Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Saturday Aircheck

...and Sunday and Monday too.  Click here for Rewound Radio featuring complete hour long airchecks of Musicradio 77 WABC, NYC.

The tradition of remembering Musicradio WABC on Memorial Day continues on Rewound Radio.
WABC itself no longer broadcasts WABC Rewound but we have the airchecks that were collected, restored and broadcast by WABC over Memorial Days 1999-2008.

Harrison Harrision, Ron Lundy, Cousin Brucie, George Michaels and of course plenty of Dan Ingram..all the jocks, they're all here.  Click here and enjoy the show!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Report: Atlanta's KISS 104.1 FM To Get Facelift

From Rodney Ho,
WALR Kiss 104.1 (website)will get a facelift on Monday. A home to 1970s and 1980s classic R&B hits for 18 years, the station will add more songs from the past 20 years into its mix to try to draw more youthful listeners, said Tony Kidd, vice president of programming for Cox Media Group’s radio division.

Kidd said he’d like to draw more listeners in their early 30s.

There will be no personnel changes but the station will go commercial-free at least on Monday, he said.

Though still a solid top-five station in overall listeners, Kiss ratings have slipped a bit in the past two years and its audience has aged. In the April Arbitron ratings, Kiss tied for fifth place overall but was eighth among 25 to 54 year olds. In April, 2010, the station was tied for fourth in overall ratings but second among 25 to 54 year olds.

Kiss is going directly after Majic 107.5/97.5, which plays mostly R&B songs from the past 20 years, though Kidd said it won’t play as many current songs. Majic has beaten Kiss the past three months among 25 to 54 year olds, the longest stretch since Arbitron began using people meters in early 2009.
Read More.

Tornado Shows How A Few Seconds Can Save A Life

From Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio

People who find themselves in the path of a tornado are sometimes shocked by how little time they have to respond. In the case of the tornado that hit north Minneapolis on Sunday, residents had at most eight minutes to find shelter after officials activated the first tornado sirens.

Those who didn't hear the warning sirens described being jolted from naps and having conversations with neighbors as the tornado descended rapidly upon them.

Given the speed of the tornado, the emergency alert system in the Twin Cities may have worked as well as possible. But it is not a perfect system, and the National Weather Service is reviewing how it worded its tornado warning for Minneapolis.

The storm showed how, even when meteorologists and emergency personnel are doing their job to the best of their ability, fast-moving tornadoes can appear with little warning.

Journal Broadcast Group's Tom Land Dies

Tom Land had plenty of titles with the Journal Broadcast Group - the last one was vice president of radio programming for the company's 32 radio stations - but that wasn't what people cared about when he was diagnosed with cancer last August.

According to an obit by Amy Rabideau Silvers at, they talked about how he cared about people. When one employee was always late, another manager said they'd probably have to let him go. Land didn't think that was the solution. He was trying to figure out how to help the man get a car, so he could get to work on time.

People realized that he could land at an airport, pick up a rental car and hit the radio button for the company station in that market. Within 20 minutes, he'd have a pretty good idea what was working and what wasn't - and the start of a plan, said Steve Wexler, executive vice president of the Journal Broadcast Group.

"We call it ears in our business," Wexler said. "He had great ears."

And people learned Land believed some things were more important than ratings. At the KSRZ station in Omaha, Neb., he organized an adopt-a-family program with the Salvation Army, matching descriptions of families in need with callers who wanted to help. Wexler admits that he raised a question about all that talk in a music format.

"He looked me straight in the eye," Wexler said.

"Wex, we're saving Christmas for 500 families," he said.

Land got his way.

He died of cancer Thursday in hospice care. He was 51.

The first clue that something was wrong came in Memphis as he was running through the airport during a business trip and felt a sudden stabbing pain in his lower back. Back in Milwaukee, his doctor said it was stage 4 lung cancer that had spread to his bones.

Read More.

O'Reilly, Beck Talk About GBTV

Economy Still Challenging For Radio

BIA/Kelsey Lowers Expectations

As we near the halfway point of the year, reports from the local radio industry reveal that growth has slowed more than expected. According to a blog by Mark Fratik at, BIA/Kelsey now expects that over-the-air local radio revenues to grow only 3.4%, down from 5.4% growth in 2010.

The good news is that online revenue growth is proving to be very strong for local radio stations. We now forecast that online revenue growth will be over 15% for all of 2011 with double digits increases for the following four years. These revised estimates are included in BIA/Kelsey’s 2nd edition of the 2011 Investing in Radio Market Report released Thursday.

Several reasons are causing the lower than expected revenue growth for local radio stations, with economic and new media having the biggest influence.

Clearly, the overall economy is not growing as fast as everyone had hoped and, in turn, advertisers are being cautious with their media buys. Plus, even with several months of overall employment gains, the overall unemployment rate is still over 9% and consumer confidence is still not overly strong.

Now, where the local economy has proven to be more vibrant, radio has benefitted from increased spending. Markets seeing growth of 6% in over-the-air-revenues this year include Houston-Galveston, TX, Pittsburgh, PA, Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN, Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL, and Austin, TX.

Read More.

WBT Charlotte Cuts Tara Servatius

Tara Servatius, whose commentary has been a staple of afternoon rush hours on WBT-AM (1110) for more than two years, was fired Thursday, according to a story by Mark Washburn at

"WBT will not be renewing its employment agreement with Tara Servatius," said Heidi Raphael, vice president of corporate communication for Massachusetts-based Greater Media, which owns the station.

