Here’s one to file away for use on Mothers’ Day next year. Cumulus Media News/Talker WPRO/Providence celebrated every Mom’s favorite holiday this year with an online salute to “MOMtrepreners” — a feature designed to showcase the achievements of Rhode Island area moms who have turned their passions into careers, while also balancing the needs of their growing families. WPRO web editor Kim Kalunian profiled several moms who’ve managed to ‘have it all’ HERE … Happy to report that the websites of WTOP/Washington and sister station Federal News Radio (WFED) are up and running safely again following a recent cyber attack. Users accessing the websites from all web browsers, including Internet Explorer, once again have full access to both websites. ”We have found and eliminated the vulnerabilities that were exploited,” said John Spaulding, Director of Information Systems for Hubbard Radio’s DC operations. The stations said that the cyber attacks suffered by both sites are part of a growing trend of breaches that take advantage of network weaknesses to indiscriminately go after visitors of popular websites.
Well, the week in Talk media news ends pretty much as it began, with an almost daily tug-of-words between Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey and sources surrounding Rush Limbaugh. The roots of this feud are well-established, so we won’t belabor them here. But with expiration dates on Limbaugh affiliations looming at some 40 Cumulus radio stations — many of those big AM signals in big markets — both parties can be expected to play hardball as negotiations progress. The latest shot across the bow comes from Dickey who chatted with Bloomberg News anchor Betty Liu yesterday (5/9). When asked about Limbaugh’s assertion that the Cumulus exec is off base to blame him for recent company ad revenue losses, Dickey said it was “indisputable” that “those events” were responsible for drops in the company’s News/Talk revenues. And while he said he’d “moved on” and preferred not to negotiate in public he added, ”We have the premier Talk distribution platform in the U.S. and if you want to be on a big stage in this game, you need to be on our radio stations in the largest markets. They’re the biggest signals and the heritage brands and everybody knows that.” See the full interview HERE.
With the annual Memorial Day holiday weekend just over two weeks away, stations looking for special programming would do well to check out Fisher House Foundation’s A Grateful Nation, a three-hour tribute to America’s military, available May 25th-27th. For details reach out to Kurt Kretzschmar HERE … Meanwhile, FOX News Radio is offering affiliates two one-hour specials for the Memorial Day holiday weekend including Remembering Iraq, hosted by Griff Jenkins; and The Next Disaster, hosted by Janice Dean … On the lighter side, ABC News Radio affiliates can pick and choose from three one-hour specials for summer’s official kick-off weekend including Car Crazy! America’s Love Affair with Cars, anchored by Cheri Preston and Michael Barr; ABC’s Summer Survival Guide 2013 anchored by Alex Stone; and ABC ‘s Super Epic Summer Movie Special of Steel anchored by David Blaustein.
Effective Monday (5/13) Dial Global’s syndicated Jim Bohannon Show joins the late night lineup at WDEL/Wilmington, DE. “Jimbo” will slide into the 9pm-midnight weeknight slot on the Demarva Broadcasting News/Talker … Meanwhile, Ed Schultz (pictured) — whose daily Talk radio show is also syndicated via Dial Global — returns to television this weekend (5/11-12) when The Ed Show rejoins the lineup at cable news channel MSNBC at a new 5pm (ET) weekend time slot … KNZR/Bakersfield welcomes Inga Barks to the station’s lineup, where she’s now heard weekdays from 3-5pm. Barks has the Central California airwaves well covered, as she also continues to be heard nightly (6-9pm) on KMJ/Fresno … Former KRLA/Los Angeles morning co-host Heidi Harris is back in her hometown of Las Vegas, where she’s speaking out via three daily commentaries now heard on ‘Talk That Rocks’ 790 AM KBET.
Don Imus (pictured) will broadcast his 24th annual radiothon to benefit the Imus Ranch for Kids With Cancer next week. The two-day fundraiser will air from 6-10am (ET), May 14th and 15th, on Imus’ flagship WABC/New York, cable TV’s Fox Business Network and on Cumulus Media Networks’ Imus In The Morning affiliates nationwide … The Radio Television Digital News Association has announced that FOX News host and anchor Chris Wallace will be honored with the group’s 2013 Paul White Award, recognizing a lifetime of achievement and service to the profession of electronic journalism. Wallace will be feted on August 25th during the 2013 Excellence In Journalism convention at Southern California’s Anaheim Marriott Hotel … As we first told our Facebook friends late yesterday (5/8), Talk Radio Network and late night host Phil Hendrie will part ways upon expiration of Hendrie’s contract next month. TRN will air Roy Masters’ nightly advice-driven program in Hendrie’s 1-4am (ET) slot.
