Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Saturday Aircheck

Tom West, BJ105 Orlando circa 1978

The air check of Tom is probably circa early 1978 from the tunes played. The pictures span a time frame from late 1975 to 1979. Tom West was a flamboyant but well respected broadcaster having worked with Paul Drew and RKO, The Storz chain at KOMA and WQAM and of course Rounsaville Radio at WFUN Miami and the program director of BJ-105 Orlando.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Glenn Beck Radio Loses Four More Stations

Glenn Beck’s radio show, syndicated by Premiere Radio, has lost four more affiliates. The Buckley Radio chain reportedly has dropped Beck from four of its stations in Connecticut. Buckley owns 17 stations. 

The stations will drop the show as of April 14.  According to PD Grahame Winters the stations intend to offer more local shows.

"Quite simply, we are making the change in our programming lineup because our listeners have expressed a desire for more locally originated programming featuring issues important to us here at home. This change will more closely align us with that goal."

New York station WOR pulled his show in January, citing poor ratings and WPHT in Philadelphia dropped Beck for local programming earlier this year. Even so, Beck remains the third-biggest radio talk show host in the country, and, according to a source, 88 stations picked up his show in the past year.

KMBZ Kansas City last week demoted Beck's show to a 9pm to midnight slot.

Popular Baseball Players Score With Brand Marketers

A big baseball market and big names can secure players big deals when it comes to marketers -- even those that are retired, according to a story by Wayner Friedman at

SI photo
A new marketability study shows two New York Yankees -- Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera -- as the top players going into the 2011 season. Even then, Derek Jeter is far and a way the biggest name earning more than three times the scores of his nearest competitor (and teammate) Mariano Riveria, according to Nielsen and E-Poll's N-Score ranking.

Jeter posted a national N-Score of 165 and local N-Score of 407. Riveria earned a 56 national and 226 local number.

"With a score more than three times his nearest competitor, it's no wonder he's been the face for Nike, Gatorade, Fleet Bank, Ford, VISA and more," stated Stephen Master, vice president of Nielsen Sports. In third place was Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers, with a 40 national score and a 232 local number. Then comes Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals (40 national; 471 local); Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays (39, 131); Ichiro Suzuki, Seattle Mariners (37; 454); Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves (36, 274); Joe Mauer, Minnesota Twins (36, 620); Alex Rodriguez, New York Yankees (35, 151); and Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies (34, 336).

Read more here.

Former NPR CEO Vivian Schiller: ‘I Will Be Back’

In her first extensive interview since resigning under pressure as National Public Radio’s CEO in early March, Vivian Schiller candidly told the International Women’s Media Foundation, “I will be back…”

At the International Women Media Leaders Conference in Washington this week, Schiller talked about her future in journalism and the importance of women in the news business.

“I will be back in some position at some point in the not too distant future,” Schiller told the IWMF in an exclusive interview.

Veteran broadcaster Susan King, an IWMF advisory board member, questioned Schiller in a wide-ranging interview. Schiller repeatedly stressed that she isn’t out of the game, despite the recent storm surrounding her departure from NPR.

Read and view more highlights here.

Glenn Beck: Why Leave Fox News?

Commentary: Glenn Beck may be the next Oprah

From Jon Friedman's Media Web,
As it turns out, Glenn Beck can be just as provocative off-camera as he is in front of it.

Usually, the questions surrounding Beck surface whenever he says something startling or reckless — such as when he accused President Barack Obama of racism during a 2009 appearance on the popular “Fox & Friends” TV show.

Beck can make headlines by uttering unexpected comments. He recently criticized conservative activist James O’Keefe, who caused a frenzy by bugging a conversation with a then-executive of National Public Radio. And remember, Beck drew a huge audience in Washington when he staged his “Restoring Honor” rally last August.

For now, though, the hottest questions center on Beck’s future plans: Will he stay at Fox News Channel, the No. 1-rated cable-news network? If he leaves, could he expect his audience to follow him? Would Fox News miss him much? And who might replace Beck on the tube?

Beck has established himself as TV’s No. 1 provocateur since arriving at the 5 p.m. spot on Fox News Channel a few years ago. (Fox, like MarketWatch, is a unit of News Corp

But how much longer will Beck call Fox home? His contract expires in December, and there is wide speculation that he will leave and either take over a cable channel or widen his Internet subscription video product. He still has a big following and could also continue to flourish by appearing on the radio and writing books.

There is a precedent for TV stars to take greater control of their business affairs. For instance, Oprah Winfrey, the most beloved star on TV, launched the Oprah Winfrey Network. (And that’s just about the only thing that Beck and the very liberal Oprah might ever be accused of having in common.)

Read more here.

USA Today Rewrites Strategy To Cope With iNet

USA Today, a newspaper created nearly 30 years ago to appeal to people who grew up watching television, is revising its formula to try to counter the Internet's threat to its survival.

Michael Liedtke, at Bloomberg Businessweek reports the nation's second-largest newspaper is expanding its coverage of advertising-friendly topics, designing content for smartphones and tablet computers and refreshing the look of its print edition, whose circulation has fallen by 20 percent over the past three years.

For readers, it means lots of travel tips, gadget reviews, sports features, financial advice and lifestyle recommendations. Top editors say investigative journalism will also be emphasized.

A new design of USA Today's front page was unveiled in late January. The rest of the newspaper will be filled with more of the colorful graphics that made USA Today stand out when Gannett Co. started it in September 1982. The print edition also now includes a few barcodes that can be scanned by a mobile device to view videos and other digital content related to certain stories.

