Tag: "Mel Karmazin"
Clear Channel Names Brian Kaminsky EVP of Operations for Digital. Coming over to Clear Channel from his most recent position as COO and general manager of The Huffington Post, Brian Kaminsky will join the company’s digital division as executive vice president of operations, effective immediately. Kaminsky will report to CC president of digital Brian Lakamp and will be based out of New York City. Kaminsky’s charge will be to oversee digital advertising operations, customer support, product analytics and partner operations across the suite of Clear Channel’s digital products including iHeartRadio, Clear Channel’s industry leading digital radio service, and its vast network of station websites. His responsibilities will also include setting best practices for the management and modernization of digital ad inventory, and working with sales and product teams to define and develop new ad products. Lakamp states, “Having Brian on board as the EVP of operations illustrates Clear Channel’s commitment to hiring exceptional, innovative talent that will continue to strengthen our position as a market leader. His business management skills and experience in optimizing the use of digital advertising inventory within technology-driven organizations will be a great asset to both our advertisers and the Clear Channel digital team.” Prior to his work at The Huffington Post, Kaminsky was vice president of global revenue operations at Reuters Media, where he supervised yield management systems for desktop, video, mobile and digital out-of-home advertising products.
SiriusXM Names James Meyer CEO. James Meyer has been serving as interim chief executive officer for SiriusXM Satellite Radio since Mel Karmazin resigned from the position last fall. Now, the company gives him the job officially. SiriusXM chairman Gregory Maffei states, “After a thorough search of excellent candidates, we are delighted to name Jim as the CEO of SiriusXM, where he will continue to lead a very strong executive team. Jim is a highly qualified leader and operator and we look forward to working with him to build on SiriusXM’s position as the innovator in audio entertainment. He has been a vital part of SiriusXM for close to a decade, and his extensive knowledge of SiriusXM’s business and significant industry experience will be invaluable assets in the highly competitive market within which SiriusXM is thriving. Jim’s leadership, strategic vision and operating focus are exactly what SiriusXM needs today and in the future.”
CBS Radio and Astralwerks to Launch ‘She Can DJ’ Contest. On the heels of very successful “She Can DJ” promotional events in Europe and Australia, record label Astralwerks and CBS Radio are joining forces to bring the contest to the latter’s stations in 12 markets. The nationwide contest will seek out the next great female producer/DJ. The most recent contest in Australia garnered winner Leah Mencel a contract with EMI Australia. Here’s how it will work in America: CBS Radio stations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Houston, Boston, Detroit, Phoenix, San Diego, Charlotte and Las Vegas will organize local heats. Then 12 semi-finalists will be chosen, including one wild-card competitor to vie for a grand prize that includes a recording contract with Astralwerks, and headline a tour through the CBS Radio markets that took part in the competition. Astralwerks general manager Glenn Medlinger says, “Seeing how successful ‘She Can DJ’ was in discovering top female DJ/producer’s in overseas markets it’s the perfect time to launch stateside. The United States is the hottest place on earth for dance music right now but the industry is largely male dominated. We’re thrilled to be a part of a program that will help discover and develop top female talent in the dance music space.” CBS Radio SVP of programming Greg Strassell states, “Aspiring female DJs/producers need look no further than ‘She Can DJ’ for that once-in-a-lifetime chance to captivate an entire industry with their talent. As the competition plays out across our considerable platform of contemporary hit radio stations, participants will be front and center with millions of music fans, and the top decision makers in the business. The electronic dance music movement has been playing out to much success on radio stations all over the United States, and CBS Radio looks forward to advancing the genre.”
Debate About Future of Dashboard Front and Center in Detroit. In a piece published in the Detroit News on April 29, the topic of the future of the AM/FM radio in the automobile dashboard was addressed and Gartner Inc. vice president Thilo Koslowski says he believes that by the year 2020 “I feel very confident that many consumers will consume radio content through avenues other than terrestrial broadcast.” Right now, the big three are still providing AM/FM radios in new cars and plan to do so for the foreseeable future but, obviously, they are also adding the digital technology that people want. Ford’s Jim Buczkowski says, “We’re trying to give them lots of different options.” As the piece points out, it costs money to listen to internet audio – it comes from the users’ data plans. Though Koslowski says he believes that it just makes more sense to listen via Wi-Fi or data plan and that carriers will “get more creative with their data plans” allowing people to listen more cheaply. When Detroit Electric unveils its first model in August of this year, it will not have an AM/FM radio. Users will plug in their smartphones. Still, other analysts say the free and simple nature of AM/FM radio is something that carmakers will be conscious of before they take the drastic step of eliminating it from the dash and risk alienating customers. Read the Detroit News piece here.
Music Industry to Gather in New York for New Music Seminar. The New Music Seminar – a gathering of musicians, record executives, songwriters, and even some radio people is scheduled for New York City June 9-11. The New Music Seminar (which debuted in 1980) is in its fifth year of revival after a 13-year absence. Tom Silverman and Dave Lory relaunched the seminar in 2009 in response to the difficulties the music industry is facing. The mission statement from the seminar is as follows: “The shrinking U.S. music industry generated barely as much value in 2012 as it did in 1966. As a result, there are 65% fewer jobs in the business and 80% fewer artists are signed today than 10 years ago. At the New Music Seminar we believe the music industry can be a $100 billion business and we convene the leaders and visionaries who will take us there. NMS helps both artists and players break through in this difficult market by providing the knowledge and connections they need to succeed.” Among those from the music business scheduled to attend and speak at the event is Clear Channel Entertainment Enterprises president John Sykes.
Alan Kabel Takes Over Nights on “South Sound Country 96.9” in Seattle-Tacoma Market. The Alan Kabel Network announces Kabel is the new evening host at KGY, Inc.’s KGY, Mccleary, Washington in the Seattle-Tacoma market. Station consultant Broadcast Partners’ Ken Moultrie says, “We needed something unique at night and after looking at what’s out there these days, picking Kabel was an easy choice. It’s not only great content, his method of delivery and complete customization allows us to keep our music mix, imaging, and all other important local elements in place.” Kabel previously was heard in the market when he hosted “Second Shift” for Entercom in markets including Portland, Oregon; San Francisco, Kansas City and Seattle.
Multi-Media Talent Steve Harvey to Receive Star on Hollywood Walk of Fame. Nationally syndicated radio host, comedian, TV personality and entertainment entrepreneur Steve Harvey will be honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Monday, May 13. Hollywood Chamber president and CEO Leron Gubler says, “Steve is a man of many talents! We are thrilled that he is joining our Walk of Fame family.” Harvey’s radio program is in its 13th year in national syndication. It’s syndicated by Premiere Networks and is heard on more than 70 stations across the country. He also hosts his eponymous daytime TV talk show produced by NBC Universal.
Clear Channel Names Steve Stewart Regional Program Manager. St. Louis cluster programmer Steve Stewart is promoted to regional program manager for Clear Channel Media and Entertainment where he’ll oversee programming in markets including St. Louis; Springfield, Missouri and Wichita. Stewart will report to Beth Davis, market president and regional market manager. In a statement, the company says “Stewart will lead and manage the multi-media programming functions across the region to ensure that best practices are deployed in a consistent manner. He will build and develop high performing regional teams that will leverage Clear Channel’s brands and audience to enhance revenue.” Davis goes on to say, “Steve’s experience, coupled with his desire for growth and success, creates a win-win for our region. He is a trusted resource within our cluster and I’m excited for our teams throughout the region to be able to work with him.”
Tom Davis Returns to Radio for CC in Melbourne, Florida. Most recently serving as general manager for a NASCAR race team, Tom Davis gets back in the radio business as vice president and market manager for Clear Channel’s Melbourne, Florida operations that includes CHR WFKS “Kiss 95.1,” AC WLRQ “Lite Rock 99.3,” and news/talk WMMB “Where the Space Coast Talks.” He has worked in the broadcasting industry with Cox Media, Beasley Broadcast Group and Centennial Broadcasting. CC regional market manager/Florida Sherri Griswold states, “Tom Davis brings his professionalism and success as well as proven leadership to Melbourne. I am extremely excited he has chosen to join my team and be a part of an already successful market in Melbourne.”
