A group of executives who previously worked with Glenn Beck to help build the Talk radio and TV personality’s successful digital businesses, have partnered to launch a new digital media start-up, Red Seat Ventures. Led by former Mercury Radio Arts President and TheBlaze CEO Chris Balfe (right) and former Blaze President Joel Cheatwood, Red Seat is “designed to build talent and brand-focused digital businesses from the ground up, putting content creators in control of their own destiny.” The new venture — which also includes former Blaze President/COO Carolyn Polke and former Mercury Radio Arts SVP/Publishing Kevin Balfe — will work with talents, agencies, and companies across both traditional and digital platforms. “We actually put our own skin in the game — our time, our resources, and our money — to make the businesses come to life,” says a blog post describing how Red Seat works. The company has already inked two charter clients — Blumhouse Productions and Premiere Networks. Learn more — including the story behind the venture’s unusual name — HERE.
We have a couple of new books from Talk radio pros for you to consider adding to your summer reading list. First up, as previously reported here in NTS MediaOnline Today, Westwood One syndicated host Mark Levin’s new book Plunder & Deceit hits bookstores and online retailers next week. In it, Levin “challenges the rising generation of younger Americans to awaken to the cause of their own salvation asking, ‘Will you acquiesce to a government that overwhelmingly acts without constitutional foundation—or will you stand in your own defense so that yours’ and future generations can live in freedom?'” Author and former Reagan White House political director Jeffrey Lord offers an in-depth review of Levin’s latest book HERE.
Our second summer reading list suggestion poses the premise that rapidly evolving technologies will naturally produce winners and losers in the near future — the real question is, who will they be? In his new book BrandWIDTH: How Big Broadcasting Is Missing The MEDIAmorphosis, veteran broadcaster and new media pioneer Kipper McGee explores why he believes the top broadcast players are facing “financial Armegeddon” and suggests just what unencumbered brands — whether broadcast groups, stations, talents or any business — can learn from that to avoid making the same mistakes. The paperback edition is available HERE, or you can download the e-book version at Amazon.
Newsmax.com has just released the website’s picks for its 2015 Most Influential Local Talk Radio Shows in America. While some names may not be as familiar to listeners nationwide as those of nationally syndicated personalities like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Dave Ramsey, Glenn Beck or Mark Levin, Newsmax says that all the local hosts who made the list of the 50 most influential local shows “have put into action in their own communities an American spirit not unlike that of the Founding Fathers when faced with their era’s threats to liberty.” Topping the list is longtime KFI/Los Angeles duo John & Ken (pictured), with WABC/New York midday hosts Curtis & Kuby, WRKO/Boston afternoon driver Howie Carr, WGN/Chicago morning man Steve Cochran and KFI midday host Bill Carroll rounding out the Top Five, respectively. See who else ranked on the Newsmax list — including local Talk radio stars from cities big and small all across the nation — HERE.
The Lisa Wexler Show joins the lineup at Forte Family Broadcasting-owned WGCH (AM 1490)/Stamford-Norwalk, CT, where it will air weekdays from 4-6pm beginning July 6th. Hosted by Lisa Wexler (pictured) the talk show (previously heard on WFAS/White Plains, NY) has been the recipient of the Best of Gold Coast award three times, and honored with a Best of Westchester and the Connecticut Press Club Award … Veteran Talk radio host Ed Tyll is now also the CEO at Starcom Radio Network, which currently provides programming to a reported 26 low power AM & FM stations, from Oregon to New York state. The network streams its programming on the Starcom website, TuneIn, and Stitcher. Tyll reports he is currently seeking potential new hosts and affiliates to join the new network venture … NextRadio — the free smartphone app that allows users to listen to FM radio on their mobile phone — can now be downloaded through the Amazon App Store. NextRadio is currently available on 40 smartphones from Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, and on HTC and Motorola’s Moto G and E phones with all major wireless carriers.
