatale was not a talk host as we traditionally define it in radio, “When he did crack the mic, you couldn’t find a more intelligent voice observing pop culture than the late Pete Fornatale.”  Neer notes that Fornatale became synonymous with the genre of radio hosts who did more than quickly intro or backsell a record – something that many argue is missing in music radio these days.  “He was probably the first real musicologist on commercial radio who presented rock and folk music as an intellectual as well as emotional experience.”  Read Richard Neer’s memorial to Pete Fornatale here.

Friday, April 27, 2012

| April 27, 2012

New York Sports and Urban Worlds Reeling from Emmis-ESPN Deal.  Yesterday’s announcement from ESPN that it has signed an LMA deal with Emmis Communications to air sports talk WEPN’s programming on 98.7 – the home of urban Kiss FM – sent shockwaves through the sports and urban radio communities.  The drive to get sports talk on FM – by either CBS Radio or ESPN…or both – has been closely watched for the past several years.  Many thought CBS Radio would make a move to put WFAN on FM before ESPN but that was not the case.  On the urban side, the melding of Kiss FM and WBLS-FM as Emmis will sell the intellectual property of Kiss FM to YMF Media so it can create a Kiss FM at 107.5 has some in the urban music community crying foul.  As for the financials, Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports that Emmis gets $8.4 million for the first year of a 12-year LMA with an increase of 3.5% annually.  It expects to realize $10 million for the intellectual property of Kiss FM and, all told, the deal means $96 million for Emmis.  Now, industry watchers will be intent on CBS Radio to see how fast the company moves to get an FM signal for the venerable sports giant WFAN.

Greater Media’s WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia Inks Deal with NBA’s 76ers.  Philadelphia sports talk duo WPEN-AM/FM – 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio – agree to a multi-year deal to air 76ers basketball on the stations beginning with the first round of this season’s playoffs.  All of the games this year and through the course of the contract will air on 97.5 and many will be simulcast on 950 AM.  76ers broadcast voice Tom McGinnis will continue to serve as the play-by-play announcer for the games.  Greater Media market manager John Fullam says, “We know the future of the Sixers is bright, and we look forward to being a central part of the fan experience on Sixers game nights.  Adding NBA play-by-play to 97.5 The Fanatic and 950 ESPN Radio is yet another significant step forward in fulfilling our commitment to offer Philadelphians the finest in sports programming.  We are especially gratified that we will not have to wait until next fall for Sixers games to start broadcasting on our air.”  Prior to this deal, 76ers basketball had aired on CBS Radio’s crosstown sports talker WIP.

WJIM, Lansing and Michigan Talk Network Name Steve Gruber and Jo Ann Paul AM Drive Hosts.  Former WILX-TV, Lansing news anchor Steve Gruber and WLNS-TV, Lansing personality Jo Ann Paul are the new co-hosts of the WJIM, Lansing-based morning drive show that’s also heard across Michigan on via the Michigan Talk Network.  Gruber and Paul will work with current producer Amanda Wall and news anchor Gary Austin.  They take over the role held previously by Michael Patrick Shiels who left the Cumulus Media operation in February.  Cumulus tested a number of potential hosts before going with Gruber and Paul.

WLQR-AM/FM, Toledo Adds New PM Drive Show.  Cumulus Media sports talk outlet WLQR-AM/FM, Toledo announces the debut of “Drive Time with Miller and Bellino” hosted by Mike Miller and Anthony Bellino.  The duo’s program will air in the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot beginning Monday, April 30.  In order to make room for the new program, WLQR cuts an hour from Norm Wamer’s “The Front Row” program which will air from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.  The show will emanate from local car dealership The Monroe Superstore.  In a statement, Anthony Bellino says, “We want our listeners to be able to interact with us, and have the opportunity to interact with our guests.”

United Stations Radio Networks Renews with Bloomberg.  New York-based United Stations Radio Networks announces a deal that will continue to have it sell, market and distribute various financial news and business programs created and produced by Bloomberg Radio.  USRN’s Jim Higgins states, “Bloomberg is at the very top of the financial industry when it comes to the delivery of news, data and analysis, and in turn, they recognize that we’ve been solid partners for them.  Our affiliates, advertisers and sponsors are all proud to be associated with the Bloomberg brand, and so are we.”

2012 Presidential Race Tops Talkers TenTM for Fourth Straight Week.  The 2012 presidential race was the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio for the fourth straight week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM chart for the week of April 23-27.  Coming in at #2 was the Supreme Court hearing of the Arizona illegal immigration law case.  Following at # 3 was the euro zone economic jitters tied with weak U.S. jobs growth and at #4 was the Environmental Protection Agency’s attack on the gas and oil industries.  The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio in America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View the entire chart here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle…..“The Handyman Show” with Glenn Haege picks up new affiliates WBCK-FM, Battle Creek, Michigan; WMMI, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan; WBCO, Bucyrus, Ohio; KATX-FM, Eastland, Texas; and   WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois.