Saturday, May 25, 2013

R.I.P.: Legendary Talker Gene Burns Has Passed

Gene Burns
Veteran talk radio personality Gene Burns died Saturday after a series of illnesses, including a stroke which left him with aphasia, a side-effect from a stroke.  Aphasia is a disability  where one has difficulty remembering words to losing the ability to speak, read, or write.

Burns was 72.

He most recently hosted Dining Around with Gene Burns, a food and wine program, which aired Saturdays on NewsTalk KKSF 910 AM in San Francisco.

In his early 20s, Burns was hired as news director for radio station WWHG in his hometown of Hornell, New York before moving on to WSBA in York, PA He began his career as talk radio host at WCBM in Baltimore in the mid-1960s. While at WCBM, Burns did two major international assignments, going to Vietnam in 1968 and the Middle East in 1969.

Following a brief stint with WEEI in Boston, Burns served as a talk show host as well as program director at WKIS-AM in Orlando, Florida, beginning in 1971. He would remain there until 1981, when he departed for WCAU in Philadelphia in 1981. He then returned to Orlando and WKIS in the early 1980s and was named the station's operations manager in 1984.

In 1985, Burns returned to Boston, hosting a talk show on WRKO.  In 1993, Burns moved to New York City and began hosting a nationally syndicated talk program from the studios of WOR.

In 1995, he began broadcasting for KGO 810 AM in San Francisco. He hosted a talk show of political and social commentary called The Gene Burns Program on weeknights, as well as a program that focused on wine and fine dining in the San Francisco Bay Area called Dining Around with Gene Burns which was broadcast weekly on Saturdays.

KGO's Ronn Owens reflected on the relationship he and Burns had.

Listen to KGO 810 on Sunday, May 25 at 10pm for a special honoring the life and work of Gene Burns, hosted by David Weintraub.

To share your thoughts of Gene, please go to the KGO Newstalk AM Facebook page
Talkers magazine ranked Burns #24 on its list of The 25 Greatest Radio and Television Talk Show Hosts of All Time, in 2002.

OK Benefit Concert Sells Out In 30-Seconds

Shelton, Lambert (Billboard photo)
Things are coming together for the benefit concert that Oklahoma native Blake Shelton announced on Tuesday’s episode of The Voice.

The concert titled Healing in the Heartland: Relief Benefit Concert, will benefit the United Way of Central Oklahoma May Tornadoes Relief Fund. NBC is set to air a live broadcast of the concert at 9 p.m. ET/PT; it also will air cable networks Style, G4, Bravo, E! and CMT on either a live or delayed basis.

The tornado killed at least 24 people, injured hundreds, and damaged houses, hospitals, and schools in Moore, Okla. and Oklahoma City.

Shelton, a judge on NBC’s The Voice, will perform in the concert along with wife and fellow country artist Miranda Lambert. Usher and Darius Rucker join a lineup that also includes Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Reba McEntire and Vince Gill.  Others are expected to be added to the line-up.

 “Everyone has their way to help, and mine as an entertainer is to perform to help raise money and awareness for this tragedy,” Shelton said in a statement. “This is why I want to do this special and especially hold it in Oklahoma City, which is near ground zero.”

Tickets for next week’s concert went on sale Saturday, May 25 and quickly sold out.

Saturday Aircheck: Dan Ingram On 77-WABC

Aircheck of WABC's Dan Ingram from 1973. 

Hear more classic WABC Musicradio 77 air checks at Allan Sniffen's awesome website. Click Here. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Cumulus To Launch “NashFM” Brand On 5 Stations

Cumulus Media has announced plans to extend its  “NashFM” to at least five more stations. The branding effort moves the brand beyond the original NashFM station, WNSH in NYC.

The affected stations will be using NashFM logos, websites, and on-air promotions using “NASH FM” and “Powered by NASH” language.

Station now branding as “NashFM” are:
Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey said, “Following our debut of the NASH-FM brand earlier this year, we’re excited about expanding NASH to more radio stations as well as bringing NASH content to other forms of media, including video and magazines. Our listeners and advertisers will continue to benefit from the variety of on-air and off-air Country lifestyle content opportunities associated with the NASH brand.”

Indy Radio: Entercom Re-Launches 107-9 The Mix

Entercom Indianapolis announces WNTR was re-launched to become Hot AC 1079 The Mix.   “Mix will be artist driven and more current than before,” said WZPL Operations Director, J.R. Ammons.

“Mix’s new Hot AC format will play more music than competitors in the market and deliver more of what women want, the best of 2000’s and today.”

LISTEN-LINE:  Click Here.

“We are thrilled to bring this amazing mix of contemporary music to Indianapolis.  Due to the tremendous success of Entercom’s Top-40 station, WZPL, there is a hole in the market for a station like 1079 The Mix,” said Jennifer Skjodt, Entercom Indianapolis VP and General Manager.

“We are building on the strength of nearly 300,000 weekly WNTR listeners to create a better mix.  Today’s launch is the perfect opportunity and timing for 1079 The Mix.”

