Friday, March 18, 2011

Best Wishes To KFI's Bill Handel


Reportedly, Bill Handel's surgery went "textbook perfect" Friday morning and is said to be resting comfortably.

earlier posting...
KFI/640 AM LA morning talk host Bill Handel told listeners Thursday he will have open heart surgery Friday to replace an aortic valve.

According to a story at, while Handel recovers, his team of Gary Hoffmann, Rich Marotta and Michelle Kube will fill in from 5 to 6 a.m., with Bill Carroll joining from 6 to 9 a.m. Carroll will also continue his daily noon-3 p.m. weekday program.

Handel, 59, seemed to take the news in stride. He made the announcement and then returned to being his cantankerous self. Toward the program's end, he said, "I will not be here the next couple of weeks. Don't wish me luck. Wish the surgeon luck," he said in his sign-off.

"I admit I am not looking forward to it, but it was one more item I can cross off my bucket list," Handel told his team and listeners.

Read more here.

Newspaper Guild Adds Firepower to HuffPo Strike

A strike called by unpaid Huffington Post contributors received a major boost Wednesday with a call to arms released by the national Newspaper Guild.

According to a story at The Daily Caller, the industry association called on contributors not currently on strike to cease contributions and asked members to help by “shining a light on the unprofessional and unethical practices of this company.”

The Newspaper Guild boasts 26,000 members and is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The CWA is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.

The strike was called earlier this year by the membership of Visual Art Source, whose 50 members had previously contributed content for free to the site.

“Just as we would ask writers to stand fast and not cross a physical picket line, we ask that they honor this electronic picket line,” wrote the Guild.

“This is about supporting the quality and integrity of a vehicle for progressive expression, to actually help Huffington Post succeed, but on the right terms,” wrote the Guild. “We call on Arianna Huffington to demonstrate her commitment to the working class she so ardently champions in her writing.”

Mario Ruiz, the Huffington Post’s senior vice president for media relations, responded to the Guild’s statement by providing to The Daily Caller a previous e-mail response to Newspaper Guild President Bernie Lunzer.

Ruiz’s February 20 e-mail addressed a post on the Newspaper Guild’s website titled “Arianna got millions, all we got was a byline.” The post called on Arianna Huffington “to invest in quality journalism by sharing a portion of this fortune with the people who made her successful.” It included a template to e-mail Huffington.

Ruiz wrote to Lunzer, “We feel there’s a critical distinction between our editors and reporters and the people who contribute to our group blog.” Ruiz noted that the Huffington Post had a staff of 143 paid employees. On Thursday, Ruiz told TheDC that the site had hired 17 additional journalists since March 7.

Read more here.

Also Must Read:

B-NET: Newspaper Guild Boycott Call for Huffington Post Will Go Nowhere

House Votes to Defund National Public Radio

The House of Representatives on Thursday voted 228-192 on a bill to defund National Public Radio, the vast public radio network whose leadership has been questioned after a series of executive decisions about programming, staffing and reporting bias.

According to a story at, seven Republicans broke with House leadership and voted against the package. One GOP member, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, voted present.

Though Republicans have been targeting NPR for months, in earnest after the firing last October of Fox News contributor Juan Williams, the charge to stop taxpayer cash from reaching NPR coffers was recently refueled by James O'Keefe. O'Keefe, the investigative reporter whose hidden camera expose led to the defunding of ACORN, recently captured on tape an ex-NPR executive calling Tea Party members gun-toting, racist, religious fanatics and saying the network doesn't really need federal money.

Opponents of government spending for NPR said the O'Keefe video was the last straw.

"Of all the data that we've seen, we still have not absorbed the culture of NPR until we saw the video" of that meeting, said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa.

NPR currently receives millions in indirect and direct funding to supply programming to hundreds of radio stations. But if the bill debated Thursday were to become law, the federal government would be prohibited from direct federal funding of NPR -- valued at $5 million in fiscal year 2010 -- and stations would be prohibited from using federal funds to pay NPR dues.

The legislation also bans public radio stations from using federal funds distributed by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to purchase programming produced by NPR. Programming fees are the largest single source of NPR revenue, at $56 million in 2010's budget.

Current federal law requires approximately 26 percent of federal grants to public radio stations be used for the production or acquisition of programming. Stations can continue to receive federal grants for the production of their own programming, according to the bill.

Read more here.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

NYTimes Unveils Digital Paywall Plan

An open letter from the publisher of the New York Times announced the paper's long-expected paywall.

The letter from Arthur Sulzberger Jr. reveals the paywall is first to be rolled out to Canadian web readers and to the rest of the US on March 28th. 

Click here for pricing information.
An important announcement from the publisher of The New York Times

Dear New York Times Reader,
Today marks a significant transition for The New York Times as we introduce digital subscriptions. It’s an important step that we hope you will see as an investment in The Times, one that will strengthen our ability to provide high-quality journalism to readers around the world and on any platform. The change will primarily affect those who are heavy consumers of the content on our Web site and on mobile applications.
This change comes in two stages. Today, we are rolling out digital subscriptions to our readers in Canada, which will enable us to fine-tune the customer experience before our global launch. On March 28, we will begin offering digital subscriptions in the U.S. and the rest of the world.
If you are a home delivery subscriber of The New York Times, you will continue to have full and free access to our news, information, opinion and the rest of our rich offerings on your computer, smartphone and tablet. International Herald Tribune subscribers will also receive free access to
If you are not a home delivery subscriber, you will have free access up to a defined reading limit. If you exceed that limit, you will be asked to become a digital subscriber.
This is how it will work, and what it means for you:
On, you can view 20 articles each month at no charge (including slide shows, videos and other features). After 20 articles, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber, with full access to our site.
On our smartphone and tablet apps, the Top News section will remain free of charge. For access to all other sections within the apps, we will ask you to become a digital subscriber.
The Times is offering three digital subscription packages that allow you to choose from a variety of devices (computer, smartphone, tablet). More information about these plans is available at
Again, all New York Times home delivery subscribers will receive free access to and to all content on our apps. If you are a home delivery subscriber, go to to sign up for free access.
Readers who come to Times articles through links from search, blogs and social media like Facebook and Twitter will be able to read those articles, even if they have reached their monthly reading limit. For some search engines, users will have a daily limit of free links to Times articles.
The home page at and all section fronts will remain free to browse for all users at all times.
For more information, go to
Thank you for reading The New York Times, in all its forms.

