Tag: "al Gardner"

Monday, October 1, 2012

| October 1, 2012

WLS-FM, Chicago Tweaks Format; “Oldies Out,” “Classic Hits” In.  Cumulus Media’s WLS-FM, Chicago is debuting its new format today that brings some of Chicago’s iconic radio personalities together on the station that’s dropping the word “oldies” for the moniker “classic hits” and adding more music to the rotation.  SVP of programming Jan Jeffries tells Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder, “There will not be any radio station like this one…We still will play a lot of the music that we’ve always played, but it’s no longer oldies.  We will not use that word…We will be fresh to the market and will have instant relevance that is unduplicated.  And that will be compounded by the fact that we have the most legendary lineup in Chicago — no question about it.  Probably in the whole country.”  Jeffries says the playlist will include:  Bryan Adams, Journey, John Mellencamp, Chicago, Doobie Brothers, Eagles, Supertramp, Styx, Blue Oyster Cult, Fleetwood Mac and Bruce Springsteen.  The jocks (pictured here with Jeffries seated at the bottom ) include legendary Windy City personalities (from l-r): Greg Brown in middays, Brant Miller for morning drive, Dick Biondi in overnights, Fred Winston in PM drive, and John Records Landecker hosting evenings.  This past Friday (9/28) RadioInfo’s Mike Kinosian posted an extensive analysis of the recent PPM rankings of the approximately 50 of the nation’s leading “classic hits” and “oldies” stations along with an explanation of the migration of most operations from the “oldies” handle to becoming “classic hits.”  See it here.

Lady La Inks Deal to Remain in AM Drive on CBS Radio’s KZON, Phoenix “101.5 Jamz.”  Lady La took over the morning show on CBS Radio’s hip hop “101.5 Jamz” two years ago and now signs a deal that will keep her in that role.  Program director Dave Shakes says, “I’m very glad that Lady La continues with 101.5.  We’re excited about our game plan that keys on her unique strengths and the opportunity for even bigger wins in Phoenix.”  Lady La began her radio career in Phoenix on Riviera Broadcasting’s crosstown hip hop outlet KKFR “Power 98.3” before moving to KZON.  She says, “I am excited to continue my relationship with 101.5.  Being the morning show host of such a great radio station was an easy choice for me.  I have grown so much both personally and professionally over the last two years and am thrilled to be able to keep my connection with our many listeners.”

Longtime Air Personality and PD Victoria Frederick Out at KKZK, Spokane.  Details are still not clear, but it appears that well-known industry album rock veteran broadcaster Victoria Frederick has exited her position with Clear Channel classic rocker KKZK (98.9), Spokane.  Frederick has been on the air at the station since 1991 and has served as PD since 2005.  She can be reached via e-mail at vicatnite13@comcast.net.


More RadioInfo Career Moves.  Justin Schlegel is the new permanent PM drive host at Hearst’s WIYY, Baltimore “98 Rock.”  He moves into the position after the company parted ways with longtime PM drive host “Stash” aka Stephen G. Smith who was charged with DUI in Maryland after a car crash in July…..Afternoon personality Steve Rixx exits CBS Radio’s country KILT-FM, Houston and that leaves a prime country radio gig open in that market…..John Magic leaves his PM drive slot at Clear Channel’s hip hop KBOS, Fresno “B95” after 10 years at the station.  According to the Fresno Bee, there’s no immediate word on his replacement…..Also from Fresno, KJWL “K-Jewel 99.3” morning personality Feleena Sutton exits the station after six years there.  Station owner John Ostlund tells the Fresno Bee, “We loved Feleena, but as you know, the entertainment business is about…entertainment. So, stay tuned.”

WIL, St. Louis “Cornbread Morning Show” Cast Member Judi Diamond Stars in TV Reality Show.  Radio personality Judi Diamond – part of the cast of the “Cornbread Morning Show” at Hubbard Radio’s country WIL, St. Louis – is starring in her own reality TV show on Viacom’s Nick Jr.  Called “MFF: Mom Friends Forever,” the program follows Diamond (pictured here at left) and friend Kate Frisina-White as they go through the trials and tribulations of juggling careers and raising families.  The program is airing in prime time and is targeted to the mother demographic.  It premieres tonight at 10:30 pm ET.

