Saturday, January 8, 2011

Ted's Recording Session For Kraft TV Ad

Here's a behind-the-scenes peek at Ted Williams in action. It's a gooey tale of family, hope, and second chances. And it'll make you feel all warm inside. Hear Ted in the new KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese ad airing this Sunday, January 9th during the KRAFT Fight Hunger Bowl on ESPN.

Just Out: Ted Voices Kraft TV Ad

The Saturday Aircheck

Z100 Morning Zoo, Video Aircheck - November 24, 1983

Friday, January 7, 2011

Ted Williams: Homeless Man With Golden Voice

Paper Issues Satement On Homeless Man Copyright:
The Columbus Dispatch is proud to have created The Dispatch's Ted Williams "Golden Homeless Voice" video and is happy to hear about so many potentially life-altering opportunities that resulted from the video.
Our video was posted on January 3. 

When an unauthorized person posted the video on YouTube January 4, it was done in violation of The Dispatch Printing Co.'s copyright.  YouTube was asked to remove the copyrighted video and redirect interested parties to the original video on  On January 6, YouTube removed one of the unauthorized videos, but did not include a link to the original video.

At no time was The Columbus Dispatch trying to prevent anyone from seeing our video. In fact, it has remained available since it was originally posted to  It has also been reposted on YouTube under our copyright.

The Drive Takes Detour To Air ‘History of Rock’

Chicago’s top-rated classic rock powerhouse will kick off its 10th anniversary year by breaking format for a day to air an ambitious, 17-hour  “broadcast event” on the history of rock ’n’ roll.

According to Robert Feder at, WDRV-FM (97.1), the Bonneville International station known as The Drive, will devote next Friday — from 7 a.m. to midnight — to a retrospective of the genre from its infancy in the ’50s to its universal scope and influence today. To promote “The Drive’s History of Rock ’n’ Roll,” a series of evocative videos began turning up Thursday on YouTube and on the station’s website.

Written and hosted by veteran Drive personalities Steve Downes, Bob Stroud and Bobby Skafish along with Nick Michaels, the station’s imaging voice and host of “The Deep End” on Saturday nights, the documentary has been months in the making.

“The stories they share about this magical thing we call rock ‘n’ roll will hopefully bring our listeners a few chills and goose bumps,” said Greg Solk, senior vice president of programming for Bonneville International. “It truly was an all-star team working on this historic broadcast,” he said, singling out program director Patty Martin and two of Chicago radio’s most seasoned and respected production wizards, Tom Couch and Matt Bisbee.

Presented in hourly chapters, the retrospective starts with the birth of rock (Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis) and covers the British invasion (Beatles, Stones, Kinks, Who), psychedelia and progressive rock (Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Moody Blues), heavy metal, R&B, glam and grunge, Solk said.

Throughout the broadcast, which also will stream online and through mobile apps, listeners will be invited to contribute personal stories about how rock influenced their lives via a comment blog. At the conclusion, an archive of music featured in the special will be available on the station’s website. Included with the songs will be videos, lyrics and artist information.

Read more here.

Republican Tries Again To De-Fund NPR

Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) re-introduced two bills on Thursday aimed at cutting off federal funding for public broadcasting, the same day NPR announced the executive who fired analyst Juan Williams has resigned, according to a story by Gautham Nash at

“While I like much of NPR’s programming, the fact is, it is luxury we cannot afford to subsidize. This effort to cut government spending should be part of the larger push from this new Republican Congress to cut spending and get our nation’s fiscal house in order,” Lamborn said in a statement.

Lamborn called federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting "unnecessary" and noted funding has risen 26 percent over the past decade to $430 million per year. He introduced the same bills during the last Congress, where they failed to gain any traction.

"Government-funded broadcasting is now completely unnecessary in a world of 500-channel cable TV and cell phone internet access," Lombard added, also citing claims from NPR officials that taxpayer funding only makes up a small portion of their overall budget.

But with Republicans in charge of the House, the odds of their passage has increased significantly, particularly after the controversy surrounding Williams' firing and the subsequent resignation of senior vice president for news Ellen Weiss.

Free Press Action Fund managing director Craig Aaron denounced the bills in a statement issued on Friday that urged public broadcasters to push back against the legislation.

"Local PBS and NPR stations reach more than 98 percent of American households, and for some communities, they are the only sources of serious local news and information. They also employ thousands of journalists — at a time when newsrooms around the country are shedding tens of thousands of jobs a year," Aaron said.
Read more here.

Opinion: Franklin’s Firing Seems Harsh

Apology, suspension not enough for ESPN

From David Barron at The Houston Chronicle:
Ron Franklin’s name has appeared in this space at least 60 times since 1997, so I hope you will understand why we begin today with thoughts on his unfortunate departure from ESPN in the wake of an exchange with ESPN reporter Jeannine Edwards.

Franklin, 68, is alleged to have referred to Edwards as “sweet baby” after he objected to her comments during a conversation in Atlanta before a bowl game. When Edwards took umbrage with the phrase, Franklin is said to have replied, “Do you want me to talk ugly to you, like ‘(bleep)?’ ”

After the exchange was reported to ESPN, Franklin was removed from the Fiesta Bowl broadcast on ESPN Radio. He apologized for his behavior but expected to return to work next week. However, he was called Tuesday by ESPN executive Norby Williamson and told his two-year contract was being terminated.

Franklin’s firing, and the events leading up to it, did not take place in a vacuum. It was the culmination of a five-year period in which ESPN steadily reduced his duties, generally in inexplicable fashion.

After working Saturday prime-time games on ESPN for many years and calling the BCS Championship Game on ESPN Radio, he was replaced in both jobs in 2006. The former job went to Mike Patrick after Patrick was replaced on ESPN’s prime-time NFL games by Mike Tirico. Tirico also got the BCS radio slot after ESPN lost the PGA Tour, which was one of Tirico’s primary assignments.

