Friday, November 23, 2012

CC’s G105 Apologizes For ‘Racist’ Parade Float

UPDATE 11/27/12:  To see news report video, Click Here.

Neither the WDCG / G105 radio station's "Showgram" nor its host, Bob Dumas, are strangers to controversy. The popular local morning radio show is known for a range of stunts over the years that follow a familiar pattern: The hosts enrage some of the local citizenry, "Showgram" fans rally to their defense, the station gets free publicity and then apologizes.

But this week Brooke Cain at the Raleigh, NC News &Observer reports, "Showgram" is under fire for its float in last Saturday's Raleigh WRAL Christmas Parade. The entry featured a black man dressed in a skirt with fairy wings, strapped to a harness that was suspended from the back of a tow truck. Mr. Dumas, riding on the float, described the scene to parade goers as "Tyrone the Black Christmas Fairy" who was going to turn "crackers" into Beyonce.

Many people watching the parade or reading accounts of it later called the image inappropriate and took to Facebook and Twitter.

"I cannot believe that this happened," Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane wrote on Facebook to a concerned citizen. "Raleigh will not tolerate racism or anything that comes remotely close. This parade is a Raleigh tradition that includes everyone and should be treated as such."

Michael "Breeze" Rackoff, who up until late last week was the director of "Showgram," said he questioned the concept of the Christmas fairy when Mr. Dumas first proposed it in a staff meeting. The man suspended from the truck, Tyrone Dunston, is not a "Showgram" employee but is a longtime fan of the show.

But Tuesday, Dick Harlow, market manager for G105 owner Clear Channel Media, apologized to the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association, which puts on the parade.

"Some very poor judgment was used," Mr. Harlow told The News & Observer. "It was meant to be a harmless stunt, and it was never our intention to offend anyone."

Jennifer Martin, executive director of the merchants association, said the group and parade sponsor WRAL-TV received complaints about the G105 entry.

WBGG S.FLA’s Paul Castronovo Gets Fit

Paul Castronovo is an icon in South Florida radio programming, having been on air for more than 20 years.  Now heard daily on Classic Rock WBGG / BIGFt. Lauderale  and on talk WZZR Real Radio 94.3 Rivera Beach. But that career is rich in opportunities to overindulge, and to be sedentary, which led him to gain weight.

The Sun-Sentinel reports three years ago, he decided to get fit and ended up losing more than 100 pounds. His method? Exercising six days a week and eating well Monday through Friday. As he says, "I don't want to get back to heavy again."

Next month, Castronovo and his radio show co-host, Young Ron, are hosting a series of events as part of their 18th annual food drive.

Q: Why do you keep fit?

A: Now it's become a way of life, and it should have been before. My wife is a breast cancer survivor and was in a horrific car accident. I decided life has a lot of question marks, and I want to see my kids grow up, so at 50 I decided to turn it around.

Layoffs Hit Midwest Family Broadcasting's WTDY Madison

WTDY website screenshot
News, traffic and on-air staff of radio station 1670 WTDY-AM and 106.7 WTDY-FM (Midwest Family Broadcasting) were laid off Wednesday, including talk show host John "Sly" Sylvester, according to

The layoffs included all news, traffic and on-air staff, with the exception of one employee, according to a company memo.

The WTDY website was replaced by a holiday message and the station began airing Christmas music Wednesday afternoon.

Randy Hawke, WTDY's operations manager, said the radio station will run a Christmas music format until after the holidays. He said managers will announce the new format then.

"It's a crowded market," said Hawke, referring to the three news-talk stations in the Madison market.  He said WTDY consistently came in third in the ratings.

John Sly
He would not comment on the number of employees laid off.

Personality John "Sly" Sylvester told WISC-TV that seven or eight people were laid off.

He said the news surprised him, because his show had good ratings recently and had plenty of sponsors.

"After 15 years, it's very disappointing and a difficult day for me, because I really love doing what I do," Sylvester said. "Especially during the protests, I really feel like we hit our stride. We covered something in a way that really nobody else does."

Sylvester said he would like to stay in radio if another station wanted to hire him.

Read More Now.

The lay-offs come after five  positions were eliminated at Midwest in Springfield, MO during the summer.

Tom's Take: After the holidays, could CBS Radio Sports be next for WTDY?

R.I.P.:Former Tulsa Radio Personality Phil Stone

UPDATE 11/28/12: A public memorial service for longtime Tulsa radio personality Phil Stone has been set for 5 p.m. Thursday 11/29/12 at the Cain's Ballroom, Tulsa.

Records show that he died of natural causes brought on by heart disease.  A native of Fayetteville, Ark., Stone began his on-air career in Fayetteville as a disc jockey at KKEG. 

UPDATE 11/24/12: Stone, whose legal name was Phillip Wayne Riddle, is survived by five children and three grandchildren
Stone died Wednesday at age 57. His services are pending with Heath-Griffith Funeral Home.

Stone was the longtime co-host of the "Phil and Brent Show" on KMOD-FM 97.5 with Brent Douglas. The show’s nearly 27-year run ended without explanation Oct. 12.