USA Today Publisher Dave Hunke is so confident these changes will pay off that he expects the newspaper in 2011 to boost revenue and circulation, which stands at 1.8 million. That would be the first time both categories have gained in four years.

Read more here.

WAXX Races Return to 104.5 FM After Tower Collapse

The collapse of WEAU-TV's broadcast tower near Fairchild Tuesday night also left top-rated WAXX-FM (104.5) exiled from its home on the dial, according to a story by Jon Swedien, Eau Claire Leader-Telegram.

But Maverick Media, which owns the country music radio station, is working "at a breakneck speed" to return WAXX to 104.5 FM, said George Roberts, vice president and market manager.

In the Eau Claire area, Roberts said, the station could return to its normal frequency by Tuesday, if weather permits.

"I'm literally having a transmitter trucked here from Nova Scotia," Roberts said Thursday, noting the company is planning to attach it to a tower behind its office in Altoona.

The station also is working to secure several leases for other broadcast towers in the region in an effort to duplicate the reach of the fallen 1,998-foot broadcast tower in eastern Eau Claire County, Roberts said.

Before the crash the station's signal reached as far north as Rice Lake, as far west as Hudson, as far east as Marshfield and as far south as Portage, according to a company statement.

In the meantime, the company is broadcasting WAXX from sister station 92.9 FM, which reaches listeners in Eau Claire and Chippewa counties. Roberts said Maverick Media had moved WAXX to 92.9 by early Wednesday - temporarily ousting the classic rock format known as "The Big Cheese" from the airwaves - because of WAXX's popularity.

Read more here.

Also Must Read:

NORTHEAST RADIO WATCH: WEAU-TV Transmitter Site, Eau Claire, WI, 1966-2011

N/T Radio KMBZ-AM To Add FM Simulcast

The national trend of moving news and talk radio to the FM dial has come to Kansas City, reports Aaron Barnhart at the Kansas City Star.

On Wednesday, KMBZ-AM (980) will begin simulcasting on 98.1 FM, currently the home of longtime adult rock station KUDL. Entercom Communications Corp., which owns KMBZ and seven other frequencies in Kansas City, has done the same with its news-talk stations in New Orleans and Greenville, Miss.

“We are putting KMBZ, which has been a hugely successful station over the years, in a position where it can reach a larger audience,” said Dave Alpert, who oversees the Kansas City market for Entercom, one of the nation’s largest radio groups.

Making the move possible was a station shuffle that will combine two stations into one. KUDL, which appealed to older female listeners, will merge with 99.7 FM KGEX. Alpert said the new station would call itself The Point and launch Monday with a simulcast at 98.1 and 99.7 for 48 hours.

The Point will also expand its playlist to include songs that Alpert thinks will appeal to listeners of the former Star 102. That format was wiped out recently by the station’s owner, Wilks Broadcast Group.

KUDL morning show host Tanna Guthrie will move to The Point afternoons, and longtime morning-show host Kelly Urich, formerly of Mix 93.3, will be The Point’s morning man. KUDL afternoon host Roger Carson will move to Entercom’s country station, 106.5 The Wolf.

The move is expected to boost KMBZ’s ratings considerably, if the experience of other cities is any indication. Other longtime news and talk stations, such as Salt Lake City’s KSL and San Francisco’s KCBS, boosted their audiences using FM simulcasts.

According to data from Arbitron, the 12 most-listened-to stations in Kansas City in February were music formats. KMBZ was ranked 13th, WHB-AM (810) 15th and KCUR-FM (89.3) 18th.

KMBZ has been hurt by the switch of ratings company Arbitron from paper diaries to portable people meters. KMBZ was often a top-five station in the diary era. But starting in 2009, listening was measured with a meter that people wore everywhere. Critics say that method tended to reward music stations, which could be played in the background.

Alpert said he had no plans to move KMBZ off the AM dial, as Entercom did with the former “61 Country,” now The Wolf. Entercom owns two other AM stations in town, 610 Sports and KXTR (1610).

Read more here.

Radio Personality Scotty O’Neil Dies Onstage

Las Vegas Radio personality Scotty O’Neil, for more than a decade the popular sidekick and announcer on the “The Dennis Bono Show,” collapsed suddenly and died onstage during a taping of Bono’s show at South Point Showroom. He was 69.

The Las Vegas Sun reports Lorraine Hunt-Bono, Dennis Bono’s wife and owner of Bootlegger Bistro, confirmed that O’Neil died this afternoon. No official cause of death has yet been determined. O’Neil is survived by his wife of 15 years, Kristy Killian.

In a statement released Thursday evening, Dennis Bono said:
"I am sad to announce the passing of my dear friend and co-host Scotty O’Neil. Scotty was an important part of my life as both a personal friend and a working partner. For over eleven years, he has been a pivotal part of The Dennis Bono Show. Scotty was a very talented consummate professional and a man of great integrity and character. Scotty passed onstage doing what he loved. We are devastated at his loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time. Scotty's voice will continue to be heard over the airways as the voice of The Dennis Bono Show. I will always miss my sidekick."
After a routine start to today’s broadcast, O’Neil dropped from the interview couch to the floor during a commercial break while he was talking to guest Corrie Sachs, who portrays Reba McEntire in “Country Superstars Tribute” at the Golden Nugget. The tragedy unfolded 15 minutes into the show. Paramedics’ efforts to revive O’Neil onstage were unsuccessful, and he was taken to St. Rose Dominican Hospital’s Siena Campus.

O’Neil was a former morning DJ at KJUL 104.3-FM, leaving the station when it changed formats from adult standards to country in 2005. He joined Bono’s syndicated variety show when it launched in 2000 at Sam’s Town. The show is spiced with Las Vegas acts, is performed for a live audience and also airs on several local AM and FM stations.