Arthur Sulzberger Jr.
Publisher, The New York Times
Chairman, The New York Times Company
Within 30-minutes of the NYTimes announcement, the Wall Street Journal emailed a reminder of its digital plan.  See below.

Tom's Take: If you want digital, the full digital plan will run you $420 per year.
To get 'free' digital access a NYTimes subscription would be about $770 for the paper 7 days each week. Sundays only $195.  Be interesting to see if they would allow digital access for Sunday only subs.

Tiger Woods Guests On 'Late Night' With Jimmy Fallon

Radio: Oldies Are New Again

Chicago radio war pays off for listeners
From Robert Feder, Time Out Chicago:

If competition is good for the marketplace, then fans of oldies and personality radio in Chicago have reason to celebrate this week.

“After Two Decades, Oldies Battles Return,” read the headline Tuesday on Ross on Radio. Calling it the “final confirmation of the resurgent appeal of the revamped greatest hits format,” columnist Sean Ross put Chicago at the head of a list of oldies radio wars stretching from Las Vegas to Albany, New York.

On the same day CBS Radio replaced its jockless Jack FM franchise here with a live, local K-Hits format on WJMK-FM (104.3), Citadel Broadcasting oldies WLS-FM (94.7) transformed its midday hours — from 10am to 3pm Monday through Friday — into a local showcase for Radio Hall of Famer Scott Shannon.

While Shannon has been the syndicated midday, overnight and weekend voice of the station since it switched to oldies in 2005, Monday marked the first time he began hosting a customized version of the show for Chicago listeners only.

Michael Damsky, president and general manager of WLS-FM, acknowledged the coincidence with the debut of rival K-Hits, but said the move had been in the works for months.
Read more here.

House To Vote On Stopping NPR Funding

The House of Representatives has scheduled a vote Thursday on a bill that would bar federal funding for National Public Radio, according to a story.

The move to pull funds from the public broadcasting outlet comes after a conservative activist secretly taped an NPR executive criticizing Tea Party supporters and saying NPR would be better off without federal money.

On Tuesday, the House voted to cut $50 million from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which helps support NPR. It's part of a larger bill to keep the government running for the next three weeks.

Separately, the House voted last month to zero out all federal funding for the CPB as part of its bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year. But that bill failed to pass the Senate and Senate Democrats are unlikely to include the NPR provision in any compromise measure they are negotiating with House Republicans.

The embarrassing video has re-energized GOP efforts to cut off funding for NPR.

Colorado Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn, who unsuccessfully tried to strip federal funding for NPR last year, introduced the new standalone bill Tuesday. It would bar any of NPR's affiliate radio stations across the country from using any federal funds to purchase any programming from NPR.

According to NPR's website, it provides content to 900 independent stations, reaching 27.2 million listeners every week.

Read more here.

Also Read Here:

FOX NEWS:  This is NPR: National Private Radio

Stern: 'Felt Like Such A Failure' After Marriage Ended

Used sex to cope with divorce

Feeling lost after his 2001 divorce from wife Alison Berns, Howard Stern revealed to Rolling Stone that he turned to sex for comfort before eventually finding love again with second wife Beth Ostrosky, according to a story by Joe Gracely at

"My marriage ending blew my mind. I was upset that I failed, let down my family, my kids, my ex-wife; it all was very painful," Stern told the mag in its new issue.

Stern had three daughters with Berns during their more than 20 years of marriage and struggled to explain the separation to their children.

"[Getting a divorce] felt like such a failure," he added. "It's so complicated, and it's hard for me even to figure out at this point what went wrong and how things that were so good could go so bad. It's tough. I think I'll spend the rest of my life trying to analyze that."

Though Stern eventually turned to religion to make sense of it all, the shock jock confessed women were his first source of comfort and escape.

"I realized, 'Oh, wow, I can go have sex,'" Stern, 57, said of his newfound bachelorhood.  "I was running around, picking up women."

It was "new" and "exciting," said Stern, who explained he was faithful throughout his relationship with Berns.  But "at some point," he said, "it became just like I was on autopilot."

He went on, "I didn’t know what I was doing. I wasn't thinking of myself as a human being - didn’t value myself."

Read more here.

Opinion: Pew Distorts & Misleads to Torpedo Radio...Again

From Richard Harker, Radio Insights, Harker Research:

Pew calls it the Project for Excellence in Journalism, but it is really anything but.

Excellence doesn’t come from patching together a journalistic quilt of conflicting and contradictory research to support a biased and agenda-ridden narrative.

Excellence doesn’t come from selectively choosing data that supports a predetermined narrative while burying data that doesn’t.

Here’s how Pew sees the state of radio (emphasis added):

Most people still listen to news, talk and music for at least a little while every week, and they do most of this listening through traditional broadcast, or "terrestrial," radio. Yet this is where the profit and revenue are under the most pressure. Many stations have left the air and some owners of multiple stations have entered bankruptcy.

Terrestrial broadcast radio continues to serve the greatest number of overall listeners....This dominance, though, is based on an old advertiser-supported model that is showing serious cracks, especially if trends that are accelerating in other sectors hit radio in a way they haven't yet.

One has to gasp at the inaccuracies and misleading characterizations made in a mere two paragraphs.

This is simply an uninformed opinion based on nothing. It isn’t objective. It has nothing to do with excellence nor journalism nor even Pew’s own research.

The people behind this report appear convinced that radio is on the ropes, and they seem prepared to dismiss (or hide) any facts to the contrary. Radio’s imminent demise fits into a nice simple storyline, even if it is fictional.

A Pew study of news consumption last September produced this Inside Radio headline: Radio news hits lowest point in 20 years.

The story reproduced a Pew graph showing plunging radio news listenership. Unfortunately, Inside Radio appears to have relied on the Pew press release rather than studied the actual data.

