Wednesday, August 10, 2011

CC Radio Selects Social Media Management System

Vitrue Tuesday announced that Clear Channel Radio has chosen Vitrue's social marketing platform, the Vitrue SRM, to manage social relationships across its 850 radio stations and its personality properties.

Under the agreement, Vitrue's SaaS-based solution will efficiently and effectively maintain consistent branding and messaging throughout hundreds of Clear Channel Radio's individual radio station pages, all from one single platform.

With the Vitrue SRM platform, Clear Channel Radio can publish and promote across all individual Clear Channel Radio social pages and personality pages, including the current campaign surrounding the largest concert event in radio history: the iHeartRadio Music Festival. Vitrue's platform will enable Clear Channel Radio to push iHeartRadio Music Festival promotional content through the social Web, providing pertinent updates, news and exclusive content surrounding the September event. Clear Channel Radio can also utilize Vitrue's platform to execute national promotions, advertising opportunities and sweepstakes that can be tailored to individual markets and locations, in addition to many other social marketing functionalities.

"We designed our platform with companies like Clear Channel in mind. While social marketing allows brands to reach a global audience, it is imperative to provide the functionality to promote across local markets in real time -- which is why our platform is such a good fit for Clear Channel," said Reggie Bradford, CEO and Founder of Vitrue. "With Vitrue's solution, Clear Channel Radio will be able to easily achieve scale and promote the iHeartRadio Music Festival and other events to their fans in local markets."

"The priority at Clear Channel Radio is to provide our fans with the best possible content and promotions and satisfy their love of music and entertainment through multiple channels," said Larry Linietsky, Senior Vice President, Product and Operations of Clear Channel Radio. "We're expanding our social strategy to maximize engagement with our listeners, and Vitrue's platform allows us to manage our social venues and engagement in one place -- from posts to ticket contests to audience polls, and more."

About Vitrue Vitrue ( ) is the leading social marketing platform, offering software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions to help brands and agencies harness the marketing potential of social and manage their expanding and sophisticated social communities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, emerging networks and mobile applications. The industry-leading Vitrue Social Relationship Management (SRM) platform is collectively managing its clients' more than 900 million fans in 47 countries across 3,000 Facebook and Twitter accounts. Vitrue's stable of clients include McDonald's, American Express, Amway, YouTube, Intel, P&G brands, Johnson and Johnson, Samsung, Ford, Chanel, JCPenney, Disney, Baskin Robbins, Best Buy, Domino's Pizza and AT&T, as well as many global marketing and public relations agencies.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

NYC PPMs: No Big Surprises, Will Merlin Mix It Up?

The July PPM's covering June 23rd to July 20th are in with no major surprises.

According to a story by Vincent Santarelli at, WLTW (106.7 FM) continues to hold the lead 6+, but down slightly to a 6.0. WKTU (103.5 FM) moves up to the number two slot holding steady with a 5.1. WCBS FM (101.1) slips slightly to the number three spot going from a 5.4 to a 4.9. WHTZ (100.3 FM) is also down slightly in the number four hole moving from a 5.0 to a 4.8. WAXQ (104.3 FM) holds onto the number five position with a 4.1.

In sixth place is WSKQ (97.9 FM) with a 4.0, down from a 4.7. Seventh place goes to news WCBS (880 AM) with a 3.9. WBLS holds onto the number eight position with a 3.6. At number nine is WXNY (96.3 FM) with a 3.5. Tied for the 10th spot are WWPR (105.1 FM) and WWFS (102.7 FM) with a 3.4.

WQHT (97.1 FM) takes number 12 with a 3.3. News WINS (1010 AM) takes number 13 with a 3.2. In 14th place is WXRK (92.3 FM) with a 3.1. 15th place goes to talker WABC (770 AM) with a 3.0. WRKS (98.7 FM) takes the number 16 spot with a 2.9. 17th place goes to WPLJ (95.5 FM) and WFAN (660 AM) with a 2.8. WRXP (101.9 FM) takes the 19th position with a 2.5. WPAT FM (93.1) takes numbe 20 with a 2.0.

