Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Saturday Aircheck

KIIS FM (102.7) Rick Dees in the Morning - April 1981

Here's Rick, for the first time on FM, on KIIS FM. As you'll hear, KIIS was still an A/C (Adult Contemporary) format (Adult Hits,) before flpping to Top 40/CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio.)

Dees is scheduled to return to LA's AM Drive battleground this coming Wednesday on 92.3 FM KHHT.

Friday, April 29, 2011

John Hogan Tells CC Radio Troops 'Exciting News'

Clear Channel's John Hogan sent the following eMail memo to CC troops as soon as Metro's Traffic division deal was completed.

To: All of Clear Channel - (Radio)

Good day, all:

I have some very exciting news that I wanted to share with you. 
Clear Channel has acquired Metro Traffic, Total Traffic Network's (TTN) largest competitor, from Westwood One.  Metro is a strong business with a tremendous customer base and distribution platform,  and this agreement will strengthen our position as the leader in real-time traffic information and data.
This transaction reflects Clear Channel Radio's strategy of building leadership positions in the most attractive segments of the local media and content creation businesses. The combination of TTN and Metro Traffic will provide radio and TV stations, mobile devices and car navigation systems with up-to-the-minute real-time traffic information covering the widest possible area.
Together, they will deliver better and more comprehensive 24/7 traffic information toconsumers; stronger programming for affiliates; a broader reach and easier-to-buy platform for advertisers; and greater innovation in product development, service and digital technology.
Clear Channel Radio's traffic operations, including Metro Traffic, will continue to be led by Rick Baran, Chief Financial Officer of  Clear Channel Radio.  Steve Kalin will remain President of Metro  Traffic, primarily overseeing the Radio traffic business. Fred Bennett will continue in his current role as President of the Metro Television business.
We will spend the next several months focused on integrating the two businesses and examining our operations. In the meantime, Metro and TTN will continue the good work they've been doing. We have a lot of  challenges ahead, and we know they will stay on the top of their game.
This is an exciting opportunity and we will keep you posted with updates on our progress in bringing these two businesses together.
In the meantime, please join me in welcoming our new colleagues to Clear Channel.

TomzTake: Acquiring Metro will boost TTN income immediately and fits nicely in CC's hub-and-spoke news game plan.  How soon do you think CC will start letting AP contracts lapse?

WW1 Sells Metro Division To Clear Channel

Westwood One, Inc. announced today that it is focusing on expanding its core Network Radio business and has sold its Metro Traffic division to Clear Channel Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. The deal is reported to be worth just less than $120-million.

“Going forward, Westwood One will focus strategically on expanding the Company’s leadership position as the premium content provider of news, information, talk, music, and entertainment programming in network radio,” said Rod Sherwood, President of Westwood One.

“The network radio marketplace is growing, and we are aggressively pursuing new opportunities in programming and distribution. Selling the Metro Traffic business, including Sigalert, allows us to focus on our network radio strengths.”

In keeping with this strategy, this year Westwood One has launched The Daily Wrap (with the Wall Street Journal), The Robert Wuhl Show (sports talk), Urbanski, (conservative talk), Rocsi on the Radio and a new suite of Rick Dees programming.

Last year Westwood One launched more new products than any other network radio syndicator.

Distribution expanded with new programs like Dr. Oz, VH1 Classic Rock Nights, Perez Hilton’s Fab 30 Countdown and a new Sports Prep Service. Billy Bush, Dennis Miller and BET’s 106 and Park continue to enjoy wide popularity, and anticipate further growth this year.

In sports, Westwood One signed new multi-year agreements to continue as the exclusive network radio partner of each of the NFL and the NCAA. In addition, the Company had record distribution for the NFL Sunday afternoon and NCAA football packages.

“Westwood One built its brand by delivering high quality programming to our affiliates and advertising customers,” said Sherwood. “We will continue to invest in new programming, as well as expand our digital business this year, to satisfy our customer’s needs in the marketplace.”

This transaction strengthens the Company’s balance sheet and positions it for further organic growth and/or M&A activity. Approximately $104 million of the proceeds will be used to pay down 100% of the Company’s outstanding 15.00% senior secured notes (notes held by the Company’s controlling shareholder, Gores Radio Holdings will remain outstanding).

TomzTake: This deal has been in the works for almost a year and MC hears Metro personnel report to CC effective immediately.

Tornados May Help Radio’s FM-Cell Efforts

With hundreds dead, scores missing and the scale of the damage across the South still coming into focus, broadcasters are reluctant to interject politics into what one market manager calls radio’s “shining moment.”  But, reports Inside Radio, one lobbyist says the disaster’s impact could have a “potentially huge” impact on the debate.

After spending two nights in her Birmingham home’s basement with a battery-powered, hand-crank radio, Alabama Broadcasters Association president Sharon Tinsley sees little left to debate. “Cell phones aren’t working — I can’t call my family in north Alabama,” she says.  “If we had FM chips in cell phones, everyone would know what’s going on right now.”

Read More.

Also Read:

BIZ REPORT: Smartphones are obsolete before contracts end

TWH Upset With SF Chronicle

The White House threatened Thursday to exclude The San Francisco Chronicle from pooled coverage of its events in the Bay Area after the paper posted a video of a protest at a San Francisco fundraiser for President Obama last week, Chronicle Editor Ward Bushee said.

White House guidelines governing press coverage of such events are too restrictive, Bushee said, and the newspaper was within its rights to film the protest and post the video.

The White House press office would not speak on the record about the issue, according to a story by Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau at

Chronicle senior political reporter Carla Marinucci was invited by the White House to cover the Obama fundraiser on April 21 on the condition that she send her written report to the White House to distribute to other reporters who did not attend. Such "pool reports" are routinely used for press coverage at White House events that are not open to the entire press corps.

