As first reported by the St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Amy Carlson Gustafson, Twin Cities Talk radio host Jason Lewis (left) surprised listeners by pulling the plug on his nightly program — and apparently on his broadcast radio career — during the middle of his show last night (7/31). Lewis previously announced that he was ending his nationally syndicated radio show (that was distributed first by Premiere Networks, then by Genesis Radio Networks), but he had continued to host his local program on Clear Channel talker KTLK-AM — that is until last night. ”He told me two months ago that he intended to retire on August 1st,” CCM&E/Minneapolis President/Market Manager Mike Crusham told the newspaper. “He decided not to go public with it until today. I think he is serious about it. I hope he is not. He is one of the best talk show hosts I have ever worked with or listened to.” Read more, including what appears to be Lewis’ next step as he leaves the radio biz HERE.
Kevin Magee, EVP at FOX News is leaving his post after a 13-year run with the network. No word on just where Magee, who previously held exec roles at CNBC and ABC-TV’s Good Morning America, will land next … Congrats to Buckley Broadcasting head Joe Bilotta as he celebrates 45 years in the radio biz — all of them with the company founded by his friend and longtime colleague, the late Rick Buckley. SEND JOE YOUR BEST WISHES HERE … ABC News Washington Deputy Bureau Chief Sara Just is named Executive Producer of the PBS News Hour, in what is the first major change for the iconic program since being acquired by DC pubcaster WETA. Just will assume her new gig on September 2nd … NTS MediaOnline Today hears that WHAM/Rochester Program Director Aaron Trimmer has left the building. Trimmer also oversaw programming at sister station WHTK … Finally, that’s intrepid KFI/Los Angeles news reporter Steve Gregory (pictured) slogging thru flooded streets as he reported on a major break in a near 100-year old water main earlier this week — a break that unleashed millions of gallons on to L.A.’s famed Sunset Boulevard, opened a large sink hole and caused major damage on the Westwood campus of UCLA. “I’m just lucky I had my boots in the news van,” said the ever-ready Gregory.
Mark Ramsey Media namesake and long time media trends watcher, Mark Ramsey, says that although Pandora is famous for its music, not Talk, those of us in spoken-word radio should expect that to change in the not-to-distant future. Ramsey (pictured) believes the coming expansion into spoken word for Pandora will be driven by Talk’s ability to deliver unique, original content — something music programming simply cannot provide. “Pandora will take a slower path to this destination than smaller players because it has the biggest footprint and thus the most patience, while the smaller guys will have to worry about survival and risk getting lost in Pandora’s wake,” says Ramsey. “But come it shall.” And how will Pandora make a splash when it ultimately dives into the deep end of the Talk radio pool? “What I most expect is that they will make a single big hire,” Ramsey speculates. “Somebody who is not on the radio now, but who has a national profile and is probably most famous in the entertaiment world — music, comedy, or both. Someone with extensive reach in social media. Someone in the bullseye of TMZ.” Read more of Ramsey’s theory on Pandora’s coming expansion into spoken-word programming HERE.
While WEEI/Boston morning show sidekick Kirk Minihane is on a management-mandated vacation this week over his now well-documented comments about FOX Sports reporter Erin Andrews, yesterday (7/28) NTS MediaOnline Today asked readers for their take on “the line” and where to draw it in a medium that thrives on controversy and opinion: “What you have here is a failure to communicate,” emails longtime Westwood One syndicated host Jim Bohannon (pictured). “The FCC wants sweet and light. This segment of the listening public wants rhetorical disembowling. The stations are caught in the middle, but so are the talent. Talent whose act is to tap-dance on the edge of the Grand Canyon need a contract filled with specific instances of what is, and what is not allowed on the air, off-air and on social media.” Veteran Sports radio programmer and manager Tom Bigby offered his experienced insights saying, “I have managed some of the most ‘out there’ personalities in Sports radio and the Cardinal Rule was you can attack a body of work and have an opinion on most anything, but the line is a personal attack. We had some issues back in the early days but most of the talent always knew they had management’s support — as long as they did not cross that line.” And DirecTV Entertainment’s Ken Kohl sums up his take with a quote from actor William Hurt in the classic film Broadcast News: “How are you supposed to know where the line is when they keep moving the sucker?”
We’ll have more reader feedback in tomorrow’s edition of ‘The Daily Digest of Talk Media.’ Meanwhile, your comments continue to be welcomed 24/7 HERE.
Will we one day be calling nationally syndicated Talk radio host Laura Ingraham ‘Congresswoman,’ or maybe even ‘Senator?” Ingraham (pictured) didn’t exactly say that she plans to run for office, but she also didn’t exactly deny it. The former speechwriter for President Ronald Reagan and a former clerk for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas told Real Clear Politics reporter Toby Harnden this week that she has been “approached by various people to get involved” and added, “I’m keeping an open mind about running for office in the future.” Read more HERE … In a new blog post, Paragon media strategist Larry Johnson says that, with the notable exception of “high powered, heritage stations,” AM radio is “in trouble.” In fact, Johnson wonders whether or not the expanding acquisition of AM’s across the country by one group could signal the “last rights” for a lot of the AM band. Read the full story HERE.
