That’s the hot topic that will be discussed and dissected in our nation’s capitol next Monday (10/20) when WTOP/Washington hosts a special one-hour live town hall broadcast on the growing Ebola threat, from 10-11am at DC’s Newseum. WTOP midday anchors Bruce Alan and Debra Feinstein will host the forum, with two special guests on the front lines of the Ebola crisis: Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, and Dr. Jesse Goodman, Professor of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and active infectious diseases clinician at the Washington, DC VA Medical Center and Walter Reed Medical Center. WTOP has also extended an invitation to the Centers for Disease Control to join the panel. “WTOP is pleased to facilitate an in-depth discussion on this important subject,” said Laurie Cantillo, PD for the Hubbard-owned all-newser. “The town hall format gives everyone a chance to ask questions directly of two preeminent physicians on the forefront of the battle against this deadly disease.” Admission is free but seating is limited, so pre-registration is required. Those living outside the Washington, DC region can hear the program streamed live via the WTOP website HERE.
Talk host Chris Merrill, who was just announced this week as moving from mornings to evenings at KOGO/San Diego, has apparently opted to trade the sun and sand of America’s Finest City for the sun and sand of Arizona, where he’ll slide into afternoons at iHeartMedia sister News/Talker KFYI/Phoenix. Beginning November 10th, Merrill will assume the PM Drive hours now occupied by Mike Broomhead, who is headed to morning drive where he’ll takeover for the retiring Barry Young. NTS MediaOnline Today has also confirmed that Merrill will be relocating to the Valley of The Sun, hosting his 4-7pm afternoon show on-site at KFYI, while also continuing to host a nightly 7-9pm weekday show for KOGO from Phoenix. “We are beyond thrilled to bring Chris into town,” said KFYI Program Director Neil Larrimore. “He is an up-and-coming superstar who understands the evolution of Talk radio. With Chris joining the team, KFYI is perfectly positioned for much success in 2015 and beyond.”
Bridge Ratings, which has been trending News/Talk radio preferences since 1999, has released a new report that was recently posted at LinkedIn by company President/CEO Dave Van Dyke. So what is the study’s top line finding? Information overload is causing fatigue for some News/Talk listeners. “Over-saturation, ever-shortening of news cycles and repetition of hard news with too-little updated information, is wearing thin on consumers who are seeking alternative sources for information that is fresh, entertaining and positive,” writes Van Dyke (pictured). “Radio has become one of many pieces in the media landscape puzzle. This role has become uncomfortable for broadcasters but should be seen as an opportunity to reinvent, develop and serve their communities during a time of rich information flow and a vast funnel of information to consume.” Bridge’s latest study is based on interviews with some 3,200 News/Talk radio listeners who consume at least 3 hours of News/Talk radio weekly. Respondents were compiled through random digital dial, internet self-administered questionnaires and in-person interviews, with a margin of error of +/- 1.7%.
Westwood One alerted affiliates of NBC News Radio today that, effective December 15th, the network will no longer produce and distribute the news service it inherited when Westwood acquired the assets of Dial Global last year. The letter to affiliates also gives an official name – Westwood One News – to the previously announced white label news service for radio “powered by CNN” that Westwood One is developing. Through various mergers and acquisitions over the past few years, Cumulus Media-owned Westwood One had acquired the distribution and affiliate sales rights to ABC News Radio, CBS Radio News and CNNRadio News. The cessation of CNN’s radio news operations back in 2012, coupled with the recent news that Disney is letting its ABC News Radio distribution deal with WW One expire this year and will take the network back under the Disney/ABC News tent, means Westwood will now be the exclusive distributor for just CBS Radio News and its own new WW One News.
Two longtime Talk radio entrepreneurs, Doug Stephan and Ron Hartenbaum, have partnered in a deal that will see Hartenbaum’s WYM Media Management takeover national affiliate sales efforts for the daily Doug Stephan’s Good Day and also oversee the upcoming launch of Good Day Weekend – a three-hour show featuring news, newsmakers, advice and commentary that can air during any weekend hours. “Doug brings a breath of fresh air to radio,” said Hartenbaum of the addition of Stephan’s shows to WYM’s roster of programming offerings. “With his positive approach to the days’ news and events, Doug makes people feel good in the morning while also keeping them informed on what they missed while they were sleeping.” Doug Stephan’s Good Day is syndicated by Stephan Multimedia and distributed by Radio America, Business Talk Radio, Cable Radio Networks and Genesis Radio Network on a reported 350+ radio stations nationwide.