In 2009, Franklin was removed from ESPN’s Big Monday Big 12 basketball games so the network could pair Brent Musburger with former Texas Tech coach Bob Knight. Franklin’s outdoors duties also were cut sharply as ESPN reduced its coverage in that regard, eventually selling off its BASS subsidiary in 2010.

Franklin continued calling football and basketball for ESPN but was frequently shifted to lesser games while ESPN, for some reason, assigned Big 12 events to Sean McDonough or Brad Nessler, both of whom lack Franklin’s knowledge of sports in the Southwest.

Franklin at one point planned to retire from ESPN in the wake of the reassignments but elected last spring to sign a new two-year contract with a full football load and decreased basketball duties.
Read more here.

Tom's Take: Franklin was wrong to say what he did; however, on the surface, this espisode could have been ESPN's chance to cut loose an "old guy". The guy is 68. ESPN kept demoting him (perhaps hoping he would quit). Along comes a more serious situation and ESPN pulls the trigger.

NFL, ESPN Push Toward Monday Night Pact

Sides Have Discussed Big Fee Increase Even as League Complains of Hard Times

The National Football League and Walt Disney Co.'s ESPN unit are pushing toward an extension of their "Monday Night Football" broadcasting deal that includes a substantial fee increase, highlighting the health and power of the league even as NFL owners claim their business is encountering hard times.

Matthew Futterman at cites industry executives with knowledge of the talks, the two sides have discussed increasing the rights fee to as much as $2 billion a year.

ESPN executives, however, are said to be trying to both lower the annual fee and gain all multimedia rights to the Monday night games to make the deal more valuable and in line with deals it now has with the National Basketball Association and college football.

A new deal featuring such a large increase from the current $1.1 billion annual price tag would come at an awkward time for the NFL, whose owners are considering locking out the players when the current collective bargaining agreement expires in March because they claim the league is facing economic turmoil.

Read more here.

CNN’s Piers Morgan Aims to ‘Kick Butt'

Piers Morgan, the former tabloid editor who succeeds CNN talk-show host Larry King this month, enjoyed competing with News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch and hopes to “kick his butt” going up against cable leader Fox News, according to

“To be in this new jungle you have to make noise and I intend to make noise,” Morgan, 45, said today at a meeting of television critics in Pasadena, Calif. “No question that CNN is getting its butt kicked in prime time by Fox and MSNBC, and I intend to turn that around. I enjoyed competing with Rupert Murdoch before and I hope to kick his butt.”

Morgan takes over on Jan. 17. His arrival comes after “Larry King Live,” the dominant prime-time cable news program in the 1990s, fell behind Bill O’Reilly of Fox News and MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. In 2010, King averaged 671,000 viewers for Time Warner Inc.-owned CNN, according to Nielsen Co. data, down 38 percent from 2009’s 1.1 million and from 1.6 million in 1998.

Oprah Winfrey will be Morgan’s first guest. The show will travel to London for the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. Morgan said he won’t have Madonna on his show.

“Lady Gaga is twice as good, half her age and twice as hot,” Morgan said. “I’d rather have her.” His best interview ever was with Simon Cowell, the former judge on TV’s “American Idol,” because “I made him cry.”

Read more here.

The 'Golden Voice' To Lean Forward

MSNBC Hires Ted Williams For Voiceovers

MSNBC announced Thursday that Ted Williams, the homeless man whose golden pipes have made him a national sensation, is recording voiceovers for the network's "Lean Forward" campaign. The spots will begin airing on Thursday night, according to

In a statement, MSNBC said that Williams' story "embodies the very same American ideals that the Lean Forward campaign seeks to highlight."

Williams showed off his voiceover chops when he introduced Thursday morning's "Today" show.

Also read here:

Behind golden-voiced Ted Williams is ex-wife Patricia Kirtley, the story's real hero (NYDaily News)

Hope For All Because of Homeless "Golden Voice" (Radio Station Management blog)

O’Reilly To Sit Down With Barack Obama

Pre-Super Bowl Interview to air on Fox Broadcasting

Sources tell that Bill O’Reilly has landed an exclusive pre-game interview with President Barack Obama scheduled to air on the Fox Broadcasting Channel before the Super Bowl. This will mark only the second time that Obama has sat down with Fox News — his first was last year with Bret Baier. But its the first time that Obama will participate with Mr O’Reilly as a sitting president (though O’Reilly did interview Obama in the later stages of his presidential candidacy.)

Mediate notes the history between Fox News and the Obama Administration has, at best, been fraught with tension in the first two years. Most notably starting in the Fall of 2009 when White House official Anita Dunn attacked Fox News by saying that they were “not a real news organization“.

Many will see this as a very smart move for the President; this writer even suggested that the smartest thing Obama could do (at least from a publicity perspective) was go on “The Factor.” Why? Well as we wrote at the time, of all the “big-time” personalities on FNC, O’Reilly is arguably the most moderate. A proud, self-described “independent,” O’Reilly was the least antagonistic towards Obama during the presidential campaign, which Obama rewarded when he agreed to sit down for a much ballyhooed interview — an event that not only got great ratings, but appeared to help Obama in the polls.

Yes O’Reilly has been a fairly vocal critic of this administration, but his critiques have been relatively tepid, which has been evident throughout the first two years of Obama’s current term.

Read more here.

Assange: 'I Own All of the WikiLeaks Documents'

Three months after he had given the Guardian most of his collection of nearly a quarter of a million leaked documents, Julian Assange, the founder of, stormed into the office of Alan Rusbridger, the paper's editor, with his lawyer.