Taking over the number one spot in the 25 to 54 demo is WKTU, moving from a 6.4 to a 6.7. WLTW takes number two with a 6.0, down from 6.5. WAXQ takes number three with a 5.1. In fourth place is WHTZ with a 5.0. Number five goes to WQHT with a 4.1. A three-way tie for sixth goes to WWFS, WSKQ and WBLS with a 3.9. Another three-way tie for the number nine spot goes to WXNY, WWPR and WCBS FM with a 3.8.

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Dark Monday for Music and Entertainment Stocks

A number of investment bank stocks declined sharply Monday after S&P downgraded the U.S. late Friday, according to a story by Glenn Peoples at The Dow Jones index dropped 5.55% to 10.809.85. The S&P 500 sank an ominous 6.66% to 1,119.46. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 6.9% to 2,357.69.

Music-related stocks of American-based companies suffered along with the markets. Live Nation closed down 6.29% at $8.79 after falling as far as $8.37. However, the company turned out to be a rare bright spot Monday after its strong second-quarter earnings released after trading ended. Second-quarter revenue increased 23.1% to $1.559 billion behind a 25.9% improvement in concert revenue. The news sent its stock up nearly 13% in after-hours trading and the stock got back its losses from the previous two trading days.

There was little to cheer about elsewhere. Pandora Media closed down 7.4% at $12.52 and is now 34% down from its July high of $20.45. Madison Square Garden closed down 5.89% at $23.62. Sirius XM fell 12.7% to $1.65, far from its 52-week low of $0.95 but also down considerably from its 52-week high of $2.44 set in May. Viacom dropped 8.75% to $41.00. Cumulus Media fell 11.86% to $2.60. Foreign-based parent companies of two major music groups fared a bit better. Vivendi (parent of Universal Music Group) dropped a mere 1.97% to $15.18. Sony Corp. (parent of Sony Music Entertainment) dropped 6.35% to $21.67.

Monday's fall occurred as executives at many investment banks downplayed the importance of S&P's downgrade, according to The Street.

July PPMs: CC's KIIS-FM And KFI Maintain Top Spots

From Steve Carney, Special to the Los Angeles Times
In the battle for radio ratings, pop station KIIS and talk outlet KFI refused to budge as kings of their respective columns — each claimed exactly the same share of the Los Angeles-Orange County audience in July as they held the previous month, according to figures released Monday. 
Meanwhile, after a slow start, morning-radio veteran Rick Dees increased his following at urban oldies station KHHT-FM (92.3), where he took over a.m. drive on May 4. 
With more than 4 million people tuning in for at least five minutes a week, KIIS-FM (102.7) led the overall July ratings, grabbing on average 5.4% of all listeners aged 6 and older — the same share it held in May and June, according to Arbitron. And, also for the third straight month, KFI-AM (640) and adult-contemporary station KOST-FM (103.5) placed second and third, respectively, according to the survey of listening habits from June 23 to July 20. 
KFI took the top spot in the crucial morning-drive time slot, from 6-10 a.m. weekdays, when broadcasters hope to snare listeners for the rest of the day. KFI, which at that time airs local host Bill Handel and then the first hour of Rush Limbaugh's nationally syndicated program, attracted 7.3% of the morning audience — just as it did in June. Ryan Seacrest on KIIS repeated his second-place finish from June, but increased his audience share from 4.3% to 4.9%. 
For 23 years, Dees was the morning host at KIIS, until the station replaced him with Seacrest in 2004. Dees initially struggled at his latest gig, KHHT. The station's morning numbers declined from 14th place and 2.5% in April, the last month before Dees came on board, to 19th place and 2.3% in June, his first full month on the job. But in July, the onetime fixture at KIIS finished 13th, with a 3% audience share. The previous high for the KHHT morning show had been 2.6% in April 2010.

