Saturday, August 31, 2013

Seattle Radio: The Mountain To HD2 As Hot 103-7 Debuts

At 3pm Pacific time Friday, Entercom launched a new Hot AC radio format in the Seattle market. The New HOT 103.7-The Rhythm of Seattle, replaces The Mountain in Entercom’s Seattle lineup.

Entercome says, The New HOT 103.7 will be a unique, clearly defined station targeting modern Seattle women. It will play today’s hits with throwbacks from well-known artists from the 2000s and 1990s.


“Our new Hot AC, with its rhythmic format, will be everything our competitors are not, giving Seattle women a new radio choice,” said Jack Hutchison, Vice-President/Market Manager at Entercom Seattle. “These are exciting times for Entercom Seattle and for our advertisers. The New HOT 103.7 will provide a unique way to reach Seattle’s modern women, targeting those who have moved beyond the 18-year-old mindset and grown out of the younger CHR sound as well as the sleepy format of older AC stations.”

Entercom Seattle VP/Programming and Operations, Dave Richards, has announced that current KKWF PD, former longtime Program Director of 106.1 KISS FM and former Vice-President for CHR for CBS Radio nationwide, Mike Preston, will lead The New HOT 103.7. “It’s a logical choice. Mike is a brilliant programmer and knows this music and Seattle better than anyone,” said Richards.

“We are building The New HOT 103.7 to compete and win. We will launch with 10,000 songs in a row to build our brand and grow our audience, and we will back up our launch with an aggressive media campaign starting in September,” said newly installed Program Director Mike Preston.

KMTT 103.7 FM 60dBu Coverage Area
In response to The Mountain leaving the FM dial, Hutchison added, “unfortunately, over time things change and tough decisions have to be made. Unlike most radio stations that simply go away and never come back, TheMountain will live on. We are redoubling our efforts to ensure this unique brand of music is there for our passionate fans. We will continue to dedicate an HD2 Radio channel to the original Mountain, and will continue live streaming on our website as well as delivering content to two different mobile apps.”

Nielsen-Arbitron $1.3B Deal Review Gets Extension

Nielsen Holdings said Friday, it has agreed with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to extend the period for the antitrust review of its $1.3 billion acquisition of Arbitron.

According to The Street, the company's statement said the review was extended into September without specifying a date.

Nielsen, with a core TV ratings and consumer buying habits business, is acquiring Arbitron, which focuses on radio and out-of-home media consumption, for $48 per share in cash, or $1.26 billion. The deal received a second request from the FTC on March 8 and Nielsen said July 30 that the companies expected the FTC to accept that they have complied with the second request. At that time, the companies expected to hear from the FTC by the end of August.

An FTC commission meeting scheduled for Aug. 22, which was perceived by some risk arbitrageurs as a vote on the Arbitron deal, was cancelled. This raised expectations that Nielsen had approached the commission with some proposed fix for the FTC's competition concerns.

Saturday Aircheck: WCFL...Chicago's Voice Of Labor

For Labor Day weekend, we feature Super CFL...WCFL 1000 AM Chicago.

Even when it was a Top 40 Giant in the ‘60s and ‘70s, WCFL was owned by the Chicago Federation of Labor, hence its call letters. The station is now known as WMVP 1000AM airing a Sports Talk Formant.

Between 1963 and 1965, WLS was only Top 40 station in Chicago. This situation was unusual, as most major cities had two or even three stations featuring pop music. Consequently, WLS had become somewhat complacent as it had no real competitors. This all changed in 1965, when WCFL became a Top 40 music station, competing with WLS. The station also moved from the American Furniture Mart where it had been since 1931, to the then new Marina City, where it remained for the next 20 years.

From New Year's Eve 1968, evening talent Barney Pipp.

In their Top 40 years, some famous disc jockeys on WCFL included Jim Runyon (1931–1973), Joel Sebastian (1932-1986), Dick Williamson, (who was already with WCFL at the time of the format change), Jim Stagg (1935–2007), Ron Britain,  ("America's First Psychedelic Disk Johnny", who did a second stint at the station in 1978, the legendary Dick Biondi,  (still on the air at WLS-FM Chicago), Barney Pip (1994),[64] Ron Riley, Sid McCoy and Yvonne Daniels (1991) with late night jazz during the earliest days of the change to Top 40. Later, WIND's former long-time morning man Howard Miller (1994), who was a decided departure from the youthful staff, came to helm 'CFL's 6-9AM spot in 1968.  He was replaced before long by Clark Weber, long-time WLS-AM morning man.

Survey For March 17, 1973, three years before changing from Top 40 To Beautiful Music
From 1973,  a very AC-sounding Super CFL, featuring mid-day talent Chuck Knapp. (super, non-processedm quality).

On March 15, 1976, after two years of falling ratings, WCFL abruptly dropped its Top 40 format in favor of The World's Most Beautiful Music, leaving WLS once again as Chicago's only AM Top 40 station.  Station management released all disc jockeys who did not have "no cut" clauses in their contracts with the official explanation of the format change as "being more in keeping with the labor movement". Larry Lujack, still under contract with the station, stayed on at WCFL playing easy listening music until moving back to WLS in September 1976. This format won few listeners and by 1978 had been replaced by a gold-based adult contemporary format.