Original posting...

Phil Stone, the longtime co-host of the Phil and Brent Show on KMOD-FM 97.5, has died, the station confirmed Wednesday.

The show hosted by Stone and Brent Douglas ended its nearly 27-year run Oct. 12 without explanation.  (Click Here for original posting)

Tulsa World reports program director Don Cristi posted a statement to the station's website Wednesday, saying: "I was informed just minutes ago that Phil Stone has passed away. Brent confirmed the news to me and I have few other details."

Cristi told the Tulsa World later Wednesday evening that "this is a huge loss."

"It is literally like losing a member of your family," he said. Stone "had to be the greatest radio personality in this market."

Douglas, Stone's co-host, gained notoriety as the voice of "Roy D. Mercer," a character created in 1993 who performed prank calls on unsuspecting listeners. The character's popularity resulted in the release of 17 live albums beginning in 1997.

The cause of Stone's death has not been announced.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

ESPN Does Deal For BCS Championship

ESPN will be the television home for the college football playoff that begins after the 2014 season, thanks to a 12-year deal announced on Wednesday.

The deal covers the national championship game and semifinals as well as bowl games that will be part of the semifinal hosting rotation in years they don't host a semifinal game. Earlier, ESPN announced deals with the Rose, Sugar and Orange Bowls.

The deal goes through the 2025 regular season (2026 bowl games).

ESPN president John Skipper and Bill Hancock, the executive director of the BCS and committee setting up the college football playoff, announced the deal in principle, which includes rights on TV, radio, mobile TV and WatchESPN. ESPN also gets the rights to the games in 3D, on ESPN Deportes and internationally. It is subject to finalizing documents and approvals.

DeeJay Streaks Rihanna’s Tour Plane

Australian Nova radio host Timothy Dormer ran through Rihanna’s tour plane naked as baying crowds of music journalists got stir crazy drunk and the singer locked herself in a panic room, according to

The 24-year-old singer’s promotional trip to push her new album, ‘Unapologetic’, involved flying 150 music journalists around the world for a week on a Boeing 777.

But things went a bit wrong when the singer refused to come out of the special panic room on the plane, leaving the rest of her passengers with nothing to do but get drunk on the free alcohol and collectively lose it.

The journalists started chanting before shaggy-haired Dormer, who works for Nova in Brisbane, decided to give them the drama they craved.

The crowd chanted “Just one quote!”, “I need a headline!” and “Occupy 777” while the Aussie journo stripped naked and ran around the plane.

It was all caught on camera and Twitter.

Jim Rome Excited About Return To Houston Radio

Jim Rome’s new television show on Showtime debuts Wednesday night, but the Houston Chronicle is reporting, his radio show returns to Houston in January as part of the new CBS Sports Radio network on KIKK (650 AM).

He is, understandably, pleased about the Showtime debut but also looking forward to being back on Houston radio after a year’s absence.

“You know how I feel about Houston,” Rome said. “Houston was the first major market that took a chance on the Rome show (in 1997), and that means something to me. I’ve always had a connection with Houston. I hated not being in that market, and getting back as soon as I could was the plan.”

There is mild irony in that his CBS Sports Radio show will be going head-to-head against the show that replaced him on KILT (610 AM), hosted by Brad Davies and Mike Meltser, on KILT’s sister CBS Radio station at 650 AM.

“That happens in this business,” Rome said. “(The radio show) is a really great opportunity. CBS has a great vision for sports talk. They laid out their plan, and I bought into it. It will give me an opportunity to be in some markets that I have not been in.”

He said the new Rome radio show will be similar to the show distributed for years by Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks but added, “I would be foolish not to take advantage of some of the resources that CBS offers. Looking at their plans, I can tell you that they are getting an extremely motivated host.”

Read More Now.

Also Must Read:

Move to CBS helps Jim Rome avoid being stale on TV, radio, Eric Deggans Tampa Bay Times.

Micklos Replaces Dolge As ND At WNEW-FM, DC

DCRTV hears that Gregg Micklos has been promoted to the position of news director at CBS Radio's all-news WNEW, 99.1 FM. He had been assistant news director.

Micklos joined the station just before its launch last January, coming from Channel 7/WJLA, where he spent more than 15 years as a senior assignment editor.

He replaces Michelle Dolge, who, according to a WNEW staff memo, "has decided to take a step back from her fulltime news director position... and will transition into a new parttime role with WNEW over the next couple weeks."

According to DCRTV Dolge, who once worked at all-news rival WTOP, plans to spend more time with her family and running a gym business with her husband. Her new role at WNEW will involve consulting work for the station. WNEW is now searching for a new assistant news director.

Anchors Away: Take This Job & Shove It

UPDATE 11/23/12: The Bangor Daily News is reporting the general manager at Bangor TV stations WVII and WFVX says he thinks the main reason for Tuesday’s joint on-air resignation of news anchors Tony Consiglio and Cindy Michaels had more to do with job security than journalistic concerns.