About 200 donors paying $5,000 to $38,500 each attended the event at the St. Regis Hotel in the city, a day after Obama visited Facebook headquarters in Silicon Valley touting the proliferation of "new media" breaking the confines of traditional journalism.

At the St. Regis event, a group of protesters who paid collectively $76,000 to attend the fundraiser interrupted Obama with a song complaining about the administration's treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier who allegedly leaked U.S. classified documents to the WikiLeaks website.

As part of a "print-only pool," Marinucci was limited by White House guidelines to provide a print-only report, but Marinucci also took a video of the protest, which she posted in her written story on the online edition of The Chronicle at and on its politics blog after she sent her written pool report.

Marinucci said several other attendees, including protesters, also filmed the protest. She said she felt professionally obliged to use the same tools that private citizens were using to report on it.

Read More.

N/T WGY Simulcast Tops In Albany, NY

From Chris Churchill,
Talk station WGY has surged to become the region's most popular radio outlet, surpassing country music station WGNA (107.7 FM).

That's according to new data from Arbitron Inc., which show WGY (810 AM, 103.1 FM) with a 9.7 share of the overall audience during the winter ratings period -- up dramatically from its 4.9 share during the fall.

The station, home mostly to a roster of politically conservative hosts, no doubt benefited from its September launch of an FM simulcast.

WGNA's numbers also went up, from an 8.5 share to a 9.2, but it nevertheless fell behind WGY.

And the region's newest station is proving remarkably popular after just a few months on the air, according to Arbitron.

WQSH (105.7), better known as Crush FM, earned a 4.4 share, making it the area's seventh-most popular radio outlet among listeners overall.

Robert Ausfeld, regional general manager for station owner Townsquare Media, said the station is considerably more popular among the audience it's targeting: women in their 20s and 30s.

Indeed, among certain segments of the Capital Region's population, WQSH, which went on the air in January and plays an eclectic mix of music, has become something of a cult sensation. Crush, for example, already has more than 17,000 followers on Facebook.
Read More.

For more Arbitron numbers, click here for the latest

Oprah’s Spectacular Swan Song

2-Hour show promises everything but humility

From Robert Feder,
As many as 21,000 fans could be on hand at the United Center May 17 when Oprah Winfrey tapes her two-hour penultimate finale, billed as featuring “some of the biggest names in music, movies and television in a one-time-only gathering to celebrate the 25-year legacy of The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

And if Thursday’s surprise announcement is to be believed, neither Winfrey nor the thousands who fill the arena will know in advance who any of the guests will be.

“As most of our viewers know, being surprised is not one of Oprah’s favorite things. In the spirit of our farewell season, she is making a rare exception and we intend to make the most of that opportunity. It will be something to see,” executive producer Sheri Salata said in a statement.

Appropriately titled Surprise Oprah! A Farewell Spectacular, the special will air over two days — May 23 and 24....

The last television giant of her magnitude to leave the stage may have been Johnny Carson, who retired in 1992 after 30 years as host of The Tonight Show. His final episode concluded with him sitting alone on a stool and delivering a few humble words of thanks and farewell: “I can only tell you that it has been an honor and a privilege to come into your homes all these years and entertain you,” he said before bidding his viewers “a very heartfelt good night.”

And when Walter Cronkite stepped down as anchorman of The CBS Evening News in 1981, he took exactly 65 seconds to say goodbye at the end of an otherwise routine newscast. “Those who have made anything of this departure, I’m afraid, have made too much,” he said.

Any chance for a little of that humility as Oprah takes her leave?
Read More.

NBC Blog: Reason To Return

From Brian Williams NBC Nightly News blog:
As I left New York for London last [Wednesday] night, I was haunted by one thing: the radar image I had seen on the Weather Channel before departing. It showed an active tornado over the top of Tuscaloosa, Alabama—just one cell in this active, sprawling weather system, which for the 4th night in a row was firing off brutal, monster intensity storms....
I landed in London, [Thursday] morning their time, and checked my Blackberry before we taxied off the runway. I saw the death toll. 83 and climbing. Before long, it was posted at 172. Two colleagues picked me up at baggage claim and Customs, and our coverage conundrum wore away at me as we drove. I kept thinking of the four-inch Royal Wedding briefing binder in my bag—I had devoted the night flight to studying it—a global media event outside my area of expertise.

Rather than driving from Heathrow all the way into Central London, we decided to get off the highway and park in the residential neighborhood of Chiswick. We symbolically aimed the car back toward Heathrow. We watched as people left for work and school, people walked their dogs and collected the trash, some pausing to notice the idling car with passengers in it, talking on the phone. Our NBC News staff in London was just awakening to the news from home. Minutes later, NBC News President Steve Capus made the call: He said I should go home. We both agreed the tragedy would dominate our newscast and our coverage. I never got to see our infrastructure in London, or any of my colleagues beyond the confines of my car.
Read More.

Lara Logan Breaks Silence on Cairo Assault

Talks to Scott Pelley about sexual assault, her rescue and recovery

(CBS News)  Lara Logan feared she would die a "torturous death" during a sexual assault and beating she suffered at the hands of a violent mob in Egypt's Tahrir Square. In her first television interview since her ordeal two months ago, the CBS News chief foreign correspondent and "60 Minutes" reporter reveals what happened to her for the first time in an interview conducted by Scott Pelley.

Logan's story will be broadcast on "60 Minutes" this Sunday, May 1 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

On Feb. 11, Logan was on assignment for "60 Minutes" covering Egypt's mass celebration of its revolution. With her in Tahrir Square in Cairo were her producer, Max McClellan and cameraman Richard Butler. There was also an interpreter and a former member of Britain's elite military special services acting as a bodyguard.

