Tag: "FCC"

Thursday, January 7, 2021

| January 7, 2021

Radio News Organizations Spring into Action to Cover Capitol Riot. Numerous news organizations were already on hand in Washington, DC on Wednesday to cover the certification of the 2020 election results and they quickly shifted gears as hundreds of Donald Trump supporters turned from protesting to rioting as they stormed the U.S. Capitol, overwhelming the unprepared Capitol police. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says that Salem Radio Network News and TOWNHALL News produced two extended, 15-minute special reports titled “Chaos At The Capitol” to provide their O&O stations and all affiliates the latest breaking news from Congress, even as the lockdown continued following security breaches earlier in the day. Tradup says White House correspondent Greg Clugston anchored the reports with updates from U.S. Senate correspondent Bob Agnew and U.S. House correspondent Bernie Bennett. Though both Agnew and Bennett were inside the Capitol when the breach happened, they were removed from their usual broadcast desks but were able to file their reports and update listeners using their cell phones. ABC News Radio offered breaking news coverage to affiliates as the invasion of the Capitol was taking place but also produced the special program “Chaos at the Capitol” that aired in the 7:00 pm ET hour anchored by Aaron Katersky with assistance from correspondents.

Townquare Media Completes $550 Million Senior Secured Note Offering. On Wednesday (1/6), Townsquare Media filed a report with the Securities Exchange Commission announcing that is has completed the sale of $550 million aggregate principal amount of its 6.875% senior secured notes due 2026 that it announced in December. Townsquare says that it used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay debt accrued under its term loan facility provided under the Existing Credit Agreement. The company also intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering, together with cash on hand, to redeem all of the Company’s outstanding 6.500% senior notes due 2023 on January 14, 2021, and to pay the premium, fees and related expenses. The New Notes bear interest at a rate of 6.875% and mature on February 1, 2026. Interest is payable on the New Notes semi-annually in cash in arrears on February 1 and August 1 of each year, commencing on August 1, 2021. Townsquare used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay borrowings under its term loan facility provided under the Company’s existing credit agreement, dated April 1, 2015. It also terminated its revolving credit facility under the Existing Credit Agreement and all other obligations thereunder were repaid effective January 6, 2021.

Save Time and Money in Public Affairs Programming. One of the requirements the FCC makes of radio stations is that they address “local issues and local problems” in order to serve the public. How stations do that is required to be part of their quarterly reports filed with the Commission. Shel Lustig, president of MediaTracks Communications, says that syndicated public affairs programming not only saves money but also saves time by including the quarterly reports the FCC requires. His company has been producing and syndicating award-winning public affairs radio programs for more than 30 years, with more than 1,200 affiliate radio stations across the country. He has more to say about the use of syndicated public affairs programs and you can read it here.

Radio’s Bob Lawrence Announces Retirement. Radio pro Bob Lawrence announces he is retiring from Revenue Development Resources after a 54-year career in the broadcasting industry. During that time, he’s been an air-talent, program director, and general manager. He served with the Radio Advertising Bureau for 14 years and spent the past six years with Revenue Development Resources. RDR president Mark Levy says, “I have had the great privilege of working with Bob Lawrence for 13 years, first at the RAB and then with RDR. During that time, he amazed me with his energy and the respect so many people in the industry had and continue to have for him. But even more than that, he never stopped learning, and he never was anything but nice to people. I know that last part is often brushed over, but it is truly something that made Bob stand out from so many others in this business. He’s been a cheerleader, a sounding board and a sage for so many people…the industry is certainly going to miss him!”

TALKERS News Notes. WGN-AM, Chicago is debuting “Blackhawks Live” on Monday (1/11). The hour-long program will air at 7:00 pm hosted by Chris Boden and Nick Gismondi. WGN sports director Dave Eanet says, “This is going to be a must-listen for Blackhawks fans. WGN listeners already know Chris and his knowledge of the Blackhawks, and we’re thrilled to welcome Nick and his Hawks expertise. Together they’ll deliver an insider perspective on everything from the players to the games.”…..Entercom announces that its campaign to raise funds for those without enough to eat raised more than $1.1 million – including a record-breaking one-day toll of $358,250 – as a part of the 35th annual Hungerthon campaign. Entercom’s New York stations – including sports talk WFAN and all-news WINS and WCBS-AM – partnered with WhyHunger for the campaign. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “This year has presented all of us with unprecedented adversity and forced us to reflect on what’s important. Like we’ve proven time and time again, our ability to support one another in times of struggle is one of our greatest attributes as New Yorkers, and we are proud of our colleagues and listeners for coming together for our neighbors in need. As we’ve done since its launch, we are once again honored to support WhyHunger’s annual Hungerthon and the selfless mission to end hunger.”…..SiriusXM announced today it has signed a new agreement to become the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament. For the 2021 Tournament, scheduled for April 5-11, SiriusXM will produce and present live play-by-play broadcasts all four days of Tournament play from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia…..WNYC Studios’ podcast “Death, Sex & Money” announces the launch of “Getting Real About Getting Older,” a special episode and live radio program “to create space to talk about aging – because we don’t talk about it enough in our society, and when we do, we don’t often do it well.” WNYC Studios says, “The project was inspired by a listener’s feedback that DSM host Anna Sale (who is 40) didn’t seem to understand aging. It was a comment that came in last year, at a time during which the value of people of a certain age was being challenged and questioned at every turn – from callousness surrounding seniors dying from COVID, to questions about Joe Biden’s competency for the job of president based on his age.”…..Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN News hires Paige Pfleger as the newsroom’s first arts, culture & music reporter. WPLN news director Emily Siner says, “Having this beat in our newsroom will allow us to give Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s arts and music community the coverage it deserves. Paige has the reporting and storytelling chops to show how the arts are a lens to understand broader civic and cultural issues.”…..GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs picks up new affiliate stations KBFI, Bonners Ferry and KSPT, Sand Point – both in Idaho – plus iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC as they add her show to their program schedules.

