Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Saturday Aircheck

WYNY becomes WKTU 103.5 (February 10, 1996)

It would be hard to imagine a need for a CHR station in New York. For decades WABC and later Z100 would play all the hits in America's biggest market.

By 1996, Z100 had strayed into an Alternative Rock direction opening a hole for a station with a beat. By then WYNY's ratings had remained stagnant at around a 2 share. Putting two and two together, and after a week of simulcasting sister stations from around the country Evergreen Media (one of the predecessors to what would later become AMFM) resurrected the name and image of the station (then at 92.3) that many considered to have caused the demise of WABC a decade and a half earlier.

Bringing aboard many people responsible for successful CHR product in New York to run the show helped. Led by Program Director Frankie Blue and with no DJ's, WKTU rose to the top of the New York ratings in its first book a feat only Z100 was able to perform. KTU still thrives to this day even with its now sister station Z100 back to a pure mainstream sound.

Friday, June 24, 2011

2 Held In Death Of Former Radio Engineer

Tommy Douyette
A Brookfield, Wisconsin man found dead in his home Wednesday has been indentified as 63-year-old John Aegerter. He was a former WISN Milwaukee transmitter engineer and a radio hobbyist.

Police say he had been beaten and bound, his face wrapped in duct tape and plastic grocery bags placed over his head.  Aegerter also may have been strangled or had his neck broken during the attack at his home.

Aegerter may have been killed in a dispute over money, records state.

Tommy V. Douyette, 42, was ordered held on $750,000 bail on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide and Lynn M. Hajny, 48, was ordered held on $500,000 bail on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide, party to a crime.

Aegerter in the 1960s was a nighttime transmitter engineer at Milwaukee radio station WISN, when they had to staff engineers at the transmitter plant, said Mark Heller, president of WGBW radio in Two Rivers.

Heller, an acquaintance of Aegerter, said Aegerter also collected vintage transmitters, including an old WOKY transmitter from the late 1950s that he restored.

Jersey 101.5 Cuts The Jersey Guys


Opinion: Bring The Jersey Boys Back To NJ 101.5, Click Here

Listener Starts Face Book Page. Bring Jersey Boys Back "What You Can Do", Click Here

Jersey 101.5 FM WKXW Trenton announced Friday that PM drivers Casey Bartholomew and Ray Rossi’s contracts are not being renewed and will no longer be heard in the afternoon.  New Jersey 101.5 wishes "nothing but the best for them in the future and thank them for their service".

Deminski & Doyle
At the same time, New Jersey 101.5 announced Jeff Deminski & Bill Doyle are coming back to afternoon drive (2pm -7pm weekdays) starting on Tuesday July 5th!

Many longtime listeners will remember that “The Deminski and Doyle Show” was a very popular afternoon program on the station from 1993 to 1999 with consistent #1 ratings—and very strong appeal with both men and women.

In 1999, Jeff & Bill left The Garden State and had a very successful run in Detroit. Now they are ready to come home!

Jeff Deminski describes the show as "a radio version of the corner bar, where guys will come in and B.S. with the two guys drinking beers at the end, who would be Bill and me. That's kinda the philosophy we've always had."

Program Director Eric Johnson comments; “The Deminski & Doyle Show will continue New Jersey 101.5’s 21 year commitment of talking about the challenges and fun of everyday life in New Jersey! We are thrilled to have them back!”

Keith Olbermann's First Week Smooth, Rude And Divisive

Opinion: New Current TV host brings the rancor with him

From David Zurawik, The Baltimore Sun
After four nights of watching Keith Olbermann, there are two things I can say with some certainty.

First, he has put together a first-rate production team. Current TV is producing a more focused and faster moving “Countdown” than MSNBC did. That is either high praise for a relatively little outfit like Current, or a harsh indication of how slipshod things sometimes get editorially and production-wise at MSNBC, especially with some of its, shall we say, less focused hosts like Chris Matthews.

On the other hand, it is premiere week. And while it is great that the production crew was of the caliber where opening-week jitters didn’t make it to the screen, the big test will be whether “Countdown” can maintain the energy level of these first shows a month from now.

But here’s the second thing I believe to be true about “Countdown,” and this one matters far more than a telecast looking good. Olbermann will never see the high road. He is a divisive and uncivil character whose very essence as a performer is rooted in anger, rancor, insults and feuds.

I hoped that working for Al Gore, who at times in his political career exemplified the high road, would alter Olbermann. But that’s not the case so far, and Olbermann is already dragging the prime-time cable TV conversation about politics in the wrong direction.
Read More.

Mobile Local Ad Revenue To Reach $2.6B By '15

BIA/Kelsey Thursday released its five-year outlook for U.S. mobile local advertising. According to the firm, total U.S. mobile ad spending will grow from $790 million in 2010 to $4 billion in 2015.
During the same period, BIA/Kelsey projects the local portion of that total to increase from $404 million to $2.8 billion. This makes locally targeted mobile ads 51 percent of overall U.S. mobile ad spending, growing to 70 percent by 2015.

Consistent with other local media, BIA/Kelsey defines mobile local advertising as that which targets users in specific locations or contains location-specific calls to action.

Among the drivers of mobile ad revenue growth are smartphone penetration, mobile Web usage and related increases in ad inventory. BIA/Kelsey expects this to come about as large brand advertisers evolve their campaign objectives to the capabilities of the mobile device — most notably, location awareness. The firm also sees mobile advertising moving down market to small and medium-sized businesses through a combination of local sales and self-serve tools. Exploding mobile usage, clearer ROI and a shorter purchase funnel will accelerate this demand within display, search and SMS advertising formats.

“Revenues will grow from not only ad volume, but also premiums placed on location-targeted ads,” said Michael Boland, senior analyst and program director of BIA/Kelsey’s Mobile Local Media practice. “These premiums result from higher performance for locally targeted mobile ads when compared with non-local ads, due to higher relevance, immediacy and consumer buying intent, all of which are more prevalent in mobile than many other print and digital media.”