According to Nicholas Jackson at, he was furious. In an ironic turn of events, one of Assange's employees at WikiLeaks had leaked the last big chunk of the documents to the Guardian, absolving the paper of a previous agreement with Assange to roll out the now infamous diplomatic cables one chunk at a time. I own this information, Assange essentially told Rusbridger, before threatening to sue. Just seven days later, the leaks got out.

WikiLeaks, which was founded by Assange in 2006 to create "an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis," stands for transparency if nothing else. In exclusive interview after exclusive interview, Assange has reminded reporters of that. "[M]ost of the times, transparency and openness tends to lead [toward a more just society],"

Assange told Time magazine's managing editor Richard Stengel over Skype, "because abusive plans or behavior get opposed, and so those organizations which tend to commit them are opposed before the plan's implemented...." But WikiLeaks is an organization, and one that is starving for cash to continue operating.

Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and a number of other companies have cut off WikiLeaks because of the controversy surrounding the diplomatic cables. It was in Assange's best interest -- philosophy be damned -- to roll out the documents at a pace that would keep press coverage at a maximum level.

In a new feature story from the February issue of Vanity Fair, "The Man Who Spilled the Secrets," veteran reporter Sarah Ellison -- formerly of the Wall Street Journal -- dives deep into the clash between Assange and the editors of the Guardian and the New York Times. A lot has been written about WikiLeaks this year, most of it coming out since the release of the cables, but most of it has been opinion-driven; Ellison is the first to report on the legal action Assange threatened the Guardian with.

Read more here.

Also read here:

The Man Who Spilled The Secrets (Vanity Fair)

Report: Top 20 Broadcast News Stories

The Tyndall Report monitors the weekday nightly newscasts of the three American broadcast television networks: ABC World News with Diane Sawyer (formerly Charles Gibson), CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. (Numbers are minutes of broadcast coverage)

BP’s gushing oil well on the deepwater seabed of the Gulf of Mexico dominated headlines throughout the spring, with NBC’s Anne Thompson leading the coverage. It was by far the biggest Environment story of the last two decades—yet prompted no follow-up spike in coverage of energy policy, or global warming.

For the first time since 2001, the Islamic World was not the focus of foreign coverage. Instead, attention turned to the Americas--the Port-au-Prince earthquake, the Chile mine rescue, NBC’s usual shameless shilling for the Olympics in Vancouver. The narco-violence in Mexico should have made hemisphere coverage even heavier but ABC (8 min v NBC 33, CBS 21) fell down on the job.

The war in Afghanistan was less newsworthy than in 2009 (416 min v 556): CBS devoted most resources there; NBC made heavy cuts. The cataclysmic monsoon floods in next-door Pakistan (54 min) were the year’s most undercovered story.

Coverage of the Economy is a reverse indicator: it peaks during recessions and subsides during recoveries. Unemployment may still be stubbornly high yet the newshole for the economy has reverted to the mean. So apparently growth has resumed.

The midterm elections were even more newsworthy than in 1994 and 2006, the last two times the House changed hands. No-change midterms routinely get scant attention. ABC’s political team of Jake Tapper and Jonathan Karl got most face time.

The Most Newsworthy Woman of the Year was Christine O’Donnell for demonstrating the limits ot the Tea Party’s power to change politics; the Man, Tony Hayward, now has his life back.

Read more here.

Republicans Challenge FCC's Net Neutrality Order

House Republicans are wasting no time going after the Federal Communications Commission's controversial net neutrality order, passed by a 3-2 vote along party lines on Dec. 21.

Katy Bachman at reports on Wednesday (Jan. 5), the day the 112th Congress convened and Republicans took over the House, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) filed the Internet Freedom Act, asserting that the authority to regulate the Internet rests with Congress, not the FCC.

The act is backed by 60 representatives, including the majority of Republican members on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It is similar to a bill Blackburn filed during the previous Congress.

When the FCC passed its order, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, called a press conference with Blackburn, Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) and Lee Terry (R-Neb.); they vowed to "explore every option to reverse this order."

"The FCC's Christmas week Internet grab points out how important it is that we pass this bill quickly," Blackburn said. "The only sector of our economy showing growth is online. In these times, for an unelected bureaucracy with dubious jurisdiction and misplaced motives to unilaterally regulate that growth is intolerable . . . I agree that the Internet faces a number of challenges. Only Congress can address those challenges without compounding them. Until we do, the FCC and other federal bureaucracies should keep their hands off the 'net.'"

Read more here.

Prime Time Changes For The Weather Channel

Original Programming with Live Updates and Local Weather On Screen Begins Weeknights at 8 p.m. ET

The Weather Channel announced Thursday a new prime time network schedule set to debut January 31 that will feature two-hour original programming blocks preceded and followed by one-hour editions of the popular live evening show Weather Center.

Beginning at 8 p.m. ET, viewers will see original programs such as Storm Stories, When Weather Changed History and It Could Happen Tomorrow. During all original programs, viewers will see hyperlocal current weather conditions and forecasts for their community on the bottom of the screen, along with “Local on the 8s” and live weather updates delivered at the top and bottom of every hour, making viewers never more than 30 minutes from a live forecast update.

“The Weather Channel has always had original programming – shows like Storm Stories have been viewer favorites for years. The new schedule will now make it easier for viewers to find those shows along with their local forecast on screen and ‘Local on the 8s,’” said Bob Walker, executive vice president, marketing and cross platform development. “Live weather coverage is the foundation of our network and makes up the vast majority of our content, and we think the addition of originals in prime time, featuring live updates twice an hour, gives our viewers more of what they have told us they want.”

Original programs on The Weather Channel will take a deeper exploration of the weather, going beyond forecasts to focus on the science behind weather and the impact of weather.

The mission of TWC is to be best at covering weather, locally and across the United States. When severe weather strikes, The Weather Channel preempts original programming to continue with its award-winning live coverage of weather events as it has done successfully for many years. This is a frequent occurrence – most recently, during the lake effect snow in early December and the Christmas weekend blizzard, original programming blocks were preempted every day to continue coverage highlighted by live field reports and analysis from the severe weather expert team.