The precise phrasing of a survey question is critically important. Small changes in a question can produce very different answers. For newspaper, the survey simply asked: Did you get a chance to read a daily newspaper yesterday, or not? The TV question was similar.

Simple and straightforward enough. Now take a look at the radio question:

About how much time, if any, did you spend listening to a radio news program or any news on the radio yesterday, or didn’t you happen to listen to the news on the radio yesterday?

Huh? What'd they say? Would you understand that question?

The radio question is long and confusing. By the end, it isn't clear what's being asked. It invites the participant to just say nope and be done with it.
Read more here.

Radio: Picking On Dave & Jimmy (with love)

From Communications Strategist Nate Riggs:

I’m a fan of Dave & Jimmy’s Morning Zoo on 97.9 WNCI, Columbus, OH, but I’ve noticed that as popular as the show is across the Midwest, they have a strangely limited footprint on the web.  It’s disjointed and unorganized, and I feel like there are opportunities being sorely missed.  It’s actually been driving me nuts for weeks now, so I want to help…

23 Ideas to Help WNCI’s Morning Zoo with Dave & Jimmy Get Better at Using Social Media:
Read more here.

Nate Riggs is a business communication strategist, an agency-experienced marketer and a social media content engineer.  Over the past 10 years, he has developed a passion and expertise for how humans utilize technology and the social web to build relationships. Throughout his career, Nate has held a variety if roles leading marketing, sales and business development efforts in interactive and traditional marketing agencies, retail design firms, and internet technology start-ups.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Four NYTimes Journalists Missing in Libya

The New York Times said Wednesday that four of its journalists reporting on the conflict in Libya were missing.

Anthony Shadid
According to  Jerremy W. Peters at Media Decoder, editors at the paper said they were last in contact with the journalists on Tuesday morning New York time. The paper said it had received second-hand reports that members of its reporting team on the ground in the port city of Ajdabiya had been swept up by Libyan government forces.

The paper’s executive editor, Bill Keller, said The Times had not been able to confirm that information.

“We have talked with officials of the Libyan government in Tripoli, and they tell us they are attempting to ascertain the whereabouts of our journalists,” Mr. Keller said. “We are grateful to the Libyan government for their assurance that if our journalists were captured they would be released promptly and unharmed.”

The missing journalists are Anthony Shadid, the Beirut bureau chief and twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize for foreign reporting; Stephen Farrell, a reporter and videographer who was kidnapped by the Taliban in 2009 and rescued by British commandos; and two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, who have worked extensively in the Middle East and Africa.

Last known photo:  Journalists, including New York Times photographers Tyler Hicks (right in glasses) and Lynsey Addario (far left), run for cover during a bombing run by Libyan government planes at a checkpoint near the oil refinery of Ras Lanuf on Friday, Mar. 11. Hicks and Addario, along with NYT correspondents Stephen Farrell and Anthony Shadid, were reported missing near lines of Muammar Gaddafi's advancing forces two days ago, the NYT announced on Wednesday. (Reuters photo)

Read more here.

RADAR: Radio Attracts Another 2.1M Weekly Listening

Report: Audience increases to approximately 242m

Arbitron Inc. announced today highlights from its RADAR® 108 National Radio Listening Report, which is scheduled for release on March 21st . 

The report shows radio’s continued strength with a year over year increase of about 2.1 million weekly listeners aged twelve and older.  The number of Persons twelve and older listening to radio each week now reaches an estimated 241.6 million, representing 93.1 percent of all Persons twelve and older.

As compared to the March 2010 report, the number of radio listeners increased across all major demographics, with Adults aged 18 to 34 showing the biggest gains, demonstrating radio’s continued appeal to young listeners.  Adult aged 18 to 34 weekly radio listeners increased nearly 508,000 in the past year, reaching 93.7 percent of all people in this demographic group.  The number of Teens aged 12 to 17 listening to radio also increased, rising 203,000 in the past year.

The report indicates that over the course of a week approximately   92 percent of all Teens aged 12 to 17, 94 percent of Adults aged 18 to 34 and 95 percent of Adults aged 18 to 49 and Adults aged 25 to 54 listen to radio.

Radio’s diversity continues to grow, with a variety of formats that appeal to various ethnic groups, particularly Black (non-Hispanic) and Hispanic.

According to RADAR 108, radio continues to reach more than 93 percent of Black (non-Hispanic) Persons aged 12 and older and more than 95 percent of Hispanics aged 12 and older on a weekly basis.

Hispanic listeners 12 years and older continue to rise, adding roughly 1.1 million listeners, as compared to the March 2010 report.  Radio reaches approximately 95% of Hispanics aged 12 and older on a weekly basis.
More young Hispanics are tuning into radio.  Adult Hispanics aged 18-34 grew by 437,000 year over year.
Radio now reaches almost 96% of this demographic group.

Arbitron estimates that in an average week, radio reached 96 percent of Adults aged 25 to 54 with a household income of $75,000 or more and a college education.  Radio reaches approximately 95 percent of adults aged 18 to 49 with a household income of $75,000 or more. Radio also delivers an estimated 40 million weekly listeners aged 18 to 49 with a college degree.

Arbitron’s RADAR (Radio’s All Dimension Audience Research) 108 is the standard currency for national network radio ratings and measures 56 individual radio networks.

The survey dates for RADAR 108 were from January 7, 2010 through December 8, 2010.

Michele Bachman Calls Out Media On Gaffes

Is there a double standard for conservatives when it comes to criticism of their public speaking missteps compared to liberals?

Jeff Poor at The Daily Caller cites as an example Politico and its 800-plus word treatise on Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann’s gaffe, written by Jonathan Martin and Kendra Marr on Saturday. They had every possible angle covered. However, flash back to May 2008 when Martin filed a post about President Barack Obama’s 57-state gaffe — it wasn’t quite as in depth (video + 17 words).

That’s the sort of double standard Bachmann questioned on Laura Ingraham’s radio show on Tuesday when she explained her gaffe, in which she confused New Hampshire with Massachusetts as where the opening shots of the Revolutionary War took place, to fill-in host Raymond Arroyo.

Read more here.