Mobile Listening Cap Fuels Pandora Growth

Pandora has had a busy first quarter. In March, the social radio company saw its long-time CEO Joe Kennedy abruptly step down, leaving the board to scramble to find a replacement. On the bright side, Kennedy’s exit, while likely a result of stress, followed relatively good times for Pandora. And. According to,  it’s continued to push forward since.

Pandora launched an ad-free version for Windows 8 in March, surpassed 200 million users (with over 140 million accessing Pandora via mobile) in April, then launched a “Premieres” station for U.S. users and deepened its Facebook integration with a new Timeline App.

Thursday, Pandora’s first quarter earnings reflected this flurry of activity, as the company saw GAAP total revenue increase 97 percent year-over-year to $83.9 million (with non-GAAP mobile revenue of $86.7 million), which outpaced mobile listener hour growth at 47 percent year over year. Meanwhile, total revenue came in at $125.5 million, representing 55 percent year-over-year growth and non-GAAP total revenue of $128.5 million. Pandora had a net loss of $28.5 million, or 16 cents per share, compared with a loss of $20.2 million, or 12 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

What’s more, share of total U.S. Radio listening for Pandora grew to 7.33 percent in April — an increase from 5.86 percent in the same period last year.

Of his company’s performance, Kennedy said: 
"Mobile listening hours and mobile ad revenue reached record highs, with growth in mobile ad revenue exceeding growth in mobile listening hours. During the quarter, we successfully implemented a mobile listening limit, enabling us to manage our content acquisition costs with minimal impact on listenership or revenue growth. Pandora’s subscriber base surpassed 2.5 million, adding more net new subscribers in the quarter than in all of fiscal 2013, giving Pandora the largest US streaming subscriber base of any music service."
Read More Now.

Sports Radio Listeners Are Super Fans

They make more money, they’re better educated, and they buy more expensive houses and cars. These are but a few of the traits of sports play-by-play listeners that make them more attractive and valuable to advertisers. Listeners’ passion, combined with forefront sound, justifies a premium rate.

Going beyond the conceptual, Research Director, Inc., in cooperation with GfK MRI, has just completed an extensive study on the play-by-play radio listener that quantifies the benefits of reaching these listeners.

Among the study’s highlights:
  • Sports Radio listeners are 40% more likely to have a household income of $150,000 or more compared to the general population.
  • Sports Radio listeners are 88% more likely to have any investments totaling $250,000 or more compared to the general population.
  • Based on the eight sports examined, Pro Baseball listeners skew older, while Pro Basketball and Pro Football listeners skew younger.
  • Compared to the other sports examined, Pro Baseball listeners perform the best in many socioeconomic categories such as college educated, household income, and decision maker for a new car.
  • Play-by-play audiences deliver great bang for your buck.  This study will help sellers differentiate their listeners from the average consumer.

Join us for a presentation of highlights, where we’ll talk about how this study can enhance sales of play-play sports on the radio. Research Director, Inc.’s webinar will be conducted on June 5 at 2pm (EDT).  To reserve a spot, Click Here.

DC Radio: Tommy McFly Gives Commencement Address

Commencement speaker Tommy McFly, WIAD Fresh 94.7 FM radio personality in Washington, DC and Luzerne County Community College alumnus, addressed the Class of 2013 at the college’s 45th annual commencement Thursday, saying, “Today’s the day you decide how much you want to be involved.”

 “Whether you’re the next Einstein or the next Snookie, that’s awesome,” McFly said during an energetic speech at the Mohegan Sun Arena, a talk which he peppered with frequent shout-outs to his former teachers.

According to, after graduating from the Nanticoke, PA-based college in 2006, McFly became the co-host of “The Doc Show” on area radio station Froggy 101. Shortly thereafter, McFly went on to become an executive producer of a D.C.-based radio show. Two years later, he was promoted to evening host. In 2010 he was hired by CBS as an on-air personality on the AC 94.7 FreshFM. As the host of the “Tommy Show,”

Tommy McFly
For the past two years, McFly served as the official emcee of the White House Easter egg roll and also as the host of the National Tree Lighting preshow.

“You have a million choices ahead of you, and you can do whatever you want,” said McFly. “Never lose your fire or passion. See how far you can push yourself. You’re gonna hit curveballs along the way, but that’s part of the fun.”

In his student address, 30-year-old Brian Zywicki urged his 875 fellow graduates not to be afraid to take risks.

Denver Radio: Peter Boyles Off KHOW Air Friday

Peter Boyles
Peter Boyles, a well-known and sometimes-controversial radio host in Denver for Talk KHOW 630 AM, will be off the air Friday after a heated physical exchange with one of his producers, multiple sources connected to the station confirm to 9NEWS in Denver.

Employees observed red marks on producer Greg Hollenback's neck within the minutes of the argument, which happened during Thursday morning's broadcast of the Peter Boyles Show.

The sources wished to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

"Everyone here is disappointed and devastated," one employee told 9NEWS.

Reached for comment Thursday morning, Boyles told 9NEWS only that he "had a very heated exchange" with Hollenback.