She reported without incident for nearly an hour before her interpreter heard words in the Arabic-speaking crowd that gave him pause. He advised the team to leave, but before they could, a mob of several hundred men encircled Logan, who soon became separated from her team and bodyguard as the crowd swept her up.

Logan lost contact with her colleagues for approximately 25 minutes and endured a sexual assault and beating that she feared she would not survive. "There was no doubt in my mind that I was in the process of dying," she tells Pelley. "I thought not only am I going to die, but it's going to be just a torturous death that's going to go on forever..."

Read More.

Report: Meredith Vieira to Leave 'Today' in June

Ann Curry Is Replacement

Meredith Vieira will exit NBC's Today show in June, nearly three months before the end of her contract, according to sources with direct knowledge of the situation.

According to a story by Marissa Guthrie at The Hollywood Reporter, Today newsreader Ann Curry will be promoted to co-host, and correspondent Natalie Morales will take Curry's place as newsreader.

An official announcement could come as early as next week.

Vieira took the seat next to co-host Matt Lauer in 2006, replacing Katie Couric. Since then, Today has extended its run as the top-rated morning news program to more than 800 weeks. The show is critically important to NBC News' bottom line, pulling in half a billion dollars in ad revenue last year for the weekday morning hours alone.

By elevating Curry and Morales, Today executives have the benefit of personalities who are familiar to viewers at a time of pronounced tumult in television news in general. Earlier this week, Couric announced that she will step down as anchor of CBS Evening News. And while she will mount a daytime program with former NBC News executive Jeff Zucker, Couric also is looking for a part-time perch at a news division, with ABC News among her suitors.

Read More.

5 So.Jersey Stations Headed For Auction

Five southern New Jersey radio stations on the auction block could be mostly taken over by the same owner if no other qualified bidders come forward by 5 p.m. Thursday, court documents show.

According to a story by Elaine Rose at, U.S. Bankruptcy Court filings show Boardwalk Radio LLC of Syosset, N.Y. has contracted to buy the stations for $3 million to help satisfy about $8 million of debt incurred by Atlantic Broadcasting LLC of Linwood. There is a nearly 96 percent overlap of ownership between the two companies.

But Atlantic Broadcasting attorney Joshua Klein of Fox Rothschild in Philadelphia said Wednesday that the contract is not a done deal; other parties have prequalified to submit bids.

If any other parties do submit qualified bids by the close of business today, an auction will be held May 4 in Atlantic City, Klein said. A court hearing to approve the sale is scheduled for May 5 in Camden.

Atlantic Broadcasting, which has declared bankruptcy but continues to operate the stations, has more than $8 million in debt, Klein said. About $6.8 million of that is secured debt to Sun National Bank and about $1.3 million is unsecured debt to other creditors.

While Sun National Bank will receive most of the funds raised through the sale, some has been set aside for the other creditors, who will probably receive pennies on the dollar.

Read More.

Meet Katie Couric: Cougar!

The future of Katie Couric's personal life is just as unclear as the future of her professional one, according to a story by Shari Weiss at

"I am really happy in my personal life … but it is complicated," the journalist said to People magazine about her relationship with businessman Brooks Perlin.

Though Couric said their age difference – she's 54, he's 37 – no longer concerns her as it once did, she isn't entirely sure where their relationship will lead. But marriage is a possibility.

"I'm in the process of figuring out the future, and so is he," the "CBS Evening News" anchor said.

Couric, who told People she won't renew her contact with the show when it expires on June 4, has two daughters – 19-year-old Ellie and 15-year-old Carrie – with her late husband Jay Monahan.

Read More.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rasmussen: 58% Say Too Much of Royal Wedding

Friday, Prince William of England will marry Catherine Middleton in what some are calling “the wedding of the century.” But stateside a majority of Americans think the media is paying too much attention to the royal wedding.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of American Adults say the media is giving too much attention to tomorrow's nuptials. Twenty-nine percent (29%) say the level of attention is about right. Just three percent (3%) think the media is not paying enough attention to the royal wedding. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Granted, interest in the wedding on this side of the pond is low. Only 30% of Americans say they have been following news about the royal wedding at least somewhat closely, including just six percent (6%) who say they have been following it Very Closely.

Thirty-four percent (34%) say they are at least somewhat likely to watch tomorrow's ceremony, with 15% who are Very Likely to do so. But 64% are unlikely to watch the royal wedding, including 29% who are Not At All Likely to watch.

Read More.

Tornado At Front Door of Clear Channel Tuscaloosa AL

Copps Wants Better and More Accountable Journalism

From John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable:

The venue was different, but the message was the same. FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, on something of a farewell tour as he wraps up his second and what he has indicated will be his last term as commissioner later this year, continued to push for better, more accountable broadcast journalism.

The occasion was the USC Annenberg School For Communications Walter Cronkite Awards luncheon in L.A. saluting the best in broadcast journalist, and Copps gave those winners a shout-out. But most of his remarks were about the fact that those winners were swimming against a tide of media consolidation that had put journalists on the street looking for jobs, not stories.

He laid some of the blame on past and present FCCs. The past, Republican-led commissions for "blessing just about every media merger transaction that came their way, but wiping the slate virtually clean of the public interest guidelines and responsibilities of licensees." As he has before, he also took aim at the current Democratic-led FCC for not converting the Obama victory into progressive change....
Copps has been pushing the FCC to return to its former policy of actively ascertaining broadcasters' public interest performance at renewal time, and for shorter renewal cycles. He has also called on the commission to toughen its sponsor ID rules to require fuller disclosure of who is actually paying for all those political ads, whose volume has increased since the Supreme Court lifted a ban on direct funding of campaign ads by unions and corporations.
Read More.

