In a story published earlier this week at Politico.com, Weekly Standard Associate Editor Ethan Epstein asserted that nationally syndicated radio talker Rush Limbaugh and the entire business of Talk radio are both currently on “shaky ground.” Today, in an uncharacteristic move, Limbaugh — whose demise has been predicted almost since he debuted in the late 1980s — responded to the charges. In a feature written by Jeff Poor for Breitbart.com, Rush called Epstein’s speculation an attempt to interfere with his business model at a time when he is presumably in renewal negotiations with iHeartMedia. “The Politico story is a long and worn out laundry list of lies about my business timed to the end of my iHeart deal,” Limbaugh told Breitbart News. And while the Politico piece reports Limbaugh’s daily Premiere Networks syndicated talk show has been losing audience, Poor writes current ratings results simply don’t back up that charge. “According to ratings provided by Nielsen Audio, the Rush Limbaugh Show’s average quarter hour (AQH) audience in every demographic has increased by at least 30%, including overall AQH by 37% percent, over the previous year.” Read the full Breitbart News article HERE.
This Saturday (5/28) President Barack Obama will travel to Hiroshima, Japan, where he’ll make an historic visit to the city on which the United States dropped an atomic bomb some seven decades ago to help bring an end to World War II. Interest in the visit is running high among Japanese citizens, so much so, that Japanese television actually cornered CBS Radio News correspondent Pam Coulter to interview her about the President’s decision to make the visit to Hiroshima, and talk about his continuing efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons across the globe.
Veteran ABC News Radio correspondent Ann Compton — who retired from full-time reporting duties in 2014 — is returning to semi-active duty, teaming up with ABCRN correspondent Aaron Katersky as a political contributor to the network’s 2016 presidential election campaign coverage. “Ann’s 41-years covering the White House and her enormous list of accomplishments are well documented,” said ABC Radio VP/GM Steve Jones in a memo to staffers. “Few people have witnessed as much history first-hand as Ann Compton. Her blend of experience and wisdom gained from decades covering politics make Ann uniquely suited to put today’s political developments in perspective and to offer context that will best inform our listeners and distinguish our coverage in Cleveland and Philadelphia.”
After several days of stunting, Cumulus Media has officially flipped WZRR-FM/Birmingham, AL from Country to News/Talk as Talk 99.5, Birmingham’s Real Talk. The former ‘Nash Icon‘ outlet now features a 24/7 roster of talk shows, with an all live and local lineup from 6am-6pm, and a slate of Westwood One syndicated talk shows from 6pm-6am. Commenting on the station’s debut this morning, Program Director and morning host Matt Murphy said, “Talk 99.5 is designed to not only be a source for breaking news and information, but as a place for Birmingham listeners to talk about the issues important to them. Our commitment to live and local hosts represents our commitment to delivering the very best news, information and talk to the people of Alabama.” Meanwhile, Cumulus Media SVP/Content And Programming Mike McVay added, “This line-up — local and national programming combined — underscores Cumulus’ commitment to News/Talk and the growth of spoken-word programming.” You can check out the new station HERE.
Over the past several months a local Sunday night talk show heard on WPHT/Philadelphia has quietly been developing a following and more than respectable ratings, according to the show’s host Walter Sterling. Better known to industry readers as Walter Sabo (left), the longtime broadcast content consultant and visionary programmer says he started the weekly program on a dare from CBS Radio EVP/Programming Chris Oliviero, who asked him, “Have you ever thought of doing a talk show?” Fast-forward and Sabo found himself being offered the 11pm-1am Sunday night slot on WPHT, where he’s developed a program that eschews Talk radio’s typical patter about politics in favor of a wide variety of topics that appeal to both women and men. And while Sabo/Sterling has been very low-keyed about his new venture over the past several months, NTS MediaOnline Today happened across a web page this week that would seem to indicate that The Walter Sterling Show just might be ready for its close-up. See more HERE.