Before moving to Las Vegas, O’Neil had a long and distinguished career as a radio personality in Los Angeles and studied broadcast journalism at UCLA.

Read more here.

US Census Is All About Hispanic, Local

This is a very big year for the Census and not just for the obvious reason that new national Census numbers are forthcoming. The new data, which will be trickling out in coming days, reveal some profound shifts in demographic trends that will have major implications for marketers: You had better start thinking local, advises Karl Greenberg at

It might help marketers that for the very first time, the Census will be putting out annual small-area data. The yearly data will look at occupational distribution, educational attainment, commuting patterns, housing, and socioeconomic status, according to Robert Groves, director of the U.S. Census Bureau.

"This has never happened before," noted Groves. "In prior years, we offered a big dose of data every 10 years, which became less and less valuable as the years passed." He said the new product, The American Community Survey, is based on ongoing polling of three million households.

He says this local data, free to advertisers, will be a valuable tool for targeted marketing. "If I were an advertiser, I'd study patterns in geographic areas and use those data to target messages and in-language media buys for areas with large non-English speaking populations."

Another growing sub-population with profound marketing implications are people with a multi-racial self-identity, according to Groves. "This is still single-digit but it is growing 30% to 50% state by state," he said. "This is critical because many of these people have feet in two cultures, so they should be great for translating across cultures, which is great for the advertising industry."

Groves spoke at a morning general session of the Advertising Research Foundation conference.

Read more here.

Opinion: Liberal Bias at NPR?

Surveys show that millions of conservatives choose NPR, even with powerful conservative alternatives on the radio

From Steve Inskeep For The Wall Street Journal

Read more here.

Inskeep is co-host of NPR's "Morning Edition."

Also Must Read:

DAILY FINANCE: Guess Who's Making Money? NPR
The facts show that NPR attracts a politically diverse audience of 33.7 million weekly listeners to its member stations on-air. In surveys by GfK MRI, most listeners consistently identify themselves as "middle of the road" or "conservative." Millions of conservatives choose NPR, even with powerful conservative alternatives on the radio.

I've met an incredible variety of listeners in my travels. The audience includes students, peace activists, and American soldiers I met in Iraq. They're among many people in the military who rely on NPR's international coverage. When I was NPR's Pentagon correspondent, I discovered that it's a prize beat, because on every base you meet people who already know who you are. Many other Americans are listening in places like Indiana, my home state, or Kentucky, where I first worked in public radio. Not much of the media pays attention to the middle of the country, but NPR and its local stations do. Many NPR stations have added news staff as local newspapers have declined.

Conservatives in our diverse audience let us know when they disagree with our coverage—as do liberals, who've sent notes for years to advise me that I am conservative. Most listeners understand that we're all figuring out the world together, calmly and honestly, in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

NPR's audience keeps expanding because Americans want more than toxic political attacks. They want news. Think again of my colleagues in Libya, going forward to bear witness amid exploding shells. Is that liberal or conservative? Maybe it's neither. It's an honest and honorable effort to keep Americans informed.

Sarah Palin: "I'm Through Whining About Liberal Press"

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Whoopi Goldberg Explodes At Donald Trump

President Obama's birth certificate discussed on 'The View'

Sports Radio: What’s Wrong With Nick Wright?

From Dugan Arnett,

The other day, Nick Wright, the gangly 26-year-old host of 610am KCSP Sports Radio’s “What’s Wright With Nick Wright,” was lounging on the sofa of his Overland Park apartment, talking about how talented he is.

This was a Thursday night, sometime around 9 p.m., and as he spoke, he was nursing a wine cooler and splitting his attention between a visitor and a nearby television, which was broadcasting a steady stream of college basketball highlights. He had just finished providing a detailed and unsolicited account of how intelligent he happens to be (“I crushed the SATs”), how regularly he is recognized around town (“a lot”) and how, had he not decided to pursue a career in radio, he would have almost certainly become a very successful doctor or lawyer (“I could have gone to Harvard, probably”), and now he was leaning forward in his seat and explaining that, when you really break it down, there isn’t a sane individual on this planet who could listen to his radio show and not conclude that it is, without question, the best sports-talk program in Kansas City.

“You can take the Pepsi-goddamn-Challenge with my show,” Wright was saying, turning away from the television to make sure his remarks were being met with the appropriate level of fervor. “You listen to my show for a week, my show will either entertain you more or make you think more or make you angrier. One of the three.

“But there’s nobody that can listen to my show for a week and not acknowledge that it’s superior,” he added. “That, I know.”

As he was saying this, for instance, his show (on KCSP) sat in a distant eighth place in the market in its demographic, trailing, among others, a classic rock show (Skid Roadie on 101 the Fox), an irreverent drive-time show (“The Church of Lazlo” on 96.5 the Buzz) and a conservative political show (“Shanin & Parks” on 980 KMBZ). It ranked seven spots behind Sports Radio 810’s “Between the Lines” with Kevin Kietzman, the city’s oldest and most listened to sports-radio program.

Wright is unquestionably bright and unquestionably talented. He graduated from Syracuse University’s prestigious S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and has done so much so quickly that, when reached by phone recently, the man in charge of radio recruiting for ESPN knows precisely who you’re talking about when you mention the name Nick Wright. But the fact remains that, on any given day, roughly twice as many people tune in to Kietzman’s show than Wright’s.

Read more here.

Webcast To Recreate NYC's WOR-FM

Allan Sniffen, who runs the New York Radio Message Board and several New York music radio history websites, will re-create the entire 1969 WOR-FM "All-Time Top 300 Countdown."