Also ReadText of Copps speech.

RADIO WORLD: Copps Speaks Up for Public Broadcasting

Rush Radio: Trump Forces Obama's Hand

From Rush Limbaugh Show Wednesday:
RUSH: Ha! So, ladies and gentlemen, if it takes a reality star to force Obama's hand on his birth certificate... and everybody's asking, "Why now?  Why now?"  I think I've got the answer.  I think it's all about polling data.  I think up 'til now the polling data showed that it was a winning issue for Obama.  The birthers were considered crackpots and the polling data showed as long as it continued that way, that there was hay to be made by Obama by not releasing the birth certificate and stoking these people.  But then Trump comes along, and I really believe that the polling data, the internal polling data, the White House shows that the issue was starting to take place.  You saw that poll yesterday, USA Today, 38%, 40%, whatever it was of the American people don't think he's born in this country.  I think the polling data shifted, and it wasn't all Republicans in that poll that showed that shockingly high number.
Okay, so, at any rate, Trump was, in the context of politics being a reality show, Trump was hilarious this morning, was absolutely hilarious...So what do we have?  We have a reality star that has forced Obama's hand on the birth certificate.  Now, maybe, maybe that's the key.  'Cause even Trump took credit for it, said it was one of the proudest days of his life. (laughing) He started out, "I'm really proud of myself."  Everybody thought that Trump was gonna be eating crow.  He starts off by saying, (paraphrasing) "It's the proudest day of my life. Look what I did. Only I was able to do this."  I mean for a while I thought, my gosh, I'm watching myself here. (laughing) Biggest kick out of it.  So a reality TV star ends up forcing Obama's hand on the birth certificate...
And, of course, there's Obama at his own presser today saying, "We don't have time for this silliness.  We got serious things happening."  What does he do?  He leaves and gets on a plane with Moochelle to go to Chicago to tape Oprah!  And after they finish taping Oprah in Chicago today, a very serious interview, I'm sure, then they're gonna fly to New York for a rush hour series of three fundraisers.  They're gonna shut down the FDR, they're gonna shut down the Upper East Side during rush hour.  So this is Obama demanding that we get back to seriousness now, enough of silly season, he flies off to do the interview with Oprah.  Trump has another catchphrase to be remembered by. 
He's got "You're fired" and now he's got "I won."  And Obama thought he had the trademark on that.
Read More.

TomzTake: Trump a modern day P.T. Barnum. Trumping everyone on getting publicity for his show.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

President Addresses Birth Certificate Issue

As for the reason to address the issue now, President Obama stated:
"…two weeks ago, when the Republican House had put forward a budget that will have huge consequences potentially to the country, and when I gave a speech about my budget and how I felt that we needed to invest in education and infrastructure and making sure that we had a strong safety net for our seniors even as we were closing the deficit, during that entire week the dominant news story wasn’t about these huge, monumental choices that we’re going to have to make as a nation. It was about my birth certificate. And that was true on most of the news outlets that were represented here."
But numbers provided by Pew’s Project for Excellence in Journalism — which tracks news coverage in its weekly index — contradicts Obama’s claim. (Hat Tip to Julie Moos at

 For the week of April 11-17, the economy accounted for 39 percent of news coverage.

Steve Casey Joins Clear Channel's Programming Team

Clear Channel Radio announced Tuesday that well-known music research expert Steve Casey will become its Senior Vice President of Program Research Strategy.

Casey, a member of the team that founded MTV and the channel’s first program director, is a highly-regarded expert in radio programming research who joins Clear Channel from his role as President of Steve Casey Research International (SCR). SCR provides state-of-the-art music research design and analysis tools, ratings analysis, and individual research and programming consultation to most major radio groups and stations in over 30 countries. Casey began his 40-year career in the radio industry as on-air talent and production director.

At Clear Channel, Casey will report to Tom Owens, Executive Vice President of Programming Development. He joins an expanding team of research talent at the company, including Bob Michaels, Clear Channel’s EVP of Research, and Gary Marince, whose appointment as Senior Vice President for Research and Development was announced on April 5, 2011.

Back In Action: Curtis Sliwa On Air Again

Just five days after an operation for prostate cancer, Guardian angel found Curtis Sliwa is back on the air.

Sliwa was back on 970 AM WNYM Tuesday for his morning show “with a catheter bag in one hand”.

Sliwa had been attempting a number of holistic remedies in his battle against prostate cancer, but had hit the wall and surgery became necessary.

The surgery for Sliwa was not typical, due to the fact he had other abdominal surgeries in the past and prior gunshot wounds from a kidnapping attempt.

WNYM Website.

Rona Mensah Out at WAFY After 17 Years

After 17 years on air with Frederick's (MD) KEY 103, radio personality Rona Mensah left the station Thursday.

"I was told it was my last show," Mensah said. "I didn't know it was coming," told Ike Wilson at

Mensah said the radio format changed in September, from adult contemporary to hot adult contemporary, a style for the station that is a little newer and directed at a younger audience.

"My only guess is I didn't fit with the new format style," Mensah said. "I was not given any indication that it was performance based."

KEY 103 Program Manager Dave Gunning said Mensah was "a fantastic employee who worked in just about every position" at the station.

"I couldn't say enough good things about Rona. She's incredibly connected to the community and was always the first to volunteer to do community events," Gunning said.

Gunning said personnel privacy laws prohibit him from divulging why Mensah left.

Read More.

Charleston's WKAZ Boots Bill Shahan

Switches formats

Longtime Charleston radio personality Bill Shahan has been let go from the West Virginia Radio Corp.

Shahan broadcast his final show on 107.3 WKAZ-FM last Friday morning, according to a story by Sandy Wells, at

Mike Buxser, the company's vice president and general manager, said Shahan's contract was officially terminated at noon Monday.