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See LA Market Snapshot, Click Here.

Glenn Beck Tuned In To 'Mayberry'

A week ago, television and radio personality Glenn Beck probably had never heard of Mount Airy, N.C.

But thanks to what Mayor Deborah Cochran described Monday as a “whirlwind” of events in recent days,

According to a story by Tom Joyce at, Beck now could even be visiting this city after local interest was expressed in a proposed clothing-manufacturing venture of his.

“Have you ever seen as much fuss over anything?” added Cochran, who has even been interviewed by Beck on his radio show heard over some 300 stations nationwide.

As a result, the mayor and Martin Collins, the city’s community-development director, were assembling information on Mount Airy Monday afternoon to send to Beck’s New York office. The payoff could be 1,000 or so jobs being created locally.

“He wants us to send him more information and he said he also may want to come visit us,” Cochran said. “Of course, this is a tremendous marketing opportunity."

The connection between Glenn Beck and “Mayberry” was made toward the end of last week after an article was published Thursday in The Mount Airy News regarding a 1791 clothing brand Beck seeks to manufacture somewhere in the United States.

It focused on a campaign by Cochran and some private citizens to interest the conservative TV-radio host in Mount Airy as a possible location for the project, which would generate profits for a separate effort to aid disaster victims.

This included the mayor emailing Beck and telling him of the city’s plight due to a rash of textile mill closings and the accompanying availability of vacant industrial sites — the kind of situation Beck seeks to address.

The day after the story ran in The Mount Airy News, the local campaign was discussed by Beck on his morning radio show.

Read More.

Townsquare Media To Acquire Double-O Radio

Townsquare Media, LLC announced Monday that it has executed a definitive agreement to acquire 26 radio stations from Double O Corporation in Oneonta, NY, Midland-Odessa, TX, San Angelo, TX, Quincy-Hannibal, IL-MO and Sedalia, MO. Upon completion of the acquisition, Townsquare Media will own 191 radio stations and associated digital assets in 40 markets with geographic concentrations in the Northeast, Midwest, Southwest, and Mountain West. Townsquare Media is the fourth largest owner of radio stations in the United States.

“This transaction represents a continuation of  Townsquare Media’s strategy of pursing market leading media properties in small and mid-sized markets,” commented Townsquare Media Chairman and CEO Steven Price. “We are excited to continue to expand our business by adding new advertisers, a broader audience, premier brands and strong in-market teams.”

In connection with the transaction, the Pilot Group, Double O’s equity holders, will become a minority equity holder in Townsquare Media.

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011, pending FCC approval.

Report: La Raza Thriving In Gwinnett

From Roddy Freeman, Atlanta Radio Views
La Raza 102.3 WLKQ-FM is accomplishing something extremely rare in the radio business.  The small-signaled station, in the shadow of the Atlanta giants, is getting good ratings and making big money. 
The urge to own a radio station has always been kind of analogous to the sex drive.  People want it so badly that they sometimes act without thinking.  Going back to the early days of music radio, stations just outside major markets signed on as fast as families were moving to the suburbs. 
Let's face it; people in towns like Carrollton, Griffin and Cartersville listen to Atlanta radio, and for good reason.  The Atlanta stations sound much better, pure and simple.  It's that way across the country in communities close to a major population center. 
The thinking has always been that stations in towns near large cities can super serve their community and be a place where local merchants can afford to advertise.  And that's been true to some extent, but competing in the shadow of the big boys is a tough row to hoe. 
For years, WLKQ-FM was Oldies Lake 102.  It was a station that was full of surprises because unlike major market Oldies stations, its music was not driven by research but by what the Program Director liked.  Lake 102 was considered a successful station, but success is relative.  Selling primetime spots for $25 is not everyone's idea of success. 
When the Josephs retired in 2005, they sold WLKQ to Greg Davis' Davis Broadcasting.  Davis had owned Urban clusters in the Columbus (GA), Augusta, Charlotte and Macon markets, but had sold everything except in his hometown of Columbus.  I wondered why he bought WLKQ, and my guess is it made him feel like he owned a station in the Atlanta market. 
When Davis first took over, the format was Classic Hits, like 97-1 The River plays.  I had expected Hispanic and questioned the format choice.  But somewhere, sometime, somebody planted the Hispanic notion in Greg Davis' head.  Davis sought out Brian Barber, who was VP of Sales for Spanish Broadcasting System in Miami, and asked what he thought about flipping to Spanish.  Barber responded that "it would be crazy not to go Hispanic," and the dye was cast.