Trump Supporters Storm Capitol, Congress Certifies Biden Victory, Democrats Win Georgia Runoffs/Dems to Control Senate, and COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). Supporters of Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s victory; Congress reconvenes in the evening to certify Biden’s election victory; Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeat their Republican opponents in Georgia’s runoff elections, giving Democrats slim control of the U.S. Senate; and the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

| November 18, 2020

NAB and FCC Challenge Third Circuit Court’s Action on Ownership Changes in the Supreme Court. In a brief filed with the Supreme Court of the United StatesNational Association of Broadcasters, the Federal Communications Commission (and fellow petitioners Bonneville International Corporation, Connoisseur Media LLC, Fox Corporation, News Corporation, News Media Alliance, Nexstar Inc., The Scranton Times L.P., and Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.) are asking the Supreme Court to reverse the Third Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that vacated the FCC’s ownership rules changes. As industry watchers are aware, after adopting a Reconsideration Order, the FCC repealed the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule, the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule, and the TV Joint Sales Agreement Attribution Rule. It also established a modest presumptive waiver of the Local Radio Ownership Rule for parties seeking approval of a limited number of transactions involving radio stations in markets that contain multiple “embedded” markets. In the brief, NAB and the FCC argue that Section 202(h) of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 directs the FCC to review its media ownership rules every four years and to “repeal” or “modify” any rule that is no longer “necessary in the public interest as the result of competition.” They note that no party challenged the FCC’s statutorily mandated competition analysis, nor did the Third Circuit question it on the merits. Yet, they argue, the Third Circuit concluded that the Commission inadequately considered the effect of those changes on minority and female ownership – even though Section 202(h) says nothing about that issue. On that ground alone, the Third Circuit vacated all the Commission’s rule changes (as well as other agency actions in these consolidated cases) and ordered the agency to collect additional statistics on ownership diversity. The same divided Third Circuit panel has repeatedly elevated its policy concerns over the statutory text and purported to retain jurisdiction over the FCC’s Section 202(h) orders, effectively blocking review by any other court for more than 15 years. The petitioners are asking the Supreme Court to rule on “whether under Section 202(h) the Commission must produce and consider statistical evidence or conduct an in-depth theoretical analysis regarding effects on minority and female ownership before repealing or modifying media ownership rules that it determines are no longer ‘necessary in the public interest as the result of competition.’” Oral arguments for this case have not been scheduled yet.

Michigan Station Owner Jamie McKibbin Dies in Boating Accident. The owner of McKibbin Media GroupJamie McKibbin – died in a boating accident on Clendening Lake in Harrison County, Ohio on Sunday (11/15). McKibbin and James ‘Bud’ Miller were on a hunting trip when the accident happened. McKibbin and his wife Katina own the company that includes news/talk WKHM-AM/W268CA, sports talk WKHM-HD2/W270CJ “FOX Sports 101.9,” country WIBM-AM/W240DG and CHR WKHM-FM in the Jackson, Michigan market and adult contemporary WCSR-FM in the Hillsdale, Michigan market. On the WKHM-AM website the company posted his obituary that says, “Jamie achieved his lifelong dream of owning radio stations with the purchase of the Jackson stations in December 2019, followed by the addition of his hometown stations in Hillsdale in February 2020. He was also involved with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters and had recently joined its board of directors.” McKibbin is also survived by his 14-year-old son Walker.

TALKERS News Notes. News comes from NAB that the 2021 Audio Engineering Society fall convention will co-locate with NAB Show on October 11–13, 2021 in Las Vegas. NAB says, the co-location brings together the premiere convention for pro audio professionals with the world’s largest convention encompassing media, entertainment, and technology. The AES Show will take place at the Westgate Hotel, adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center where NAB Show will be held. The AES fall convention was previously co-located with NAB Show New York at the Javits Convention Center annually in October from 2017–2019. The two events were held virtually in 2020. NAB EVP of conventions and business operations Chris Brown says, “We are excited to be building the most significant, in-person media and entertainment event of 2021 and are ready to bring the industry together once again at NAB Show in October. Together with AES, we will provide unparalleled access to critical information, inspiration and solutions for audio engineers and content creators.”…..iHeartMedia and podcast network and production studio Cloud10 Media are partnering for a two-year production and distribution deal  that will “leverage Cloud10’s diverse slate of curated celebrity-hosted audio programs and iHeartMedia’s national cross-platform network in order to reach a wider audience of consumers across the country.” As part of the deal, all existing and upcoming Cloud10 Media podcasts including “Busy Philipps is Doing Her Best,” “Daddy Issues with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson,” “Work in Progress with Sophia Bush,” and more will be distributed by the iHeartPodcast Network and will be promoted across iHeartMedia’s multiplatform network…..FOX Sports Radio reports record audience gains across multiple digital platforms for October 2020. FSR says it experienced its best streaming month of all time in October, with total listening hours increasing +28% year-to-year. Additionally, the FOX Sports Radio Podcast Network’s audience grew +123% year-to-year in October, marking FSR’s second-best month ever in terms of podcast listens. FOXSportsRadio.com also experienced its second-best month in history with October page views growing +46% year-to-year, and the network’s YouTube channel saw its views increase by +41% year-to-year in October…..SiriusXM announces a new long-term agreement with the NBCUniversal News Group under which the simulcasts of MSNBC and CNBC will continue to air on SiriusXM, as will the TODAY Show Radio channel. TODAY Show Radio is a 24/7 channel dedicated to TODAY and is home to exclusive radio programs hosted by some of the morning show’s stars. Under the new agreement, SiriusXM also becomes the exclusive advertising representative and end-to-end ad tech platform for a broad slate of NBC News, MSNBC and CNBC podcasts. In addition to live airings of TODAY, the channel features exclusive weekly programs including “The Hoda Show” hosted by Hoda Kotb (Mondays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET) and “Off The Rails” (Tuesdays from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET) with co-hosts Al Roker, Dylan Dreyer, and Sheinelle Jones…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Chicago Public Media is naming Sasha-Ann Simons host of the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm “Reset” talk program on WBEZ-FM. Simons is currently a host and correspondent at American University’s WAMU-FM, Washington, DC. She takes over for Jenn White who left WBEZ to take on the hosting duties for the WAMU-FM-based “1A” program syndicated by NPR. Since her departure, Justin Kaufmann has been serving as interim host. Simon begins her duties on December 14.