Promo Idea: KFWB's "On Your Street"

From Richard Wagoner,

980 AM KFWB Los Angeles is launching a series of broadcasts focusing on local cities. Called "KFWB on Your Corner," the series started Thursday with a spotlight on Long Beach.

With this and future segments, the public is invited to attend the live broadcasts and interact with the KFWB personalities.

For this installment, the broadcasts will be from two locations: from 5 to 11 a.m. at Legends Sports Bar, 5236 E. Second St., and from 2 to 7 p.m. from Long Beach Airport, in the second floor Legends of Aviation Restaurant, 4100 Donald Douglas Drive.

The station plans to examine some of Long Beach's major political issues, improvement projects, tourism, transportation and education. Scheduled to appear are Mayor Bob Foster; Dr. Jerry Schubel, president and CEO of Aquarium of the Pacific; and F. King Alexander, president of Cal State Long Beach.

The last time I can remember this happening on a consistent basis for a commercial station was back in the 1980s, when 102.7 KIIS-FM hosted "Weekend Warmups" every Thursday night, as well as sending people out to the streets to interact with the public.

In the distant past, stations were "on the streets" constantly, with live broadcasts, concerts, prize patrols - giving the station a presence on and off the air.

More recently, as stations retrenched into the consolidated mother ship - and with Federal Communications Commission-approved format monopolies - you've seen this less and less, and the public is poorer for it.

Read More.

Opinion: What's Pandora's Secret?

What can radio learn from Pandora?

From Mark Ramsey Media:
Is it the importance of personalization or technology or the role of streaming in the consumer’s entertainment diet?  Is it the importance of being cool and talked about?

It is none of these things.

Recently I saw Pandora founder Tim Westergren speak to a room of people who were not broadcasters or radio industry types.

He could have talked about the methodological details of the Music Genome Project.  He could have talked metrics.  He could have talked reach.  He could have talked time spent listening.  He could have talked about the stuff folks in radio always seem to be talking about, as if those are the areas where we are most threatened.

He did none of these things.

Instead, Tim told stories.

Stories of his meetups with Pandora listeners in small groups across the country.

He told of the marching band enthusiast who assumed that Pandora was a marching band channel because that’s what he loved to listen to and it’s all he listened to on Pandora.

He told of the man who was deaf and would place his hands on the speakers while Pandora played as he followed along with the lyrics on the screen.

Stories of human lives changed in no small part by their experience with Pandora.

In the end, it’s not about the idea of personalization or technology or music genome this or that.

In the end, it’s about changing the world by touching one human being at a time and making his or her life better.
Read More.

Merlin Hires Another Magician: Greg Janoff

Merlin Media announced Thursday the appointment of Greg Janoff, as EVP of Revenue. In his new role, Janoff will be responsible for all revenue generation across all platforms.

Merlin Media was formed to acquire and operate radio stations through a partnership between Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR and Emmis Communications, a diversified media company focused on radio broadcasting. With GTCR's resources and Emmis Communications' expertise in radio operations, the company begins with a base of three stations – two in Chicago and one in New York – and intends to develop a network of radio stations across the country.

"Greg's superior talent in broadcast, especially within the digital arena, is a valuable asset to our company," said Randy Michaels, Chairman and CEO of Merlin Media. "With 26 years of experience in our industry, Greg has shown an innate ability to identify and capitalize on emerging opportunities like the digital extension of traditional radio. I look forward to working with Greg and having his track record of innovation put to good use on our team."

"I am a firm believer in the value of radio and the growth opportunities this industry has," said Janoff. "In my career, I've worked with tremendously creative and forward-thinking individuals, and I am excited to bring the insights I've learned with me to Merlin Media."

Janoff joins the company from his role as VP, Branded Entertainment Sales at My Damn Channel, where he was responsible for building sales strategy and developing product offerings to bring branded entertainment content to the radio industry for RAMP (Radio and Music Pros). In this capacity, Janoff packaged traditional, digital, and branded entertainment opportunities for broadcast partners, clients, and advertising agencies.

Janoff spent 15 years inside the Group W/CBS Radio world, starting at Group W's Boston news/talk WBZ (1030) and then moving to New York at all-news "1010 WINS." He had been running WINS until late 2008.

Opinion: Call Letters And Pure Conjecture

More On The Q101 Chicago Flip

From Karl Klockars,
When I was in college taking radio classes, I was taught that the biggest way to signal a major change at a radio station wasn't changing the staff, the management, or even blowing up the format: it was changing the call letters. We saw it most recently when WCKG switched to WCFS, and Radio Insight has info which could indicate that the WKQX calls aren't long for this world. Merlin Media has reserved the domain name for, and reserved them "on Monday, June 20 prior to the public announcement of the acquisition of these stations by Merlin Media LLC." The calls of WIIN or "Win!" bring to mind #4 of Merlin's job page, reading "Play to win." And who can't already hear the Charlie Sheen quote-heavy imaging?

Other domains have been registered anonymously, including the URL, which is just generic enough to either be a red herring or a perfectly bland positioning statement for what wouldn't be an all-news station, as has been reported just about everywhere, but what I think might be in store: A news/talker akin to the aforementioned WCKG.

Here's my reasoning, and I make no claims of inside information or industry chatter; just some hunches from a decade in the broadcast industry, almost entirely at news/talk stations. First there's this: An all-news station is ridiculously expensive. We're talking millions and millions in start-up costs. You have to staff anchors, reporters, editors, writers, producers, and management and they have to operate 24 hours a day, to say nothing of what the studios would require just in new equipment.

When Michaels and company ran the numbers, do you think they saw enough of a potential market share to bite into the Radio Fortress that is WBBM-AM? Enough to justify spending that kind of money? I, for one, don't think so. Michaels has built his reputation and his fortune on saving money, on consolidation, on being a cost-cutter. Not being the guy who throws a shit-ton of cash at an extremely risky start-up. And considering his unseemly ouster from Trib Tower and WGN, is it hard to imagine Michaels and other Clear Channel vets setting the stage for a radio vendetta intended to steal away part of the news/talk audience from his old station? (Not to mention a chunk from WLS-AM as well.)
Read More.