Cumulus Media’s eight station Youngstown, Ohio group – including News/Talk 600 WSOM, News/Talk 790 WPIC and SportsRadio 1240/96.7 (WBBW-AM and WLLF-FM) — is the recipient of the company’s “highly coveted President’s Cup in recognition for the stations’ achieving best overall performance for the second quarter of 2014 across all 90 Cumulus radio markets.” That’s the whole Youngstown radio crew (pictured) as they gathered for a photo to mark the celebratory occasion … Westwood One Sports will kick off the its 2014 NFL season coverage this weekend (8/3), with the 51st annual Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, pitting the New York Giants against the Buffalo Bills at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, OH. The Cumulus Media-owned network’s NFL package for 2014 includes an “unprecedented” 102 games — from ‘Opening Night’ on September 4th, right on through Super Bowl XLIX in Phoenix next February. Review the complete game schedule HERE … KEX/Portland shuffles the deck, with afternoon host Michael Castner moving to wake-ups, where he’s paired with co-anchor Lacey Evans. Former morning host Paul Linnman segues to a new commentator role at Clear Channel’s Rose City News/Talker, while Houston-based CC syndicated talker Michael Berry slides into Castner’s PM drive hours … Former Dial Global exec Jay Green has been named VP/Digital Sales and Content Partnerships at AdLarge Media. Green’s resume also includes a recent stint handling national accounts for PodcastOne.
Westwood One nationally syndicated Talk radio host and dog lover Mark Levin (pictured) will host Cumulus Media/New York’s 4th annual Bark In The Park this coming Saturday (8/2), from 11am-3pm at Overpeck Park in nearby Ridgefield, NJ. The North Shore Animal League America & Bergen County Animal Shelter/Adoption Center will be on-site with many dogs available for adoption. The day will also feature a wide array of vendors, services, food, demonstrations, and activities for families and dog lovers alike. Among the most popular events of the day is the “My Dog Looks Like Me” contest. Attendees will be encouraged to vote on-site for their favorites at the stations’ yearly gathering to celebrate man’s best friend.
With Southern Californians on the front lines of the illegal immigrant crisis now happening along America’s southern border, veteran KFI/Los Angeles newsman Steve Gregory is teaming up with Univision Noticias Univision 34 television field reporter Oswaldo Borraez for a three hour special focusing on the hot-button issue that will air live on the Clear Channel News/Talker tomorrow (7/25) from 10am-1pm (PT). “The recent influx of unaccompanied child immigrants has triggered an onslaught of questions from affected border residents and local governments alike,” states a release from KFI as the genesis behind putting together the special show. “This news special will do a deep dive, not just interviewing those involved but also attempting to answer the tough questions surrounding this escalating situation.” Listeners outside of the L.A. region can check out KFI’s live stream of the show via iHeartRadio HERE.
As our Facebook friends and Twitter followers first learned late yesterday (7/23) afternoon, Premiere Networks has announced that Andy Dean (pictured), charter host of the network’s syndicated America Now, is stepping down from the show early next month to assume full-time management duties for his growing technology venture, ConnectPal.com. Premiere says details regarding a new host for the three year old nightly talk show will be announced after the Labor Day holiday. Meanwhile, Joe Pags, host of Premiere’s syndicated The Weekend, as well as The Joe Pags Show on WOAI-AM/San Antonio, KPRC-AM/Houston, KHOW-AM/Denver and KEX-AM/Portland, will serve as guest-host of America Now beginning Monday, August 11th. “Andy is a tremendous talent and we’re proud of what we’ve accomplished together over the past three years with America Now,” said Premiere Networks President Julie Talbott. “We wish him all the best as he starts this new chapter of his career.” Friends and colleagues can reach Andy directly at ConnectPal HERE.
That’s a question posed and at least partially answered in a recent eMarketer report, How Boomers Still Matter: A Disruptive Life Stage Puts Their Consumer Behavior in Play. Among the findings is that, despite conventional wisdom that boomers are set in their consumer purchasing ways, they are actually “heading into a period of great disruption in their lives and it’s putting a good deal of their consumer activity in play.” The report also notes that, unlike their Millennial generation offspring, online shopping isn’t overtaking traditional brick and mortar store purchasing among Talk radio’s large and affluent baby boomer demographics, even though they are increasingly becoming more digitally savvy about their shopping efforts. In fact, eMarketer reports that in a January 2014 poll by Deloitte, just 18% of 60 to 70 year-olds (vs. 45% of 21 to 29 year-olds) agreed with the statement, “Online purchases are displacing purchases I used to make at my preferred brick-and-mortar retailer for stock-up purchases.” Get more news-you-can-use details from the study HERE.