"We are grateful for Tara's contributions to the station, and we wish her the best," she said in a statement released Thursday night.

Servatius joined WBT as a late-night host in June 2007. She replaced Jeff Katz in the afternoon slot when he was abruptly terminated in December 2008.

Servatius was called into a meeting with WBT management after the end of her Thursday show and told that she would not be returning to the microphone.

"It was a great five years at WBT," Servatius said Thursday night.

"I met some wonderful people. Greater Media is a business and they made a business decision. I wish them the best." Servatius, a longtime columnist for Charlotte's weekly Creative Loafing, gradually became a presence at WBT, first as a guest then filling in on shifts when hosts were off.

Read More.

TomzTake:  PPMs have not been kind to WBT, which has not announced replacement programming.

Report: HuffPo Employees Flee AOL

After "Brutal" "Awful" "Worst Few Weeks"
From Glynnis MacNicol, The Business Insider
"HuffPo used to be such a supportive place, where we were all in it together," one person we spoke to said, "but it's turned into a place of 'no' at Aol." 

Aol has brought in a "weird corporate culture," we were told, which perhaps is not surprising considering the fact they are such a large corporation.  However, this person added "Aol is a company that is desperate and acting like it."

Things did not start out badly.  By all accounts many HuffPo employees were pretty excited by the merger and there was a general sense Aol was buying the company for a reason.  However, it soon became clear Aol was "not interested in bringing HuffPo's way of doing things to Aol."

One of the people we spoke to conceded a lot of the current problems are rooted in typical growing pains.  As anyone who has worked for a company that experiences quick growth or success knows the road to expansion can be bumpy.

But a lot of the resentment also appears to be rooted in the sense that the HuffPo staff was brushed aside.

One person we spoke to noted that the shift in power structure was immediately noticeable.  When the newly formed Huffington Post Media Group moved into Aol HQ at Broadway and 9th we're told all the glass offices were given to newly hired New York Times reporters while the HuffPo employees -- "the people who made the $315 million for her" -- remained on the open floor.

Another insider, however, tells us the set up was intended to keep the office layout for HuffPost people similar to the open seating "news room" configuration at the former SoHo office.

Either way the role the New York Times appears to be playing in the new HuffPo Media Group can't be understated. By the sounds of it there are three competing cultures at HuffPo now: Aol, HuffPo, and the New York Times.
Read More.

Black Journalists Qutting MSM, Return To Black Press

From Lincoln Ware, the
Read the full CJR story here.
An article in the Columbia Journalism Review discusses the increasing number of African-American journalists leaving mainstream media for Black-oriented outlets.

Peaking in 2006, Black journalists held 5.5 percent of newsroom jobs. According to a survey by the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the number of African Americans at mainstream newspapers fell 34 percent between 2001 and 2011.

As of 2010, African Americans, who make up about 15 percent of the US population, hold 4.68 percent of US newspaper newsroom jobs.

New Owner Has Big Plans For WCKL-AM Catskill

Revived station will feature blend of familiar and new

The area’s former longtime radio station WCKL-560AM will be returning to the airwaves on June 15 at 6a, says its general manager and chief engineer Brian Dodge of Ghent.

According to a story by Jim Planck at, Dodge, who was brought on board in that position about a month ago by the station’s soon-to-be previous owner, the NYC-based Black United Fund of New York, is a key player for the forthcoming owner/licensee, Family Broadcasting & Media, LLC, and stayed on.

Dodge, who said he first became aware of WCKL about 15 months ago, said Thursday that all the paperwork has been signed, and that once it’s returned, he anticipates submitting a filing of the sale early next week, with FCC approval of the license currently pending.

“Right now, Harvest Broadcasting Services, of Worthington, Mass., has a time brokerage agreement with the Black United Fund of New York,” he said. “That will end after the sale is consummated.”

“WCKL is coming back full force,” said Dodge, who is no new hand at operating radio stations.

“We’re going local, live, 24 hours a day, June 15, ” Dodge said. “Everything will be fixed.”

Read More.

Ed Baxter, 'KGO Morning News' Co-Anchor, Retires

Ed Baxter, the award-winning co-anchor of "KGO Morning News," is retiring after working for the San Francisco radio station for 35 years, according to a story by David Wagner at

In 2004, "KGO Morning News" won an Edward R. Murrow Award for best newscast in the nation, and two years ago, Baxter was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame.

"He epitomized the personality style of KGO Radio news," says the station's news director, Paul Hosley, citing Baxter's probing interview style and sense of humor.

Baxter began his career at KGO in 1976 as a street reporter covering Contra Costa County. After working his way up to the position of East Bay Bureau chief, he became an anchor on the "KGO Afternoon News" broadcast and held the position for 21 years. He replaced morning co-anchor Jim Dunbar in 2000.

Read More.

Opinion: The Media Captures the Greed Zone

From Charles Warner's blog:
The Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO compensation survey shows that half of the top 10 and top 12 most highly compensated CEOs are in the media, replacing Wall Street and financial services sector CEOs as the most outrageously overpaid in America.

The top six of the top 12 in 2010 were: Viacom’s Phillip Dauman ($84.32 million) at #1, CBS’s Les Moonves ($58.88 million) at #3, Direct TV’s Michael White ($32.64 million at #5, Walt Disney’ Robert Iger ($27.22 million) at #8, Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes ($26.01 million) at #10, and Comcast’s Brian Roberts ($24.9 million) at #12....