WPG-AM, Atlantic City Morning Host Harry Hurley Makes ‘Insider 100 Power’ List. Calling it “a coveted, tough list to make,” WPG-AM, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley tells TALKERS magazine he is honored to make Insider NJ’s “Insider 100 Power” list. He adds, “It’s a real professional honor to be included and I’m so appreciative with what they wrote about me.”

Trump’s Continued Challenge of Election/Fires HS Official, Biden Transition, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccines, Holiday Get-Together Controversy, Georgia Recount/Runoff Elections, and Big Tech Senate Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/17). The continuing rhetoric from President Trump about the election results and his firing of Homeland Security official Chris Krebs for vouching for the integrity of the vote; the transition of the Joe Biden administration; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, projections for future cases, and the progress on vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna; the contentious issue of mandates against large gatherings for Thanksgiving and Christmas; the presidential election recount taking place in Georgia and that state’s January runoff elections for its U.S. Senate seats; and testimony from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee 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. Air personality Kasper joins Alpha Media Canton as evening host for its hot AC WHBC “Mix 94.1.” Cluster content director Gabriel Carrillo says, “It’s not often you get the opportunity to bring in a talent with whom the audience is intimately familiar. When [OM] Bo Matthews and I had the chance to sign-on Kasper to the team it was a no-brainer. Finding someone with an instant connection to the market is very rare to find. We sound LOCAL and on the pulse of what is going on in our community. His experience in both Cleveland and Youngstown give our station a true Northeast Ohio feel.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of longtime classic rock WONE-FM, Akron air personality T.K. O’Grady, who passed away at the age of 66 from natural causes. WEWS-TV, Cleveland reports that O’Grady worked in radio for 40 years and joined Akron’s Rubber City Radio in 1998. WONE-FM posted on its website that there will no service or calling hours due to COVID-19, adding, “May his memory be eternal.”

Monday, October 26, 2020

| October 26, 2020

Monday Memo: Listeners’ Mindset, Advertisers’ Message. Notwithstanding the president’s hope that “pandemic fatigue” will buoy his message that “we’ve turned the corner,” survey data presented at the NAB/New York virtual convention – now underway and available on-demand – describes how Americans really feel, and how our advertisers can relate. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke’s conference notes, and specific tips for improving results from endorsement spots. Read it here.

Pending Business: A Secret of Success. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in his column today, “Every dominant business understands how important it is to set a standard, stick to it, improve it, own it and infuse it into the culture of the organization. Does your radio station strive to set industry-leading sales standards? You don’t need the highest-rated radio station to set a standard for sales performance and service. You don’t need the highest rates, or the most revenue. You need commitment, and the relentless pursuit of setting and improving standard-setting performance.” Read more here.

Nexstar Media Group’s Operational Realignment Ups Sean Compton to President, Networks. On Thursday (10/22), Nexstar Media Group announced a combination of its two primary subsidiaries – Nexstar Digital LLC and Nexstar Broadcasting into a new subsidiary called Nexstar Inc. In this new alignment, Karen Brophy becomes president, digital; Timothy Busch is now president, broadcasting; and Sean Compton rises from executive vice president to president, networks in which he’ll oversee WGN America, Antenna TV, and WGN Radio. All three will answer to Nexstar Media Group president, COO and CFO Thomas Carter. He says, “The operational realignment we are announcing today will accelerate Nexstar’s growth by leveraging our leading local content and positioning the company to become an even more nimble and competitive organization, thereby creating new value for shareholders… We completed the highly accretive acquisition of Tribune Media a year ago and quickly and efficiently integrated their assets, resulting in first year operating synergies exceeding $185 million. At the same time, we converted the Tribune enterprise to Nexstar’s operating, sales and other protocols and successfully and cost-effectively launched ‘News Nation’ on WGN America. As a result, we are leveraging our industry leading scale, diversified business model and solid operating execution to deliver record 2020 financial results as we dynamically manage the business to offset the impacts of the pandemic, reduce leverage and return capital to shareholders through quarterly cash dividends and share repurchases. Our decision to reorganize the business’ operating structure at this time reflects our view that there remains tremendous upside to be realized by maximizing the value of our assets, content and strong consumer engagement with our digital properties.”

iHeartMedia Birmingham Launches ‘BIN 92.7.’ The Birmingham, Alabama market joins the growing number of iHeartMedia markets airing the BIN: Black Information Network format as the company unveils “BIN 92.7” on FM translator WW224CK, Vestavia Hills. The company says “BIN 92.7” will broadcast 24/7 national and local news focused on serving the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding. The station will feature top national on-air anchors and correspondents including award-winning broadcaster Ed Gordon and renowned journalist Roland Martin. Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “BIN’s goal has always been to be the most trusted source for news in the Black community, and part of that strategy is, of course, to be available on both broadcast and digital stations across America. We’re thrilled to bring BIN, a full-time news service by and for the Black community, to Birmingham and provide listeners there with both the national and local news that impacts their lives.”