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Citadel Reclaims Charleston Station

The ownership of Magic 107.3 FM in WMGL Charleston, SC has been settled, though not without some static.

According to a story by John McDermott at, the issue began last summer, when industry giant Citadel Broadcasting Corp. asked regulators for the OK to recall the license to the Ravenel radio station. Citadel already had been running WMGL.

The circumstances that led up to that arrangement reflect the rules the broadcasting business operates under.

After gobbling up a rival several years ago, Citadel was required to divest Magic because of federal ownership limits.

WMGL was never sold in the conventional sense. Instead, Citadel shifted the license to a third party, Last Bastion Station Trust. The idea was to give the trustee time to line up a buyer, preferably a woman- or minority-owned business. In the interim, Citadel continued to operate Magic, which was rated the No. 9 local station (tied with Clear Channel's WXLY-102.5 FM) in the latest Arbitron market survey for Charleston.

A buyer never materialized, and Citadel sought to take back the license last summer. In doing so, it had to show a "change in circumstances" to regulators, It cited the move of its old WNKT-FM signal from St. George to the Midlands.

The request drew an objections.  One argument was that Citadel didn't try hard enough to market Magic. The company disagreed, saying "the failure to sell the stations ... is a result, in part, of the recent tightening of the credit markets."

Regulators sided with Citadel and approved the transfer in late July. Daniels could not be reached for comment.

Read More.

Brave New Brokered World for Radio Personalities

From Eric Deggan, St. Pete Times TV/Media Critic

St. Petersburg Times photo
Former Clear Channel radio personality Skip Mahaffey, left, and ex-local TV news sports anchor Al Keck chat recently in the studio at WTAN-AM 1340 in Clearwater.

Al Keck compares it to entering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers locker room after a stinging loss: not something he wanted to do, but something he had to do.

For Keck, once the top sports anchor at two local TV stations — WFTS-Ch. 28 (ABC Action News) and WTSP-Ch. 10 (10 News) — that's saying something. When he walked into the Fox Jazz Café in Tampa a few months ago, Keck wasn't reporting a story. He was selling something.


More precisely, he was selling The Al Keck Show, a radio broadcast focused on sports news that he was planning to host every Friday on WTAN-AM (1340).

Shows on WTAN work a little differently from those on commercial radio, where a big corporation owns the radio station, hires talent, sells the ads and makes most of the profit. WTAN offers what radio insiders call "brokered" radio programs, where anyone can buy airtime for a flat fee, go sell advertising and create the show.

Whatever profit they make goes in their pockets, but the workload — from gathering material to booking guests and, yes, selling commercial spots — usually falls on whoever is cutting the check.

Years ago, this kind of radio was the province of churches, Realtors and gadget peddlers; people with a little taste for showbiz who didn't mind promoting themselves directly to a small audience. But as large media outlets pare their staffs in challenging economic times, big names like Keck have been forced to reinvent themselves in places like WTAN.

"Quite honestly, I didn't really enjoy it; I'd much rather have somebody else out there selling Al Keck than me," said the sportscaster, who turned to brokered radio about two years after WFTS failed to renew his contract. Despite his trepidation, Keck left his meeting at the Fox Café with a title sponsorship that immediately put his fledgling show in the black.

"I'm finding people will buy in to a vision if they know you and trust you," he added. "I know I'm not on the biggest radio station on Earth, but I've got a known name and a voice that's pushing a great product. To an average consumer, you're no different" than a traditional radio anchor.