Cumulus Media Goes Syndicated in DC. After longtime morning man Jack Diamond exited hot AC WRQX, Washington, DC “Mix 107.3,” Cumulus elects to bring syndicated morning drive program “The Bert Show,” featuring Bert Weiss, Jeff Dauler and Kristin Klingshirn, in for the daypart. The “Q100” Atlanta-based program is syndicated by YEA Networks and is heard on about a dozen affiliate stations across the country.
More RadioInfo Career Moves. Tony Finnel is the new afternoon jock at Mainline Broadcasting’s urban AC WROU, Dayton “Dayton’s R&B Leader.” Finnel takes over for former program director and PM host Garth Adams. Finnel most recently worked at Radio One’s hip hop WIZF, Cincinnati “101 The Wiz.”…..Alan Hague leaves his vice president of programming position with Simmons Media in Salt Lake City – as well as his program director role at country KEGA “The Eagle” – to start his own consulting firm and will take on Simmons as a client. At KEGA, Jon Watkins takes over as brand manager for the station…..CBS Radio Philadelphia promotes account executive Adam Baldwin to local sales manager for all-news KYW.
Country Radio Seminar Announces Agenda Committee. The all-volunteer agenda committee for CRS 2014 scheduled for February 19-21, 2014 in Nashville with gather in June to begin working on the next conference. The committee is joined by eight new members this year (denoted with asterisks): Lee Adams, Broken Bow Records; Daniel Anstandig, Listener Driven Radio; Lindsey Cerajewski, WUSN, Chicago *; Andy Denemark, United Stations Radio Networks; Dale Desmond, WCKN, Charleston, South Carolina; Shelly Easton, WXTU, Philadelphia *; Greg Frey, Cumulus Media, Inc.; Heather (Robin Ward) Froglear, KFRG/KXFG/KVFG/KRAK, San Bernardino, California *; Keith Gale, Sony Music Nashville *; Jeffrey Green, Stone Door Media Lab (Agenda Co-Chair); Tom Hanrahan, WDXB, Birmingham *; Kurt Johnson, Townsquare Media *; Judi Lakin, Cox Media Group Houston; Stephen Linn, BBR Management; Nick Martin, WXFL, Florence, Alabama; Ron Rodrigues, Arbitron; Annie Sandor, Curb Records (Agenda Chair); John Trapane, Capitol Records (Agenda Co-Chair); Rob Williams, Greater Media Boston *; and Sue Wilson, Rubber City Radio Group *.
Liberty Media Acquires Majority of SiriusXM Stock. Liberty Media has achieved its goal of owning more than 50% of the stock of SiriusXM, according to a report by Bloomberg. With its most recent purchase of 50 million shares, Liberty Media now owns 1.99 billion common shares and 1.29 billion convertible shares. When the converted stock is combined with the outstanding shares of SiriusXM, Liberty Media owns approximately 50.5%. The FCC has already approved the transfer of SiriusXM’s licenses and soon it’s expected the board of directors (under Liberty’s control) will name a new chief executive officer. James Meyer was named CEO to fill in for Mel Karmazin who resigned from his position late last year.
RadioInfo Career Moves. Bell Media’s modern rock CIMX, Windsor-Detroit promotes part-time jock Kim Scott to the daily midday shift. At the same time, the station names Phil Kukawinski programming assistant…..Randy Hill is named afternoon jock at Cumulus Media’s country WKDF, Nashville…..In the New London, Connecticut market Cumulus Media moves Julie Johnson from its hot AC WELJ, Montauk to classic rock WMOS, Stonington, Connecticut “The Wolf 102.3” where she is named program director. Simultaneously, Nick Giuliano becomes program director at sister CHR WQGN, Groton, Connecticut “Q105”…..Lola Montgomery joins Bend Radio Group’s AC KMGX, Bend, Oregon Mix 100.7” as morning drive host. She’ll also serve as music director for the cluster’s country KSJJ.
Cox Media’s Alternative WSUN, Tampa “97X” Begins “Social Music Revolution.” Cox Media Tampa-market alt rocker WSUN announces it will begin a “social music revolution” today at 5:00 pm when it turns the reins of the station’s playlist over to the listeners. Cox Tampa states in a release, “The station has a 12-year history of creating new and innovative ways for listeners to interact with alternative rock music. Now, armed with a refreshed brand identity, an amped-up social media plan and now listener-driven music, ‘97X’ is committed more than ever to bring listeners a unique experience and we’re changing the way consumers use radio.” Program director Michael Sharkey says, “The way we communicate has been reinvented in front of our eyes with social media. And today we are injecting that experience into radio and giving our radio station to the listeners.” Listeners can choose a song they want to hear from an expanded playlist of more than 1,800 songs and vote on the ‘97X’ app or website. The new, expanded playlist covers 30 years of rock music with deeper cuts from albums and artists not typically heard on the station before.
ADVICE: Sales Objections are Not Rejections; Radio Sales Vet Advises Newbies to be Prepared for the Obvious. If there is a difficult challenge facing the novice radio sales rep it’s dealing with objections. Even veterans of the sales wars can become discouraged when the potential advertiser begins to reel off a list of reasons why the presentation is being rejected. The basic principal to remember is that the objection is generally not why the pitch is turned down. It is only an excuse not to commit. That is why the sales rep must prepare in advance to anticipate what the objections will be. It is like that old saying in the legal profession that “you never ask a question to which you do not already know the answer.” The most common objections faced by radio sales people on the street are: 1) advertisers don’t want their spots in the same cluster with their competitors; 2) they don’t want their commercial lost in the middle of a cluster of spots; and 3) they don’t personally relate to the music being played on the station. Marketing expert Al Herskovitz offers rookies some tips and insights in dealing with the most common challenge facing local radio sales people – overcoming objections. To read his article, click here.
Weekend “Café Mocha” Program Claims Ratings Victory on Urban AC WBLS, New York. The syndicated weekend program “Café Mocha” – hosted by MC Lyte, Loni Love and Angelique – announces big ratings for the program in the 2012 December PPMs. The program airs on Saturday morning from 6:00 am to 8:00 am on YMF Media’s urban AC WBLS, New York and report it earned a 6.7 share, 6-plus, surpassing all other stations in its time slot in December. WBLS program director Skip Dillard says, “Over the past year I’ve heard the show continue to grow with a good balance of hit music, entertainment and information. We’re really happy with the attention we receive from both talent and show management as well. They want to do more than just be on a lot of stations, they want to win.”
Comrex Moves Full-Force into Digital Video Delivery Market. Devens, Massachusetts-based Comrex Corporation announces it is shipping its new LiveShot Video IP Codec – the first video product for professional broadcasters in the company’s 51-year history. Comrex says the new technology provides high-quality, low-latency, full-duplex video and audio over both wired and wireless IP data services, including challenging internet links such as 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi with end-to-end delay as low as 200ms. Comrex managing director Kris Specht states, “Our core customer for the past several decades has been the radio broadcaster. It was in response to requests from some of our longtime customers that had worked in radio — and who had subsequently moved over to television — to create a product that would do for TV what our ACCESS IP Audio Codecs have done for radio. LiveShot provides the small form factor, unmatched reliability, high-quality performance and easy operator experience that Comrex customers have come to expect.” The LiveShot Video IP Codec system consists of the LiveShot Portable, a small, lightweight, camera-mounted unit that attaches to the camera’s 3-stud or V-mount battery mount with the battery attaching to the outside of the LiveShot Portable. On the studio side, the LiveShot Studio rack-mount unit interfaces with the facility’s audio/video router or switcher. The units connect via an IP data connection and utilize Comrex’s CrossLock™ VPN which provides a one-button connection from either the studio or the field once the units have an internet connection. CrossLock also provides data encryption and intrusion protection for added reliability. Complete details on the LiveShot Video Codec’s features and specifications can be found by visiting www.comrex.com.