Boyles and Hollenback have worked together for about two decades.

A source inside KHOW tells 9NEWS the incident has been elevated to the corporate level. KHOW management declined to comment, saying the incident is a "personnel matter."

Although he will be off the air Friday, managers would not say whether Boyles was suspended.

Report: Mary J. Blige Has Tax Woes

Mary J. Blige
Grammy winner Mary J. Blige is being chased for taxes again. Like mixing plaids and stripes, celebrities and taxes often seem to be in discord. Stars may make a lot of money, but they have big expenses and a complex lifestyle. And they often rely on managers and advisers to handle details most people handle themselves. Their handlers may not keep them fully informed.

According to Forbes, Mary J. Blige has been chased by New Jersey tax authorities for $901,769.65 in back taxes, and now is in scotch with the IRS. According to TMZ, the IRS has recorded a tax lien claiming Ms. Blige failed to pay all her income taxes for the years 2009 ($574,907.30), 2010 ($2,203,743.53) and 2011 ($647,604.60). If that’s all correct, the total is over $3.4 million. Of course, the IRS wants to protect its position viz. other creditors.

RS liens are powerful medicine. An IRS tax lien covers all your property, even if acquired after the lien is filed. The courts use it to establish priority in bankruptcy proceedings and real estate sales.

St. Louis Radio: Larry Connors Visits Morning Shows

Larry Conners
Longtime St. Louis TV Anchor Larry Conners was dismissed from KMOV-Channel 4 Wednesday after being pulled off the air last week.

The situation arose May 13 with a post from Conners on his Facebook page. In the posting, Conners said he faced pressure from the IRS after an interview with President Barack Obama. This after allegations surfaced that the IRS targeted conservative groups.

While it was reported last week that while Conners' Facebook post made it seem that he was targeted after the 2012 interview, the Conners resident's issues with the IRS began long before that.

Records show that a federal tax lien has been placed on Conners’ property in Clayton, according to the Post story. That lien claims that Conners and his wife, Janet L. Conners, owe more than $85,000 in “small business/self employed” taxes.

Conners took to the radio Wednesday and Thursday, appearing on KMOX 1120 AM  and KYKY-FM-Y98.

Listen To Y98 Interview, Click Here.

Houston Radio: CBS Radio Staff Stages ‘Field Day’

How does the office of CBS Radio Houston begin its Memorial Day weekend? The answer is to take part in several sets of physical challenges that combine fun, fierceness and fast-paced athletics!

The CBS Radio Houston family held its first annual “Field Day” on Thursday and braved the heat and humidity to go against other co-workers in a “team take all” pursuit combining teamwork, spirit, sportsmanship and most of all fun with others.

Ravishing radio talents, super star sales executives, divine digital content individuals, infinitely intelligent information technology experts, poised voice and production pros, energized engineers, productive promotion professionals and other astounding radio and broadcasting giants all let their inner athlete emerge in a literal  “blood, sweat and tears” battle to be the best, compete and win!

VIEW PHOTOS: Click Here.

According to the CBS Houston website, professionals exchanged their skirts, shirts, ties, microphones, laptops and pens for team t-shirts, shorts, helping hands and focused mindsets for such activities as: “The Chicken Relay”, “Jump Rope Contest”, “Hula Hoop It Out”, “Bouncing Balls On The Paddle”, “The Egg Toss”, “Build The Best Balloon Character”  and other games that required their skill, agility, strength, creativity, tenacity and willingness to have fun.

Senior Vice President and Market Manager of CBS Radio Houston Sarah Frazier called Thursday’s event one that was indeed joyous to attend, see and feel: “it’s amazing to me to have such professionals in the office bring their enthusiasm, and love for competition to the forefront on a field,” Frazier said.

“This first annual ‘Field Day’ was a fun and memorable one that encompassed team spirit and to the the cross-departmental camaraderie is not only fun to watch but inspirational and amazing,” Frazier added.

Morgan Freeman Nods Off During TV Interview

Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine were promoting their new film Now You See Me on Seattle's Q13 Fox News when Morgan started dozing off mid-interview.

A video of the interview has been making the rounds on the internet which shows the 75-year-old actor appearing to nod off while Caine is answering a question.

The brief nap occurred while Michael was discussing how magic tricks are performed on stage and Freeman opened his eyes just in time to catch the end of the response. The chat ended with anchor Bill Wixey asking Morgan for narrating advice for his daughter who was just cast as the narrator in a school play.

Some Men Up in Arms Over Samsung Commercial

Charges of sexism usually come from women, but this time some men are brandishing it, complaining about a new Samsung ad that's gone viral for the company's new Evolution Kit, which transforms any Samsung TV into a smart TV.

The commercial that debuted on YouTube last week shows a woman walking into the living room to find her slovenly husband sprawled on the couch watching TV, burping, grunting and chewing with his mouth open as he watches a cartoon.

The wife plugs the Evolution Kit into the back of the TV, and fantasizes about having a similar kit for her husband, imagining him transformed into a Stepford Husband sort-of guy who's baking, taking care of the baby, painting the kitchen, serving her champagne and more, before she's brought back to the reality of her real husband farting on the couch.

