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 Times’ Brian 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 Morganin 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 Mediain 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 Furrconfirms 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 Dickeysays, “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-hostAdam 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 ofOsama 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.
Latest Cable News/Talk Ratings Not Good for CNN. The April Nielsens are not being kind to cable news/talk network CNN. The channel’s total-day viewership average was 357,000 – down 21% compared to the same period in 2011. Ratings in that category haven’t been this low for CNN since August of 2001. “Anderson Cooper 360” led the decline in shows down 26% with 522,000 total viewers in the 10:00 pm ET slot. Other CNN shows with declines in April were: “John King USA” – down 24%; “Erin Burnett Out Front” – down 22%; and “Starting Point” – down 26%. Fox News Channel remains firmly in first place for April with a total-day viewership average of 1.1 million (up slightly) and MSNBC stays in second place with an unchanged 425,000.
Keith Larson Stays with WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte After All. Last week WBT-AM/FM Charlotte late-morning host Keith Larson told his listeners his days with the Greater Media station may be numbered because the station was unwilling to extend his contract but was willing to keep him on the radio as an at-will employee. At the time he said he wasn’t sure he wanted to do that. A week later, he tells the Charlotte Observer he and WBT management have struck a deal to keep him with the station, though he wouldn’t give details about their agreement. He does say, “I’m very happy to be plugging away at WBT. We had a good conversation this week. I’m happy to continue eye-poking at WBT and looking forward to developing Larson Advertising and Media as well.”
WQXI, Atlanta Merges Two Midday Shows into One.Lincoln Financial Mediasports talk outlet 790 The Zone – WQXI – combines the “Two Live Stews” show featuring Doug and Ryan Stewart with the Tony Barnhart and Wes Durhamshow to make “The Red Zone” airing from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. This move comes a week after the station announced it was extending “Mayhem in the AM” to 11:00 am and movingArcher and Bell up an hour to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm time slot. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reported last week, Barnhart and Durham have been the highest-rated show on the station lately but they have other professional obligations which make them all but unavailable during May and June. The “Stews’” ratings haven’t been what they once were and they are not as prominently featured by the station as they used to be. The Stewarts’ agent, Norm Schrutt, acknowledges to the AJC that he’s not happy with the new arrangement but says Doug and Ryan are “team players” and are doing what they are asked. The new show is expected to have a rotating cast of characters along with the four principal hosts. WQXI general managerAndrew Saltzman tells the paper, “This is more topic driven and less specifically host driven.”
Wisconsin Group Seeks Conservative Talk Radio’s Help in Preventing Recall of Governor. An ad hoc group of Wisconsin business people has formed an organization called Businesses for Wisconsin Jobs with the goal of getting conservative talk radio shows from Milwaukee and Madison to be aired in the northern and western parts of the state in hopes those shows will reach enough people to prevent the recall of Governor Scott Walker and other politicians. An article by Brien Farley for Heartland.org, points out how Walker and others have credited conservative talk shows such as WTMJ, Milwaukee’s Charlie Sykes and WIBA, Madison’s Vicki McKenna helped them get elected via their conservative messages. The group hopes to convince other stations in the state to add such shows to their lineups in order to get a conservative message to key voters. WISN, Milwaukee program director Jerry Bott is quoted in the piece saying, “Hosts on conservative talk radio affect public opinion by making a convincing case that conservative principles are powerful, proper and effective. This has an effect on public opinion in areas where conservative talk radio can be heard which, in turn, provides a fertile environment for conservatives seeking public office to be elected.” So far the group claims to have had success getting Vicki McKenna’s program added to WMEQ, Menomonie in the northwestern part of the state. The recall election of Governor Walker takes place June 5.