Mel Karmazin Talks to CNBC; Says New Media Won’t Get Ad Dollars the Way Traditional Media Did. Former CBS and SiriusXM chief Mel Karmazin spoke exclusively with CNBC’s David Faber and says he’s retired twice already (from CBS and SiriusXM) and would like to “retire” one final time after his next job. Though Karmazin says he cannot think of any companies he would like to lead that give him the opportunity to work for a public company with an independent board that offers the right turnaround challenges but that is what he is looking for. He told Faber he would be interested in helping Governor Christie bring the Jersey Shore back after the devastation from Hurricane Sandy. Speaking about the traditional media business, Karmazin says, “I’ve been a seller of media assets – media stocks – over the years. I think the technology that’s come around has been very disadvantageous for these existing companies.” Karmazin says he’s not a private equity company interested in buying something low and selling it higher. He’s looking for something in which he has a passion and he hasn’t seen that yet. When asked to look to the future of the media landscape, Karmazin says the reach of mobile is impressive but he’s not bullish about its moneymaking power. He referenced the sales cliché of “analog dollars, digital dimes and mobile pennies” and, when pressed by Faber about mobile being the place where more and more people are getting content, said “I don’t know if you’re going to be able to monetize it to the same degree that you were able to monetize it in the old business. It’s a great time to be a consumer – the consumers will have more choices…than they ever had before.” Karmazin pointed to the NFL as an example of a content provider across multiple platforms – TV, radio, mobile, satellite radio, satellite TV – but he says because of all the options available, the advertisers have the advantage over the media outlets and that’s why people are having a hard time monetizing digital despite its growing reach.
RadioInfo Career Moves. Chunky will leave his spot on the Chunky & Tati morning show on Local Media of America-operated CHR XHITZ, San Diego “Jammin Z90.3” at the end of this month for a yet-to-be-announced new gig. Chunky has been part of the AM drive show at “Jammin Z90.3” since August. Prior to that he was evening jock at WNOW, New York…..B-Dub returns to Alpha Broadcasting’s country KUPL, Portland “The Bull 98.7” as assistant program director, music director and afternoon host starting on February 4…..Lester St. James becomes afternoon host and program director at NRG Media’s classic hits KLNC, Lincoln, Nebraska “105.3 Wow FM.”…..Progressive rock icon and well-known Philadelphia radio personality Michael Tearson, host of the weekly “Saturday Morning 60s” program on Greater Media’s classic rock WMGK, Philadelphia, exits the station after 10 years. He continues his work with SiriusXM satellite radio…..Clear Channel’s rock WIOT, Toledo names Scott Sands program director. Sands will also oversee news/talk sister WSPD.
KIFM, San Diego “98.1 Smooth FM” Helps Flu Sufferers. Talk about superserving your P1s! Lincoln Financial Media’s AC KIFM, San Diego is sending out its “Flu Crew” to supply listeners suffering from the flu with “flu kits” – cans of chicken soup, Theraflu, tea, Gatorade, cough drops, hand sanitizer, boxes of Kleenex, and more. The idea for the promotion came about last Friday when morning host Lenny B was talking with a listener who is new to the market and had the flu with no one to help care for her. Lenny decided to make a “Flu Kit House Call” since most doctors no longer make house calls. He assembled some of the “98.1 Smooth FM” promotions team as the “Flu Crew.” Pictured here is a member of the “Flu Crew” delivering supplies to a listener. The staff is making visits during the late morning after the AM drive show ends.
NAB Education Foundation Puts Out Call for Entries for Celebration of Service to America Awards. The NABEF is announcing that entries are being sought for the 2013 Celebration of Service to America Awards that recognize outstanding community service by local broadcasters. The winners will be honored at the Celebration of Service to America dinner held Monday, June 3, 2013 at the Washington Convention Center. The categories include: Service to America Community Awards for Radio and Television, honoring broadcasters for individual campaigns, projects or programs that serve the public good or otherwise provide exemplary service to their local communities; Service to Children Awards for Radio and Television, recognizing broadcasters for outstanding programs, campaigns and public service announcements that serve the children of their communities; and Service to America Television Award, acknowledging a television station for the totality of its efforts and commitment to excellence in serving its community. The awards are sponsored and produced by NABEF with major support from Hubbard Broadcasting, Inc., Bonneville International Corporation, and the National Association of Broadcasters.
Beasley Broadcasting’s Caroline Beasley Named Honorary Trustee of Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. The Beasley Broadcasting executive vice president and CFO is named as the newest honorary trustee for the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. Caroline Beasley says, “This is an incredible honor for me. I’m grateful to the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation for the invitation to join such a distinguished group of broadcasting and entertainment professionals. AWM plays a vitally important role in advocating and advancing women in media; I admire their past contributions and accomplishments and very much look forward to helping them ensure that this important mission and message resonates well into the future.”
Radio and Television Personality Jimmy O’Neill Dies at 73. Jimmy O’Neill was a highly rated Los Angeles disc jockey when he became the host of the ABC-TV prime time rock ‘n’ roll show “Shindig!” O’Neill was a young DJ from Oklahoma who was just 24 years old when he started hosting “Shindig!” in 1964. (The photo seen here is an ABC-TV promo shot.) The program would feature such acts as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Righteous Brothers and many more. He was the first voice to be heard on KRLA, Los Angeles when the station flipped from country to pop music in 1959. During his career in LA he also worked at KFWB and KDAY. He had suffered from heart problems and complications from diabetes in recent years. He died at his West Hollywood home on Friday, January 11.
FCC Action. The Federal Communications Commission approves the license transfer of WJKR-FM, Upper Arlington, Ohio (Columbus market) from Blue Chip Broadcasting to Salem Communications. The station was purchased for $4 million and has been operated by Salem under an LMA since November 1.
Karmazin: 446,000 New Subscribers in Q3 for SiriusXM. Adding 445,921 thousand net new subscribers from July through September, SiriusXM Satellite Radio now has a record 23.3 million subscribers and the company raised its 2012 net subscriber base guidance upward from 1.6 to 1.8 for the year. Mel Karmazin, CEO of Sirius XM Radio tells Liberty Media Corporation at its Investor Meeting yesterday the continuing growth in auto sales helps account for some of the expected growth. Karmazin made no mention about his future plans. John Malone, chairman and CEO of Liberty, was not asked about Karmazin’s role if and when Liberty takes control of the satellite company. While investors believe the Sirius news is good and the stock remains attractive, there was no “big” announcement at the meeting. Wall Street watchers acknowledge the satellite company’s growth in spite of competition from IP services such as Pandora, though that balance could change in the future as the delivery of internet radio gets more pervasive. Sirius also registered a new 52-week high on Wall Street Wednesday. At the close, Sirius was up 0.12 (+4.6%) at 2.75. The stock is up 51% year to date. Next: the Sirius XM third quarter performance conference call, set for October 30.
Stations Must Exercise Caution When Presenting Contests. When it comes to radio station promotions, the rules for contests and the specific type of contests a station will have vary from company to company. In some cases that is determined by company or station policy, or that of the person in charge of the promotion. More often than not a radio station contest goes off without a hitch and in many cases can both draw listeners and positive attention to the station. However, in rare cases something can go wrong, leaving the station to fix what has become broken. Usually the mistake will not be front-page news in the city’s newspaper, unless the scope of the mistake is far reaching. In the case of Toronto’s highly-rated CHR station CKIS-FM, the effects of a contest-gone-wrong can bring ridicule and scorn after a contestant lied about being raped in order to win a $10,000 cash prize – a prize the winner was still allowed to keep! In a special RadioInfo probing article, special features correspondent Jeff McKay looks at the CKIS episode and presents the anatomy of a contest gone awry in addition to discussing the need to dot the I’s and cross the T’s with programming executives on both coasts. Read the story here.