What did the media CEOs do in 2010 to earn their unconscionably high compensation ? Well, they didn’t cause a financial meltdown, but they certainly didn’t help us get out of the recession with any notable public service activity, enlightening news coverage that helped bring to justice anyone guilty of fraud, help explain the meltdown, or create massive jobs...

Like the Wall Street moguls of 2007, the media moguls of 2010 think they are smarter than everyone else and that regulators are lazy, stupid, and in their pockets. Programming is worse in 2010 than it was in 2007, e.g. “Jersey Shore,” TV and cable viewing is down as viewers switch to mobile devices, and the FCC approved the Comcast-NBC Universal merger. Shortly after the merger one of the FCC commissioners who voted to approve it went to work as a high-paid lobbyist for Comcastin Welcome to the pocket.
Read More.

Charles Warner teaches media management, media sales, media economics, and media ethics at The New School and Strategic Analysis at NYU’s Stern School of Business in New York.  He is an active management and marketing consultant and trainer and is a Senior Advisor to transformational urban education startup Blue Engine. He is also an active blogger at and for Jack Myers Media Biz Bloggers.  Charlie is the Goldenson Chair Emeritus at the University of Missouri School of Journalism and is a volunteer in the Family Program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Until Charlie retired in January, 2002, he was a Vice President in AOL’s Interactive Marketing division.  In 1998, Bob Pittman, then President of AOL, hired Charlie its Interactive marketing division.  In the fall of 1999 Sales & Marketing Management magazine ranked AOL number ten in its list of the 25 best sales organizations in America—the first media company to make the list.

TV Networks See Key Audience Erode

Season Ends With High Viewership for Finales but Overall Trend Shows Decline in 18-49 Group

Fewer young people watched TV on traditional sets over the past television season, the second consecutive year of decline as viewers face a proliferation of ways to watch TV shows, according to a story by Sam Schnechner at

U.S. TV networks marked the official end of the TV season on Wednesday with a flurry of widely viewed send-offs, including the last episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and the season finale of "American Idol." But those big programs are closing out a TV season in which few new shows became hits, and ratings for the four most-watched networks fell.

At any given time of day, about 25.1 million people between 18 and 49 years old were watching TV of any kind—live or recorded, broadcast or cable —this TV season through May 8, according to Nielsen Co. That number is down 1.4% from the same period a year earlier, and 2.7% from two years ago.

Although the overall TV audience grew 1.5%, to roughly 61.3 million people watching at any given time of day, the continued decline among younger viewers is unusual in a medium that for years has seen generally growing consumption.

The four most-watched broadcast networks have been among the hardest hit. Roughly 3.6 million people between 18 and 49 years old watched prime-time shows on the four biggest broadcast networks this TV season through May 22, down 9% from a year earlier, Nielsen said.

The only major broadcast network to see its audience expand this TV season was No. 5 Univision, which has benefited from a growing Hispanic population. Through Wednesday, the Spanish-language network said it averaged 1.9 million viewers between the ages of 18 and 49 years old, up 7.6% from a year earlier.

Read More.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Family Radio Gets $1 Million Offer for 66 Stations

A Bible teaching ministry is offering Family Radio $1 million to purchase its entire network of 66 stations in the U.S. A Bible Answer said it would assume ownership the day after October 21, Harold Camping's new date for Doomsday, according to a story by Katherine P. Phan, at The Christian Post.

Richard Myers, the administrator of, said his group is proposing to take possession of Family Radio stations on Oct. 22 since the radio preacher would not need them after the rapture and End of the World. Camping is president of Family Radio.

"After taking the money of his supporters, let Harold give up all he has to show he believes what he is preaching. He does not or else he would sell," Myers wrote on the website.

A Bible Answer originally made the $1 million bid for Family Stations in February, three months before Camping's predicted May 21 Rapture date. At that time, the ministry offered to take over the stations beginning May 22 and said it was actually "paying much more than the station is worth since it will have no value in less than three months."

In defending his May 21, 2011, prediction, the 89-year-old broadcaster said Monday that the "judgment did come" but it was "spiritual" instead of physical.

"We had all of the dates correct. We didn't change anything at all. All the proofs, all the signs are correct. The only thing is that God has not opened our eyes yet that May 21 was the spiritual coming where as we had thought it was a physical coming but he has come in a sense that he now has the world under judgment," said Camping.

According to the radio preacher, October 21 will be the date of Doomsday, the date when the world will be literally destroyed and when those who are saved will rapture to heaven.

Read More.

CBS: Behind-The-Scenes At Obama Town Hall

What you didn't see

During commercial breaks in CBS News' town hall with President Obama that aired on "The Early Show" Thursday, the cameras were still rolling. Check out some of the lighter moments the live audience shared with the president.

Morning Joe: Talkin' Fox, Ailes and Beck

Gabriel Sherman,New York magazine, was on to talk about his latest article on Fox News. (See original posting).  Aired Wednesday morning.

MSNBC Suspends Libtalker Ed Schultz

Apologizes On-Air

Left-leaning Ed Schultz has been suspended from MSNBC for referring to fellow radio host Laura Ingraham as a “right-wing slut” and “talk slut” on his syndicated show Tuesday, according to a story at The Hollywood Reporter.