Second Annual “College Radio Day” is Tomorrow.  On Tuesday, October 2, over 550 college and high school radio stations spanning 28 countries will take part in a “24-Hour Global Marathon – College Radio Day.”  Coldplay’s Chris Martin will officially launch the day with a specially recorded message of support for the unique mission of college radio.  28 countries are participating this year and hundreds of thousands of listeners are expected to tune in and hear creative and independent radio programming.  Some of the stations are calling it, “The Day College Radio Comes Together” to celebrate the medium worldwide.  The event was conceived by professor Rob Quicke — general manager of WPSC-FM at William Paterson University in New Jersey.  He says, “Considering CRD has no budget and is administered by volunteers, having 550 college and high school radio stations in 28 countries take part is truly remarkable. It’s a day we all come together and make a collective statement that says college/high school radio is an important and vital medium.  It is a massive undertaking but last year’s inaugural CRD 2011 was so successful, how could we not push forward with CRD 2012.”

A Good New Home for Hot Babes.  If you realized your part of town had neither a good Italian restaurant nor a good Chinese restaurant, would you think the solution was to open a really great Italian-Chinese restaurant? Of course not!  When it comes to our websites, digital consultant Chris Miller of Chris Miller Digital tells RadioInfo readers, “Radio is locked in that kind of thinking, unfortunately.  We’ve created a lot of Italian-Chinese restaurants.  The prime example is all the rock stations that have massive ‘Hot Babe’ galleries.  Radio stations that target guys have found they get tons of hits from people coming to their website to view those photos.  If you suggest they take them down, they’ll think you’re nuts.”  Miller continues, “Yet, I’m going to suggest just that.  Keeping those galleries fresh is a distraction for you, and they don’t help build your overall brand.  Sure, those hot babes get lots of traffic.  However, I’ll bet if you tracked it, you would find (as I have) that people who come to see your hot babe pics often don’t visit other parts of your website.  Furthermore, for the people who are coming to your website to learn more about what makes you famous, they’re clicking on your site with specific intentions that have nothing to do with scantily-clad women.”  For the entire Chris Miller piece click here.

Art Laboe Still Going Strong at 87.  One of the seven honorees to be inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame next month (11/10) in Chicago received a Hollywood Walk of Fame “Star” in July 1981 and has a mile-long inventory of other impressive awards and significant resume credits.  A trailblazing entrepreneur, highly-accomplished Los Angeles program director, and multi-decade air talent, he sold several of his Fresno and Tucson radio holdings to Clear Channel in 2001 for $17 million.  Listeners enjoy his five-hour, one-of-a-kind on-air presentation six nights a week on a 16-station network, as well as on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio. From the time he was eight years old, this individual wanted to be a radio personality.  In and of itself, that is hardly noteworthy, as it mirrors the tale of so many of broadcasters in the business.  What does make Art Laboe‘s narrative so extraordinary is that when he was eight, the year was 1933 so as the Utah native points out, “Radio itself was only about 10 years old.  In those days, there was movies and radio.  If you wanted to be in show business – that was it.”  To read Mike Kinosian’s complete profile of the legendary Art Laboe, click here.

Dave Ramsey Celebrates 20th Anniversary in Radio with Big Nashville Bash including Affiliate Meetings and Gala Live Broadcast.  This past Friday, September 28, nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dave Ramsey marked his 20th year in radio with a special episode of “The Dave Ramsey Show.” The program took place before a live audience of more than 2000 listeners in a huge tent in the parking lot of Ramsey headquarters in suburban Nashville.  It included calls from long-time listeners and well-wishes from friends and celebrities such as Brad Paisley, George Stephanopoulos, Mark Cuban, Billy Gibbons, Piers Morgan, Zac Brown, Neil Cavuto, Darrell Waltrip, and Glenn Beck. Video of the show was streamed live online.  Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declared September 28, 2012 Dave Ramsey Day in the state of Tennessee. He presented the proclamation to Ramsey during the first hour of the radio show (see photo). The show was the culmination of Ramsey’s fifth annual Affiliate Executive Council (AEC) meeting held last week between Wednesday and Friday (9/26-28) in which he and his staff provided some 60 executives from his affiliates across the country with seminars, workshops breakout sessions and entertainment activities experienced in true Nashville fashion.  A highlight of the AEC event was an industry trade panel featuring professionals who have never been on one stage together. The panel focused on current industry issues and events and was moderated by Radio Advertising Bureau CEO Erica Farber. Al Peterson from NTS Media Online, Gene McKay from Inside Radio, and Michael Harrison from TALKERS and RadioInfo participated on the panel (see photo).  According to Harrison, “Attending the Ramsey event was an eye opener into how this amazing broadcaster and his superb staff have created a viable, productive partnership with their affiliate radio stations as well as a personal bond with them on a level unmatched by any other syndication company or network in the business.  Ramsey has created a business model and success story worthy of emulation, indeed!”