Mike Palmer, vice president and GM for Bangor’s ABC (Channel 7) and Fox (Channel 22) station affiliates, said he offered Consiglio’s job to another person on Monday.

“Tony’s job was offered to someone else Monday. Cindy knew this and decided she couldn’t continue working without him,” said Palmer.

When asked if their departure had anything to do with salary issues, Palmer said no.

“Actually, Cindy was offered a contract extension within the last few days. We wanted her to stay,” he said.

Original Posting...

Citing a longstanding battle with upper management over journalistic practices at their Bangor TV stations, news co-anchors Cindy Michaels and Tony Consiglio announced their resignations at the end of Tuesday’s 6 p.m. newscast.

The Bangor, ME. Daily News reports Michaels and Consiglio, who have a combined 12½ years’ service at WVII (Channel 7) and sister station WFVX (Channel 22), shocked staff members and viewers with their joint resignations Tuesday evening.

Not everyone was shocked by the on-air resignations.

“No, that was unfortunate, but not unexpected,” said Mike Palmer, WVII/WFVX vice president and general manager. “We’ll hire experienced people to fill these positions sooner rather than later.”

Neither had told anyone of their decisions before Tuesday’s newscast.

“We figured if we had tendered our resignations off the air, we would not have been allowed to say goodbye to the community on the air and that was really important for us to do that,” said Michaels, the station’s news director, who has spent six of her 15 years in Bangor’s radio and TV market at WVII.

Both Michaels, 46, and Consiglio, 28, said frustration over the way they were allowed or told to do their jobs — something that has been steadily mounting for the last four years — became too much for them.

Michaels said there were numerous things that contributed to their decisions.

“It’s a culmination of ongoing occurrences that took place the last several years and basically involved upper management practices that we both strongly disagreed with,” she explained. “It’s a little complicated, but we were expected to do somewhat unbalanced news, politically, in general.”

Clear Channel-Toledo GM Andy Stuart Resigns

Just one week after the departure of controversial WSPD-AM 1370 talk-radio host Brian Wilson, the station’s general manager said on Tuesday that he, too, would be leaving.

The Toledo Blade reports Andy Stuart, who has been with Clear Channel Communications Inc. in Toledo for years, declined to discuss in detail his departure from the company.

“I can confirm that I resigned from Clear Channel today,” Mr. Stuart said on Tuesday night.

Clear Channel, the largest radio-station operator in the country, operates several stations in the Toledo market, including WSPD-AM and WVKS-FM 92.5.

Mr. Stuart said he would not leave the company immediately. He referred all questions to his spokesman, Richard Marks, in McLean, Va.

“I can confirm that Andy is leaving Clear Channel,” Mr. Marks said. “He will be the president and CEO of a new technology company that should be up and running by the end of 2013.”

Mr. Marks identified himself as a director of the new company but would not reveal its name or location. He said the company would be dealing in proprietary technology and therefore he could not share any specifics.

Feds Sue Casper Radio Owner Over Employee Pay

Casper Star-Tribune photo
The U.S. Department of Labor sued the owner of five Casper radio stations this week, alleging Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting improperly paid some employees.

Joshua Wolfson at writes the suit claims workers at Mt. Rushmore received less than federal minimum wage and weren’t paid overtime when they worked more than 40 hours a week. The allegations date as far back as August 2008, according to the complaint.

Federal authorities also accuse the company of failing to keep adequate records related to employee work hours.

Mt. Rushmore President Jan Charles Gray disputed the allegations in a statement emailed to the Star-Tribune.

“The filing is bogus and unfortunate,” said Gray, who’s named in the lawsuit. “The accusations themselves are not accurate, [coming] from disgruntled former employees, some of whom are convicted felons.”

Labor Department attorney Beau Ellis did not respond Tuesday to a message seeking comment.

Mt. Rushmore Broadcasting is licensed to operate four FM stations in Casper: KMLD 94.5, KASS 106.9, KQLT 103.7 and KHOC 102.5. It also owns KVOC-AM 1230 in Casper, along with stations in Rawlins and in South Dakota.

KKLA DJ Frank Pastore Injured In Motorcycle Crash

UPDATE 12/18/2012: Frank Pastore passed away 12/17/12. See posting, Click Here.

UPDATE 11/28/12:  Popular Christian talk radio host Frank Pastore remains in a coma one week after a motorcycle crash, but showed signs of improvement on Monday while in stable but serious condition, his wife said.

In talking about her husband's inspirational impact on people even while he is in intensive care, Gina Pastore told The ChristianPost that during his radio show on the same night of the accident he discussed the topic of death and the human soul.

UPDATE 11/22/12 7AM: Pastore was seriously injured on the 210 Freeway when his Honda Shadow motorcycle was struck by a Hyundai Sonata at 7:30 p.m. Monday, California Highway Patrol officials said.

He remained hospitalized in critical condition in intensive care at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Rosa Saca said.

Pastore's wife of 34 years, Gina, said her husband was in a coma.

Original Posting....