In a statement released Wednesday, the cable channel said: “MSNBC management met with Ed Schultz this afternoon and accepted his offer to take one week of unpaid leave for the remarks he made yesterday on his radio program. Ed will address these remarks on his show tonight, and immediately following begin his leave. Remarks of this nature are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The remark came as Schultz was taking aim at Ingraham over her criticism of President Obama's trip to Ireland -- where he apparently enjoyed a beer -- while the Midwest was experience severe weather, including devastating tornadoes.

Read More.

At The start of Wednesday evening's broadcast Schultz apologized for his comments

Program Format At Non-Com WDUQ Changing

News/Talk Fromat Starts July 1 in Pittsburgh

Officials at Essential Public Media, a subsidiary of WYEP-FM, announced that the changes are planned for July 1 and call for in-depth NPR News and information while eliminating all but six hours of jazz (Saturday evening)from the main 90.5 FM channel, according to a blog posting at

On May 2, Essential Public Media (EPM) signed an asset purchase agreement with Duquesne University to acquire the license to broadcast on 90.5 FM and then applied for FCC approval of the license transfer. The FCC review is expected to take at least another 2 months so in the meantime EPM is negotiating with the university for a Local Management Agreement (LMA) which would allow EPM to operate the station but the license would still be held by the university pending FCC approval.

The format includes the continuation of such programs as Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Fresh Air, Marketplace, Car Talk, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, This American Life and the Splendid Table.

Cardamone, Ferraro
Lee Ferraro, general manager of WYEP, (Photo Right) believes the all-news format on 90.5 is sustainable.....

"Increasing service to a full-service news station is going to generate a lot of enthusiasm, is going to generate additional listenership. We see that happening in Columbus, Ohio, Milwaukee, Wisconsin...places smaller than Pittsburgh."

WDUQ currently has the largest audience of the three public radio stations in Pittsburgh with 180,000 listeners.

Marco Cardamone, EPM Board chairman, (Photo Left)says they will provide 174 hours of jazz programmming a week: six hours on 90.5 and 24/7 on an HD companion channel and on-line. He says they want to make HD more accessible to jazz fans by providing vouchers to people to help purchase a small HD radio plus, he adds, most people are already able to listen via the Internet....

Currently, the radio station provides a total of 317 hours of jazz per week: 100 on 90.5 FM, 168 on an internet stream and 49 on HD2.

EPM also plans to record live jazz events for broadcast and produce jazz features for air on 90.5 FM.

Read More.

WBT's Charlotte's Al Gardner Battling Cancer

One of Charlotte's most enduring and engaging radio personalities is undergoing surgery Thursday morning.

It's the latest step in Al Gardner's battle against cancer.

Al [AM Drive host of 1110 AM, 99.3 FM WBT]  is 64 years old and has locally advanced, high risk prostate cancer.

But he's in the best shape of his life, reports

He boxes...he's a runner and recently completed a half marathon...he plays softball and is an avid golfer.

"I don't see this as fitness. I see this as a life saver," said Gardner.

A recent study by the Harvard School of Public Health and University of California, San Francisco...found that physical activity is associated with a lower risk of overall mortality and of death due to prostate cancer.

It also found that men who did more vigorous activity had the lowest risk of dying.

"Cancer hates exercise. And it talked about the extra level of fitness, not just going for a spandex job, but real boxing, or something real that's harsh on the body, how that actually can regress some of the symptoms of a high risk prostate cancer," said Gardner.

WBT's Al Gardner blogs about his cancer, click here.

WKYC Sportscaster Jim Donovan Battling Leukemia

Bone marrow transplant set

Tony Grossi, The Plain Dealer
Unbeknownst to viewers and even co-workers, WKYC TV 3 sports director and "radio voice of the Browns" Jim Donovan has been receiving treatment for leukemia for 11 years.

The disease is now causing him to undergo a bone marrow transplant. Donovan will take a leave of absence to have the procedure done in the coming weeks. He made the announcement on his 11 p.m. sportscast on Channel 3 [last]night.

Donovan, 54, was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in the summer of 2000. The disease was treated by chemotherapy and other therapies over the years. A flare-up of the disease in January resulted in the decision to have the bone marrow procedure.

He was put on a waiting list for a donor and learned in April that a match was found.

A native of Boston, Donovan joined Channel 3 in 1985. In that time he's called play-by-play at the network level for NBC on NFL games, the Olympic Games and World Cup Soccer, and won numerous broadcast awards. He was named the Browns' radio voice in 1999. Calling those games has been his favorite assignment.
Read More.

WDIO's Denny Anderson Signs Off After Four Decades

From Lisa Baumann, Duluth News Tribune
Clint Austin/Duluth News photo
WDIO news anchor Dennis Anderson wanted Wednesday to be a normal day. In reality, it was anything but.

At the station, the atmosphere was charged with people who wanted to make sure everything went well for Anderson’s final broadcasts, said Jon Ellis, assistant news director.

“It has the buzz of an election with no election,” Danielson said of the newsroom.

Throughout the day, the jokes were flying.

“Your password will expire in eight days,” Anderson read aloud from his computer. “Do I want to change it?”
          He then made a point of telling everyone that in 24 hours, he’d be at the cabin fishing...
“You can come back and visit anytime,” reporter Katey Rusch told him.

“I’ll be back a week from tomorrow for my paycheck,” he said. “And sometimes for coffee.”
Anderson also spent time replying to e-mails and a stack of snail mail from those wishing him well in his retirement.

