The State of Rock Radio – Part 5. What would Lee Abrams do if he were programming a station today? RadioInfo continues an extensive multi-part series titled “The State of Rock Radio” researched and written by managing editor/ west coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian. Today’s fifth chapter explores the thoughts of two of AOR’s most influential early architects – Allen Shaw and Lee Abrams – as RadioInfo presents a sweeping view of album rock’s past, present and the endless possibilities for its future Read the story here.
In Search of the Soul of Rock Radio. Welcome to the debut of RadioInfo TV. Take a tour of one of the great small town radio stations in America – KOZT “The Coast” in Fort Bragg, California. Station co-owner and rock programming pioneer Tom Yates takes RadioInfo viewers on a personal tour of Mendocino County’s most-listened-to radio station. Meet the crew at the Marconi Award winning operation with a big heart where doing full-service rock radio is a passionate way of life. See video at right.
CBS Radio CEO Dan Mason Responds to Hollywood Reporter Piece on the Aging of Radio Hosts and Listeners. Earlier this week there was a provocative article in The Hollywood Reporter, “How Radio will Kill the Radio Star,” noting the aging of some of terrestrial radio’s top hosts as well as their audiences in the face of increased competition. It presents a rather bleak view of the immediate future of the medium. But, in the view of CBS Radio president and CEO Dan Mason, it ain’t necessarily so. And he makes a powerful case. Today THR publishes a reply by the CBS honcho titled “Sorry, Radio is Far from Dead.” In it he states, “The good news for those who like radio is that reports of our untimely demise are not only premature but, well, just plain wrong.” He points out, “Granted, the formats and personalities that are most popular today are not the same as they were 10, five or even just a few years ago. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone, as audience preferences change. In fact, talk radio formats targeted to the 18-to-34 and 25-to-54 demographics are still thriving, with hosts of similar age taking the leading role engaging listeners in topical discussions about news, sports and pop culture and exposing them to new music.” Mason concludes, “Our future is not determined by one specific format or the people who pioneered a genre. I’d say it’s just the opposite: Our diversity and the ability to adapt to the changing environment will always put us in a position to win.” To read the entire piece click here.
Radio Talent’s New Role: Independent Contractor. One of the industry’s brightest young radio producers and production wizards, Michael Raffety, operations manager of LA-based TalentTrax.net and SkidTrax.net, says the radio industry is entering an era in which on-air talent are increasingly operating the business side of their careers as independent contractors. He tells RadioInfo, “It is not unusual for talent to hold more than one job, even if they are employed full time at a radio station. Many veterans from radio’s programming departments (on-air, audio producers, voice over/imaging talent) are transitioning to this new work paradigm. As they provide their services to more radio and media outlets, some are able to make a living income from their home studio.” To read Michael Raffety’s full opinion piece on this increasingly important subject click here.
HUGE DEAL. Emmis Communications Sells KXOS, Los Angeles to Grupo Radio Central. In a major radio transaction, Grupo Radio Centro (GRC) announced yesterday that it has completed its buy of Spanish CHR KXOS-FM, Los Angeles for a reported price of $85.5 million. GRC missed the original deadline of August 8 after which the price tag would be raised to $110 million – but as it turns out the original figure remained intact as KXOS has been acquired by a newly-formed entity, 93.9 Holdings Inc., pursuant to the Put and Call Agreement entered into with Emmis in April, 2009, which was amended in April of this year to reduce the purchase price to $85.5 million. The acquiring entity, 93.9 Holdings, Inc., is controlled by 93.9 Investment, LLC, which is wholly owned by certain members of the Aguirre family who are U.S. citizens. GRC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Grupo Radio Centro LA, LLC (GRC-LA), owns a 25% equity stake in 93.9 Holdings and GRC-LA and 93.9 Investment. Under a shareholders agreement, GRC-LA will have certain customary minority shareholder rights, including those relating to corporate transactions, and has a call option to acquire, subject to compliance with the rules and regulations of the FCC. In order to finance the acquisition, 93.9 Holdings, Inc. entered into a US$90 million senior secured credit facility guaranteed by GRC and certain of its operating subsidiaries with a group of lenders for which Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC acted as the lead arranger. The credit facility provides for a term loan in two tranches, one of which has a five-year term and the other of which has a seven-year term.
FCC Fines WSKQ, New York 16 Grand for Nasty Prank. The FCC issued a monetary forfeiture in the amount of $16,000 against WSKQ Licensing, Inc., licensee of WSKQ-FM, New York and a subsidiary of Spanish Broadcasting Systems, Inc. (SBS), for willfully and repeatedly violating Section 73.1206 of the Commission’s rules by recording a telephone conversation for broadcast without prior notification to the called party. The Commission received a complaint alleging that, on August 23, 2007, WSKQ broadcast over the radio a prank call made by one of its employees to a member of the public. As described in the complaint, the station employee made a call to a woman pretending to be an employee of a local hospital, and told her that her husband had been seriously injured in a motorcycle accident and that he later died at the hospital. Further, according to the complaint, the call recipient could be heard over the radio distraught when she received this information at which point the Station employee informed her that the call was a “joke.”
