Wednesday, December 23, 2020

| December 23, 2020

NOW POSTED: Christmas and New Year’s Weekend Installments of Special Two-Part “2020 Year in Review” Edition of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” A two-part special installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend program, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted on Talkers.com.  This new episode titled, “2020 Year in Review,” looks back at the history-laden past year. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley, talk show host WPG, Atlantic City; Mandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder Scamicide.com; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; Kathy Valentine, rock musician, The Go-Go’s; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA “Connect FM”; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to the Christmas weekend episode, please click here. To listen to the New Year’s weekend episode, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

The Talkers TenTM Top News/Talk Stories and People for 2020. Today (12/23), the editors of TALKERS magazine present the annual Talkers TenTM Top News/Talk Stories and People for 2020. In this annual feature seen above, the editors draw upon the year’s in-house research to reveal the most-talked-about stories and people on news/talk radio in the U.S. TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey says, “2020 was obviously a year that will go down in history. The pandemic, a polarizing presidential election, coast-to-coast racial protests, and more combined to make this year one that was replete with storylines and personalities that consumed talk hosts and their listeners unlike any other year in the history of modern-day news/talk radio.”

Michael Savage to Leave Radio for Podcasting. Nationally syndicated talk radio star Michael Savage announces that after 26 years on AM/FM radio, he’ll leave the medium in January to focus exclusively on podcasting. Savage says in a press release that “The Savage Nation Podcast” (available on numerous podcast platforms) “will be ‘essential Savage’: news, views, reviews, politics, history, science, nutrition, cooking, movies & TV, literature, philosophy, cars, animals, spirituality, and something more.” He adds that fans can “expect even more ‘edge’ as he frees himself from the constraints of corporate broadcasting.” Savage’s current deal with Cumulus Media’s Westwood One includes the production and distribution of a daily radio show and a companion podcast.

Round Two of December PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s December 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s December 2020 survey period covered November 5 – December 2. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets. Some moves of note include Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle adding six-tenths to climb to the #1 rank on the strength of a 7.2 share. In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO loses eight-tenths, posting a 5.8 share and falling to the #6 rank while all-news sister WBZ-AM loses just two-tenths but retreats from #1 to #4 with a 6.8 share. Hearst Television’s WBAL-AM remains steady with a one-tenth increase for a 4.5 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaway for this group of markets here. ALSO, Mike will post his Ratings Takeaways for the third and fourth rounds of markets tomorrow (12/24) and Tuesday (12/29), respectively.

WABC, New York and WLIR, Long Island Raise $174,000 for Cohen Children’s MC. Pictured above are 77WABC talk personalities Sid Rosenberg (left) and Curtis Sliwa (right) broadcasting as WABC, New York and WLIR-FM, Long Island “TALKRADIO 107” raised more than $174,000 last Friday (12/18) during the “Holiday Radiothon for the Kids at Cohen Children’s Medical Center.” Red Apple Media president Chad Lopez says, “We’re honored to partner with Cohen Children’s Medical Center again this year and to raise much-needed funds with our second Holiday Radiothon for The Kids. We have the utmost respect for the team at this world-class pediatric hospital and are happy to bring some holiday cheer during this season of giving. Our hearts go out to each and every family with a child in the hospital during the holidays.”

TALKERS News Notes. The annual White House Christmas Poem by Salem Radio Network White House correspondent Greg Clugston got some love from Austin Statesman-American columnist Ken Herman, who published Clugston’s poem in his column today (12/23). You can see it here…..Talk host and former U.S. Rep J.D. Hayworth is doing some fill-in hosting during the holidays. He sat in for Lars Larson on his Compass Media Networks-syndicated program on Monday (12/21) and hosted the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm show on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago yesterday (12/22)…..The GCN-syndicated Dr. Daliah Wachs show adds new affiliate WRWH, Cleveland, Georgia to its roster of stations.

COVID Relief Bill, Trump Pardons, Trump Election Challenge, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines-Variant, Georgia Runoff Elections, Russian Cyberattack, Israel Government Collapses, and UK-EU Brexit Deal Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/22). The COVID relief and omnibus spending bill and President Trump’s demands; Trump pardons/commutes 20 including political allies; Trump and supporters’ denial of election results; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for a post-Christmas spike; the rollout of COVID vaccines in the U.S. and questions about effectiveness against coronavirus variants; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the hack of U.S. government computer networks by Russian agents; Israel’s inability to pass a budget and the collapse of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government; and the Brexit deal ahead of the December 31 deadline were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Four music outlets change hands in Florida as JVC Media acquires the four-station Fort Walton Beach cluster from Community Broadcasters LLC. In this deal, JVC Media gets CHR WECQ, country WHWY, adult hits WWAV, and classic rock WZLB. This acquisition brings JVC’s Florida holdings to 11 stations, including three in Orlando and four in Gainesville-Ocala. JVC executive Shane Reeve will oversee the integration of the Fort Walton Beach stations into the company and will be responsible for the staffing and operation of the facilities. He says, “I’m thrilled JVC is bringing our live and local approach to the Florida Panhandle and Emerald Coast!”…..Religious broadcaster WayFM announces the retirement of Thom Ewing, longtime station manager for WayFM Huntsville, Alabama. Ewing was hired in 2002 as the founding general manager of WAYH-FM, and has been the only manager in the station’s history. He led additional WayFM expansion into several other Alabama cities, including Birmingham and Gadsden.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

| December 22, 2020

Kathy Valentine of The Go-Go’s Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The woman who played bass guitar, sang, and was a songwriter for the legendary rock band The Go-Go’s is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Today, Kathy Valentine is a 62-year-old working musician, songwriter, and author who began her career more than 40 years ago in her hometown of Austin, Texas and made a huge name for herself as a member of an iconic band after moving to Los Angeles. That band, The Go-Go’s, is considered by rock historians to be the most successful all-female band of all time and made music history for writing and performing the first and only album by an all-female band to top the charts. It featured the hit songs “We Got the Beat” and “Our Lips Are Sealed.” Valentine wrote or co-wrote some of The Go-Go’s most renowned tunes, including the hits “Vacation” and “Head Over Heels.” The record’s success brought the pressures of a relentless workload and schedule culminating in a wild, hazy, substance-fueled tour that took the band from the club circuit to arenas, where fans, promoters, and crew were more than ready to keep the party going. For Valentine, the band’s success was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream – but it’s only part of her story that she’s captured in a riveting book titled, All I Ever Wanted: A Rock ‘n’ Roll Memoir (University of Texas Press, 2020). It traces the path that took her from her childhood in Texas — where she all but raised herself — to the height of rock ‘n’ roll stardom, devastation after the collapse of the band that had come to define her, and the quest to regain her sense of self after its end. Harrison and Valentine take a deep-dive into the history of The Go-Go’s, their common experiences in the supercharged rock and radio environment of Los Angeles in the early 1980s, and the current activities of both the artist and The Go-Go’s who are planning a national tour this coming summer (if the pandemic allows it). Don’t miss this fascinating, uplifting program. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Good Karma Announces Debut of ‘The Truth’ in Milwaukee. According to a report in the Milwaukee Business Journal, Good Karma Brands LLC will debut its Black-targeted talk radio station on January 4. The company is acquiring WRRD-AM and translator W269DL from New WRRD LLC and will begin by operating the signals under an LMA. Milwaukee sales pro Cherie Harris has been hired to serve as general manager and Kyle Wallace is on board as the operations manager for the station being branded “The Truth 101.7.” The daily lineup includes Milwaukee Bucks broadcasters Joe Brown and Melanie Ricks in mornings from 7:00 am to 10:00 am. Sherwin Hughes will host the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm program. Tory Lowe hosts the 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm program, followed by Ken Harris in afternoon drive. Wallace says of the lineup, “Our goal when recruiting was to find talent who were unapologetically and authentically Milwaukee, and we are confident we chose outstanding leaders who have already made an impact on the city through their service, advocacy, and fight for justice and equality.”

Round One of December PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s December 2020 survey period covered November 5 – December 2. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this batch of markets and some moves of note include iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles tacking on one-tenth to finish the December survey with a 4.6 share and the #3 rank in the market. While maintaining its #1 rank, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta sheds 1.8 shares to finish with a 9.7 share. Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago adds three-tenths to wrap the survey with a 6.8 share but dips to the #3 rank. You can see all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways from the news/talk, all-news, sports talk, and public radio news/talk stations in this survey here.

TALKERS News Notes. WPG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley is launching his inaugural Hurley Awards in which he selects people “who represent the best and worst in our region and nation this year. For our inaugural reveal, I have attempted to painstakingly create a super-list that draws upon a variety of factors. I respectfully acknowledge that our list is subjective.” You can see winners (and losers!) in all 78 categories here…..Shondaland Audio and iHeartMedia announce the February debut of the weekly podcast from Emmy-nominated actress Laverne Cox. Shondaland Audio says the podcast “will feature intimate conversations with guests who provoke thought and potentially new outlooks. The show was created in hopes that it may foster perspectives that might inspire new behavior in each of us, to in turn get us closer to becoming the very best versions of ourselves, all the while inviting Laverne, guests, and listeners to undergo a spiritual makeover together.”…..iHeartMedia announces that with the planned retirement of EVP, general counsel and secretary Paul McNicol, Jordan Fasbender rises from his depurty general counsel post to executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, effective January 1. McNicol will remain with the company as Executive Vice President providing counsel to the company’s senior management and ensuring a seamless transition.