Chicago: Eddie & Jobo Introduce 104-3 KHits

Reporters Face Exposure To Radiation Danger

Journalists used to wading into natural disasters and war zones faced an unusual menace in Japan this week: exposure to radiation

As radiation levels rose and fell around the crippled nuclear power plant near Sendai , Japanese officials added to the uncertainty by giving sometimes vague and conflicting information about the dangers that followed a series of explosions.

According to Paul Farhi at The Washington Post that left Western news organizations pondering how to cover the unfolding story. The hazards of exposure raised an implicit ethical question rarely pondered in the news business: Is getting the story worth risking an invisible but lethal dose of radiation?

News organizations, including The Washington Post, said they were advising their journalists not to take any unnecessary risks. But with information flowing so haphazardly, news managers acknowledged it was hard to know what an unnecessary risk might be.

“We’re completely transparent with our folks in the field,” said David Verdi, vice president of worldwide newsgathering for NBC. “They know everything that we know. . . . We give people in the field the chance to say they want to stay. We may override them, but unless there’s an overwhelming reason to do so, we let them make the final decision.”

NBC is one of five American TV networks that conferred late Monday night in a conference call about the safety of their employees in Japan. The networks — CBS, ABC, Fox News and CNN were the other participants — shared whatever data they had about logistics and security. NBC organized this loose association in 2003 to share information about the dangers of covering the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Read more here.

Analysis: TV Cable Coverage of Japan Crisis Is Lacking

Lack of Planning. Perspective. Focus.

From THR's television critic Tim Goodman:
In the midst of any national disaster, the suggestion arises that citizens have an emergency plan in place and, even better, that they practice disaster preparedness. Apparently most people think that’s silly (or that they’ll never be in a catastrophe), because you rarely see anyone doing the prep work.

Unfortunately, cable news in this country is just as lazy. Because if any institution needs to get back to basics and refocus on what it takes to survive a disaster – or report on it with integrity – it’s the cable news business. You would think that with all the chaos in the world and all the earthquakes, tsunamis, insurgencies, war and whatnot, some high ranking cable news executive would gather the reporters and anchors for a refresher course.

Or, as it sadly seems, their first lesson.

The triple threat in Japan – earthquake, tsunami, nuclear reactors in peril – is clearly demonstrating how reporters and anchors are bungling the basics and how the producers and executives in charge of them have fallen woefully short of leadership. How is it possible that on Monday evening (Tuesday in Japan), with the earthquake, tsunami and worries about radiation poisoning engulfing Japan, a CNN reporter can ask this question: “How scary has this been for you?”

Let’s see, my daughter was ripped from my arms in the tsunami, I almost died, I lost my home, my belongings, family, friends. There are constant aftershocks, new tsunami warnings and apparently we’re about to have a nuclear meltdown. I don’t know, dumbass, how scary does that sound to you?
Read more here.

Quake Coverage Draws Viewers to CNN

From Bill Carter, NYTimes:
CNN once again proved its appeal to viewers of breaking news last Friday through Monday night, with coverage of the aftermath of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami.

Friday’s audience for the total day, 2.273 million, was CNN’s largest since the Inauguration in January 2009. The news channel assumed ratings dominance in prime time on Saturday and Sunday, and made significant improvement Monday night when all its programs were devoted to the events in Japan.

On Saturday night, CNN attracted an average of 2.151 million viewers, with 908,000 in the group that news advertisers seek most to reach, people from 25 to 54. Both numbers were up by huge percentages – 269 percent and 391 percent, respectively – over CNN’s Saturday night average for the year.

That also gave CNN an unusual dominant win over its news channel rivals. Fox News had 1.376 million total viewers and 363,000 in the 25-54 group Saturday night. MSNBC had only 505,000 total viewers and 254,000 in the advertiser-preferred group.

The news from Japan gave CNN its most-watched Saturday of the year, drawing three times as many viewers as watched the coverage of the shootings in Tucson of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others on Jan 8.

The results were similar Sunday. CNN dominated with 2.051 million total viewers and 796,000 in the 25-54 segment. Those numbers were up 326 percent and 427 percent over the network’s Sunday average.

Fox News’s figures for Sunday were 1.360 million and 333,000, with MSNBC trailing, with only 470,000 total viewers and 229,000 in the 25-54 group. MSNBC offered mostly pre-taped coverage that did not relate to Japan on Saturday and Sunday nights.

Sunday’s numbers were the best for CNN in more than five years, since coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on Sept. 4, 2005.
Read more here.

CNN Reporter Hears From Grandmother In Japan

Clear Channel Digital Head Evan Harrison Leaves

Was he pushed out or leave on his own?

Evan Harrison, who runs digital operations for radio giant Clear Channel, is leaving the company.

Peter Kafka at writes if that sounds familiar, it’s because Harrison was already supposed to have left Clear Channel at the end of 2010. Last August, Clear Channel Radio CEO John Hogan told employees, via an internal memo (see below), that Harrison had “shared his desire to pursue new challenges,” and was going to leave at the end of the year.

But there was always some weird cloudiness about that announcement, and Harrison, who had overseen music at AOL prior to joining Clear Channel in 2004, has stayed on a bit longer. Now he really is going, Hogan says, at the end of this month.

According to Kafka, it’s worth noting that investor Bob Pittman joined Clear Channel as its “chairman of media and entertainment platforms”, focused on digital opportunities, in November.

Earlier this month, Pittman purchased music subscription service Thumbplay, which he plans to use to power Clear Channel’s Web radio stations, which are competing with Pandora.

Here’s Hogan’s second memo announcing Harrison’s departure, distributed internally Tuesday:
Good morning, all:

In the aftermath of the Thumbplay announcement, as we prepare to take iHeartRadio to the next level and extend our leadership and vision in the digital space, I wanted to let you know that Evan Harrison, one of the architects of these successes, will be leaving Clear Channel Radio at the end of March.

Since joining our company as leader of Clear Channel Radio Digital, Evan has played a critical role in CCR’s multi-platform strategy. In iHeartRadio, he built a terrific product, one that leads the industry and forms the strong foundation of all CCR’s digital efforts, as well as a great team. Today, Clear Channel has $100 million in digital revenue, 25 million monthly unique visits to our online sites and 24 million downloads of our mobile apps. All of these accomplishments are a tribute to his leadership and skill, and we thank him most sincerely for all he has done.