New England Country Station Adds Former Rocker as Simulcast Partner. Great Eastern Radio LLC, local owner and operator of radio stations throughout New Hampshire and Vermont ended the rock format at its outlet WKKN (101-9 K-Rock), Keene, NH yesterday (9/30) and started a simulcast of its country-formatted  WXXK (Kixx 100.5), Lebanon, NH at 8:00 am ET today. The format flip brings WXXK’s programming back to the 101.9 frequency, where it was until the mid-90s when the station frequency was located at 101.7 FM. It also gives Kixx 100.5 full coverage of the main Interstate 91 corridor, from the Massachusetts border of Vermont to St. Johnsbury, VT. This new coverage area, along with their coverage from Central NH to Western Vermont, will be the largest coverage area for any country station in Vermont and Western New Hampshire.  “The moves we are making today will solidify Kixx 100.5 as the market leader for country music in New Hampshire and Vermont”, Great Eastern Radio Director of Programming Justin Tyler tells RadioInfo. “We are looking forward to extending Nashville to all of the Country Music fans in Keene, NH, Brattleboro, VT, and the surrounding areas.”

Syndicators Hit the Deck Running Today to Promote Shows to Stations Left Unprepared for Savage Exit.  After a weekend during which approximately 300 radio station managers who were affiliated with TRN’s Michael Savage Show (“The Savage Nation”) were trying to figure out what to put in the gaping vacancy left in their schedule by the sudden exit of Michael Savage from the airwaves this past Friday, the syndication and network community are readying a mad dash to get to them and have them consider taking any of a number of their available programs as its replacement. Savage left the airwaves without warning after scoring a victory in a fierce legal battle with TRN to get out of his existing contract.  Meantime, Savage did his first show as a “free agent” over the weekend as an online-only entity produced by UStream.  TRN has teased that it will name Savage’s replacement (as “radio’s October surprise”)– at least within its stable of available hosts – sometime today.

Lionel Joins Morning Show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia.  Talk media personality Lionel – known for his years of expanding talk radio’s dimensions with successful stints in national syndication and in local markets gigs including New York City – joins the morning drive show at Merlin Media’s WWIQ, Philadelphia beginning today.  Lionel, who anchors Tribune’s WPIX-TV, New York’s “Morning News” from 4:00 am to 6:00 am and produces commentaries for the station that air on its 10:00 pm news, will join the program with Al Gardner from 6:00 am to 8:30 am.  In addition to these “traditional media” gigs, Lionel has been operating the digital media station LionelMedia.com for the past several years.

Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington Brings Del Walters Aboard Full Time.  Washington, DC’s all-news WTOP announces broadcast journalist Del Walters is promoted to a full-time position with the station.  WTOP states, “For more than two decades, Walters has been broadcasting in the Washington/Baltimore area, working as an anchor and investigative reporter for various stations including WJLA in Washington and WMAR in Baltimore.  Walters joined WTOP in 2010 as a part-time anchor and reporter but will now step into a full-time role.”

Clear Channel Flips WGST, Atlanta to Spanish Sports Talk.  Last week we reported that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment would be dropping the news/talk at heritage WGST, Atlanta and flipping to either a Spanish-language format or all-comedy.  CC chose to go with Spanish sports talk and debuted 640 ESPN Deportes on Friday afternoon.

