Talk Radio/Media Industry News

Monday, November 30, 2015

| November 30, 2015

wabc logoGeraldo Exit from WABC, New York Appears Official.  There’s been no announcement from Cumulus Media and we don’t really expect one.  All of the information on this story comes from Geraldo Rivera himself.  As TALKERS reported last Thursday, Rivera first said on his Facebook page that he was informed by new Cumulus CEO Mary Berner and Cumulus NYC market manager Chad Lopez that the company will not be honoring “theriverageraldo handshake deal I made with ousted company chief John Dickey, an agreement to extend my current contract for a year.  The decision to renege on our deal on the eve of Thanksgiving is especially upsetting coming in the wake of my emotionally charged and highly rated coverage of the Paris massacre and frantic efforts by authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice.  Last year, The Village Voice named me the ‘2014 Best AM Radio Host in NYC’, writing in part, ‘Geraldo Rivera actually has something to say.  The guy understands the issues of the day and has enough confidence in his opinions to call bullshit on blowhards,’ which I’m doing here.”  Since then, Geraldo added to his post, writing that he intends to make this difficult for the company.  “That slight will not go unanswered.  Trust me on this; it is not about the money.  I have enough and give away to various charities more than most.  But because of their unforgivable disrespect I will fight them and they will end up costing their battered company far more in damages than they expect to save in my salary.”  Geraldo goes on to write about the value of his show to the New York audience.  “The pity is this misguided management has deprived my loyal New York audience a program that they have followed and engaged with during a turbulent time of crucial interest…”  Whether Geraldo can prevail in court remains to be seen, but of course it’s within Cumulus’ right to fire or hire talent as the company sees fit.

bozedavidDavid Boze Exits Bonneville’s KTTH, Seattle.  Saying that he’s leaving the station to pursue “ventures that can only be done in presidential years,” morning drive personality David Boze leaves Bonneville International’s KTTH, Seattle after 13 years with the station.  He says, “I leave the stationktth I helped found in the hands of a great company and good people.  I am incredibly grateful for the loyalty and kindness of my listeners.  It is a wonderful thing to meet them and realize we are already friends thanks to the power of radio.  I’m also exceptionally grateful for my show sponsors, who have invested in my show year after year. Bonneville has been a great company to work for, and I will miss the people who have become such a meaningful, daily part of my life.”  The company has not named a permanent replacement for Boze.

hickenlooperjohnSome Talk Radio Pros Take Issue with Colorado Governor’s Placing Blame for Shooting on Media and Campaign Rhetoric.  Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, in addressing the deadly shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs over the weekend, hinted that talk show hosts and bloggers are in some way to blame for the deaths of the three victims and the nine people wounded.  The governor said, in part, “Certainly it’s a form of terrorism, and maybe in some way it’s a function of the inflammatory rhetoric we see on so many issues now, there are bloggers and talk shows where they really focus on trying to get people to that point of boiling over.  Just intense anger.  Maybe it’s time to look at howtraduptom do we tone down that rhetoric.  No one is going to try to reduce free speech in this country but that rhetoric — if people are in some way emotionally unstable or psychologically unbalanced – that intensity of rhetoric sometimes seems to pull a trigger in their brain that they lose contact with what reality is.”  Salem Radio Network VP of news & talk programming Tom Tradup tells TALKERS magazine, “Public officials who fail in their primary responsibility to protect the lives and property of the men and women who elect them should not use the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions on talk radio to scapegoat their own inadequacies.”

Colorado Springs Shooting Dominates Weekend Talk Stories.  The deadly shooting in Colorado Springs and the related debate over gun control were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend on stations that air live and local shows and/or live national talk shows.  Other topics included the Thanksgiving holiday, Black Friday, and college and pro football, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

| November 25, 2015

ppmunitRound Two of November PPM Data Released.  The second of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Detroit, Miami, Seattle, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis.  The survey period was October 8 – November 4.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at here.


harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Gets ‘Up Close and Far Out’ with Dr. Deepak Chopra. In the new installment of Podcast One’s weekly series for “media freaks” posted today (11/24) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews noted “integrated medicine” guru Deepak Chopra. The discussion covers such “far out” topics as the mind-body connection, meditation, the nature of consciousness, alternative healing, quantum physics, and communications theory. The discussion coincides with the current release of two books by Chopra – the revised editionchopradeepak (20,000 additional words) of his 26-year-old groundbreaking Quantum Healing (Bantam, 2015) and the brand new Super Genes (Bantam, 2015). Harrison says, “Rising to the weekly challenge of doing this podcast is one of the most exciting, challenging and gratifying experiences I’ve ever had in my 48 years in broadcasting. To be able to say that at this point in my career… how cool is that? Last week, I spoke with Jesse Ventura, a few weeks ago it was Art Bell, this week – Deepak Chopra! We’ve had Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Harvey Nagler, Jimmie JJ Walker, Buzz Aldrin, even the guy running the Pluto fly-by, Dr. Alan Stern, on this show and more than 40 colorful contemporary figures from the arts, science, journalism and pop culture in less than a year. The diversity of this program’s guests and subjects lives up to its title… yet, it all ties into a no-holds barred examination of modern media theory and how the digital era is rewiring the human nervous system. Getting a handle on this one all-encompassing concept is fundamental to 21st century media practitioners in their quest to understand this brave new world in which we are communicating on a historically unprecedented level.” To listen to the conversation between Harrison and Chopra in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page on and

rometrujillo15Jim Rome at Albuquerque’s ‘610 The Sports Animal.’  The photo here shows mentor Jim Rome (right) meeting mentee Mike Trujillo (left) at Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNML, Albuquerque “610 The Sports Animal.”  Rome participated in a standing-room-only meet-and-greet at the CBS Sports Radio affiliate.  Trujillo was a regular caller to Rome’s syndicated program.  He also called KNML and eventually won a contest to host a sports show and is now the station’s PM drive personality, hosting “The Sports Bar.”  Trujillo is definitely a Rome acolyte; in addition to the Jim Rome t-shirt he’s wearing here, he also sports a tattoo of Rome’s image on his calf.

Russian Fighter Shot Down, Battle Against IS, Syrian Refugee Debate, Obama in Paris/Climate Change Conference, Obama Administration Gun Control Plans, 2015 Presidential Race, Chicago Police Protests, and the Golden State Warriors’ Record-Breaking Start Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/24).  The tensions created by the downing of a Russian military fighter by Turkish forces on the Turkey-Syria border; the battle against Islamic State and debate over strategies to prevent its terror attacks; the political controversy over allowing Syrian refugees to emigrate to the United States; President Obama’s visit with Francois Hollande in Paris and next week’s climate change conference; speculation about the Obama Administration’s plans to enact gun control legislation during its final year; the protests in Chicago after a white police officer is charged with the murder of a black teen; and the record-breaking season start for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

| November 24, 2015

weei logoWEEI, Boston Hopes to Re-Do Expensive Red Sox Deal.  From a story in the Boston Herald by Gayle Fee comes news that Entercom Boston market manager Phil Zachary is hopeful sports talker WEEI-FM and the MLB’s Boston Red Sox can begin operating with a re-negotiated deal that takes some of the financial burden off the station.  Fee reports that the station pays the Red Sox approximately $17 million per season and that steep figure has been tough on the station’s bottom line.  The deal is almost 10 years old, having been inked in 2006 before the Great Recession began, before the Red Sox’ play on the field took a nosedive, and prior to WBZ-FM’s arrival on the scene as a sports talk competitor.  The speculation is the station notified the team it would not pick up its option for the 2017 and 2018 seasons because of the cost and re-negotiations began.  Zachary tells the paper they hope to have a new deal before Christmas.  Read the whole piece here.

nielsen logoRound One of November PPM Data Released.  The first of four rounds of November 2015 PPM data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The survey period was October 8 – November 4.  TALKERS magazine’s sister publication RadioInfo has all of the numbers from subscribing stations here.  In addition, managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Twelve Takeaways” from this batch of ratings on the main page at here.