Keck's show airs weekly on WTAN at 3 p.m. Fridays. Two other names from the area's radio scene — onetime SportsChix member Brenda Lee (a.k.a. B.L.) and former Clear Channel Radio star Skip Mahaffey — bracket him at 2 and 4 p.m.

Like Keck, B.L. and Mahaffey lost traditional media jobs awhile ago and are using brokered radio to capitalize on a personal brand that still draws some fans.
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Chicago NonCom WBEZ To Step Up Tts Game

From Robert Feder, Time Out Chicago
After years as the only dedicated source for news and information on Chicago’s FM airwaves, Chicago Public Media 91.5 WBEZ-FM suddenly found itself with not one but two all-news competitors invading its space last week.

While the launch of Merlin Media’s all-news format on WWWN-FM (101.1) and the simulcast of CBS Radio’s all-news WBBM-AM (780) on WCFS-FM (105.9) didn’t come as a surprise to WBEZ, together they represented an unprecedented challenge to the station’s longtime programming franchise.

On Friday, Torey Malatia, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media, outlined plans to boost WBEZ’s output of local news during middays — in between the drive-time fixtures of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered. He met with staffers to discuss the strategic plan he’d presented earlier to the board of Chicago Public Media.

“Over the next five years, we’re definitely committed to more local service and more local programming during prime audience time, which is daylight hours Monday through Friday,” Malatia told me. “Absolutely.”

In addition to the local newsmagazine show Eight Forty-Eight and the international affairs talk show Worldview (both of which are produced by WBEZ), the station currently airs a variety of programs between 9am and 3pm that are acquired from outside sources. They include BBC Newshour, Here & Now and Fresh Air.

“Some of those purchased programs would probably remain, but the weaker ones would go away,” Malatia said. “But we haven’t gotten as far as targeting any of them yet.
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NonCom KQED Takes Calm Path to No. 1 In SF

From Ben fong-Torres,
When KQED-FM (88.5), which has been around since 1969, hit the top of the Arbitron ratings for the first time in April, the station did not break out Champagne, have a party, hand out commemorative watches or send staff members to a vanquished rival station to streak (run naked) through its offices, as KSAN once did to KFRC.

Asked just how KQED did celebrate, Jo Anne Wallace, VP and GM, laughed. "You're going to be disappointed in this answer," she said, "but I tend to look at trends over the long term. And with Arbitron and PPM (its portable meter audience measurement methodology), station managers and program directors always wonder, 'Is there any kind of fluke in this data?' So we didn't celebrate, but we took note of it. But we need to look at May, June and July and see if there's any continuation of that."

There is. After a dip in May (during which KQED had a pledge drive), the station was back on top in June.

Since launching a news initiative in July 2010, increasing staff and the frequency of locally produced newscasts to 16, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., KQED has pushed past KGO (810 AM) in the overall ratings and been dominant in the prized age demo of 25-54. The station claims to be the most listened-to public radio station in the country. While KQED doesn't carry advertising, it acknowledges program sponsors and offers underwriting opportunities for short (15-second) messages in newscasts. "It's been very successful," Wallace said.

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Arbitron Ratings Give WVBE Roanoke Good Vibes

Roanoke's radio ratings have taken on a whole new vibe.

100.1 WVBE-FM, better known as ViBE 100, posted its best-ever ranking in the spring Arbitron survey, vaulting to third place behind usual ratings stalwarts Star Country and Q99, according to a story by Ralph Berrier Jrs., at

ViBE 100, which ladles heavy doses of old-school soul and funk into its urban contemporary playlist, drew an impressive 8.0 share in the Roanoke-Lynchburg market. Country station Star Country (WSLC-FM, 94.5) pulled a 12.9 to retain the top spot and adult contemporary Q99 (WSLQ-FM, 99.1) was second with an 8.5.