Trump Election Results Denial/Barr on Special Counsel, Congress Passes COVID Relief, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Variant, Vaccine Rollout, and Russian Hack of U.S. Government Networks Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/21). Reports of Donald Trump’s ongoing denial of election results, plans to continue challenging Joe Biden’s victory, and Attorney General William Barr’s seeing “no reason” to appoint a special counsel; Congress passes the COVID relief package; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-Christmas cases, and concerns about the U.K. variant; the rollout of the COVID vaccine in the U.S.; and the vulnerable U.S. government networks affected by the Russian hack were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TAKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Nationally syndicated evening personality Delilah is featured in The New York Times’ “The Daily” podcast in which she discusses her career in radio. The interview details the Premiere Networks’ personality’s journey from the small town of Reedsport, Oregon to becoming the “most-listened-to woman on radio.”…..The first all-digital CES will take place January 11-14 virtually and will feature an iHeartMedia conference session on how technology has enabled some of today’s hottest artists to continue to create and introduce new music and immersive experiences for their fans during the pandemic. The session is being moderated by nationally syndicated on-air host, TV personality, and producer Ryan Seacrest and will feature a fireside chat with singer and songwriter Dua Lipa and a special performance by Billie Eilish.

Monday, December 21, 2020

| December 21, 2020

Monday Memo: “Oh the Weather Outside Is Frightful…” in wint’rish New England, where consultant Holland Cooke reminds stations that – even with smartphones outnumbering radios in such regular use – information staples can still drive listening (and are sponsorable). Read his column here.

Pending Business: Pain Management. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, says that in 2021 we should eliminate the “pain point” from the radio sales process. “It makes no sense to me today or from the first day I was exposed to the ‘probe for the pain point’ strategy of selling. Discovering marketing solutions is a fluid, positive process anchored by a relationship built on trust, not finding the pain.” Read more here.

Bold Gold Media Group Honored with NY Senate Empire Award. The New York State Senate Empire Award is bestowed annually to “businesses or organizations that encourage other area businesses or have formed partnerships within the community, those that volunteer their time and services and demonstrate exceptional leadership in the community; or have contributed significantly to their community’s quality of life.” Bold Gold Media Group was recently honored with the New York State 2020 Senate Empire Award, presented by Senator Jenn Metzger. She says, “Bold Gold Media is deserving on so many counts, it’s hard to count them. You have been the voice of the Catskills; you have really been there for the community in a way that is really unusual for a media group. There are so many great community organizations that are doing such important work and you share information; you educate them especially with your local news.  In a rural area many people are isolated and they need to know day-to-day and emergency information, and you play a vital role for our communities in providing that. On top of that, your volunteer work and sponsorship with the ‘98.3 WSUL Heart-A-Thon’ and the ‘Thunder 102 & 104.5 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Radiothon’ is yet another way you give back to the community.  This is a way for us to recognize you and express our great appreciation for all that you do.” Bold Gold New York general manager Dawn Ciorciari comments, “Helping our community is not just what we do, it’s who we are. This award belongs to our amazing team of hard-working local professionals and a community that gives us amazing content to talk about everyday.”

Salem Radio Network’s Charlie Kirk Named to 1776 Commission. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk host Charlie Kirk (founder of Turning Point USA), is one of 18 Americans President Trump intends to appoint to his President’s Advisory 1776 Commission. A memo from the Office of the White House Press Secretary offers the purpose of the commission: “As our nation approaches its 250th anniversary of glorious Independence, many of America’s school children are tragically being taught to hate our founding, hate our history, and hate our country. This must stop. The 1776 Commission will help ensure that every American child learns that they live in the greatest and most exceptional nation in the history of the world. That is why it is absolutely vital to teach America’s young people all that is inspiring and unifying in our history. We want our children to become patriots who love their country. The 1776 Commission will share the story of our nation’s miraculous founding, proclaim the self-evident truths contained in the Declaration of Independence, and explain how these founding principles have helped our people overcome great national challenges throughout our history – and how these principles can guide us to a great American future. All Americans should pay close attention to this work.” About his appointment, Kirk states, “I’m incredibly honored to be named to the president’s 1776 Commission alongside so many other patriots. America is the greatest nation to exist in the history of the world. Our nation’s virtues and our accomplishments must be passed on to the next generation if it is going to survive into the future. I have devoted my life to that mission, and I am beyond humbled to be able to continue doing so in this new role.”

Retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Talk Host John Hancock Loses Foot to Infection. A story in the Charlotte Observer by Theoden Janes chronicles the recent health issues that retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host John Hancock has been dealing with that resulted in the recent amputation of his right foot. Last fall, 68-year-old Hancock retired from Entercom’s WBT where he was afternoon drive host. He’d been diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes more than three years ago and took steps to lose weight and change his diet. But by his own admission, he fell off the healthy food wagon and put some of the weight back on. Then this summer, he began to notice tenderness in his right foot. As time passed it became worse until it was diagnosed as an infection. It was shortly thereafter that one of his doctors recommended the foot be amputated. He’s been fitted for a prosthetic leg that he’ll be getting early in the New Year.

WWL, New Orleans Talk Host Kristian Garic Returns to Air After Rehab Stint. New Orleans sports talk host Kristian Garic recently returned to the air on Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM after 29 days in a rehab program for alcoholism. Garic co-hosts the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm “Sports Talk” program with Bobby Hebert. On his return, he penned an editorial piece on the WWL website explaining his situation, what he’s been through and the challenges that lay ahead of him as he works to remain sober. He wrote, in part, “Getting help was perhaps the hardest decision I ever had to make. Here I was, pretty successful, with a good job. My bills were paid, my kids are healthy and I’m a father actively involved in their lives. Nothing the matter, right? Not so fast. Just to give you the insight into the depth of my drinking; I didn’t just drink three or four beers and call it quits. I drank a 12 pack of beer and a fifth of whiskey nearly every night for the past ten years… I want to thank my co-workers and management at WWL (Diane Newman and Kevin Cassidy in particular), and our parent company Entercom. The outpouring of support from the few who knew of my addiction leading up to treatment is sincerely appreciated. That support will help me tremendously in my life-long battle against alcoholism.”

Judy Pielach Joins WLS-AM, Chicago as Contributor. Former WGN-AM news personality Judy Pielach is now part of the WLS-AM morning show hosted by Bruce St. James. The program is being billed on the Cumulus Media station’s website as “The Bruce St. James Show with Judy Pielach.” Pielach accepted a buyout from former WGN owner Tribune Broadcasting in 2018 and left her afternoon drive post at WGN. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “Judy Pielach is a radio force majeure that has delivered the news to Chicago audiences for decades. Now, her strong voice, wit, and wisdom will be heard every weekday morning on 890 WLS-AM from 5:30 am to 9:00 am on ‘The Bruce St James Show,’ where she and Bruce will entertain and inform our Chicagoland listeners. Judy is a perfect match for Bruce. She’s local, she’s funny and she knows the news that Chicago is talking about.” Pielach adds, “When I left an iconic radio station two years ago seeking a new adventure, I never imagined I’d find it at another iconic radio station. It turns out, I just can’t stop talking. And, I especially like talking to Bruce. Really looking forward to the conversation on 890 WLS! A big thank you to Stephanie Tichenor for giving me this opportunity.“

Entercom Announces $1 Million Community Giveback Initiative. In an effort to help fellow businesses in the communities in which Entercom operates, the company is making a $1 million commitment to local restaurants, arts, and charitable organizations in the cities and towns where Entercom’s employees live and work. The employee-led initiative allows local managers to buy gift certificates and tickets that will then be disbursed to full-time staffers.

Congress Strikes COVID Relief Deal, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/New Strain Concerns, Trump Continues Election Fraud Claim/Martial Law Considered, Russian Hack of U.S. Government Networks, and Georgia Runoff Elections Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Congress agrees to a $900 billion COVID relief package; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-Christmas cases, and the report of a new and more transmissible strain in Europe; Donald Trump continues to claim election fraud and reports of a White House meeting discussing martial law to stay in office; the breadth of the Russian hack of U.S. government computer networks; and the Georgia runoff elections for the state’s two U.S. Senate seats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a holiday special program for Country top 40 affiliates as “Bob Kingley’s Country Top 40 with Fitz” presents “Christmas In America with Fitz and special guest Carrie Underwood,” a six-hour Christmas music celebration. CT40 says, “This six-hour music-intensive radio special offers country music’s most loved Christmas songs – past and present, the stories behind them and wonderful memories and traditions of the holidays. This year we are honored to have Carrie Underwood join Fitz as we also feature music from her new Christmas album My Gift.”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s WRFF-FM “ALT 104.5” is teaming up with Crew Nation – a global relief fund for live music crews – to throw a virtual New Year’s Eve celebration featuring Bastille on Thursday, December 31 at 8:00 pm, with a pre-show starting at 7:00 pm. All ticket sale donations will support Crew Nation/Music Forward Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that extends a helping hand to the touring and venue crews that have been impacted by the pandemic and depend on shows to make a living.