While there were a number of opportunities for Evan to remain with us, he feels that there are other options he is interested in pursuing and that this is the right time to explore them. We wish him all the best. Moving forward, Bob will continue in his role overseeing the CCRD team.

Please join me in thanking Evan for the significant contributions he has made to advancing the mission of Clear Channel Radio: To successfully leverage all of Clear Channel’s powerful local brands and personalities, and enable our hundreds of millions of listeners to find the music and features they want on any platform they use.

John Hogan

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Newsradio KXL Portland Gets FM Simulcast

Newsradio 750 AM KXL is taking its news, information and talk shows to the FM dial effective immediately, now as a simulcast on 101.1FM, asccording to a website posting.

As a result, KXL-AM/FM will now deliver news and information, featuring in-depth reporting on local, national and international stories, weather and the most frequent and thorough traffic reports throughout the day to a broader audience utilizing the powerful signal at 101.1FM.  The simulcast displaces a Rock format on 100,000 watt KUFO.  KXL AM boasts 50kw daytime, 20kw nights.

The weekday line-up will remain intact as follows:
5-9am: Portland’s Morning News
9am-12pm: The Glenn Beck Program
12pm-4pm: The Lars Larson Show
4-7pm: Portland’s Afternoon News
7-9pm: The Lars Larson National Show
9pm-12am: The Jason Lewis Show

Weekend shows will also continue on new KXL-AM/FM, including popular lifestyle favorites.

“Today begins a new chapter in Portland radio as we bring the news and information heard on KXL to the FM dial at 101.1,” commented Alpha Broadcasting President/COO Bob Proffitt.

“The future of news is on FM and we are excited to be the first to make the move. Alpha Broadcasting is committed to improving KXL’s reach and solidifying our position as the live and local leader in Portland radio, both on-air and online. With our robust news department, solid programming line-up and 85 years of heritage, we now offer our exclusive content on the powerful signal at 101.1 FM, exposing a whole new audience to the station and providing information to them as they’ve never heard it before…with the great fidelity of the FM signal. We have seen this trend growing across the country and are very excited to bring this incredible station to so many more radio listeners of Portland and Southwest Washington.”

Glenn Beck Demoted On KMBZ Radio, Kansas City

Critic cites youth problem

From Aaron Barnhart, The Kansas City Star

On Monday morning, listeners in Kansas City may have been surprised to hear KMBZ fill-in guy Chris Merrill filling in for Glenn Beck ... for good.

The news-talker yanked "The Glenn Beck Show" from its cozy 9-11 a.m. perch and demoted it to late nights. And in came Merrill, a boomy-voiced libertarian less versed in the conspiracies surrounding George Soros than the rantings of George Costanza.

I did the KMBZ Friday roundtable with Merrill in December, and we talked again last night for a story I'll be writing on him. I like him a lot, and I like what KMBZ is trying to do here — attract a younger listener to a station whose format just naturally skews to older listeners.

It's a tall task for a news-talk station to go young; frankly, few of them seem to try. On the TV side, whether it's MSNBC or Fox News, the viewer is bound to be middle-aged, for whatever reason. (HLN, with its heavy doses of scandal and celebrity, is the exception.)

But the youth problem is really biting Beck right now. The kids aren't taking to Professor Glenn's dumbed-down distance-learning course known as The Left's New World Order for Dummies 101. It's easily lampooned — as Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have shown again and again — and the message of fear and suspicion just doesn't click with a generation that, polls show again and again, are more idealistic and open-minded than their parents.

This is especially clear when you look at the precipitous falloff in audience for his Fox News Channel show.

Numbers are in thousands (000). P2+ is all persons ages 2-up, A18-49 is 18-to-49-year-olds.
Read more here.

Do Consumers Care About Perceived Media Bias?

NPR President and CEO Vivian Schiller stepped down on March 9.

The move came in the wake of a video depicting an NPR fundraiser making disparaging remarks about members of the Tea Party. This personnel shake-up at NPR came at a particularly sensitive time for public broadcasting.

Congress is currently debating whether or not to continue funding the media outlet. One reason to cut funding? Because of NPR’s alleged liberal bias. But, media bias is an equal opportunity label – NPR, Fox News, MSNBC – all are considered by some to have a political slant. True or not – does it matter? Is media bias bad news for audiences?

To find out, Eight Forty-Eight, which airs on 91.5 FM WBEZ Chicago, heard from listeners, and spoke with Michele Weldon about the recent history of media bias. Weldon is an assistant professor of journalism at Northwestern University.

'Simpsons' Actor Blasts Mainstream Media

Harry Shearer, the actor, writer, musician, and most recently filmmaker who is best known for being the voice of characters on “The Simpsons,” had some harsh words for the news media during a visit to the D.C. journalists’ private club Monday, reports Chris Moody at The Daily Caller.
Shearer accused the industry of being driven by group-think and unable to divert from the narrative it creates, even when new facts dispute it.

The man behind the voices of Mr. Burns and Ned Flanders spared no one in his biting critique of the national news media, with some specifically tough words for Newsweek, CNN and NBC News. Shearer, who worked in journalism before joining the entertainment industry, said his castigation was a labor of love more than angry demagoguery.

“What I’m about to say comes not from hatred, but love of it,” he said during a speech at the National Press Club. “I spent much of my youth around journalism and journalists.”

Shearer visited Washington this week to debut his new film, “The Big Uneasy,” which takes a serious look at the devastation in New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 — and sharply critiques the coverage the catastrophe received from national news outlets. Shearer lives in New Orleans, which he calls his “adopted” hometown.

He made the case, using coverage of Hurricane Katrina, the Iraq War and Wikileaks as examples, that once a “template” is set, news practitioners have a hard time diverting from it.

On Katrina, he recalled the time NBC News anchor Brian Williams told him that viewers prefer personal feature stories over detailed accounts of why the levies broke during the storm.

Read more here.