Pilot Killed When Helicopter Hits Radio Tower. A helicopter hit the guy wires of the 1,000-foot broadcast tower of KYBG-FM “Big 102.1” in Basile, Louisiana yesterday afternoon, killing the pilot, identified as Hugh Clifton Kelley, 66, of Beaumont, Texas. The owner of the tower, Acadiana Broadcast Partners says the tower appeared stable after the crash but they don’t know the extent of any damage. Authorities say the helicopter is owned by Pintail Lodge of Beaumont. Basile is located in southern Louisiana, between Lafayette and Lake Charles.
Sold Out Talkers New Media Seminar Takes Place in Los Angeles Today. Talk media practitioners from all over the country are gathering in Los Angeles today for the West Coast installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7). The NMS Los Angeles agenda includes solo addresses, panel discussions and the presentation of the “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient Stephanie Miller. More than 55 speakers will be participating including radio talent, PDs, GMs, producers, syndicators and consultants. Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz will keynote. KFI, Los Angeles morning drive host Bill Handel will also deliver a solo presentation. Some of the panel discussions to take place include: “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison; “The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian; “Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities” moderated by PodJockey host Brent Seltzer; “The State of Talk Programming” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; “The Modern Day Pioneers” moderated by KPCC, Pasadena personality Patt Morrison; “The Art of the Show” moderated by Bill Moran & Associates president Bill Moran; and much more. There will be more than 50 speakers and approximately 250 attendees at this event. The TALKERS New Media Seminar LA takes placed today from 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. Check out the full agenda here. Look for coverage of the event in both RadioInfo and TALKERS in the days ahead.
RadioInfo Career Moves. Pamal Broadcasting’s country WZMR, Albany “104.9 The Cat” adds Jake Allen to the morning show alongside host Dana Race. Allen moves over from his weekend role at Pamal’s sister CHR WFLY “Fly 92.3.”…..Cumulus Media’s Hot AC WPLJ, New York promotes jock Ralphie Aversa to the evening show from the company’s CHR WBHT, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton…..Renda’s classic rock WSOS, Fruit Cove, Florida (Jacksonville market) adds the nationally syndicated Lex & Terry show for morning drive. The duo of Lex Staley and Terry Jaymes were previously heard in the market on WJXL until October of last year.
CBS Radio’s Atlanta FM Sports Talk Announces Lineup and Start Date. WZGC, Atlanta “SportsRadio 92.9 The Game” will debut on October 24 and feature the following personalities in addition to Carl Dukes, whom we already reported is moving to Atlanta from Houston where he worked at Gow Communications’ KFNC. Morning drive will be hosted by well-known TV NFL analyst and 49ers great Randy Cross, NBA-TV personality Rick Kamla, and former crosstown WBTS “95.5 The Beat” host C.J. Simpson. The 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot will feature former CNN Headline Sports, Fox Sports Radio and Atlanta Braves and Hawks analyst Jerome Jurenovich paired with former Atlanta Falcon and NFL Network personality Jaime Dukes. Joining Carl Dukes on the afternoon drive show will be Rachel Baribeau, most recently with Cox Media’s WZNN, Birmingham “97.3 The Zone” and former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart. The evening show is yet to be announced but TALKERS hears other personalities to be part of the station in either analysis or fill-roles include NBA analyst Bob Neal, former NBA star Dennis Scott, former Toronto Raptors coach Sam Mitchell, two-sport player with the Braves and Falcons Brian Jordan, and former Atlanta Falcon Ovie Mughelli.
Clear Channel Sacramento Knocked Off Air by Software Glitch. The cluster-wide loss of transmitting signal that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Sacramento stations experienced yesterday were caused by a software malfunction, according to coverage in the Sacramento Bee. President and market manager Dave Milner tells the paper the cluster recently moved into new studios that have a state-of-the-art software system that went down on Wednesday morning around 7:00 and lasted until engineers could repair the problem around 9:00 am. Milner says the office received a lot of calls from people wondering what happened to their radio stations. “It’s never fun to go through something like this but it makes you aware of how much people rely on you.” The company operates news/talk outlets KFBK and KSTE, classic hits KHLX, urban contemporary KHYL, and adults hits KQKJ.
Christmas Comes to Yakima, Washington. Calling it “likely the very first flip to all-Christmas on radio for 2012,” the Seattle-based radio consulting firm Broadcast Partners launched its successful “North Pole Radio” all-Christmas format at 5:00 pm yesterday (10/10) on KYXE-FM, a brand new FM signal in Yakima, Washington at 104.9. Broadcast Partners’ Ken Moultrie tells RadioInfo, “Consider it an early Christmas present for Yakima! The format has proven success with a unique mix of the best contemporary and classic Christmas songs with some surprises along the way.” Broadcast Partners is offering the customized all-Christmas 24/7 format on a limited and market exclusive basis. You can hear the format at www.northpoleradio.com. and reach Ken Moultrie (206) 905-9449 or email email@example.com.
Red Wings Announcer Mourned. Legendary hockey play-by-play icon Budd Lynch (Frank Joseph James Lynch) died Tuesday at the age of 95. After starting his career in radio in Hamilton, Canada, Lynch was hired to call the Detroit Red Wings TV games in 1949, then moved on to radio in 1960. After 25 years calling the play-by-play, he retired only to be brought back by GM Alex Delvecchio as director of publicity. Lynch tried to retire from the Red Wings a second time in 1985, but was asked to stay with the club by owner Mike Ilitch as the public address announcer at Joe Louis Arena. He was the longest-tenured employee in Red Wings history: 63 years.
Quiet Day at the Broadcast Bureau. The FCC grants a construction permit for a new Auction 93 FM at 99.5 in Hotchkiss, Colorado to the Educational Media Foundation.
Mixed Day on Wall Street. Another mixed day for stocks as the major averages all closed down near their session lows. Nasdaq reflects that, down 13.24 points (-0.43%) at 3,051.78, the Dow off 128.56 (-0.95%) to 13,344.97 and the S&P 500 off 8.29 (-0.62%) closing at 1,432.56. Most major sectors were mixed or neutral on the day, but broadcast stocks showed some positive players. Among them Sirius XM Radio is up +4.56%, a 52-week high, at 2.75. Also closing in positive territory for the day were Salem Communications, Beasley Broadcast Group and Cumulus Media.
Correction! Yesterday RadioInfo published the news that the FCC has approved Buckley Broadcasting’s sale of WOR, New York to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. In the piece we wrote that WOR was New York’s oldest station, having gone on the air in February of 1922. WGY, Albany program director Josh Everett writes to correct the record, stating that WGY-AM went on the air on February 20, 1922 – two days prior to WOR-AM signing on February 22, 1922. Even though we were referencing WOR as New York City’s first station – we want to give credit where credit is due. But wait! Former Citadel Wilkes-Barre chief engineer Phil Galasso writes to tell us we’re both wrong and that WABC – which first went on the air as WJZ – was first out of the gate on October 7, 1921 from the Westinghouse plant near Lackawanna Station in Newark, New Jersey. He says WJZ changed its call letters to WABC on March 1, 1953.
More PPM Monthlies. RadioInfo’s recap of the September PPM monthlies continues with markets 6 – 10; summaries for the top five metros were posted here yesterday. Today’s new postings include Houston, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Boston. #1 stations in each of these markets (6+): Houston – rhythmic CHR KBXX-FM; Washington, DC – non-commercial WAMU-FM; Philadelphia – news KYW-AM; Atlanta – urban contemporary WVEE-FM; and Boston – CHR WXKS-FM. See complete Arbitron subscriber rankings and Mike Kinosian’s analysis here.
