Chicago Tribune reporter Robert Channick spoke with WGN Radio President and manager Jimmy de Castro about yesterday’s announced decision to pull the plug on both it’s FM Sports/Talk experiment at 87.7 The Game (WGWG-LP) and the recently launched streaming venture, WGN.fm. As you’d probably expect, de Castro (pictured) cited economics as the driving force behind the decision to shutter both operations that were launched with a fair degree of fanfare some nine months ago. Tribune has a deal to operate WGWG through next September via an LMA with Venture Technologies Group, which owns the frequency. Asked what, if anything, will be airing on the 87.7 frequency come January 2015, de Castro (pictured) told the newspaper he really didn’t know yet but, “It’s not going to be sports, that’s for sure.” Read more (subscription required) HERE.
Cumulus/Youngstown Market Manager Rick Parrish says he’s headed for retirement after more than four decades in radio ownership and corporate management. Quarterback for the Youngstown cluster (including News/Talkers WPIC and WSOM, and Sports/Talkers WLLF-FM and WBBW-AM) since 2010, Parrish (pictured) says he believes the best is still to come for a guy who has “loved radio since the age of 15 when my mother drove me to KMAD in Madill, Oklahoma for my first day of on-air work!” … Former award winning ESPN podcast producer Jay Soderberg is named Head of Content for BlogTalkRadio, where he’ll focus on cultivating and expanding the online radio platform’s community of podcasters, and also take a leading role in shaping the company’s future content portfolio … Jonathan Ghazal has been named Sales Manager for Greater Media-owned Detroit Sports 105.1 (WMGC). Ghazal joined the company’s Motor City cluster as an Account Executive in October of 2012 … Alex Ferrer, best known for his nine year run on FOX TV’s syndicated Judge Alex Show, will debut a new legal-focused radio show via Andy Dean’s new ConnectPal digital venture. A frequent guest commentator on Fox News, CNN, and HLN, ‘Judge Alex’ is also highly active on social media, with a Facebook following closing in on a quarter-million fans.
Following his recent split with Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One, former Governor Mike Huckabee (left) has officially announced it’s “on with the show” and confirms he will continue to host his daily commentary, The Huckabee Report, without interruption to affiliates. Huckabee spokesperson and McConnell Media namesake, John McConnell, reports that a new distribution and ad sales partner for the daily feature will be announced next week. “The support and interest from the Governor’s current affiliates has been tremendous,” McConnell told NTS MediaOnline Today. “He’s beloved by his fans and his fan base is huge!” … Cumulus/Memphis has tapped popular local radio veteran Forrest Goodman as morning host at Newstalk 98.9. He’ll be joined for wake-up duties by Steve Butler, weekdays from 6-9am … Westwood One ups veteran network sales exec Julie Boruchov (right) to Vice-President, Sports Sales and Marketing/East Coast, in its network sales division. She was formerly Director, Sports Sales, East Coast. In her expanded role, Boruchov will work more closely with the network’s ports partners and agency clients to help drive revenue and maximize brand initiatives and activations, while also managing a team of east coast-based sports sales account executives.
After wrapping up weekend hosting duties for Premiere Networks syndicated Coast To Coast earlier this year, longtime Texas talker John B. Wells (pictured) debuted Caravan To Midnight, a daily three-hour subscriber-based cybercast. Produced Monday-Friday and available for broadcast in all day parts, Wells “explores and exploits critical news stories that the mainstream media often ignores or superficially covers.” John B. is now taking the next step, announcing a national syndication rollout of ‘Caravan’ via his own C2M Network, with WRKO/Boston signing on as the show’s the first Top 10 market affiliate (WRKO will air the show on Saturday nights). Heading up syndication efforts for Wells’ new Dallas-based venture is former CBS Radio ad exec David Rubini who said, “John B. has a long track record for making money for his clients. Given the instant and overwhelming response and support for the Caravan to Midnight cybercast, I’m confident his track record is going to get longer.” Wells also said his future plans also include developing new talent for syndication via his C2M Network.
Veteran Talk radio PD Paul Duckworth reports he’s going to give retirement another try. “After two-and-a-half terrific years at KOMO and KVI in Seattle, I’m going to try my hand at that whole retirement thing again,” said Duckworth (pictured), who previously tried to hang up his headphones a couple of years back, following a distinguished programming career that included prior stints at WMAL/Washington, KLIF/Dallas and KPAM/Portland, along with a previous run at KOMO from 1997-2005. You can wish Paul ‘Happy Trails’ HERE … Congrats to Salem Radio Network host Michael Medved on receiving the 2014 Quill & Badge Award from the International Association of Police Unions, AFL-CIO. The award was given to Medved to cite his ongoing on-air and print support of America’s law enforcement officers … This Thursday (11/6), E! Television personality and best-selling author Ross Matthews will debut a new weekly podcast, Straight Talk with Ross Matthews, via PodcastOne … CONDOLENCES: To the family and friends of Tom Magliozzi, half of the wisecracking Car Talk duo known as Click and Clack, who died from complications of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 77. Read more from NPR HERE.