Longtime Voice Dick Pust Out At KGY

Leaves station amid its financial restructuring

After a career spanning 51 years with KGY Radio, Olympia, Washington broadcasting legend Dick Pust’s career with the station ended suddenly Wednesday when he was let go as the station’s general manager.

He hosted his final early-morning radio show Wednesday at the iconic station that overlooks Budd Inlet, the last installment of a six-day-a-week broadcast that began at 5:30 a.m. and has run since 1967.

“I’m in shock,” said Pust about the sudden end to his connection to KGY, which broadcasts at 1240 on the AM dial and at 96.9 on FM.

Accounts varied Wednesday about why Pust no longer is with the station, according to a story at

Pust said he was fired and that tensions had been building between him and KGY Inc. President and Chief Executive Jennifer Kerry, a resident of St. Petersburg, Fla., who visited the station in December and was there Wednesday.

Pust said Kerry approached him two weeks ago and asked him to prove his loyalty to the station by firing a particular staff member. Pust says he told her he could not, in good conscience, do that.

“It was so abhorrent to me that it felt like I was being initiated into a gang,” he said, adding that he wouldn’t “play their game” and was fired.

Kerry, whose mother, Barbara, used to own the station, sees it differently.

She said the station likely faces a typically slower first quarter for advertising revenue. With that in mind, she asked Pust to step down as general manager, likely taking a salary hit, because the station could not afford to continue paying a general manager. He was asked to continue with his show and work in the community, she said.

“Dick made the decision to leave the company because he did not choose to continue on in a lesser role,” Kerry said.

Read more here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ted Meets His Mom

Ted Williams, who has become an overnight sensation after the Columbus Dispatch posted a clip of him demonstrating his voiceover skills while begging by the side of the road, reunited with his mother Thursday afternoon, according to

"Hi mommy," said Williams, 53. "You always told me to pray, and I've been praying, mommy."

Julia Williams was clearly worried about her son's history with drugs and alcohol.

"Please don't disappoint me," she said.

"I'm not mommy," he said. "I'm through with all that."

Julia Williams teased her son for talking about her age on television.

"God did this, mommy," said Williams, pointing out that he was wearing the only set of clothes he owned - but noting he had recently gotten a haircut. "I was praying that my mother was staying around long enough to see me."

Williams told his mother of some of his job offers, including how he recorded a commercial for Kraft Macaroni & Cheese that will air on ESPN during the Fight Hunger Bowl on Sunday.

More of their reunion will be broadcast Thursday on the "CBS Evening News" and the "Early Show" Friday morning.

Read more here.

Ted's Checkered Past Comes To Light

Before becoming the country’s most distinctive new voice, Ted Williams compiled a lengthy rap sheet that landed him in several Ohio lockups on a variety of criminal charges, according to the website

Williams, 53, has been busted for theft, robbery, escape, forgery, and drug possession. He is pictured in mug shots taken as a result of those Ohio collars, which stretch back more than two decades.

Read more here.

NPR Veep Resigns Over Juan Williams Firing

CEO Schiller Rebuked

NPR VP Ellen Weiss Takes the Fall for the Public Debacle that was Juan Williams' Firing for Comments on Muslims, according to a story.

In the wake of an extensive internal review at National Public Radio, the senior executive who had a key role in the firing of commentator Juan Williams has resigned.

In a lengthy memo, the NPR Board of Directors announced that VP Ellen Weiss (right) has resigned, but gave no further details.

The board also expressed concern over the roll that CEO Vivian Schiller (left) , who famously said Williams should have kept his opinions between him and his shrink, had in the firing. Although it ruled out terminating Schiller's employment, it said she would not receive a salary bonus for 2010.

Williams was fired by NPR after saying on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor" that he gets nervous when he sees people on a plane with clothing that identifies them as Muslim. NPR said his remarks violated its standards of not having on-air personnel giving opinions.

Williams said he was fired because he appeared frequently on Fox News.

The memo from the board also details new internal procedures for personnel decisions and disciplinary action, and announces a new ethics panel.

Read more here.

Also read here:

Official Statement from NPR on the review and Schiller's eMail to NPR staff. (

Ted Williams Shows Off Golden Voice

NBC photo
His voice intact and his dignity restored, a Brooklyn-born panhandler returned to his hometown Thursday morning - and used his golden voice to open the "Today" show.

"From NBC News, this is 'Today' with Matt Lauer and Meredith Viera, live from Studio 1A in Rockefeller Plaza," said Ted Williams, the homeless recovering alcoholic turned media star.

According to a story at, Williams, 53, arrived at the morning network show's W. 48th St. studios with a big smile. Just three days ago, he was begging for change from motorists in Columbus, Ohio.
"It's delightful, just delightful," Williams said of his instant celebrity. "I'm just happy to meet Matt Lauer, see my mom and be back in New York!"

The new star sported an old wardrobe: A green camouflage jacket, green T-shirt and jeans. He sipped from a coffee in one hand and a water bottle in the other.

Williams said it was unclear when he would reunite with his mother, Julia Williams, for the first time in more than a decade.

"I don't know when I'll see her," he said before sitting for a nationally-televised interview.

Julia Williams, 92, told WCBS Channel 2 News that drugs "destroyed my whole family."

Read more here.

Ted Williams' Mom: "God Has Answered My Prayer"

Ted's Moment On The Today Show

Ted Does Opening For Today Show

Huffing and Puffing

Photo by Julian Dufort for Vanity Fair
Reminiscent of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Arianna Huffington is being sued by two political consultants, Peter Daou and James Boyce, who claim a critical role in creating her top-ranked Web site, the Huffington Post.