Shahan hosted the Classic Top 40 morning drive show from 5:30 to 10 a.m. Effective Tuesday, Buxser said, that slot will go to John Boy and Billy, a syndicated classic rock program.  The station at 107.3 FM has switched to a classic rock format.

Declining ratings based on audience research prompted the change, he said. "Change is difficult, and we don't like to do it," he said. "People think we just get a wild hair and change formats, but that is not the case. We never make a change unless the format isn't working."

The company will cater to oldies fans on two simulcast stations, 95.3 FM (translator) and 680 AM.

Shahan said he learned of his termination on April 18. "They let me stay on the air for a week, and I did my best shows ever. Why do they keep removing all the locals from radio? It really hurts your feelings."

A Charleston native who turned 50 on March 25, Shahan said he hopes to find work close to home.

Read More.

TomzTake:  Talent should always look for ways to make themselves more valuable to the company.  A terrific way is to cultivate live endorsement sponsors. I know of cases where talent has DOUBLED their income. Plus, management will remember you are budget time.

Couric Officially Announces ‘CBS Evening News’ Exit

From Lisa de Moraes,

The second-most drawn-out transition of our time — behind only the Queen Elizabeth –to- Prince Charles throne-of-England hand-off — inched forward Tuesday when Katie Couric said Tuesday she was leaving the “CBS Evening News.”

“After weeks of widespread speculation about her future, Katie Couric is finally ready to go on the record,” reported breathlessly as a wind-up to its “scoop”:

“I have decided to step down from the ‘CBS Evening News,’ ” Couric told exclusively.

“I’m really proud of the talented team on the ‘CBS Evening News’ and the award-winning work we’ve been able to do in the past five years in addition to the reporting I’ve done for ‘60 Minutes’ and ‘CBS Sunday Morning,’ ” added Couric — who, coincidentally, should be now be in London to cover the marriage of Prince Charles’s uber-popular eldest son, Prince William, to commoner Kate Middleton!

“In making the decision to move on, I know the Evening News will be in great hands.”

Katie will have more to say tonight about her exit from “CBS Evening News” on Tavis Smiley’s PBS talk show.

Read More.

Also Read:

TV GUIDE: CBS Thinks ABC Will Get Katie Couric

New Aflac Voice is Radio Sales Manager

The Aflac duck will be quacking once again, thanks to Daniel McKeague from Minnesota.

The thirty six-year-old sales manager beat out 12,500 potential candidates and will voice the Aflac mascot. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried provided the U.S. vocals for the iconic spokes-duck for 11 years, but was fired after making inappropriate remarks on Twitter about Japanese tsunami victims. Seventy-five percent of the insurance company's business is conducted in Japan.

Citadel's McKeague is Local Sales Manager for KQRS and “Love 105” Minneapolis and has been doing voiceovers on the side.

Report: The Incredible Shrinking NYTimes

The New York Times has righted its ship after a near-death experience during the last recession. according to a story by Henry Blodget and Kamemlia Angelova at The Business Insider.

Thanks to sharp cost-cutting, the company has returned to profitability. And thanks to frantic debt restructuring, the NYT has also removed its creditors' foot from its throat and bought several more years to figure out a long-term plan.

But this happy escape has not alleviated the company's long-term problem:

Its core business, the print newspaper, is shrinking, and its digital business, however successful, cannot replace the lost revenue and profitability of the print business.

The chart above lays out the problem: After a century of growth, the New York Times's news business peaked earlier this decade with just over $3 billion in revenue and $500 million of operating profit. In the years since, however, the company's revenue and operating profit have begun to shrink.
Read More.

TomzTake: Now we know why the Times offers free digital access by merely subscribing to the Sunday edition. The Sunday paper is a bigger ROI.

Hacker Raids Sony Videogame Network

A week after taking down its PlayStation Network, Sony said its popular online network had been hacked, affecting 77 million users.

Dow Jones Newswire's Ian Sherr explains what data was at risk to Stacey Delo at

Read More.

Keith Olbermann Announces New Show Details

"Countdown With Keith Olbermann" will premiere on Current TV on June 20, 2011 at 8PM.

The Royal Wedding: ABC News' Buckingham Studio

WLW Wins Ratings, Loses Listeners

From John Kiesewetter's TV & Media blog at

700 WLW-AM remains No. 1 in the monthly Arbitron rankings — as it has been since 2000 — but it has lost many  listeners.

WLW-AM had a “cume” of 439,000, representing the total number of different persons who tune to a radio station during the course of a daypart for at least five minutes.  (The rankings are based on average quarter hour listening, or the average number of persons listening to a particular station for at least five minutes during a 15-minute period.)

Seven stations here recorded a larger cume (number of unique listeners): WUBE-FM, WKRQ-FM, WGRR-FM, WKFS-FM (KISS107), WREW-FM, WRRM-FM and WEBN-FM.

Another note on cume, which I don’t usually talk about:  In September and October, before WLW-AM fired Eddie Fingers/moved Scott Sloan to afternoons/hired Doc Thompson for the Sloan/McConnell morning slot, and when the Reds were hot, WLW-AM had more than a cume in the 600,000s, and a 13% audience share.

After the October changes, WLW-AM has been flat with a 10% audience share  – and the cume fell into the mid 400,000s — below other stations. Four stations (WKRQ-FM, WGRR-FM, KISS107.1, WREW-FM) had a bigger cume than “The Big One” in January and February.

WLW-AM’s cume drop from the October peak (672,100) was 34%. The drop from last April (536,700) was 18%.
Read More.

RIP Phoebe Snow: Remarkable Woman Few Knew

Former Dolphins Great Jim Mandich Dead At 62

Former Dolphins tight end and popular South Florida sportscaster Jim Mandich died Tuesday night after a long battle with cancer, according to at story on CBS4 in Miami.