TALKERS News Notes. The FCC issues a Public Notice announcing the Access to Capital Working Group of its Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment and the FCC’s Media Bureau will co-host a virtual symposium titled “Path to Media Ownership and Sustainability” on November 6, 2020 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET.  The symposium will examine access to capital for small and diverse broadcasters.  The event will be convened virtually via WebEx and will be available to the public streaming via the Internet at www.fcc.gov/live. It will feature broadcasters and lenders discussing how to obtain financing for broadcast station transactions in today’s challenging financial circumstances, as well as experts discussing the history of the previous broadcast tax certificate policy and the potential for a new tax certificate policy to increase broadcast ownership diversity.  The symposium will also include presentations from Nielsen Global Media on ratings measurements for multi-ethnic broadcast stations, and a discussion of how small and diverse broadcasters can attract increased advertising revenue.  Finally, congressional staff members will provide updates on pending legislation intended to increase diverse media ownership…..Talk media personality Tom Donahue announces he has returned to Tom Donahue Reports to produce his program as a podcast in which he’ll no longer conform to a formatted show, thereby allowing him “greater versatility and creativity in producing audio content.” He continues to stream his show on Talk Stream Live. Also, Donahue is launching a commentaries service in the form of capsules made available to stations as one- or two-minute episodes. “America’s First News with Matt Ray” recently added the reports to his show twice weekly…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network syndicated talk radio personality Sebastian Gorka (center) with SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) and Breitbart Washington political editor Matt Boyle (right) at a celebration of Gorka’s birthday in Alexandria, Virginia. Among the guests were: Salem executives David Santrella and Phil Boyce; former White House press secretary (and Newsmax TV personality) Sean Spicer; WMAL-FM, Washington talk host Larry O’Connor; and KABC, Los Angeles radio and political commentator Joseph DiGenova.

New Orleans Talk Radio Pioneer Keith Rush Dead at 89. WWL-TV, New Orleans reports that Keith Rush, a conservative talk radio icon who worked in the market for 60 years, died last Thursday (10/22) at age 89. According to WWL-TV, Rush was best known for his talk radio program on WSMB-AM that aired during the 1970s and 1980s. Local politician Lawrence E. Chehardy is quoted in the piece saying of Rush’s program, “It was a great forum because you could go on and discuss the issues with him and take phone calls from listeners. It was a way for elected officials to be able to converse with their constituents, long before the days of social media.” Rush began his radio career in the mid 1950s as a disc jockey. He transitioned to talk in the 1970s.

The Presidential Election/‘60 Minutes’ Interviews, Early/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Pence Office Outbreak, Hunter Biden Emails Case, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, California Power Outages and Wildfire Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November 3 presidential election and Sunday night’s appearances by Donald Trump and Joe Biden on “60 Minutes”; reports of record numbers of early and mail-in votes; the rising number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world and projections for the fall/winter seasons, as well as the outbreak among the staff of Vice President Mike Pence; the leaked emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop; allegations by conservatives that Twitter and Facebook are censoring their political messages; the confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; and the power outages in California as high winds threaten more wildfires 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. In Phoenix, Entercom promotes Chris Hernandez to operations manager for the cluster. In this role, Hernandez will lead operations efforts for classic hits KOOL-FM, country KMLE-FM, and CHR KALV-FM “LIVE 101.5.” At the same time, the company ups Daniel Valentine to music director for “LIVE 101.5.” Entercom Phoenix SVP and market manager Dave Pugh says, “Chris Hernandez has consistently shown amazing drive that leads to substantial results and I’m confident in his ability to take our collection of stations to higher levels. Daniel Valentine has proven his extensive music expertise over the years and I’m looking forward to watching his career grow as he leads LIVE’s music operations. Both are veterans in our company, and I’m honored to elevate two hard working individuals.”…..The programming lineup for iHeartMedia’s “HBCU Homecoming Celebration on iHeartRadio” is taking place on November 12. It will include Angela Yee, co-host of the morning show “The Breakfast Club,” and special guests exploring female entrepreneurship and the art of brand building as the modern-day self-CEO as part of the iHeartRadio Beautiful Possibilities presented by Ulta Beauty.  During the discussion, the panel participants will share their personal stories of success and explore how they rise above challenges to define their careers. The panel aims to uplift, inspire and pave the way for the next generation of Black women leaders and will be followed by a performance by singer and songwriter H.E.R. “Breakfast Club” co-host DJ Envy will emcee the iHeartRadio HBCU Homecoming Party on the Yard, presented by McDonald’s. The virtual event will include celebrity guest and McDonald’s owner/operator interviews, legendary HBCU Homecoming highlights, and several special surprise moments. The event will culminate with a performance from global superstar Khalid across all iHeartMedia hip hop and R&B stations…..Legendary Chicago jock Ron Britain, a.k.a. Ron Magel, has died in his hometown of Louisville at the age of 86. Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the career of the man who was known as King B on the radio. During his more than 50 year radio career, Britain worked at some 21 stations but achieved the peak of his fame at former CHR outlet WCFL-AM which he joined in 1965.

Friday, October 16, 2020

| October 16, 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, “Hugging and Slugging!” looks back at this past week of October 12 – October 16, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Alan Stock, talk show host/commentator, KXNT, Las Vegas; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Frank Morano, talk show host, WABC, New York; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York. 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, DuBois, PA “Connect FM”; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN 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.

Jack Heath Exits WGIR-AM, Manchester, NH. A brief story in the New Hampshire Union Leader indicates that radio talk show host Jack Heath has exited iHeartMedia’s WGIR-AM, Manchester, New Hampshire and his daily “NH Today” morning program. Heath said goodbye to his listeners at the end of his show and posted the following message to his Facebook page: “I have been honored and humbled to host the show for nearly 7 plus years there. I am especially grateful to the listeners for being there and proud of the work I was able to do to help NH’s great nonprofits and advocate for our veterans — a mission I will continue. This is not a goodbye but a thank you for now. Until we talk again, thanks…Stay tuned. JH.”

KFGO, Fargo’s Joel Heitkamp Positive for COVID-19. A report from the Associated Press indicates that KFGO-AM, Fargo “The Mighty 790” talk show host Joel Heitkamp has tested positive for COVID-19. The story notes that Heitkamp says he began experiencing symptoms last weekend and says he’s “lost his sense of taste and smell and is experiencing body aches.” He’s self-quarantining and still doing his radio program remotely. He told listeners, “I am in a part of the process where it’s certainly after talking with people in the medical field, it certainly looks as though I’m going to be one of the lucky ones in terms of how this has infected me, in terms of how I’m going to feel throughout this process, not going to feel good, not going to feel great.”