"We have a sound that nobody is offering in this market," said Walt Ford, ViBE 100's operations manager and program director, citing the station's slogan as "Today's Best R&B and Classic Soul."


The station is mostly programmed locally, except for the nationally syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show" and the midday "Michael Baisden Show."

A typical playlist at ViBE 100 will include contemporary stuff from the likes of Jill Scott, Jennifer Hudson and Musiq Soulchild, but it's also the place for Michael Jackson, the Gap Band and Maze.

Just last week, ViBE 100 was easily the only place on Roanoke radio where one could hear Afrika Bambaataa's rap classic "Planet Rock," followed by the O'Jays' "For the Love of Money."

"We're not an oldies station, we're not a hip-hop station," Ford said. "We're dedicated to everything from Earth, Wind and Fire to Alicia Keys. Sometimes we get a little funky with the dance, sometimes we get a little smooth with the ballads."

Even though radio ratings are prone to wild fluctuations from one ratings book to the next, ViBE 100 has been climbing steadily for sometime. In the past two years, the station has moved up from seventh place to fifth and now to third, increasing its market share by 60 percent.

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Detroit TV Icon 'Seduced' Into Radio

From Neal Rubin,

Among the things Bill Bonds is good at is laughing at Bill Bonds.

He's smart and funny and he had a great career, and he can't see any sense being bashful about any part of that. But there's something disarming about someone who can simultaneously pound his chest and make fun of himself for preening.

"None of us," the former news anchor said last week, "is as gifted as I think I am."
          And, on the unvarnished splendor of his resume: "When you've got it, you don't have to exaggerate it."
And, on how he was talked into becoming a talk show host on a 250-watt AM radio station: "The guy had a burning desire to seduce an icon, and he did it with flattery and money."

As noted in The Detroit News on Thursday, "The Bonds and Fisher Show" is scheduled for an Oct. 3 debut on 1090 AM WCAR. Having once dominated the evening ratings on WXYZ-TV (Channel 7), Bonds will take a shot at the 3-6 p.m. drive-time audience, accompanied by former newscaster Rich Fisher and producer and co-host Rachel Nevada.

Politically, Bonds, 78, describes himself as "a well-informed objective humanist." Translated, he's frequently left of center. Fisher, 62, leans right, but not to the point that he can't see the white line or even cross over it once in awhile. They're both good interviewers and good listeners, and the show could be huge fun.

Whether or not it'll be successful, however, is only partly related to quality.

As I passed along the news that "Bonds and Fisher" is coming, I wondered how the announcement would be received by the potential audience and other broadcasters. In two somewhat contradictory words, I'd summarize the response as eager caution.
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Analysis: Paying For News Is Nothing New

From Jeremy W.  Peters, media writer at
Harold Bride aided off ship
In April 1912, the surviving operator of the Titanic’s wireless communications system was paid a handsome sum for his account of narrowly escaping death aboard the sinking ship.  

It will probably surprise some journalistic purists to learn that the news outlet that forked over $1,000 for Harold Bride’s harrowing tale — multiple times his annual salary — was not some sensationalist purveyor of yellow journalism,  but The New York Times.

Evolving standards or no, checkbook journalism has been a persistent and problematic feature of news coverage at even the most powerful and reputable news organizations, long predating the hyper-competitive 24-hour cable news cycle and the celebrity gossip boom.

And the issue is not likely to disappear anytime soon, even with ABC News’s contrite acknowledgment last month that to protect its reputation, it would have to cut back on the kinds of payments that have helped the network score a string of major exclusives in recent years. In Britain, public tolerance seems to have reached its limit with revelations that journalists working for Rupert Murdoch’s recently closed News of the World routinely paid the police for information as well as hacked the phones of crime victims.