Professional baseball pitcher turned Christian radio personality Frank Pastore remained in critical condition Tuesday after he was injured when a car collided with his motorcycle on the 210 Freeway Monday night.

The Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports the 55-year-old Pastore was ejected from the motorcycle and found unconscious on the freeway, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Aaron Knarr.

Pastore, who sustained head trauma, was flown by helicopter to Los Angeles County USC Medical Center. He remained in critical condition Tuesday in the intensive care unit, according to hospital spokeswoman Rosa Saca.

"I just hope everyone is praying for him. This is a shock to all of us," Pastore's mother-in-law said. "He's a very good person. A Christian person. At this time, it's very hard. He's loved by everyone."
She said Pastore was on his way home from work Monday night when the crash happened.

Pastore was a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds from 1979 until 1985 and for the Minnesota Twins in 1986, according to his bio on Major League Baseball's website. He is an Alhambra native and was a student at Damien High School in La Verne. He hosts “The Frank Pastore Show” at 99.5 KKLA, a Christian radio station based in Los Angeles.

Controversy Surrounds Dick Biondi Toy Drive In Chicago

Each year, Chicago personality, National Radio Hall of Famer, and WLS-FM nighttime DJ Dick Biondi hosts his annual toy drive to help collect gifts for underprivileged Chicago area children. This upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, Dick Biondi will do it yet again.

Chicago Radio & Media reports this weekend's event will be the 21st year that Dick Biondi has done his annual holiday toy drive for children -- doing so as a DJ for WJMK-FM, WJMK-HD2, WZZN-FM, and WLS-FM.

The 2012 toy drive will take place Stratford Square Mall in Bloomingdale, where Dick Biondi has been doing these events since 2008 -- exclusively so since 2009.

The event kicks off this Friday morning, as the living legend himself, Dick Biondi, will be at the mall, greeting fans. He will be at the WLS-FM booth from 7:00am-10:00pm. However, Biondi will not be broadcasting live, he’ll be voicing cut-ins about every two hours according to CRM. It will not be a live remote marathon broadcast, as it has been in previous years. Last year's broadcast was for 13 straight hours. This year, even though Dick Biondi will be on location for 15 hours.

Dick Biondi
Lars at CRM writes Cumulus Media, the owner of WLS-FM for the last 14 months, has been seemingly trying to make Dick Biondi unhappy at the station and force him out. His hours have been cut, his on air shift has been shoved back to 11:00pm-2:00am, where most of his longtime fans cannot hear him, and his time allowed to speak between songs has been dramatically cut back. The latest affront to Dick Biondi is clear on this weekend's toy drive..

Adding insult to injury, WLS has all but removed Dick Biondi's name from his own toy drive. Effective this year, the event is not called "The Dick Biondi Toy Drive." Instead the station has renamed it "THE 94.7 WLS TOY DRIVE, hosted by Dick Biondi." Notice where the bold letters are and where the emphasis is... and where it isn't.

Read More Now.

Also Must-Read:  Chicago radio changing, but Dick Biondi's voice stays strong. Click Here.

Facebook Posting Gets Radio Talker In Trouble

NAACP leaders in Jackson, TN have objected to recent comments made by a WNWS radio show host Bill Way on his Facebook page.

The Jackson Sun reports Harrell Carter, president of the Jackson chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said comments made by talk show host Bill Way are "derogatory."

On Friday, Way posted the following on his Facebook page: 
"A short message to Obama voters. To vote for him with a 9.2 unemployment rate, a (expletive) of Benghazi lies, $16,000,000,000 in debt and an israeli war, (a derogatory reference to the sex scandal involving David Petraeus), a pimp walking prez married to cheetahs daughter...expect what you will most certainly get. bye bye medicare. hello homeless.. I love America except for the idiots."
Way, who hosts mornings onWNWS  101.5 FM, did not finish his show Monday morning. He issued an on-air apology before announcing that he would take a few days off. Another host took over for the rest of the show, taking phone calls from listeners about the situation.

The general manager of 101.5 FM, which airs the morning show hosted by Bill Way, has responded.

"WNWS-FM learned about the comments Bill Way made on his personal Facebook page," said station general manager Larry Wood in a statement.

"In no way do they reflect the positions or thoughts of any of us at WNWS-FM," he said. "We certainly don't condone the comments from Bill and appreciate his public apology. We're discussing his comments and apology. Considering the gravity of the situation, for now, by mutual agreement, Bill is taking a few days off."

Turkey Day: Swedish Chef Shows How It's Done

WKRP Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Study: Twitter a Key Source of News During Sandy

For millions who lost power but could still access the internet on mobile devices, Twitter served as a critical lifeline after Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast, according to a study by the Pew Research Center.

Twitter reported that people sent more than 20 million tweets from October 27 through November 1, spanning the time the storm approached to its aftermath. This was more than twice the usage from the two previous days.

From the day the storm made landfall on Oct. 29 through Oct. 31, 34% of the Twitter traffic about the storm, involved news organizations providing content, government sources offering information, people sharing their own eyewitness accounts and still more passing along information posted by others. Some of these were tales of courage and helping out neighbors during and after the storm.