Clear Channel Media and Entertainment Names Bob Morgan VP and Market Manager for Rochester. Bob Morgan is very familiar with the Rochester market having managed the CBS Radio cluster there from 1994-1999. Most recently he’s served as SVP of broadcast for American Tower Corporation in Boston. Clear Channel SVP of operations Kevin LeGrett says of Morgan, “Bob is an experienced broadcaster who knows the Rochester market. He is well respected throughout the area, both within our industry and by our clients. Bob will bring superb leadership skills, passion and expertise to our team. We are excited to have him on board.” Clear Channel operates seven radio stations in Rochester including news/talk WHAM; Sports 1280 WHTK, 95.1 The Brew, 106-7 KISS FM, 100.5 The DRIVE, Oldies 107.3 and 102.3 Sunny FM.
Cincy Soap Opera – Cincinnati Talk Host and Attorney Eric Deters Resigns from WQRT. According to Cincinnati.com’s John Kiesewetter, Cincinnati talk show host Eric Deters quit his program at Christian Broadcasting System’s “Real Talk 1160” on Wednesday saying, “I do not have any respect for Rob Williams’ programming ability at all. I’m not going to put myself in a stressful situation… I’m going to tell the truth. There’s not a phony bone in my body.” Williams is the operations manager/program director for the station and Deters didn’t want to answer to him. Ouch! Previously he had been answering to station manager Bob Herrion and Herrion requested the change. Deters says he did not like Williams’ suggestion for his back-up – former “Warm 98” jock Dean Miuccio – and suggested others to Williams. Deters is quoted by Kiesewetter saying, “I don’t mind taking direction. I talk to Willie (Bill Cunningham, his mentor at WLW in 2010-2011) almost every single day. I listen to Willie. I know what I’m doing, and I’m not going to let someone dictate to me…I resigned. I was willing to pull the resignation this morning if they changed their mind, but they wouldn’t. I think they’re making a huge mistake.” WQRT has since made Miuccio the permanent morning host. Deters, a practicing attorney in the area, had served as Cunningham’s back-up at crosstown WLW and hosted a weekend program there until May of 2011 when he was let go for posting a video blog that included a racial joke.
KOIT, San Francisco, Names Linda Cassidy Host of “Love Songs After Dark.” 96.5 KOIT named Linda Cassidy host of its “Love Songs After Dark,” effective Monday, August 27th. The program heard seven nights per week on the Entercom outlet between 8:00 pm and 1:00 am features romantic hits from the 1980s to today, “specially-blended to help listeners relax and unwind.” “Linda’s a familiar voice to Bay Area listeners. She’ll create the perfect environment for ‘de-stressing’ after a busy day,” says Andy Holt, 96.5 KOIT program director. Cassidy tells RadioInfo, “I’m excited to be a part of the KOIT team and I look forward to playing the songs that bring back so many great memories for our listeners.” The soft rocker features artists like Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Journey, and the Eagles, plus today’s hottest “Lite Rock” artists including Maroon 5, Adele, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga. KOIT is also the Bay Area’s holiday music station.
WEEI/NESN Radio Telethon Raises More Than $3.3 Million for Cancer Charity. The 11th Annual WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon took place over two days this week and helped top last year’s total of $3.3 million raised for cancer care and research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The event is heavily centered around Entercom’s WEEI, Boston and its network stations in New England but donations came in from all 50 states. WEEI VP of programming Jason Wolfe tells Radio Info, “Each year the Radio-Telethon brings us stories of incredible courage and ground-breaking research that continue to show us why the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber are so special and this year was no exception. These two days were as emotional as any we’ve experienced and we are so proud to have been a part of another huge success that will provide the necessary funds to bring new and better treatments to so many who need it.”
NBC Gives Rodney Harrison Weekend Sports Talk Radio Show. Rodney Harrison is part of NBC TV’s “Football Night in America” but he’ll cut his sports talk radio teeth on the new NBC Sports/Dial Global venture beginning September 8 with his weekly two-hour “Safety Blitz with Rodney Harrison” show. NBC Sports Radio debuts soon and Dial Global says it has about 100 affiliates on board for the sports radio network’s launch. NBC Sports Ventures and International SVP Rob Simmelkjaer says, “With the launch of NBC Sports Radio just 12 days away, we are thrilled to add Rodney Harrison to our growing list of talented sports radio personalities. We anticipate Rodney’s transition to radio to be as seamless as his transition was from the football field to television, where he went from being one of the fiercest competitors in the game to one of the most respected voices in the space. He is the latest in what we expect to be many NBC Sports television personalities who will join our radio team.”
Dangling Conversations. CBS Radio’s KNX, Los Angeles presents “Social Media Summit for Small Business” at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center on September 14 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. The full-day conference will feature more than a dozen speakers who will outline best practices and present case studies to help business owners and entrepreneurs strategize and monetize using popular and up-and-coming social media platforms. It will include pros from Google/YouTube, Facebook, foursquare and Citrix Online…..WSOY, Decatur, Illinois prepares for its 11th Annual WSOY Community Food Drive. You can see WSOY morning host Brian Byers (second from right) at this press conference at a local Kroger store as they announced the coming food drive to take place at the store in October 5. Last year the station collected more than 640,000 lbs. of food and is shooting to exceed 650,000 this year. Food and cash donations go to Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army. But last year, because of the wonderful generosity of the community, donations were also given to the Good Samaritan Inn, Oasis Day Center, Northeast Community Fund and the Judy Mason Thanksgiving Basket Project. Amazing accomplishment for a station in market 268!