Odds & Sods.  Radio legend Howard Stern tells the New York Daily News he hopes to remain on the radio butsternhoward that’s about all he’s saying as the end of his second contract with SiriusXM comes to an end after December.  Stern was quizzed on the status of his contract negotiations with SiriusXM by the Daily News at the 2015 Get Your Escape On event in NYC and said nothing can be known until the contract is signed.  “I can just say I’m interested in continuing on the radio. Where I end up, I don’t know yet.”  The 61-year-old broadcaster reportedly makes about $80 million a year from his satellite radio gig…..Matthew Sambolin is back in the fold at Salem Media Group’s New York duo to serve as operations manager, promotions director and social media manager for news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” and Christian talk savagemichaelWMCA “AM 570 The Mission.”  Sambolin takes over for Mark DeBoer who stays with the stations as traffic manager…..Westwood One-syndicated talk host Michael Savage, reacting to an RT story in which Gambino crime family figure Giovanni Gambino, Jr. said the mafia would do its part to protect New Yorkers from IS terror attacks, hosted Gambino on his program on Monday (11/23).  The pair alsofreemanedge discussed Gambino’s work trying to get a screenplay he’s written turned into a movie in Hollywood…..“Free Talk Live,” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge, is airing live this Thanksgiving.  Freeman says they continue their tradition of live content.  “Your listeners noorygeorgedeserve live content no matter what day it is.”…..George Noory, host of Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM” says he’ll also be hosting live shows on the holidays this year.  “Many people don’t have friends and family to spend the holidays with, so radio is a very special connection for them.  Years ago, I made the decision to host live programming during this time of year, and I’ve keep that promise all my career so no one has to be alone.”

Paris Aftermath/ISIS Terror Campaign, Syrian Refugees/U.S. Immigration Policy, 2016 Presidential Race, Thanksgiving Holiday/Black Friday, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/23).  The aftermath of the Paris terror attacks and efforts to head off further attacks from ISIS; the policies surrounding relocation of Syrian refugees and the larger question of changes in U.S. immigration policy; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; the coming Thanksgiving holiday, Black Friday and the beginning of the holiday shopping season; and the weekend’s NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Monday, November 23, 2015

| November 23, 2015

Paris Attacks Aftermath and Brussels Tensions Top Weekend News/Talk Stories.  The aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris, the question of how to deal with Syrian refugees and specific threats to Brussels, Belgium were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.  The Paris aftermath and the Syrian refugee question ended last week as the top stories, landing atop the weekly Talkers TenTM chart, and they continued to be top points of discussion for news/talk outlets that featured live and local programs or carried live national shows over the weekend.

hessbillCumulus Expands Bill Hess’ Role in DC to Operations Manager.  Programming pro Bill Hess – currently serving as program director for news/talk WMAL-AM/FM, Washington and Cumulus Media corporate PD/talk – is adding operations manager duties for the Washington. DC cluster.  Hess’ 38-year radio career has provided him with experience across numerous radio formats.  In addition to his news/talk and sports radio programming experience, he’s also programmed ACs WSNE, Providence;cumulus logo WHYN-FM, Springfield, MA; and WASH, Washington and classic rock WBIG, Washington.  Cumulus SVP, content and programming Mike McVay says, “Bill is an exceptional programmer.  The growth that WMAL has experienced under his direction is nothing short of astounding.  He has excelled as a corporate PD and will continue in that role.  Bill is deserving of this recognition.”  Hess says of his new duties, “On the heels of our team’s success at WMAL, I’m thrilled to be working with Louie Diaz on the rebirth of Washington’s legendary ‘Mix 107.3.’  Thanks to Gary Pizzati, Mike McVay, Jake McCann and Beth Cohen for this opportunity.”

spadeabillBill Spadea Replaces Jim Gearhart on New Jersey 101.5 AM Drive Show.  Back in September, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” morning drive personality Jim Gearhart suffered a severe concussion at his home while on vacation.  Recovery from the injury has been difficult, putting Gearhartgearhartjim on an extended leave of absence.  Now, Townsquare Media announces that Gearhart will not be able to return to his duties with the station and that Bill Spadea is assuming the role of host of the morning show.  Gearhart had been with the station for the past 25 years and is a member of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame.  Spadea has been Gearhart’s chief fill-in since 2014 and voices the station’s daily feature “Bill Spadea’s New Jersey.”  Spadea says, “I’ve always looked up to Jim Gearhart as a legend in New Jersey media. His shoes are too large for me to ever fill completely, but I am honored and humbled and will try my best to live up to his legacy of unequaled radio and service to the people of New Jersey.”