After his signoff of “Good night, and be kind,” Anderson said he wasn’t sure he’d be able to get through his final goodbye during the 10 p.m. broadcast.

But at 10:30 p.m., with family members surrounding him at his desk, Anderson nearly made it through his entire goodbye with emotions in check.

“I want you to know … it has been a marvelous run,” he said with his voice starting to break. “Thank you for being there. And so … Goodbye everybody, and be kind.”
Read More.

For WDIO Video, click here.

Scott Hennen Set To Return To The Air

Scott Hennen, who started his radio career in Grand Forks, ND 27 years ago, is bringing his show back to town and to the same broadcasting company, according to a story by Tu-Uyen Tran at the Grand Forks Herald.

“I’m ecstatic about it, I really am,” the conservative talk show host told the Herald on Wednesday. Having spent much of his adult life in Grand Forks, and marrying a Grand Forks woman, he said he considers the city his “adopted hometown.”

Starting May 31, Hennen’s talk show will be on KNOX 1310 AM from 2 to 5 p.m. weekdays, the station confirmed. It’ll also be syndicated for broadcast in other markets.

“Scott, having worked in this market for 18 years, he’s certainly considered a household name here in Grand Forks and up and down the valley,” said Jeff Hoberg, general manager of Leighton Broadcasting, which owns, among others, KNOX. “It was certainly a perfect fit.”

Until this past Monday, Hennen’s syndicated show the “Common Sense Club” was broadcast from Fargo-based WZFG The Flag 1100 AM, the station he originally founded. His last show was supposed to be Friday, but he was cancelled mid-show by station management. (See original posting)

Read More.

Report: Glenn Beck Planning Web TV Channel GBTV

Tagline: ‘The Truth Lives Here’
From Alex Weorin, TV Newser at

Outgoing Fox News host Glenn Beck and his company, Mercury Radio Arts, are developing a new service called “GBTV,” which will be a web-based TV channel, according to sources familiar with the matter as well as trademark applications filed by the company.

GBTV will be based at, which Mercury acquired in January.

Mercury also filed a trademark on a tagline for the channel: “The Truth Lives Here,” as well as a logo (pictured after the jump), based on the logo for his “InsiderExtreme” subscription service.

The trademark applications are limited exclusively to programming delivered via the internet, so it is not likely that GBTV will become an actual TV network anytime in the near future. Mercury also filed the GBTV trademark for ancillary products, like DVDs, podcasts, mobile applications and video games....

Beck already has original programming and other content on his website, and people seem to be willing to pay for it through his “InsiderExtreme” memberships. Content includes original programs hosted by Beck staffers, as well as a show hosted by conservative commentator S.E. Cupp....

Mercury Radio Arts also announced another big internet play this week:, a “daily deals” site in the same vein as Groupon.
Read More.

Rolling Stone: Fox News 'Powerful Propaganda Machine'

This week must be the week to profile or bash Fox News chief Roger Ailes. It just depends on your politics.

Earlier this week New York magazine published a piece "The Elephant In the Green Room".  The article labeled Fox News the circus Roger Ailes created has made his network $900 million last year. But it may have lost him something more important: the next election.  (See posting).

Now at, comes How Roger Ailes Built the Fox Propaganda Machine

According Julian Brooks,  the story is about how Roger Ailes – onetime Nixon operative, brilliant master of political dirty tricks, true-believing wingnut – built the most powerful propaganda machine in history: Fox News.

Brooks writes a major theme of Tim Dickinson's definitive profile is that Ailes, who likes to say he quit politics when he took the helm at Fox, in 1996, only shifted to playing politics by other means – making himself into the all-powerful Don Corleone of the conservative movement by molding his TV network into a stunningly effective political message machine.

As former Bush speechwriter David Frum tells Dickinson, "Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us. Now we’re discovering that we work for Fox."

From the piece:

[Fox News] plays a leading role in defining Republican talking points and advancing the agenda of the far right. Fox News tilted the electoral balance to George W. Bush in 2000, prematurely declaring him president in a move that prompted every other network to follow suit. It helped create the Tea Party, transforming it from the butt of late-night jokes into a nationwide insurgency capable of electing U.S. senators. Fox News turbocharged the Republican takeover of the House last fall, and even helped elect former Fox News host John Kasich as the union-busting governor of Ohio – with the help of $1.26 million in campaign contributions from News Corp. And by incubating a host of potential GOP contenders on the Fox News payroll– including Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum – Ailes seems determined to add a fifth presidential notch to his belt in 2012. "Everything Roger wanted to do when he started out in politics, he’s now doing 24/7 with his network," says a former News Corp. executive. "It’s come full circle."
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Defense Attorney Has Testy Encounter With Media

At the Orlando, FL trial of accused tot-killer Casey Anthony, her lead defense attorney Jose Baez raises his voice after a WESH-TV2 photographer trips over his bag. A WFTV-TV9 reporter later says Baez elbowed him.  The high-profile murder trial which has garnered national attention is now in its third day.