GeoTraffic Network teams with iNetRadio Network to provide users with on-demand road and traffic reports via iNetRadio, a free app for iPhones, iPads and Android devices … Comedian, actress and bestselling author Heather McDonald has debuted Juicy Scoops with Heather McDonald, a new podcast distributed by PodcastOne. McDonald (pictured) is a familiar face from her roundtable appearances with Chelsea Handler on E! television’s Chelsea Lately … Also newly added to PodcastOne’s roster this week is The Fraze & Bentley, a weekly podcast hosted by legendary SoCal radio personality, actor and comedian Frazer Smith, and actor, magician and comedian Jim Bentley … CBS Radio/CBS Local Digital Media adds new programs to the company’s Play.it podcast network, including Ken Rukowsky’s Business Rockstars: Everything Entrepreneur and the daily Business Rockstars Minute.
While headlines across the industry trades today focused on pop power-player Taylor Swift’s victory in getting Apple to back down on a plan to not pay artist royalties during a three month trial of the company’s new streaming music service, another move by Apple that will deepen its involvement into the news biz has gotten considerably less industry press. Published reports would suggest that Apple News, an app that will come with the upcoming iOS 9 operating system, marks the leading edge of Apple’s bigger plan to become the dominant news source for iPhone and iPad users. And, unlike Facebook and other rival digital news sources that use algorithms to curate content, Apple is looking to hire a staff of experienced news journalists to gather, write and deliver news content for the app. A job posting on the Apple website states in part: “The Apple News team is looking for passionate, knowledgeable editors to help identify and deliver the best in breaking national, global, and local news. These editors will help News users find the best and most timely coverage of major news events, while also managing select categories based on their areas of professional expertise.” Find out more HERE.
An item in our June 10th edition of NTS MediaOnline Today highlighted a recent post by Cumulus Media/Westwood One Chief Marketing Officer Pierre Bouvard analyzing what he sees as the different impact that streaming is having on radio vs. television. This week, Kurt Hanson (left), founder and publisher of the industry’s long-running Radio And Internet Newsletter (RAIN) takes issue with some of Bouvard’s analysis, saying that it “doesn’t compare apples to apples.” He also challenges the implication that radio is under less immediate threat from streaming audio growth than TV is from streaming video . “In both the TV and radio worlds, the truth is that broadcast consumption is declining and streaming consumption is increasing — and at approximately the same rates,” writes Hanson. “It’s broadcast industry wishful thinking to imagine otherwise.” Read the full post HERE.
George Noory, host of Premiere Networks long running Coast To Coast AM — the nightly talk show devoted to all things unexplained — has partnered with longtime friend and colleague Mark Rollings to launch ParanormalDate.com. The new dating website is free to join, with optional paid upgrades available to members seeking to find a mate who shares their fascination with things that go bump in the night. So why did the late night Talk radio host decide a dating service for paranormal aficionados was a good idea for his latest off-air venture? “Millions of people use dating services worldwide, but few have a chance to meet people sharing their same interests in the paranormal,” said Noory (pictured). “I speak all over the country and people always come up to me and say. ‘I can’t find someone who understands.'” With the debut of the new website Noory says fans of his show and the paranormal will now have a place to find love or friendship among other like-minded people. See more HERE.
FOX News Radio is joining with FOX News Channel and the FOX Business Network in a Twitter-related initiative called #Proud American, offering 30-second liners featuring Americans — many of them well-known — talking about why they are proud to be American. Five new liners will be added each week through July 4th via the network’s affiliate’s website … Submissions for the 6th annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards are now being accepted. Webcasters and broadcasters in the online audio industry can enter the competition for awards in six categories, including one recognizing international excellence and — new this year — Best Podcast Series. Get details HERE … iHeartRadio rolls out this week as part of TiVo’s new software update. The digital radio service will be available on TiVo Roamio, TiVo Mini and the full lineup of TiVo Premiere devices.
DGital Media, the recently launched venture headed by former Dial Global execs Spencer Brown and David Landau, is acquiring Ron Hartenbaum’s WYD Media Ad Sales, which currently reps advertising sales for Fox News Radio and a roster of talk personalities including Thom Hartmann, Michael Smerconish, Ed Schultz and Stephanie Miller. As part of the deal Hartenbaum (pictured) will become Managing Director of DGital Media, with WYD’s John Murphy also coming aboard as President of the new company which bills itself as, “An audio engagement company, with a focus on spoken word audio, that creates, distributes and monetizes spoken-word audio on both digital and broadcast platforms.”