Some accounts shared by many, including mainstream news organizations, turned out to be false. One of the most-discussed was the claim that the New York Stock Exchange floor had flooded with three feet of water and that the power company, Con Edison, was shutting off power to all of Manhattan.

The second largest percentage (25%) of Twitter conversation about the hurricane over these three days involved people sharing photos and videos, speaking to the degree to which visuals have become a more common element of this realm. These images included everything from pictures and video of the storm, post-storm destruction, falsified pictures about the disaster and self portraits of people during the storm. There was interplay between news and eyewitness content with news organizations retweeting or sharing citizen images. As with some of the text-based tweets, though, some images turned out to have been faked.

Internet Stations Also Want LPFMs

More potential and current LPFM ownership groups, as well as other groups with an interest in the issue, are sharing their thoughts with the FCC before the Nov. 30 meeting, according to a Radio World story.

That’s when the agency hopes to have the vote to pass items on the dual interests of creating more ownership opportunities for LPFMs and balancing the interests of broadcasters who’ve been waiting since 2003 to learn the fate of their FM translator applications.

Several Internet station owners are interested in acquiring LPFM licenses, like Delta Radio of Tallahassee, Fla. and Talk Radio of Pahrump, Nev., who, along with Mid-Atlantic Engineering Service of Utica, N.Y. urged the FCC not to reduce its proposed FM translator cap in rural areas as Educational Media Foundation has suggested.

Further, the three groups note the agency should take into consideration the wishes of all LPFM advocacy groups, like The Amherst Alliance, Christian Community Broadcasters, Common Frequency and Nexus Broadcast. While Prometheus Radio Project has the ability to lobby the commission in-person, the other groups do not have the same resources, notes Delta Radio of Tallahassee, Fla., Talk Radio of Pahrump, Nev. and Mid-Atlantic Engineering Service of Utica, N.Y.

Several religious leaders are also lobbying the commission on LPFM.

CC-Augusta's WBBQ-FM Makes News With Holiday Music

Arbitron To Withhold NYC Week 4 Estimates

Abritron informed subscribers Monday that Week 4 of the November 2012 estimates will not be released.

According to on October 29, during the November 2012 report period (October 11-November 7), Hurricane Sandy moved through the eastern seaboard, causing widespread damage and extended power outages.  During the last two days of Week 3 (October 25-October 31) and throughout Week 4 (November 1-November 7), a substantial number of homes remained without power.  Arbitron has carefully monitored Average Daily In-Tab and other PPM performance metrics for each market throughout this period.

The New York Metro includes the embedded Metros of Nassau-Suffolk and Middlesex-Somerset-Union.  As a result of the storm, approximately one third of the targeted in-tab sample in Nassau-Suffolk and Middlesex-Somerset-Union was unavailable during Week 4.  In addition, average daily in-tab rates were substantially lower for Week 4 in these embedded metros than during unaffected weeks in recent currency reports.

These factors, combined with other performance metrics, resulted in a decision to not produce PPM estimates for Week 4 for Nassau-Suffolk and Middlesex-Somerset-Union.  Since the New York Metro includes the Nassau-Suffolk and Middlesex-Somerset-Union Metros, the unavailability of these metros impacts the sample performance of the New York Metro.  As a result, Week 4 PPM estimates for New York will not be produced.

The November 2012 reports for New York, Nassau-Suffolk, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union will be based exclusively on November Weeks 1, 2, and 3 (October 11-October 31). Arbitron plans to release these reports on Monday, November 27, as originally scheduled.

The November 2012 report for all PPM markets other than New York, Nassau-Suffolk, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union will be based on the standard four-week November report period.  Arbitron plans to release these reports as originally scheduled.

Pew Study: MSNBC More Negative Closer To Election

Throughout the campaign, the two most popular cable news channels, Fox News and MSNBC, stood out from the rest the media coverage. Fox News was much more positive about Romney than the press as a whole and substantially more negative about Obama. MSNBC was even more overwhelmingly negative about Romney and offered mostly positive coverage about Obama.

 During the final week of the campaign, those differences became even more pronounced.

That week, when the media overall were more positive about Obama than negative, Fox News went a different direction and became more negative about him. From October 1 to 28, 4% of Obama's stories were positive and 47% were negative (a difference of 43 points). In the final week, however, that tenor changed so that 5% of Obama's stories were positive while 56% were negative-a difference of 51 points.

At the same time, when Romney was receiving negative coverage in the final week from the rest of the press, Fox was different; 42% of its segments about him were positive while only 11% were negative. This was more positive than the earlier part of October when 34% of Fox News' Romney coverage was positive and 9% negative.

MSNBC moved in the other direction. MSNBC's coverage of Romney during the final week (68% negative with no positive stories in the sample), was far more negative than the overall press, and even more negative than it had been during October 1 to 28 when 5% was positive and 57% was negative.

