Monthly Archives: February 2014

Prepping for the Oscars with WABC’s Sandy Kenyon

KenyonTime for the tuxes and gowns to glisten the Oscar red carpet. We recently sat with WABC-TV entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon to pick his brain about this year’s favorites.

Kenyon hosts an annual pre-Oscar show, The Road to Gold: An Academy Award Preview, Saturday night on Channel 7, 24 hours before ABC broadcasts the festivities. It re-airs Sunday afternoon. He says the 86th edition may spread the wealth among the contenders.

“I think this year is a year where the long held promise of diversity finally flowered a bit,” Kenyon tells Tuned In.

Fruitvale Station and The Butler, films showcasing the plight and positives of African Americans, were shut out of any nominations. But Kenyon says that doesn’t take away from the progress.

“More films that reflect a greater diversity are part of the Oscar discussion this year.”

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Scott Shannon Makes ‘Choice’ to Start Anew at WCBS-FM

shannonCBSFMMonday can’t come soon enough for Scott Shannon. The legendary air personality is about to embark on the next phase of his career–fronting WCBS-FM’s morning show.

Earlier this month, Shannon parted ways with WPLJ, announcing he was retiring from the station after more than two decades co-hosting morning drive with Todd Pettengill.

No one should be surprised by Shannon’s quick action for a return to radio.

“Sometimes when you read, one word is more dominant than the other,”  Shannon tells Tuned In. “But it always said retired from ‘PLJ. I guess no one’s ever retired from a station.”

Without delving into the nuts and bolts of his departure, Shannon says it was his choice to leave after more than 22 years.

“I was involved in the decision,” Shannon says. “It was just time to make a change.”

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Scott Shannon Takes Over Mornings at WCBS-FM

shannonCBSFMScott Shannon, who ended his association with WPLJ earlier this month after more than 20 years, will resurface at WCBS-FM as morning host. The station confirms the veteran air personality starts March 3.

Shannon’s appointment moves Dan Taylor from his usual perch to middays. However, the release did not make mention of Ron Parker, the current midday jock. A CBS Radio spokesperson tells Tuned In that Parker will not return to CBS-FM. “However, we are exploring opportunities to keep him with CBS Radio.”

We’re told that Parker had the best ratings among all the DJs on CBS-FM, particularly in the coveted 25-54 demographic.

Scott Shannon in the Morning will include longtime CBS-FM weatherman Mr. G, along with traffic reporter Joe Nolan.

“Not often does a legendary morning drive personality become available with the experience of waking up New Yorkers for more than 25 years,” Don Bouloukos, Senior Vice President and Market Manager, CBS Radio New York, said in a statement. “CBS-FM is a heritage station, and the perfect place for Hall of Famer Scott Shannon.  We are thrilled to welcome Scott and his award-winning personality to CBS-FM and the CBS Radio family.”

Shannon developed the Morning Zoo format that he brought to New York at WHTZ/Z100 in 1983. He launched the famous “worst to first” campaign as the station went to number one in just 74 days.

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Long Island Media Watchdog Files FCC Complaint, Seeks WJKY Morning Hosts Fired for Same-Sex ‘Hoax’

steve and leeanaIt’s the radio stunt heard ’round the world. With WKJY morning hosts Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson suspended until further notice, the Fair Media Council has weighed in.

The organization has filed a complaint with the FCC demanding the hosts be terminated. Harper is also the station’s program director.

As we reported, the duo came under fire for faking an on-air bit last week about a birthday party for a seven-year-old girl with two dads. However, a mother’s RSVP was posted on the station’s Facebook page, angrily saying her son would not be permitted to attend the party.

Harper later released a statement on their website that fell short of an apology, but said he was trying to stimulate conversation on such a hot button topic.

But Fair Media Council executive director Jaci Clement tells Tuned In there is no silver lining for this story.

“It underscores all that’s wrong in media today, embarrasses Long Island with this uneducated, sophomoric publicity attempt and furthers an unfortunate stereotype,” Clement adds. “Where is the good in creating hurt?”

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GM Suspends WKJY Morning Team “Until Further Notice”

steve-leeanaIn the wake of the controversial on-air staged bit at WKJY/98.3, morning show hosts Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson have had their mics turned off indefinitely.

As we reported over the weekend, Harper, who doubles as the station PD, and Karlson created an online whirlwind after a fake stunt about a same-sex family and a mother’s outrage.

GM Dave Widmer tells Tuned In that the pair have been suspended “until further notice.”

Visitors to the WKJY website were greeted by a “technical difficulties” disclaimer Monday. But a message from management says, “An internal investigation was quickly launched which has resulted in the immediate suspension of Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson from the K-98.3 Morning Show.”

But there is a message from management on the page from Widmer.

“K-98.3 has been serving Long Island for over 25 years and we respect the important role we play in the lives of our listeners. We deeply value our relationship with our listeners and are committed to providing them with the highest level of service because they deserve the very best. I sincerely apologize for the actions of Steve and Leeana, their insensitivity to the hurt it may have caused anyone, and for the breach of trust these actions have caused.”