Meanwhile, in a related news item, Glenn Beck – founder and CEO of TheBlaze and long running Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio host — was among some two dozen or so members of conservative media who were invited to Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters this week to discuss the aforementioned charges alleging bias against conservative news and stories by the social media giant. As it turns out, Beck’s takeaway from the sit-down would seem to bolster the idea that the whole thing is a bit of a ‘tempest in a teapot’ as the old saying goes. “Yesterday, I had an opportunity to meet with some of the senior staff at Facebook, including the CEO and COO,” Beck wrote on his website. “I found the meeting deeply disturbing — but not for the reasons you might think.” Although Beck says he left the meeting “convinced that Facebook is behaving appropriately and trying to do the right thing,” in the end it wasn’t necessarily the representatives from Facebook who were attending the meeting that made him feel a bit uncomfortable as he listened. Read more HERE.
Longtime CBS News reporter and 60 Minutes anchor Morley Safer died earlier today at his home in New York. He was 84. Safer had been suffering from declining health when he announced his retirement last week, just ahead of a planned 60 Minutes retrospective on his career that aired this past Sunday night (5/15). A part of the 60 Minutes team for 46 years, Safer joined the long running television news magazine in 1970, replacing another legend, Harry Reasoner. The Canadian-born Safer, who began his career with the CBC, made his mark at CBS News with his early career reporting from Vietnam, where he did three tours from 1964-1966 and served as head of the network’s Saigon bureau. In a post to the CBS News website, CBS Corp. chairman and CEO Leslie Moonves said, “Morley was one of the most important journalists in any medium, ever. He broke ground in war reporting and made a name that will forever be synonymous with 60 Minutes. He was also a gentleman, a scholar, a great raconteur – all of those things and much more to generations of colleagues, his legion of friends, and his family, to whom all of us at CBS offer our sincerest condolences over the loss of one of CBS’ and journalism’s greatest treasures.” Read more on Safer’s fascinating and colorful career HERE.
It’s ‘Power Players’ week on the long-running TV game show Jeopardy all this week, and host Alex Trebek is welcoming players from politics and political media competing to earn money for charity. Monday night’s big winner was CNN host, columnist and political commentator S.E. Cupp (left), who won a cool $50,000 for the ‘No Kid Hungry’ campaign from Share Our Strength. Last night’s Jeopardy came down to a photo finish, with CBS News correspondent Lara Logan (right) snatching a “Final Jeopardy” win from CNN anchor Anderson Cooper to claim the evening’s $50K prize, which she donated to the Committee To Protect Journalists. Look for CNN’s Kate Bolduan, the Washington Post’s Jonathan Capehart and comedian Louis C.K. manning the buzzers for tonight’s edition of the show. Check your local listings, as they say.
WTMJ/Milwaukee recently sponsored two Stars and Stripes Honor Flights, flying 140 local veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit their War Memorials and other sites in our nation’s capitol. WTMJ afternoon host John Mercure led a ‘WTMJ Cares’ fundraising project last October, and the E.J. Scripps News/Talker’s listeners donated over $250,000 to fund the flights through two radiothon events held on-air and via online giving. “After serving as an Honor Flight guardian to a brave Marine from the Korean conflict, I am humbled by our veterans’ service and the generosity of our listeners,” said WTMJ VP/GM Tom Langmyer about last weekend’s trip. “The ‘WTMJ Cares’ campaign, led by John Mercure, is just another example of how live, local radio can impact a community.” See a moving video of of the honored veterans walking through a special ‘Welcome Home’ reception line following their visit to DC HERE. (photo by WTMJ’s Jane Matanaer)
Coast-to-Coast AM host George Noory will present a special, live stage version of his Premiere Networks syndicated overnight show at Lindenwood University in St. Louis — the city where Noory’s local Nighthawk radio show first caught the attention of Premiere execs back in 2003, who then tapped him to succeed Art Bell as host of the long running late night show. Guests for the live broadcast will include UFO-logist and nuclear physicist Stanton Friedman, rock historian and author R. Gary Patterson, St. Louis Radio Hall of Famer Mark Klose of FM NewsTalk 97.1 (KFTK/St. Louis), and Mark Farley, founding member of the St. Louis Paranormal Society and frequent guest of KFTK’s Dave Glover Show. The live audience for the ticketed event (that will also be available on pay-per-view) will also be treated to music from the Jim Manly Band and much more.