For much more on the WCFL Timeline, Click Here.

The comedy feature Chickenman, a satire based on the Batman TV series, originated on Jim Runyon's morning drive-time show in the fall of 1966.

It was created by WCFL staffer Dick Orkin, who was also brought from Cleveland to Chicago by Ken Draper.  All the voices were done by Orkin, Runyon, and Jane Roberts, who also did WCFL's morning traffic reports as "Trooper 36-24-36" (She became Mrs. Jim Runyon.).

The Chickenman program was subsequently syndicated to radio stations worldwide.

NPR's 'This American Life' host Ira Glass once featured two episodes of the hilarious "Chickenman" skits from the late 1960's radio show.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Official: Cumulus To Buy Dial Global

Townsquare To Buy 53 Cumulus Stations

Cumulus Media Inc. has announces a series of strategic transactions that it says solidifies the its position as a leading producer of high quality content and continues to reshape its radio footprint focused on the top 100 markets.

The transactions announced today include:
  • Acquisition of Dial Global, Inc. for $260 million in cash (consisting of approximately $45 million attributable to equity and the retirement of $215 million of debt)
  • Sale of 53 radio stations in 12 small & mid-sized markets to Townsquare Media for $238 million in cash (inclusive of the acquisition of net working capital)
  • Swap with Townsquare Media of 15 radio stations in two small & mid-sized markets in exchange for the receipt of five stations in Fresno, CA (market #68).
“These transactions give us the necessary scale to provide the marketing and enterprise solutions our advertising and affiliate partners require,” said Lew Dickey, CEO of Cumulus.

Lew Dickey
“Our goal is to be the leading producer of premium audio content distributed through multiple platforms while continuing to build our broadcast platform in the top 100 U.S. markets.”

The acquisition of Dial Global will add sports, news, talk, music and programming services content – enabling Cumulus to provide a wider variety of options to approximately 10,000 U.S. radio stations, other media platforms and international platforms. New content acquired through the Dial Global acquisition will include NFL, NCAA, NASCAR, Olympics, AP Radio News, NBC News and other popular programming.

Cumulus expects the transaction to be deleveraging based upon identified cost synergies of approximately $40 million, with additional upside from revenue growth potential through the creation of new content vehicles for broadcast radio advertisers. Additionally, Cumulus believes the opportunity exists to distribute premium, curated audio content across emerging new media platforms. Further, Cumulus intends to service broadcasters’ demands for premium content and enterprise solutions in Europe, the Americas and Australia.

The transactions are expected to close simultaneously following regulatory approval
in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Jones Day is acting as legal counsel to Cumulus and Macquarie Capital is acting as financial advisor to Cumulus. Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as legal counsel to Dial Global.

Townsquare Media Quickly Picks Up 71 Stations

Townsquare Media, LLC announced Friday that it has executed definitive documentation related to three transactions with Cumulus Media Holdings, Inc. and Peak II Holding LLC which, upon consummation, will result in Townsquare acquiring assets including 71 radio stations in 15 markets.

Townsquare will now own 312 radio stations in 66 markets and have operations in 25 states, making it the third largest owner of radio stations in the United States and will be the largest, best-capitalized owner and operator of radio stations solely focused on small and mid-sized markets.

In connection with the Transactions, Townsquare is acquiring assets for cash including 53 radio stations (three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust) in 12 markets:
  • Battle Creek, MI
  • Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Danbury, CT
  • Faribault-Owatonna, MN
  • Kalamazoo, MI
  • Lansing, MI
  • Portland, ME
  • Portsmouth-Dover-Rochester, NH
  • Quad Cities, IA-IL
  • Rochester, MN
  • Rockford, IL
  • Waterloo, IA
Townsquare is also acquiring Peak, which owns assets including 11 radio stations in 2 markets…Boise, ID and Fresno, CA..for cash and equity units of Townsquare.

Finally, Townsquare will also exchange certain assets including 5 radio stations, in Fresno it is acquiring from Peak, for Cumulus assets including 15 radio stations in two markets…Dubuque, IA and Poughkeepsie, NY..and cash settle-up payment in favor of Townsquare. In total, Townsquare will be acquiring 68 stations from Cumulus, three of which will be assigned to a divestiture trust, and eleven Peak stations, five of which will be exchanged to Cumulus, resulting in a net increase of 71 stations.

Steve Price
Townsquare expects to finance the Transactions with a mix of secured and unsecured debt financing, Townsquare equity units and cash on hand. Townsquare has received debt financing commitments from its various financing partners in connection with the Transactions and will complete its financing in compliance with the covenant package of Townsquare Radio, LLC’s existing Senior Unsecured Notes indenture.

“These transactions represent the continued evolution of Townsquare Media into one of the nation’s largest local media companies and allow us to reach a scale which opens the door to new strategic opportunities,” commented Townsquare Chairman and CEO, Steven Price. “The assets we are adding to our portfolio are market leading brands with strong competitive positions in their respective small and mid-sized markets. We are excited by the opportunity to deploy our differentiated local-media strategy across a broader footprint in order to better serve our communities and our advertising clients.”