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WKJY Morning Hosts Purport Anti-Gay Hoax

REJECTED_INVITEX400_0Gays and lesbians have made strides toward equality in recent years. But it’s still a big story when someone notable “comes out of the closet.” Just last week, All-American defensive lineman Michael Sam made headlines by announcing he’s gay. Despite inroads by the LGBT community, gay rights remains a sensitive subject.

Long Island radio station WKJY created a hot button topic by staging a controversial hoax.

This week, the station’s morning team of Steve Harper and Leeana Karlson posted a story on their Facebook page about a boy from Baldwin, N.Y., having a birthday party next month. The page showed the invitation to the boy’s party and a mother’s angry R.S.V.P.

Scrawled at the bottom, sides and back of the invite, the mom wrote: “Tommy will NOT attend. I do not beleive [sic] in what you do and will not subject my innocent son to your ‘lifestyle.'” The ramblings continued with the mother saying, “If you have an issue or need to speak to me…” and added her phone number.

The story is getting the attention of many outlets and websites locally and overseas.

Under fire, Harper, who is also WKJY’s program director, and Karlson posted an apology on the station’s website Friday saying they faked the story “to spur a healthy discourse on a highly passionate topic.”

Instead, the hosts got swept up in a firestorm.

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WINS Anchor Brian Carey Returns to the Air Five Months After Brutal Attack

brian-carey22With the words, “Good afternoon. It’s 23 and partly sunny at 3 o’clock,” Brian Carey cracked the mic as afternoon WINS anchor. Yesterday marked his first on-air appearance following a much-publicized horrific beating last September in his Manhattan apartment. The assault left Carey with a broken jaw, shattered eye socket, and bleeding on the brain.

The veteran newsman broke the format momentarily, alluding to his personal struggles at the top of the newscast.

“It’s so good to be back,” Carey told listeners in a strong voice before reading the headlines.

Even longtime traffic reporter Matt Ward couldn’t miss a chance to send well wishes to his colleague.

“Good afternoon, Brian, and welcome back.”

Elton Anthony was charged three days after the assault. His next court date is March 17. 

There is conflicting information on how Carey knew Anthony. 1010 WINS’ website states that he was the anchor’s house cleaner and personal assistant. Multiple reports, though, refer to Anthony as a homeless man.

Emmis Buys WBLS and WLIB for $131 Million in Cash

BLSEmmis is adding to its New York stockpile. The Indianapolis-based media company has agreed to acquire Urban A/C WBLS, the number two station in New York, and Urban Gospel sister station WLIB-AM from YMF Media.

The price tag is $131 million in cash to be paid in two installments, approximately $55 million after the FCC grants the licenses, expected in the summer. The second amount–$76 million–will be paid in February 2015.

The transaction once again would give Emmis three stations in New York, joining WHQT/Hot 97.

“Today’s announcement is indicative of our belief in the US radio industry and our desire to increase our footprint in the nation’s largest market,” Jeff Smulyan, President & CEO of Emmis Communications, said in a statement. “Emmis has deep ties to the New York African-American community, and it is with great pride we take the helm of these iconic stations.”

Last year, WBLS and WLIB reported approximately $32 million of net revenues and more than $16 million of station operating expenses..

The WBLS/WLIB operations and studios have been co-located with HOT 97 since 2012.

Reportedly, Deon Levingston, CEO of YMF Media and General Manager of WBLS/WLIB, will become GM of Emmis’ New York cluster when the Local Marketing Agreement commences.

YMF took control of WBLS/WLIB in October 2012 after parent company Inner City Broadcasting filed for bankruptcy.

MSG Network and WPIX Lead 2014 Emmy Nominations

FrancesThe New York Emmy Award nominations are announced today. Topping the list is MSG Network is 64 nominations. WPIX led the over the air outlets with 44, one better than the YES Network.

In the On-Camera Talent: News Anchor category, WCBS’ Chris Wragge will look to add to the mantle. Among those vying for the award include WNBC’s Michael Gargiulo, Tamsen Fadal of WPIX, and her former colleague Frances Rivera (above).

The weather anchor category features WABC’s Amy Freeze goes against WPIX’s Linda Church, and previous winner Lonnie Quinn of WCBS. News 12 The Bronx’s Mike Favetta rounds out the competition.

WPIX’s Scott Stanford is nominated as Best Sports Anchor for his work with WNBC. Standing in the way of the trophy are Bill Pidto of MSG, News 12 Long Island’s Jamie Stuart and Kevin Maher and WNJU/Telemundo’s Rafael Bello.

In the General Assignment Reporter category, a pair of WPIX standouts are highlighted: Jay Dow and James Ford. They’re joined by WCBS’ Carolyn Gusoff and Weijia Jiang, and Darla Miles of WABC.

Former WPIX commentator Larry Mendte got six nods, including the Political Reporter category.

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