According to a story by David Hinckley at, Sniffen's show, which he'll host, starts Friday at 4 p.m., lasts 15 hours and will continue through the weekend. It can be heard on the Internet at

He's done it, Sniffen says, in classic WOR-FM style, with long music sets and some personality. The songs run from the mid-1950s through 1969, and Sniffen says listeners will hear some surprises.

A number of songs considered classics in 1969, he says, are almost forgotten today. In fact, he had to dig to find some of them.

WOR-FM was in many ways the predecessor station to oldies WCBS-FM. Joe McCoy, who programmed WCBS-FM through its first long golden age in the 1980s and 1990s, was a WOR-FM alumnus. The station, at 98.7, became 'XLO in the '70s and then WRKS in 1981.

Read more here.

Lincoln to Sponsor New York Times Readers

New York Times Co.'s efforts to charge readers to read online articles will get an early boost from one advertiser—Ford Motor Co.'s Lincoln brand.

Lincoln, an existing advertiser with the New York Times, has targeted 200,000 heavy readers of the newspaper's website with an offer to sponsor their digital subscription for 2011, according to a story by Nat Worden and Jon Kamp at

Lincoln won't pay the actual subscription costs for those taking part, but the car maker will increase its online ad spending with the publisher. Details of the arrangement weren't disclosed Lincoln will make an online pitch for the free Times access to targeted customers through emails.

The offer is expected to provide the publisher with around 100,000 digital subscribers in its initial foray into the thorny business of getting consumers to pay for online access to news content that they have long enjoyed free.

Last week, Times Co. announced plans to charge $15 a month to non-print subscribers reading more than 20 articles a month on The publisher hopes the subscription will stem declines at its print business and lay the groundwork for a new revenue stream that can help it flourish on the web. It will continue offering a limited amount of online content for free in order to avoid causing a drop-off in the large numbers of readers that find their way to its site periodically from news aggregators, bloggers and social media platforms.

Other news publishers grappling with their own print declines are watching the experiment closely as a potential new business model in the digital age.

Read more here.

Iced Tower Collapse Knocks 2 Stations Off Air

It may be reminiscent of a Beatles song, but WEAU-TV (Channel 13) got a little help from friends after its monstrous transmission tower north of Fairchild tumbled to the ground Tuesday night.

According to a story by Chuck Rupnow at, the Eau Claire, WI station returned to the airways rather quickly Wednesday, after a combination of ice and wind reaching speeds of 40 mph took down the majority of a 1,998-foot tower that was, until then, the state's tallest artificial structure.

There was a report that ice as thick as 3½ inches surrounded portions of the tower's frame.

The structure went down at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday along Highway H in the town of Fairchild, a remote area of eastern Eau Claire County. Parts of the tower fell in different directions and closed the highway, which received some damage, according to the Eau Claire County Highway and Sheriff's departments.

Metal from the 45-year-old tower was strewn across the roadway but was cleared from the road late Wednesday afternoon. It was uncertain when the road would be reopened to traffic, largely because of damage to the highway.

Terry McHugh, WEAU's vice president and general manager, said a combination of efforts among other broadcast stations and a cable provider allowed WEAU to return to the airways at about 10:35 a.m. Wednesday.

"I have to thank our fellow broadcasters," McHugh said. "They all came together to help us. Their response was phenomenal."

The collapsed tower also was used by Maverick Media radio stations. WAXX-FM temporarily switched Wednesday from its normal 104.5 frequency to 92.9.

McHugh said he was working with Maverick Media to have signals transmitted from WEAU's 1,000-foot tower in Eau Claire. Maverick Media officials could not be reached Wednesday afternoon.

Read more here.

NBC's Richard Engel Has Close Call In Libya

Chris Brown Meltdown: ABC Won't Press Charges

Chris Brown's reputation may be tarnished, but his midtown meltdown has yet to blemish his criminal record. ABC has decided not to press any charges against the R&B singer following his volatile meltdown backstage at "Good Morning America" on Tuesday, the reported.

Police arrived to ABC studios shortly after Brown threw a tantrum following his interview with co-host Robin Roberts, who asked him about his infamous 2009 attack on former girlfriend Rihanna. The 21-year-old singer stormed into his dressing room screaming and smashed a window - sending shards of glass falling onto the streets of Times Square below – and was pictured storming out of building shirtless.

Chris Brown Apologizes for 'GMA' Outburst

Brown, who is still on probation for the assault on RiRi, would be facing time behind bars if a judge deemed his act of vandalism in violation of his probation.

"Probation isn't looking into anything with regards to Chris Brown," Kerri Webb, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Probation Department, told the Daily News.

Read more here.

Seattle Cops Now Issuing Video Statements

 Are they avoiding questions from the media?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

GMA Extends Return Invite To Chris Brown

Good Morning America has invited Chris Brown back to the show -- even though he stormed off set Tuesday, threw a cooler and allegedly broke a window because he was so angry about being asked about Rihanna, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

"I wish him the absolute best," Robin Roberts said on GMA Wednesday morning. "We extended the invitation to him [to come back], and sure hope he takes us up on it because I'd sure love to have another chat with him."

Roberts conducted the interview with Brown Tuesday that caused him to storm off the set after performing a single from his new album, F.A.M.E. (The Hollywood Reporter notes: She was also one of the first to interview him after he was arrested in 2009 for his altercation with Rihanna.)

Read more here.

Personalize Your Own Sports Station With Slacker

Attention sports fans, the tournament between rival music subscription services has taken another turn, with Slacker Radio adding ESPN audio content to its suite of offerings. is reporting Slacker is announcing Wednesday that ESPN content — from multiple programs (national and regional), including Mike & Mike in the Morning, SportsCenter, The Herd With Colin Cowherd — will soon be available on the web, in-app and on connected devices.