A lot of men have taken to social media to complain, including in the comments section of the ad's YouTube posting, with one writing that he was, quote, "tired of the double standard and depicting men as idiots in advertising."

But in a column Wednesday (May 22nd), Adweek's David Gianatasio said Samsung would only be helped by the controversy over what he called "questionable material," writing, "The clip is nearing 10 million YouTube views in just a week, and generating gobs of attention for the product, so I'd hardly call it a total stinker."

Actor Ashton Kutcher Disses Twitter

Ashton Kutcher
Twitter used to be cool, but the media has royally screwed it up, angel investor Ashton Kutcher told the CTIA Wireless conference Thursday.

"Twitter's experience has changed for me, pretty drastically. It used to be sort of a personalized experience for me, a really personal experience that I could share," the actor said at the Las Vegas trade show. "For lack of better verb, I think the media kind of [you can figure out that verb] it up."

"I think media companies came in and just pounced on it and I think that the signal-to- noise ratio kind of stinks—people selling [expletive] that I don't want," he said. "Companies and people just pitching crap."

According to, Kutcher said that when he first got on Twitter, it felt like the democratization of media, but now it just feels like traditional media.

But the media aren't totally to blame for the noise on Twitter. The company itself has introduced features that have set it back, he said.

"I think retweeting hurt Twitter the most," Kutcher said. "It created a ton of noise in the system that took away from some of the value."

Kutcher prefers to read the information that is available on Twitter via other platforms, like Flipboard, a site that curates your news based on your preferences and social networking accounts, including Twitter. Kutcher is an investor in Flipboard.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chicago Radio: Trib Appoints Jimmy deCastro As WGN GM

Veteran Chicago radio executive Jimmy de Castro has been named president and general manager of WGN-AM 720, Tribune Co. announced Thursday.

The move puts one of Chicago's most charismatic and successful broadcast managers in charge of the legacy radio station, with plans to re-energize, refocus and build ratings and revenue at WGN.

"There's been a lot of change in it over recent years, and a lot of controversy around it, given the personalities that have come and gone," said Larry Wert, Tribune Co.'s president of local broadcasting. "We're just really looking forward to some smart, go-forward stability. I don't think we could have picked anyone better than Jim de Castro."

Jimmy de Castro
The 60-year-old De Castro, who ran the seminal WLUP-FM 97.9 -- and its roster of larger-than-life air personalities -- during its heyday in the 1980s, rode a wave of industry consolidation over a 20-year radio management career until he helmed the largest chain in the nation.

More than a decade removed from his last radio job, de Castro will begin his new role on June 3, reporting to Wert, his former WLUP protege, who became Tribune Co.'s head of local broadcasting in February. Chicago-based Tribune Co. owns eight daily newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, 23 television stations, WGN America and its legacy radio station, which has been on the air since the 1920s. 

While still one of the top-billing and top-rated stations in Chicago, WGN has endured its share of challenges recently amid personnel changes and revenue declines, culminating in the departure of longtime general manager Tom Langmyer last October.  Jeff Hill, the station's director of sales, has been serving as interim general manager.

WGN, which is ranked 4th in the most recent Arbitron ratings for Chicago with a 4.8 share, took a big hit in revenue last year, dropping by more than $5 million to $30.2 million, according to BIA/Kelsey. De Castro hopes to improve on both ratings and revenue for WGN.

de Castro came to Chicago in 1981 to take over WLUP-FM 97.9 and eventually parlayed that into a job running one of the nation's biggest radio giants.

Jax Radio: Cox Launches Urban Gold WHJX

This morning Cox Media Group Jacksonville heats up the airwaves with the new Hot WHJX 106.5 “Duval's Adult R&B”.  Clarence Natto will join the station as its new Program Director.

The first of its kind in the Jacksonville market, Hot 106.5 will entertain listeners with an Urban Gold format featuring core artists like:  Marvin Gaye, Luther Vandross, Earth, Wind & Fire, The Isley Brothers, The O'Jays and Stevie Wonder.

LISTEN-LINE: Click Here.

The station launched just after midnight this morning

“This is a great opportunity to serve the Jacksonville community in an area that has been underserved with radio options for a number of years,” said CMG Jacksonville VP and Market Manager Bill Hendrich. 

Clarence Natto
“Our in-depth market research indicates a great need for classic R&B, and we expect this new format to be an unbelievable success with listeners, as well as a unique platform for our valued advertisers.”

Natto joins the station from CMG Atlanta where he was Director of Promotions for KISS 104.1 FM WALR. 

“Great talent resides in the stations owned by Cox Media Group and we have been able to tap into that talent bank once again with Clarence,” added Hendrich. 

“I had the pleasure of working with Clarence in Orlando when he was at Star 94.5 and have watched him grow his career over the past few years in Atlanta.  I really look forward to having Clarence on our team here in Jacksonville.”

WHJX 60dBU Coverage Area
Until recently, 106.5 FM was simulcasting N/T WOVK.  However, earlier, this month CMG moved the simulcast to 104.5 FM which boasts a much large signal coverage area.  