The Transactions are expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2013, pending regulatory approval.

AL Radio: Alien-Themed Promotion Causes Concern

WMSR Star 94.9 FM in Muscle Shoals, Al. came up with a radio promotion spoofing aliens hacking into an Alabama radio station has spooked students into believing schools would be attacked.

According to, it was all a mysterious misunderstanding, a Shoals Radio Group Programmer Director said, that has no logical explanation. Still, law enforcement in the area beefed up security at schools to calm fears from parents.

"It's a very innocuous promotion that got blown out of proportion," said Brian Rickman.

To bring attention to a format change (scheduled for midnight Friday) at Star 94.9 - which is owned by Shoals Radio Group - Rickman said the station on Monday began airing conversations between aliens.

STAR 94.9 FM LISTEN-LINE: Click Here.

"We came up with what we thought was a really fun storyline and that would be that these aliens or star people were hacking into the radio station," Rickman said. "The concept being that they heard our frequency several light years away, they didn't like Justin Bieber and the pop music we were playing and they were going to take over the radio station and adjust the format.

"We thought it was clever."

Listen to an audio compilation of the aliens from the Star 94.9 Facebook page:

Read More Now

Tribune Co. Sez 2Q Revenue Fell 10 Percent

Operating revenues continue to fall at Tribune Co., declining 10 percent in the second quarter,  according to The Chicago Tribune.

The Chicago-based media company saw consolidated revenues of $730 million, down $86 million from the same quarter last year. The largest drop was in its broadcasting division, where weaker television advertising sales contributed to a $66 million revenue decline for the quarter.

Tribune Co. had an operating profit of $90 million for the quarter, down 28 percent from last year. It  reported a net income of $66.3 million, or 66 cents per share.

The company, which emerged from a four-year stay in Chapter 11 bankruptcy on December 31, is required to release its financial statements under the terms of its reorganization agreement.

Tribune Co. owns 23 television stations including WGN-Ch. 9; national cable channel WGN America; WGN-AM 720; eight daily newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times; and other media assets.

In July, the company announced the  acquisition of 19 television stations from Cincinnati-based Local TV LLC for $2.73 billion, pending approval by the Federal Communications Commission.

Broadcasting revenues for the quarter were $260 million, down from $327 million during the same period last year. That difference includes $41 million in one-time copyright royalties paid to WGN America in 2012. Meanwhile, advertising revenue fell by $17 million, or 7 percent for the quarter. The company cited weakness at WPIX-TV in New York and at WGN-TV, where sports advertising revenue declined in lockstep with the fortunes of Chicago’s baseball teams.

Chicago Radio: WGN Unveils 7-Day Line-Up

WGN 720 AM has announced changes to its weekday and weekend lineups effective September 2013.

Beginning Tuesday, September 3, Steve Cochran returns to WGN Radio full time as host of the morning show weekdays from 5a.m. to 9a.m. 

The mid-morning time slot becomes a radio reunion for Bill Leff & Wendy Snyder.  The Bill & Wendy Show will air and stream from 9a.m. to 12p.m, followed by husband-and-wife duo Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano from 12p.m. to 3p.m.

Steve Cochran
Garry Meier will continue to host the afternoon drive show from 3-7p.m, with the David Kaplan Show airing from 7p.m. to 11p.m. Pete McMurray expands his role with the station as the 11p.m. to 2a.m. host and WGN veteran Nick Digilio moves to the 2a.m. to 5a.m. time slot.

The return of Kathy O’Malley and Judy Markey to the station on Saturdays from 10a.m. to 12p.m. highlights the weekend lineup changes, effective Saturday, September 14.

The Sunday lineup will introduce a new show dedicated to the discussion of the Chicago political landscape.

For the entire seven-day line-up, click here.

Chicago Radio: WGN Reunites Wendy & Bill

Bill Leff
As part of its revamped line-up, WGN 720 AM has hired Chicago radio veteran Wendy Snyder. Starting September 3rd, she’ll co-host alongside Bill Leff on WGN's 9:00am-Noon weekday shift.

CR&M notes the move reunites the popular radio couple from the mid-1990s. Snyder -- who also co-hosted radio talk shows with Garry Meier, Steve Dahl, Buzz Kilman, and Tony Fitzpatrick -- was teamed up with a then-little known local comedian named Bill Leff in 1994 on WLUP-FM.

It began as a weekend show, where Snyder on-air chemistry with Leff  was instantly noticeable... and almost magical, according to CR&M.  WLUP-FM management then made the pairing official, moving "The Wendy & Bill Show" to weeknights. 

Wendy Snyder
Less than two years later, the duo were hired by WKQX-FM to be Q101's new morning team.

In the two years they were the morning show hosts at Q101, Snyder and Leff built up great ratings and a deeply loyal fanbase. It has been said often that had the station's management not removed them to make room for Mancow Mueller's shock jock morning show in 1998, "The Wendy & Bill Show" would still be going strong today and be the ratings powerhouse that WTMX-FM's "Eric & Kathy Show" currently is.