Stitcher Launches 2012 Election Center to Serve Demand for Political Audio Content. Digital spoken-word content provider Stitcher Smart Radio is targeting users interested in the 2012 political season with the creation of the 2012 Election Center. Stitcher says the channel allows “users to easily follow, listen and engage with political candidates, commentators, pundits and topics that interest them most. From podcasts and candidate speeches, to exclusive content on hot trending topics, listeners can now stay up-to-date on all things election related from one central audio hub.” Stitcher CEO Noah Shanok says, “There’s an avalanche of coverage during election season and it can be tough to get the best information when you need it. We’re rolling out trending topics on demand, a first in the industry. We see this as part of our mission to further the evolution of radio by making it more relevant and accessible than ever.” The service features audio messages directly from the campaigns, commentary from major broadcasters such as Fox News Channel, NPR and CBS News plus the service is integrated withFacebook. Stitcher is employing a transcription technology so users can literally search the bevy of available audio for specific topics by typing in key words. Content creators get feedback from Stitcher about the about the most-sought-after topics.
Nikki Sixx’s Personality-Intensive Show to Air Mornings on KEGL-FM, Dallas. ThePremiere Networks distributed “Sixx Sense with Nikki Sixx” show will be heard in AM drive on Clear Chanel Media and Entertainment’s KEGL-FM, Dallas beginning May 7. The talk-intensive rock radio show featuring Motley Crue star Nikki Sixx and Kerri Kasem airs in evenings on 90-plus affiliate stations. Now, Premiere will create a customized morning show for KEGL-FM. In a statement, Premiere says, “Each morning on “Sixx Sense,” Sixxwilldiscuss music and lifestyle topics as he gives listeners an exclusive look at the world and mind of a rock star…Sixx will provide his unique perspective and attitude as the duo welcomes celebrity guests, recording artists and fascinating characters from all walks of life.” Sixx himself is quoted saying, “Bringing ‘Sixx Sense’ to mornings has always been our goal. Who better to start your morning with than a rock star and a hot chick? It’s a dream come true to have a morning show on one of America’s best rock stations.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Sports WBNS-FM, Columbus promotions director Todd Reigle takes his bicycle on a five-day ride from Sylvania, Ohio to Cincinnati – an event called the Honor Ride Ohio – to try to reach his goal of raising $100,000 for six veterans’ organizations. The ride will take place from June 30 to July 4…..ESPN’s Mike Greenberg pays his “gambling debt” to co-host Mike Golic on May 8 as loser of the “Mike & Mike” show’s March Madness “Sheets of Integrity Challenge.” Greenberg will dance to “Livin’ the Vida Loca” live on the ESPN Radio program (simulcast on cable’s ESPN 2) with professional dancer Anna Trebunskaya who’s appeared on the “Dancing with the Stars” franchise…..Former University of Florida quarterback Chris Leak(who led the team to a National Championship) joins SiriusXM’s College Sports Nation sports channel where he’ll host “College Sports Coast-to-Coast” along with Chris Childers several nights a week…..Clear Channel Media and Entertainment partners with the Ad Council to promote the anti-childhood obesity campaign We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition). The effort involves airing and making visible online a number of public service announcements…..Attorney Ed Gadrix debuts a new weekly talk show on WNJC, Washington Township, New Jersey called “The Eddie Esq. Show.” Gadrix says the goal of his show is to involve more fathers in custody after divorces. Gadrix states, “Divorce courts and the legal system are destroying the next generation of Americans and I hope our new talk show opens up an entirely new dialogue toward changing that system…unless we take a different approach to handling divorce and custody matters, we’re doomed to continue creating children who grow into dysfunctional adults and families.”
2012 Presidential Race, U.S.-Afghanistan Security Agreement, John Edwards Trial, Chinese Activist Case, Junior Seau Death, French Political Situation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/2). The 2012 presidential race; the newly signed U.S.-Afghanistan security agreement; the testimony from John Edwards’ trial on campaign corruption charges; blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng’s appeal to the U.S. to leave China; former NFL star Junior Seau’s apparent suicide; and Nicolas Sarkozy’s fight for his political life in France were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Fox Sports L.A. Meets New Dodgers Owners. KLAC, Los Angeles – AM 570 Fox Sports L.A. covered yesterday morning’s press conference with the new Los Angeles Dodgers ownership —Guggenheim Baseball Management Team. PM drive hosts Petros Papadakis (r) and Matt “Money” Smith (l) are pictured here interviewing L.A. Lakers great Magic Johnson (c), a member of the new ownership group.