Woolwich Terror Witness Talks To LBC 93.7 Radio

London Daily Mail storyboard

Study Sez 50% of 18-24ers Read Newspaper Content

The vast majority of U.S. adults read newspaper media content across a range of technology platforms, including 59% of Americans ages 18-24, the youngest cohort of adults, that many are skeptical that they ever think about newspaper content.

Media Post reports the observation is from an analysis of the newest data on media usage from Scarborough Research, conducted by researchers at the Newspaper Association of America.

69% of Americans, more than 164 million adults in the United States, access newspaper media content in print or online during a typical week or on mobile devices during a typical month. And, according to the available monthly data, nearly 34 million adults accessed content from newspaper sources on tablets and smartphones in a typical month, an increase in mobile audience of 58% from the same period a year earlier.

ESPN's Worst Nightmare Is Coming True

ESPN is reportedly firing hundreds of people for the first time since 2009.

Tony Manfred at reports the company is still in great shape. It's still the most valuable media property in the world. It's still crushing its competitors. And it's still printing money.

But the rumored reason behind the layoffs — the soaring cost of broadcast rights eating into the company's profit margin — is a real concern for the future of the company.

ESPN is such a monolith because it charges the highest subscription fees on cable, in addition to ad revenue. It can justify those subscription rates because it controls a massive chunk of live sports broadcasting rights — a finite commodity that is getting more and more valuable as TV audiences for other types of programming continue to fragment into smaller groups.

The broadcast rights to live sports are going up for two reasons: 1) live sports is the only thing you have to watch live in the DVR era, and 2) the rise of NBC Sports, CBS Sports Network, and Fox Sports 1 has made bidding more competitive.

In the last 24 months, ESPN has agreed to huge rights deals with a bunch of leagues and events. Some of the highlights:
  • $15.2 billion over 10 years for Monday Night football (73% higher annually than the previous deal).
  • $7.3 billion over 12 years for the new college football playoff (480% higher annually than what it was previously paying for BCS bowls).
  • $5.6 billion over 8 years for MLB (100% higher annually than the previous deal).
  • $825 million over 11 years US Open tennis (400% higher annually than the previous deal).

That doesn't include smaller deals with specific college sports conferences, golf tournaments, and NASCAR.

BBC Unveils ‘Perceptive Radio’

The BBC has developed an experimental piece of hardware called the Perceptive Radio, that adjusts the content it plays based on a wide range of circumstances, such as location, time, a user’s proximity to the device and background noise in the environment in which it’s being used..

The reports the device was unveiled Wednesday at the Thinking Digital conference in Gateshead, UK and builds upon the Perceptive Media project that the BBC announced last year.

Perceptive Media adjusts content for each audience member based on their specific circumstances. The only demo content announced so far is a radio play that adjusts the location in which it’s set, the weather and other factors depending on where and when it’s listened to.

The radio shown off today includes a light sensor, proximity sensor and a microphone that can influence the content it plays. The proximity sensor is currently used to adjust the audio mix of the radio play, adding or removing background sound effects depending on how close a listener is to the device.

The BBC’s Ian Forrester has been working on the Perceptive Radio project at the Future Media & Technology department in Salford, UK. He said today that the radio set will soon be tested in homes to see how it can be applied in real-world scenarios.

Arbitron Inc. Declares Quarterly Dividend

Holds Annual Stockholders' Meeting

The board of directors of Arbitron Inc. has approved the payment of a quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 (ten cents) per common share. The dividend will be paid on or about July 1, 2013 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on June 17, 2013.

If the effective date of the pending merger with Nielsen Holdings N.V. is before June 17, 2013, the dividend will be pro-rated with stockholders receiving $0.001063829787234 per share per day for each day after March 15, 2013, the record date for the previously declared quarterly dividend. In accordance with the merger agreement, the pro rata dividend ensures that stockholders receive a dividend at the current rate until the closing of the pending merger with Nielsen. The pro rata dividend, which amounts to $0.10 per share for the full quarter, will be payable within 30 days after the merger closes to shareholders of record at the close of business on the day before the merger is completed.

As of May 17, 2013, there were approximately 26,863,200 shares outstanding.

Report: Media Swarm Into Moore, OK

NBC's Brian Williams
At least 200 journalists swarmed the two-square-block area, accompanied by two dozen satellite trucks. Japanese radio competed with British tabloids, German television and American networks. The families attempting to recover anything from their ruined homes found themselves hosting television satellite trucks in their driveways and replying to reporters’ questions as they dug through the remnants of their damaged homes.

And yet, according to a story at,  most were remarkably gracious about fielding questions while salvaging their lives.

This became a greater challenge when Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and the state’s entire congressional delegation arrived, further swelling the crowd. The politicians could hardly get to the victims for a photo op because of the mass of photographers, video cameras and gawkers.