Most recently, Wendy has been heard on WLS-AM since 2006, delivering traffic reports for the station's morning shows. She exited that role at the end of last week.

Pittsburgh Radio: Steelers QB Joins KDKA-FM

Ben Roethlisberger
Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will make regular weekly appearances on KDKA-FM, Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan for the upcoming NFL season.

The Ben Roethlisberger Show will take place Tuesdays at 11 a.m. with The Fan’s Vinnie & Cook Show, starting September 10th.

“We’re thrilled that we have been able to have Ben join us every week in what we hope will be the start of a long partnership,” said Ryan Maguire, Program Director for Sportsradio 93.7 The Fan. “The Fan has can’t miss programming that will super serve Steeler Fans every week. Big Ben will provide our listeners insight on the team they can’t get anywhere else.”

Roethlisberger expressed his enthusiasm on joining The Fan for the 2013-14 football season. “I am looking forward to spending time every week on The Fan talking about every game and sharing my insights with Steeler Nation,” he said.

NYC Radio: WFAN Inks Extension With NHL Devils

The New Jersey Devils and WFAN AM / 101.9 FM have announced the extension of their multi-year partnership, in which the CBS Radio all-sports station will continue to broadcast the team’s regular and post-season games. The joint announcement was made by Devils’ President/General Manager Lou Lamoriello and CBS Radio New York Senior Vice President and Market Manager, Don Bouloukos.

“The New Jersey Devils are proud to continue our long-standing relationship with WFAN,” said Lamoriello. “Their commitment to sports programming on a 24-hour/year-round basis will provide us with the best possible radio exposure to reach our fans.”

Said Bouloukos, “We are looking forward to another exciting year of Devils hockey, and appreciate working with such a first-class organization both on and off the ice. This announcement ensures audiences will hear the same captivating game coverage they’ve come to expect from WFAN.”

The 2013-14 season will mark the ninth straight year WFAN will serve as the Devils’ radio broadcast home.

DC Radio: WRQX Returns To Its Top 40 Roots

WRQX 107.3 FM has dropped the “Mix” and has rebranded as "All The Hits 107.3".

The change returns the Cumulus station's return to it’s 1970 roots as a Top 40 station, when it was known as Q107.  It will not compete with CCM+E’s WIHT Hot 95.5 FM. .

The station is playing mainly hit pop music from the 2000s. 


The rebranding completes a slow evolution back to CHR.  That evolution included the station parting company with long-time morning host Jack Diamond.

Diamond had been at the station since the day the station flipped to "Mix" in 1990.  Bert Weiss, host of "The Bert Show", on sister WWWQ/Atlanta (and formerly Diamond's co-host), took over the morning slot on May 16. "The Bert Show" is syndicated from Atlanta.

The Mix moniker was used for 23 years since 1990.

Marketers Eye Big New Market: Latinos

A milestone was reached this summer when Spanish language network Univision won July sweeps in the No.1 spot for adults 18 to 49 in broadcast or cable.

How are advertisers changing to serve this new market? John Gallegos, CEO of Groupo Gallegos, joins WSJ’s MoneyBeat.

Report: Ryan Seacrest's New Game Show Could Remake TV

Ryan Seacrest isn’t sure quite what to expect on Sept. 9, when he begins hosting Million-Second Quiz on NBC. He just knows it will be different. “This is intense. It’s a sporting event,” he says. “And if you look at the amount of money that’s guaranteed at the end of this — almost $2 million — there is considerable emotion.”

According to Forbes, The American Idol and radio host, who is also an executive producer of Quiz, gathered recently with fellow producers and NBC brass to offer a preview of the show’s set. The quirky space atop a low-rise former Mercedes-Benz dealership in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen, hard by the Hudson River, suits one of the more eccentric ventures in recent broadcast television history. Quiz will air 10 of 11 nights in a row, pausing only on Sunday, Sept. 15 for NFL football.

The schedule and the offbeat address are just two of the show’s distinctive traits. The show features several aspects of its consumer proposition that could, given the right planetary alignment, not only boost NBC’s sagging fortunes but reshape the broadcast landscape. At least, a quick yanking after three episodes (now a fall ritual among beleaguered broadcast networks) isn’t in the offing.

For Forbes' five ways the show could be a game changer, ClickHere.

Jerry Remy Leaves Broadcast Booth For Remainder of Season

Jerry Remy
With his son facing a murder charge, Red Sox TV analyst Jerry Remy will not return to the broadcast booth this season.

According to, statements by Remy and NESN closed the door on any possible return in 2013. Remy's son, Jared, is charged with the murder of Jennifer Martel, his girlfriend, on Aug. 15.

The case shocked New England and has created an outpouring of support for Jerry Remy, as well as questions of why his son, with a long history of domestic abuse, was allowed to be in a position to cause harm to Martel.

Jerry Remy's comments have consistently been of support for the victim and her family.

"I am full of grief for the Martel family,” Remy said. “My thoughts and prayers continue to go out to them.