Beasley Tries To Distance Itself From Jock Trial

Naples News photo
A day after a defense attorney tried to distance Naples-based Beasley Broadcast Group Inc. from liability in a lawsuit involving 96-KROCK (96.1 WRXK), the plaintiff's attorney Wednesday  used radio shock jock Joe Scott's employee documents to tie the company to the station, according to a story by Aisling Swift at

The defense has contended KROCK is owned by Beasley FM Acquisition Group, not the multimillion corporation traded on NASDAQ. Linking Scott and KROCK to the money making corporation is one of the hurdles Fort Myers attorney William Thompson Jr. must overcome to prove a lawsuit Scott's former girlfriend, Patti Davis, filed against Beasley Broadcast Group and its affiliates in 2005.

The trial comes 4½ years after 46-year-old Scott's death from internal bleeding, complications of years of drug and alcohol abuse.

Under the name "Jane Doe," Davis sued, alleging she endured daily diatribes in May 2005 by Scott, who cursed at her, called her a prostitute, thief, and other names that harmed her reputation and real estate career. She contends the station refused to stop him after she repeatedly complained and alerted them he was still abusing drugs and not ready to return to the air after a two-week stint in rehab. Station employees had taken him to The Willough rehab center in Naples after he didn't show up to work and was found surrounded by cocaine and alcohol in his Cape Coral home.

Read More.

Warriors Could Shake Up SF Sports Radio

The Bay Area's sports radio landscape is changing a little bit. And who knows? Depending on what the Golden State Warriors do, that change could end up being dramatic, according to a story by Matt Steinmartz at

By now, hard-core fans know that the Bay Area has another sports talk radio station in town: 95.7-FM KBWF. The station already is the flagship station of the Oakland A's and will be the flagship of the San Jose Sharks next season.

That's not a bad start.

But for 95.7-FM to make any kind of serious run at KNBR-680 -- the Bay Area's dominant sports talk station -- it's going to need to do more. Enter: The Warriors.

The Warriors' contract with KNBR expires at the end of the 2011-12 season, and it seems only logical that the Warriors will engage in dialogue with 95.7-FM.

KNBR-680, of course, is the flagship of the World Series champion San Francisco Giants, and most of the station's programming and discussion is centered on that team.

The Warriors always have been second tier at KNBR, and sometimes third tier. Even before the Giants won the Series in 2010, they routinely bumped Warriors' regular-season games from KNBR-680, the main station, to KNBR-1050, its sister station, when a conflict arose.

There also have been times that both the Giants and San Jose Sabercats of the Arena football league have pushed the Warriors to a third station.

Read More.

Goodbye Oprah...For Now...OWN Is Next

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

From Joplin: Lessons For Radio

From Howard B. Price for
At 5:40pm Central time, the TV stations serving Joplin were readying their early evening newscasts – and likely went on early with warnings and advisories. But at 5:40pm on a Sunday night, it’s likely most of the radio stations serving Joplin were running on automation.

How do I know this? Because I tuned in to a few on my Blackberry, using a lifesaver of an app called TuneIn Radio.

Many of the area’s radio stations weren’t streaming. I don’t know how many had emergency generators when the power went out. Or a backup phone system when the phones went out. Or any response plan for this kind of an event – at 5:40pm Central time on a Sunday night in Joplin.

If you are a station manager, you need to see to it that the phrase “Weekends? They’re the same everywhere” is banned from your premises. You need to assure that you have the assets and the people to throw at any life-threatening crisis – anywhere in your coverage area – at a moment’s notice. And perhaps most especially, on weekends, overnights and holidays – when your station may be the only game in town.

And you need a plan for round-the-clock sustained operations. Tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, earthquakes – all of these, and other disasters, too, can take down your over-the-air transmission systems.

Which means if you’re not streaming – and have a plan for creating and distributing streamed content from someplace OTHER than your studios and transmitter site – you run the risk of being put out of business in an instant.
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HOWARD B. PRICE, CBCP, MBCI Howard is the director of business continuity and crisis management at ABC News in New York. A 35-year veteran of radio, television and newspapers, he is a two-time EMMY Award winner, and a recipient of The George Foster Peabody Award. He has worked domestically and internationally as a news producer, assignment editor, bureau chief, reporter and anchor, covering some of the biggest stories of our time, including the 9/11 attacks and the 2003 Northeast blackout

Talker Rusty Humphries Detained, Released In Egypt

Atlanta's 640 WGST show host Rusty Humphries, and news anchor Jennifer Perry, were reportedly detained Tuesday as they tried to cross the Israeli border at the city of Eilat into Egypt, according to a posting on WGST's website.

According to Jake Cook, producer of the Rusty Humphries Show on 640 WGST, it is not clear why the crew was detained.  Humphries sought to interview residents of an Egyptian city along the Israeli border, but it is not clear if he had permission from the Israeli government to cross the border.

Cook says Humphries and Perry were expected to fly from Eilat to Jerusalem Wednesday ahead of a live broadcast to be aired on 640 WGST Wednesday afternoon.  Humphries posted a message on his Twitter account and Facebook page Wednesday morning indicating he is now in Jerusalem.  He wrote he would be on the air Wednesday

Cook says he has not been able to make contact with Humphries or Perry, and news of their detainment came from officials at Talk Radio Network, which syndicates Humphries' show across the country.

TomzTake: Rusty is a well-traveled broadcaster, so his tale should be interesting Wednesday on WGST.

NBC's Brian Williams Talks With Joplin Reporter

From Don Quick, KOAM TV:
Sunday's tornado has brought an old friend to the TV station. Brian Williams of the NBC Nightly News is an old friend and colleague who got his start in television here at KOAM-TV back in the early 1980's.

While he was in town for network coverage of the tornado aftermath he stopped by to revisit the station and some old friends.