Steel City Radio: 11 Ex-WDUQ Staffers Rehired

Eleven former 90.5 WDUQ-FM employees will remain onboard as the station transitions to Essential Public Media, which will launch on July 1, according to a story by Paul McMullen at pittsburghlive,com.

Essential Public Media, a subsidiary of independent public radio station WYEP-FM/Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting, signed an agreement to buy the city's oldest and most listened-to radio station from Duquesne University on May 2 for $6 million and announced the hires on Thursday. The university last week notified the station's 20 full-time employees of their termination.

Bob Studebaker and Helen Wigger accepted positions as hosts of JazzWorks programming on the station's HD channel. Studebaker also will serve as a producer, and Wigger will be operations director for the station.

Mark Nootbaar, WDUQ's assistant news director, was named senior assignment editor for the new station. News director Kevin Gavin will become director of interns and a producer for the station. Three reporters -- Larkin Page-Jacobs, Erika Beres and Noah Brode -- will stay with the new station.

Hosts of two weekly local WDUQ programs will stay on the station with their hosts; Dale Abraham and Mike Plaskett with "Rhythm Sweet and Hot" and Dr. Vijay Bahl and Harish Saluja with "Music From India."

WDUQ employees Fred Serino and Vicky Rumpf will stay with the station only to help with the transition. Several other WDUQ staffers retired or chose not to apply for openings with Essential Public Media, and some positions were consolidated.

Read More.

Report: The British Are Coming

Two newspapers take aim at America

From The
The Daily Mail’s website, Mail Online, has cheerfully flouted online publishing conventions since it was relaunched in 2008. It is only loosely related to the newspaper and has its own staff. Whereas the Daily Mail chronicles supposed assaults on middle-class Britain by illegal immigrants, liberal politicians, germs and the BBC, the website specialises in breezy celebrity gossip. It is packed with pictures of women in bikinis. This is catnip to readers. Mail Online overtook the Huffington Post in worldwide readers earlier this year, and has nearly pipped the New York Times (see chart).

Even though the Guardian’s website has been popular for longer, its recent growth outside Britain is still impressive. American readers, about one-third of total visitors, come to the site mostly for its distinct take on foreign affairs: the Guardian is often critical of Israel. Although not as celebrity-obsessed as the Mail, it has more gossip than many po-faced American newspaper websites. It is also at the digital cutting-edge, with lots of blogging and tweeting.

Both outfits are bulking up in areas likely to appeal to Americans. Mail Online has added reporters in Los Angeles and New York, to keep an eye on domestic celebrities such as the Kardashians and the cast of “Jersey Shore”, a reality television show.
Read More.

Your Career: Phil Hendrie Gets Real About Radio

From Gary Lycan for
Phil Hendrie is known for his creative use of fictional characters on his programs – but when it comes to talking about the state of the radio industry, he is all reality.

"There are so many land mines to negotiate," he said when asked what he would tell persons who want to break into talk radio. He adds bluntly, "You will have a very difficult time finding your own voice because you are told by the imbeciles that you need to be conservative or liberal.

"Why do you have to call yourself one thing or the other? I remember KMPC when it did talk and it would say it was talk radio for women. Why? You want a lot of listeners, why push others away. We need to be more than this finite thing," he said.

Hendrie, 58, saw the handwriting on the wall and was smart to branch out beyond radio. Yes, he's on Denver's KTLK/1150 AM live 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. and repeated 1 to 3 a.m. weekdays, and on LA's KFI/640 AM from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Talk Radio Network syndicates him nationwide. But he's happiest with the success he has had – as his own boss – at his Internet site It offers podcasts, videocasts, webisodes, and his archived shows – all for a subscription fee. His business model is not only proving to be a success, it doesn't rely on having to deal with corporate ownership.
Read More.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Radio Doomsdayer Harold Camping Going Off Air

The Christian radio network belonging to Harold Camping, who twice incorrectly predicted the world would end, plans to replace his weekday segment Open Forum with new programming after rebroadcasting the last show he recorded before suffering a stroke on June 9.

Family Radio on Hegenberger Road began playing repeats of Open Forum after a stroke hospitalized the 89-year-old Camping, according to a story by Angela Woodall at

On Monday, staff again started airing 20 segments recorded by Camping from May 23 -- two days after he most recently predicted Judgment Day would arrive -- through June 9.

Camping first predicted Judgment Day would descend in September 1994. For his 2011 prediction, he invested in a billboard campaign declaring the second coming of Jesus Christ on May 21 and the end of the world on Oct. 21.

He used Open Forum and Family Radio to broadcast his prediction. Broadcasts are available nationwide.
The nationwide network, registered as a nonprofit organization with Camping as president, is worth an estimated $72 million, Fortune Magazine reported in May.

Camping took no salary in 2009 but loaned himself $175.5 million. Family Radio's board of directors approved the loan, whose purpose was not stated in the tax documents.

Read More.

Charlotte Radio: WBT Taps Coakley For Talk

Former WSOC (Channel 9) anchor Vince Coakley has been named the new afternoon host at WBT Radio, 1110 AM and 99.3 FM.

Coakley will take over the 3 to 6 p.m. shift beginning Monday, according to a story by Mark Washburn at

He said Wednesday he plans to cover local and national topics on the program, but wants to discuss issues without the provocative, confrontational tone that marks many radio talk shows today.

Coakley, 46, considers himself a conservative and says he has concerns about the direction of the country.

Coakley fills the spot vacated in May by Tara Servatius, whose contract wasn't renewed by WBT's parent company, Massachusetts-based Greater Media. Servatius joined WBT as a late-night host in June 2007 and replaced Jeff Katz in the afternoon slot when he left in December 2008.