No Anchor Newscast Debuts Saturday

Houston's Channel 39 reconfigures newscast
NewsFix, Channel 39's much-ballyhooed effort to re-imagine and reconfigure daily newscasts, will launch Saturday with an additional, unexpected twist: Harris County Constable Victor Trevino delivering the station's nightly crime report, according to David Barron at the Houston Chronicle.

The use of an elected official in an on-camera role for the 5 and 9 p.m. shows is perhaps the most jarring of the nontraditional elements of NewsFix, designed by former Tribune Co. executive Lee Abrams as an effort to blow up traditional newscast forms by eliminating anchors and most on-camera reporters.

Keith Monahan, KIAH's longtime meteorologist, left the station last week, and sports anchor Jorge Vargas' final day with the station will be Friday, general manager Roger Bare said. Anchor Mia Gradney, the center of 39's "Watch me at 9" ad campaign, will remain with the station to deliver news updates throughout the day but will not have an on-camera role with NewsFix.

"We are reallocating the screen time that used to go to anchors and reporters and using that to give the viewer more content," Bare said Monday.

"This will still be serious news. We'll start with local and have national and international segments, and each segment will end with some sort of feature. The tone of the newscast will depend on what the stories of the day are."

NewsFix will be narrated by Gregory Onofrio, who has hosted radio shows in Dallas and Houston under the name Grego. Onofrio also will appear on camera for a segment called "Closing Comments."

Read more here.

Katie Couric Talking To ABC

Katie Couric, whose big-money contract as anchor at CBS ends this summer, has been quietly meeting with ABC, according to sources and Michael Shain at

Ben Sherwood, who took over as head of ABC News last December, met last month with Couric to discuss what she wants to do when her $15-million-a-year deal with CBS expires.

Reports earlier this month were that Couric is considering starting a daily talk show in 2012 with her old boss, former NBC chairman Jeff Zucker.

But word that ABC is, as one source put it, "kicking the tires," gives the 54-year-old newswoman some new options.

ABC has no natural openings for Couric right now.

Diane Sawyer started anchoring ABC's nightly newscast just 14 months ago -- and with higher ratings than Couric's at CBS.

The former "Today" show host has said she isn't interested in returning to morning TV, and neither "20/20" nor "Nightline" offer the same daily, high-profile exposure needed to justify her hefty salary.

Still, TV news personalities as famous as Couric do not become available very often and Sawyer, who flew to Japan over the weekend to anchor the evening newscast from the site of last week's tsunami disaster, just turned 65 last December.

It is not known how long she may want to stay on the job.

Read more here.

Also Must Read:

BROADCASTING&CABLE: Couric Talker Looking Likely for 2012

Losing It On 60 Minutes: The Great "Walk-Offs"

See famous interview subjects rip off their microphones and storm off the "60 Minutes" set.

Radio's Steve Kerrigan Loses Battle With Cancer

Miami Valley (in Ohio) radio icon Steve Kerrigan died Monday morning at James Cancer Hospital in Columbus after a lengthy battle with cancer, according to Dave Larsen of the Dayton Daily News.

The retired K-99.1 FM WHKO morning host was 51.

Kerrigan, who will be inducted this year into the Dayton Area Broadcasters Hall of Fame, was remembered as a good man by Donna Hall, senior vice president of marketing for Cox Media Group Ohio.

“He made K-99 a better place,” Hall said. “He was fun and he was energetic. He was a really hard worker, and he was a good friend.”

Nancy Wilson, Kerrigan’s former co-host on K-99.1, called Kerrigan a remarkable talent.
“He could find humor in anything,” Wilson said.

Wilson raised $50,000 for a research grant in Kerrigan’s name as part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2009 Woman of the Year campaign.

Nick Roberts, K-99.1 program director, said it was an honor to have Kerrigan at the station.

“He will always be near to our hearts,” Roberts said.

Before joining Wilson in 2006 on K-99.1, Kerrigan was best known for his 18-year stint with Christopher Geisen on WTUE-FM’s morning show.

Read more here.

Grab News on the Go? Sure. Pay? Nope.

Nearly half of all adult Americans use their mobile devices to get local news and information, but only 1 percent of grown-ups pay for the privilege, according to a new study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.

According to Ian Paul, the recent survey of 2251 American adults also found only 11 percent of people access local news through a mobile app. Presumably, users opt to use the mobile Web and text alerts instead.

The Pew study calls this preference for app alternatives the "app gap." The study considers mobile devices to be both tablets such as the recently launched iPad 2 as well as cell phones.

The study -- done in conjunction with the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Knight Foundation -- finds that weather updates are the primary draw for local information for about 36 percent of all American adults (42 percent of mobile device owners).

Local restaurant and business information was the next most sought-after category, followed by general local news, sports scores, and traffic.

Despite the high interest in getting local information via mobile devices, not many people appear to be interested in paying for it with subscriptions or flat fees. Only 10 percent of adults using mobile apps to get local information pay for the privilege.

The Pew study says that means only 1 percent of people overall are paying for local news on mobile devices.

Read more here.

Read the Pew results here.

Also Must Read:

POYNTER:  The 3 things people want on their mobile devices and how you can provide them

WQHT Features Diverse Crew

'a Black, a Puerto Rican and a Jew' - and wins ratings

Unlike almost every other morning show in radio, Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg of WQHT (97.1 FM, Hot-97) slipped in quietly.

And it worked, according to David Hinckly at

Joined by K. Foxx and billed as "A Black, a Puerto Rican and a Jew," they have crept ahead of perennial leader WHTZ (100.3 FM) in their target audience of 18- to 34-year-olds.

"It's turned out better than we thought it would," says Cipha.

The show has the standard morning mix of music, comedy, gossip, show biz and conversation, but like all good shows, they stamp it their way.

"We don't just do 'urban' topics," says Cipha. "But if there's a story that involves the N-word, say, we'll do it differently from everyone else because of who we are."

At the same time, part of Cipha's own role is to sometimes ask if there's really any story at all. "If someone says 'Real Housewives' or 'Jersey Shore,'" he says, "I'm the guy who goes, 'Uhhhh, why?'"