"It’s my hope that I can do so in the spring. I thank NESN and the Red Sox for their support through this nightmare.”

Jerry Remy has been broadcasting Red Sox games since 1987, in the process becoming an iconic New England figure with a popularity that has transcended his work. He has served as president of Red Sox Nation and established a restaurant chain in his name, despite serious health problems that have included periodic bouts with cancer.

Dennis Eckersley has been Remy's primary replacement. He is expected to continue in that role.

Report: TWC Has More to Lose In CBS Blackout

Time Warner Cable's blackout of CBS channels in New York, Los Angeles and Dallas turns four-weeks-old on Friday, so it's natural to ask: Are pay-TV customers getting angry enough to consider cord-cutting?

Both companies are arguably taking some risk allowing this dispute to drag on for so long, but according to Leon Lazaroff at The Street, for Time Warner Cable the risks may be more immediate. The start of the NFL season is just 10 days away, and fans blacked-out of football games could vent considerable frustrations onto their local cable-TV provider.

The Street reports Mike Vorhaus, the colorful head of strategy and investment consulting at Frank N. Magid Associates, who describes himself as "a digital transition guy, a disruption guy," said the number of people choosing to cut the cord, the audacious act of rejecting the pay-TV bundle altogether, is "very small but growing." These folks are still paying for some television viewing but they're probably paying less as they cobble together access to Netflix and other online offerings.

In a Magid study published this week, the percentage of pay-TV subscribers who said they are "very likely" to cancel their service in the next 12 months and not switch to another service grew to 2.7%, a 42% increase from 2011 when the figure was 1.9%. The survey of 2,400 respondents ages 8 to 64 was conducted from April 24 to May 8. It will be interesting to see a follow-up study in the wake of the CBS-Time Warner Cable scrum.

CBS, meanwhile, has taken to making occasional digs at Time Warner Cable, boasting that it recently secured a new retransmission agreement with Verizon, which also serves New York, Los Angeles and Dallas through its pay-TV FiOS service. CBS CEO Leslie Moonves, in a letter to his employees, said Time Warner Cable "has been offered almost exactly the same deal." Don't we wish we could sit in on those negotiations.

Read More Now

Lincoln Radio: Cathy Blythe To Leave KFOR

Cathy Blythe
Marconi Award-winning radio personality Cathy Blythe is leaving the KFOR morning show after 31 years.

Her last day will be Sept. 13, according to

Blythe, 64, will remain at KFOR 1240 AM to host the syndicated “Problems & Solutions,” the self-help program she originated at the station in 1992, which airs from 9 to 10 a.m. weekdays.

“This feels so right,” Blythe said. “I’ve been thinking about it for a year, prayed on it a little and received some input. People told me I would know when it’s time. You have to listen to your heart. I know this is the right thing to do and the right time.”

Carol Turner
Carol Turner, KFOR midday host and former morning show personality on sister station KZKX 96.9 FM, will succeed Blythe on KFOR. The stations are two of six in Lincoln owned and operated by Lincoln-based Three Eagles Communications.

Jill St. James will take over Turner’s spot on KFOR from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 3 p.m. St. James also will continue to work in the KFOR newsroom.

Blythe began working toward leaving the morning show in June 2012, when she started taking Wednesdays off.

Blythe won the Marconi Award in 2002 and 2005 for excellence in broadcasting and was inducted into the Nebraska Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2011.

She will leave on top. Blythe and co-host Dave Hilligoss had the No. 1 morning show among listeners 12 and older, according to the spring 2013 survey by media analyst Arbitron.

Turner’s career began in Algona, Iowa and has worked in radio markets in Iowa, Minnesota and Missouri, most notably Kansas City's WDAF.  Before joining KFOR in March, Carol spent 20 years as co-host of Three Eagles owned KX 96.9's morning show.

Tweet Gets TV Reporter Fired, He Sues

Jared Cerullo
One-time KAKE-TV Wichita reporter and part-time anchor Jared Cerullo has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, citing breach of contract and defamation, according to

The lawsuit (PDF), filed on Aug. 23, names Gray Television Group Inc., the parent company of KAKE, and Michael Sipes, KAKE’s news director. Cerullo is seeking damages in excess of $75,000.

The suit alleges that Cerullo was wrongly terminated for information he shared through Twitter and during an on-air newscast about how a defendant in a murder case pleaded during a June preliminary hearing.

Cerullo incorrectly reported that that person entered a plea of guilty, when, in fact, the defendant pleaded not guilty and waived his right to a preliminary hearing, meaning the case was bound over for a jury trial. Notified of the error, Cerullo corrected his mistake on Twitter and later issued an on-air correction and apology.

Cerullo, according to court documents filed with Sedgwick County District Court, was suspended on June 25 only to have his employment contract terminated a day later for what was characterized as “gross negligence.”

Cerullo’s termination sparked a firestorm among some KAKE viewers, some of whom launched a Facebook campaign demanding he be reinstated.

Cerullo admits the mistake but the “punishment didn’t fit the crime.”

Cerullo started with KAKE in 2007 as an assignment editor. He joined the TV station after working in radio at KFDI.