SRN’s Sebastian Gorka Has Twitter Account Locked After Biden Post. According to a story published at Breitbart, Salem Radio Network talk show host Sebastian Gorka has been locked out of his Twitter account after posting a photo of Hunter Biden in the bathtub smoking a cigarette and the text, “Why did @FBI take the Biden laptop and do nothing?” Gorka received a message from Twitter saying he’d been locked out for violating the rules and said he must delete the tweets that violate the rules. It’s not clear what rules were broken in the tweet. While appearing on SiriusXM with Breitbart’s Alex Marlow, Gorka said to listeners, “This is America in 2020. The FBI did nothing when they had evidence of crimes, and when I want to talk about it as an American citizen to you and the Breitbart listeners, my account was locked. We are here. We have arrived. 1984 wasn’t fiction, and they want to steal an election again, and I just don’t mean social media, I mean authorities that can burst through your front door at 4:00 am with a warrant like they did to Roger Stone.”

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Promises to ‘Clarify Ambiguity’ in Section 230. Saying that he’s moving in response to concerns from members of all three branches of the federal government, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai says he’ll proceed with a rulemaking to clarify Section 230 of the Communications Act that explains the immunity from legal responsibility that digital platforms enjoy with regard to their content. Pai says, “The U.S. Department of Commerce has petitioned the Commission to ‘clarify ambiguities in section 230.’  And earlier this week, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas pointed out that courts have relied upon ‘policy and purpose arguments to grant sweeping protections to Internet platforms’ that appear to go far beyond the actual text of the provision. As elected officials consider whether to change the law, the question remains: What does Section 230 currently mean? Many advance an overly broad interpretation that in some cases shields social media companies from consumer protection laws in a way that has no basis in the text of Section 230.  The Commission’s General Counsel has informed me that the FCC has the legal authority to interpret Section 230. Consistent with this advice, I intend to move forward with a rulemaking to clarify its meaning. Throughout my tenure at the Federal Communications Commission, I have favored regulatory parity, transparency, and free expression.  Social media companies have a First Amendment right to free speech. But they do not have a First Amendment right to a special immunity denied to other media outlets, such as newspapers and broadcasters.”

Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 12-16. The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett were the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a four-way tie between the presidential race, Thursday night’s dueling town halls, balloting issues, and scandals & accusations. Coming in at #3 was COVID-19 statistics and projections plus high-profile COVID patients, followed by health care, meds, and protective measures 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.

ASU Student Rae’Lee Klein Sues School on Free Speech Grounds. In September, Rae’Lee Klein was removed from her position as manager of Arizona State University’s student radio station Blaze Radio. This came in the aftermath of Klein’s tweet related to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. In the tweet, Klein said, “Always more to the story, folks. Please read this article to get the background of Jacob Blake’s warrant. You’ll be quite disgusted.” Her attorney, Jack Wilenchik, tells Downtown Devil, “We’re suing because she’s not the station manager. She’s been constructively terminated (and) they’re not letting her do her job. They are discriminating against her based on her exercise of free speech by taking that away.” Klein has been effectively removed from her position but she’s still being paid by the school. According to media and constitutional law specialist David J. Bodney, whom Downtown Devil communicated with for the story, “There was no First Amendment violation here, and Ms. Klein’s claims are meritless. ASU and the Cronkite School have deep and abiding commitments to free speech and excellence in journalism, and this lawsuit disregards an array of facts that show just how baseless these claims really are.” Bodney added that Klein’s conduct post-Tweet is evidence she’s is no longer able to lead Blaze Radio and that the university did not terminate her employment. Bodney also says that Klein was offered other opportunities, such as starting her own radio station with support from the university, all of which she rejected.

TALKERS News Notes. The most recent Westwood One Blog post reveals data from Nielsen Audio’s national consumer study of 1,000 respondents (conducted October 1-5) that tracks the pandemic’s impact on consumer movement, spending, attitudes, and media usage. Some of the conclusions drawn include: 1) There is a 56% increase in the number of Americans working outside the home. Nielsen reports 61% of U.S. workers are now commuting to their workplace, up from 39% in early May; 2) Half of American schoolchildren are driven to school with AM/FM radio playing in the car. 50% say their children are driven to school (3% carpool, 47% parent/family member). 44% of American schoolchildren are taking the bus. 62% indicate that AM/FM radio is always on, and 35% say AM/FM radio is sometimes on in the car; and 3) The economy will affect holiday shopping, but AM/FM radio listeners will spend more than the average. A greater proportion of heavy AM/FM radio listeners say they will spend more this holiday (14%) versus heavy TV viewers (10%) and the overall market (10%). Read the full post  here…..Podcast producer Lipstick & Vinyl announces the third season of “The Double Shift,” that explores the challenges working moms face every day. The new season focuses on the disruptive impact of the coronavirus on families, how that disproportionally disrupts moms’ careers, and how to navigate that. Creator and host Katherine Goldstein says, “We’re in an acute crisis at this moment. 865,000 women have left or been forced to leave the workforce between August and September. Many of those women are moms. The lack of structured family and childcare programs that we’ve talked about on ‘The Double Shift’ are more glaringly missing than ever before.”…..Syndicated Solutions, Inc announces that its national travel radio show “RMWorldTravel with Robert & Mary Carey and Rudy Maxa” has successfully surpassed another affiliation milestone and is now heard on more than 440 radio stations across the USA and Canada.  The Careys say, “Since the pandemic has disrupted our nation and the world back in March, ‘RMWorldTravel’ has added about 30 new affiliates and additional new sponsors, underscoring the importance of all aspects of the travel world in our daily lives.”