Meanwhile, Rosenberg plays the white guy in a culture whose artists remain predominantly black.
"Other programmers always told me not to talk about being white," he says. "But that was part of [Hot-97 program director] Ebro's whole concept here."

Read more here.

Opinion: Get NPR Off The Public Dole

From Glenn Garvin The Miami Herald:
Honest — the column you are about to read does not argue that National Public Radio is programmed by Karl Marx. But as I watch NPR’s public-relations counterattack in the wake of the scandals of the past couple of weeks, I can’t help but think of that old Marxist strategy of “heightening the contradictions” of capitalism.

Faced with a serious move in Congress to eliminate their funding, NPR bosses are arguing that losing their taxpayer subsidy would mean the death of journalism, democracy and possibly the devolution of the entire human race. But without even taking a breath they add that federal funding is barely 2 percent of their budget. You don’t need IBM to tell you that those two statements don’t compute.

If just 2 percent of NPR’s money comes from the government, why not just tell Congress to take a flying frack at a rolling doughnut? Two percent, heck, you could make that up on doughnuts. Tens of millions of Americans have taken hits of more than 2 percent in this economy and lived to tell about it. And think of the inner tranquility that 2 percent nip and tuck would buy: Nobody from NPR would ever again have to listen to some braying reactionary complaining that NPR has more practicing witches on its staff than Republicans. (Even if it’s true: NPR reporter Margot Adler is a Wiccan high priestess, while any registered Republicans on the staff remain deeply closeted.)

The answer: NPR gets a lot more than 2 percent of its budget from taxpayers — perhaps 20 times that. It’s completely a creature of government subsidies and cannot possibly survive in anything like its current form if Congress plucks public broadcasting from the federal teat. NPR’s real costs are hidden in a system of back-and-forth payments quaintly known along the Bogota-Miami axis as “money-laundering.”
Read more here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

CBS Chicago Whacks Jack, 104-3 K-Hits Debuts

First Song: 'Beginnings' By Chicago, Listen Here

The all-new 104.3 FM, “K-HITS,” will combine Chicago’s greatest hit music of the 60′s, 70′s & 80′s with personalities that are synonymous with the Windy City including Eddie and Jobo, Gary Spears and Bo Reynolds, among others.

A website posting states the station will showcase a who’s who of the industry’s most successful recording artists. The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Earth, Wind & Fire, Rod Stewart, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, U2, REO Speedwagon, and John Mellencamp are just a few of the bands and musicians that will prominently play on “K-HITS” along with the best of Motown, and top 40 hits of the 70′s and 80′s.

Well-known to Chicago listeners of all ages, Eddie and Jobo are set to anchor “K-HITS’” line-up with their unique brand of comedy interspersed with a variety of music every weekday morning (5:30-10:00AM). Gary Spears, one of the original B96 Hot Hits jocks from 1982-84, follows as host of middays (10:00AM-3:00PM). Spears also could be heard on B96 from 1990-94. Afternoon drive (3:00-8:00PM) will be presented by Bo Reynolds, a Chicago radio veteran who had a successful run on B96 from 1987-90. Evening and weekend talent will be announced at a later date. In the meantime, various guest hosts familiar to Chicago audiences will fill-in during these timeperiods.

Beck's Blaze Praised For NPR Sting Video Analysis

Read more here.

Social Media Plays Role In Quake Family Reunion

Palin Went Rogue On FNC's Ailes

Before Sarah Palin posted her infamous “Blood Libel” video on Facebook on January 12, she placed a call to Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, according to a posting at  In the wake of the Tucson massacre, Palin was fuming that the media was blaming her heated rhetoric for the actions of a madman that left six people dead and thirteen others injured, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Palin told Ailes she wanted to respond, according to a person with knowledge of the call. It wasn’t fair the media was making this about her. Ailes told Palin that she should stay quiet.

“Lie low,” he said. “There’s no need to inject yourself into the story.”

Palin told Ailes that other people had given her that same advice. Her lawyer Bob Barnett is said to have cautioned her about getting involved. The consensus in some corners of Palin's camp was that she faced considerable risks if she spoke out.

But, this being Sarah Palin, she did it anyway.

Ailes was not pleased with her decision, which turned out to be a political debacle for Palin, especially her use of the historically loaded term "blood libel" to describe the actions of the media. “The Tucson thing was horrible,” said a person familiar with Ailes’s thinking. "Before she responded, she was making herself look like a victim. She was winning. She went out and did the blood libel thing, and Roger is thinking, 'Why did you call me for advice?'”

Ailes’s displeasure matters, not only because his network is a holding pen for Republican candidates-in-waiting, but because he is paying Palin a hefty $1 million annual salary while she strings out her decision over whether to run for president.

Read more here.

State Dept. SPOX Quits Over Remarks

State department spokesman P.J. Crowley was forced to resign after his controversial comments about suspected WikiLeaker Bradley Manning, according to multiple reports cits by the

The abrupt resignation came after he criticized the Defense Department's treatment of Manning, who is being held in a military prison accused of giving classified documents to WikiLeaks.

"Mike Hammer will do a great job as my successor at State," Crowley tweeted Sunday afternoon. "He and I worked together 12 years ago on the NSC staff at the White House."

Speaking at an MIT seminar last week, Crowley said Manning was being "mistreated".

"What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the Department of Defense," he said.

An 11-page letter from Manning's lawyer released last week detailed treatment of the Army private that included him being stripped naked, held in solitary confinement and allegedly harassed by prison guards.

Read more here.