While vacationing in Colorado last week, WBT/Charlotte, NC afternoon driver John Hancock decided to take a peek behind the door of one of the Rocky Mountain State’s recreational marijuana shops. Hancock (pictured) has posted a video in which he shares his experience of buying pot legally. View it HERE … New York City’s legendary Village Voice, has named WABC/New York host Geraldo Rivera as 2014′s ‘Best AM Radio Personality’ in the alternative newspaper’s annual ‘Best Of’ awards. Read more HERE … After more than 45 years on the air, Twin Falls, Idaho newsman Kelly Klaas has announced he’ll retire at the end of the year. Klaas’ final day on the air at KLIX will be New Year’s Eve, December 31st. The local Twin Falls Times-News has more details HERE.
Go to any gathering of radio people these days and you are likely to hear a lot of them — especially those in Talk radio — saying how the industry needs to do a better job at courting and serving Millennials if radio wants to remain part of the generation’s audio future. As part of its New Boom series, NPR (which in case you haven’t been paying attention gets some pretty darn good News and Talk shares and demos in markets around the country) asked millennials (18-34) to take a “selfie” that includes the actual U.S. Census categories for identity (race, ethnicity, sex, etc.), as well as the categories that they wish they could choose to describe themselves. If you think you know how Millennials think and view the world around them, some of the results from NPR’s social media outreach promotion just might surprise you. Learn more HERE.
Word out of KOGO/San Diego is that PD Brian Long is implementing a major makeover at the Clear Channel News/Talker. Longtime host LaDona Harvey – who has been heard in just about every daypart during her lengthy tenure with the station — returns to morning drive from her current mid-afternooon slot. She’ll co-anchor a new news-and-information-focused 5-9am program with Ted Garcia – most recently an anchor at crosstown KFMB-TV. Current morning host Chris Merrill will move to a new 7pm evening time slot, while current afternoon talker Bob ’Sully’ Sullivan shifts to a new 1-4pm slot, making way for a new PM Drive (4-7pm) news block anchored by veteran radio news anchors Ernie Brown and Marilyn Hyder. Obviously looking to regain some ratings traction by emphasizing its deep ‘NewsRadio’ roots in America’s Finest City, the KOGO makeover also includes the addition of a new Noon News Hour, anchored by former Program Director and popular local radio newsman Cliff Albert, who has returned to the station full-time as News Director. Syndicated programs on the station, including Rush Limbaugh, Coast-To-Coast with George Noory and The Wall Street Journal This Morning with Gordon Deal, will all retain their current timeslots after the changes.
For the second Monday in a row, the Talk radio industry has begun the work week mourning one of its own, with news of the weekend death of longtime WORD 106.3/Greenville,SC host Russ Cassell. Called the “heart and soul of WORD for over twenty years” in an official release from the Entercom News/Talker, the 60-year old talk host reportedly suffered a massive fatal heart attack at his home on Saturday (10/11) and could not be revived by emergency medical personnel. ”There are some radio personalities who are larger than life. That was Cassell,” said WORD Operations Manager Bob McClain. “He was passionate about what he believed and was dedicated to keeping people informed. He was a brilliant and very talented radio host and a personal friend. His loss will be greatly felt by all of us in the WORD family, those who worked with him and those who listened to him.” Special programming remembering Cassell will air all this week during his 8am-noon time slot. A public memorial service for the heritage local radio personality will be held on Thursday (10/16) at Greeville’s Berea First Baptist Church.
Premiere Networks’ syndicated host Sean Hannity (pictured), Salem Radio Network host Mike Gallagher and David Webb of Sirius XM all offer their unique perspectives on the Ferguson, MO story and how Talk radio has covered the unrest, in the October issue of TownHall magazine. Read the full feature HERE … Affiliate relations specialist Nick DeGregorio has joined the Benztown affiliate sales team. DeGregorio has over 10 years experience in affiliate sales, with previously held positions at United Stations and Westwood One … Former late night television talker Jay Leno is close to a deal to host a new show for cable network CNBC, according to the The Hollywood Reporter. The show will focus on Leno’s longtime love of cars and will air in primetime, not late night. Read more HERE.