Outstanding Sales Opportunities. New York’s next media star is wanted at two power-packed stations. Salem Media New York, part of a nationwide media conglomerate, wants to hire two fabulous sellers who can rise to the top! Opportunity is limitless. We are looking for quality, regardless of current time in selling. Respond by dropping a note to Jerry.Crowley@Salem.cc.

Self-Syndication Has Been Berry, Berry Good

| October 13, 2020

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS
Managing Editor

 

HOUSTON — Seldom are talk radio hosts at a loss to fill two or three hours of airtime.

Situations though have become wildly frenetic in a calendar year that has already seen among countless other things:

  • January impeachment trial of a first-term president that concluded with a February acquittal
  • (Hopefully only) a once-in-a-lifetime global pandemic that has taken a toll of American lives rapidly approaching 215,000, cratered the economy, and erased millions of jobs
  • Presidential campaign unlike any other
  • Significant racial injustice, protests, and rise of the “Black Lives Matter” movement
  • West Coast wildfires and East Coast hurricanes
  • Controversy over the evenhandedness of nominating a Supreme Court justice only weeks before a presidential election
  • Brief/mysterious hospitalization of the sitting POTUS who tested positive for the coronavirus

Still to come in 2020’s more than two-and-one-half remaining months are the presidential election itself, not to mention the already anticipated precedent-setting intensity possibly contesting it.

Read More

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

| October 7, 2020

2020 Radio Show: “What Business Are You In Now?”  For years – as digital competitors horned-in-on radio Time Spent Listening, and lured advertisers – convention panels have talked-the-talk. Yet cutbacks have compromised the local content that will always be broadcasters’ silver bullet. This Radio Show session details how Neuhoff Media/Decatur walked-the-walk, and made money, during the pandemic shutdown. Read it here.

Syndicated Radio Personality Walter Sterling Says the Technical Snafu During Entercom CEO David Field’s NAB Radio Show Remarks was the ‘Single Most Important Event of the Virtual Conference.  Syndicated radio host Walter Sterling (a.k.a. Walter Sabo, the longtime radio consultant) pointed to a key takeaway from the current NAB/RAB Radio Show taking place virtually. Sterling tells TALKERS, “The key takeaway of the Radio Show was the opening of David Field’s remarks. His video/audio internet connection crashed and was unstable. That was the single most important event. It showed the high risk for any advertiser to invest in the unproven medium of online video and audio streaming. That’s why media buying companies put online video campaign money on the ‘Test Budget’ line of their spreadsheets.” Sterling adds, “Radio is a proven medium that continues to work. It has streamed to the car since 1938. Everyone knows how to access radio content, from eight to 98-year-olds and they access it because they love it. That’s the news.” Today (10/7) marks the third day of the conference.

Bloomberg: Sirius and Howard Stern Close to New Deal. According to a report by Bloomberg, SiriusXM and Howard Stern are very close to a contract extension that will pay the radio legend $120 million per year. The story quotes outgoing SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer saying at a Goldman Sachs conference that Stern is still valuable to the company. “I can tell you that we understand the economics very, very well, for instance, of content like Howard Stern. I can look every investor in the eye and tell them that is a good investment for Sirius XM.” Neither SiriusXM nor Stern’s representatives commented for the Bloomberg piece. Stern’s most recent deal, signed in 2015, is estimated to have paid him between $80 million and $100 million per year.

Forbes: Mark Levin Facebook Page Restricted. A Forbes story by Jonathan Berr indicates that the Facebook page of Westwood One nationally syndicated talk radio personality Mark Levin has been restricted for “repeated sharing of false news.” It’s not clear what Levin posted that Facebook found objectionable but Levin, via a post on the conservative platform Parler, denies the allegation of misleading users and says Facebook is guilty of “censorship” and “pushing a left-wing agenda.” He added, “Every link I post is from a legitimate source. But because so many people are seeing what I’m posting and we’re within weeks of the election, it’s clear that Facebook is trying to influence the election’s outcome.” In his story, Berr cites an NPR piece that says a half dozen “technology experts, including data scientists who have special access to Facebook’s internal metrics” that it contacted concluded “there is no statistical evidence to support the argument that Facebook does not give conservative views a fair shake.” The NPR piece goes on to say that publicly available data shows that “conservative news regularly ranks among some of the popular content on the site.”

