Broadcast industry organizations have joined forces to launch the Alison & Adam Memorial Fund to support families of the two Roanoke television news journalists who were murdered by a former co-worker on live TV this week. The National Association of Broadcasters, the Radio Television Digital News Association and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences will contribute to and accept donations from broadcasters on behalf of the victims, reporter Alison Parker and camera man Adam Ward. The NAB reports commitments of $40,000 have already been offered by broadcaster interests. A portion of the contributions will be distributed to family members of both Parker and Ward, with an additional contribution going to Vicki Gardner, the Executive Director, Smith Mountain Lake Regional Chamber of Commerce who was also shot, but survived the incident and is recovering. The NAB says an online option to donate to the fund will be available soon, but until then you can donate the old-fashioned way by sending your check made out to: NAB Alison and Adam Memorial Fund, c/o NAB, 1771 N Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036.
WOR/New York morning co-hosts Len Berman and Todd Schnitt (left) showed up unexpectedly on last night’s edition of Jimmy Kimmel Live, when their show’s latest TV commercial show up as part of a recurring bit Kimmel does called “Unnecessary Censorship.” Watch HERE … Beginning August 31st, Texas Radio Hall of Famer and long-time Sportsradio 1310 & 96.7 TheTicket (KTCK/Dallas) host Norm Hitzges will team-up with fellow veteran Ticket personality Donovan Lewis to co-host a new weekday show, airing from 10am-noon on the Cumulus Media-owned Sports/Talker. Hitzges and Lewis have teamed to host The Ticket’s Dallas Cowboys’ post-game show for the past seven seasons and will continue doing so during the upcoming NFL season … South Florida radio is on full alert going into the weekend, after the state’s governor issued a “state of emergency” with Tropical Storm Erika bearing down on the Sunshine State. Forecasters expect Erika’s track will become clearer in the next 48 hours, after passing over the Dominican Republic and then tracking toward the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas. WIOD/Miami has activated the News/Talker’s usual ‘StormWatch’ alert and information system, which offers more details and updates HERE.
KDWN/Las Vegas officially names local radio vets Dave Carney and Chad Forster (left) as the new morning duo for the Beasley Media Group-owned News/Talker. Already on the air and hosting a ‘soft launch’ of the new program for the past few weeks, Live In Las Vegas with Dave and Chad airs Monday-Friday, from 6-9am. The show takes over hours previously held by Alan Stock who recently exited … It was a decade ago this week when Entercom News/Talker WWL/New Orleans turned into ‘The Hurricane Station’ for southern Louisiana and much of the Gulf Coast, as Hurricane Katrina and a major levee break wreaked havoc on the Crescent City. Our broadcast brothers and sisters across the pond at the BBC have produced a terrific profile of the station and its people who served as a literal electronic lifeline to millions during the many difficult days and weeks during and after the storm. See it HERE … According to a report by fashion, beauty and retail industry news website wwd.com, longtime Bloomberg Radio General Manager and veteran Talk radio programmer Al Mayers will take on additional duties as head of U.S. television for the network. Al succeeds Claudi Milne who segues to a new role heading up special projects for the business and financial news network.
As the industry and the country awoke to the startling news that WDBJ-TV/Roanoke news reporter Alison Parker and photo-journalist Adam Ward were shot and killed while delivering a report on live television this morning, both the NAB and RTDNA sought to express the thoughts and feelings of so many in the media today. “Today’s news of the tragic murders of broadcast journalists Alison Parker and Adam Ward is heartbreaking and horrifying,” said National Association of Broadcasters President/CEO Gordon Smith. “These were two young journalists who were simply trying to serve and inform their communities. Our broken hearts go out to the families of Alison and Adam, to the staff at WDBJ, and to the employees of Schurz Communications.” Meanwhile, the Radio Television Digital News Association also released a statement in which Executive Director Mike Cavendar offered condolence and a cautionary warning. “RTDNA is horrified and saddened by the senseless deaths of Alison Parker and Adam Ward,” wrote Cavendar. “While the shootings are under investigation, our most sincere sympathies go out to their families and friends and all who worked with them at WDBJ. Tragically, these shootings are the worst example in a continuing series of attacks on live television crews. Safety and security of our people is always of paramount concern, but as these attacks show, such violence can occur even in the most unexpected of situations.” (Photo: WDBJ Television)
This morning’s horrific shooting of a Virginia TV news reporter and her camera man during a live on-air report (story above), offers a harsh warning that radio — especially Talk radio — would be wise to not ignore. Talk radio and Sports/Talk hosts make their living by challenging and disagreeing with listeners and evoking passionate emotions and responses from them. You will recall that Denver Talk radio host Alan Berg was gunned-down by extremists who disagreed with his politics and targeted him and others for assassination back in the 1980s — long before the growth of today’s controversial Talk radio shows and the rise of 24/7 news media. In more recent months we’ve seen Minnesota Public Radio host Mary Lucia forced to take a leave of absence due to a persistent stalker, who is now back in jail and awaiting trial after a second arrest. And anyone who has been behind the scenes with any high profile national Talk radio personality becomes quickly aware of the high security measures that surround them wherever they go. NTS MediaOnline Today suggests that today would be a very good day to take a look at your station’s security efforts and the plans that are in place whenever hosts and other station personnel are broadcasting and/or appearing live at an event or other out-of-studio location. And it wouldn’t be a bad idea to review your overall studio and building security measures, too.
