Friday, September 28, 2012

Savage's departure has WRKO mulling over the night-time programming options

Nationally syndicated talker Michael Savage has left his longtime syndication company Talk Radio Network after winning a nearly 2-year legal battle against the company. The fight started back in December 2010 when Savage sued TRN claiming he did not wish to renew his deal and planned to take an offer from Courtside Entertainment.  At the time, TRN's CEO Mark Masters issued a statement saying that Savage’s contract was crystal clear and it would keep the controversial host with the network for the foreseeable future.

Yesterday, the arbitrator ruled in favor of Savage, giving him a chance to pursue opportunities with other networks and syndicators. Savage posted a brief note on his website late on Thursday but gave no sign of any imminent new deal, saying only that he would likely be off the air for “some time.”

In a statement to the Associated Press, Savage’s attorney Dan Horowitz said that the host had tried for two years to get out of his contract, which was 10 years old and prevented Savage from changing syndicators.  He added that Savage, who has  spent over $900,000 on the case, won over $1 million and the right to all archived tapes of his show.

Locally, WRKO 680 which has featured Savage in its evening schedule since November 2002 is now in the process of exploring its programming options. The station had re-affiliated itself with Clear Channel's syndication arm Premiere Network back in August as it brought Rush Limbaugh and the overnight Coast-to-Coast show back into its line-up. WRKO is also affiliated with another big national syndicator - Cumulus Radio. WRKO will fill tonight's(9/28) evening schedule with Cumulus' national talker Mark Levin. It hasn't been announced yet how WRKO plans to program the 7-10pm slot on full-time basis. Its options include : a) inserting one of Cumulus Radio's(Mark Levin) or Premiere Networks' shows(Sean Hannity), b) take a new show with yet to be named host from TRN which debuts Monday(10/1 -or- c) use a) or b) as temporary band-aids until Savage returns to the airwaves via a new syndicator at a later point.

Stay tuned.

BRW Notebook:

Severin 3.0 :  Starting Monday(10/1), The Blaze Radio Network will become the new home for former WTKK and Talk 1200  host Jay Severin. The on-line network, a joint venture between Glenn Beck and Clear Channel Media, will be available on Clear Channel's digital iHeartRadio service as well Blaze's own Iphone and Ipad apps.. Severin's show will be heard from 2pm to 5pm.

After a 12-year run at WTKK 96.9, Severin joined Talk 1200 last August(BRW 8/16/11). But, when Clear Channel flipped Talk 1200 to Matty's Comedy 1200 in early August Severn found himself off the air(BRW 8/6).

Blaze's lineup will also include a simulcast of Beck’s nationally syndicated radio show(9-12pm), a re-launched show hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray(12-2pm) as well as audio simulcasts of TheBlaze TV shows with Glenn Beck(5-6pm).  RadioAnimal, LLC consultant Dom Theodore will serve as the network’s program director.  

TheBlaze chief content officer Joel Cheatwood stated in a press release : “We are excited to continue making TheBlaze a destination for news, information and entertainment programming across multiple platforms.  Jay is an incredible talent and is the perfect host to launch The Blaze Network.”
For media history buffs, in mid-90's(1993-97), Cheatwood served as TV news director at Boston's Channel 7 where installed the current tabloid news format and oversaw station's affiliation change from then-low-rated CBS to highly-rated NBC in 1995.

The independents : The Herald's music writer Jed Gottlieb takes a look at Boston radio's independent station situation after pretty big changes to the local radio landscape over this past summer. His focus is primarily on WXRV/The River 92.5 and Emerson College's WERS 88.9.

The spinning door :  Entercom's rocker WAAF 107.3/97.7 which did away with all the live weekend DJ's over the summer, faced another budget ax earlier this week. The Herald has the big scoop behind the exit of the longtime morning show co-host/voice artist Kevin Barbare. He has been part of the "Hill-Man Morning Show" since 1993 and was working without a contract since early August.  The station did re-up its Gregg Hill to a new long-term deal in late June and recently converted Total Traffic Network's reporter/sidekick Danielle Murr to a full time role on the show.

Locker room update : As WEEI gets ready to break away from simulcasting on AM dial as it continues to build on its local brand on the much more profitable FM pastures, the station took home another Marconi Award for the best sports talker in the country at the NAB's Radio Show in Dallas last week. Boston Globe's Chad Finn notes the Marconi award(WEEI's 2nd in 4 years) as well details some of the arrangements and programming options for the new 'ESPN on 850' format which debuts next Friday(10/5).

1 comment:

raccoonradio said...

I guess TRN plugged Jerry Doyle in the 6-9 pm ET slot, with Dr Bill Wattenberg for now taking the 3-6 pm ET slot. Wattenberg was heard on Mon. night in for Doyle, anyway. As of right now it's Levin at 7 on RKO followed by Doyle, as before but as you say there are Premiere or Cumulus options. I think they'd prefer to be fairly live so I wouldn't expect, say, TRN's Ingraham.

RKO had the Sen. debate Mon followed by Doyle. Tonight is the prez debate, etc.