Another Reason To Love NY Tabloids

Rochester Radio: Bob Smith Off-Air Due to Stroke

Bob Smith
Bob Smith, longtime host and producer of WXXI-1370 AM’s 1370 Connection, is stepping down from the midday talk show. This past April, Smith suffered a stroke and is currently in long-term rehabilitative care.

Smith has been part of the WXXI News Team for more than 25 years, leading the community in civic engagement and civil discourse. Over the years, he has interviewed many newsmakers and opinion leaders, including Hillary Clinton, Rudolph Giuliani, Mario Cuomo, Charles Keating, Philip Roth, and B.B. King, as well as many local leaders. A special two-hour broadcast is being planned for mid-October, where fans can share their favorite memories from the show and wish Smith well.

“Bob’s incredible wealth of knowledge and curiosity of many varied topics made him such an engaging talk show host,” said WXXI President Norm Silverstein. “His dedication to the program has made 1370 Connection essential to the Rochester community for more than 25 years.”

Smith started his career in broadcast news before his 20th birthday, when he landed his first full-time radio job as a reporter/anchor for Syracuse station WHEN 620 AM while simultaneously enrolled in graduate school at Cornell University. He holds a Ph.D. in American political and legal history from Cornell and taught undergraduate American political and diplomatic history courses to Cornell undergraduate students. He joined WXXI in March of 1988.

Throughout his career, Smith received several awards, including a New York State Associated Press Broadcasters Association Award and an Award for Media Excellence from the United Nations Association of Rochester.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Chicago Radio: WGN Taps Radiate Media For Traffic Updates

Beyond a number of high-profile lineup changes at WGN 720 AM, another subtle but significant programming shift is coming next week –- a new traffic reporting service.

According to the Chicago Tribune, the station is switching to Utah-based Radiate Media in a multi-year agreement, ending its affiliation with Clear Channel Media’s Total Traffic Network.  Terms were not disclosed, but Radiate provides both on-air reporters and traffic information in return for commercial inventory on its client stations. 

"It’s a really good economic deal for us, but most importantly, it’s a better product," said Jimmy de Castro, president and general manager of WGN Radio.  

Listeners may not notice much of a difference, with embedded WGN traffic reporters Mary Van De Velde, Leslie Keiling  and Ted Novak making the move over to the new company. But it represents a big win for  two-year-old Radiate.

"WGN is among the leaders in the country in terms of traffic," said Gary Lee, Chicago-based vice president and general manager of Radiate Media. “We’re thrilled to establish this association.”

Radiate is challenging Clear Channel’s Total Traffic Network, the largest broadcast traffic provider in the U.S. with over 3,000 radio and 200 television affiliates, including CBS-owned news station WBBM-AM 780, among other local stations.

Founded in 2011, Radiate has a network of some 2,400 radio and TV stations.

Harris Broadcast Strengthens Upper Management

Harris Broadcast has announced plans to preview the new management team’s vision and strategy at IBC 2013 in Amsterdam Sept. 13-17).

The business also announced new senior management appointments. Steve Foreman has been named president of global operations and services, and Jeff Liening, senior vice president of global sales operations.

“With our customers and partners facing significant technology and industry transformations, Harris Broadcast is aggressively focused on shaping our vision, product roadmaps and go-to-market strategy to address these unique challenges and opportunities,” said Charlie Vogt, CEO of Harris Broadcast.

Charlie Vogt
“We are uniquely positioned in the marketplace with more than 3,000 customers worldwide, powerful patents and a leading solutions portfolio, while our new, independent ownership structure is fueling customer-focus and an entrepreneurial culture. The investments we are making in our leadership team build on the company’s strong base to better serve our customers and the industry.”

Foreman brings a unique global track record in operations, transformation and supply chain management to Harris Broadcast. He joins the company from Texas Pacific Group (TPG) where he was senior advisor for seven years supporting management teams during strategic and operational transformations, including Freescale Semiconductor, Avaya and Armstrong Worldwide Industries.

Liening joins Harris Broadcast from GENBAND, where he was most recently senior vice president of global sales operations. Prior to GENBAND, he held various sales management positions at Sycamore Networks, Lucent Technologies, Ascend Communications and Cascade Communications.

Report: Miley Cyrus Censored On Molly Lyric

Miley Cyrus put on a controversial performance of her hit “We Can’t Stop” at the 2013 Video Music Awards this past Sunday, but while she stomped around the stage in a glittery onesie with her tongue wagging, flanked by giant stuffed bears and sporting a foam finger as her prop of choice, one thing was missing: Miley’s lyric “dancing with Molly” was censored by MTV.

According to, the reference to Molly was censored again during Kanye West’s performance of “Blood on the Leaves,” but why? Who is Molly, or actually, what is Molly?

Molly is a pure form of MDMA, or 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine, according to The New York Times. It was patented in 1914 but didn’t make news until the 1970s “when psychotherapists began giving it to patients to get them to open up. It arrived at New York nightclubs in the late 1980s, and by the early ’90s it became the preferred drug at raves at Limelight and Shelter...”