Radio Vet Ron Cutler Shares Secrets of his Financial Success in New Radio Biz Book.  Radio veteran Ron Cutler turned a $15,000 investment in this industry into a $10 million payoff and now he’s written a book explaining how he did it.  The colorful radio and business book is titled How I Turned $15,000 into $10,000,000 (HIT) and You Can Too, and it serves up a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse into the radio business.  The advice is based on Cutler’s colorful experience as a top-rated Philadelphia DJ “Ron Diamond”; as the original owner and creator of the legendary KOME, the San Jose FM radio station that he sold to Michael Wiener and Gerald Carrus who formed Infinity Broadcasting making KOME Infinity’s first station; as the creator of 15 hit radio shows and services, Cutler was instrumental in launching the national shows of Rick Dees, Tom Joyner and Cousin Brucie;  as the owner of Cutler Comedy Networks, a leading comedy programming company that serviced more than 4,000 radio stations and was acquired in 1996 by Premiere Radio Networks; and as an entrepreneur in numerous entertainment ventures.  He tells TALKERS, “My path wasn’t an easy one.  At this stage in my life, I’d like to help others get a leg up, particularly during this challenging economy.  Perhaps the lessons that taught me resilience, determination and self-reliance will resonate with others.”   For more information visit www.roncutlerbooks.com. To interview Ron Cutler contact Amir Forester at 310-857-6207 or e-mail  amir@foresterpublicrelations.com.

WCCC, Hartford Getting Heat for Car Promotion Gone Awry.  A sales promotion staged by Marlin Broadcasting’s active rock outlet WCCC, Hartford, has not only embittered the contest winner – a chronically ill, physically disabled woman — but has prompted blowback in the form of a local NBC affiliate TV station consumer investigation. That, in turn has prompted the local Department for Consumer Protections to begin looking into the matter.  The promotion offered the winner $10,000 in auto improvements through three different clients. One of the clients actually did work on the car; but the second auto repair shop didn’t have enough time to finish the job and the third said it never received the car at all. The station did not respond to the NBC-TV station’s investigative reporter’s questions about the contest.

Pirate Station Gets a Closer Look.  The FCC Kansas City office receives word from concerned citizens about a pirate station operating on the FM band in Manhattan, Kansas. Sources say it was broadcasting “anti-government” programs.  News/talk KMAN, Manhattan reports the station was rebroadcasting from an online outfit, the Republic Broadcasting Network. Now “federal officials” have stepped in to learn more.

Licenses and License Transfers Approved.  The FCC renews the licenses of dozens of AM and FM stations in Ohio and Michigan for their regular license period.  It also grants transfer of WRCK-AM, Remsen, New York, and WUSP-AM and its FM translator, Utica, New York, from Roser Communications to Good Guys Broadcasting…..Assignment of permit for WUPJ-FM, Escanaba, Michigan from Clean Air Broadcasting to West Central Michigan Media Ministries…..Construction permits for a new Auction 91 station in Panhandle, Texas and a new Auction 93 station at Carrizozo, New Mexico, to Hispanic Target Media, Inc…..New Auction 93 FM in Fairbanks, Alaska, to Last Frontier Mediactive, LLC…..Permit for a new Auction 93 FM at Williston, North Dakota, to Glendive Broadcasting Corporation.

Fines for No Issues/Programs List and for Unlit Tower.  The San Diego office of the FCC Enforcement Bureau notifies Gulf California Broadcasting Co., operating KESQ-AM in Indio, California, that it is liable for a fine of $15,000.  The bureau finds 25 consecutive quarters of the issues program lists missing from the public file.  The base fine is $10,000, but the commission upped the forfeiture because of “the long duration of Gulf-CA’s failure to create and make available the issues/programs lists…which has continued for the entire length of the current license term.”  Cox Communications’ failure to maintain daytime lighting and a functioning automatic alarm system on its antenna in Portsmouth, Virginia gets notice of a $20,000 fine.  The FCC agents found the problem in October 2011.  The base amount for these infractions is $10,000, but the commission doubled the fine “because of Cox’s ability to pay, and to serve as an effective deterrent (not simply a cost of doing business), a forfeiture above the base forfeiture amount is necessary and appropriate.”  Cox has 30 days to pay or request a reduction or cancellation of the fine.  Worth noting is the FCC’s ASR (Antenna Structure Registration) database shows the ownership of this structure changing hands from Cox to Insite Towers LLC of Alexandria, VA as of June 13, 2012.

Third Quarter Ends with Mixed Day on Wall Street.  Stocks closed higher Friday while ending the third quarter on a weak note due in part to mixed signals on the U.S. economy. Looking at a sampling of players in the broadcast sector, Emmis Communications closed up (1.01%) at 2.00, Saga Communications was up (1.35%) at 40.52, Salem Communications was down (1.32%) at 5.24, Sirius XM Radio was up slightly (0.19%) at 2.59, Entercom Communications was off (1.72%) at 6.86 and Cumulus Media closes off (0.36%) at 2.74.