In a recent post, New York magazine technology columnist Kevin Roose writes that after a few years of waning interest, today’s world of podcasting is experiencing a “renaissance” in growth and argues that the medium is, “More alive than ever.” In support of that claim, Roose cites the most recent Infinite Dial study from Edison Research and Triton Digital, which reported that some 39 million respondents had listened to a podcast in the 30 days prior to the study being taken — the highest number on record. So what’s behind the resurging interest in a technology that was first introduced in the early 2000′s? Three key things: Improved quality/content, compelling economics and connected cars. “Connected cars are a boon for the entire streaming audio industry, but they’re especially exciting for podcast makers, whose shows are perfectly suited to in-car listening,” writes Roose. “Just as TV watchers can now choose Netflix or Amazon streams over surfing channels, radio listeners will soon have a bevy of on-demand options at their disposal.” Read the full article HERE.
Paris, France-based worldwide digital streaming music service Deezer announced today that it will acquire Stitcher, the San Francisco-based personalized Internet Talk radio and mobile audio provider. Stitcher currently carries 8 of the top 10 broadcast radio talk shows, content from more than 12,000 providers and is enabled for the connected dashboard in more than 50 automobile models from BMW, Ford, GM, Jaguar and Mazda. It’s also available via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto … Former WIBA/Madison host Mitch Henck (pictured) — who got ‘RIF’d’ at the iHeartMedia-owned News/Talker this past June after a 12-year run — will launch a new daily online talk show on Monday (10/27). The Mitch Henck Show will stream from 8-11am (CT) weekdays at MitchHenck.com … iHeartRadio joins the lineup of Apple’s new CarPlay, placing the popular smartphone app directly into the automobile dashboard … The previously announced debut of Jenny McCarthy’s new daily SiriusXM show – Dirty, Sexy, Funny with Jenny McCarthy — happens Monday on the satellite radio service’s Stars channel, from 10am-noon (ET).
You’ve likely read about last weekend’s Pumpkin Fest riots in Keene, NH, a town that also happens to be the home of Free Talk Live host Ian Freeman. Ian (pictured) was on the ground and witnessed crowds of drunken college students destroying property, as well as what he terms, “an unnecessarily aggressive police response” to the situation. Station newsrooms, hosts and producers who would like to get Freeman’s up-close-and-personal views on the chaotic weekend scene in the small New Hampshire town can reach him HERE … WYD Media Ad Sales has inked a deal with Spreaker to rep ad sales for the digital talk media and audio content distribution platform. Additionally WYD will assist Spreaker with overall brand management and creation of alternative and customized opportunities for the advertising community … Carlos Lamadrid has been appointed Vice President of National Sales and Strategic Partnerships for Entercom. Lamadrid, most recently SVP at TC Media, will report to Entercom Station Group President Weezie Kramer.
Bridge Ratings, which has been trending News/Talk radio preferences since 1999, has released a new report that was recently posted at LinkedIn by company President/CEO Dave Van Dyke. So what is the study’s top line finding? Information overload is causing fatigue for some News/Talk listeners. “Over-saturation, ever-shortening of news cycles and repetition of hard news with too-little updated information, is wearing thin on consumers who are seeking alternative sources for information that is fresh, entertaining and positive,” writes Van Dyke (pictured). “Radio has become one of many pieces in the media landscape puzzle. This role has become uncomfortable for broadcasters but should be seen as an opportunity to reinvent, develop and serve their communities during a time of rich information flow and a vast funnel of information to consume.” Bridge’s latest study is based on interviews with some 3,200 News/Talk radio listeners who consume at least 3 hours of News/Talk radio weekly. Respondents were compiled through random digital dial, internet self-administered questionnaires and in-person interviews, with a margin of error of +/- 1.7%.
California legislators recently stopped doing … well, whatever it is that they do … to bestow several nicely penned kudos and officially sanctioned certificates to PodcastOne CEO Norm Pattiz, saluting the longtime broadcaster and entrepreneur for his company’s achievements in on-demand audio. The official proclamations were handed out on the recently held National Podcast Day (what, you say missed that holiday?) by the California State Assembly, the State Senate and the County of Los Angeles. PodcastOne bills itself as “the leader in podcasting” with a reported 120 million monthly downloads from a menu of more than 200 programs.