valentimikeDetroit Lions Deny Trying to Silence WXYT-FM’s Mike Valenti.  Usually when a radio station ceases to be a pro sports team’s flagship, it’s because of money – either the rights got too expensive or the station was outbid.  But CBS RADIO Detroit market manager Debbie Kenyon says in a statement that Lions management wanted to pressure the station into firing talk host Mike Valenti for his staunchwxyt-fm logo criticism of the team’s performance.  Kenyon issued the following statement, “CBS RADIO and the Detroit Lions are parting ways.  ‘97.1 The Ticket’ has served as the flagship station for the Lions for more than a decade.  CBS RADIO says it has been negotiating with the Lions a wjr logolong time.  It is sad to say goodbye, but in the end it came down to the integrity of CBS — the refusal to be censored in talking about the team and making honest assessments on the air about this team.”  Crain’s Detroit Business reports the team says that isn’t true.  It quotes Elizabeth Parkinson, Lions’ SVP of marketing and partnerships, saying the mandate to fire Valenti in order to get a renewal with the club is “categorically a lie” and that Cumulus simply offered a better deal.  But in the Crain’s piece, Valenti’s manager, Mort Meisner, said the team made Valenti’s firing part of the conditions for renewing with the team and that team officials were regularly calling Kenyon to complain about Valenti’s criticism of the team’s performance and its management.  Read it here.

Odds & Sods.  Conservative talk pro Steve Malzberg – seen nightly on Newsmax TV – is sitting in for Salemmalzbergsteve Radio Network’s Bill Bennett on his morning drive show, “Bill Bennett’s Morning In America” this Friday (11/27)…..The NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers will remain with iHeartMedia in the Steel City as the team and the company come to terms to keep games airing on rock WDVE and sports talk WBGG-AM/W292DH-FM.  The renewed deal extends through the 2018 season and contains elements of promotional support for the Steelers via iHeartMedia’s six Pittsburgh stations.

boonecharlieLegendary WCCO, Minneapolis Personality Charlie Boone Dies at 88.  As one half of the morning radio team “Boone and Erickson,” Charlie Boone was a fixture on Twin Cities radio for some 40 years, literally owning the daypart during the halcyon days of AM radio from the 1960s through the 1990s.  He died on Sunday (11/22) at the age of 88.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports he and Roger Erickson worked together for 37 years before Erickson’s retirement in 1998.  Boone continued to host a solo Saturday morning show from that point until 2010.  Boone arrived at WCCO from his previous gig in Fargo in 1959.  He and fellow air staffer Erickson hit it off personally and management put them together on the radio in 1961.

Bill Payne Dies at 76.  Oklahoma broadcaster Bill Payne passed away in Tulsa on Friday 11/20 at the age of 76.  Payne was the founder of the Oklahoma Academy of Radio.  Payne was a pioneer in the field of FM broadcasting putting KWHP-FM, Edmond, Oklahoma on the air in 1962.  His Payne Radio Group operates 13 stations across eastern Oklahoma.  The company continues to be led by Payne’s son Will Payne.

Friday, November 20, 2015

| November 20, 2015

cainhermanChanges Coming to the Herman Cain Show in January.  TALKERS sources hear there are some changes coming to the WSB-AM, Atlanta-based Herman Cain show with the New Year.  Cain will remain with Cox Media Group’s WSB hosting the late morning show but Westwood One will no longer serve as affiliate sales and ad sales rep for the national syndication of the show.  TALKERS hears WYM Media will serve as affiliate sales rep and there will be a new ad sales rep, but that deal has not been inked yet.

wjr logoCumulus Media’s WJR, Detroit to Serve as Lions Flagship in 2016.  Detroit Lions play-by-play has been heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WXYT-FM for the past 12 seasons, but starting next year, the games will be heard on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR.  The Detroit Free Press is reporting the story and says many of the details are not known at this time.  Dan Miller and Jim Brandstatter are expected to remain in the booth going into next season.

wwhp logoNew Talk Outlet to Debut in Bloomington-Normal and Champaign, Illinois Markets.  The classic hits format will disappear from Smash Hit Media’s WWHP, Farmer City, Illinois on Monday and a news/talk outlet will spring up in its place.  Former WRPW, Bloomington “Cities 92.7” morning drive personality Ian Bayne will serve as morning host on the new “Newstalk 98.3.”  WWHP’s primary signal covers the area directly between the centers of the Bloomington-Normal and Champaign markets.

