GeoTraffic Wants You To Get Personal
May 18, 2015

Philadelphia-based GeoTraffic, billed as “the first and only traffic network to provide professionally broadcast human-voiced reports, cross-platform and on-demand,” has announced it has moved from beta mode to commercial deployment of its audio traffic platform, featuring a new ‘personalization’ feature. The feature allows users to to choose the roads that are relevant to their regular commute and get a curated and personalized traffic report wherever and whenever they want on-demand. “When we think about the ideal traffic report, it isn’t everything about the city on some radio station’s predetermined schedule, or having to sneak peaks at a screen while driving,” said GeoTraffic CEO Frank Rizzo. “I want to hear about traffic on the three roads that I travel to work — the roads that are relevant to me. Using ‘personalization’ that report is now available as a single report.” GeoTraffic is available for distribution on numerous platforms including connected dashboards, navigation systems and apps, digital news and entertainment platforms and Internet radio. Find out more HERE.

Talk And Media News Notes
May 18, 2015

Alpha Media closes on the company’s previously announced acquisition of Wilks Broadcasting’s four-station Lubbock, TX cluster. Concurrently, Alpha has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Morris Communications’ 36-station group, with properties located in Topeka and Salina, KS; Anchorage and Wasilla, AK; Amarillo, TX; Palm Springs, CA; and Gray’s Harbor and Wenatchee, WA … Erick Erickson, Editor-in-Chief of Salem Media Group-owned RedState.com, has announced the confirmed lineup of speakers for the upcoming annual Red State Gathering including Governor Scott Walker, Governor Jeb Bush, Governor Rick Perry, Governor Bobby Jindal, Carly Fiorina and Senator Marco Rubio … Actor and humanitarian Gary Sinise will receive the 2015 Service to America Leadership Award from the NAB Education Foundation (NABEF) for his ongoing commitment to raising awareness and support for veterans. Sinise (pictured) will receive the award at NABEF’s Celebration of Service to America Gala on June 16th in Washington, DC.

Talk And Media News Notes
May 15, 2015

Kudos to CBS Radio/Philadelphia SVP/Market Manager Marc Rayfield (left) who was honored last night (5/14) by the city’s Police Athletic League as one of three of Philly’s ‘Most Distinguished Business Leaders.’ Since 1968, the annual PAL Award has honored individuals who have made extraordinary contributions in support of PAL’s mission of Cops Helping Kids … Congrats to NRG Media President Mary Quass and Dan Vallie, founder of Vallie-Richards-Donovan Consulting and the National Radio Talent System, as both have been announced as winners of the Conclave Learning Conference’s 2015 Rockwell Award. Both will be honored at Conclave’s 40th anniversary celebration, July 16th and 17th, in Minneapolis … As NTS MediaOnline Today first told you way back in February, the legendary and mercurial Art Bell is planning a comeback with a new nightly digital talk show. In an update posted to his website, Art says his new venture, dubbed Midnight in the Desert with Art Bell, will debut on July 20th. The show will stream free online (and on smartphones via the TuneIn app) Monday-Friday, from midnight-3am (ET), on Art’s Dark Matter Digital Network.

Condolences: To the family, friends and co-workers of longtime WSYR/Syracuse host Joe Galuski who has died following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 64. Ironically it was Galuski’s second battle with the disease. He was previously diagnosed and overcame non-Hodgkins lymphoma some 22 years ago. Syracuse.com’s Chris Baker profiles Galuski’s life and his more than 25 years on the air in the upstate New York city HERE.

Is Your Competitor A Super Achiever?
May 14, 2015

That’s the question posed by researcher Richard Harker, who has been leading the charge to hold Nielsen’s feet to the fire over whether or not the PPM electronic measurement system is actually and accurately recording all of a station’s listening — something of critical importance to News/Talk and other spoken-word formats that have seen ratings losses since PPM was implemented. In comparing this year’s published March PPM ratings with those of March 2014, Harker says he found some interesting surprises. “Looking at all 48 PPM markets, we found what we always find: About half of stations gained share, while a nearly equal number of stations lost share,” he says. “It’s something we’ve written about several times. Most month-to-month changes are wobbles — You go up, you go down. However, this year a number of stations have moved wildly higher, setting new PPM records. We’ve seen mature stations that normally move a few tenths at a time gaining multiple shares over a few months. How do mature stations, essentially doing the same things they were doing the year before, suddenly spike up and then sustain that spike month-after-month? We suspect that it’s because groups are installing large numbers of Voltair units.” Find out which group has seen nearly 60% of their stations gain share in PPM-measured markets over the past year HERE.

Editor’s Note: In case you missed our in-depth interview with Richard Harker about Voltair in the May 2015 edition of our feature publication, NTS MediaOnline Monthly, you can read it HERE.