Sirius XM Reports Revenue Up 11%.SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin tells analysts the satcaster has seen subscriptions increase by 405,000 compared to the first quarter of 2011. Revenue for Q1 of 2012 was $805 million, an increase of 11% over the same period a year ago. Karmazin states, “SiriusXM is starting the year with tremendous operational momentum. We grew subscribers faster than any first quarter since our 2008 merger of Sirius and XM, and we improved our self-pay monthly churn rate to 1.9% despite implementing a price increase at the beginning of the year. Rising auto sales and our strong execution should enable us to exceed our prior 2012 subscriber growth guidance of 1.3 million, which today we are raising to 1.5 million.” The continued good news for SiriusXM includes: its subscriber growth rate accelerating to boost its subscriber base to an all-time high of 22.3 million; reduced its monthly churn to 1.9%; and was able to show positive free cash flow in the first quarter of a fiscal year for the first time – free cash flow was $15 million for 2012’s Q1. SiriusXM EVP and CFO David Frearstates, “Our growing cash flow is reducing our leverage substantially and this improving credit profile should benefit stockholders as we refinance or pay down more than $1 billion of high coupon debt over the next 15 months.”
2012 Q1 Report: CBS Radio Down 2%.CBS Corporation announced its first quarter revenue for 2012 and although the company as a whole was up 12% on revenue of $3.92 billion over the same period a year ago, the revenue for the CBS Radio division was down 2%. Content licensing and distribution revenue were responsible for much of the company’s growth.
Harris to Exit Broadcast Business. Melbourne, Florida-based HarrisCorporation employs some 17,000 people worldwide but the bulk of its revenue does not come from the radio equipment sector – not even close. And that’s why the company announces it is divesting itself of the Broadcast Communications arm. The company states a review of its business structure revealed, “the (radio) business is no longer aligned with the company’s long-term strategy. The plan to sell these assets supports our disciplined approach to capital allocation, and we intend to use the proceeds to return cash to shareholders and invest in growing our core businesses.”
KTRH, Houston Talk Host Michael Berry Won’t Be Charged in Fender Bender Case. Former Houston City Councilor and KTRH, Houston talk host Michael Berry will not face charges of hit and run in connection with a parking incident outside an area bar that happened in late January. The District Attorney’s office tells the Houston Chronicle that based on its findings, there will be no charges filed against Berry. It appears there’s no evidence to show Berry’s vehicle hit the car of a club bouncer who told authorities a car matching the description of Berry’s car hit his. The incident happened outside of TC’s Show Bar in Montrose – a club known for gay clientele. The local media made a big deal out of the incident and, in addition to the connection between the conservative Berry and the gay bar, questioned whether the former city councilor received special treatment from authorities investigating the incident. Berry maintained his innocence and excoriated the local media on his radio show for running fast and loose with the facts. He blamed much of the attention he received from the incident on politics.
Merlin Media’s New York Programming Chief Is Mark Austin Thomas. “FM News 101.9” has been without an official programming chief since Liz Aiello was let go in December. Now, it’s being reported that former KABC, Los Angeles news director and news anchor Mark Austin Thomas is in the programmer’s chair. Radio-Info’s Tom Taylor reports an announcement from Merlin Media about Thomas’ status may come as early as this week. All-news WEMP-FM, New York has been holding steady with a .7 share in the monthly PPM ratings.
Dave Milner Named Market Manager at Clear Channel Sacramento. Reports of Jeff Holden’s departure from the building at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento cluster turned out to be true. The company announces Dave Milner takes over the president and market manager role. Milner has been serving as vice president of sales at Entercom’s San Francisco station group. He previously worked for Clear Channel in the Portland market. Clear Channel EVP of operations, Western Region Susan Karis states, “Dave brings an extensive track record of sales and management expertise with him to the Clear Channel Sacramento market. I’m excited to have him back with Clear Channel Media and Entertainment to lead our business in Sacramento to continued success.”