Call for Repeal of Section 230 Raises Issues for Media Industry. The movement to repeal Section 230 of the 1990s-era Communications Decency Act – which allows users to put content on the Internet without making the platforms themselves liable – is gaining momentum with President Trump, his Democratic challenger Joe Biden, as well as numerous members of Congress calling for a change in that protection. In fact, earlier this summer the president issued an executive order asking the FCC to create new Section 230 rules and ordered the FTC to act on incidents of deceptive communication. Critics of Section 230 say it is outdated because of the ubiquity and influence of today’s social media and its role in the public discourse as well in the health and safety realms. The Republican-sponsored Online Freedom and Viewpoint Diversity Act would “condition the content moderation liability shield on an objective reasonableness standard. In order to be protected from liability, a tech company may only restrict access to content on its platform where it has ‘an objectively reasonable belief’ that the content falls within a certain, specified category.” You can read that bill here. Free speech organizations such as Fight for the Future argue bills such as the one cited here would only make matters worse. Reacting to President Trump’s recent tweet attacking Section 230, Fight for the Future deputy director Evan Greer says websites would become legally responsible for the opinions of its users. As a result, “social media platforms would likely engage in mass censorship and banning of accounts rather than open themselves up to lawsuits for hosting controversial opinions – Trump’s accounts would surely be among the first to go. It would strip users of key protections too. Who’s excited to get sued for retweeting something? The reality is that lawmakers from across the political spectrum are deeply misinformed about how Section 230 actually works. It feels like every week there’s a new misguided proposal in Congress. But repealing Section 230 won’t do anything to hold Big Tech companies accountable or address the harms done by their data harvesting business models. And it won’t do anything to address concerns around biased moderation or the silencing of marginalized voices.” Any changes in Section 230 would apply to audio content as well as text, images, memes, etc.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Tuesday (10/13), Edison Research and NPR will present a webinar (2:00 pm ET) in which they will reveal the results of the second annual “Spoken Word Audio Report.” The data indicates that Americans’ share of listening to spoken word audio is up over 8% in the last year and in the report “NPR and Edison Research explore what is driving this increase and how news, podcasts, audiobooks, and talk radio continue to cut into time that was previously spent with music.” The study promises to reveal which listeners are spending more time with spoken word audio; how time spent with audio has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic; provide excerpts from in-depth interviews that help explain changes in listening behavior; and results from a new national survey that measured these behaviors on a larger scale. Findings will be published online at the conclusion of the webinar. You can register for the webinar here…..Nielsen announces that Radio Research Consortium, Inc. signs a multi-year renewal agreement to license individual non-commercial stations for Nielsen syndicated products, including Nielsen Scarborough syndicated services. Radio Research Consortium president Joanne Church says, “As a long-term user of Nielsen data, we are looking forward to continuing our relationship as we advance our mission and commitment to provide audience data to non-commercial radio stations.”…..Cadence13, a division of Entercom’s Podcast Network, announces an exclusive partnership with Karina Longworth for “You Must Remember This,” the storytelling podcast exploring the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century. Navigating through conflicting reports, mythology, and institutionalized spin, Longworth tries to sort out what really happened behind the films, stars, and scandals of the 20th century. Previous seasons of the show explored stars and scandals including Polly Platt, the woman behind some of the most legendary films of the 1970s and 1980s; the complicated racial and historical dynamics of Disney’s animated film Song of the South; Joan Crawford; the Hollywood Blacklist; and Charles Manson’s Hollywood.

2020 Radio Mercury Awards Announced. The 2020 Radio Mercury Awards were held virtually yesterday evening (10/6) and the Radio Advertising Bureau says that this year’s winners “will serve as a time capsule of work created during the current unusual times.” BBDO Atlanta chief creative officer Robin Fitzgerald served as chief judge for this year’s competition and says, “The innovation and creativity that we heard with this year’s winning audio truly impressed the jury. From at-home recording to using bots as talent, these winners showcased what it means to convey a brand’s message in a way that is both storytelling and story-doing.” RAB president and CEO Erica Farber adds, “Tonight’s awards presentation reflects the power of radio creative and its ability to deliver for listeners and advertisers. Despite these unprecedented times, the Radio Mercury Awards winners continued to bring their all to this year’s awards and pushed the medium forward.” You can watch the program here.

Trump’s COVID-19 Case/White House Safety Protocols, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, the Presidential Race/VP Debate, Stimulus Deal Dead, Big Tech Breakup Talk/Facebook Bans QAnon, Texas Cop Charged in Shooting of Black Man, McCloskeys Indicted, California Wildfires, Hurricane Delta, Eddie Van Halen Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/6). Controversy over President Trump’s return to the White House after his COVID-19 diagnosis and the White House safety protocols; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for increased cases this fall and through the winter; the November presidential election and tonight’s vice presidential debate; Trump’s announcement that stimulus deal negotiations will be put off until after the election; chatter in Washington about breaking up the Big Tech companies and Facebook’s ban on QAnon content; a Texas police officer is charged with murder in the shooting death of an unarmed Black man; a St. Louis couple is charged with weapons violations and tampering with evidence after brandishing guns during protests near their home; the ongoing California wildfires; Hurricane Delta loses strength; and rock guitar legend Eddie Van Halen dies 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. Programming and on-air pro Don Chris Williams, a.k.a. “DJ Wrekk-1,” signs an extension with Hubbard Radio West Palm Beach to continue his roles as brand content director and afternoon drive host on urban AC WMBX “X102.3.” Cluster operations manager Bruce Logan comments, “We are so excited to continue our relationship with Don Chris ‘DJ Wrekk-1’ Williams! Don has done a masterful job of growing the WMBX ratings. Under Don’s leadership WMBX has achieved new rating highs and is a vital part of the West Palm Beach African American community.”…..iHeartMedia Seattle’s classic rock KZOK helped raise more than $116,000 during its 23rd annual “Rock The Harvest” radiothon to benefit Northwest Harvest, Washington State’s leading hunger relief agency that supports a statewide network of 375 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. The 12-hour broadcast was hosted by “The Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show” personalities in which listeners were encouraged to call in to the show and donate $102.50, enough funds to provide nutritious meals to a family of four for a month. Over the past 23 years, “Rock the Harvest” has raised more than $1.3 million to benefit Northwest Harvest.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

| September 17, 2020

‘Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth’ Hits HBO on October 7. The film that documents the rise and fall of former WFAN, New York radio star Craig Carton premiers on HBO on October 7 at 9:00 pm ET. HBO released a trailer on YouTube today (9/17) for the film “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth” that you can see here. The film documents Carton’s rise to the morning drive show on New York City’s WFAN, his 10-year reign of success, and subsequent downfall brought about by a fraud scheme perpetrated to pay off enormous gambling debts. It contains candid interviews with Carton himself, former partner Boomer Esiason, and more. Carton was released early from his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud in June of this year and is finishing his sentence in home confinement. HBO Sports VP Peter Nelson says, “Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time. Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”

White House Nominates Nathan Simington for FCC Post. The Trump Administration is nominating Nathan A. Simington to become a member of the Federal Communications Commission, replacing Michael O’Rielly, who is not being renominated. Simington is a Republican and is currently a senior advisor in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration specializing in network and telecommunications policy. The White House says that among his many responsibilities across the telecommunications industry, he works on 5G security and secure supply chains, the American Broadband Initiative, and is NTIA’s representative to the Government Advisory Committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Prior to his appointment at NTIA, Simington was senior counsel to Brightstar Corporation, a leading international company in the wireless industry. In this role, he negotiated deals with companies across the spectrum of the telecommunications and internet industry, including most of the world’s leading wireless carriers. As the head lawyer on the advanced mobility products team, he spearheaded numerous international transactions in the devices, towers and services fields and forged strong relationships with leading telecom equipment manufacturers.