Far from existing at the periphery of journalism and society, the payments have reached the highest levels of politics. Newsmakers who have been cut large checks over the years include not just players in courtroom melodramas like the Casey Anthony and O. J. Simpson trials, but former presidents.
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Townsquare Media Hires Kurt Johnson

Townsquare Media, LLC announced Friday that Kurt Johnson has joined the Company’s management team as Senior Vice President, Programming. Mr. Johnson will be responsible for programming across Townsquare Media’s radio markets and will report to Erik Hellum, Executive Vice President, Radio.

“I am excited that Kurt will be leading the Townsquare Media team, growing our brands and ratings,” said Steven Price, Townsquare Media Chairman and CEO.

“Kurt is a talented programmer and brand builder with a consistent track record of success.”

For more than ten years, Johnson worked for CBS Radio, most recently as Vice President, Programming in Dallas. He also served as Vice President of national Jack FM stations and Program Director for various other stations.

“Joining the leadership team of Townsquare Media is a tremendous opportunity,” said Johnson. “This is an exciting time in radio and I look forward to working with Townsquare’s local leaders to deliver compelling entertainment for our audience and to continue to grow our on-air, online and live events businesses.”

In 2004, Johnson led the launch of the “no DJ” Jack FM format model that now airs on dozens of radio stations across the United States. He has programmed successful stations across multiple formats in Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Dallas.

Piers Morgan Phone-Hacking Scandal Widens

From Jamie Doward,
Can Piers Morgan survive? It is a question his enemies and fans on both sides of the Atlantic are asking with increasing urgency. The position of the former tabloid editor turned CNN chat show host looks vulnerable as the phone-hacking scandal continues to unfold with fresh revelations almost daily.

But unlike other senior journalists caught up in the scandal, it is not Scotland Yard that has been responsible for turning up the heat on Morgan. Rather, in what his enemies might suggest is proof that there is such a thing as divine retribution, it is Morgan's unchecked vanity. Morgan, who edited the Daily Mirror for nearly a decade until 2004, faces questions over a series of boasts that suggest he was at the very least familiar with the practice of phone hacking.

Morgan admitted in a column for the Daily Mail in 2006 that he had heard a message left by Sir Paul McCartney on the phone of Heather Mills, then his wife, in which the former Beatle sounded "lonely, miserable and desperate". The disclosure has prompted Mills to claim the message could have been heard only by hacking into her phone.

Certainly, Morgan appears to have known that there were people capable of hacking phones on behalf of journalists. When pressed about such activities on Desert Island Discs, Morgan claimed "a lot of it was done by third parties, rather than the staff themselves... that's not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work."
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ABC Digital Offers Web Content for Radio Stations

ABC News Radio and Citadel Media have announced the launch of ABC Digital, a content service delivering customizable, format-specific news and music/entertainment feeds directly to radio station websites.

Brief stories from credited sources covering a broad array of categories are produced and updated 24 hours a day. Photos, slides and graphics accompany each story. ABC Digital also offers stations the opportunity to monetize the content as the service can be locally branded on individual station sites and sponsored by local advertisers.

“Timeliness and quality were front and center in developing this product,” said Steve Jones, Vice President and General Manager of ABC News Radio. “According to many of the affiliates we polled, other service providers update their Web content far too infrequently. An important advantage our service offers is that it doesn’t take visitors away from the radio station’s page by linking them to other sites. Our ABC-produced content lives on the radio station’s site ensuring the station retains the traffic and the news and entertainment stories are updated continuously.” 

ABC Digital’s news categories include World, National, Politics, Business, Entertainment and Health/Lifestyle. Content is also customizable for music stations with format-specific stories on artists from 12 major formats including Adult Hits, Adult Contemporary, Lite AC, Oldies, Alternative Rock, Active Rock, Classic Rock, Country, CHR, Hot AC, Urban and Urban AC.

Content is delivered in RSS, Atom, RDF and other common formats. All feeds include breaking  news updates via email to key station contacts so major news being posted can be promoted onair and listeners can be directed to a station’s site.

Thomas Hartmann's Cable TV Show Flourishes

Radio personality Thom Hartmann's nationally syndicated cable television program, The Big Picture, has grown in viewership by an impressive 19% since going on the air in late January of this year, while his simulcast (a'la Imus) TV/radio viewership has surged by 57% since it debuted on TV in October of 2010.