For Obama, meanwhile, the coverage improved in the last week. From October 1 to 28, 33% was positive and 13% negative. During the campaign's final week, fully 51% of MSNBC's stories were positive while there were no negative stories at all in the sample.

Read More Now.

Opinion: Norm Pattiz On Dwindling Support For Talk Radio

John DeBella Marks 30 years In Philly Radio

If she didn't know it already, Lisa DeBella will now: her husband of 17 years has been carrying on a 30-year love affair. But she needn't worry: the object of his affection isn't a woman; it's Philadelphia.
How else do you explain why John DeBella, the 62-year-old WMGK-FM (102.9) morning-drive host - a native New Yorker, no less - has been in Philadelphia since the days when Ronald Reagan was president and Julius Erving and Moses Malone were the talk of the town? Why else would he have hung around even during the years when he was suffering professional humiliation and personal tragedy? 
There's nothing I love more . . . than this city," insisted DeBella who earlier this month marked his 30th anniversary on the air in the Delaware Valley. "This is a damn fine place to live. And if you don't know it, too bad." 
As he lunched on a shrimp Caesar salad at Chops on City Avenue one recent afternoon, DeBella, who began his tenure here on WMMR-FM (93.3), claimed it was pretty much love at first sight - or, more to the point, at first sound - for him. 
"When I came to Philadelphia [from rock outlet WLIR-FM on Long Island], I remember the first day of driving around here. I'm driving my car and listening to 'MMR just looking at the area and the radio is playing everything that [FM rock] radio stations in America are playing, plus Robert Hazard, plus the Hooters, plus Alan Mann plus the A's," he said, referring to local musical acts the station supported in the early 1980s. 
"On the Island, every [high-profile] band was a cover band. There was no original music coming out of the Island. So when I came down here and heard all that, I fell in love, musically, with the city first." 
It didn't take much longer for him to make a connection with the local populace. He explained how, in his early days here, he would take the Chestnut Street shuttle between his Society Hill apartment and 'MMR's studios, then overlooking Rittenhouse Square.

Al Gustin Leaves A Legacy For Ag Broadcasters

Al Gustin, the “dean” of agricultural broadcasters in western North Dakota, is leaving the building. And on a high note.

Al Gustin 2002
Mikkel Pates at Agweek reports Gustin, of Mandan, N.D., recently was named National Farm Broadcaster of the Year at the National Agricultural Farm Broadcasters convention in Kansas City, Mo. He is retiring as director of KFYR and KBMR Radio in Bismarck on Nov. 30, after a career that has won him every honor in the book from livestock and agricultural groups near and far.

Turning age 65 on Nov. 20, Gustin says he’s happy he won’t have to get up at 3 a.m. anymore. He’d get to work at 4 a.m. and prepare for 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. broadcasts, and through the noon hour. Gustin often was caught up in the day-to-day, but his bigger pieces on topics such as farm stress, dust and farm labor brought national recognition. Now, he’ll spend more time on the farm-ranch south of Mandan.

“There’ll be no lack of things to do,” Gustin says. “There’s more work than I have time to get done.”

A key to Gustin’s success is his natural empathy with the region, his gentlemanly demeanor and his tireless work ethic. He comes by that honestly.

R.I.P.: Mark Baker, WTFM PD TriCities Was 57

Mark Baker (real name: Mark Wormsbaker) died unexpectedly November 14, 2012 at his home in Mount Carmel, Tenn.  He was 57.

A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Baker was a veteran of more than 30 years in the radio industry as both an on-air personality and program director.

Baker had been working at soft rock station WTFM-98.5 FM in Kingsport, Tenn. as that station's PD and afternoon host.

He joined WTFM in 2007 after spending 13 years in Evansville at WIKY 104.1 FM Evansville, IN.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Arbitron Radio Listening Soared During Sandy

As Hurricane Sandy rumbled into the northeast late last month, millions of people on the east coast turned to radio to stay up-to-date on the latest power outages, damage estimates, and weather forecasts. It was an unprecedented event for an area of the country that is home to a sixth of America’s population. At the height of the storm, there were millions without power, cell phone service, or an Internet connection. Amazingly, some remain in the dark even now.
Today, the first peek at how Sandy impacted radio listenership in the northeast rolls out with the release of the Arbitron November Week 3 data: the PPM Weekly covering 10/25-10/31.
The storm made landfall on Monday, October 29th, and that day, more than 16 million people (aged 6+) tuned to radio in seven of Arbitron’s PPM markets that stretch from Washington, DC to Boston. By Wednesday, two days after the storm, nearly 24 million were tuning in while the full extent of the damage was still being realized.
Even this once-in-a-generation storm didn’t disrupt normal radio listening for more than a few days. From serving as a vital source of information for communities cut off from the outside world due to flooding and destruction to being a welcome distraction for the millions trying to get back to their normal routines, radios were on across the region in the hours and days following the storm.
However, the real story isn’t how many people were listening but what they were listening to.
 We examined Sandy’s impact in the New York Metro, where the storm struck most violently, and split the market into three distinct groups: FM music stations* (no streams, AM, or noncommercial stations), All News & News-Talk stations* (commercial only), and all Spoken Word outlets* (including noncommercial news formats). Here’s a look at the full weekday shares:
Music radio, which generally accounts for two-thirds of all radio listening in the market, dropped by 25 shares as Sandy made landfall while News/Talk and overall spoken word listening both more than doubled. In the two days following the trend started to reverse, but even 48 hours after the storm listeners were still using radio for the information they needed.
We know that radio consistently reaches 93% of all people aged 6+, but the storm-driven shift in listening only reinforces how well established our medium is in listeners’ minds. The data shows that listeners of all ages turn to radio when they need the latest information about their communities. When people living in the path of Sandy needed updates, they kept the radio on by tuning to their trusted sources, no matter what the format. In fact, the same dramatic shift we saw in the general market also occurred with radio’s youngest listeners: the 12-24 demographic.