Friday, December 18, 2020

| December 18, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The Good, The Bad, The Fake and The False,” looks back at this past week of December 14-18, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; Christopher Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax TV; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click

      here
. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Report: Wynter and Massey Show to Get 90-Day Tryout on WSB. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that the weekend (and fill-in) show “Word on the Street” co-hosted by Shelley Wynter (right) and MalaniKai Massey (left) is getting a 90-day tryout in the nightly 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot on Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta that’s opening due to Clark Howard’s ending of his regular radio programs at WSB this month. The “Word on the Street” program launched in mid-2019 as a weekly show that became a Saturday and Sunday program. Wynter and Massey have also been filling in for other WSB shows. WSB program director Drew Anderssen tells the AJC, “As a result of the breakneck pace of news in 2020 the program has been on quite a bit, tackling tough issues while keeping audiences engaged.” “Word on the Street” has a conservative-versus-liberal aspect to it as Wynter is a Trump-supporting conservative versus Massey’s progressive demeanor, but it’s not too in-your-face. Wynter comments that he “wants the show to be a bit like friends hanging out at a bar.”

Detroit Lions Jump to Entercom’s WXYT-FM Starting Next Season. The NFL’s Detroit Lions have signed a multiyear deal with Entercom to make sports talk WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket” the flagship station for the team’s radio broadcasts beginning with the 2021 season. Under the current deal, Lions games are based at Cumulus Media’s WJR-AM, Detroit. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “The Lions are synonymous with the city of Detroit and this is a great opportunity to leverage our position as the unrivaled leaders in sports radio and deliver dynamic Lions content, both on game days and throughout the year. This partnership now makes ‘97.1 The Ticket’ the flagship station for all four professional sports teams in the Motor City, giving fans a one-stop destination for all of their favorite local teams.” As part of the deal, Entercom will manage the Lions Radio Network – an extensive radio network with more than 30 stations across Michigan and in northern Ohio. All Lions Radio Network programming, including live game broadcasts, pre- and postgame shows, regular season weekly shows and additional offseason programming will air exclusively on “97.1 The Ticket.”

Steve Sommers Re-Launches Overnight Show as ‘The Steve Sommers Overnight Drive.’ After his “America’s Truckin’ Network” program was cancelled by iHeartMedia’s WLW-Cincinnati early last month, Steve Sommers will re-launch his overnight talk program as “The Steve Sommers Overnight Drive” in a partnership with motor vehicle products company Lubrication Specialties Inc and its subsidiary Hot Shot’s Secret. In January Sommers will debut a new, five-hour live stream talk show (12:00 midnight to 5:00 am ET) direct from the brand-new Hot Shot’s Secret studios in the Cincinnati area. A press release says, “The initial motivation is to get Steve back on air as soon as possible, with long-term plans of massive distribution. More details on when and where to find the new program are coming soon.” Hot Shot’s Secret founder and CEO Chris Gabrelcik says, “Hot Shot’s Secret would not be here today if it was not for the persistence of Steve to give me some airtime on his overnight show many years ago when I was first starting the company. The five hours I spent in his studio that very first visit resulted in an avalanche of orders for our product and we have never looked back ever since. Hot Shot’s Secret is now the fastest growing performance lubricant company in the U.S. and I will never forget those early days when Steve was there for us when we needed it the most.” Sommers says, alluding to this past summer’s corporate dictate not to talk politics on his show, “I am excited to get back on the air. What you heard before from my show will be the same – frank talk. Trucking is a tough business, and so is radio. I actually started working in radio when I was just 15 years old in Cincinnati. Many relocations and radio stations later I had the opportunity to return to Ohio in 1996 to produce the radio show that my father Dale “Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers started back in 1984. I then took over the show in 2004 and have enjoyed every moment with my overnight listeners. This is my life. And right now, I can see that one good turn deserves another as my friend Chris Gabrelcik is doing whatever it takes to make this show a reality.”

KDWN, Las Vegas’ Steve Sanchez Named a ‘Top 30 Influencer.’ KDWN, Las Vegas early evening host Steve Sanchez has been named one of the “Top 30 Influencers” in Las Vegas by Las Vegas Entrepreneurs Magazine. Sanchez, whose show airs from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm on KDWN, was #25 on the list. He tells TALKERS magazine that earlier this year, his program was able to donate 1,000 30-day use facemasks to the Las Vegas Children’s Hospital. Sanchez, who spent that last three weeks battling COVID-19 and pneumonia, adds, “This was very much needed by them since we did this in May, right in the middle of this horrible pandemic.” Currently, Sanchez’s program is syndicated nationally by GCN, but he says he’s ending the syndication of his program next month to “concentrate on growing my show with KDWN, focus more on my social media and digital platforms, and entertain the TV offers coming to me.”

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines, Prevention Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 14-18. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases, the rollout of vaccines, and policies for prevention combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the economy, stimulus talks, and business & school closings. Coming in at #3 was Donald Trump’s denial of his election loss and the Joe Biden transition. 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Next month’s “iHeartRadio ALTer EGO Presented by Capital One” is taking place virtually due to the pandemic. iHeartMedia announces that the fourth annual alternative rock show set for January 28 will be hosted by Woody, host of the syndicated “Woody Show” and will feature all-new performances and stories from Billie Eilish and the Foo Fighters. In addition, it will include previous ALTer EGO performances from BeckThe Black Keysblink-182Cage The ElephantColdplayThe KillersMumford & SonsMusetwenty one pilots, and Weezer. It will livestream exclusively for free on LiveXLive.com, the LiveXLive mobile and OTT apps for iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV and broadcast live across more than 80 iHeartMedia alternative and rock stations at 9:00 pm ET…..Michael Baisden announces he’s leaving radio at the end of the year and will discontinue syndication of his daily show. He will be replaced by “The Jeff Foxx Show with Keke Brown and Nina” on the Sun Broadcast Group’s network lineup. Baisden says, “Sun Broadcast Group has been an incredible network partner and their team, along with Mike Love, have worked diligently to grow my show for the past two years. Unfortunately, due to the historic issues we faced with COVID-19 and the subsequent economic crisis, it’s been challenging to grow affiliation and revenue for the show. To that end, ‘The Michael Baisden Show’ will not be returning for 2021.”

Thursday, December 17, 2020

| December 17, 2020

Newsmax Media Founder and CEO Christopher Ruddy Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The CEO of Newsmax Media – the conservative news organization that owns and operates Newsmax.com and Newsmax TV in addition to a number of other platforms and services in digital and print publishing – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Veteran journalist, entrepreneur, and news executive Christopher Ruddy discusses the history and strategy that has led to Newsmax TV achieving enormous rating gains this year in its juggernaut campaign to provide FOX News Channel with formidable competition in the conservative news/talk cable TV ratings wars. In this revealing conversation, Ruddy tells Harrison his side of the recent story by media writer Ben Smith published inThe New York Times under the headline, “The King of Trump TV Thinks You’re Dumb Enough to Buy It.” He dispels the notion conveyed in that piece that Newsmax TV has strategically flanked FOX to its far right and is telling President Donald Trump’s most ardent loyalists whatever they want to hear regardless of the truth. Ruddy discusses the bigger picture of Newsmax content which also delivers stories and items that are unfavorable to Trump and collectively covers a broader segment of the spectrum best described as center-right, as opposed to far-right. Harrison and Ruddy take a deep-dive into talk media political “positioning” which lies at the very heart of modern competitive programming. They also speculate on the future of American politics and the talk media coverage thereof. True to his unpredictable and often contrarian approach to what many observers consider conventional wisdom, Ruddy states that it appears President-Elect Biden is not veering to the far left as many Republicans and Trump supporters fear he will as evidenced by many of his cabinet picks, and that the 46th president will be far more of a “centrist” than many in both parties are expecting. Ruddy also candidly discusses the balancing act required to maintain a long-standing “friendship” with Trump while not being afraid to criticize his policies on those occasions when he believes such criticism is warranted in addition to outlining his immediate plans to grow Newsmax as a full-service news organization in 2021. This podcast is a must-listen! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Floyd Reese Exiting ‘102.5 The Game’ in Nashville. According to a story in the Nashville Post, former Tennessee Titans general manager Floyd Reese is giving up his sports talk host gig at Cromwell Media’s WPRT-FM, Nashville “102.5 The Game.” Reese co-hosted the afternoon drive program “Jared & The GM” with Jared Stillman for the past five-plus years. Stillman will continue to host the afternoon show now billed as “Stillman & Company” as the station seeks out a new afternoon co-host. The Post cites a press release in which Reese states, “This is something I’ve been contemplating for a while and I feel it’s time for me to take a step back. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my tenure with ‘102.5 The Game’ and doing a show with Jared has been a terrific experience. He and I formed a unique partnership that allowed us to be teammates and friends. I’d also like to thank Cromwell Media owner Bud Walters and [program director] Ryan Porth for their non-stop support over the years. It’s been a good run.” Reese was general manager of the NFL’s old Houston Oilers from 1990-1999 and the Titans (after the Oilers moved from Houston to Nashville) from 1999-2006. He was a senior football advisor for the New England Patriots from 2009-2012. He joined “102.5 The Game” in 2015.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Keeps The Bike Drive Alive. The annual holiday “Bikes for Kids” drive was launched by retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host John Hancock 26 years ago. With Hancock’s retirement at the beginning of 2020, the fate of the charitable drive that had provided some 20,000 bikes (as well as gifts, food, clothing and more) to tens of thousands of needy Charlotte-area kids was up in the air. Ultimately, WBT staff, in partnership with the Carolina Panthers, WSOC-TV, Frito Lay, and some other local charitable organizations, worked to get 400 brand-new bikes collected during the “Bike Drive” that took place on Tuesday (12/15). Brett Winterble, who took over the afternoon drive show following Hancock’s retirement, says, “It was an amazing day for Hancock’s bikes for kids. This was my first opportunity since joining WBT in February to interface with this amazing audience in person. The generosity and good cheer of the hundreds of people who showed up yesterday was truly awe inspiring. In gathering hundreds of bikes for well deserving children I forged new friendships with dedicated listeners to WBT. One man named Steve told me he was a 50-year listener of WBT and had attended every one of the bike drives Hancock led. It was an unbelievable show of generosity and good civic pride. I look forward to next year and can’t wait for this to continue to grow!”