KFTK-FM, St. Louis Adds Tony Katz to Permanent Weekend Show.Emmis Communications’ KFTK-FM, St. Louis announces regular fill-in talk host Tony Katz gets a weekly Saturday afternoon show airing from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Katz is the go-to fill-in guy for midday talk hostDana Loesch. KFTK-FM program director Jeff Allen says, “Tony is a rising star and I am thrilled that we can launch a fresh, new talent into our Saturday evening line-up. Tony is passionate, informative and most importantly, fun to listen to!” Katz also hosts a regular internet talk program on allpatriotsmedia.com.
Commercials Are Content, Too. The phrase “content is king” may be a cliché but the sentiment is true. However, it’s important to remember that spots are content too and broadcasters should give attention to spot quality, according to H&H Communications president Al Herskovitz. In his latest column for TALKERS, Herskovitz cites examples of commercial copy gone wrong that could have been avoided. Read his piecehere.
FM Sports Talker Coming to Twin Falls, Idaho.Lee Family Broadcasting principal Kim Lee tellsMagicValley.com that he’ll drop the AC music on KMVX-FM for sports talk on May 24. The station will carryESPN programming and be the local radio outlet for College of Southern Idaho sports. The school’s radio voice, Jonathan Drew, will join the station as sports director and PM drive host of a local sports talk show.
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Bob Throndsen retires from his news director position at Fisher Broadcasting’s KOMO-AM/FM. Throndsen has worked at KOMO radio and KOMO-TV for much of the past 30 years…..The debut ofMichael Patrick Shiels’ new morning talk show based at local Fox TV outlet WSYM-TV, Lansing, Michigan will come not this week but next, according to a piece in the Lansing State Journal. Shiels, who recently left his WJIM, Lansing based program after a contract dispute, plans to syndicate the new show to talk radio outlets across Michigan…..KBJR-TV, Duluth sports director Tom Hansen joins KDAL, Duluth-Superior as co-host of the late morning show alongside Dave Strandberg. Hansen maintain’s his position with the television outlet…..Talk show host Tom Donahue, host of Tom Donahue Reports, announces his new flagship network for his syndicated show is Orion Talk Radio. The program airs live from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm daily.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Announces Second Annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic. The Broadcasters Foundation of America sets June 12 as the date of the second annual Stu Olds Memorial Golf Classic – the fundraiser named in honor of the former Katz Media head who died in December of 2010. Since its inception, the fund has raised more than $500,000 to benefit the foundation. The event costs $250 per player and proceeds go directly to the fund. Reservations to take part in the golf outing can be made by calling Jim Thompson at 212-373-8250 or email@example.com.
2012 Presidential Race, Obama Afghanistan Visit, U.S. ICE Scam and Ohio Bridge Terror Plot Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/1). The 2012 presidential race; President Obama’s visit to Kabul, Afghanistan and the Taliban violence there; the Immigration and Customs Enforcement scandal; and the Ohio bridge terror plot were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Rusty Humphries Has Movie Role in “Flicka” Film.20th Century Fox Home Entertainment just released the movie “Flicka Country Pride” starring Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black. Appearing in the role of the announcer at the championship horse competition isTalk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta talk show host Rusty Humphries. Humphries spent several days last November in British Columbia filming his scenes. He says, “It was an honor to be asked to be a part of a major motion picture and to learn from some of the best talent in the movie making business.” In a scene from the film, Rusty is seen here in his announcer role at the judge’s table. Rusty Humphries’ star continues to rise on a number of fronts. He has proven himself over the years to be like “the little engine that could.” In addition to accruing steadily increasing ratings and affiliations, his marketing campaigns continue to attract industry attention with significant sales of such items as Rusty Humphries Beef Jerkey and Rusty Humphries cigars. His position on the TALKERS Heavy Hundred took a leap from #35 in 2011 to #20 in 2012. Meet Rusty Humphries at the forthcoming New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7 where he will be appearing as one of the debaters on the Talk Rumble. The industry-only event is near a sellout. For reservations, hotel or sponsorship information call 413-565-5413.