Brian lived in Joplin for 13 months, but it's a connection he still feels strongly.

So for Brian, as for all of us, this disaster feels personal.
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Radio Chugs Along 24/7 In Tornado-Devastated Joplin

A panicked Frank Reynolds dialed the number for KZRG on Tuesday morning. The Joplin, Missouri, radio station was the glue that was holding the tornado-devastated community together, according to a story by Moni Basu at

Reynolds' great-nephew, Skyular Logsdon, only 16 months old, was missing after the deadly tornado struck the family home. Reynolds told the station's talk show hosts that Skyular was born prematurely and was small for his age, weighing only 20 pounds.

"When the tornado hit, we lost track of him," Reynolds said, the urgency apparent in his soft-spoken voice.

He gave his number to the radio station, in hopes that someone would call it.

Reynolds was hardly alone. With so many people still missing and so many homes destroyed after Sunday's tragedy, Joplin residents have been relying on their local radio stations for news and information.

KZRG, part of Zimmer Operations' six radio stations -- two that are news and four, music -- began its wall-to-wall coverage an hour and a half before the tornado twisted through town Sunday. It hasn't stopped.

For the first 24 hours, there was no electricity. Both cell phones and land lines were out, as was Internet service. All that people in Joplin had were battery-powered transistors.

The tornado missed the station building by a few blocks. So Zimmer Programming Manager Chad Elliot's staff cranked up the generators and turned off the music. They even canceled the commercials. All they did was provide vital information to people who had lost everything.

Elliot said it was the first time the stations had stopped all else to provide 24/7 information, though he had learned the power of radio two years ago during a jumbo ice storm.

"We've had this situation before, when radio becomes the only way of communication," he said.

Immediately after Sunday's killer tornado, Elliot said emergency crews drove to the station to provide information for broadcast. The station began telling people where to go for medical help. Or what number to dial for information about the missing. Or where they could buy gas or where there was still a Walmart standing.

Elliot said it reminded him of the family members of the victims of the September 11 attacks who held up photographs of their loved ones in hopes they were not under the rubble. Only, he said, there were no pictures in Joplin -- just trembling voices.

One after another, the calls streamed in.

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Watch and listen to Joplin Tornado Coverage.

Streaming live video by Ustream

TomzTake:  When weather is at its worst, radio is at its best!

BFA Offering Grants To Joplin Broadcasters

The Broadcasters Foundation of America, in conversations with the Missouri Broadcasters Association, said Tuesday that they will make one-time grants in the amount of $1,000 each to broadcasters in Joplin who have suffered personal losses as a result of the May 22 tornado.

Don Hicks of the MBA urges affected Joplin broadcasters to send an e-mail to the Foundation at In the email, Those seeking a grant should tell them were referred by the Missouri Broadcasters Association and provide a summary of your losses.

They will send you a one and a half page form to complete and return. The normal form is ten pages long - Hicks says the BFOA is trying to make this simple so broadcasters can receive aid quickly.

Joplin broadcasters are also being urder to share this information with broadcasters/co-workers who may not receive MBA emails.

Helping Broadcasters in Times of Need

For over 60 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has reached out across the country to provide financial assistance to radio and television broadcasters who are in acute need because of illness, advanced age, death of a spouse, accident or other life-altering misfortune.

Through one-time and monthly grants, the Broadcasters Foundation serves as a safety net for broadcasters who have dedicated their lives to our industry.

The Broadcasters Foundation has distributed millions of dollars in aid to colleagues in acute need. These funds have been obtained through ongoing outreach for membership, individual and corporate contributions, and fundraising events.

As more and more broadcasting baby-boomers head into their senior years -- and because of the fiscal reality of reduced pensions and benefits -- many corporations offer employees a slimmer safety net than at any time in the history of the workplace. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is here to help.

To read about some of the lives that have been touched by the Broadcasters Foundation of America, click here.

New Translator Brouhaha Flares in Ohio

First it happened in Northern New Jersey. Now it’s happening in Detroit/Northern Ohio.

Clear Channel stopped programming a translator in Manhattan at 106.3 FM when WKMK in Eatontown, NJ filed a complaint with the FCC.  They claimed the translator was interfering with its 106.3 FM signal in the northern suburbs of New Jersey.  (See posting)

Now, it’s Clear Channel’s turn to complain to the FCC.  Toledo rocker WIOT at 104.7 FM has asked the FCC for "immediate action to discontinue interference to bona fide listeners of WIOT."  It has submitted copies of complaints from listeners solicited via its website.  The complaints say WIOT is getting interference from a moved-in FM translator also at 104.7 FM in Belleville, Michigan near Detroit.

Tim Martz’ Radio Power Inc. is programming the translator with the HD2 programming of WGPR at 107.5.  The translator format is known as “Smooth Jazz Oasis 104.7”.

Martz wants the FCC to defer action until Radio Power can determine the validity of each interference complaint.

Martz also says he wants to work with CC to resolve the interference, where appropriate.

ESPN, WFAN NYC Pleased With Latest Numbers

ESPN and WFAN sports radio stations reach out to younger male listener demo
From David Hinckley,
There's been good news in the morning lately for both of the town's all-sports radio stations.

The morning team of Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton at WFAN (660 AM) was the city's No. 1 show this winter among men 25 to 54, one of the most lucrative audiences because it's one of the hardest for advertisers to reach.