While Molly may not be new per se, it is experiencing resurgence since it has been referenced by celebrities like Rihanna in her song “Diamonds” and of course Miley. Rihanna’s lyric, “As we moonshine and Molly,” refers to drinking a nearly 100 percent alcoholic drink while taking the drug, and Miley’s lyric, “Dancing with Molly,” is as simple as dancing while high. Both lyrics are relatively hidden to those who don’t understand the reference, but can be influential to the wrong ears.

Akron Radio: Stan Piatt Unveils Retirement Plans

Stan Piatt
After some 35-years, N/T WNIR 100.1 FM’s Stan Piatt has mapped out his retirement plans.

Piatt announced this week and he’ll sign-off no later than July 31, 2014 and move to Pittsburgh.

Billed as “the leader of WNIR’s family-friendly morning circus” morning show, The 62-year-old Piatt is the bus driver for The Morning Show which includes Steve French, Phil Ferguson and Maggie Fuller.

The station plans to have a nationwide talent search and on-air auditions in the selection process, much as it has done to fill some previous openings at the talk-radio operation.
It’s another change in the lineup of on-air personalities at the station within a short period of time.

Howie Chizek died in June 2012 of a heart attack on a youth group trip to Disney World, and Tom Erickson died in November of complications of peritonitis.

Meanwhile,  Station Manager Bill Klaus says “We’re looking for a talent who is fun, funny and engaging in a live, ad lib environment”. 

Boston Radio: Turnover Hurting WEEI

Demographic wasn't specified, I'm guessing Men 25-54
Drew Mavrikos’s devotion to WEEI is wavering.

According to, an avid listener of the Boston sports radio station for years, the 28-year-old software sales executive is turned off by the current roster of on-air personalities, whom he considers either overbearing or underwhelming, and disappointed by recent news that the station will no longer broadcast Boston Celtics games on 93.7-FM.

“They’re making it harder for me to stay loyal,” Mavrikos said.

Once a Boston radio powerhouse that had the local sports market to itself, WEEI already has lost many listeners like Mavrikos to 98.5 The Sports Hub, a CBS-owned rival that was launched in 2009. Though the station takes in much more money than its new competitor, revenues at WEEI are down nearly 20 percent since the Sports Hub began broadcasting, according to industry figures, and it remains saddled with an expensive contract to broadcast the Boston Red Sox.

Turnover has been high — it fired some of its biggest names, while others have quit.

Chris “Mad Dog” Russo ReUps With SiriusXM

Added To MLB Network

Chris 'Mad Dog' Russo
Sirius XM Radio has announced that it has signed renowned sports talk personality Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to a new three-year contract that will keep his daily all-sports radio show exclusively on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio channel. 

Russo’s on-air role will be expanded to include a significant presence on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM.

Russo will continue to host his daily show, Mad Dog Unleashed, weekday afternoons on Mad Dog Sports Radio, SiriusXM channel 86.  Starting in September, with the beginning of NFL season, the show will air daily from 3:00-6:00pm ET/12:00-3:00pm PT.

MLB Network also announced that Russo will join its roster of on-air talent to host a new weekday baseball show launching in the spring of 2014, in addition to appearing across its studio programming. The show will be produced by MLB Network and simulcast on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM. MLB Network’s Emmy Award-winning studio show “MLB Tonight” is currently simulcast on MLB Network Radio on weekdays at 6:00 p.m. ET.

In addition to hosting Mad Dog Unleashed daily, Russo will take on an expanded role that will feature him prominently on the MLB Network Radio channel on SiriusXM (channel 89 on XM, channel 209 on Sirius Premier and on the SiriusXM App).  He will serve as SiriusXM’s “baseball ambassador,” hosting shows and specials and appearing regularly on the channel to comment on MLB news and issues.

“I’ve always loved the on-air freedom that comes with being on SiriusXM,” said Russo.  “I can do the kind of show here that I wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else and I’m fortunate to be able to continue to give my listeners my kind of sports talk radio each and every day on Mad Dog Unleashed.  I’ll also get to emphasize my passion for baseball with my new role on MLB Network Radio and MLB Network, where I’ll be talking to dyed-in-the-wool baseball fans like me throughout the year.  This is a terrific opportunity that allows me to do what I do best, while also reaching new audiences.”

“Chris is a one-of-a-kind sports radio talent, one of the best in the history of the medium, and we’re very pleased to keep him on SiriusXM for years to come,” said Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer.  “Our listeners will continue to get his unique style of sports talk – the biting commentary, the high profile interviews, the great rants – on a daily basis.  And by expanding his role to the MLB Network Radio channel, we can better showcase his passion for baseball and his extraordinary knowledge of the sport.  This will enhance our overall sports programming and increase his reach, and will be a benefit to both Chris and our listeners.”

Christie Shrugs Off Criticism for Calling Reporter a 'Dope'

New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie is famous for his blunt, confrontational personality, and he wants everyone to know that he's not changing.