Clear Channel’s WMMS-FM, Cleveland Disciplines Morning Talent for Off-Color Comment. “Rover’s Morning Glory” cast member Dominic Dieter has been disciplined in response to comments made on the morning show – though the extent of the discipline is not known. A father e-mailed the show stating he saw his daughter kissing another girl and asked what he should do. Dieter responded he should have a friend “screw [her] straight.” For obvious reasons, a bad joke about raping a young woman in response to her possible homosexuality raised the ire of some listeners and caught the attention of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. To the credit of CC’s local management, it acted quickly. The station met immediately with GLAAD representatives, took Dieter off the air (for how long has yet to be determined) and had him record an apology which included the following. “I want to genuinely apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what I said. I regret what I did say. My comments were inappropriate. They were inexcusable, and just downright stupid. And I want to make it clear; there was absolutely no intention to promote physical or sexual violence.” CC Cleveland operations manager Keith Abrams stated to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, “We take matters of this nature very seriously; his comment was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to those who were offended. We can assure you the appropriate disciplinary action has been taken, and Dieter has since apologized on air and is fully aware that what he said was unacceptable. We also want you to be aware that during Friday’s broadcast, he was in fact immediately criticized on-air by the other hosts of the show, and the rest of the segment was dedicated to a productive discussion about the acceptance of all lifestyles. It included call-ins and commentary from members and friends of the gay community. WMMS supports the gay community and again, we deeply apologize.” GLAAD’s Aaron McQuade tells the paper the station has also invited the gay rights group Equality Ohio to join its community advisory board.
Cumulus Media and Townsquare Media Pull Off Big Deal. This deal gives each side what it wanted but it reportedly took about a year to finalize. Here’s who gets what: Townsquare Media gives its stations in Peoria, Illinois and Bloomington, Illinois to Cumulus plus $116 million while getting from Cumulus the stations in 11 small markets – Kileen-Temple, Texas; New Bedford, Massachusetts; Odessa-Midland, Texas; Binghamton, New York; Bangor, Maine; Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Grand Junction, Colorado; Augusta-Waterville, Maine; Bismarck, North Dakota; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; and Presque Isle, Maine. Industry watchers are noting that Cumulus is very happy to get the cash infusion it needs after spending $2.4 billion on the Citadel deal and Townsquare Media is happy to focus on the local aspect of small and mid-size market radio.
Cumulus Media’s News/Talk KCMO, Kansas City Adds FM Signal. Kansas City news/talker KCMO begins an FM simulcast on 103.7 – a translator that had been simulcasting the company’s classic rock KCFX-FM. The signal is 250 watts but covers the heart of the Kansas City metro. Cumulus Kansas City SVP and market manager Mark Sullivan states, “This is an exciting day for KCMO Talk Radio as it provides us a platform to continue to be successful into the future.” In a statement, the company notes that John Dickey, co-chief operating officer for Cumulus commented in a recent article in the Atlanta Business Chronicle that “having this format on FM is really the future!”
Courtside Entertainment Group Adds Dr. Drew Feature to WTOP, Washington. The “One Minute Clinic with Dr. Drew” finds a home on Hubbard Broadcasting’s major market WTOP, Washington. DC joins New York, Los Angeles and Chicago in receiving Dr. Drew Pinsky’s latest media project – 60-second commentaries covering relationship advice and hot topics plus the latest news from the medical world. WTOP program director Laurie Cantillostates, “In addition to breaking news, Campaign 2012, traffic, and weather coverage, WTOP brings listeners useful and relevant information on health, relationships, and consumer issues. Dr. Drew offers practical, actionable content that’s appointment listening on WTOP.”