FCC to Consider Liberty Media Control of Sirius. The FCC is calling for public comment on Liberty Media Corp.’s application to take de jure (legal) control of Sirius XM Radio. Sirius did not sign that application, filed in August, but the Commission is deciding to move forward anyway. Back in May, the FCC turned down a request for de facto (effective) control by Liberty, which now has an effective 48% stake in the satellite radio company. Petitions to deny are due November 1, initial opposition due November 13, and final rebuttals by November 20, likely to be followed by several weeks of FCC deliberation. The two companies have been at odds for a long time with John Malone’s Liberty looking to take over Sirius. In 2009, Sirius received a $530 million loan from Liberty to avoid bankruptcy. There’s much speculation about Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin’s plans if Liberty gains control. His contract with Sirius is up at end of this year. As reported yesterday in RadioInfo, Karmazin is speaking at Liberty’s 2012 investor conference in New York on October 10, just two weeks before the first public comments are due at the FCC.
Jelli Announces New Round of Funding; $9 million from Intel Capital and Relay Ventures. New investors Intel Capital and Relay Ventures are putting some $9 million into the social radio platform Jelli. The company announces the cash will be used for product development and sales growth. As part of the deal, Intel Capital and Relay Ventures are getting seats on Jelli’s board of directors. Jelli says more than “70 affiliates across the United States now use the Jelli Platform, increasing listeners of Jelli-powered programming by 250% over the last 12 months, to approximately 2 million listeners per month. During that same time frame, total ad impressions served by the Jelli Platform increased by over 500%, to over 60 million per month.” Jelli CEO Mike Dougherty states, “Relay Ventures and Intel Capital’s deep experience and global scale with mobile and cloud computing will be invaluable to Jelli as we seek to develop a new platform for the radio industry.”
Clear Channel Moves the Big Mad Morning Show to Rock KMOD, Tulsa. Corbin Pierce and Biggie Shay – known together as the Big Mad Morning Show – will move across the hall at Clear Channel’s Tulsa cluster from Top 40 KTBT “92.1 The Beat” to rock KMOD to replace Phil Stone and Brent Douglas, whose contracts were not renewed. The move takes place October 22. Stone and Douglas’ last day on KMOD is Friday.
More RadioInfo Career Moves. There’s a program director position opening at the Dallas market’s country KFWR (“95.9 The Ranch”), Mineral Wells, Texas as Kevin McCoy prepares to leave the LKCM Radio-owned outlet at the end of the month to focus on his voice-over and imaging business…..Todd Berry is the new OM at Clear Channel’s Jackson, Mississippi cluster that includes country WMSI “Miss 103,” classic rock WSTZ, gospel WHLH “Hallelujah 95.5,” oldies WJDX-FM “Oldies 105.1,” and news/talk WJDX-AM.
Opie & Anthony Sign new Deal with SiriusXM. Radio duo Opie & Anthony announced on their show Monday (10/1) that they had signed a two year contract to continue with SiriusXM. By the end of the new deal, they will have been with the company for a decade, and will have been together as a duo for two decades. Opie says, “That would be a nice place to end it.”
Virgin Radio’s Billboard Comes Alive! They sure know how to throw a radio party in Canada. As a part of its new billboard campaign in Montreal, Astral’s “Virgin Radio 96” created a custom 3D billboard and mounted it right in the heart of downtown Montreal (corner of De la Montagne and René-Lévesque Boulevard). The horizontal billboard features a headphone-clad manikin mixing music behind a DJ table with the slogan “Montreal Is Our Dance Floor.” This past Thursday (9/27) afternoon, Virgin Radio brought the billboard to life as DJ MC Mario took control of the turntables for a special two-hour live set! Hosted live to air by Freeway & Natasha in The Morning, Montreal literally became a dance floor as Virgin Radio invited everyone to share in the experience. People streamed out of their offices to join the party, as Virgin Radio showered hit music on Montreal. Tickets to see Lady Gaga were given away to some of the Montrealers who came down to demonstrate their dance moves to the city.
Saga Declares Special Cash Dividend. The Saga board announces a special cash dividend of about $7 million — a dividend of $1.65 per Class A or B Common Stock. Shareholders of record on November 15 receive the dividend, funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet, on December 3. Ed Christian’s Saga, headquartered in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, owns or operates radio and TV stations in 26 markets and four regional radio networks.
FCC Approves Tyler Media’s Purchase of Renda’s Oklahoma City Cluster. The Commission approves the transfer of the former Renda Broadcasting Corp. cluster of news/talk KOKC-AM, classic hits KOMA-FM, classic rock KRXO-FM, and AC KMGL-FM, Oklahoma City to Tyler Media, LLC. The sale price for the four stations was $40 million and they join Tyler’s other Oklahoma City outlets – country KJKE, regional Mexican KTUZ and Radio Disney KEBC. Tyler sold classic country KKNG, talk KTLR (and translator K231BH at 94.1) to WPA Radio to get under the market cap. In other FCC action news, new construction permits go to Hispanic Target Media Inc., Goliad, Texas for an Auction 79 FM, an Auction 93 FM to Watz Radio, Inc., in Alpena, Michigan and an Auction 93 FM to Sunriver Broadcasting Corp. in Terrebonne, Oregon.
Radio Bismarck Closes on KKBO-FM. Radio Bismarck Mandan has closed on their $700,000 purchase of KKBO-FM 105.9 Bismarck, ND from Connoisseur Media. Radio Bismarck already owns KXRV-FM 107.5 in Bismarck. Connoisseur is led by Jeff Warshaw and Radio Bismarck is led by Bob Denver. Michael J. Bergner of Bergner & Co. was the exclusive broker in this transaction.
Mixed Day on Wall Street a Good Day for Some Broadcast Stocks. Some analysts are cautioning about an October correction as the Dow Jones closes off slightly (-0.24%) Tuesday. On news the FCC will consider Liberty Media Corp.’s takeover of Sirius XM Radio, Inc., Sirius XM Radio closes at 2.62 (+2.14%), a 52-week high and its best performance since mid-2008. John Malone’s Liberty Media closes up at 105.47 (+0.67%). Emmis Communications Corp. has a good day closing up at 2.02 (+5.76%).
Upgrade to FREE. Radio consultant Holland Cooke’s latest piece for TALKERS is about some of the tools of the media trade – namely netbooks and tablets. But it’s about more than that if you step back and look at the big picture. He points to digital app expert Beth Ziesenis – AskBethZ – as someone who cuts through with her message (and her business) because she’s clearly focused on her objective. Read what Holland Cooke has to say about these issues here.
Veteran Radio Engineer, Musician and Jingle Producer Tony Griffin Dies at 63. Tony Griffin, who worked with Tom Merriman in establishing TM Productions passed away suddenly on September 29 at his Dallas-based studio. He went on to launch and operate his own company Tony Griffin Productions which produced audio products for clients worldwide. There will be a remembrance gathering at 10:00 am on Friday (10/5) at Restland Funeral Home, Wildwood Chapel, followed by a service at 10:30 am.
Sold Out Talkers New Media Seminar Takes Place in Los Angeles Thursday, October 11. You can see the agenda for the forthcoming Los Angeles installment of TALKERS magazine’s two-part New Media Seminar 2012 (the first part took place in New York on June 7) at Talkers.com. (Yes, the event is sold out, however, there are often a few last-minute cancellations at the NMS and if you wish to be on the stand-by list in the event of a cancellation, call TALKERS at 413-565-5413.) The NMS Los Angeles agenda includes solo addresses, panel discussions and the presentation of the “Woman of the Year” award to KFI/KTLK, Los Angeles program director Robin Bertolucci by last year’s recipient Stephanie Miller. More than 55 speakers will be participating including radio talent, PDs, GMs, producers, syndicators and consultants. Courtside Entertainment founder and CEO Norm Pattiz will keynote. Some of the panel discussions to take place next week include: “The Big Picture: Spoken Word Radio” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison; “The Challenges of Hosting a Talk Show in 2012” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS managing editor/West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian; “Making Money in Talk Radio: Challenges and Opportunities” moderated by PodJockey host Brent Seltzer; “The State of Talk Programming” moderated by RadioInfo/TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; “The Modern Day Pioneers” moderated by KPCC, Pasadena personality Patt Morrison; “The Art of the Show” moderated by Bill Moran & Associates president Bill Moran; and much more. The TALKERS New Media Seminar LA is scheduled for Thursday, October 11 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm in association with the Los Angeles Press Club at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood. For sponsorship information call 413-565-5413. For a detailed up-to-the-minute agenda, click here.