Users will have the ability to get ESPN SportsCenter headlines as hourly updates on a Slacker music station, to create their own stations composed of preferred sports programming and to listen to a station comprising dedicated ESPN content.www.spotify.
Slacker also lets its users cache stations for offline listening, so this should be especially useful for underground commuters.

This addition is sure to give the service an edge over some of its competitors (like Rdio, MOG and Spotify), which do not include content aside from music. (Satellite radio services like Sirius do offer such content.)

Last summer, Slacker integrated ABC News into its stable of content, allowing users to customize their news consumption as well as incorporate it into their Slacker stations. Now the service — which is set to launch its on-demand offering soon, as well as get into the in-car game — will likely be able to appeal to a wider audience.

Those who use Slacker’s free service will have access to the ESPN station, while those who pay for the service will have unlimited access to sports content: ad-free programming, unlimited skips, the ability to personalize stations and the option to add hourly updates to other stations.

Read more here.

WKSC-FM Waits For Brotha Fred To Catch On

From Robert Feder, Time Out Chicago:

Read more here.
In the two months that Christopher “Brotha’ Fred” Frederick (pictured left) has been hosting mornings at Top 40 WKSC-FM (103.5), he hasn’t exactly set Chicago radio on fire in the ratings.

But officials of the Clear Channel Radio station say there’s no reason at all for concern, insisting that they’re “very pleased with the early success” of their new morning show.

Arbitron Portable People Meter ratings released this week show Kiss FM down slightly in mornings from January to February among listeners between the ages of 18 and 34 (the station’s target demographic), falling from seventh place with a 4.2 percent share to eighth with 4.0 share. Among all listeners age 12 and older, the station was flat on a month-to-month basis, ranking 19th with a 1.8 share.

During the same period, Kiss FM’s main competitor, CBS Radio rhythmic Top 40 WBBM-FM (96.3), held onto second place in the 18-to-34 demo, though its morning team of Jamar “J Niice” McNeil and Julian Nieh dropped from a 6.4 share to a 6.2. Among all listeners, B96 moved up in mornings from 12th place with a 2.6 to 11th place with a 2.7.

Frederick, who’d been touted as a rising star at Clear Channel Radio’s WIBT-FM in Charlotte, N.C., joined Kiss FM January 17  — about a month after the station dropped seven-year veteran Kevin “DreX” Buchar, citing declining ratings.

If Frederick’s first monthly ratings report had shown a dramatic improvement, Clear Channel no doubt would be shouting the news from the rooftops. But it’s not unreasonable to argue that it’s too early to draw any conclusions at this point.

Report: Glenn Beck Contemplates Starting Own Channel

The possibility that Glenn Beck will exit the Fox News Channel at the end of the year has prompted a big question in media circles: if he leaves, how will he bring his considerable audience with him?

Two of the options Mr. Beck has contemplated, according to people who have spoken about it with him, are a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web, writes Brian Stetler at

Reports this week that Joel Cheatwood, a senior Fox News executive, would soon join Mr. Beck’s growing media company, Mercury Radio Arts, were the latest indication that Mr. Beck intended to leave Fox, a unit of the News Corporation, when his contract expired at the end of this year.

Notably, Mr. Beck’s company has been staffing up — making Web shows, some of which have little or nothing to do with Mr. Beck, and charging a monthly subscription for access to the shows.

Were Mr. Beck to set off on his own, it would be a landmark moment for the media industry, reflecting a shift in the balance of power between media institutions and the personal brands of people they employ.

Mr. Beck, a conservative who often comes under criticism for his attacks on progressives and apocalyptic predictions, hosts a syndicated radio show in the morning and a Fox News show in the afternoon.

Read more here.

Chris Brown Storms Off Set of 'GMA'

R&B singer Chris Brown stormed off the set of "Good Morning America" today after co-anchor Robin Roberts asked him about his domestic abuse incident with Rihanna, according to

"What's going on now is recently the restraining order has been relaxed," Roberts began, referring to the restraining order placed on Brown after his 2009 altercation with his pop star ex-girlfriend. "Have you all seen each other, been around each other?"

"I mean, not really," Brown replied. "It's not really a big deal to me now as far as that situation. I think I'm past that in my life. I think today's the album day so that's what I'm focused on. Everybody go get that album."

Roberts asked Brown about the situation two more times; Brown seemed increasingly agitated as their conversation progressed. After the interview, Brown performed "Yeah 3x," the lead single off his new album, "F.A.M.E." The moment the song ended, he let loose.

ABC News released a statement following the incident: "As always, we ask questions that are relevant and newsworthy, and that's what we did in this interview with Mr. Brown."

Read more here.

Today: Will Chris Brown Bounce Back?

Providence TV Station Sells For $4-Million

Citadel Communications LLC, a small broadcasting company based in Bronxville, N.Y., submitted the winning bid of $4 million for financially troubled Channel 6, WLNE-TV, in Superior Court, Providence, Tuesday.

According to a story by Andy Smith at, Citadel was the only one of four bidders present who had reached an agreement with ABC, and that proved to be the decisive factor. Channel 6 is an ABC affiliate, which allows it to air ABC programming. Citadel already owns four TV stations in the Midwest, three of them ABC affiliates.

The other bidders for Channel 6 were a group led by former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino, which bid about $2.2 million; Brine Broadcasting, led by former WPRO-AM general manager Mitch Dolan, which bid $4.2 million; and Liberty Investors Group of Florida, which bid $4.3 million.