Mad Dog Mandich announced in March of 2010 that he was diagnosed with a tumor on his bile duct and won’t return to his talk show on WQAM. The tumor extended from the liver to the small intestine.

Mandich was drafted by the Dolphins in 1970 out of the University of Michigan. He was an All-American for the Wolverines and played eight seasons with the Dolphins. He’s a member of the College Football Hall of Fame and announced Dolphins games from 1992-2004 and from 2008-2009.

Read More.

Also Must Read:

PALM BEACH POST OBIT: Jim Mandich, beloved as a Miami Dolphins player and announcer, dies

Teleprompter Inventor Hubert Schlafly Dies at 91

Sorrow at TWH

The man who helped calm the nervous butterflies in many a public speaker, inventor of the teleprompter Hubert Schlafly Jr., died in Connecticut April 20, according to a story by Michael Murray at He was 91.

Schlafly revolutionized the political and television landscape by allowing public speakers to face the camera and appear as though they were speaking from memory.

The original device created by Schlafly was made up of a motorized scroll of paper inside half a suitcase. The idea was inspired by a Broadway actor named Fred Barton in the 1940s. "I said it was a piece of cake," Schlafly recalled to the Advocate of Stamford in a 2008 story on his reaction to Barton's idea.

The device was first used on the CBS soap opera "The First Hundred Years" in 1950.

President Obama is hailed by supporters as a gifted orator but he has been lambasted by critics for his reliance on the teleprompter. In truth, every President since Dwight D. Eisenhower, except Richard Nixon, has used one for major speeches before Congress.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Katie Tells Us What We Already Knew


OFFICIAL: Katie Couric said Tuesday that her anchor stint on “CBS Evening News” will conclude this spring, ending a five-year run that brought some accolades, but saw its flagship newscast lose viewers.

“I have decided to step down,” she said as part of an interview with Time Warner Inc.’s People Magazine, confirming what people close to Ms. Couric have been saying was likely for weeks.

earlier story...
Katie Couric is contemplating a move to ABC as she prepares to end her five-year run as the “CBS Evening News” anchor, according to people with knowledge of the situation.

Couric, 54, is expected to announce this week that she will leave the show and hasn’t made a final decision about her future, said the people, who weren’t authorized to speak publicly, according to a story at Her contract with CBS ends June 4.

Both NBC and ABC are said to be discussing talk shows with Couric that would start in 2012, according to one executive with knowledge of the talks. ABC, part of Walt Disney Co. (DIS), has made a late run at Couric, said two of the people. The anchor and ABC News President Ben Sherwood met at least once for lunch to discuss the move, one person said.

Scott Pelley, a correspondent on “60 Minutes,” will take over for Couric as CBS anchor, one of the people said. Prior to joining “60 Minutes,” he was CBS News’ chief White House correspondent.

Couric is being advised by Jeff Zucker, former chief executive officer of NBC Universal and previously her producer at NBC’s “Today” show.

Neither ABC nor NBC would offer her the evening anchor position, one of the people said. She would likely work on specials, including the upcoming presidential elections.

Read More.

Also Read:

NY DAILY NEWS: Barbara Walters is 'really worked up' over Katie Couric's supposed upcoming daytime show: source

70s Singer Phoebe Snow Dies

Phoebe Snow, who was nominated for best new artist at the 1975 Grammys, died Tuesday morning in Edison, N.J., from complications of a brain hemorrhage she suffered in January 2010.

Opinion: Did The NAB Throw Radio Under The Bus?

From Radio Insights, Harker Research
After years of opposition, why did the NAB and its President and CEO Gordon Smith seem so anxious last Fall to cut a deal requiring radio stations to pay millions of dollars in royalties to record labels?

Think back to October when the NAB Radio Board tried to quickly push through a deal committing radio to pay a 1% royalty with musicFirst, the labels’ front organization.

Coming out of radio’s worst recession that saw $5 billion dollars of revenue evaporate, the last thing radio needed was a new multi-million dollar expense item.

Polls at the time showed overwhelming opposition to the deal by broadcasters, yet the NAB pushed hard for the deal.

The people behind the NAB’s Terms Sheet warned that radio needed to complete a deal before Congress forced a more onerous one on radio.

But was that true? Or was there something more behind the NAB’s interest in giving away millions of radio’s dollars?

Smith’s recent key-note address at the Las Vegas convention suggests it had little to do with radio, and a lot to do with the NAB’s priorities.

Here’s what Gordon Smith now says about the royalty fight:
Last year we stopped the legislation that would impose a performance tax on local radio stations. This was a freight train headed for passage.

The White House was for it. Congressional leadership supported it. Both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees had passed it.

We brought the freight train under control by seeking a good faith, workable agreement with the music industry, while at the same time aggressively opposing the bill as written.

It is an interesting re-interpretation of the events of last Fall.

In truth, 260 House members and 27 Senate members were already on record opposing the radio “performance tax” by March of last year. The bill hadn’t advanced since the Summer of 2009 when the proposal was voted out of committee.

The NAB had already proudly announced the tax proposal dead months before. The royalty deal had no chance of passage.

So why does Gordon now declare the bill a freight train headed for passage?
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Orlando TV Anchor: Tumor Was Benign

WKMG-Channel 6 (Orlando)  anchor Lauren Rowe had wonderful news for Easter: She won’t need more surgery after a tumor was removed from her thyroid last week.

“Everything is good, the tumor was benign, we’re done,” Rowe told the TV Guy, Hal Boedeker at

She should return to the CBS affiliate on Tuesday, and look for an update during the 6 p.m. newscast.