Read More.

Andy Friedman Becomes A Magician

Randy Michaels hires former Trib VP for Merlin Media

When Randy Michaels came to Tribune Co. as CEO, he brought a lot of his radio colleagues with him. He is tapping the same talent pool for his imminent return to the radio business, according to a story by Robert Channick at The Chicago Tribune.

Merlin Media, a company formed to acquire WKQX-FM and WLUP-FM in Chicago, and WRXP-FM New York, announced Wednesday that Andy Friedman, a former Tribune Co. and Clear Channel executive, will head up internet initiatives for the new venture.

Prior to his role as vice president of interactive content at Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune, Friedman oversaw online news, talk and sports at Clear Channel Communications for eight years.

His background may offer some insight into rumored format changes for at least one of the two Chicago rock stations.  Widespread industry speculation has WKQX, Q101, switching to news/talk.

Read More.

Inside The Casey Media Carnival

Step right up to the biggest media circus since O.J.

The Casey Anthony murder trial was expected to draw a lot of public interest. But in the past few weeks, TV news "rock stars" are starting to show up at the courthouse here saying they want to witness the jury's reaction to the testimony for themselves, according to a story by Aphrodite Jones at

So far, Geraldo Rivera has flown in twice. Greta Van Susteren made a quick appearance, along with Judge Jeanine Pirro, who has now become a regular trial watcher for Fox News.

Then, there's the popular TV judge Alex Ferrer -- an ex-cop and former prosecutor -- who watches the trial largely from a media screening room and comments for cable news.

Tuesday, HLN's Jane Velez Mitchell showed up, with women going gaga over her in the ladies' room.
Some of the people waiting on line to get into court each day have as much interest in seeing their favorite TV news stars -- touching them, shaking their hands and taking photos with them -- as they do in the actual trial.

It's weird, writes Jones.

Witnesses are already demanding money for interviews. Everyone involved wants to cash in.

Some key people have made it clear to Nancy Grace's producers and others that they will not talk without compensation.

The ratings frenzy caught some news organizations by surprise.

Read More.

Milwaukee: Sports Talker Russell Floored By Firing

To say Doug Russell was surprised to learn he had been fired by radio station 1250 AM WSSP is to understate the case and not by a little.

"I was blown away," Russell told Bob Wolfley of the Journal-Sentinel during a phone interview. "On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the most surprised, I was probably about a 16. Shocked. Just flabbergasted."

On Tuesday, after he had completed "The Doug and Mike Show" with his partner, Mike Wickett, WSSP program director Tom Parker told Russell he was out of a job.

When asked by a reporter why Russell was dismissed, Parker said the station wanted "to take the show in a different direction."

Russell, 38, had worked the 5 to 9 a.m. morning slot since January 2007 at WSSP.

Russell said Parker told him the same thing. Russell said he asked Parker what he meant by that.

"He just reiterated that point, (saying) we need to move the show, move the show in another direction; thank you for your service, shook my hand and walked out the door, left me with the HR (human resources) person," Russell said.

Russell was asked if he thought his dismissal was an economic one, since his salary may have been among the top ones for on-air people at the station.

"I’m guessing it had to do with economics," Russell said. "I don’t think I make that much money. But I know I made more than Mike or (producer) Chuck (Freimund). So if the top salary on the show was to be pared, it was mine. I wasn’t told economics was a reason. The other thing is Tom told me two or three times it was not performance related; it was not job performance related at all.

WSSP is one of 110 radio stations in 23 markets owned by Entercom Communications, which is based in Bala Cynwyd, Pa. Entercom also owns WMYX and WXSS, FM stations in Milwaukee.

Read More.

The Tiki Barber HBO Interview

His Failed Broadcasting Career, Intern Relationship

Former Giants running back Tiki Barber revealed the emotional factors driving his attempt to return to the NFL on Tuesday night’s episode of HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.

And reports he also talked about his failed stint on NBC, and the intern girlfriend that led to his exit from broadcasting.

Barber also defended his relationship with an NBC intern (which became public while his wife was pregnant) saying he “didn’t think it would destroy my career” and “the facts don’t matter.”

The failure of his marriage and TV career drove Barber to depression, a state he says he remained in for more than a year. Reuniting with friends at February’s Super Bowl in Dallas inspired his attempt to return, Barber explains, sparking a brutal workout regimen and radical lifestyle changes. Those changes, however, won’t erase the messy divorce he’s currently mired in or the reputation irreparably damaged (to some degree) by the New York tabloid press in the wake of his infidelity and criticism of former Giants teammates.

Read More.

Also Read:

Barber interview on WFAN NYC becomes heated

A Deeper Look at Sirius XM's Used Car Deal With GM

From Spencer Osborne,
The announcement made by Sirius XM Satellite Radio is likely much bigger than their headline indicates, and much bigger than many investors even realize.This is not a “Certified Pre-Owned” deal, nor is it relegated to one brand. What Sirius XM announced this week was that more than 1,000 General Motors dealers will offer a three month promotional subscription on ANY satellite radio equipped used car sold REGARDLESS of brand.

One chief complaint of satellite radio investors for years has been finding a way to monetize the inactive radios already in cars, but no longer part of the subscription base. Deals giving certified pre-owned (CPO) buyers a promotional subscription have been in place for quite some time, but most used cars sold are not CPO cars. Thus, while there was a benefit to the company, Sirius XM was not seeing a massive influx of promotional subscriptions.

In a press release issued today the company stated:
Sirius XM Radio today announced that customers will automatically receive a 3-month subscription to SiriusXM when they purchase a pre-owned vehicle factory installed with satellite radio, regardless of manufacturer, from over 1,000 participating GM dealerships across the United States.
For the first time, participating GM dealers will provide customers purchasing non-GM pre-owned vehicles a 3-month subscription to SiriusXM. Customers purchasing Sirius or XM satellite radio-equipped pre-owned vehicles will have access to commercial-free music, and premier sports, news, talk, comedy and a selection of premium programming.
This new type of deal will add a whole new dynamic to the Sirius XM subscriber picture. The used car market is HUGE, and there are millions of satellite radio equipped cars that are potential subscribers.
Read More.