So what exactly happened in the fall of 2004 when Huffington, Daou, Boyce, and such liberal lights as David Geffen, Larry David, and Norman Lear discussed a Democratic answer to the Drudge Report? And why did the two men wait nearly six years to claim credit? The author walks back their she-said-we-said collision.

William D. Cohan sorts it out in a Vanity Fair article.

According to Cohan, Daou and Boyce say that they were the ones who conceived of “a Democratic equivalent of the Drudge Report”—a shorthand description of what the Huffington Post is all about—and called it "" (for the number of days between presidential elections).

According to their 15-page November 14, 2004, memorandum about “1460,” which Boyce gave Huffington before the December 3 meeting, the core objective of the Web site was to “use the potential of the Internet to the fullest extent possible to continue the momentum started during the [2004 presidential] campaign and re-organize the Democratic Party from the outside in, not the inside out.”

Read more here.

Internet Closes In On TV As News Source

iNet Surpasses TV as Primary News Source For People Under 30

The internet is slowly closing in on television as Americans’ main source of national and international news. Currently, 41% say they get most of their news about national and international news from the internet, which is little changed over the past two years but up 17 points since 2007. Television remains the most widely used source for national and international news – 66% of Americans say it is their main source of news – but that is down from 74% three years ago and 82% as recently as 2002.

The national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted Dec. 1-5, 2010 among 1,500 adults reached on cell phones and landlines, finds that more people continue to cite the internet than newspapers as their main source of news, reflecting both the growth of the internet, and the gradual decline in newspaper readership (from 34% in 2007 to 31% now). The proportion citing radio as their main source of national and international news has remained relatively stable in recent years; currently, 16% say it is their main source.

An analysis of how different generations are getting their news suggests that these trends are likely to continue. In 2010, for the first time, the internet has surpassed television as the main source of national and international news for people younger than 30. Since 2007, the number of 18 to 29 year olds citing the internet as their main source has nearly doubled, from 34% to 65%. Over this period, the number of young people citing television as their main news source has dropped from 68% to 52%.

Among those 30 to 49, the internet is on track to equal, or perhaps surpass, television as the main source of national and international news within the next few years. Currently, 48% say the internet is their main source – up 16 points from 2007 – and 63% cite television – down eight points.

The internet also has grown as a news source for people ages 50 to 64; currently 34% say the internet is their main source of national and international news, nearly equal to the number who cite newspapers (38%), though still far below television (71%). There has been relatively little change in the how people age 65 and older get their news. The internet has risen to 14% from 5% in 2007, but is still far behind newspapers (47%) and television (79%) as a main source.

The decline in the share of Americans who cite television as their main source of national and international news crosses all age groups. Over the past three years, the number saying TV is their main source has fallen 16 points among 18-29 year-olds, eight points among those 30 to 49, and six points among those age 50 and older.

To see complete report, click here.

Beck's Blaze Announces Additions

Media Heavyweights Join Management Team at The Blaze

Former Huffington Post CEO Betsy Morgan and Former Premiere Radio Networks President Kraig Kitchin will join The Blaze, Glenn Beck’s four month-old information network, it was announced today by Christopher Balfe, President & COO of Mercury Radio Arts.

Morgan will be based in New York, and Kitchin will be based in Los Angeles.

As president, Morgan will focus on establishing The Blaze as a premiere digital network curating content, community and debate and further leveraging Beck’s loyal audience. Kitchin joins as director of sales, and will oversee all advertising activity for The Blaze. Scott Baker, who joined The Blaze from as Managing Editor, has been promoted to Editor in Chief.

“The Blaze is very fortunate to welcome Betsy and Kraig to the team,” said Beck. “Betsy has proven herself to be a successful media executive and leader in the digital media space, and her unique perspective and experiences will be valuable in building The Blaze as a vibrant, impactful community. Kraig is a veteran advertising executive whose strong relationships and vast media experience will help forge new partnerships and further develop our brand.”

Morgan most recently served as the CEO of the award winning Huffington Post from 2007 until 2009, playing a pivotal role in the company’s expansion.  Under her leadership, the site grew from 4 million to 22 million unique visitors and doubled its ad revenue.  Morgan expanded the number of content verticals to ten, incorporated over 3,000 new blogging contributors, and raised $25 million in new funding. Prior to her tenure at the Huffington Post, Morgan spent 10 years at CBS News, where she worked as vice president of the news division in the digital sector, and later as senior vice president of CBS Interactive and the general manager of

Kitchin will continue to operate Sound Mind LLC, a management company that he launched in 2008 for many of the nation’s top radio, television and music personalities. In l987, Kitchin helped found Premiere Radio Networks—the top radio network in the country in both advertising relationships and audience reach, with over 190 million listeners weekly- and served as its President and COO for 10 years.

“I believe in The Blaze, and see its loyal readership beginning to emerge,” said Kitchin.  “It will offer countless national advertisers an environment to connect with online readers and sell products and services as a result.” launched in August of 2010 and has already delivered impressive audience growth, averaging over 3 million unique visitors per month. Major national advertisers such as Goldline, Lifelock and Freedomworks have already signed on as advertisers in 2011.

Premiere Radio Networks represents The to advertisers nationwide.

Favre Ready for The Booth?

Broadcasting Forecast: Cloudy With Chance of Clearing

It seemed so obvious once upon a time: Whenever Brett Favre decided to retire, his name would join those of Terry Bradshaw, Dan Marino, Phil Simms, Troy Aikman and Steve Young as great quarterbacks who parlayed their accomplishments on the field into successful careers preaching the gospel of football each Sunday on television.

However, writes Milton Kent at, what seemed obvious once upon a time isn't as clear now, as Favre's spot at a desk or in a booth doesn't seem certain, as no network has expressed an interest in bringing him on board.