Talk And Media News Notes
May 13, 2015

When Amtrak train # 188 derailed in Philadelphia last night, 24/7 News reporter Scott Pringle (right) was among the journalists dispatched to the scene of the deadly accident, where he provided on-the-scene coverage for iHeartMedia stations along the busy northeast rail corridor cities of New York, Philly, Wilmington, Baltimore and Washington, DC … Award winning journalist and broadcaster Robin Robinson has joined the lineup at WVON/Chicago, where she now hosts Robin’s Nest, every Monday from 6-9pm on the Midway Broadcasting-owned talker. Robinson can also be heard on the Windy City airwaves anchoring on crosstown CBS Radio all-newser WBBMCumulus Media has appointed 36-year radio broadcast veteran Gary Mertins as Vice President/Market Manager for the company’s four-station Melbourne, Florida cluster. Mertins joins Cumulus from West Virginia Radio Corporation, where he’s served as Market Manager for that company’s four-station group in Morgantown since 2005.

More Talk And Media News Notes
May 13, 2015

WTMJ/Milwaukee Morning News anchor Jodi Becker (left) is stepping down at the end of the month, citing her desire to spend more time with her family that includes two young children. In a memo to staffers, VP/GM Tom Langmyer thanked Becker for her contributions to WTMJ’s growth over the past couple of years and congratulated her on being “a great broadcaster and a great mom” who he says will be sorely missed at the now Scripps-owned News/Talker. Langmyer’s search for Becker’s successor is already underway … KBET/Las Vegas host Heidi Harris’ recently published book, Cocktail Wisdom: Life Lessons Learned While Carrying A Tray In Las Vegas, is now available in an audio version via Audible.com … Early bird registration rates for the fall NAB/RAB Radio Show are available now through May 29th. This year’s annual event will be held September 30th through October 2nd in Atlanta. Find out more HERE.

Network/Syndication News Notes
May 13, 2015

WOMI-AM&FM/Owensboro, KY adds the nightly Free Talk Live, while KELY/Ely, NV and WMXI/Laurel, MI add the weekly Extreme Genes Family History Radio. Both show’s are syndicated through Talk Shows USASports USA unveils the first four match ups of the network’s upcoming NFL season, with Green Bay @ Chicago and the Tennessee Titans @ Tampa Bay slotted for back-to-back games on September 13th. See more scheduled games HERESun Broadcast Group’s syndicated Marilu Henner recently welcomed rocker George Thorogood (pictured) to her daily Talk radio show, where they chatted about his long and colorful career in rock ‘n roll and a new limited-edition blue vinyl that was released in time for this year’s national ‘Record Store Day.’

Talk And Media News Notes
May 12, 2015

With the recent announcement that Don Imus is ending the television simulcast of his daily Westwood One-WABC/New York morning show, FOX Business Network (FBN) reports it will replace the ‘I-Man’ in the 6-9am (ET) slot with a new show, Morning Money with Maria Bartiromo (pictured) starting June 1st … ABC News Radio Associate Producer Brad Mielke is promoted to Reporter for the network. Additionally ABC-TV has also selected Mielke to report on the upcoming 2016 presidential campaign, across all platforms, starting later this summer … Emmy Award-winning comedy writers Eric and Justin Stangel are joining SiriusXM’s Opie Radio channel. The soon-to-be-former writers and executive producers of The Late Show with David Letterman will serve as creative contributors to the Opie and Jim Norton Show, and also contribute to other SiriusXM programming … Speaking of Letterman (who ends his long run on television on May 20th), Newsday’s Verne Gay wonders about the late night talk host’s future, and whether or not a radio gig just might be a part of it. Read more HERE.

Talk And Media News Notes
May 11, 2015

WLS/Chicago eliminates the Assistant Program Director position, resulting in the departure of longtime programming staffer Tracy Slutzkin. Over the past couple of decades since she first joined the then ABC Radio-owned WLS as an intern, Slutzkin has served in various roles (and under several owners), including producing the long-running Don Wade & Roma morning show, as well as a stint as PD of the Cumulus Media-owned News/Talker. OM Peter Bolger will absorb Tracy’s duties … SiriusXM announces Career Playbook Radio, a new weekly career advice program featuring “conversations with top executives, industry veterans, and thought leaders.” Hosted by Jim Citrin (pictured), partner at executive search firm Spencer-Stuart and best-selling author on leadership and career success, subscribers can access the limited-run show on the satcaster’s Insight channel beginning May 16th … Beasley Media Group has aligned with Zipwhip, Inc., a cloud texting platform and service provider that enables stations to send and receive text messages using their existing (and already familiar to listeners) call-in studio line telephone numbers.

Radio Mercury Awards Finalists Announced
May 11, 2015

More than 100 radio spots and campaigns have made it to the finals of the 2015 Radio Mercury Awards, which honors outstanding radio created by advertising agencies, production companies, radio stations and students. The 2015 finalists incorporate a wide range of small to large advertising agencies and radio stations alike, as well as national and regional advertisers from the automotive, consumer packaged goods, beer, entertainment, fast food, financial services, home repairs, insurance, telecomm and retail categories. Entries were judged on their creativity, originality and effective communication of a brand’s message. “Building brand awareness and driving ROI, is radio’s best attribute no matter the advertiser or marketer,” said Erica Farber, President/CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau. “The bar is always set extremely high for our entrants. This year’s set of finalists have met and exceeded that creative level of excellence we always hope to honor. The caliber of creative executions and the ways in which radio was leveraged throughout these entries is extraordinary.” This year’s winners will be announced at the annual Radio Mercury Awards event on June 3rd in New York City. Hear the entries from all of this year’s finalists HERE.