Greater Media’s Philly Sports Combo Grabs NHL’s Flyers for Multi-Year Deal. There’s an aggressive acquisition of play-by-play rights going on in Philadelphia as Greater Media’s sports talk combo – WPEN-FM 97.5 The Fanatic and WPEN-AM 950 ESPN Radio – adds Flyers hockey to their programming beginning with the 2012-2013 season. This comes just days after the stations grabbed 76ers basketball from CBS Radio’s crosstown WIP. Flyers games will be broadcast on both sports outlets and a few will air on rock WMMR-FM. Comcast-Spectacor (Flyers owner) president Peter Luukko says, “We’re thrilled to be working with a partner that is 100% committed and excited about the Philadelphia Flyers. We’re also happy that the Sixers have moved over to Greater Media Philadelphia along with us. Greater Media is an incredible partner that offers extensive promotional support for the Flyers on all their stations.”
CBS Radio Violated Sixers Contract Reports Philly Daily News. The reason Greater Mediawas able to snag the 76ers for the playoffs this year though CBS Radio had the rights to the team’s play-by-play throughout this season is because CBS violated the contract, according to the Philadelphia Daily News’ Dan Gross. The paper reports CBS Radio failed to give the Sixers proper notice before bumping an April 3 game to classic hits WOGL-FM. Gross writes that after the deal with Greater Media was consummated, Sixers CEO Adam Aron stated, “The Sixers’ rapidly growing fan base will no longer have to set their radios to ‘scan’ to find where their Sixers will be aired.” CBS Radio market manager Marc Rayfield told the paper the two sides parted ways amicably.
Michael Harrison Set to Address 2012 Radio Show on State of Talk Radio. In what has become an industry tradition running more than a decade, TALKERS magazine founder and publisher Michael Harrison will again deliver the annual “State of Talk Radio” address at the NAB/RAB Radio Show. Harrison will speak on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:30 am and 11:45 am at a special Info-Session sponsored by TALKERS. The national conference will take place this year September, 19-21 at the Hilton Anatole Hotel in Dallas. Harrison’s address is open to all 2012 Radio Show registrants.
Rush Limbaugh Helps Raise $3.3 Million for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh dedicated three hours of his nationally syndicated talk show on April 13 to raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Including a personal donation of $400,000, as of April 20 the cure-a-thon has brought in pledges of $3.3 million. This is the 22nd year Limbaugh’s program has held the cure-a-thon and has helped raise more than $34 million for the organization during that time.
Federated Media to Add FM Simulcast to Sports WKJG, Fort Wayne. Beginning June 4, Federated Media will flip Froggy 106.7 — WFGA-FM, Ft. Wayne (licensed to Hicksville, Ohio) to sports simulcasting WKJG – ESPN 1380. At that time the station will also add a local PM drive show featuring sister rock WBYR-FM operations manager Stiller and WKJG PD and WOWO APD Brian LaMartina. Federated Media COO Mark DePrez states, “The Stiller and Brian show is the first step toward combining the world renowned ESPN brand with an increased local connection. Peter Drucker said concentration is the key to all economic success. In Fort Wayne, we have gone from seven to five brands to serve this community more effectively, efficiently and most importantly more profitably. It sounds cliché but it is true that when one door closes another opens. We salute the staff of Froggy 106.7 for their years of dedication and commitment to community radio.”
2012 Presidential Race, Escaped Chinese Activist, EPA vs Oil and Gas Industries, White House Correspondents Dinner, and Bin Laden Death Anniversary Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/30). The 2012 presidential campaign; the case of escaped Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng on the eve of visit to China by Hillary Clinton; EPA administrator resigns after comments about making an example of oil and gas companies; the aftermath of the White House Correspondents Dinner; and the anniversary of the death ofOsama bin Laden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Dr. Daliah Wachs Helps Organization Raise $17, 000 for Autism Charity. Las Vegas-based nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs helped the Finding Autistic Solutions for Tomorroworganization raise some $17, 000 during its FAST for Kids Gala on April 28 at the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. The event was hosted by local Fox TV news personalities Heidi Hayes and Ted Pretty. Pictured here is Dr. Daliah Wachs (l) promoting the fundraiser on Fox 5 News.
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 Dickeyannounces 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 presidentWalter 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 Emmis-ESPN 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 Joynerbelieves 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,” theMichael Baisden show and Rev. Al Sharpton’sSunday 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 andKing’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.