“I’m sure I’ll mention it and that we should be able to move forward,” Rowe said. “The scar is pretty big. We’ll talk a little bit about it.”

Read More.

Arrest Made In Attempted Rape Of On-Air Radio Host

A man with a long criminal history broke into a Christian radio station in Pine Hills area of metro Orlando Monday morning and performed a sex act in front of the program host while threatening to rape her, according to a story posted at

The incident happened about 6 a.m. while listeners tuned in to the live religious programming.

Orange County, FL deputies are interviewing suspect Donald Destin, 30. The sheriff's fugitive unit arrested him about 4:30 p.m.

The host told investigators she was on the air when the suspect entered the station without permission. She said the man exposed himself, performed a sex act and threatened to rape her.

A listener heard the threat and called 911.

The host remained calm and lured the man outside the building, the Sheriff's Office said. Then she got him to go back inside while she locked herself inside her car and waited for deputies.

Read More.

Brighthouse Cable 13 news reports  the encounter happened at La Voix Evangelique D'Orlando, on the SCA channel of WMMO (98.9) on Pine Hills Road and Alhambra Drive.  The station broadcasts to Haiti from a church.  It requires a special transmitter to pick up the signal. The encounter inside the station was caught on surveillance video.

Lady Gaga Breaks Down In Clip From HBO Special

Under all those crazy outfits, wigs and horns, Lady Gaga is just like everyone else.

In a newly released clip for her May 7 HBO documentary, "Lady Gaga Presents: The Monster Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden," the singer breaks down into tears backstage before her NYC performance while explaining how important her fans are to her, according to a story by Kathleen Perricone at

"I still sometimes feel like a loser kid in high school and I just have to pick myself up and tell myself that I'm a superstar every morning so that I can get through this day and be for my fans what they need for me to be. But sometimes I still feel like people are trying to destroy me. I cannot be destroyed, I will not be destroyed and you will never destroy the kingdom that is my fans. I'm fighting for every kid that's like me, that felt like I felt and feels like I still feel. I just wanna be a queen for them and sometimes I don't feel like one."

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Emmis CEO Takes Issue With Ramsey Blog

Jeff Smulyan Says Mark Ramsey "Demonstrates A Frightening Lack of Comprehension"

From Radio

In a rare rebuttal from a radio CEO, it appears Jeff Smulyan has had enough of Mark Ramsey's online ramblings.

Ramsey posted a blog entitled "Radio Rocks My World Strains Credibility." Smulyan reveals some stunning company details about his streaming experience and takes Ramsey to task for a recent blog he posted criticizing the NAB for its recently released 'Radio Rocks Your Phone" campaign. Smulyan says Ramsey "demonstrates a frightening lack of comprehension on this subject" of cell phones.

Here is the Smulyan letter:
Read More.
I've just read another of Mark Ramsey's blogs about FM chips and I decided that it is time for a vigorous response.  When Mark asks, "Does NAB know the magic of streaming already makes radio available to those same devices and does so with features enabled by technology that no FM chip can match?"  I feel compelled to answer for the NAB, and the rest of the radio industry,  so Mark, here goes.

Yes, I know all about streaming. Like thousands of other broadcasters, I've been doing it for nearly two decades.  I don't know if anyone else has made money at it, but we haven't, and I haven't heard of anyone else who has.  At Emmis, we've invested millions of dollars in our interactive ventures because we want to be where our audiences are, but we are also realistic about economics.

Streaming is a one-to-one, interactive medium, which does allow us to do lots of great things, but there is a tremendous cost to that. The best example I can give is to compare streaming with over-the-air transmission. In our Los Angeles station, KPWR, we reach around 2.8 million people a week.  Our annual electric costs from our transmitter are $39,500, a cost that does not rise if we serve one person in Southern California, or all 16 million within the reach of our signal.  If we were to take down our transmitter and reach every person we currently reach through streaming, our cost to disseminate the signal would be nearly $1 million per year!  Is there enough value in making a broadly based entertainment medium a one-to-one medium?  That's the current debate in this country, and I would submit that consumers haven't found that value yet.

Royal Wedding: Elton John Slams British Press

2 FMs Opt for News/Talk

Two more FM station have made the switch to talk radio.  In Florida, Clear Channel's Aloha Trust WPHR flipped to conservative talk and is branding as 'Rush Radio 94.7 FM' (website).

The station is licensed to Gifford, Florida and serving the Vero Beach / Fort Pierce market. The FM 50,000 watt signal also creeps into the Melbourne, FL market where Clear Channel also airs N/T on WMMB 1240 AM and WMMV1350 AM.

The station features a local morning show, The Morning Rush with Jim Edwards, Brian Mudd, Joel Malkin, and producer Brenna.   Then it's syndication with Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Jason Lewis and Coast-To-Coast.

The station has a history concerning its call letters.  The Aloha Trust filed in December to change the station's call letters from WSYR-FM (Hot/AC) to WPHR-FM.  The change allowed Clear Channel's WSYR to use the FM calls for its new News/Talk AM-FM simulcast for it's 106.9-FM signal (licensed to Solvay, NY, a suburb of Syracuse). The Syracuse station had used WPHR-FM for an urban format, which continues on 620-AM.

The other format change was in Memphis, Citadal flips it's 98.9 FM WKIM frequency from GenX to talk at "News-Talk FM 98.9" (website).

The station was originally located in Kennett, Missouri, and used the call sign KTMO prior to its move-in in 2001. The station then would target Memphis with a Smooth Jazz format as Smooth Jazz 98.9 WJZN.

In November 2004 the station changed to a Rhythmic Contemporary format as WMPW, putting it in direct competition with rivals Urban WHRK, fellow Rhythmic Contemporary Hit KXHT and Mainstream Top 40 rival WHBQ-FM.