More August PPM Numbers. In Las Vegas, classic hits KKLZ (96.3) remains #1 for the fourth straight month. AC KSNE (“Sunny 106.5”) bounces back. Tough going for rhythmic CHR outlets…. In Kansas City, oldies KCMO-FM (94.9) and CHR KMXV (Mix 92.3) tie at #1. Talkers continue month-to-month improvement….In Orlando, classic hits WOCL surpasses contemporary Christian WPOZ (Z88.3) to take top spot. Cox owns four of market’s top eight stations….In Columbus, Clear Channel has top four properties. …In San Jose, adult contemporary KBAY is #1 for fifth straight month….In Austin, in addition to being #1 for the 19th straight monthly, CHR KHFI (Kiss-FM) is in double-digits (6+) for the sixth successive time….In Milwaukee, it’s a 1-2-3 Clear Channel finish, including WMIL (“Continuous Country Favorites”) being #1 for the second straight month….In Indianapolis, for the fourth consecutive month, country is 1-2 in Indy, with Cumulus’ WFMS off one-half share to 9.1 and Emmis’ WLHK (97.1 Hank FM) advancing one-half share to 6.7. For a detailed listing and Mike Kinosian’s analysis of these markets, click here.
Clear Channel Rocker WEBN, Cincinnati Drops Mark & Mo Morning Show; PD Casey Krukowski Exits As Well. A shake-up at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s rocker WEBN, Cincinnati comes with the arrival of new operations manager Chris Williams, who is overseeing WEBN, and CHR WKFS (“Kiss 107”). Out are WEBN program director Casey Krukowski and recently added morning hosts Mark & Mo who joined the station in February of this year after coming to Cincinnati from rock WRKZ, Columbus. The Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter reports Sean Kelly – who was part of WEBN’s “Dawn Patrol” morning show that preceded Mark & Mo – is doing the show solo but that is probably temporary.
Kiss 107 Cincinnati Morning Show Blown Out; DC-Based Kane Show Takes Over. Just a day after Clear Channel let the morning show at sister rocker WEBN go, the same happens to WKFS (“Kiss 107”) morning show hosts Jare and Joey. The duo had been with the station for a little under six months in that position but the two are not leaving the station. According to the Cincinnati Enquirer’s John Kiesewetter, Jare will host the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm show on the station and Joey will handle the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon shift as well as weekend shifts on the CHR outlet. Kane is based at Clear Channel’s WIHT, Washington (“Hot 99.5”) and is syndicated by Clear Channel to five other stations around the country.
Tommy BoDean Named OM at CC Jacksonville. Programmer Tommy BoDean has been program director at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s Jacksonville music outlets CHR WNWW, adult hits WWJK and sports talker WFXJ for the past two years. Now, BoDean is promoted to operations manager where he’ll oversee all six stations in the cluster. In a statement, BoDean says, “Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with and learning from the very best in our industry. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity work with the programming team and senior management including Rod Phillips, John Rohm and market manager Mark O’Brien to take Clear Channel Jacksonville to the next level.”
Wheeler in the Morning Exits Rock CJKR, Winnipeg. The three-person morning show at Corus Entertainment’s active rock CJKR (“Power 97”), headed by Dave Wheeler, abruptly resigns from the station telling the Winnipeg Free Press they couldn’t come to terms with the company on contractual issues. Co-hosts Rena and Philly exited with Wheeler. He tells the paper, “We feel really confident in our product and we thought we were better suited as a team and decided to stay that way.” The morning show had been working without a contract since the end of August. Wheeler says they will pursue opportunities both in Winnipeg and elsewhere. CJKR PD Matt Cundill says he will probably fill the time slot with talent from within the company.
Karmazin to Stay or Leave? Sirius XM CEO Mel Karmazin says he thinks if Liberty Media takes control of the company it will replace the satellite radio board he may leave, too. Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in Beverly Hills yesterday (9/12), Karmazin says he won’t automatically leave, but feels that Liberty doesn’t need him. If Sirius XM is a spin-off once Liberty takes control, Karmazin says he might stay on. His current contract expires in December. At the same time, CEO Greg Maffel of Liberty says they’ll keep their stake in Sirius after bringing their shares to 50%. Liberty has increased its holdings to 49.7% this week through stock purchases. The next step is a ruling from the FCC to approve the stock takeover, which could take some time, or the possibility that Sirius and Liberty negotiate the final deal themselves. Until then Karmazin has a job at least through 2012. (Sirius XM closed down 8 cents to $2.42 Wednesday (9/12).
Also at that Same Conference: Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference yesterday (9/12) Les Moonves tells investors the sports media biz is “found money.” That CBS is bullish on sports is not news – CBS CEO Les Moonves has said that before. But he reiterated his company’s dedication to the industry and – citing the new CBS Sports Radio Network venture – called it $10 million to $15 million worth of “found money.” Moonves told the conference the sports radio network business is a $150 million industry, “With our deal with Cumulus, we have reach. We’re in nine of the top 10 markets. We have the capacity to put on a lot of stuff. We think right away we’re going to get about 10% of the market. That’s going to be a significant hit right away and that should grow. It’s a great marketplace; rather easy to do. As far as we’re concerned it’s 10 or 15 million [dollars] of found money that we think will grow.” CBS is entering into a fast-growing marketplace already dominated by ESPN and with radio players Fox Sports Radio Network, Yahoo! Sports Radio and new entrant NBC Sports Radio – a partnership between NBC and Dial Global. Sure, there’s a ton of money in sports media right now, but how fast this market gets saturated is a question industry watchers are pondering.
Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Gets Television Profile with DISH Network Deal. Talk show host and digital media pioneer Glenn Beck is soon to be seen on television after his TheBlaze, Inc. agrees to a deal with DISH Network to have his online 24-hour news, information and entertainment network available on the satellite TV provider. Under terms of the deal, TheBlaze will be available to DISH viewers on channel 212 as part of DISH’s America’s Top 250 package or a la carte for $5 a month. The channel launched Wednesday at 5:00 pm ET. It’ll be available as a free preview for all DISH customers through September 26. In a statement, Beck says, “TheBlaze has helped revolutionize television over the internet and now we are excited to bring the revolution back to traditional television. TheBlaze will be home to news, information and entertainment programming with the facts and stories people care about most and we look forward to kicking things off with DISH.” Mercury Radio Arts president Chris Balfe blogged about the success of Beck’s new venture and how this deal came to pass. “Prior to our initial launch I was often asked why we didn’t pursue a traditional cable channel. There were several factors, but the biggest was that we wouldn’t have been able to build the channel we wanted back then without giving up control. To get on the air we would have had to partner with a large media company that could provide us with the staff, infrastructure and distribution necessary to launch a new network. That was something that we simply were not willing to do. The whole point of starting our own network was to be free from outside influences — giving that independence up right away in exchange for distribution was a non-starter. And so we found another way. But now, a year later, everything has changed. Our subscribers’ enthusiasm and support has allowed us to make the necessary investments in programming and infrastructure, and we’re now in a position to launch a cable and satellite channel without losing control.”
Commercials That Raise Credibility Eyebrows. You hear them daily on radio stations across America — spots that promise to get the listener out of credit card debt, acne cures, and miracle weight products; all kinds of pills, potions and lotions. How about energy drinks that will make the listener faster than a speeding bullet and able to leap tall buildings with a single bound? Then there’s the hot category of law firms that aggressively pursue listeners regarding accidents, medical malpractice, and divorce. Are these effective? Most likely. Are they legal? In most cases, yes…but some may skate along the ethical edge. RadioInfo’s resident advertising sales maven Al Herskovitz reflects upon the questionable advertising techniques and products currently flooding the airwaves. To read it click here.