Townsquare Media to Offer $550 Million in Senior Secured Notes. In a filing with the SEC, Townsquare Media reveals it has priced an offering of $550 million in aggregate principal amount of its 6.875% senior secured notes due 2026. These notes are being offered to institutional buyers and will be senior secured obligations of the company and will be guaranteed on a senior secured basis by certain of the company’s direct and indirect wholly owned subsidiaries. The closing of the offering is anticipated to take place on or about January 6, 2021. Townsquare says that it intends to use the net proceeds from the offering, together with cash on hand, to repay existing senior secured credit facilities, to redeem all of its outstanding 6.500% senior notes due 2023. It is also terminating its existing senior secured credit facilities, including its existing revolving credit facility.

Skyview Networks and MLB Radio Rightsholders Team Up for Annual Meeting. This year’s annual meeting of Major League Baseball radio rightsholders and Skyview Networks to discuss their broadcast operations and ad sales experiences from the previous season was done remotely. This year’s panels placed a heavy focus on fan engagement and advertising strategies with emphasis on maximizing digital assets under the restrictions of the pandemic. Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “The MLB radio rightsholders play a significant role in their teams’ success through broadcast sponsorships. Radio and baseball have always put fans first and this season proved no different. Skyview played an important role in helping teams find creative solutions during the pandemic and we showcased those solutions to the whole league this week.” Skyview says many teams also leveraged the power of social media to engage with fans through promotions from their biggest sponsors, citing proactive communication as their key to success. Putting their followers’ interests at the forefront, these organizations hosted many virtual gatherings through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and more to encourage listenership and interaction while the season was on a hiatus. Additional panel topics included software and strategies to streamline remote broadcasting, creating awareness for franchises’ ancillary digital content to increase broadcast listening and sponsorship extensions, and monetizing the evolving sports betting opportunities across a radio platform.

New Drive Time Shows on SiriusXM’s P.O.T.U.S. Channel in January. Starting on January 4, the new lineup on SiriusXM’s non-partisan P.O.T.U.S. channel will includeJulie Mason Mornings” (6:00 am to 9:00 am ET) and “The Laura Coates Show” (3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET). Veteran journalist Mason takes over for Tim Farley’s “The Morning Briefing” after Farley’s retirement at year’s end. Coates – a CNN senior legal analyst – moves to the P.O.T.U.S. channel from SiriusXM’s Urban View channel. Julie Mason has more than 30 years of experience covering local, state and national politics, including four presidential campaigns. In more than 10 years at the White House, she traveled internationally and reported from more than 30 different countries. She is a former elected board member of the White House Correspondents Association. In addition to her media work, Coates has served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and as an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law.

United Stations Radio Networks Names Jim Roberts Director of Affiliate Sales and Marketing for Sports. Sports radio pro Jim Roberts is named director of affiliate sales and marketing/sports content for United Stations Radio Networks. He comes to USRN after a 20-plus years career with Disney/ESPN in which he oversaw the inception and growth of the affiliate network of 500-plus stations for ESPN Radio and ESPN Deportes while also managing Disney owned-and-operated stations in New York City and Dallas. United Stations recently announced a partnership with SportsGarten Network to provide stations with short-form, long-form and daily daypart options in sports and sports wagering content. In his new role, Roberts will market all USRN sports-related programs and services, including the Total Sports Prep service. USRN’s Stefan Jones comments, “At United Stations we are growing our programming, services, and partnerships in the sports and sports-wagering lane. As more and more states are legalizing sports wagering, we want to ensure our company delivers quality options.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Rich Eisen and Westwood One reach an agreement for the latter to feature “The Rich Eisen Show” podcast on the Westwood One Podcast Network, beginning on January 4. The deal also calls for the development of a new podcast by Eisen called “Just Getting Started” (scheduled for a February debut) in which Eisen interviews the biggest names from news, entertainment, sports, and pop culture, discussing their career origins and mining their stories on how they got started, in a format where audiences can be inspired by their endeavors…..In Chicago, Nexstar Media’s WGN-AM, Chicago is handing the agribusiness beat over to Steve Alexander with the retirement of Orion Samuelson at the end of this month. Samuelson is putting the wrap on a radio career that spans 60 years. Alexander says, “When I’ve filled in for Orion over the past 12 years, I’ve often joked that he gave me the key to the tractor, and I was able to keep it out of the ditch until he returned. Come next month, I’ll try to keep the tractor upright and continue Orion’s efforts to explain how important agriculture is to all of us.”…..GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs’ program adds two new affiliate stations as WEOL, Elyria, Ohio and KPRL, Paso Robles, California pick up the show.

COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines, the Economy & Closings, Stimulus Talks, Ongoing Election Denial, Georgia Runoff Elections, Biden Transition, and Northeast Snowstorm Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for post-holidays cases; the beginning of vaccine distribution in the U.S.; the state of the U.S. economy and forced business closings; the congressional negotiations over a new stimulus package; the ongoing denial of the election results in the Donald Trump camp; January’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the Joe Biden administration’s transition and nominations; and a big snowstorm hits the Northeast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a series of holiday programs being made available on Entercom’s RADIO.COM that’s airing from December 18-20. The shows are: “POP Goes Christmas,” featuring Why Don’t We and Ava Max; “Acoustic Christmas,” featuring Kelly Clarkson, Meghan Trainor, Dan + Shay, Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, Rob Thomas, Train, Matt Nathanson, Ava Max, and a special performance from Keith Urban; “Country Christmas,” with Keith Urban, Dan + Shay, Lady A, Runaway June, and Russell Dickerson; and “Not So Silent Night” starring Machine Gun Kelly, 24kGoldn, All Time Low, SHAED, and Wallows. Those four shows will culminate in the “RADIO.COM LIVE! Holiday Music Festival,” a free video stream of the concert performances on December 21 at 6:00 pm ET, available nationwide on the RADIO.COM app and website at RADIO.COM/Live. Portions of the show will also be available on Twitch and via RADIO.COM’s social media channels. The performances will be accessible on demand for 72 hours after the show on RADIO.COM and station websites…..SiriusXM announces the rollout of several new pop up channels, holiday specials, live programs for New Year’s Eve, exclusive video, podcasts and best-of live performances. “New Year’s Nation” will launch beginning December 29 as a pop-up channel on SiriusXM dedicated to the ultimate New Year’s celebration songs in pop, rhythm, dance, and hip-hop from across the nation featuring the hottest hits from Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, The Weeknd, Ariana Grande, Drake, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, Taylor Swift and more. New holiday pop-up channels include Top 100 Interviews of 2020, highlighting the top celebrity interviews from the past year. Hosted by SiriusXM’s Jess Cagle and Julia Cunningham, the pop-up channel will feature interviews from shows including “Andy Cohen Live,” “The Hoda Show” and “The Jess Cagle Show” with some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Ben Affleck, Hugh Jackman, Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Laverne Cox, Lily Collins, Lizzo, Ramy Yousef, Sam Smith, Sean Penn, Spike Lee and dozens more.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

| December 16, 2020

Grace Curley Show Adds Three-Station News/Talk Network in New Hampshire. The new Grace Curley Show is adding the three-station news/talk network consisting of WTSN-AM, Dover; WEMJ-AM, Laconia; and WTPL-FM, Hillsboro in New Hampshire operated by Binnie Media. The Grace Curley Show is being rolled out in syndication by The Howie Carr Radio Network and the Binnie stations join iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston which also begins airing the program on January 4. Binnie Media director of programming & operations Dave Andreesen says, “We are thrilled to offer our listeners The Grace Curley Show across our three news/talk stations in New Hampshire. The Howie Carr Show has been a popular mainstay in our lineup for years and I think Grace’s show will be the perfect addition to round out our weekday lineup. Anyone who has listened to Howie can tell you what a fine broadcaster and commentator Grace has evolved into. I’m looking forward to her fresh perspective on the issues everyone is talking about.” The Grace Curley Show will air live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.