Get well wishes to WMBD/Peoria and KXL/Portland talker Scott Robbins, co-host of the Robbins & Markley Show, who suffered a major heart attack on Monday (8/24) and has been hospitalized to undergo triple bypass surgery. Robbins and his 20-year on-air partner Jamie Markley (pictured) air weekdays from 9am-noon (PT) on KXL and 2-6pm (CT) on WMBD. Both News/Talkers are owned by Alpha Media … Chuck Sullivan, General Manager for Entercom/Milwaukee, expands his duties to now also include serving as GM for the company’s three-station Madison, WI cluster. Prior to joining Entercom Sullivan held similar positions with Cumulus Media in Fort Walton Beach/Destin FL and Mobile, AL, as well as Managing Partner of Ocean Broadcasting in Wilmington, NC … WTOP/Washington has announced the return of the Hubbard Radio all-newser’s online contest, Click for a Cause, which gives DC area non-profit organizations the chance to vie for one of three cash prizes. The first-place winner will be awarded $12,000 while the second and third-place winners will receive $10,000 and $8,000 respectively. Winners will be based on the highest number of votes (likes) received during the contest. Voting will take place Monday, September 14th through Friday, September 25th at www.wtop.com.
WDBO/Orlando reporter/anchor Monica Rix (left) joins FOX News Radio as a reporter for the New York City-based network. Prior to her move to Orlando, Rix’s radio and TV broadcast news resume also includes stints in Wilmington, NC and Huntsville, AL … Mary Shedden is named News Director for Public Radio station WUSF/Tampa. A 20-year veteran journalist, Shedden moves to her new gig at the University of South Florida-licensed pubcaster from her most recent post as a senior reporter for the Tampa Tribune … From our “Not Exactly Talk Media News” Department: Legendary radio personality ‘Shotgun’ Tom Kelly is stepping down from his afternoon drive slot at Los Angeles Oldies outlet K-Earth 101 after a 22-year run. Kelly (right) will “transition” to a new off-air post as a Brand Ambassador for the CBS Radio station, where he’ll reportedly be showcased in on-air features, appearances, client partnerships, charitable events, and special projects.
While most of the country is enjoying or hoping for relief from the heat of August, most broadcasters are hoping that even when temperatures eventually cool down, consumers will be turning up the heat to bring retailers (and radio advertisers) a happy holiday season. A report from eMarketer.com forecasts the jingling of cash registers will grow this upcoming holiday season, with predicted retail sales growth of 5.7% — the biggest jump since 2011. According to eMarketer analyst Monica Peart, “Retail sales in November and December 2015 are expected to show a healthy increase over what was experienced during the same period in 2014. Increases in real income from wages, further decreases in unemployment and an increased willingness to spend in traditional retail categories that missed out on the windfall in gas prices earlier on in the year should also drive growth.” Read more HERE.
A huge crowd turned out in Virginia over the weekend for a WMAL/Washington-hosted book signing featuring Westwood One talk host Mark Levin. That’s Levin (pictured) grabbing a photo souvenir with a wounded veteran of the Afghanistan war, who came by to get his copy of Plunder & Deceit autographed … Envision Networks syndicated John & Leah Show adds seven new affiliates, as Salem Media Group-owned KRLA/Los Angeles; KNTH/Houston; KLFE/Seattle; KCBQ/San Diego; KTKZ/Sacramento; WGTK-FM/Greenville, SC and WLSS/Sarasota all add the weekly Sunday night program co-hosted by Talk radio veteran John Ziegler and Leah Brandon … Christian broadcaster Moody Radio names Brian Dahlen as morning host for the company’s northeastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania stations, alongside coordinating producer, Kathleen Ferrini. Beginning August 31st Brian and Kathleen Mornings will air weekdays (6-9am) on Moody/Ohio FM’s 103.3 FM (Cleveland), 89.5 FM (Sandusky), 91.7 FM (Ashtabula), and 90.5 FM (Millersburg), and in western Pennsylvania on 90.1 FM (New Castle) and 91.9 FM (Meadville).
NTS MediaOnline Today sends our condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of KOMO/Seattle news anchor Jane Shannon, who died suddenly this week. Before joining KOMO in 2010, Shannon (left) worked at crosstown stations KING-AM and KIRO, where she anchored that station’s morning drive news from 1993-2009. The KOMO website has more HERE … Alpha Media/San Antonio names Jessica Aguilar as Marketing Director for the cluster, including News/Talker KTSA. Aquilar was most recently Marketing Supervisor at Six Flags Fiesta Texas … Congrats to the crew at Bonneville/Phoenix, where their 15th annual Give-A-Thon for Phoenix Children’s Hospital set a new fundraising record this week, with more than $1.47 million in donations collected during the 19-hour radio broadcast simulcast on both News/Talk KTAR 92.3 FM and Arizona Sports 98.7 FM … A benefit motorcycle ride named in honor of the late KFGO/Fargo meteorologist Terry Spies will be held next month. The inaugural Terry Spies Veterans Memorial Ride will take place on Saturday, September 5th to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project.