Utility workers struggled to navigate around the throngs as they strung new power cables. Another work crew assessing the damage to the Warren IMAX Theater ignored the media stars like Scott Pelley and Wolf Blitzer talking live nearby, focusing instead on their work on the largest theater in the Oklahoma City area. The sun came out and a few journalists and passersby even stopped to enjoy the weather, leaning on bulldozers and satellite trucks.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Throughout it all, the families whose homes were reduced to rubble worked diligently to salvage what they could, all the while not particularly minding the carnival around them.

Why were these residents so patient with the crowds that descended on them after so many of them had lost so much? Partly, residents said, they are willing to tell their stories because they know that each time tragedy strikes, the power of the media spotlight also brings increased early-warning systems and an emphasis on the importance of preparedness.

Read More Now

Nashville Radio: Country Stars Donate For OK Benefit Auction

Parmalee, Jake Owen and Phil Vassar
Jake Owen autographes guitar
Nationally syndicated radio DJ Bobby Bones wanted to do something to help relief efforts in Oklahoma. According to Nashville's, he decided an auction would raise money, and country stars are helping out.

Bones spent much of Monday night watching television coverage of the tornado that devastated parts of Oklahoma.

"Like a lot of people, I couldn't sleep. I had a tough time sleeping," Bones said.

On his drive Tuesday into Nashville radio station, WSIX The Big 98, Bones knew he had to do something when he went on the air that morning.

"I'm just a DJ on the radio. So I got into work, I just got on the air at 5 o'clock and said, hey anybody want to help? I just threw it on the air," Bones explained.

It did not take long for some of country music's biggest stars to answers the call for help. Jake Owen was the first to call into the radio show.

"And he said I'm leaving he gym and I'll be right up. So Jake came up and he played a song," Bones said.

Owen was also the first performer to donate a signed guitar. By Wednesday afternoon, there was a room full of autographed guitars at The Big 98. But those will not be the only items up for auction for the American Red Cross.

Country superstar Tim McGraw contacted Bones and wanted to make a donation.

"Tim said ok, I've got your guitar, but what I'm going to do is I'm going to make the winner of the auction my guitar tech for a show," according to Bones.

Kellie Pickler recently won a dancing reality show and also wanted to donate a one-of-a-kind item.

"Kellie Picker called and donated the shoes that she wore last night whenever she won the reality show," Bones said.

Clear Channel Radio runs several radio stations in Nashville and employees from those stations will take part in a local effort to collect items for tornado victims.

Read More Now

Howard Stern to Katie Couric: "Take Your Pants Off"!

Katie Couric, Howard Stern
That’s all Howard Stern wanted of host Katie Couric when he was a guest on her talk show “Katie” Wednesday.

“You’re not the CBS anchorwoman anymore. In this format you take your pants off,” the shock jock told the former host of the “CBS Evening News.”

According to the NY Daily News, he then demanded to know how she keeps those legs looking so good. He’d raised that topic earlier on his Sirius XM radio show, saying he wanted to know why they looked so greasy and good.

“Basically I just put lotion on them,” Couric told Stern. “That’s my secret.”

But Howard wasn’t finished with the inquiry. He wanted to know why she was wearing leather pants, when her usual talk-show outfit is a skin-baring skirt.

Couric explained that she just did it to match Stern’s leather jacket and to be edgy.

“Taking those pants off would be edgy,” he quipped. Couric replied, “Maybe during the commercial break.”

The segment is expected to air next Tuesday.

Atlanta Radio: Twang-y Country Song Hits Top 40

Over the  years, country artists have had had success crossing over to pop: think Shania Twain, Faith Hill, Dixie Chicks, Lady Antebellum and Taylor Swift. But those were female singers with pop-sounding hits.

So, Rodney Ho at writes, what the heck is the country duo Florida-Georgia Line doing on the top 40 charts with the very twang-y, very catchy feel-good song "Cruise"?

WWWQ Q100 began playing it May 1 and has done so 107 times so far, including 39 times the past week. Power 96-1, which spun it first March 18, did so 122 times two weeks ago (the No. 1 song on the station) and 87 times last week. Power has played it 734 times so far, as of May 21.

The song nationwide is currently No. 12 on the pop chart, just ahead of Swift and behind Fall Out Boy, according to Mediabase 24/7, which tracks radio airplay. Nearly all top 40 stations are spinning it now.

"It's filling a novelty void in Top 40 right now," explained Rob Roberts, who runs Q100.  "It's not a record we'll be playing in a six months or an artist Top 40 will embrace in the long term.  But in the meantime, lots of people are texting requests for it.  And as a side note, lots of people are texting to stop playing it."

Terry Vaughn, the program director for WWPW Power 96.1 FM, kept it simple: “People like to have fun!  Twang or no twang.  That’s just a big, fun song and that’s what we do at Power 96-1.”

"Cruise," the duo's first single, peaked on country radio in December at No. 1.

MJ Death Trial: AEG Exec Used “Freak” Reference

Michael Jackson
A top AEG executive referred to Michael Jackson as "a freak" and another called him "creepy" just hours before their company signed the pop icon to a huge concert deal.

CNN reports the revelation brought an audible gasp in the Los Angeles courtroom at the wrongful death trial Wednesday and left fans crying.