Beasley Media Group Promotes Five Programmers. In the programming department of Beasley Media Group, five current staffers have been promoted. WMMR-FM and WMGK-FM, Philadelphia program director Bill Weston is upped to vice president of talent development in which he’ll work directly with certain personalities to help improve their content as well as assist the company’s PDs with talent assessment and recruitment. Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack adds VP of strategy & analytics to his role with the company. Beasley Charlotte director of operations John Reynolds rises to VP of music & entertainment in which he’ll serve as the company’s record label liaison for multi-market artist opportunities and company events. Beasley Detroit director of programming Scott Jameson adds VP of national content to his duties. He’ll now also work to identify opportunities for content sharing and manage a national database of talent. Beasley Augusta and Fayetteville OM Tee Gentry adds VP of brand strategies to his responsibilities and he’s charged with working to seek out creative ideas for imaging, promotions, and sales integrations to share with stations across the company. Beasley Media Group Justin Chase comments, “It is such a pleasure to elevate these first-class programmers within our company. Each of them has already made a major positive impact to our company as well as the industry. It’s a privilege to have them on our team!”

TALKERS News Notes. Los Angeles news/talker KFI AM 640 announces that its 10th annual “KFI PastaThon” fundraiser that helps feed local children in need raised a record of more than $770,000 and 75,980 pounds of pasta and pasta sauce. The charitable organization Caterina’s Club – an organization that feeds more than 25,000 underprivileged children each week in over 30 cities throughout Southern California – was the beneficiary. Robin Bertolucci is program director for the iHeartMedia station, and she says, “We are in awe at the generosity of our listeners and so grateful for their support of this worthy cause. Over the past 10 years, they have helped us raise more than $3.5 million and over 586,000 pounds of pasta and pasta sauce in support of Chef Bruno Serato and his outstanding organization as they feed thousands of children in Southern California and help end the cycle of poverty.”…..Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas “News Talk 820AM” raised more than $225,000 (and counting!) for the Denton State Supported Living Center from its “42nd Annual Christmas Is for Caring Radiothon” that took place from December 7-11. Station PD Kevin Graham comments, “This is a testament to the giving nature of our listeners to find it in their hearts in such a difficult year to donate to those that are in desperate need of the holiday spirit. Big thank you to our passionate staff and those at the Denton State Supported Living Center for allowing us to be a part of such a wonderful mission.”…..Also at Cumulus Dallas, news/talker KLIF partnered with Ed Wallace from KLIF’s Saturday morning show, “Wheels with Ed Wallace,” and Kwik Kar Industries for the “32nd Annual KLIF Kids Toy Drive.” Sponsors contributed $44,600, which the station will use to purchase toys for more than 800 underprivileged children attending two different schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area…..Among the numerous year-end features listeners will find on spoken-word radio stations across the country this time of year is the WNYC 2020 Time Capsule from the Brian Lehrer Show. WNYC says that the show “plans to end the year doing what public radio is uniquely able to do: to capture the oral history of this year through the voices of the people who lived through it all.” The WNYC 2020 Time Capsule “is a place for listeners to voice their grief – but also their hopes for the future. In mid-March, a year from when the pandemic took hold in the region – the Time Capsule will be stored atop the Empire State Building next to the WNYC transmitter, not to be opened until 2030.” It will contain the voices of New Yorkers; an Audio Timeline of 2020 that tells the story of the year stitched together from listener calls; a reading of the names of the over 1,900 New Yorkers that died from COVID-19; listener-submitted photographs that best capture the year; and select news stories from the WNYC and Gothamist newsrooms.

Hartmann: Democrats Can’t Win If They Don’t Play. In a piece published in The Nation, progressive talk radio host Thom Hartmann writes about the success Republicans have enjoyed winning political races with the help of the “roughly 1,500 right-wing talk-radio stations that saturate every corner, no matter how remote or rural, of America.” Hartmann says the takeaway from this is: Radio works. He adds, “Good talk show hosts know their job isn’t to find or interview ‘good guests’; it’s to build a trust relationship with their audience, cemented over years, caller after caller, day after day. Truly effective hosts like Limbaugh and Michael Savage talk to their listeners as if they’re close and trusted friends.” He notes that – aside from Bernie Sanders – most Democrats have avoided talk radio. And that, he says, needs to change. “If Democrats want to effectively counter the relentless spread of hard-right ideology in America, talk radio has to be part of that strategy.”

Ashok Sinha Joins Entercom as Head of Corporate Communications. Corporate communications pro Ashok Sinha is named SVP, head of corporate communications and PR for Entercom Communications. In this role, Sinha will lead the communications strategy and execution across Entercom’s entire portfolio of assets. He’ll have direct oversight of internal and external communications, media and press relations, corporate messaging, crisis communications and issues management, and executive thought leadership management. He will serve as a member of Entercom’s executive leadership team, reporting to Paul Suchman, chief marketing officer. Sinha says, “As a lifelong consumer of music and the spoken word, I believe in the power of audio and its ability to engage, entertain and inform the world. I’m delighted for this opportunity to join Entercom and its award-winning corporate communications team, and lead the charge as we tell the story of audio in this dynamic time for media.” Sinha was most recently VP, communications lead, technology at WarnerMedia.

iHeartMedia Names Gabe Fleet EVP of Business Affairs and Chief Music Licensing Counsel. Attorney Gabe Fleet joins iHeartMedia as EVP of business affairs and chief music licensing counsel, effective January 11. Fleet transitions to iHeartMedia from his role as a partner at Greenberg Traurig law firm. In his new role, Fleet will lead iHeartMedia’s business affairs team and focus on strategic deals and relationships with the company’s music and entertainment partners and be responsible for business and legal affairs across the company’s divisions, multiplatform assets and tentpole events. Fleet will also spearhead the company’s music licensing strategy, including maintaining and renewing all music industry licenses for iHeartRadio’s digital services and performance licenses through PRO agencies.

COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines, Economy & Shutdowns, Biden Transition/Nominations, Georgia Runoff Elections, Stimulus Negotiations, and U.S. Government Hack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for post-holidays cases; the beginning of the distribution of COVID vaccines in the U.S.; the state of the U.S. economy, job losses, and mandated business shutdowns; the Joe Biden administration’s transition and cabinet nominations; January’s Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections; the ongoing stimulus negotiations; and the Russian hack of U.S. government computer systems were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Details are few but WMC-TV, Memphis is reporting that Chris Jarman, morning drive co-host at Cumulus Media’s rock WXMX, Memphis “98.1 The Max” has died after a “tragic accident” at age 50. Jarman co-hosted theDanni & The Jar” morning show. The report cites Cumulus VP Morgan Bohannon saying that Jarman was transported to a hospital in Batesville, Arkansas because no ICU beds were available in Memphis…..AL.com reports that triple A WZEW-FM, Mobile air personality Lee Ann Camp has died after a short battle with cancer. Camp, who along with her husband Tim Camp, hosted radio shows on the .Com+ LLC-owned stations, was first diagnosed earlier this fall after experiencing back pain and subsequent tests revealed she had advanced cancer. The couple have two children, ages 12 and 15…..Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX, Chicago “101.9fm THE MIX” announces that morning show cast member Melissa McGurren is declining a contract renewal with the station and will leave after a 22 years. Hubbard Chicago VP and market manager Jeff England says, “Our plans for the future of ‘Eric in the Morning’ definitely included Melissa. We were disappointed by her decision not to renew her contract, but also know that this year has led all of us to assess our lives in different ways. When she informed me of her decision, she described her time at the station as ‘a privilege’ and that feeling is completely mutual. We wish her the best.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Tish Boden to vice president and market manager for its six-station Shreveport, Louisiana cluster. She was previously director of sales…..Sun Broadcast Group is now exclusively representing the syndicated urban AC afternoon drive program “The Jeff Foxx Show with Keke Brown and Nina” for network sales. The program was formerly syndicated on Superadio.

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

| December 15, 2020

Ramsey Solutions Forgives $10 million in Debt for 8,000 Americans. Through his company Ramsey Solutions, Dave Ramsey has taken on the debt of 8,000 people across the United States and totally forgiven a total of $10 million in debt. Ramsey Solutions has purchased $10 million of unpaid medical and car debt from two private debt collection companies in order to forgive it. Starting on November 9, Ramsey and his 950 team members made phone calls to let the recipients know their debt had been forgiven. Recipients will also be notified by a letter in the mail within the next five weeks. Ramsey says, “This year has been one of the worst financially for so many Americans. Thirty years ago, my wife Sharon, and I were on the heels of a financial catastrophe ourselves. We know firsthand the pain of having creditors calling at all hours of the night and wondering how we were going to keep the lights on. But we said never again to living with debt. We worked our way out of bankruptcy, turned our finances around, and now we can have the most fun with money that we ever have – giving.” You can read more about Ramsey Solutions’ $10 million debt payoff here.