Matthew J. McGowan, the court-appointed receiver for the station, recommended the court accept offers from bidders without ABC agreements only if they were willing to put the full bid amount upfront. Subsequently, Brine Broadcasting and Liberty withdrew their bids.

The current affiliation agreement between ABC and Channel 6 is due to expire March 31. McGowan said he was disappointed that ABC had not reached an agreement with at least one other party, which could have resulted in competitive bidding.

Jennifer V. Doran of Hinckley, Allen & Snyder, who represented the network, told the court ABC had been in contact with the other bidders, but had only reached an agreement with Citadel.

Stations: Citadel also owns WOI-DT in Des Moines, Iowa (ABC); WHBF in Rock Island, Ill. (CBS); KLKN in Lincoln, Neb. (ABC); and KCAU in Sioux City, Iowa (ABC).

Read more here.

Howard Stern Sues SiriusXM Over Unpaid Fees

Howard Stern is going after his bosses again, accusing SiriusXM of treating the King of All Media like a peon.

According to a story by Jose Martinez at, Stern's production company, One Twelve Inc., and his agent, Don Buchwald, Tuesday sued the satellite radio company, charging that it reneged on promised payouts.

The suit, filed in Manhattan Supreme Court, says SiriusXM stiffed Stern on performance-based incentives after he delivered millions more subscribers to satellite radio than ever expected.

"Now that Stern has put the company on the map, brought in millions of subscribers and helped it conquer its chief rival, Sirius has unilaterally decided that Stern has been paid enough," the suit says.

The raunchy radio jock and K-Rock star debuted on Sirius in January 2006, taking a reported $500 million deal to help the then-fledgling satellite radio company take on its bigger rival, XM.

As part of the deal, the suit says, Sirius offered One Twelve a series of stock awards if the company surpassed its subscriber goals in any year of his five-year contract by 2 million or more subscribers.

"Sirius set the subscriber targets high with the idea that if Stern delivered, Sirius would more than recoup its investment in Stern," the suit says. "Stern delivered beyond expectations."

Stern star re-signed with SiriusXM for another five years in December.

Read more here.

News Corp. Exec's New Rallying Cry: Pay Up

LA Times Profiles #2 Man At News Corp.

Bloomberg photo
In Chase Carey's first stint at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., he was instrumental in reinventing Fox and turning it into a credible contender against the big three networks.

For his encore, he wants to reinvent the media business, according to a story by Joe Flint and Dawn C. Chmielewski at the LA Times.

Since leaving satellite broadcaster DirecTV almost 22 months ago to succeed Peter Chernin as the No. 2 at News Corp. under Murdoch, Carey has moved quickly to wrangle new sources of revenue for the media giant that owns broadcast and cable networks, newspapers, a movie studio and MySpace.

At the same time, Carey has pulled News Corp. back from placing big, costly bets on the digital future. Instead, he has adopted a cautious approach in weighing how to get the company's news, movies and TV shows in front of new audiences — and ensuring the company is paid for it.

Carey — most likely to succeed Murdoch as chief executive should the octogenarian mogul step back before his heirs are ready to take the reins — is signaling a new, pragmatic, show-me-the-money mantra as he exerts his influence at a company matched in the public's mind with Fox News and episodes of "Glee."

As president and chief operating officer with a 2010 pay package valued at $26 million, Carey is responsible for overseeing $33 billion in revenue.

Read more here.

News Comes Old-Fashioned Way: Via Paper

In Ishinomaki Japan, Nobody tweeted or blogged or e-mailed. They didn’t telephone either. Bereft of electricity, gasoline and gas, this tsunami-traumatized town did things the really old-fashioned way — with pen and paper, according to a story by Andrew Higgins at The Washington Post.

Unable to operate its 20th-century printing press — never mind its computers, Web site or 3G mobile phones — the town’s only newspaper, the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun, wrote its articles by hand with black felt-tip pens on big sheets of white paper.

But unlike modern media, the method worked.

“People who suffer a tragedy like this need food, water and, also, information,” said Hiroyuki Takeuchi, chief reporter at the Hibi Shimbun, an afternoon daily. “People used to get their news from television and the Internet. But when there is no light and no electricity, the only thing they have is our newspaper.”

While recent political ferment across the Arab world has trumpeted the power of new media, the misery in Japan, one of the world’s most wired nations, has rolled back the clock. For a few days at least, the printed and handwritten word were in the ascendant.

After writing and editing articles, Takeuchi and others on staff copied their work onto sheets by hand for distribution to emergency relief centers housing survivors of Japan’s worst-ever earthquake and deadly tsunami that followed.

“They were desperate for information,” said Takeuchi, who has slept in the office for the 10 days since the tsunami flooded the ground floor of his house.

With electricity now restored to about a third of the northeast town’s 160,000 residents, Takeuchi’s newspaper has put away its pens and started printing. Internet access is still not available. Monday’s printed front page cheered a “miraculous rescue drama” — the story of an 80-year-old woman and her 16-year-old grandson plucked from their ruined Ishinomaki home Sunday.

Down the coast in Sendai, a once-thriving city of more than 1 million, the digital juggernaut has also come to a halt. “In conditions like these, nothing has power like paper,” said Masahiko Ichiriki, president and owner of Kahoku Shimpo, the city’s main newspaper. With most shops shut, people can’t buy batteries to power radios.

The collapse of the region’s electrical system has shut down Sendai’s computers and television sets, but Ichiriki’s Sendai newspaper has published throughout. It even put out a single-page flash edition on the evening of the tsunami.