This spiking popularity of Hartmann's two programs, both carried live by Free Speech TV (FSTV) weekdays, has created an overall 21% increase in viewership for the progressive network over the past year.
Both Hartmann's simulcast-TV/radio and standalone television shows are the top-three most-watched programs on FSTV, which reaches over 35 million households throughout the country via Dish Network, DirecTV, RT TV, and over 200 local cable TV affiliates.

According to Don Rojas, Executive Director of Free Speech TV, "Thom's programs continue to impress viewers with excellent content and high production values. We are delighted with the performance of Thom Hartmann's programs and we look forward to a long partnership between him and the nation's only progressive TV network."

In addition to the presence of his radio show on FSTV, Hartmann, the nation's #1 rated progressive radio personality, is syndicated on three continents via Pacifica Radio, commercial stations from New York to Los Angeles by Dial-Global, on SiriusXM, and heard on American Forces Radio worldwide.

source: PRNewswire

RIP: Fred Imus, Songwriter & Don's Brother

Fred, Don Imus, nydn photo
Fred Imus, younger brother of 770 AM WABC morning host Don Imus and a long-time songwriter and radio host himself, was found dead Saturday at his home in Tucson, Ariz. He was 69.

According to a story by David Hinckley at, He was found in his trailer after he failed to show up for "Fred's Trailer Park Bash," a weekend show he cohosted with Don Collier and "Missy" on Sirius XM's Outlaw Country channel.

In 1976 he and a fellow railroad worker named Phil Sweet cowrote "I Don't Want To Have To Marry You," a No. 1 country hit for Jim Ed Brown and Helen Cornelius. It was voted song of the year by Music City News.

Fred collaborated with Don on the 1997 book "Two Guys Four Corners," which featured photographs and reminiscences of the Southwest, and with Daily News columnist Mike Lupica on 1998's "The Fred Book," which featured Fred's thoughts on life.

Fred was best known to New Yorkers and radio listeners as a laconic, droll, funny and sometimes ornery guest on his brother's syndicated show.

In the 1990s he ran Auto Body Express, which began as a garage where he worked on restoring vintage cars. Don mentioned it on the radio and that random remark soon turned it into a million-dollar clothing and food business.

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RIP: Nat Allbright, Radio Play-By-Play Recreator

From Matt Schudel, The Washington Post
The Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s were one of the greatest teams in baseball history, with Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Roy Campanella and other stars. They had two storied broadcasters, Red Barber and Vin Scully, covering their games, but most people who listened to the Dodgers on the radio heard another voice.

For hundreds of thousands of fans throughout the eastern half of the country, listening on more than 100 radio stations, the voice of the Dodgers was Nat Allbright. He announced more than 1,500 games for the Dodgers, and all that time, he never saw a game he was broadcasting.

Mr. Allbright, who died July 18 of pneumonia at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington County, was one of baseball’s finest practitioners — and perhaps its last — of the forgotten art of game re-creation. He was 87.
During the 12 years that he broadcast Dodger games, he visited Brooklyn only once. Listeners to the far-flung Dodger radio network thought Mr. Allbright was sitting in the press box at Ebbets Field and other big league stadiums, but he was actually at a studio in Washington.

He received sketchy summaries of the game — whether a pitch was a ball or strike, where a batted ball landed — from telegrams or wire service reports. But everything else that brought baseball to life — from crowd noises to vendors hawking their wares to the crack of the bat — was improvised by Mr. Allbright.

He had recordings of crowds in various states of excitement and used a click of his tongue to mimic the sound of the bat striking a ball. Each time a player tugged at his cap or a manager shouted at an umpire, the drama was supplied by Mr. Allbright.

He was, in the words of former Washington Post sports columnist Bob Addie, “king of the baseball re-creators.”
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Sunday, August 7, 2011