Promotion Idea: The WBAP Anniversary Bash

WBAP News Talk 820 AM and 96.7 FM Dallas-Ft. Worth, present “The WBAP Anniversary Bash,” celebrating Hal Jay and Steve Lamb at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth Wednesday, June 29th.  

WBAP is celebrating Hal Jay's 30 years of broadcast excellence, Steve Lamb for 25 years of great sports reporting and 30 years of a great honky-tonk …Billy Bob’s Texas!!  With entertainment from country's Neal McCoy.

All the WBAP hosts will be there, including Mark Davis, Amy Chodroff, Brian Estridge, Brad Barton, Laura Houston, Monty Cook, and of course Hal Jay and Steve Lamb. 

The Anniversary Celebration will be at the legendary Billy Bob’s Texas, 2520 Rodeo Plaza in the historic Fort Worth Stockyards. Proceeds from the event benefit the Fisher House, a non-profit charity that provides free lodging to veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical centers

Glen Campbell Diagnosed With Alzheimer's

(CBS/What's Trending) - Country legend, Glen Campbell, revealed today that he has Alzherimer's and plans to put on one last farewell tour for fans in an exclusive interview with People.

Devin Brown at reports, Campbell's announcement comes a few weeks after the iconic songwriter and performer received poor reviews for a concert in Carmel Indiana in which the singer reportedly "came across as unprepared at best and disoriented at worst. He mangled lyrics (despite unabashed use of video prompts on three onstage monitors), clanged countless off-key guitar notes and generated zero rapport with the crowd."

Now fans know why as Campbell announces his fatal disease. In light of his condition and subsequent struggles, his wife Kim Campbell said that "Glen is still an awesome guitar player and singer."

Campbell was a huge presence in the 60's and 70's with his Grammy winning smash "Gentle on My Mind".

Campbell's influence also translated into a large presence on TV, even hosting his own variety hour on CBS called "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour".

In his career, Campbell has released more than 70 albums and has sold 45 million records. Campbell's reach went beyond music and was even handpicked by John Wayne to play alongside him in the film True Grit, which gave Campbell a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. Campbell also sang the title song which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Read More.

Fans React On Twitter.

New Footloose: Trailer Released

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Merlin Media Makes Two Major Appointments

John Gehron, Chairman Advisory Board; Liz Aiello, VP NYC

Merlin Media announced today the addition of renowned radio executive John Gehron as Chairman, Advisory Board, and Liz Aiello, former SVP of Broadcast at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, as Vice President, New York.

Merlin Media was formed Tuesday to acquire and operate radio stations through a partnership between Chicago-based private equity firm GTCR and Emmis Communications, a diversified media company focused on radio broadcasting. With GTCR’s resources and Emmis Communications’ expertise in radio operations, the company begins with a base of three stations – two in Chicago and one in New York – and seeks to develop a network of radio stations across the country.

“I was lucky enough to recruit John to run the Chicago cluster during my time at Clear Channel and I am thrilled to be working with him again now,” said Randy Michaels, Chairman and CEO of Merlin Media. “At Merlin Media, we aren’t building a broadcast company, but a multimedia, multiplatform company. Liz has deep experience in radio, television, satellite, cable and interactive, and her intelligence and extensive contacts in New York will be the perfect addition to our new company. We are pleased to welcome them both, and the unique strengths they bring with them, to the Merlin Media team.”

“I am looking forward to contributing to Merlin Media’s success in the Chicago area. With two of our three founding stations here, Chicago will be central to building our brand and leveraging our industry expertise for the success of this new venture,” said Gehron.

“After nearly four decades in radio, I’ve been privileged to watch the medium grow and thrive. Now, with Merlin Media, I’m excited to be part of another important twist in the evolution of our industry.”

John Gehron, Chairman, Advisory Board, will be responsible for building a strategic and robust relationship with key business partners in Chicago.

Gehron has 40 years of experience as a pioneer and leader in the radio industry.

Recently, Gehron formed Broadcast Wisdom, a radio consulting company, and became COO of AccuRadio, one of the leading Internet radio companies.

Prior to that, he was Regional Vice President and Market Manager for Clear Channel, in addition to holding several other leadership positions at media and radio broadcasting firms in the Chicago area.

Liz Aiello, Vice President, New York, joins Merlin Media after serving five years as Senior Vice President of Broadcast at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

Aiello, an avid cook,  was recruited by the company to revise the Martha Stewart Living Radio station brand on Sirius Satellite Radio. She rebuilt the 24/7 channel with new talent, all-new programming and customized content for advertisers for a new level of branded entertainment.

Previously, Aiello worked for legendary broadcaster, Howard Stern, and at WABC-TV as Managing Editor and Executive Producer.

TomZTake:  Randy Michaels wants to assure GTCR that someone will be keeping their eyes on revenue. Both appointment here are excellant assurances.

What's Next for WKQX, WLUP and WRXP?

Beside John Gehron and Liz Aiello, another key appointment made known Tuesday is that veteran talk consultant Walter Sabo will be part of the management team.  Robert Feder at TimeOutChicago says Sabo will run radio operations for Merlin.  Sabo's background primarily is in talk radio.

That immediately leads tea-leaf readers in both markets to expect an FM news/talk or talk format in each city.  However, it might be smart to remember Randy Michaels is 'Merlin the Magician'.  He's the primary programmer.  Sabo will probably be the implementer.  That's not to say Michaels won't seek others advice on programming. He will. But in the end, Randy will do what Randy thinks best.

The speculation in Chicago is Q101 101.1 FM WKQX would drop its Rock Alternative format and switch to all news.  Perhaps as soon as Michael's et al take over during an LMA.  That's expected to happen within 45-days. There are reports that Michaels personally already has secured the domain "".