Their reluctance to commit is understandable. The Favre brand is badly tarnished through actions almost entirely of his own doing.

To wit, Favre's name has been dragged through the tabloid sludge throughout this season because of his alleged "sexting" of former Jets game hostess Jenn Sterger. In addition, two former massage therapists associated with the Jets filed a lawsuit this week, contending that he behaved similarly with them.

Add that to the weariness over Favre's seeming eternal Hamlet act as to whether he would retire or return each postseason, and you get a name that isn't as dazzling to network officials as it once was.

Then, too, there's practicality. Normally, a network would go in for a splashy, high-profile name if its ratings were flagging or if there was a notable vacancy. In case you hadn't noticed, ratings for all the NFL carriers are up to the point where bringing in Favre wouldn't likely add any more eyeballs to the mix.

And, unless Bill Cowher does leave CBS' "The NFL Today" to return to coaching, there really aren't any openings at any of the Sunday or Monday broadcasts and there are no position that Favre would improve by replacing the current incumbent.

Still, just as it was never safe to count Favre out during his playing days, so might it be to do so with a potential broadcasting career.

Read more here.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Erick Erickson, Dave Ramsey Join WSB Radio

Michael Savage off

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson, who operates blog site, will host a local weekday show from 9 p.m. to midnight on AM 75095.5FM News/Talk WSB starting Monday, according to Rodney Ho at

Erickson, who lives in Macon, regularly appears on CNN to talk about politics.

Financial guru and talk show host Dave Ramsey, who recently was bumped for a local afternoon show on 640/WGST-AM, will also join WSB from midnight to 3 a.m. Ramsey had been offered an evening spot on WGST but opted for WSB’s broader reach.

“He’ll be a great one-two punch with Clark Howard to add to our stable,” said program director Pete Spriggs Wednesday morning.

“Isn’t that cool?” Howard said in an interview today. “He reaches a different audience. His [show] is about people out of control in debt and getting their debt back in control. I cover everything people do with their wallet, not just people in crisis in debt. It’s like going to different specialists.”

San Francisco-based syndicated host and native New Yorker Michael Savage will no longer be aired on the station, where he has been on from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Ready more here.

Bubba1, Bubba2 Coming To iNet

He insists this is no fallback position or secondary strategy. But according to  a story at, Tampa shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem admits he is taking a chance, establishing his own suite of Internet radio channels after talks to continue his show on SiriusXM satellite radio broke down.

Clem said this week there remained an outside chance that Sirius star Howard Stern, a longtime friend, might push the company into crafting a new deal with him. But currently his name and programming are off the channel that has been his home since 2006 — back when no traditional radio company would hire a button-pushing personality fired by Clear Channel after earning a $755,000 federal fine.

Five years later, Clem is in a decidedly different space, accusing Sirius of "lowballing" him in renewal negotiations while finalizing plans to create a new online space for his programs with the service RadioIO.

Starting Monday, fans can head to Clem's area on and hear a live stream of the morning show he hosts for Cox Radio station WHPT-FM (the Bone 102.5), with rebroadcasts at noon and 7 p.m. Clem also plans music channels programmed by each of his sidekicks, an uncensored, Internet-only midday show, access to archives of his programs stretching back to his Clear Channel days and an iPhone app allowing listening through mobile devices.

The site will be free for all until March 1, when Clem will split the service into free and paid content. With fees ranging from $9.99 to $12.99 monthly.

Read more here.

WABC-TV's Heidi Jones Charged

Reported fake park attack story

WABC-TV weatherwoman Heidi Jones stood silently before a judge Wednesday as she was formally charged with falsely telling cops a mystery man attacked her in Central Park, according to a story at

Wearing a black skirt suit and burgundy patent leather pumps, Jones did not utter a word as prosecutors told Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Lynn Kotler Jones faces two misdemeanors - and up to a year in prison - for the alleged snow job.

The criminal complaint filed in the case says Jones, who sometimes fills in on "Good Morning America," came clean to investigators 12 days after her initial statement.

"I did make this up. I made it up for attention. I have so much stress at work, with my personal life and with my family. I know there is no justification for it," Jones told cops Dec. 13, according to the court papers.

Read more here.

Open Mic Catches "Long Games" Comment

An open mic on the feed captured ESPN announcers Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski, and Jon Gruden talking during a commercial break on Monday night’s Orange Bowl.  Apparently, someone owes someone else lunch, and these games are "just too damn long".

Tom's Take:  Betcha the all the breaks get covered in the future.

Gunny Sorry For Obama ‘Socialism’ Comments

Famous Marine drill instructor R. Lee Ermey, who created a stir last week when he said President Obama was trying to implement socialism,  has apologized for those remarks.

Ermey said today that his comments were “misguided” and “emotionally based” and for that he is “truly sorry.” His full statement, which is posted on his website as a splash page, is below:

A Message from the Gunny

“I recently appeared at a fundraising event designed to collect toys and raise awareness for underprivileged children. While that event succeeded in raising thousands of dollars and hundreds of toys for this cause, I regret that I delivered a monologue that was inappropriately critical of the President. I was trying to be entertaining and simply went too far in this instance. I am mindful that my success as an entertainer relates in part to my experience in the Marine Corps, my devotion to its members, and the deep respect I have for members of all our Armed Forces. My comments should not be seen as reflecting on them or their views. I was just very disappointed in the amount of success that we were having raising toys and money for the underprivileged children this season. The poor economy has greatly hampered our efforts. My comments were misguided, and emotionally based, and for that I am truly sorry.”

Semper Fi
Some are wondering if the apology is a move to appease the insurance company GEICO. Another GEICO voice actor was fired for a foray into political talk.