Charlie James Named Afternoon Drive Host at WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg. The new afternoon drive talk host at Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg “106.3 WORD” is Charlie James, who joins the station from his most recent post as morning host for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WTMA-AM, Charleston, South Carolina. James – who starts on December 23 – succeeds Bob McLain, who is retiring from the station. Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg SVP and market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Charlie is a well-respected and seasoned talk show host and his track record of success in South Carolina with his award-winning program makes him a perfect fit for ‘106.3 WORD.’ Charlie’s experience informing and entertaining listeners through his style, knowledge, and influential opinions on topics that matter most will be a welcomed addition to our station’s programming and will build on the afternoon audience that has been well served by Bob McLain.”​

WHO-AM, Des Moines Names Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet New Morning Drive Show. Current WHO-AM, Des Moines morning drive host Van Harden announced yesterday (12/14) to listeners that market radio pros Max Schaeffer and Amy Sweet will take over hosting the morning drive show after he retires from the station early next month. Schaeffer comments, “The weight of what we have ahead of us is not lost on me.” Schaeffer and Sweet previously worked as morning drive co-hosts at Saga Communications’ crosstown classic hits KIOA-FM until exiting in May of 2018. Harden announced his retirement from WHO back in January of this year, giving iHeartMedia a full year to plan for the new morning show.

Ken Kohl Announces Retirement. Radio programming and management pro Ken Kohl announces that he’s winding down his 50-plus year broadcasting career that’s seen him program news and talk stations in markets including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, and Sacramento. Kohl has been serving for the past 12 years with DirecTV managing broadcast and sales operations, project and talent management for the radio and TV simulcasts of “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “The Artie Lange Show.” Kohl says, “It’s been an amazing 50-year career. From overnight jock on Long Island’s WBLI-FM to program director of legendary WLIR-FM, rockin’ the Rockies at KBPI-FM, great runs programming KOMO-AM and KFBK-AM, launching talk on KFI in Los Angeles and San Francisco’s ‘Free FM’ to the award-winning, wall-to-wall coverage of the OJ trial, and two sports Emmy nominations and a Marconi with ‘The Dan Patrick Show.’ I’ve been blessed with fantastic staffs, amazing talk talent and exceptional ownership but there are a handful of folks who championed my career to whom I am eternally grateful: Michael Harrison, Monty Grau, Jim Donahoe, Jimmy de Castro, Chris Long, and the best of the best, Gerryann Agovino.” Kohl says he remains available for a limited number of consulting clients in between bites of fresh salmon and can be reached at kenkohl@acquaintmedia.com

Townsquare Media Issues Preliminary Fourth Quarter Financial Results. While the fourth quarter of 2020 doesn’t wrap until December 31, Townsquare Media is issuing “preliminary estimated financial results” for the period. Chief executive officer Bill Wilson says, “We are pleased to pre-announce very strong fourth quarter estimated results that outperformed the expectations we had previously outlined on our third quarter earnings call. At that time, I stated that our goal for fourth quarter net revenue was a year-over-year decline of 7.5%, approximately half of our third quarter net revenue decline of 15%, which had been a material improvement from Q2’s decline of 35%. Today, I am proud to share that we expect fourth quarter net revenue will be between $107 million and $109 million, which equates to a decline of approximately 2.7% to 4.5%, materially outperforming our goal. In addition, we expect Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA will be between $27 million and $28 million, representing between 8.3% and 12.3% growth year-over-year. This far exceeds our previously stated goal (by at least $2 million) that Q4 2020 Adjusted EBITDA would approach Q4 2019 Adjusted EBITDA of $24.9 million.”

i4 Media Ventures Launches with Debut Podcast ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast.’ The new firm i4 Media Ventures announces its plans to “bring podcast listeners vividly memorable stories from the history of American broadcasting.” The 12-episode podcast series “We Interrupt This Broadcast” – the first season of six seasons planned for release over the next three years – debuts in February. The series will feature first-hand accounts, little-told anecdotes and insights recorded over the course of decades with such icons of broadcast journalism as David BrinkleyTom BrokawWalter CronkiteSam Donaldson, Don HewittDan Rather, and Tim Russert, among many contemporary correspondents, and with numerous news directors and producers, as well as with guests connected to broadcast journalism’s rich history such as Casey MurrowEdward R. Murrow’s son. Advertising sales and sponsorship for the series will be represented by New York and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales. The series is based on the 1998 New York Times bestselling multimedia book We Interrupt This Broadcast by author Joe Garner, a co-founder of i4 Media Ventures. Legendary longtime CBS journalist and A&E and NPR host Bill Kurtis, the original narrator for the multimedia book, will reprise his role by introducing each episode. The narrator for the series will be announced in coming weeks. Garner says, “It’s our intention with this series to celebrate broadcast journalism’s crucial role in our society and in history. And while our inaugural podcast series will feature major news events throughout broadcast history, these stories – such as the Rodney King beating and the presidential-election dispute of 2000 – all have relevance and offer lessons today.”

Joe Piscopo to Host Sinatra Show on WABC, New York. Well-known TV personality and radio talk show host Joe Piscopo is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to host “Ramsey Mazda’s Sunday Nights with Sinatra” program that airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The show is being simulcast on WLIR-FM on Long Island. Piscopo played Sinatra in a recurring role during his time as a cast member of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in the early 1980s. He says, “It’s an honor to bring the music of the most legendary icon of our time, Frank Sinatra, back to the legendary WABC Radio. I am thrilled and excited, and it’s gonna’ be swingin’ baby!” Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis comments, “Throughout history, there has been no more iconic name in music than Frank Sinatra, nor has there been a more iconic name in radio than WABC. Bringing these two together again on Sunday nights with celebrity host Joe Piscopo, a crooner himself, is a one-of-a-kind way to honor ‘Ol’ Blue Eyes’ and celebrate what would-be his 105th Birthday with this show’s debut.” Piscopo hosts the morning drive program on Salem Media Group‘s WNYM, New York “970 The Answer.”

ESPN’s ‘30 For 30 Podcasts’ Looks Back at Beginning of Pandemic. The next installment of ESPN’s “30 for 30 Podcasts” debuts on December 21, is titled, “March 11 2020,” and tells the story “of a day that started in one reality and ended with a new one — the day the NBA shut down and the pandemic became real — as told by those who lived it.” ESPN says the experiential podcast features a mix of audio clips from news stories of the day and interviews with key figures in the NBA as well as from Dr. Anthony Fauci. Senior editorial producer Julia Lowrie Henderson says, “This has been the strangest, longest, and most challenging of years. It’s hard to process all we’ve been through, but it’s actually quite simple to identify the turning point, the moment where it felt like everything changed: March 11. All of our lives were impacted by the events of that day. At the time we had no idea how deeply, or how long this might last, but we felt the seismic shift when the first professional athlete tested positive for coronavirus and the NBA suspended its season. If our mission at ‘30 For 30’ is to tell stories that explore how sports, competition, athleticism, and adventure affect our lives and our world, then it felt crucial to us to find a way to tell the story of that day.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story at GVWire.com, KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno program director Blake Taylor says Twitter blocked access to the station’s account because of comments made by U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes on KMJ. During Nunes’ interview with KMJ talk host Ray Appleton, he said he “tested positive for the COVID antibodies” causing some confusion and concern that he had contracted the COVID-19 virus. GVWire.com reports that Taylor fielded requests from consumer media outlets seeking to clarify what Nunes had said so he did so on Twitter. Taylor says that immediately the station’s Twitter account was suspended. He reached out to Twitter but received no response. The blackout lasted 20 minutes…..Entercom’s WIP-FM, Philadelphia “SportsRadio 94WIP” announces special coverage of the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2020-21 season. WIP’s coverage of the team will include “Trust The Pregame,” hosted by Joe Giglio. The station will continue airing “Rights To Ricky Sanchez Radio,” a one-hour show named after the popular podcast. That show will be hosted by Joe Giglio and feature Spike Eskin, as well as Rights to Ricky Sanchez writers Adam Aaronson and Mike O’Connor. The station also announces a collection of additional contributors for the upcoming season, including  WIP’s Jon Johnson and Billy KingDerek Bodner of The AthleticKevin O’Connor of The Ringer, and Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice…..Digital products and services provider Vipology moves its ad sales representation exclusively to AdLarge Media. AdLarge co-founder and co CEO Cathy Csukas says, “Where most digital companies simply create and sell what’s needed at the time, Vipology gets ahead of the constantly evolving media landscape to develop solutions that allow radio to increase ratings and revenue. We’re very excited about representing their advertising inventory from more than 1,000 top radio stations across America to our advertisers.”…..Erick Siqueira joins Focus360 as business development & planning specialist. In this role, Siqueira will work with the Focus team to deliver new revenue and inventory opportunities for clients. He will also continue relationships with agencies and buyers with whom he’s worked for all Focus360 network products and the Focus360 Podcast Network

Electoral College Votes Biden Winner, COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive, COVID Stats & Projections, Barr to Resign, Georgia Runoff Elections, and Stimulus Negotiations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The Electoral College votes Joe Biden the 46th president; the first COVID-19 vaccines begin arriving at U.S. hospitals; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-holidays outbreaks, and Dr. Tony Fauci’s estimation the U.S. will achieve herd immunity by late spring or early summer; Attorney General William Barr announces he’ll resign next week; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; and negotiations on a new pandemic stimulus package were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. According to a report at NewscenterMaine, former Saga Communications air personality Randi Kirshbaum – who was a program director and jock at country WPOR and triple A WCLZ in Portland, Maine is filing an employment discrimination complaint with the Maine Human Rights Commission and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company after she was dismissed for refusing to return to the stations’ offices due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kirshbaum says her mother passed away from pulmonary fibrosis and that she is genetically predisposed to getting it. She adds the disease can be triggered by a respiratory virus. When Kirshbaum was laid off in May, Saga Portland SVP Chris Forgy said Kirshbaum violated her signed agreement that she could be called back to the office by management and would lose her job if she refused…..Condolences to the family and friends of radio pro Steve Cooper, a.k.a. James Carr, who died on Sunday (12/13) at age 71 after several years of battling multiple illnesses. Cooper worked in the Indianapolis market for 32 years, working at such signals as WNDE, WIFE, WFBQ, and WTPI. You can see a tribute video made by good friend Art Vuolo here.