Such a move could force 780 AM WBBM, the market's top-rated and top billing station, parent CBS Radio to start simulcasting on 105.9 FM WCFS (Fresh FM).  Market observers say its underperforming adult-contemporary format.

Veteran market observers believe The Loop 97.9 FM WLUP could retain its Classic Rock format. 

That theory gets some traction, when one considers The Loop's heritage in the market. 

But, it's also worth noting Miarchels usually doesn't 'tweak' stations.  He's known to blow-up and do it his way.

In New York, the future of 101.9 FM WRXP has been tossed into the mosh pit, sez David Hinckley at

WRXP has been a contemporary rock station since Feb. 5, 2008, when Emmis terminated its former smooth jazz format. The station has struggled to find an audience in a city not known for rock radio, but in recent months had shown significant ratings gains.

Hinckley reports Leslie Fram, current program director, sezfor now the station will continue rocking. It just announced a rock festival for Sept. 18 at the PNC Bank Center, headlined by Coldplay.

The biggest clue from Merlin about a future format may have been naming Liz Aiello vice president for New York and talk consultant Walt Sabo as radio operations manager for Chicago and NYC.  Both have considerable experience in spoken word formats.

Early speculation is that Merlin might try a talk or news/talk format at 101.9 FM.  There's plenty of All News and Talk in NYC already, but talk on FM could be an attractive flanker for Merlin.  Also, it has been reported that Michaels has also secured a "news" domain for NYC:  "".

And apparently Michaels has secured the doman "", which is the frequency position for Emmis station KXOS in Los Angeles.  Could it be Merlins' next deal?

We will probably know before the summer ends.

TomZTake:  The Merlin management team will soothe the suits concerned about ROI.  How long before we start hearing of programming roles for Lee Abrams, Marc Chase and Randy's other longtime peeps?
Also Read:

ROBERT FEDER, TIMEOUT CHICAGO: Ready or not, it’s showtime for ringmaster Randy again

AM Station Doesn't Follow Traditional Format

It's safe to say no one will accuse radio station 1230 AM WEZO-AM in Augusta, GA of conforming to the Top 40 mainstream.

From the small brick building with just one studio and one employee to go with the massive library of diverse songs that plays with virtually no interruption, the station is closer to Pandora, the Internet radio service, than something you'd find in corporate radio.

Operations Manager Ray Parton says that's the way it should be, according to a story by Luke Thompson at chronicle.augustacom.

"It's pretty much music," says Parton, adding that he does offer weather reports about 50 minutes past the hour and plays The Star-Spangled Banner at 6 a.m. and noon every day.

"I've got a handful of advertisers but ... instead of your normal generic 30- and 60-second spots so much, I've got (advertisers) recording a liner," he said.

Those quick 5- to 10-second sponsorship messages between songs aren't any longer than a disc jockey telling listeners what songs they've just heard or what's up next, which is something never heard on WEZO.

Parton, a laid-back Texan with long, gray hair and a beard to match, seems right at home behind a cluttered desk in the somewhat secluded building he says is just 18 steps from the trailer where he lives.

The 48-year-old has been in the radio business since he was a junior in high school, giving him enough time to collect a music library of 6,000 to 7,000 hits that he hopes will appeal to baby boomers.

"How are we paying the bills? We're not," Parton said with a chuckle. "We need to make some money."

The first step is creating a solid base of listeners, and last month the live stream on the Web site had about 10,000.

Read More.

Private Clemons Memorial Features Bruce Springsteen

As last wishes go, Clarence Clemons’ was a doozy, according to a story by Shannon Donnelly at

He asked Victoria, his titian-haired fifth wife, to scatter his ashes at a cherished spot in Hawaii and to do so with “all of the special women in his life” – including his previous wives.

Victoria, speaking at her husband’s memorial service at the Royal Poinciana Chapel on Tuesday, told 150 friends and family members – including three of the four ex-wives, who were seated near her at the service – that she would do exactly that.

Clemons, saxophonist for Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and a resident of Singer Island, died Saturday from complications of a stroke he suffered a week earlier. He was 69.

The private, by-invitation service was a bit late getting started due to a last-minute rehearsal for the performers, including Bruce Springsteen, Jackson Browne and the E Street Band.

Clemons’ brother, a career Marine who is now an ordained minister, sat at the altar next to the Rev. Robert Norris.

Springsteen, playing solo, offered a softened, almost tender version of Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out, the song that recalls his first meeting with Clemons in an Asbury Park bar on a snowy day.

Springsteen went on to eulogize his friend – breaking down only once, when describing that first meeting – as a man not only big in stature, but big in heart and spirit.

He said Clemons was hardly the uncomplicated man many thought him to be.

“Clarence was a man of unconditional love, but his love came with a lot of conditions,” he said, drawing chuckles and murmurs of agreement from many in the assemblage. “He was a complex guy … an ongoing project. But when you were in his presence, it was like being in a sovereign nation.”

In addition to the gospel song Take My Hand Precious Lord and a thundering version of How Great Thou Art by the chapel’s organist, the music included a mournful saxophone solo of Amazing Grace performed by Clemons’ nephew.

The service ended with a rollicking, upbeat – except for the perpetually morose Browne – rendition of You’re a Friend of Mine, Clemons’ 1985 hit with Browne, performed by Springsteen, the E Street Band and Browne.

Read More.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Randy Michaels Buys Into Chicago and NYC Radio

Michaels to take control via LMA within 45 days

GTCR, a leading private equity firm, today announced it has signed a definitive agreement to partner with Emmis Communications Corporation and Randy Michaels to acquire Merlin Media LLC ("Merlin Media") a company which owns and operates media assets.

Merlin Media has signed definitive documentation with Emmis to acquire the assets of WKQX-FM (101.1 MHz, Chicago, IL), WLUP-FM (97.9 MHz, Chicago, IL) and WRXP-FM (101.9 MHz, New York, NY).