TSA Gropes Anchor Brian Williams' "Junk"

Homeless 'Golden Voice' Gets Home Offer, More

Ted Williams To Appear on 'Today' Show Thursday AM

Ted talks with CBS Early Show:

The homeless man with the "golden radio voice" wanted a second chance -- and did he ever get it.
As soon as Ted Williams, a panhandler who became a worldwide hit after video of him begging on an Ohio roadside was posted to the Internet, appeared on the Dave & Jimmy Morning Show on WNCI in Columbus  this morning the offers began pouring in -- including a dream job with the Cleveland Cavaliers and a free house.

"The Cleveland Cavaliers just offered me a full-time job and a house! A house! A house!," repeated a stunned Williams, 71, on local radio station WNCI.  Click here for video of WNCI show appearance.

Ted Williams in WNCI studio WNCI photo

Ted meets the press. WNCI photo
A story at reports a caller to the show who said she represented the Cavs offered Williams, who shot to stardom after the local newspaper the Columbus Dispatch on Monday posted video of his perfectly-pitched panhandling, a full-time job doing voiceover work for the team and parent company and a free home in Cleveland.

The Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, native trained to be a radio announcer before drugs and alcohol ruined his chances at a career, and he was reduced to begging on the side of a road in Columbus, Ohio, before the newspaper found him.

Local police would referred to Williams as "Radio man" when rousting him from his usual begging spots, Williams said.  "I've been out there about a year; I just didn't know anything like this would ever happen," an overwhelmed Williams said earlier in the show. "There's so many words. I've already been compared to [Scottish singing sensation] Susan Boyle ... I'm just so happy."

Before the Cavs made their bid, the station said a group of credit unions offered Williams a contract worth up to $10,000; a caller claiming to rep MTV expressed interest in having him guest-announce a show; and the people who said they were the voiceover actors behind plugs for "The Simpsons" and "Entertainment Tonight" said they wanted him to compete on their upcoming "America's Next Voice" -- where the prize includes a home studio.

Read more here.

FCC Loses Another Indecency Case

Broadcasters won another round in their fight against a Federal Communications Commission crackdown on rude language and racy images in network television.

Amy Schatz at writes a federal appeals court Tuesday tossed a $1.2 million indecency fine the FCC had imposed on ABC Television affiliates for airing a 2003 episode of "NYPD Blue" that featured a seven-second shot of a woman's naked buttocks and the side of one of her breasts as she prepared to take a shower.

Broadcasters have now won a series of court victories against government efforts to police airwaves and fine stations for airing risqué content. The Supreme Court could soon get a chance to review the issue. In the meantime, the FCC's campaign to enforce indecency rules has ground to a halt.

Broadcasters say the FCC's questionable ability to keep indecent language and images off the airwaves doesn't mean there's going to be a free-for-all of nudity or salty language.

Under federal rules, station owners can air all the nudity or expletives they want between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., when children aren't likely to be watching, but that doesn't happen because of broadcasters' concern about offending viewers and advertisers.

Read more here.

Report: Sirius XM Slashing Salaries

"They've asked everybody to take a pay cut," claims Bubba the Love Sponge, who quit after being told his salary would be reduced by 80%

After having struck expensive deals with such Hollywood personalities as Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart and Jamie Foxx, Sirius XM has been asking some of its top radio talent to take dramatic cuts in pay, according to a story at

So said Bubba the Love Sponge, who for five years was the No. 2 talk-show host at Sirius XM until he quit a few days ago after he says management tried to cut his salary by 80%.

In December, CFO David Frear talked of "more favorable economic terms" as content deals came up for renewal, so it's no secret that Sirius XM is trying to rein in costs. If a glimpse into Bubba's salary negotiations is any indication, the cost-cutting measures could be brutal.

Even top talker Howard Stern hasn't been immune, as analysts figure he re-upped at Sirius XM for about $80 million a year, down from a previous deal that had him earning $100 million annually.

Read more here.

ESPN Fires Ron Franklin

Firing Sign of ESPN Getting Serious on Gender Issues

Once upon a time, the remarks ESPN announcer Ron Franklin reportedly made to his colleague Jeannine Edwards might have gotten him a slap on the wrist, or, at most, a stern talking to by a member of management.

According to, that it cost him his job Tuesday is a sign that the Worldwide Leader truly does take the concerns of female staffers seriously, or is at least doing a better job of letting the public know that it does.

Franklin, who had been a staple of ESPN's college football and basketball coverage for 23 years, was fired Tuesday after word that he referred to Edwards as "sweet baby," then as an "a--hole" during a production meeting before a television broadcast of the Chick-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta last Friday, became public Sunday in a posting on the blog Sports by Brooks.

Franklin was pulled from the radio broadcast of the Fiesta Bowl Saturday as punishment, and issued an apology Monday, but company officials apparently decided that didn't go far enough.

"Based on what occurred last Friday, we have ended our relationship with him," an ESPN statement said.

ESPN has been plagued over its 31-year history by allegations that it essentially condoned sexual harassment or worse against female producers, on-air reporters and anchors and support staff, with winks and nods, but little punishment to male offenders.

Read more here.

Beck Loses NYC Clearance

Glenn Beck may be one of the hottest talk show hosts in the country, but he apparently left New York's WOR cold.

According to David Hinkley at, WOR (710 AM), one of the city's two biggest talk radio stations, said this morning it is dropping Beck's syndicated show as of Jan. 17 and replacing him with a familiar New York name: Mike Gallagher.

"The reason is ratings," said WOR program director Scott Lakefield. "Somewhat to our surprise, the show wasn't getting what we wanted."

Beck, whose style is sometimes off-center and who hosted a well-publicized national rally in D.C. last year, has been seen as one of the rising conservative radio and TV talk stars.

Talkers ranked him No. 3 on its "Heavy Hundred" list last year, trailing only Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Gallagher was a long-time host on WABC (770 AM) before he moved to national syndication several years ago. WOR general manager Jerry Crowley praised Gallagher as a New Yorker who will comment more on local issues than Beck.