bellart15Art Bell and KABC, Los Angeles Collaborate for Thanksgiving Special.  Los Angeles news/talker KABC and paranormal talk legend Art Bell are presenting “An Art Bell Out-Of-This-World Thanksgiving Special” on Thursday, November 26 from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.  This 12-hour specialkabclogo features programs hand-picked by Bell, who says, “We are thrilled to be back on the great 790 KABC, where we had great success.  My loyal fans will love that I’m personally hand picking the best 12 hours of out-of-this-world radio.” Bell’s nightly program, “Midnight in the Desert with Art Bell” (syndicated by his own Dark Matter Radio), is airing on AM/FM outlets in addition to its internet home base.

Odds & Sods.  The Grammy Award-winning band Train will perform at the official opening of CBS RADIO’s new New York performance space on Tuesday (11/24).  The company announces the opening of the Adorama Livecbsradio Theatre in Hudson Square in Manhattan, saying it will “serve as a showcase for artists, newsmakers, top athletes and other special guests.” It will play host to events from its six New York market radio stations, including sports WFAN and all-newsers WCBS-AM and WINS.  The company says that in the coming weeks the theatre will present performances by Southside Johnny and Shaggy, as well as live interviews with Chris Martin from Coldplay and Charles Osgood, host of “CBS Sunday Morning” and the syndicated radio feature “The Osgood Files.”  Today’s announcement marks the launch of CBS RADIO’s 11th performance space, wwtn logojoining outlets in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Detroit, among others…..Cumulus Media’s “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” in Nashville is presenting its annual “From Hunger to Hope Radiothon” on Monday, November 23 to benefit the Nashville Rescue Mission.  The station will share stories and invite listeners to make donations to the Nashville Rescue Mission.  WTN says that through the years its listeners have raised more than $750,000 for cause.

2015SportsHH logoLGTALKERS Magazine Presents the 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk. Yesterday(11/19), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the fourth annual Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk – The 100 Most Important Sports Talk Radio Hosts in America. This list ranks sports talk hosts, duos or ensembles from #1 to #100, based upon a set of criteria that includes a combination of hard and soft factors. The genre of sports talk radio has evolved greatly and grown exponentially over the past 15 years to go from being a fringe format to an important sub-genre of spoken-word radio programming. With this in mind, the editors of TALKERS debuted the Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk in 2012 to acknowledge the hard-working air personalities on sports talk radio. The results of this list are, admittedly, subjective. Being true to the realities of the media business, ratings and revenue are two of the major factors – some would say they are the only factors worth considering – but the editors also took into account other qualities that help create a list that is reflective of the industry’s diversity and total flavor and still give credit where credit is due. Those qualities include: courage, effort, impact, recognition, service, talent and uniqueness. The other concrete qualification for inclusion is hosts must be working – that is, have a regularly scheduled professional show on the air at a minimum of one terrestrial or satellite radio station – at the time of publication. See the complete 2015 Heavy Hundred of Sports Talk here!