Monday, December 14, 2020

| December 14, 2020

Monday Memo: In 2021, What Does It Mean to be Relevant? Think 2020 was a bender? Consultant Holland Cooke says, “Grab the arm rest!” And in this week’s column, he points to “a silver lining in this year-we’d-like-to-forget: It knocked us out of the business-as-usual mindset.” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Junk. Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president Steve Lapa says if many of your 2020 proposals now reside in the “junk” category, now is the time of year to review proposals that sold through and which ones missed. In today’s column, he presents a five-point review of key elements he says should be part of every news/talk proposal you submit to your advertisers and prospects. Read it here.

Key Networks’ Jesse Kelly Show to Air on WRKO, Boston. The nationally syndicated Jesse Kelly show will debut on iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston beginning on January 4. Key Networks announces that the news/talk program will air in the 10:00 pm to 1:00 am slot initially, then moving to the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm daypart on February 15. Key Networks calls Jesse Kelly “unfiltered and unapologetic.” Kelly says, “Everyone in radio knows about the greatness of WRKO and wants to be there. I’m honored to be there. And I’m sure they’re honored to have me since I’m such a huge important celebrity with a superior brain and community college credits.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “We are delighted to be a part of the great WRKO and bringing Jesse Kelly to the Boston audience. Stations need to make room for the next generation of talk radio. Fresh voice, fresh opinions – it’s time for Jesse Kelly.”

Bold Gold Media Group Raises $30,000-plus for Charity. Pictured above is Bold Gold Media Group general manager Michael G. Stanton on Saturday (12/12) doing his 19th annual Shower for Charity. Stanton spent a little less than two hours showering out in the cold on Main Street in Honesdale, Pennsylvania in order to encourage people to donate to the Wayne County Children’s Christmas Bureau. His goal was $20,000 and despite the pandemic, Stanton and the Bold Gold Team raised more than $30,000! Stanton comments, “The generosity of this community is amazing! Businesses during this pandemic, as well as area residents and individuals from out of state driving by, gave from the heart to help the children in the area have a very Merry Christmas. It is very humbling to see this overwhelming support.”

Talk Host Wayne Allyn Root Busy as Ever. Las Vegas-based, USA Radio Network-syndicated talk show host Wayne Allyn Root is pictured above left at the White House Christmas party – the fourth one he’s attended. At right is Root with baseball great Pete Rose. Root tells TALKERS that before he became a talk host he was “the king of Vegas sports gambling.” He’s back in that business with Rose (above right) appearing in the radio and TV ads for his new, publicly traded company VegasWINNERS Inc.

SiriusXM Deploys New Satellite. Yesterday (12/13), SiriusXM Satellite Radio successfully launched a new satellite. SXM-7 was built by Maxar Technologies and launched by SpaceX from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Shortly afterward, SXM-7 deployed its solar arrays and began receiving and sending signals. Next, SXM-7 will begin firing its thrusters to commence its journey to its final geostationary orbit. SiriusXM SVP of satellite and repeater systems engineering and operations Bridget Neville says, “SXM-7 plays an important role in bolstering the continuity and reliable delivery of SiriusXM’s audio entertainment, as well as our traffic, weather, data and information services for years to come. With the addition of SXM-7, our satellite-delivered service coverage area in North America is larger and more powerful than ever before. We congratulate our engineering team, Maxar, and SpaceX on a successful launch.”

Trump Election Challenges/Protest Violence/Electoral College, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccine Rollout, Stimulus Negotiations, Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Georgia Senate Runoff Elections, Biden Transition, and Cleveland to Drop ‘Indians’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The ongoing challenge of the election results by Donald Trump, the violence at the Washington, DC protests, and today’s Electoral College vote; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for post-Christmas spikes; the rollout of COVID vaccines; the negotiations in Congress over a new stimulus package; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is accused of sexually harassing former aid Lindsey Boylan; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s U.S. Senate seats; the Joe Biden administration transition; and the MLB’s Cleveland Indians announce plans to drop “Indians” as their name were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Alternative KYSR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7” names Chris Booker afternoon drive personality. Lisa Worden is program director for KYSR and vice president of rock and alternative for iHeartMedia and she says, “Our paths have crossed for many years – mostly at The 1975 shows – and we finally found the perfect opportunity to work together. Chris is a pro with a knack for entertaining and a huge passion for alternative rock music. He’s a perfect fit for ‘ALT 98.7,’ and I could not be more excited for him to join the team!” Booker was most recently afternoon drive personality at Entercom’s alternative WNYL-FM, New York. In the past he’s held several roles in the television industry, including as commentator and host for VH1 where he was featured on more than 50 shows including the “Greatest Ever” series and the “I Love The…” series…..Air personality Tamo Sein joins iHeartMedia’s alternative WWDC, Washington “DC101” as host of the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart. She has been serving as weekend and fill-in host at the station since July of this year. Previously, she was midday host at the company’s alternative KYSR, Los Angeles “ALT 98.7.”…..Country radio personality Shawn Parr, host of Key Networks’ nationally syndicated “Shawn Parr’s Across The Country” program hosted a successful virtual fundraising event for charity, “Soup for the Soul,” benefiting Bridge to Home that raised more than $110,000 through a live auction and sponsorships. Bridge to Home helps individuals and families in Santa Clarita Valley, California transition out of homelessness. Featured performers for the evening included GRAMMY and ACM-nominated double platinum country artist Cam, Broadway star and recording artist Rachel Potter, ACM-nominated country trio Runaway June, and Nashville singer/songwriter Kenny Foster.

Friday, December 11, 2020

| December 11, 2020


NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”  The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Truth, Justice, and the American Way,” looks back at this past week of December 7 – December 11, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston /  Michael Berry Radio NetworkGrace Curley, talk show host, WRKO, Boston / Howie Carr Radio Network;  Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; Graham Mack, talk show host, Podcast Radio, UK; and Robbie Stevens, record producer / commentator, TalkersRadioThis acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

NYPost: Craig Carton to Host ‘Responsible Gambling Show.’ According to a story in the New York Post, WFAN, New York afternoon drive co-host Craig Carton will host a Saturday show called “Hello, My Name Is Craig” that is being called a “responsible gambling show.” The show is a partnership between Entercom’s sports talk WFAN and problem gambling help network 1-800-GAMBLER. Carton said on WFAN, “They’re going to bring their expertise into it. I’ll tell the stories of gambling and the way my addiction manifested itself in the bad decisions I made, which became criminal.” It was the need to pay off gambling debts that caused Carton to create a phony concert tickets brokerage scheme that put him in prison for fraud after a November 2018 conviction.

WJR-AM, Detroit’s Mitch Albom Radiothon Raises $1.5 million for Local Charity. During Thursday’s daylong radiothon, WJR, Detroit afternoon drive host Mitch Albom helped raise more than $1.5 million for SAY Detroit – a local organization that helps the needy with health care, housing, food and education. The “9th Annual Mitch Albom SAY Detroit Radiothon” included appearances by special celebrity guests including Kate Hudson, Hugh Jackman, Katie Couric, Lily Tomlin, Hank Azaria, Tim Allen, and Anderson Cooper.

WGN-AM, Chicago’s Dean Richards to Return to Air After COVID Case. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Windy City media personality and WGN-AM weekend talk host Dean Richards is returning to the air after a couple weeks off due to a bout with COVID-19. The 66-year-old Richards will broadcast from his home for the next week or two before returning to the Nexstar Media Group station’s studios. Richards tells Feder his symptoms were relatively mild and adds that he’s not sure how he caught the coronavirus because he was being very careful. “The moral of my story is no matter how careful you think you’re being, be ten times more careful than that. Because I thought I was being super careful. I know I was being super careful.”

News/Talk KBOI, Boise Holds Successful Toy Drive for Marine Corps Reserve Campaign. Last Thursday through Sunday (12/3-6), Cumulus Media’s news/talk “NewsTalk 670” KBOI, Boise and Idaho Central Credit Union hosted Idaho’s biggest toy drive to benefit the US Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program for Treasure Valley children in need this holiday season. The event helped bring in more than 70,000 toys and $27,000 in cash donations. Pictured above (from l-r) are: US Marine Corps Reserve Charlie Company Marines Elmore and Perez, a smitten stuffed bear, Miss Idaho USA Katarina Schweitzer, and KBOI’s Mike Kasper and Nate Shelman.