*Note that during the evening of 10/29 and in one case until the morning of 10/31 several news and spoken-word stations were simulcast on FM sister stations. This includes WCBS-AM on WWFS-FM, WFAN-AM on WXRK-FM, and WINS-AM on WCBS-FM and then later on WXRK-FM.

Therefore the sum totals of the various groups represented in this analysis may include some listening to news programming that was airing on what is usually an FM music format.

Jon Miller is the Director of Programming Services at Arbitron. Reach him at

CHR Happi 92.7-FM Debuts In Erie, PA

For Richard Rambaldo, happiness is launching a new radio station.

Happi 92.7 FM, in particular, according to a story at

Erie Radio Co., co-owned by Rambaldo and Dave Hallman Jr., introduced Happi 92.7 to Erie's airwaves on Friday at noon.

 WEHP-FM features a CHR format -- the same as longtime Arbitron ratings leader WRTS-FM (Star 104) and low-power station i104.3, which debuted earlier in 2012.

Songs by Nicki Minaj, LMFAO, Enrique Iglesias and Flo Rida played after it launched.

"I think there could be room for another (CHR) format with a different type of presentation that might give the people choices," Rambaldo said.

"It's not just about the music. The music may be similar, but it's also about what surrounds the music -- the personalities, what they say, their sense of humor, what they tell us. Our mission is to be live and local."

Rambaldo said Happi will broadcast without commercials for 35 to 45 days, while its broadcast offices at 1229 State St. are being completed.

The station will then introduce its on-air staff, including Shari McBride, who was a Star 104 morning personality from 1997 to 2002. She will also serve as the station's operations manager.

Happi 92.7 FM broadcasts at 6,000 watts, the same power as several other Erie FM stations, including WXBB-FM (Bob 94.7).   Happi 92.7 broadcasts in HD, which means the station can add additional channels, just as Cumulus Radio added i104.3 when WXKC-FM/Classy 100 became HD. "We will have two other channels, but those formats are not yet picked," Rambaldo said.

Liguori ThisClose To Being Top Exec At Tribune Co.

Peter Liguori, a former top executive at News Corp. and Discovery Communications, is expected to be named chief executive of Tribune Co. after the company emerges from bankruptcy, according to people familiar with the matter.

According to the LATimes, Liguori is in advanced conversations with incoming owners, according to people who requested anonymity. An official announcement is expected after Tribune emerges from bankruptcy and names a new board of directors, which could occur as early as next month.

Tribune cleared a final regulatory hurdle Friday when the Federal Communications Commission granted waivers that pave the way for transfers of Tribune broadcast licenses to the eventual new owners of the company, a group led by Oaktree Capital Management, Angelo Gordon & Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The FCC's staff issued the waivers of its so-called cross-ownership rules, which restrict newspapers from combining with television and radio stations in the same market.

The waivers cover Tribune newspaper and broadcasting units in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, South Florida and Hartford, Conn.

Liguori would succeed Eddy Hartenstein as chief executive.

Bubba Bit Got Brass Swapping Emails With Jill Kelley

Leave it to syndicated morning host Bubba The Love Sponge to get a bit role in the on-going Petraeus, Broadwell, Kelley brouhaha.

It seems Tampa ‘socialite’ Jill Kelley had emailed then-CIA Director David Petraeus and Gen. John Allen about a Bubba bit where he promised to "deep fat fry" a copy of the Koran.

Such a stunt apparently worried Allen that could put troops in harm's way and was going to call her from Afghanistan to discuss a next step.

Kelley also emailed Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn about the radio stunt (heard locally on Cox’ WHPT 102.5 FM The Bone). 

In a response to Kelley, Buckhorn wrote, "This Bubba the Love Sponge is a complete moron."

And of course Bubba didn’t like being called a moron, but sensing the PR value, BLS told The Tampa Bay Times, "For Bob Buckhorn to call me a moron? I mean, are you kidding me? Let's talk about moron status.”

Bubba went on-air to slam the city’s red-light cameras as a public "shake down" and mocked the 6-foot rule Buckhorn pushed years ago to keep performing strippers that far away from patrons.