Mike Allen, who writes the Politico Playbook, notes:
Administration officials have long wanted to get rid of State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley, and were looking for an ambassadorship for him to avoid a messy exit. Instead, Crowley did the dirty work for them. He resigned Sunday after infuriating the White House, the Pentagon and his own bosses at Foggy Bottom by criticizing the military's treatment of Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of WikiLeaking all those diplomatic cables. "Ambassador" Crowley will now be working on his golf game. He has briefed his last, and will clean out his office this week.
  • Several administration officials said that the Manning defense was simply the LAST STRAW, and that Secretary Clinton had already decided to replace him, for lots of reasons that had nothing to do with Manning. "He's just not a disciplined spox," one official said. "Hasn't ever been." Another official echoed: "In a domain where every word is watched, and every word can have ramifications in other countries, you have to be a little more buttoned-down."
  • What Crowley was thinking: He believes that harsh treatment of Manning is counterproductive, and undermines America's strategic narrative by opening us to challenges about our commitment to freedom of expression - whether we practice what we preach. Crowley is unusually sensitive to the treatment of prisoners because his late father, a B-17 pilot, was a prisoner of war for two years in a camp that at the time was part of East Germany. But that wasn't the main reason for his comments.
  • Secretary Clinton's statement: 'It is with regret that I have accepted the resignation of Philip J. Crowley as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. PJ has served our nation with distinction for more than three decades, in uniform and as a civilian. ... Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) Michael Hammer will serve as Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs," and is likely to be nominated as the permanent successor."
  • Statement by Philip J. Crowley: "My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day ... Given the impact of my remarks, ... I have submitted my resignation."
  • "Morning" Joe Scarborough defended Crowley for saying "what lots of people at the State Department are thinking."

CNBC's Kudlow Apologizes For Quake Comment

CNBC's Larry Kudlow on the earthquake in Japan: "The human toll here looks to be much worse than the economic toll and we can be grateful for that."

He later apologized for the comment on Twitter.

Study: iNet Passes Newspapers As News Source

Platforms: Web rapidly graining ground

By several measures, the state of the American news media improved in 2010, according to a posting by Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell for the Pew Project for Excellens in Journalism.

After two dreadful years, most sectors of the industry saw revenue begin to recover, according to Pew's annual Media report.

With some notable exceptions, cutbacks in newsrooms eased. And while still more talk than action, some experiments with new revenue models began to show signs of blossoming.

According to the report, among the major sectors, only newspapers suffered continued revenue declines last year — an unmistakable sign that the structural economic problems facing newspapers are more severe than those of other media. When the final tallies are in, we estimate 1,000 to 1,500 more newsroom jobs will have been lost—meaning newspaper newsrooms are 30% smaller than in 2000.

People are spending more time with news than ever before, according to Pew Research Center survey data, but when it comes to the platform of choice, the web is gaining ground rapidly while other sectors are losing. In 2010, digital was the only media sector seeing audience growth. And cable news joined the ranks of older media suffering audience decline.

Digital: In December 2010, 41% of Americans cited the internet as the place where they got “most of their news about national and international issues,” up 17% from a year earlier. When it came to any kind of news, 46% of people now say they get news online at least three times a week, surpassing newspapers (40%) for the first time. Only local TV news is a more popular platform in America now (50%). The new wild card in digital is mobile. A new survey released as part of the State of the News Media find finds that 47% of Americans now say they get some kind of local news on mobile devices such as cellphones or other wireless devices (such as iPads). As of January 2011, just 7% of Americans owned electronic tablets, according to our new survey, but that is nearly double from four months prior; and 6% of American adults have e-readers.

Cable News: That activity may explain one other change in the sociology of news consumption in 2010. The audience for cable news in the last year declined substantially. In aggregate, the median viewership fell 13.7% across the entire day in 2010. Prime-time median viewership fell even more, 16% to an average of 3.2 million, according to PEJ’s analysis of Nielsen Market Research data. Daytime fell 12%.
And for the first time in the dozen years Pew monitored this segment, every channel was losing. CNN suffered most. Its median prime-time viewership fell 37% to 564,000 viewers, and MSNBC beat it in total viewers during prime time for the first time. But Fox fell, too, 11%, and MSNBC declined 5%.

Network News: If the losses were new to cable, they were not for network broadcast news. Audiences for almost every network news program fell again in 2010. Evening news audiences fell by 752,000 viewers, or 3.4%, from 2009 and have been on a downward trend for three decades. Network evening news is, however, still an extraordinarily powerful source of information in America. Some 21.6 million people on average watched one of the three programs each night. That is roughly four times the combined number watching each cable news channel’s highest-rated program. In the morning, an average of 12.4 million people tuned in each day over the year, 3% fewer than in 2009. That is the sixth consecutive year of losses. The PBS NewsHour averaged 1.1 million viewers nightly during the 2009-10 season, basically unchanged from the year before.

Newspapers: Print circulation also continued to decline in 2010. Weekday circulation fell 5% and Sunday fell 4.5% year-to-year for the six-month period ending September 30. There is some good news in those numbers, however. The losses in 2009 were double that. Online audience, though imprecisely measured, did grow some, and many papers can claim their overall audience is bigger than ever, but the data suggest that it did not fully compensate for print losses industrywide. One survey, by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, finds the total audience that reads newspapers, in print and online, at least three times a week dropped by six percentage points over the last two years. By this count, 40% of Americans report reading a newspaper in any form, down from 46% in 2008 and 52% in 2006.

Magazines: Circulation for the six news magazines in our report fell 8.9%. By far the largest portion of that, subscriptions, fell 8.6%, but that number is controlled, based on how much magazines want to spend to “buy” readers. Newsstand sales, which is a smaller component, dropped 17.7%. Circulation for the magazine industry as a whole dropped 1.5%.

Audio: Of all the traditional media, the audience for AM/FM radio has remained among the most stable. In all, 93% of Americans listened to AM/FM radio at some point during the week in 2010, according to data from Arbitron, and this has dropped only three percentage points in the last decade. News may have suffered more. According to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, 16% of Americans say they get most of their national and international news from radio, down 6% from 2009. And 34% of Americans said they got some news on the radio “yesterday,” down from 43% in 2000.

NPR, by contrast, has flourished as commercial all-news radio programming has become scarcer. NPR’s audience grew 3% in 2010, according to NPR internal data, to 27.2 million a week. That is up 58% since 2000.

But the biggest change in radio listening may be just ahead. A good deal of radio listening occurs in cars, and we are on the brink of internet radio being widely available there for the first time. Toyota is including Pandora in its multimedia system in all new models in mid-2011.  Pandora also signed a deal with Pioneer that would put its online radio service in at least six other car manufacturers by the end of 2011. People may be ready. More than quarter of Americans (27%) said they were “very interested” in online radio in the car in 2010; this is up 17 percentage points from 2009.

Read more here.