Read more here.

Tom's Take:  For the second time about a matter of weeks, Glenn Beck has lost a Top 10 market clearance. WPHT in Philadelphia unveiled a new line-up this week without Beck (and Sean Hannity).  Does Premiere Radio's parent company Clear Channel have something up its sleeve? Philadelphia seems a more likely opportunity for CC to flip one of its FMers to talk. Although nothing has been announced.  The Big Apple is very unlikely. Hannity and Rush are both carried on 77WABC and it's very hard to imagine Premiere would pull the shows, at least not without Rush's and Sean's "OK".  Therefore, it doesn't look likely that CC will flip an FMer in NYC to talk.  Beck looks like the odd man out.  Unless, Salem's 970WNYM picks him up.  Salem already clears Beck in a couple of its markets.

Gannett Plans Furloughs

The Gannett Blog, an independent daily journal about the Gannett Co. Inc., has posted a company memo purported to be from Bob Dickey, president of Gannett U.S. Community Publishing.


January 4, 2011
To: All US Community Publishing employees
From: Bob Dickey

.....During the first quarter, non-union USCP employees will be furloughed for five business days. Exempt, salaried employees must take one full payroll week within the pay period, to be completed by Sunday, March 27. Outside sales people will take five days that can be completed at any pre-approved time before the last weekend in March. Non-exempt, hourly employees will also take five days at any pre-approved time, before the last weekend in March. If you are not sure which category you are in, you should check with your Human Resources representative or supervisor. The attached FAQ should answer other questions you may have. We will be communicating separately with union representatives to discuss the treatment of bargaining unit employees. I will be taking a furlough during the quarter and Craig Dubow and Gracia Martore each will be taking a reduction of salary that is equivalent to a week’s furlough...
Read more here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Role of News at News/Talk Stations Examined

Talkers Magazine Explores The Era of Information

In the current print edition of Talkers magazine, special features correspondent Mike Kinosian writes about the state of the news in news/talk radio.

Stations have differing opinions on whether a serious effort to be a news outlet is important to a news/talk station that mostly talks about the news. 77WABC, New York program director Laurie Cantillo says that although opinion is the life blood of talk radio, stations should be there for listeners when news breaks and that news should be a part of the fabric of the station. “We ‘connect the dots. Shows that lean more heavily toward breaking news are actually our top performers among younger listeners and I think that’s significant.” Getting new listeners to consider you a source of news and information is still an important step.

At 580 WDBO, Orlando, program director Steve Holbrook says his station dedicates time and resources to making its website a news destination to give more emphasis to WDBO as a news brand. The station’s news relationship with Cox-owned WFTV-TV also helps. Holbrook says it’s important that his company supports him with marketing dollars. “Cox Radio has allowed us to do marketing a number of times each year. We just finished a television campaign to keep the WDBO brand alive in the Central Florida area. We have the big three –– news, weather and traffic –– and Cox allows us to market that, especially in news alone.”

Read more here.

How 'Jimmy Fallon' Whips Its Late-Night Music Competition

When Bruce Springsteen decided to crash late night and whip his hair in November, it was as sure a sign as any that "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" has emerged as a highly coveted platform for musical guests, according to Jason Lipshutz at

Since the Nov. 16 episode that featured the Boss covering Willow Smith's pop hit with Fallon, the NBC talk show has capped off 2010 with Paul McCartney performing his John Lennon tribute "Here Today," R. Kelly playing "Ignition (Remix)" during a two-night stint and Stephen Bishop reviving his "Tootsie" theme song, "It Might Be You," alongside house band the Roots.

The show's booking philosophy for musical talent can be credited to Fallon and Jonathan Cohen, the show's music booker (and former music editor of Billboard). The recent bevy of buzzworthy performances has given the show an edge in online traction, with the official "Fallon" website garnering 511,000 unique visitors in November, up 49% from a year earlier and more than other late-night show websites, including Jay Leno and David Letterman, according to comScore.

Read more here.

CC Makes Moves In Cleveland, Seattle

Aside from starting a new/talk simulcast for its WSYR in Syracuse, Clear Channel Radio also made competitive moves in Cleveland and Seattle. (See separate story by clicking here.)

CC announced Monday the launch of “1065 The Lake” (website), an adult hits format.  The company touted “The Lake” would be playing an iPod Shuffle worth of songs.  In a posting on co-owned WTAM website, CC said 106.5 WMVX The Lake will be unlike any other Cleveland radio station and will play a wide variety of music and styles from four decades.

The Lake will play favorites from hundreds of artists, including: Daughtry, Bryan Adams, Eric Clapton, Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Van Halen, U2, INXS, Journey, Cyndi Lauper, Bee Gees, Kelly Clarkson, Nirvana, Prince and many more listener favorites.

“We are extremely excited to bring a different sound to the North Coast,” said Gary Mincer, President/Market Manager for Clear Channel Radio Cleveland. “The Lake fills a musical void in Cleveland. We are proud to begin the New Year with a brand new radio station for Cleveland.”

“We Play Anything, and that means a really surprising variety of songs from lots of decades and a really diverse group of artists,” said Tony Matteo, Program Director for The Lake. “This station is going to bring a really fun bunch of songs to Cleveland Radio.”

Bob Rivers Show to return to Seattle airwaves

In Seattle, CC has snagged The Bob Rivers Show for its recently launched Oldies 95.7 FM format.

The Bob Rivers Show, one of the Northwest's most popular and long-running morning-radio broadcasts, will begin airing April 1 on Oldies 95.7 FM (KJR-FM). The humorous talk show — which features host Bob Rivers, Spike O'Neill, Joe Bryant and guests — was dropped from CBS Radio station KZOK FM at the end of September, 2010.