He also criticized the mayor for officially honoring his radio rival Todd "MJ" Schnitt, also based in Tampa.

"At the end of the day, you wouldn't hear any of this nonsense from Pam Iorio," Clem said of Tampa’s previous mayor. "She was calculated. She didn't call names."

Clem said the people who got him to stop the Koran burning were his lawyer and the heads of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and the Tampa Police Department.

Bubba’s show is also carried on two other radio stations, plus on on a subscription basis.

No More Phunn At Sports KSTP-Twin Cities

Longtime Twin Cities sports radio personality Joe Anderson was fired Friday by KSTP1500-AM, where he had been working for more than a year as the co-host of the station’s 9-noon program with former Star Tribune writer Judd Zulgad.

Joe Anderson
Anderson – better known as “Mr. Phunn” – announced the news via Twitter, saying the parting was amicable.

In a phone interview Friday afternoon with the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Anderson said the station’s management wanted to go in another direction and that the move had nothing to do with the impending loss of the Twins in 2013 to the FM dial.

“They weren’t real specific about it, but I think it’s been pretty apparent that I’d run out of steam on the whole sports talk,” Anderson said. “I’ve been thinking about it. My contract was up at end of February, and they had made decision not to renew. They decided to pull the plug now.”

Before joining 1500-AM, Anderson worked for about a decade on KFAN, with most of that time spent on Dan Barreiro’s afternoon program.

CC RIFs Make News In Toledo

From Kris Turner, Business Writer, Toledo Blade:
Toledo Blade photo
Last week’s exit of WSPD-AM 1370 talk-radio host Brian Wilson follows a yearlong pattern of dismissals, layoffs, and corporate maneuvering by Clear Channel Communications Inc. that has sent scores of people to the unemployment line. 
Clear Channel, the largest radio station operator in the country, is partially owned by Bain Capital, which is the company founded and previously run by former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. 
On-air talent and behind-the-scenes employees have been shown the door or programming has been eliminated in markets that include Los Angeles, Boston, Tampa, San Diego, Madison, Wis., Springfield, Mo., Oklahoma City, Nashville, and, most recently, Toledo
Clear Channel has taken a different approach to letting its employees go in 2012, said Jerry Del Colliano, who closely follows Clear Channel’s movements in his blog, Inside Music Media. Mr. Del Colliano writes about radio companies and industry changes. 
“They’ve been nipping and tucking a lot since last November,” Mr. Del Colliano said. “There has been a substantial number of people [let go]. I can’t estimate it, [but] a handful of people every week for 52 weeks. 
It’s impossible to tell how many people Clear Channel has laid off or dismissed because that information is not included in its filings with the federal government. The Blade learned of many of the departures and programming cuts by reviewing news releases and media reports and conducting interviews with former employees of radio stations.
Wilson announced his departure via Facebook on Monday, posting this: “I am glad to have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of freedom and liberty to Northwest Ohio. Wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and good-bye to my listeners. I will continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.” 
Wilson’s wife, Cassie Wilson, resigned from her post as Clear Channel Toledo director of news operations and news anchor at WSPD in May, 2009. Her resignation came shortly after the company announced it was replacing local midday news programming with newscasts from the firm’s Cincinnati talk-radio station, WLW-AM 700. 
Andy Stuart, WSPD’s vice president and regional market manager, did not respond to requests for comment.

Holland Cooke On How Twitter Tweaks MSM

“Into Tomorrow” and ITTV report from the International CES Unveiled Press Preview in New York City. Dave Graveline interviews Talk/Media consultant Holland Cooke. He talks about how people are usinf social media sites like Twitter - instead of traditional news media - to get their news.

Catching Up With Bethany Watson, Z100 NYC

It's been three months since Wisconsin native Bethany Watson joined WHTZ-FM's (100.3) "Elvis Duran and TheMorning Show" as its new co-host.

She replaced Carolina Bermudez, who left the morning show in the spring.

Watson began her radio career at KDWB-FM (101.3), Minneapolis, where she was the co-host of "The Dave Ryan in the Morning Show" for four years.

Recently, I had a chance to talk to Watson about her move to the metropolitan area, her comedy influences and her new gig:

Q. Getting a job at Z100 is a big deal nationally. What do you say to people who say you did not pay your dues?

There may have been many who, on paper, have much more "radio mileage," but the connection between all of us at Elvis' show was undeniable. I'm quickly learning we pay our dues every single day at Z100. That's what makes it the best of the best.

Q. How do you think a Wisconsin-raised girl will fit into the hustle and bustle of the metropolitan area? Will listeners get your humor? Will you get their humor?

The hustle and bustle is why we're all here, isn't it? That's the magic of our show and New York City, different people from different places with different ideas and opinions.

Q. Coming from the Midwest, what are your biggest challenges away from the job? Subways? Jaywalking? Pigeons?

My challenges as a New Yorker are the same as those who have lived here their whole lives. This city is an exciting ball of confusion and energy and it's a challenge for all of us here, as you well know. The challenge is why I'm here. I love it!