And general manager David Roberts of rival ESPN Radio (WEPN, 1050 AM) is happy, too, because in April his syndicated morning team of Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic beat Boomer and Carton for the first time among men 18 to 34.

Radio ratings are broken down into such small slivers of audience that you can go blind or crazy just thinking about them.

Still, each station sees good reason for optimism here.

WFAN program director Mark Chernoff sees his morning guys scoring solidly with the station's primary target audience. Boomer and Carton averaged 6.7% of men 25-54, well ahead of second-place WNYC (93.9 FM) at 5.6%.

"We're very proud of our numbers," says Chernoff, who notes that WFAN afternoon host Mike Francesa was also No. 1 among male listeners. Francesa's show had its own shakeup when his longtime partner, Chris Russo, left for Sirius satellite radio in 2008.
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CNBC Anchor Mark Haines Dies

Veteran journalist Mark Haines, a fixture on CNBC for 22 years, died unexpectedly Tuesday evening. He was 65 years old.

A story posted at reports Haines, founding anchor of CNBC's morning show "Squawk Box," was co-anchor of the network's "Squawk on the Street" program, providing insight and commentary sometimes humorous and occasionally acerbic.

CNBC President Mark Hoffman called Haines a "building block" of the financial networks' programming. Hoffman said Haines died at his home.

"With his searing wit, profound insight and piercing interview style, he was a constant and trusted presence in business news for more than 20 years," Hoffman said in a statement to CNBC employees. "From the dotcom bubble to the tragic events of 9/11 to the depths of the financial crisis, Mark was always the unflappable pro.

"Mark loved CNBC and we loved him back. He will be deeply missed."

Haines may be best remembered for his calming and commanding presence during the 9/11 tragedy when he reacted unflapplably to the furious stream of incoming rumor and even more astonishing truth with a professionalism that rivaled any television anchor, said CNBC senior economics reporter Steve Liesman.

Could Harold Camping Be Sued?

Christian Post photo
Family Radio has solicited millions from donors over the years and reportedly spent over $100 million on advertising for the May 21 Judgment Day, according to a story by Katherine T. Phan a reporter for The Christian Post.

But now that the "guaranteed" rapture didn't happen, people are wondering: Can Harold Camping or Family Radio be sued? Did they do anything illegal in soliciting donations based on the rapture prediction? And do donors have legal ground to sue the discredited prophet?

Probably not, says an executive of Charity Navigator, which evaluates over 5,500 of America's largest charities. The charity evaluator rated Family Radio as a 4-star charity, the highest possible ranking.

Sandra Miniutti, vice president of Charity Navigator, told The Christian Post she doesn’t think that Family Radio committed any wrongdoing, from a financial standpoint.

"They believed that the rapture was going to happen. I don't think they did anything illegal," Miniutti said Tuesday.

She said Charity Navigator doesn't evaluate a non-profit's mission, only its financial performance in the spending on its program, administration, fundraising, and efficiency in fundraising.

"We rate charities based on their financial performance. We don't make subjective assessments on the value of their mission. We just look on their financial performance," said Miniutti.

Based on her knowledge so far, Family Radio has used its donations where it was intended, on billboards and on public relations campaigns advertising the May 21 Judgment Day.

The Christian Post learned that Harold Camping spent around $100 million to advertise his May 21 end times prediction, according to Matt Tuter, Family Radio’s international projects manager.

Tuter told The Christian Post that most of the money did not come from donations, but from the sale of property – more specifically, KFTL television and an FM station.

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University Poll: Fox Most Trusted Political News Source

From Don Irvine, Accuracy In Media:
Liberals received some more bad news this week as a new Suffolk University poll revealed that Fox News is the most trusted political news source among those surveyed.

FOX News – 28%
CNN – 18%
Undecided -12%
NBC – 10%
Other -10%
MSNBC — 7%
ABC — 6%
CBS — 6%
C-SPAN — 3%

For CNN the poll was a little bit of good news at a time the network is struggling with it’s primetime lineup, and after they received a black-eye this week for omitting former New York governor and current CNN host Eliot Spitzer from a story on political sex scandals.

The news wasn’t so good for MSNBC which finished a distant third to its cable news brethren with just 7% of respondents saying that they trusted the liberal cable news network.
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The Muppets Return: "Green With Envy"

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pain of Joplin Tornado Shows in TV Coverage

From  Aaron Barnhart, The Kansas City Star

Within minutes of a powerful tornado ripping through Joplin, Mo., Sunday night, the Weather Channel’s Mike Bettes arrived on the scene.

Bettes is the on-air face of “The Great Tornado Hunt.” The day before he had been in high spirits, posting a picture to Facebook of himself and Greg Forbes, the Weather Channel’s severe-weather expert, standing outside the Topeka Hooters with several of the restaurant’s wait staff.

But as Bettes broadcast from the parking lot of St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin, he found himself for the second time in as many months confronting the grim reality of how storm pursuit sometimes ends.

“Take a look — everything is completely demolished,” Bettes told viewers as his cameraman surveyed the landscape of tree stumps, debris piles and twisted metal where a neighborhood once stood.

“All I can say is it looks very reminiscent of what we saw last month in ...”

His voice trailed off. The camera pointed away from Bettes, taking in the wreckage in silence.

“.. in Tuscaloosa,” he finally said, his voice breaking.

Technology has made storm chasing seem like an exciting spectator sport.

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