The deal is reported to be worth $110M and closing of this transaction is pending regulatory approvals.

"We are extremely excited about the opportunity to partner with Emmis and Randy," said Philip A. Canfield, Principal at GTCR. "Emmis' CEO, Jeff Smulyan, and Randy Michaels are both proven veterans of the media industry and we look forward to working with them to provide valuable media content to Merlin Media's future consumers."

"We believe this transaction will create significant value for our shareholders," noted Jeff Smulyan, Chairman & CEO of Emmis. "As a minority holder in Merlin Media, we look forward to continuing to provide innovative programming to our audiences in Chicago and New York."

Latham & Watkins LLP served as legal counsel and PriceWaterhouseCoopers served as accounting advisor to GTCR. GTCR's investment in Merlin Media will be made from GTCR Fund X, a private equity fund with $3.25 billion of committed capital.

Founded in 1980, GTCR is a leading private equity firm focused on investing in growth companies in the Financial Services & Technology, Healthcare and Information Services & Technology industries. The Chicago-based firm pioneered the "Leaders Strategy" -- finding and partnering with world-class leaders as the critical first step in identifying, acquiring and building market-leading companies through acquisitions and organic growth. Since its inception, GTCR has invested more than $8.5 billion in over 200 companies.

Review: Keith Olbermann On Current

The Mouth That Roared Begins a New ‘Countdown’

 From Allesandra Stanley, The TV Watch blog at

Keith Olbermann returned to cable television on Monday mad as hell and pointedly madder than other self-described liberal anchors on his former channel, MSNBC....

Mr. Olbermann’s new show looks the same as the old one, even down to the features, music and title, “Countdown With Keith Olbermann” but the pulpit is markedly different from his old perch at MSNBC. Current TV, a small, earnest network co-founded by Al Gore in 2005, favors civic-minded programs and averages about 50,000 viewers during prime time. Mr. Olbermann was wedged between two documentaries, “The OxyContin Express” and “Gateway to Heroin.”

Mr. Olbermann, who quit MSNBC abruptly in January, is hoping that his new platform — politically progressive and free of corporate overlords, will attract left-of-liberal viewers seeking a more rabble-rousing champion. Mr. Olbermann assured his viewers that he and they would be the “last line of defense” against the “malfeasance of one political party and the timidity of the other.” He quoted Harriet Beecher Stowe on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. (“It is the war for the rights of the working classes of mankind, as against the usurpation of privileged aristocracies.”) He also noted, more bizarrely, that he is not the only person to start a new career on June 20 — Queen Victoria began her reign on the same day.

And his guests stoked his ego. Mr. Moore praised Mr. Olbermann for “keeping the good fight going.” Markos Moulitsas, founder and publisher of the liberal Web site Daily Kos, who is also a contributor to the show, called Mr. Olbermann a “national treasure.”
Read More.

Beck Lashes Out at WaPo ‘Liars’

On Friday, the Washington Post published an opinion piece blasting Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) for saying he would try and join Glenn Beck in Israel for Beck’s Restoring Courage event. According to the author, Beck is a “creature” who is “the leading purveyor of anti-Semitic memes in the mass media.”

Not surprisingly, that didn’t sit too well with Beck. And he made that quite clear.

According to a story by Jonathan M. Seidl at, on his radio show Monday, Beck unleashed on the Washington Post for its “smears” and for “propping up lies.” Not only did he point out that he’s received the “defender of Israel award” from the Zionist organization of America — an honor previously bestowed upon the likes of Joe Biden, Tom DeLay, and even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — but he also used a bit of historical evidence.

Beck pointed out specific instances where he has been an ardent defender of Israel, playing clips from his radio show, Fox News show, and even his time at CNN.

Read More.

NBC: Culture Wars Rage Over 'Under God' Omission

Listen Appreciation: KFGO's Summer Picnic 2011

June 16, 2011 at 1020 S. 25th Street, Fargo, ND was the site of the annual KFGO Picnic. More than 1,500 people showed up to greet the 790 AM KFGO staff and enjoy burgers, chips, ice cream and Pepsi products.

KFGO took pictures too! Click here!

Mark Copeland Gone From WQKL Ann Arbor

Mark Copeland, a program host and music director on radio's WQKL (107.1-FM), has been let go from the station, according to a story by Bob Needham at

Copeland is no longer listed on the station's website, and both Copeland and the station, known as "Ann Arbor's 107one," confirmed via email that his employment ended last week.

Program director Chris Ammel said Copeland was laid off as a downsizing move and there is "no word on a replacement at this time."

Copeland elaborated via email: "It was a budget crunch. Even though 107one is doing extremely well both with revenue and ratings, the parent company Cumulus is going through some big transitions and it meant that markets across the country had to tighten their belts. It wasn't anything personal, it was just business."

According to the most recent Arbitron radio ratings for commercial stations in the Ann Arbor market, WQKL is tied for third place with WCSX in Detroit (behind WJR and WWWW). The station generally follows an "adult alternative" format geared to the Ann Arbor area and is a visible sponsor of community events like the Sonic Lunch concert series.

In addition to his role as music director, Copeland had been the midday (10 a.m.-3 p.m.) DJ on WQKL, as well as the host of the Sunday night programs "Under the Radar" (covering new releases and lesser-known music) and "Sonic Bliss" (trip-hop and ambient sounds). He had been with the station since 2004.

Host John Bommarito is currently filling in for Copeland's on-air slots, but Ammel said that is temporary at this point. Ammel said both Sunday shows are expected to continue.

Read More.

Christian FM Talker To Debut In Fort Wayne Friday

New Owner Friday
Northeast Indiana is about to get an FM radio station devoted exclusively to the Christian talk format.

According to a story by Mark MNellinger at wane,.com, Bott Radio Network announced Monday that it has purchased 100.1 FM, which has been operating under the call letters WNUY and going by the nickname FM 100 Talks, airing mostly programs in the sports and conservative talk formats.