On September 15, 2006 they would become 98.9 Kim FM with an adult hits format under new call letters of WKIM. After several years of substandard ratings and programming, the station abruptly flipped formats to hot AC about more than a year later.

The change was still unsuccessful at the station, and on March 31, 2010 to 98.9 Gen X, airing a retro-based format of mostly music of the 1990s. More recently, the station added some current music, as of September 26, 2010 the station airs a mix of 1990s-2000s product with some currents. Today the station could be defined as a 1990s/hot AC format reminiscent of Sirius The Pulse before the merger.

Man Attempts Rape Against On-Air Radio Host

A man broke into a Christian radio station in the Pine Hills neighborhood of Metro Orlando Monday morning, performed a sex act in front of the radio host while threatening to rape her, according to a story by Walter Pacheco at

The attempted rape and indecent exposure took place while listeners tuned into the live, early morning religious programming.

Deputies with the Orange County Sheriff's Office said the man, described as having a tall, thin build and in his 30s with 2-inch twists in his hair, remains on the run.

Investigators did not release the name of the radio station, but said it broadcasts near the area of Pine Hills Road and Alhambra Drive.

Officials said they were notified by a listener who heard the suspect threaten the radio host.

Reports show the incident took place just before 6 a.m.

The host told investigators she was on the air when the suspect entered the station without permission. She said the man exposed his sexual organs, performed a sex act in front of her and threatened to rape her.

Read More.

Mac vs. PC: The Stereotypes May Be True

(CNN) -- Remember those Apple ads that cast the Mac as a 20-something, self-satisfied hipster while the PC was portrayed by an older, square-looking guy in a brown suit?

Well, those characterizations, unfair as they may be, appear to have some truth to them, according to a story by Brandon griggs at

An unscientific survey by Hunch, a site that makes recommendations based on detailed user preferences, found that Mac users tend to be younger, more liberal, more fashion-conscious and more likely to live in cities than people who prefer PCs.

Of the 388,000 Hunch users who responded to a question about computer loyalty, 52% identified themselves as PC people as opposed to 25% who said they are Mac devotees. Hunch then cross-referenced those responses with answers to other questions to draw cultural distinctions between the rival Mac and PC camps.

The results suggest Mac users can be seen, depending on your perspective, as bolder and more creative -- or elitist and more pretentious.

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Legal: Newspapers vs. The Internet

Newspapers have been teaming up with a lawfirm called Righthaven, to file lawsuits against people posting copyrighted content on the web.

Righthaven's detractors call them "copyright trolls," but they say they're much needed protectors of a newspaper's intellectual property.

NPR's "On the Media" programs talks to Joe Mullin of who has covered Righthaven's lawsuits, and Righthaven CEO Steve Gibson.

Hannity Show Hits NYTimes For Bias

Friday night's "Hannity" on FNC was devoted to media bias.  Here is a highlight that focused on the New York Times.

'Mob' Talk Dooms Radio Show

A profanity-filled call from "Mob Wives" star Drita D'avanzo got a 970 AM WNYM radio host canned after only two broadcasts of his 2-week-old Sunday night talk show, according to a story over the weekend at

"It's both discrimination and censorship," said the host, finance expert John Tabacco,who launched his show, "Family Business with John Tabacco," this month.

Tabacco ill-advisedly invited curse-crazed D'avanzo and her VH1 reality co-star, Renee Graziano, as call-in guests on his first two shows. According to their bios on the "Mob Wives" Web site, Graziano -- who owns greeting card company JailMail -- is the daughter of Anthony Graziano, who the feds believe was a high-ranking member of La Cosa Nostra. D'avanzo, a makeup artist, is the wife of Lee D'avanzo, who federal prosecutors say is the leader of a Bonanno and Colombo crime family farm team and is currently in prison for robbery.

Both women used profanities during their call-ins, but D'avanzo's F-bombs were so frequent during her show on Sunday, producers couldn't erase them. Although Tabacco tried several times to discourage D'avanzo from swearing, she spat, "If someone asks you how you feel, you answer the [bleeping] question."

The next day, Tabacco said, station execs were livid. "They told me, 'Your choice of guests is unacceptable, your programming is unacceptable.' We're talking about single women with families who have businesses."

Then, on Thursday, 970 AM programming director Peter Thiele wrote a letter to Tabacco informing him that his last show, which he co-hosts with his brother, Derek, will be May 15.

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"Cousin Brucie" on Broadway

From Jim Beckerman,
"Cousin Brucie" Morrow, one of the legendary radio hosts of rock-and-roll's early days, has been around.

In 1965, he was at Shea Stadium, introducing The Beatles. In 1987, he was sawing Jennifer Grey in half, as a borscht belt magician in the movie "Dirty Dancing."

One place you would not have run into him was on the airwaves of Memphis, Tenn., in 1951. But thanks to a slight tweaking of history, that's where he'll be May 3-8, when he makes a guest appearance in the Tony-winning Broadway musical "Memphis."

"I play the white disc jockey, but they rewrote it so this white disc jockey is Cousin Brucie," he says. "Isn't it amazing what poetic license can do?"

"Memphis" begins with a quick tour of the radio dial, circa 1951 – the "white" stations at the center of the dial, the "black" stations ghettoized to one side. Morrow, 75, does not play the deejay hero — loosely based on Dewey Phillips, the Memphis on-air personality who daringly integrated the two races on radio. Instead, he'll play the mainstream deejay at the beginning of the show, whose Lawrence Welk world is about to be turned upside-down by rock-and-roll.
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Oprah Sez She Can't 'Save The Soaps'

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Sunday Funny

Bob Hope guest stars on The Muppet Show and sings "Don't Fence Me In". Season 2 (1977-1978)