WMAL-FM, Washington Fisher House Radiothon Raises More Than $360,000. During last weekend’s annual two-day WMAL Operation Fisher House Radiothon, the Cumulus Media news/talk station helped raise $368,000 for the Fisher House Foundation. WMAL listeners have donated more $7.5 million dollars over the last 15 years to support the efforts of the Fisher House Foundation to provide housing to families of injured military members who are undergoing treatment. Cumulus Media VP of news/talk and WMAL program director Bill Hess says, “We are humbled by the response of our listeners each and every year. Their response is incredibly heartwarming.”

COVID-19, Vaccines, Stats, and Protection Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 7-11. The fast-rising number of positive COVID cases in the U.S., the status of hospitals, hope for effective vaccines, and warnings about holiday get-togethers combined for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing efforts to overturn the election results. Coming in at #3 was Joe Biden’s transition appointments and nominations, followed by the Georgia senate runoff elections at #4. 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 magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Milwaukee urban contemporary “HOT 105.7” (WXSS-HD2) adds two air talents to the program schedule. Entercom announces that former crosstown WKKV-FM personality Promise is now hosting mornings while DJ Gee A moves from sister CHR WXSS-FM to afternoons on “HOT 105.7.” Entercom Milwaukee market manager Andrea Hansen says, “We’re excited to welcome Promise and DJ Gee A to our on-air lineup and introduce them to our listeners. Both have deep roots in this community with valued experience entertaining and connecting with the listeners of this city. We trust that combination will quickly resonate with our fans and round out our locally focused programming lineup.”…..The nationally syndicated “Ashley & Brad” show – hosted by Ashley Paige and Brad Abrell and produced by Skid Trax and distributed by Sun Broadcast Group – adds new affiliate stations as KFLX-FM, Chino Valley, Arizona; KPPT-FM , Depoe Bay, Oregon; KQBG-FM, Rock Island, Washington; and KHKM-FM, Hamilton, Montana add the program to their schedules.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

| December 10, 2020

Longtime KFGO, Fargo Personality Bob Harris in Coma Battling COVID-19. According to a story posted on KFGO, Fargo’s website, station personality Bob Harris is in a coma suffering from the effects of COVID-19 at a Fargo hospital where he’s been since Thanksgiving. The piece notes that Harris – who hosts the “Nighttime Live” show and the “Harris Happenings” podcast – went to the hospital after experiencing shortness of breath. Harris’ sister Jeanie Smith says Harris has suffered two cardiac arrest events, but doctors say the pneumonia he’d been suffering has improved and there’s no indication that he’s suffered a stroke or brain damage. She says if he does not regain consciousness soon, he will undergo an MRI.

Christmas Special Available from ‘Our American Stories.’ For news/talk stations seeking quality holiday programming, Lee Habeeb’s American Private Radio is offering a multiple-hour “Our American Stories Christmas Holiday Radio Special,” featuring “behind-the-stories of our most cherished traditions, plus some extra special stories designed to warm the hearts and spirits of listeners everywhere.” APR says that in addition to the Friday, December 25 two-hour special edition of “Our American Stories,” several extra hours will also be made available to stations looking to expand their holiday programming (via FTP download). No contracts required. If you’d like more information, email Affiliates@Oanetwork.org
or call 855-276-8020.

Salem Names David Cruz VP of New Latino-Targeted Salem Si. Broadcasting pro David Cruz is joining Salem Media Group as vice president of Salem Si – a new digital streaming platform scheduled to launch in January that’s focused on the nation’s Latino market. Cruz began his career with Spanish International Network, the predecessor to Univision. He worked in various news capacities with ABCCBS, and NBC television network stations and became anchor of the nation’s first syndicated, bilingual news talk program for CNN Spanish Radio and Radio Centro in Latin America. Most recently, Cruz served with iHeartMedia in Los Angeles hosting a talk show on news/talk KFI and KEIB and as director of corporate and community partnerships in emerging markets. Salem broadcast media president David Santrella says, “We are very excited that David and Salem have entered into this collaboration that promises to reach and serve the youngest and fastest growing audience demographic in the United States. The challenges presented by COVID-19 have only accelerated the shift in listening patterns by Latinos who are seeking timely, relevant, and accurate information live and on-demand. David’s extensive background as one of the country’s established and well-known Latino broadcast network journalists makes him the ideal person to lead this new digital initiative with Salem Media Group.”

Heritage Foundation Honors Rush Limbaugh with Award; Names Studio After Him. Conservative Washington, DC think tank The Heritage Foundation presented Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh with its inaugural “Titan of Conservatism Award” during the organization’s annual President’s Club Meeting. In addition, the Heritage Foundation will honor Limbaugh by naming its new, state-of-the-art studios the Rush Limbaugh Radio Studios “to ensure his legacy continues to shape future generations.” Heritage Foundation president Kay C. James states, “If there was a ‘Conservative Hall of Fame,’ Rush would no doubt be a first-ballot entry. From behind the golden EIB microphone, he inspired millions of Americans to cherish our God-given rights and freedoms and the country and Constitution that serve to protect them. Rush helped bring the conservative movement together three hours a day for a family meeting, he helped everyday Americans realize they were conservative, and he brought millions of new people into the conservative movement. The extraordinary reach of his #1-rated radio talk show has allowed him to attract listeners with his common sense, everyday-language explanations of why conservatism works and how every American benefits because of it. The conservative movement simply wouldn’t be where it is today without the venerable Rush Limbaugh.

Armstrong & Getty Add Affiliates in Alaska and Nebraska. The KSTE-AM, Sacramento-based talk radio show “Armstrong & Getty” – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – adds two new affiliate stations as Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska and KFQD, Anchorage, Alaska agree to add the program to their lineups. KFQD content director Joe Campbell says, “Too much of the dial is dedicated to hardline opinion and ‘picking a side.’ We’re chopping the audience up into too many camps. It shouldn’t be about left or right, but rather entertaining the listener. Joe and Jack are a couple of guys you just want to hang out and have a drink with. They’re capable of serious political discussion, but it’s always entertaining and genuine. Armstrong & Getty just get it. I’m excited to have them on-board at KFQD.” Armstrong & Getty comment, “We’re really grateful that Alpha has invited us to join the team. We’re not beltway pundits. We’re Middle-American guys with families who are just trying to bring a little perspective, honesty, and humor to the day’s events. We’re patriots more than we’re partisans.”

Cherry Creek Media and CreativeReady Announce Deal. The audio creative firm CreativeReady and Cherry Creek Media announce a new partnership that will allow all 50 Cherry Creek radio stations to use CreativeReady’s on-demand creative assets. Cherry Creek CEO Jonathan Brewster says, “CCM is always working to provide our markets with the tools needed to help clients thrive. The CreativeReady platform will really help us deliver outstanding creative strategies for clients and improve efficiencies within our stations.” CreativeReady founder and CEO Jamie Alpin comments, “We believe the key to a successful seller/client relationship is in developing longterm creative ad strategies. It’s about giving the client our very best and the Cherry Creek culture aligns with that mindset perfectly. They have an outstanding reputation for going above and beyond for their clients and we couldn’t be happier with this partnership.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Holiday Travel/Family Get-Togethers, Trump’s Fraud Claims, Feds & States Sue Facebook, Biden Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections, and Hunter Biden Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The sharply rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S, the death toll, and the timetable for distributing vaccines; the warning from the CDC about traveling during the holidays and having large family get-togethers; Donald Trump’s continuing insistence on election fraud; the federal government and 48 states file anti-trust charges against Facebook; Joe Biden’s transition process; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; and the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax reporting from his overseas business endeavors were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Grace Curley Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Rising millennial talk radio star, Grace Curley is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” At 28, this multi-media conservative commentator is already known to thousands of New England radio listeners, newspaper readers, and podcast fans for her solid presence and longtime media accomplishments in the six-state region. She has successfully served as executive producer and on-air co-host for the regionally syndicated “Howie Carr Show” since 2014. She is a weekly columnist for the Boston Herald writing about media, politics, and popular culture. She is also the producer for “Dirty Rats” – a highly successful true crime podcast hosted by Howie Carr. And now she’s ready to become a major news/talk radio host in her own right as the Howie Carr Radio Network will be launching her into regional and potentially national syndication beginning January 4, 2021 and they’ve already gained an important clearance on the legendary WRKO, Boston in the daily 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm timeslot which serves as lead-in to the mega-popular Howie Carr show. Having followed her growth as an evolving media figure over the years, Michael Harrison states, “This outstanding young woman dazzles with millennial energy and across-the-board charm!” Harrison and Curley discuss the strong and productive relationship that has developed between her and her mentor, Howie Carr. They also talk about what it’s like being a young, female conservative commentator in liberal Massachusetts as well as Curley’s observations about the nature of today’s rapidly maturing millennial demographic. Check it out and be prepared to meet a fresh, exciting new talk radio voice. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. For classic rock stations seeking Christmas programming, Compass Media Networks is presenting the 25th annual “Uncle Joe’s Rockin’ Christmas Show.” The program is a four-hour show full of classic rock Christmas songs, exclusive artist interviews and stories. Contact Doug Ingold 310-242-8746 or at dingold@compassmedianetworks.com…..iHeartRadio Canada announces the first live international launch of “The Bobby Bones Show” on CIMX-FM, Windsor, Ontario “PURE COUNTRY 89” that also serves the Detroit market, effective December 14.

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