Jackson's mother and children are suing AEG Live for the negligent hiring, retention or supervision of Dr. Conrad Murray, the physician convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the singer's death.

Katherine Jackson watched from the front row as her lawyer questioned AEG Live Senior Vice President and General Counsel Shawn Trell about an e-mail exchange with his boss at parent company AEG.

"Is it the policy of AEG to talk in derogatory terms about the artist you're going to do business with?" Jackson lawyer Brian Panish asked.

"No," Trell answered.

Panish then showed jurors an e-mail Trell sent on January 28, 2009, to Ted Fikre, AEG's chief legal officer, letting him know he was about to go to Jackson's home for the signing of the contract for his "This Is It" concert tour.

"Does that mean you get to meet the freak?" Fikre replied.

Trell responded: "Apparently. Not sure how I feel about that. Interesting for sure, but kind of creepy."
The e-mail exchange happened less than four hours before Trell and other AEG excutives visited Jackson's Los Angeles home.

Pittsburgh Radio: The Fan Stages ‘Fan Host” Auditions

KDKA-FM The Fan in Pittsburgh, PA has launched open auditions for its Next Fan Host contest beginning Saturday and running through June 19. Participants will be judged by Sports Radio 93.7 The Fan and will get to "rant" on a random sports topic.

The eventual winner from the live on-air June 27 final gets a chance to host his or her own show.

"We're looking for the next great Pittsburgh talk show host, someone who can grow into a superstar," said Ryan Maguire, KDKA-FM program director.

Entrants must be 18 or older and reside in the Pittsburgh metro area, and the chance to try out is not guaranteed.

Survey: Teens Getting Tired With Facebook

Though Facebook is still the most popular social network among teens, their enthusiasm for Mark Zuckerberg's network is decreasing, according to new findings from the Pew Research Center.

Teens share a wide range of information about themselves on social media sites; indeed the sites themselves are designed to encourage the sharing of information and the expansion of networks.

However, few teens embrace a fully public approach to social media. Instead, they take an array of steps to restrict and prune their profiles, and their patterns of reputation management on social media vary greatly according to their gender and network size.

Almost 2 out of 10 Kids Use Smartphones

Kids are learning earlier than ever to swipe and scroll on smartphones. says Harris Interactive surveyed online US students in February 2013 on behalf of Pearson and found that 19% of elementary school students used smartphones and 42% of middle school students did so as well. Elementary school consisted of grades 4 and 5, while middle school represented grades 6 through 8.

The home is where many kids encounter their first smartphone. A Learning First Alliance and Grunwald Associates study in November 2012 found that in 77% of surveyed US households with school-age children, someone in the family owned a smartphone, nearly equal to the penetration rate of PCs in such households.

And kids are highly likely to pick up those phones and begin navigating their capabilities. The study found that 43% of children ages 3 to 18 used the smartphone, with 65% of that group doing so on a daily basis. The broader age range of children surveyed explains the different penetration rates between the Pearson study and LFA’s research.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Suspended St. Louis Anchor Says He’s Been Fired

Larry Conners
Longtime St. Louis anchorman Larry Conners was fired from KMOV Wednesday after comments he made on Facebook about the Internal Revenue Service.

Conners called the KMOX1120 AM  newsroom around 3:20 pm Wednesday and said he had been terminated but refused to give an official interview.

Conners has hired an attorney.

KMOV TV President & GM, Mark Pimentel, issued this statement. 
“We regret to announce that Larry Conners is no longer a KMOV news reporter. Larry was a valued member of KMOV for a long time, and we will miss him. 
For KMOV, there is no higher cause than unbiased, objective news reporting. It is what our viewers expect and it is what we work very hard to deliver. We can accept no less. Larry is certainly entitled to his opinion, but taking a personal political position on one of the Station’s Facebook pages creates an appearance of bias that is inconsistent with important journalistic standards. Larry’s departure has nothing to do with the particular position he took, but it does have to do with our belief that his actions made it impossible for him to report for KMOV on certain political matters going forward without at least an appearance of bias. Bringing you accurate and unbiased reporting is the reason we exist.”
 Conners wrote last week that shortly after he interviewed President Obama and his wife in April of 2012, the IRS “started hammering” him. Conners did not explain how the IRS targeted him. See original posting, Click Here.

The Facebook comments drew a rebuke from KMOV’s parent company Belo Corp.

Despite Record Profits, Disney Forces ESPN Layoffs graphic
  • ESPN Cuts Jobs Amid Rising Fees for Games
ESPN is axing a single-digit percentage of its global workforce, a move that could pink-slip 300-plus employees around the world.

With revenue streams from advertisers and subscribers, the self-proclaimed "Worldwide Leader in Sports" rarely lays off staffers. But ESPN spokeswoman Katina Arnold confirmed staff cuts in a statement Tuesday, reports AdAge.
"We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs. While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive."
The impact on ESPN Radio is unknown.

The Walt Disney unit employs about 4,000 people in the U.S. and 7,000 worldwide. She declined to disclose the number of employees affected.