Arbitron released its Radio Today 2013 study to clients today and there’s a lot of good news in it for News/Talk radio. News/Talk — designated by Arbitron as ‘News/Talk/Information’ plus ‘Talk/Personality’ — remains the number one format in PPM-measured markets, and the number two format in the rest of U.S. diary measured markets. Radio Today 2013 notes that, like other spoken word formats, News/Talk continues to rank “prominently” in highly educated, high income listeners. The just released study also offers an interesting look at a map of the U.S. showing where the format both outperforms and underperforms its national average. States where News/Talk performs “substantially above” the national average include Alaska, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont and Massachusetts. Conversely, those states where the format performs “substantially below” the national average include Montana, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Indiana, North and South Carolina and Maine. The full Radio Today 2013 report is currently available only to Arbitron clients. However, non-subscribers can access an ‘Executive Summary’ of the study HERE.
In the continuing war of words being exchanged between Cumulus Media and Talk radio titan Rush Limbaugh, during an earnings call held yesterday (5/7) Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey indirectly pointed a finger at Limbaugh and the now well-reported 2012 Sandra Fluke incident as a reason for the company’s revenue decline — a charge the Limbaugh camp and his syndicator, Premiere Networks, have strongly disputed. “We’ve had a tough go of it the last year,” said Dickey when asked if he still felt that Limbaugh’s show had negatively impacted the company’s revenues. “The facts are indisputable regarding the impact certain things have had on ad dollars.” Dickey did not mention the syndicated host by name, nor did he address reports that some three dozen Cumulus Talk stations currently carrying Limbaugh’s program could lose the show when affiliation agreements expire later this year. It’s clear that both camps are staking out their turf in this developing stand off that is playing out not only in the industry trades, but also in the consumer press.
Meanwhile, a number of published reports following yesterday’s Cumulus earnings call said that “sources close to the company” have claimed that “48 out of the Top 50 network advertisers have ‘exclude Rush Limbaugh and [fellow Premiere Networks syndicated talker] Sean Hannity‘ orders in place, and that a “major national ad agency” has the same dictate. Those reports prompted a quick response from Premiere Networks officials who issued a release correcting the charge saying, “That statement is completely inaccurate. A number of the top spenders in the medium use Talk radio to promote their brands and sell product, and many of them use The Rush Limbaugh Show and The Sean Hannity Show as the driving force of their marketing efforts.”
A stark reminder that pretty much any web site is vulnerable to an attack in our Internet world, as WTOP/Washington was forced to block visitors using Internet Explorer (IE) from accessing the Hubbard all-newser’s popular website. The cyber attack, which also hit the website of sister station Federal News Radio (WFED), attempted to use the sites to infect visitors’ computers with malware. A story posted on the WTOP website today says the station is just one of a number of media and other websites that have been compromised recently, with hackers exploiting a security flaw in IE to redirect traffic to a fake site that then installs malware on a user’s computer. Meanwhile, Weststar Talk Radio Network host Kim Komando reports that as of now, Microsoft doesn’t have a fix for the security flaw in IE 8 and that even up-to-date security software might not protect you. In an email sent to her fans and followers, the ‘Digital Goddess’ suggests that you “upgrade to IE 9 or 10, or switch web browsers.” Komando has details on how to upgrade or switch your browser HERE.
In an interview posted today, former Arkansas Governor and GOP presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee told Arkansas Business reporter Kate Knable that he’s not yet made a decision on whether or not to renew his deal to host a daily Talk radio show syndicated by Cumulus Media Networks (CMN). “I’ve got to always weigh how much time I’m putting into it and what the return is,” Huckabee told Knable. “It’s just such an incredibly intensive process that I really have to decide that I want to spend that kind of time.” No doubt ‘Huck” has learned what every Talk radio host learns — prepping and delivering a quality three-hour daily show adds up to a lot of hours each week, leaving little time for other projects. His workload also includes hosting a weekly show on the FOX News Channel, delivering a daily CMN syndicated radio commentary, writing books, and contributing to the spiritual website GodFruits. Not to mention that another run for the White House in 2016 is something that the politician-turned-talk host has not ruled out. Since it’s debut a year ago, Huckabee’s radio show — billed by his network as a softer alternative to Rush Limbaugh — has signed a reported 225 affiliates. The news that Huck could be considering walking away from the show comes just days after media reports that the Premiere Networks syndicated host may not renew current deals with a number of Cumulus Media-owned affiliates, potentially leaving some big shoes to fill at the company’s stations in numerous markets, including major cities like New York, Chicago, Dallas and Washington, DC.