Bott Radio Network will officially take over control of the station's programming at noon on Friday and said it will change its call letters to WFCV. The station will broadcast Bible teaching along with Christian news and information 24 hours a day.

Bott Radio Network has had an AM Christian talk station in Fort Wayne , also called WFCV and located at 1090 on the dial , since 1980. The AM and FM stations will have the same format but different programming schedules.

The network also announced it has plans for a power increase at 100.1 FM.

Read More.

Norfolk Gets Funny

The joke is on the Norfolk market as Sinclair Communications flips its 850 AM WTAR to comedy radio around the clock.

Funny 850 features continuous stand-up comedy from the likes of Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Dane Cook, Wanda Sykes, Jeff Foxworthy and others. In addition, it will feature laughs from touring comics who visit local comedy stages in Norfolk.

The station is an affiliate of  24/7 Comedy Radio, launched last September, is produced by the Donkey Comedy Network and distributed via Citadel Media.

Click here for Funny 850's website.

Click here for Funny 850's Facebook page. 

Some of WTAR's talk programming has been shifted to sister-station 790 AM WNIS.

In Kansas City, Funny 102.5 continues to trend nicely 4.0-3.8-3.6 (6+ Persons, Total Week) since flipping to All Comedy in February 2011. Funny 102.5 airs via the HD2 channel for 94.9 KCMO-FM plus a translator K273BZ at 102.5-FM.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Report: ABC Narrows Search For Regis' Successor

Walt Disney Co. is inching closer to deciding who will fill daytime television's oldest shoes, according to a story by Lauren A.E. Schuker at

TV icon Regis Philbin, 79 years old, said five months ago that he wanted to leave "Live With Regis and Kelly" in November. While a decision on Mr. Philbin's successor isn't imminent, Disney has been considering a range of candidates, say people close to Disney-ABC Domestic Television, which distributes the show.

Radio and television personality Ryan Seacrest, 36; TV host and former Bravo executive Andy Cohen, 43; and TV host and actor Mark Consuelos, 40, are all possible contenders for the gig, according to these people. Mr. Consuelos is married to Mr. Philbin's co-host, Kelly Ripa.

Mr. Cohen, who hosts Bravo's late-night "Watch What Happens: Live," has filled in for Mr. Philbin on "Live With Regis and Kelly" recently, as has Mr. Consuelos.

A spokeswoman for Disney-ABC declined to comment, saying that because Mr. Philbin isn't expected to leave the show until November, "it's ridiculous at this point to be speculating about who will replace him."

Read More.

TomZTake:  I wouldn't bet on Seacrest. I can't imagine him giving up a primetime gig for a daily daytime TV show.  He couldn't do both -- plus his KIIS-FM morning show in LA...something would have to give.

Radio and Records: Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Opinion From Mike Agovino, CEO Triton Media Group
Not long ago the music Industry was raking in $40 billion a year in sales. Today it sits at around $15 billion. Radio, once a $20 billion industry, is hanging on at a respectable $17 billion but faces significant challenges from a combination of new competitors pursuing its audience and advertising revenue while the overall trend toward digital advertising continues to divert budgets away from traditional media.

No matter what you believe, one thing is for certain; radio faces more competition for audience than ever before. Just the number of phone conversations occurring in the car each day would logically have to put a dent in time spent with radio.

As we move forward the challenges will only intensify as marketplace disruptors make their presence felt. Personalized music services like Slacker and Pandora have been aggressively building audiences online over the past eighteen months. With Pandora’s IPO this week, it now has a fresh influx of cash to keep investing in expanding its service.   In just the past few weeks Amazon, Apple and Google have entered the equation announcing cloud based music services. They join a crowd that already includes the likes of Rhapsody, Rdio and Spotify, which is rumored to be announcing a big deal with Facebook. Business plans for these companies clearly identify the battlefield as the mobile device and automobile. For years those of us in radio have referred to the car as a “radio with wheels”.

Some in the radio business don’t see these “pure” players as competition because they are based upon computer algorithms rather than professional curators. However, seeing these companies as anything other than competition is short sighted. Over time these companies will add more sports and talk programming and probably use some of these same technologies to build recommendations and playlists of spoken word content. Slacker recently announced deals with ESPN and ABC News while Pandora launched a new comedy service. Online companies are building audience and a portion of that audience is coming from terrestrial stations. Soon, if not already, the online players will reach scale where they can sell the value of their audience to the same local advertisers to which radio sells ad inventory—that’s a competitor in my book!

So, what next for these two long time allies, radio and record labels?
Read More.

Mike Agovino is the Chief Operating Office with Triton Media Group, a leading provider of applications, services and content to the media industry, specifically radio, with more than 6,000 station affiliations.

Casey Anthony Trial: Social Media Let Us All Be Pundits

Social media are to the Casey Anthony case what cable television was to O.J. Simpson's: The technology made both murder trials available to the masses.

The nation watched — or could have watched — the eight-month televised murder trial of the pro-football player in 1995, forever changing the way the public participated in the U.S. judicial system.

And now it's happening again, according to a story by Bianca Prieto at

The omnipresent Internet — coupled with social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook and LiveChats that bring people together virtually — is providing a global audience a front-row seat to the biggest trial in Central Florida history.

In 140 characters, tweeps can #hashtag their way into the never-ending conversation on @Twitter.

Through the social-media site Twitter, where users can instantaneously post short musings or links to other websites or photos, millions of "tweeps" — as the users are called — can let their followers know what's on their minds sometimes using hashtags (#CaseyAnthony) to connect with others on the same topic.
With the click of a mouse, they can also use Facebook to instantly publish their thoughts about the trial to their online friends.

Or, if really invested, they can watch the live-streaming video and then discuss (and sometimes argue) with strangers in the Orlando Sentinel's online-chat room — which has attracted up to 124,680 people per day.

Read More.