Entercom Selects WideOrbit Software for Stations. Entercom Communications Corporation decides to take the WideOrbit traffic and sales software programs across all its stations. WideOrbit is a leading business management software provider for media companies. The WO Traffic is in use now at about half the Entercom 23 markets. Extending the software company-wide gives Entercom a centralized revenue and inventory reporting system. “Entercom is a tremendously talented organization,” says Eric Mathewson, WideOrbit founder. “We are proud to help support their operations and continued growth.”
Harris and Geo-Broadcast Solutions Testing New Technology to Target Neighborhood Advertising for Terrestrial Radio. Low power FM transmitters and a technology called “ZoneCasting” allows terrestrial radio stations to “Geo-target” content to local neighborhoods. Harris Corporation and Geo-Broadcast Solutions will test the new network with multiple low power FM transmitters simulcasting Palm Beach Broadcasting’s WRMF, West Palm Beach. Palm Beach CEO Dean Goodman says this localization will make it affordable and effective for neighborhood businesses to use radio. Peter Handy, CEO of Geo-Broadcast solutions indicates “zonecasting” leverages the localism that makes radio appealing.
We Didn’t Start the Fire. If you’re young and you think you know it all, you don’t. If you’re older and you think you’ve nothing more to contribute, it’s not true. Veteran radio broadcaster Bob Shannon, president of Minneapolis-based SpotMedia Services, contributes a stirring and informative article to RadioInfo paying tribute to some of the greats of top 40 radio – as well as other formats and genres – to whom today’s young radio professionals owe a debt of gratitude. If you have an interest in radio history and common sense wisdom, this piece will make your day. Shannon writes, What Elvis was to rock ‘n roll, Gordon McLendon and Todd Storz, the two men often called the “Fathers of Top 40,” were to radio. But, but they didn’t do it alone…. To read the entire RadioInfo exclusive article, click here.
More News. In a joint announcement SparkNetworks and Benztown have commissioned award-winning Canadian commercial and imaging producer John Masecar to create “The Masecar Files” for Benztown and its affiliate radio stations. “The Masecar Files” will focus on AC and hot AC formats and will offer customized imaging for the Canadian and international radio markets. Masecar was most recently senior imaging director at Astral Radio in Vancouver…. Industry veteran Arleen Geller, whose career in radio has included executive positions at Interep, Jones Media America, and most recently Westwood One joins New York-based Media Management Group (MMG) as EVP for business development. MMG president/CEO Jeff Schwartz tells RadioInfo, “We are delighted to welcome Arleen to the company. Her skills and experience will be of great value to us as we grow.”
WVON, Chicago News Pro Sharon McGhee Loses Battle with Cancer. Journalist, writer and radio news director Sharon McGhee died in Columbia, Missouri on September 11 at age 54 after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She joined urban talk WVON, Chicago in 1997 and was promoted to news director the following year. She left the radio business to focus on her love of the arts and entertainment and in 2007, wrote the critically acclaimed “The Pocketbook Monologues” and subsequently directed multiple staged performances across the United States. McGhee returned to WVON in 2008 as news director and resigned from that position in 2010 due to health reasons. WVON president Melody Spann Cooper tells RadioInfo, “Sharon McGhee was one of the most creative people I’ve ever known. Her determination, passion and drive brought her to Chicago where she excelled in everything that was on her professional and personal agenda. She was a rare breed determined to do it her way, and she did.”
Michael Harrison to Speak at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison will deliver an address provocatively titled, “Can Terrestrial Radio Thrive in the Digital Era?” at the forthcoming NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas. According to Harrison, “The main challenge concerning FM and AM broadcasting at this perilous time is making the transition to the digital age without prematurely sacrificing the value of the stick which is still the economic foundation of this industry and main source of livelihood for its practitioners.” Harrison describes the danger facing terrestrial radio as a “five-headed dragon” of 1) smothering debt, 2) exotic media rivals, 3) blurry ratings methodology, 4) an unprecedented generational divide, and 5) 60 and 30 second commercial spots (which when put together in clusters become “PPM pits of purgatory”). Harrison says “radio must be smart and use its traditional on-air assets in balanced harmony with its unlimited online potential.” He states, “The cultural heritage of what we grew up thinking as ‘radio’ is deeply rooted in the traditions of over -the-air transmission and it is vitally important that in its rush to put everything it has into one internet basket, radio avoids losing its core identity, its soul, that separates it from being just another online music or informational utility.” Harrison advises that just as talk radio has claimed “ownership” of politics in America and sports radio has claimed “ownership” of the country’s sports juggernaut, “music radio must reclaim its lost ownership of the music culture.” He says the first step in accomplishing this is to bring back the colorful DJ as the backbone of the radio station’s presentation and the street savvy music director as its ear to what’s really going on out there. Radio must not only ‘relate’ to this element, it must aggressively lead it as well.” Harrison will be speaking at a special info-session sponsored by TALKERS magazine on Wednesday, September 19 between 10:15 am and 11:15 am. All Radio Show registrants are encouraged to attend.
Reports of Mel Selling Sirius XM Shares Raises Eyebrows. In a release issued after yesterday’s closing bell, news from Sirius XM Satellite Radio that CEO Mel Karmazin will be selling an additional 30 million shares of the publicly traded company (Sirius XM SIRI) this fall has both Wall Street and radio industry observers speculating as to what it means. Considering the timing involved – Mel’s contract is up this year and major investor Liberty Media (LMCA) is closing in seeking control – there is evidence to support the educated guess that the company’s chief is heading for the door. Other possibilities include that Mel is simply cashing in his chips for a job clearly well done or that it is a maneuver to throw an obstacle in the way of Liberty taking control. The price to exercise the 30 million options shares is $0.43. This means the shares will cost Karmazin $12,900,000. If he were to sell them all at $2.50 the price would be a cool $75,000,000, delivering a profit of $62,100,000. Analyst Spencer Osbourne writes in the Seeking Alpha newsletter, “I can imagine that the news relating to an insider at Sirius XM selling 30,000,000 shares will not be well received by the market. Be prepared, because this news is going to cause some wild speculation and debate. I would not be surprised to see the stock price move down on this news. Between the Liberty cloud and now the Karmazin cloud, the uncertainty is building for Sirius XM.”
Jorge Sedano Joins WQAM as PD and PM Drive Host. The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson reports that South Florida sports media personality Jorge Sedano is taking the program director role at Beasley Broadcasting’s sports talk WQAM that was left vacant when Lee Feldman exited for interests outside of the media field. Sedano, who left Lincoln Financial Media’s WAXY, Miami in April to pursue TV work, will also become the afternoon drive host while current PM drive guy Dan Sileo will move to the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm slot left vacant by Michael Irvin’s recent departure. South Florida media chatter indicates Sileo was originally being considered for the midday slot but was hired for middays when he became available after exiting WDAE, Tampa and Sid Rosenberg was suddenly let go from the PM drive slot. Sedano recently was hired to host the pre- and post-game shows for Miami Heat games on the Sun Sports telecasts. He also is a part-time sportscaster for WFOR-TV, Miami – CBS4. Sedano tells the Herald, “From a lifestyle perspective, this makes the most sense. When I left 790, I needed to harness my skills and work on the craft and it’s led me to this position on the TV side, so it obviously paid off. I felt if I wanted to get back in radio, and it was a perfect situation, I would get back. This is perfect situation. I can put my imprint on the radio station.”
Yankees Baseball Stays on WCBS, New York for at Least One More Season. The New York Post’s Phil Mushnick reported it earlier yesterday and CBS Radio confirms it in a release. Apparently the Yankees have rejected overtures from ESPN to join the company’s new FM-enhanced sports talk outlet WEPN for they will stay with WCBS for the 2013 season. Numerous industry watchers had expected to see a big bidding war for Yankees baseball and perhaps we’ll see that next season but if this report is correct, it’ll be another year before CBS Radio and Disney/ESPN battle it out for Yankees rights.