Read more here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Radio Station Back-On Air After Burglary


Less than 48 hours after being silenced by a burlgar, WCYC-LP/105.1 FM in London is back on the air.
Police recovered stolen equipment from a WCYC-LP in a London apartment early Tuesday morning.
According to London police, the equipment was stolen from the radio station, which is located inside the Armory Building during the overnight hours between March 20-21.

Police said the equipment was recovered along with two stolen vehicles early Tuesday.

WCYC-LP Sports Director Rick Hartman said that three soundboards, three microphones, three headphones, speakers and other equipment were stolen from the station, which is located inside the Armory Building.

Non-profit WCYC-LP in London, Ohio vows to return to the air.

Media Mogul Salaries Swell In 2010

Read more here.

CNN Reporter Ballistic Over Human Shield Report

CNN correspondent Nic Robertson has a bone or two to pick with Fox News, which reported Monday that he and other journalists were used by the Libyan Ministry of Information as human shields, in a successful bid to block a coming, second attack on a compound in Tripoli, supposedly controlled by Qaddafi.

Brian Beutler at quotes Robertson as telling Wold Blitzer "[T]his allegation is outrageous and it's absolutely hypocritical. When you come to somewhere like Libya, you expect lies and deceit from a dictatorship here. You don't expect it from the other journalists."

Fox claims their own correspondent, Steve Harrigan, declined to accept the invitation from the Libyans for fear of being used as a propaganda tool, and perhaps a human shield. But Robertson claims Fox did indeed send an employee on the trip -- not a regular news guy -- and that Harrigan has been asleep on the job since hostilities began.

"I see him more times at breakfast than out on trips with government officials here," Robertson said.

Read more here. 

Jared Max Hops Dial from WCBS-AM to WEPN

One of the best-known voices on New York morning news radio is sliding a few notches up the dial.

Jared Max, morning sports anchor on 880 AM WCBS since 1999, is jumping to 1050 AM WEPN (ESPN Radio), where he will do sports updates for the Mike & Mike morning team, host his own 5-6 a.m. show and be in line for special projects and possibly some television.

"I love WCBS-AM," Max told David Hinckley at "But the opportunities here are beyond anything I could have done there. I'm excited, I'm anxious, and I hope that after a few weeks I'll say, 'You know, this is a really fun job.' "

Max starts April 18 at 1050, where general manager Dave Roberts says the station is "thrilled" to have him. "The fact someone of Jared's talent and stature is coming here says a lot about our station and presents us with a great opportunity," he says.

Roberts says Max will further strengthen the "local presence" of 1050, which is part of the ESPN network and has been fighting an uphill battle against sports-talk rival WFAN (660 AM).

Max says the 5-6 a.m. show will be his first chance to stretch beyond the tight format of WCBS-AM. But he says listeners will recognize his style.

"I'll do the same things I've done at WCBS," he says. "Lots of interviews. Music and pop culture references that help tell the sports story. I'll take calls, but I don't want it to be just a sports-talk show. I think I can do things that a lot of the sports radio guys aren't that tuned in to."

Read more here.

Report: A Renaissance For Radio

More listeners are tuning in

Radio stations are receiving a surprisingly strong signal from audiences and the financial markets this year, even as they face intensifying competition from satellite and Web-based audio services including Sirius XM Satellite Radio XM and Pandora, according to David Lieberman at USA Today.

An average of 241.6 million people 12 and older listened to conventional radio stations each week last year, an increase of 2.1 million over 2009 — and up 4.9% vs. 2005, according to an annual study that media and marketing research company Arbitron released Monday.

"Radio is much stronger than the general perception of it has been," says Carol Hanley, Arbitron's executive VP of sales and marketing.

The report follows the announcement this month of the biggest radio deal in years: Cumulus Media, the No. 2 station owner, agreed to buy No. 3 Citadel Media for cash and stock that values Citadel at $2.4 billion.

Cumulus will have 572 stations if federal antitrust officials approve the union. That would trail industry leader Clear Channel, with more than 850 stations.

The industry still faces challenges. From 2000 through 2010, teens and young adults cut their radio-listening time in half as they became infatuated with the Internet, cellphones and video games, Edison Research reported.

Yet stations appear to be getting a lift from their ability to adapt to local tastes. Radio owners "can shift their programming very quickly," says Howard Bass, senior media and entertainment partner with consulting firm Ernst & Young. "That's why they're so resilient."

That has helped radio appeal to the growing Hispanic population. The number of Hispanic radio listeners increased 1.1 million last year, Arbitron says, as stations picked up on programming formats for Spanish-speaking audiences.

For example, Texas now has 154 Spanish-language stations, up from 25 in 2000.

Read more here.

Group Pushes NYC Radio Stations on Beck

The Jewish Funds for Justice is claiming a partial victory in its effort to keep Glenn Beck's radio program out of the United States' largest media market.

The foundation, which targeted seven New York radio stations, says that five of those stations have agreed  they will not pick up Beck’s show.

WABC, WBBR, WVNH, WVOX, WWRL, WNYM and WMCA were identified by Jewish Funds for Justice as potential new homes for the conservative media titan, said a spokesperson for Jewish Funds for Justice in an email to POLITICO. All but WNYM and WMCA have agreed not to pick up Beck's show, which was dropped by New York's NewsTalk WOR in January.

The spokesperson said to his knowledge, none of those seven stations has run Beck's program in the past, but he did note that WNYM and WMCA are owned by Salem Communications, which he said airs Beck's radio program in other markets. Those two stations have not agreed to Jewish Funds for Justice's request to abstain from airing Beck's show.

Read more here.