Deadspin's John Koblin, who first reported the layoffs, wrote earlier Tuesday that the cuts appeared to number in the hundreds. But James Andrew Miller, author of the best-selling ESPN book, "Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN," tweeted the number is more like 300 to 400 -- and includes open jobs that won't be filled.

A person familiar with the situation said the move is a companywide restructuring. But since some open jobs won't be filled, the number of actual layoffs will end up lower than some reports, the person said.

The pain caused by layoffs at the insular, self-enclosed bubble at ESPN's headquarters in Bristol, Conn., is not taken lightly, Mr. Miller said. The last layoffs were in 2009. But with cable competitors such as News Corp.s Fox Sports 1 looming, ESPN has been spending big money lately to stockpile sports rights.

ESPN President John Skipper recently announced a $825 million, 11-year deal to put the U.S. Open tennis tournament, a longtime staple of broadcast TV, entirely on cable. Starting in 2015, ESPN will pay $825 million over 11 years to take over the TV rights has held by CBS Sports for 46 years.

Birmingham Radio: Paul Finebaum To Join ESPN

Paul Finebaum will leave Birmingham to begin hosting a radio show and a simulcast television show in Charlotte, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

In Charlotte, Finebaum will be part of a package that includes a radio program on the ESPN networks, 100 televised appearances annually on ESPN, and a TV simulcast of his radio show on the ESPN-owned SEC Network when it launches in August 2014, the WSJ reported. His new, Charlotte-based radio show will begin airing Aug. 1, according to the WSJ.

"It would be the understatement of my life to say I wasn't thrilled," Finebaum said in the WSJ report. "It is incredibly exciting to be part of a new adventure, particularly one that involves the premiere brand in sports along with the pre-eminent conference in sports."

While Finebaum's new show will originate out of Charlotte, David DuBose, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Summit Media, told Tuesday that he anticipates the show will air in Birmingham on ESPN 97.3 The Zone, which is a Summit station.

"The show will be airing in Birmingham," DuBose said. "Yes, we are the ESPN affiliate, and even though this will be a separate product from the main ESPN programming, we have just talked to the ESPN folks and our intention is to carry the show here in Birmingham."

However, two other sources in the Birmingham radio market said it has yet to be decided where Finebaum's show will air here, and it could still return to WJOX 94.5 FM, where it aired for six years until his contract expired on Jan. 21.

Also, has learned that Finebaum will be at ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn., on Thursday to be formally introduced on a number of ESPN radio and television programs. He and his wife, Linda Hudson, are expected to be in Charlotte later that night. The new SEC Network will be based out of Charlotte.

LA Kings Apologize For Kevin Ryder Tweet

The Los Angeles Kings of the NHL now realize letting radio personality Kevin Ryder to be a ‘guest’ Tweeter on their cutting-edge Twitter feed was not a good idea.

Ryder of KROQ 106.7 FM morning show “Kevin & Bean’ issued this now-deleted Tweet late Tuesday night:

 Reaction prompted the Kings to issue an apology.

Early this morning Ryder himself Tweeted an apology:
Not a mention of the incident on the KROQ website, owned by CBS Radio

CBS King Of Network TV With Ratings Win

Les Moonves
Last week, CBS boss Leslie Moonves told ad buyers his network was at the "center" of the media universe. On Tuesday, he proved why reports the LA Times.

CBS wrapped the 2012-13 TV season with a commanding victory in every single ratings category, according to Nielsen.

That includes the key demographic of viewers ages 18 to 49, which CBS -- long the oldest-skewing of the four major broadcast networks -- had not won since the 1991-92 season.

Actually, CBS was down 3% in that category compared with the previous season. But all of its competitors dropped, too. Fox, hard hit by erosion at "American Idol," slid 22% and barely scraped past No. 3 NBC.

Among total viewers, CBS was easily No. 1, averaging 11.8 million total viewers -- a 1% uptick.

Of course, a big part of CBS' success was its broadcast of the Super Bowl, far and away the most-watched show on TV every year. But the home of "NCIS" and "The Big Bang Theory" was strong enough that it would have won even without the big game.

Clear Channel Seeks to Buy Time

Clear Channel Communications Inc., seeking to address more than $10.1 billion of debt due in 2016 before interest rates reverse, is offering to exchange $2.1 billion of notes for debt that matures in 2021.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, CC will exchange $796.3 million of 10.75 percent notes due 2016 and $1.28 billion of 11 percent so-called toggle payment-in-kind notes due 2016 for the new debt. According to a Clear Channel statement Tuesday, the notes will pay 12 percent in cash and 2 percent through the issuance of payment-in-kind notes, said the company, which set a June 18 offer deadline.

Free cash flow at the San Antonio-based broadcaster hasn’t exceeded $340.9 million in any year since its 2008 buyout by Bain Capital Partners LLC and Thomas H. Lee Partners LP. Credit-default swaps tied to the bonds of the company, which owes (CCMO) about $20.8 billion total, are at about the lowest in two years, a sign investors are open to refinancing, Bloomberg data show.