Christie, who many expect to make a presidential run in 2016, yesterday (August 28th) shrugged off New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd's criticism of his calling a reporter a "dope." Christie had made the comment about a New York Daily News reporter after the journalist had an exchange with New York Jets coach Rex Ryan. Dowd wrote that Americans "like to elect nice guys, not belittling blowhards," and said Christie needs to take care of what she called his "temperament problem" before going on the national stage.

Christie dismissed the suggestion of national ambitions, saying, "I'm not running for anything nationally, so why should I care about that?"

He stated, "I think folks around here know that I am willing to take as well as I give. I didn't wake up this morning worried and petrified about what Maureen Dowd on the op-ed page of the New York Times thinks about me."

Christie also defended calling the Daily News reporter a dope, saying he's free to express his opinion, just as the newspaper was within its right to have called him "fatso" in a recent headline.

Still The Material Girl: The Business of Being Madonna

Bloomberg's Tom Gibson reports on Madonna's Business Empire that spans more than just the music industry.

CableTV Ratings: FNC Tops Newsers

Fox News remained the top cable news channel for the month, placing sixth in primetime among ad-supported cable networks and seventh in total day, according to TVNewser.

MSNBC was 33rd in primetime and 32nd in total day, while CNN was 35th in primetime and 34th in total day.

Fox News had the top 13 programs in August in total viewers, and the top 11 programs in the key adults 25-54 demo. 

“The O’Reilly Factor” was the number one program in cable news in both total and demo viewers, averaging 2.36 million total and 369,000 demo viewers. “The Five” and “Special Report with Bret Baier” rounded out the top three in total viewers, while in the demo “Hannity” was second and “The Five” was third.

CableTV Ratings: CNBC Ratings Drop 35 Percent Y2Y

According to the NYPost, The business news cable network posted some of its worst ratings in 20 years this month — attracting an average of just 37,000 viewers aged 25 to 54 over a 24-hour period, according to just-released ratings data.

That’s down 35 percent from a year ago, according to Nielsen, and the Comcast-owned network’s worst performance in the key advertiser demo since April 1993.

CNBC hit a peak of 162,000 viewers an hour in the key demo in January 2002.

Particularly hard-hit programs were “Fast Money,” “Mad Money” and “The Kudlow Report” — each of which saw all-time lows in total viewers this month.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Twitter Latest Media Website To Be Hacked

The Syrian Electronic Army made headlines for attacks on the New York Times, but Twitter may have also attracted the group's attention.

In a tweet, the hackers claimed to have gained access to the DNS servers for, along with the Huffington Post UK. Tests showed the records were indeed changed, but name servers continued to redirect to the correct IPs, and the change was most likely a result of the breach in a DNS records holding site.

Multiple tests by The Verge revealed no break in the HTTPS connection to, suggesting the IP connection was never disturbed. It therefore looks like the SEA is going after the name servers for Twitter, but hasn't directly hacked Twitter itself.

An official Twitter statement confirmed the hack, saying that the company's DNS provider had been compromised, and the image server had been "sporadically impacted" beginning at 4:49PM. Just before 6:30, the company regained control of the server.

According to the statement, no user information was compromised.

Charlotte Radio: Matt & Ramona Ink New Deal

Greater Media has signed a multi-year deal with The Matt and Ramona Show on WLNK 107-9 FM in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Matt Harris and Ramona Holloway joined the station as the afternoon drive show back in March of 2001.

“Matt and Ramona have done an amazing job in the afternoon drive slot on the station over the past 12 years,” said Greater Media Vice President and Market Manager Rick Feinblatt. “We are thrilled to be able to continue this exciting partnership and have them entertain our listeners for years to come.”

In addition to being on the air on WLNK-FM, Ramona also joined Colleen Odegaard as co-host of “Charlotte Today” back on January 7, 2013, Weekdays from 11am-12noon on the local NBC affiliate.

R.I.P.: Wisconsin Broadcaster Dick Dudley

Dick Dudley
Richard “Dick” Dudley, who gave millions of dollars to Wausau institutions and projects and was one of Wausau’s best-known philanthropists, has died.

Dudley, whose reputation as a tough-talking, risk-taking businessman with a unique desire to invest in the community’s development earned him the nickname “Mr. Wausau,” died Tuesday at his home of natural causes.

He was 89, according to

Dudley pursued a long, storied career in broadcasting, first as a salesman at WSAU radio in 1947, where he became general manager in 1951. In 1954, he became assistant general manager and sales manager of what is now WSAW-TV, and became president of the TV station in 1959.

In 1989, Dudley, together with his brother, Bob, formed Dudley Communications Corp. and Dudley Broadcasting Management to own and operate television stations in three states; the company was sold to The Tribune Co. of Chicago in 1998.

Dick Dudley was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 1989. His drive and ability in the field of broadcasting was recognized through his many awards from the National Association of Broadcasters, where he served as a director for many years and was awarded the Grover C. Cobb Memorial Award in recognition of his contributions to broadcasting and government.

“The broadcasting community is deeply saddened by Dick’s death,” said Wisconsin Broadcasters Association President and CEO Michelle Vetterkind. “He was a pioneer for our community who leaves behind a great legacy.”