YouTube Will Be a $1.3B Business in 2011

YouTube has grown up fast of the last several years, with more than 35 hours of videos being uploaded every minute. And with the firm monetizing more than 2 billion video views each week, the amount of money YouTube makes is accelerating dramatically, with one analyst estimating that the video site could top $1.3 billion in revenues this year, according to a posting by Ryan Lawler at

Citi analyst Mark Mahaney gave an update on the YouTube forecast as part of his “Updating The Long Thesis – Five Key Updates” research note issued this morning. In it, Mahaney estimated that YouTube revenues were approximately $825 million in 2010, and are expected to grow to $1.3 billion in 2011 and $1.7 billion in 2012.

At the same time, the amount of money that Google actually takes home after deducting the revenue share from its partners will grow from $544 million in 2010 to $876 million this year and $1.1 billion in 2012.

Read more here.

Freed Times Journalists Give Account of Captivity

The Libyan government freed four New York Times journalists on Monday, six days after they were captured while covering the conflict between government and rebel forces in the eastern city of Ajdabiya.

Turkish Ministry photo
According to a story by Jeremy W. Peters at, they were released into the custody of Turkish diplomats and crossed safely into Tunisia in the late Monday afternoon, from where they provided a harrowing account of their captivity.

Like many other Western journalists, the four had entered the rebel-controlled eastern region of Libya over the Egyptian border without visas to cover the insurrection against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. They were detained in Ajdabiya by forces loyal to Colonel Qaddafi.

The journalists are Anthony Shadid, The Times’s Beirut bureau chief, who has won two Pulitzer Prizes for international reporting; two photographers, Tyler Hicks and Lynsey Addario, who have extensive experience in war zones; and a reporter and videographer, Stephen Farrell, who in 2009 was captured by the Taliban in Afghanistan and was rescued by British commandos.

After The New York Times reported having lost contact with the journalists last Tuesday, officials with the Qaddafi government pledged that if they had been detained by the government’s military forces, they would be located and released unharmed.

Read more here.

Report: CBS News Top-Performing Media Site

MSNBC Most Improved

CBS News was named the top media Web site in 2010, followed by Yahoo News and The New York Times, according to an annual report rating sites based on actual Web performance rather than content.

According to Mark Walsh at Online Media Daily, the awards handed out by Gomez, a unit of Compuware that specializes in Web optimization, are based on three basic criteria: how fast a home page loads, how reliably it loads, and how consistently it loads across different locations, networks and times of day.

As part of its ongoing benchmarking, Gomez monitors more than 3,000 Web and mobile sites with more than 20 million tests conducted on a network of 150 Internet backbone locations and 150,000 desktop computers across the U.S.

In addition to media, Gomez named best-performing sites in several other categories.

Among them, Regions Bank had the top banking site; Fidelity took top honors among online brokers; United Health had the top health site; consumer electronics dealer Newegg was tops in retail; and Delta was No. 1 among airline sites.

MSNBC was cited as the most improved media site, improving its page load time 39%.

Read more here.

Local Ad Spending Will Shift Toward Daily Deals

Local online media is set to undergo a transformation. Advertisers will make a steady shift to digital media spending. There will be “tremendous” daily changes in where ad dollars go. And the deal-a-day industry is poised for strong growth, reports Bill Kirtz at NetNewsCheck.

BIA/Kelsey executives made those predictions Monday morning to kick off the Interactive Local Media East conference in Boston.

Mark Fratrik, vice president for the local media consulting firm, sees continued overall revenue growth this year, as consumer confidence and ad spending increases.

Movement from traditional media such as newspapers to interactive/digital media will continue, he said, with annual digital media ad spending reaching $42.5 billion by 2015 -- almost double its 2010 revenue. Fratrik referred to the company's “U.S. Local Media Annual Forecast (2010-2015)” released this morning.

Fratrik said he is intrigued by the question of whether newspaper paywalls, such as the one erected by The New York Times last week, will stem that medium’s decrease in advertising shares. While The Times may be able to weather the decreased in advertising dollars with circulation revenue, "It will be interesting to see how -- and if -- other papers will be able to make that up," Fratrik said later.

He’s also “fascinated” by the growth in online couponing, noting the recent deals between Groupon and a movie premiere. He sees the deal-a-day industry poised for strong growth as it expands to include more kinds of offers.

Businesses will shift more and more of their ad spending from vehicles like direct mail to daily deals, Fratrik said.

Read more here.

Also Must Read:

NETNEWS CHECK: Study: Digital Ad Revenue To Hit $41B By 2015. Goal: 300,000 Paying Customers

A debate over a paywall raged in the New York Times newsroom for months before executives settled on a flexible pricing strategy. The publication hopes that adaptability will mitigate the problems the newspaper had with a previous paid-content model.

The On Media Blog at POLITICO provides an inside look at the debate over whether to charge readers for access reveals that company insiders hope to accumulate 300,000 online subscribers in the first year and that if necessary, the publication can turn off the paywall.

“Let’s imagine there’s a horrifying story like 9/11 again ...We can — with one hit of a button — turn that meter to zero to allow everyone to read everything they want,” said Chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. to a Times reporter.

The Times paywall will activate in the United States on March 28. It is already live in Canada. The Times will limit browsing on its homepage to 20 articles per month, but Sulzberger’s statement makes it apparent there is some wiggle room depending on the circumstances. Users accessing the site from outside links will be able to read those linked articles in full.

A previous experiment in paid-content was discontinued in 2007 after executives decided the program was holding back the paper from increasing its advertising revenue.

Read more here.

Kurtz Notes Lack of Media Skepticism Over Libya

Howard Kurtz, the host of CNN’s “Reliable Sources”, used Sunday’s show to express concern over the media coverage of international airstrikes on Libya, which began Saturday.