Programmer Rick Vaughn Takes Reins of Power 96.1 in Atlanta. Vaughn was most recently PD at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s 103.5 Kiss FM in Chicago and now he moves south to head up CC’s new Atlanta CHR. Clear Channel Atlanta operations manager Brian Michel says in a statement, “I am proud to have Rick Vaughn — one of the most respected programmers in the country and a true Top 40 specialist — take the reins as PD for both the new Power 96.1 and our Rhythmic Top 40 product, WILD 105.7 & 96.7. I look forward to building great brands with Rick and making Clear Channel Atlanta even better.”
Emmis Delivers Good News to Staff in the Form of Bonuses. Emmis Communications CEO Jeff Smulyan issued an e-mail memo to staffers informing them that they would be receiving cash bonuses to reward their loyalty and dedication to the company during these tough economic times. Full-time employees will be getting a $1,000 bonus while part-time staffers will each get $250. RadioInfo publisher Michael Harrison states, “We need to hear about more such moves in this business. Jeff Smulyan is not only a radio visionary, he is also an enlightened leader whose sensitivity to the needs and feelings of his employees is a management model worthy of emulation.”
Salem Communications to Pay Q3 Dividend. The board of directors of Salem Communications declares a dividend for the third quarter of 2012 that will pay shareholders of Class A and Class B common stock 3 and ½ cents per share. The dividend will be paid to all shareholders of record as of September 14 and will be paid on September 28.
Bill Rehkopf Returns to KDKA, Pittsburgh. The former morning news man at CBS Radio’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh returns to the Steel City after being involved in the start-up of the company’s Washington, DC all-newser WNEW-FM. Rehkopf was the featured morning drive anchor at the station. Now, he’ll anchor KDKA-AM’s “KDKA Afternoon News” from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Current anchor Rose Ryan-Douglas remains with the station to work on the PM drive show. In a statement, Rehkopf says, “Working in the nation’s capital was extremely exciting and rewarding. However, my family and I have deep roots in Pittsburgh and this is a terrific opportunity at KDKA. It’s a perfect professional fit for me and works well for my family. I look forward to providing Pittsburgh with a quality program of essential news, information and entertainment to wrap up their work day.”
Future of Harrisburg Rocker Uncertain in Aftermath of Citadel-Cumulus Merger. Among the reverberations of the Citadel-Cumulus merger was a Department of Justice edict that Cumulus divest itself of two Harrisburg properties and one Flint, Michigan facility. That process commenced nearly a year ago and October 1 will mark the 12-month deadline to complete transactions in those metros. One Harrisburg property, country-formatted “Red 102.3″ (WCAT-FM), is in the process of being sold for $400,000 and, as of last week, an agreement is said to be in-place for Flint’s, “Classic Rock Authority” WRSR-FM. Still left in a precarious position however is “The Rock of Central PA” – Harrisburg’s WTPA-FM – a facility that has been airing some version of rock programming for the past 32 years. According to general manager/program director/morning show talent Chris Tyler, “quite a few people” have “kicked the tires” for WTPA, but the station’s trustee, Georgia-based Eddie Esserman, has not been able to come to terms with anyone. “DOJ wants us to be run separately from the Cumulus stations and we are doing things through Eddie’s guidance,” Tyler tells RadioInfo in an exclusive interview. “We are at the point now where the DOJ is running out of patience, saying if we do not have a buyer by October 1, they want us to auction off the station. The FCC does not seem to have the same sense of urgency as the DOJ; Eddie is trying everything he can to put something together. He has received several bids but thought they were too low.” The concept that anyone could buy the station and do whatever they wanted with it did not sit well with Tyler so a “Save WTPA” campaign was launched. “It would be a shame for a new owner to decide to take the station in a new direction,” he comments. To read the full details of this real life radio drama read today’s RadioInfo feature story by Mike Kinosian by clicking here.
Ryan Seacrest and Partners Exit Bidding for Dick Clark Productions. According to the Wall Street Journal, after talks, Ryan Seacrest and his equity partners H Lee Partners and Bain Capital have decided not to stay in the running to buy Dick Clark Productions which produces the “American Music Awards,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” and “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.” Experts believe the company will eventually sell for a few hundred million dollars.
New Jersey 101.5 Offering Talent Show Prizes from Weekend Music Show. Although known as one of the first and most successful FM talkers in the nation, Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton (“New Jersey 101.5”) also features a menu of hit music programming on its weekends. As a matter of fact, the station will be launching into its “Endless Summer Weekend” for Labor Day weekend featuring New Jersey’s “Top 20 Party Songs” from New Jersey artists such as The Four Seasons, Bruce Springsteen, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, and Bon Jovi. This Sunday night the station presents the “BIG Joe Jersey Talent Show Finals” on the beach at Jenkinson’s in Point Pleasant Beach hosted by station weekend DJ BIG Joe Henry. The show will feature the best performers from the on-going summer-long contest hosted by Henry. This is the biggest year ever in the show’s 10-year history with the grand prize winner taking home $2,000 cash, a piano from Worldwide Piano and a new Honda Civic LX from Open Road Honda of Edison. Past contestants at this free event on the beach have gone on to perform on American Idol, America’s Got Talent, 0n Broadway and have even been nominated for a Grammy Award.
Affiliation Roundup. Benztown Radio Network morning show “The Todd N Tyler Radio Empire” hosted by Mike Tyler and Todd Brandt replaces the syndicated version of Mark & Brian at KXFM, Santa Maria/San Luis Obispo. Station OM Dave Daniels tells, RadioInfo, “We are excited to ‘blow up’ our morning drive with TNT! Todd N Tyler are the only guys with big enough feet to fill Mark & Brian’s shoes.”….. Tom Kent’s lineup of stations grows by five more on The Tom Kent Radio Network. They are WMXW (103.3 FM), Binghamton; WBBI (107.5 FM) Binghamton; WMTK (106.3 FM), Littleton, NH; WZNJ (106.5 FM), Domopolis, AL; and KSYZ (107.7 FM), Grand Isle, NE. Tom Kent tells RadioInfo, “We knew it was going to be a HOT summer with affiliates but somebody hose me down! Our stations keep telling us over and over that we suck far less than all the other guys! Seriously, we do radio with passion and that’s giving us a roster of winners with the same passion for great radio!”
More News. Scott Miller and Jeff Blanchard of the Scott & Jeff show will host what sources in Cleveland are calling a tryout show on Clear Channel’s WTAM, Cleveland Saturday, September 1 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. The duo was the morning show on CBS Radio’s crosstown classic rocker WNCX until the fall of 2010 when they were replaced by Maxwell…..Recent “Amazing Race” contestant Vanessa Macias lands a gig on Cox Media’s country Y100 in San Antonio (KCYY) on the Jeff Roper morning show. Macias was also a TV personality on KENS-TV in San Antonio…..Midwest Family Broadcasting flips classic hits KOSP, Springfield, Missouri to rhythmic CHR as “The Beat 92.9.”….The Dave Matthews Band launches its own Sirius XM channels this weekend with a live broadcast. “Dave Matthews Band Radio” will launch on Saturday September 1st at 11:00 pm EST and will run through Sunday September 30th on Sirius channel 142 and XM channel 43 and will be available as a 24/7 channel online on channel 714 and through the Sirius XM internet radio app…..Clear Channel is moving all seven of its Portland, OR radio stations and company administrative offices to a new 26,000 square foot home at Triangle Pointe, near Highway 217 and Interstate 5 in Tigard. The move will be complete by the end of September.
Attention Radio Sales Staffers! Your Job Was Born 90 Years Ago This Week. This week marks the 90th anniversary of the first sale of radio time. It was back in 1922 when New York radio station WEAF – owned by Bell Telephone Company – sold a 10-minute commercial to the Hawthorne Court Apartments in Jackson Heights, New York for $50. At about 5:00 pm on August 28, 1922 a pitch for the apartment complex was made to anyone who happened to be listening and the business of commercial radio was born. It didn’t take off like a rocket, as radio historians will tell you, but it certainly was the beginning of an industry. NPR produced a fantastic segment commemorating this event. Listen to the segment or read the transcript at NPR’s site here. (Photo: MTM Enterprises)