fantasyNXS logoNew Fantasy Sports Platform Provides Radio with Turnkey Method of Tapping into Booming DFS Industry. Tampa, Florida-based FantasyNXS is providing a custom-designed way for radio stations, networks, and personalities to generate revenue from the booming fantasy sports industry. FantasyNXS is the first online mall for daily fantasy sports (“DFS”). According to company president and CEO, David B. Hirsch, “Our platform enables radio stations, networks and personalities to get into the DFS business at no cost and provides them with a new and engaging way to monetize their audience.” Hirsch adds, “When a broadcast entity joins FantasyNXS as a partner, we create a customized hub or ‘storefront’ for them that features their branding, content and contests. It also has its own, easy-to-remember URL on our site, which facilitates off-line promotion and advertising.” What distinguishes FantasyNXS from the current big dogs in the fantasy sports business – DraftKings and FanDuel? Hirsch tells TALKERS that FantasyNXS provides a different business model, more game formats and free-to-enter promotional contests. He states, “Our business model is completely different. Think of us as the first online shopping mall for daily fantasy sports. Our platform enables third parties to get into the DFS business for themselves. We build a customized hub or storefront for our partners on our website. We then create contests for them designed to appeal to their target audience. These contests appear in their hub and in the general game lobby for all FantasyNXS members to play. Our partners promote their contests by driving prospects to their hub. We administer the contests and take care of all compliance and back-office operations. We then split the net proceeds we earn from each contest with our partners.” Hirsch explains, “We also offer more game formats than anyone in the business, including Salary Cap, No Cap and Top-X. We also offer all three of these formats in our proprietary ‘Beat the Pro’ setting, which is ideally suited for radio celebrities. In ‘Beat the Pro,’ all of the contest’s entrants compete head-to-head, but collectively against the celebrity show host. Everyone who beats the celebrity splits a portion of the prize pool. ‘Beat the Pro’ offers a fantastic way for radio personalities to personally engage their audiences.” How do participating broadcasters make money? According to Hirsch, “FantasyNXS works off of a revenue split. Our partners earn a portion of the net proceeds we earn from the contests they promote. Also, our partners are credited as the referring affiliate for all FantasyNXS members who sign-up through their hub. This means recurring revenue every time one of these members enters any cash-entry contest in FantasyNXS. Our turn-key system can put a station into the DFS business with no cost.” Hirsch advises, “We can put radio entities into the DFS business, but they will have to actively promote their contests and drive prospects to their hub. The more they promote, the more money they’ll make.” Broadcasters licensed to states that forbid DFS or have network listeners banned from playing due to their local state laws can become involved in another, non-monetary version of the FantasyNXS platform that specializes in “social gaming.” Has the recent negative news about some states’ stances on fantasy sports impacted the millions of people who regularly play fantasy sports? “Of course,” states Hirsch. “In particular, the recent cease and desist letter presented to FanDuel and DraftKings by the New York State Attorney General has left a lot of fantasy sports fans on the sideline. In the coming months, you’re going to see more of this type of activity as our society comes to grips with the daily fantasy sports phenomenon. We ultimately believe that DFS will continue to thrive, but in a regulated environment.” Broadcasters interested in learning more about FantasyNXS can email Brad Fain at or click here for more information.

talkersten logoSyrian Refugee Debate Tops Talkers TenTM for Week of November 16-20.  The political debate over U.S. policy toward Syrian refugees was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week.  At #2 was the aftermath of the terror attacks in Paris.  Coming in at #3 was the battle against ISIS and following at #4 was the investigation of the bombing of the Russian airliner over the Sinai Desert.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS.  It is published every Friday at  View this week’s entire chart here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallJesse Ventura Joins Michael Harrison for New Episode of ‘Up Close and Far Out.’ In this week’s installment of the PodcastOne international hit, “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” posted today (11/17), TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is joined by former Minnesota governor and prolific talk media personality Jesse Ventura for a conversation described by Harrison as, “One of the up-closest and farthest-out episodes of this show ever.” Ventura currently hosts a weekly program on Ora TV titled, “Off the Grid with Jesse Ventura,” ( in which he serves up an unfiltered dose of his opinions and commentaries on the issues of the day delivered in his trademark tell-it-like-it-is “wrestling rant” style. Ora TV is the trailblazing video platform launched several years ago by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim with Larry King as an internet platform upon which the legendary King could continue his post-CNN hosting career. Harrison – an admitted professional wrestling fan – and Ventura talk about the old days of the entertainment-sport when the future movie star andventurajesse governor was making his mark as a colorful “bad guy” in the ring and then as the first “heel” color commentator (prior to Ventura, all ring commentators were biased toward the fan favorites – known as “faces.”) Ventura broke new ground as an announcer who openly rooted for the bad guys – know in the profession as “heels.” The conversation moves on to some heavy, controversial and provocative subject matter. Ventura discusses how his high-profile, anti-defamation/unjust enrichment lawsuit against the late Chris Kyle of American Sniper fame (in which the court ruled in his favor) has led to him to presently being blackballed by the mainstream media. Ventura talks about his critical views on U.S. foreign policy, the George W. Bush Administration, hypocrisy, and several conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11 and the war on terror. He talks about his show, “Off the Grid,” and how the title is reflective of his current lifestyle in which he lives part of the year in Mexico, untethered to paved roads, government provided utilities and, to a large extent, the internet. He discusses his turning to atheism and pacifism…and leaves a tantalizing hint that he just might become involved in the forthcoming race for the presidential nomination of the Libertarian Party – which has shown interest in him as a possible candidate. To hear the conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of and