Graduate Student Scholarship Applications Due October 15. The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, in collaboration with the Broadcast Education Association, announces the details for the 2021-2022 Library of American Broadcasting Foundation Scholarship award for graduate students. The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation Scholarship will award one graduate student $3,000 in the Fall to support the student’s continuing studies and dissertation in broadcast history. BEA’s Scholarship Committee, consisting of academics and industry professionals, will conduct the selection process of the award. Upon completion of the dissertation, the award recipient will donate copies to the Library of American Broadcasting to retain as part of its collection. Deadline for submissions is October 15, 2020. Ginny Morris, co-chair of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation and CEO of Hubbard Radio, says, “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to partner with BEA to underwrite this exciting opportunity that support’s the LABF’s mission of preserving the past, reflecting the present and informing the future of the American broadcasting industry. We look forward to supporting this outstanding initiative for years to come.” Learn more here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Hollywood Reporter says FOX News Media will lay off less than 3% of its staff in a restructuring move. The company issued the following statement: “As FOX News Media has evolved into a streamlined multi-platform organization, we are realigning several functions and restructuring various divisions in order to position all of our businesses for ongoing success.” The change is not expected to affect any on-air personnel…..Podcast ad sales network Lipstick & Vinyl – dedicated to underrepresented voices with a concentration on female voices – adds two new shows to its roster. “Amended,” hosted by Dr. Laura Free, “shines a spotlight on many of the lesser known but courageous women who led the struggle to win equal voting rights for women in America.” “Gatekeepers” is hosted by the publishers of DAME magazine and “reveals the ugly truth about who controls access to public spaces across America, and how white privilege has often wielded its power to keep out blacks and people of color. Gatekeepers digs deep to uncover the motivations behind these events, past and present, and features interviews with scholars, citizens, and experts, together with archival audio, immersing listeners in a truly illuminating audio experience.”…..WRNI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro is pictured below with his award for Best Radio Talk Show Host from Rhode Island Monthly’s annual Best of Rhode Island 2020 reader’s poll.

The Presidential Race/Biden CNN Town Hall, COVID-19 Stats-Vaccine Controversy, Michael Caputo Leave, Barr-Durkan Report, Hurricane Sally Drenches South, Western Wildfires Burn, and Big 10 Reverses No Football Decision Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The November presidential election and Thursday evening’s CNN Town Hall with Joe Biden; the rise in positive COVID-19 cases around the world and in the U.S. and the controversy over the potentially speedy development of a vaccine; HHS spokesman Michael Caputo takes a leave after conspiracy-laden Facebook rant; the New York Times report that U.S. Attorney General William Barr suggested prosecutors charge Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for her handling of protests; Hurricane Sally dumps floodwaters on Alabama and Florida; the wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington continue to burn; and the Big 10 reverses its decision not to play football this year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TWO FIRES:  Iconoclastic KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The longtime owner of fiercely independent news/talk outlet KSCO, Santa Cruz (1080 AM/104.1 FM), Michael Zwerling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  The conversation focuses on what Harrison describes as “two fires – one literal and one figurative… both out of control.” The former refers to KSCO’s physical location directly in the midst of California’s devastating blazes and the latter represents the station’s powerful new locally produced weekly two-hour radio program, “China Uber Alles.” The show takes a highly critical look at a growing “wildfire” of a different sort – the hegemonic global threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses to the US.  It is hosted by Nan Su, a senior reporter at The Epoch Times; Amy Hao, a former Chinese prison camp internee; and local KSCO personality Bill Graff.  Zwerling presents a compelling ground-level view of the impact the wildfires are having on the Santa Cruz, Salinas, Monterey, Silicon Valley, and San Jose markets covered by his station as well as neighboring San Francisco to the north. In addition, he and Harrison discuss the evolution of his experiences having traveled to China that led him to a new awareness about the CCP that ultimately inspired the show. Don’t miss this fascinating podcast!  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. A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast titled “Too Much To Say with Kalie Shorr” is being launched via Bobby Bones’ Nashville Podcast Network. The program features the country singer and songwriter Shorr “as she shares, and mostly overshares, her thoughts on everything from music to martinis, social media to social anxiety, regrets to risky texts, and much more. Shorr will also reveal diary entries and feature interviews with her crazy group of friends.” Shorr says, “When Bobby had the idea to start this podcast, I was so excited. Hosting my own show has been a goal of mine for a long time and I can’t think of a better team to be working on it with. It’s great to be given this platform and I really look forward to sharing my story candidly in a new format.”…..The Johnjay & Rich #LoveUp Foundation is hosting a Food Truck Tour to provide nearly 5,000 free lunches to COVID-19 frontline workers across the Phoenix market. The 7-Day Food Truck Tour will visit seven different Banner Health hospitals through September 22. Johnjay Van Es says, “We created the #LoveUp Food Truck Tour to show appreciation for the dedicated frontline hospital workers who have been tirelessly helping patients fight COVID-19 over the last six months and to support our local food truck community that has been financially hurt by this pandemic. Thank you to the Johnjay & Rich listeners and #LoveUp supporters who responsibly purchased #LoveUp masks in effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 – we now get to use that money to help pay it forward.”

Building a Strong Bench is Broadcasting’s Backbone

| September 9, 2020

By Mike Kinosian
TALKERS 
Managing Editor

 

WESTBOROUGH, Mass. — The late Senator Robert Kennedy once said, “Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.”

As we continue to grapple our way through what has become the “new normal” of surviving a pandemic, we relentlessly pursue silver-lining inspiration to soothe the country’s collective, pervasive heartbreak.

Countless examples have surfaced of people stepping up to do their part in ways that, many times, are profoundly creative and often times, magnificently benevolent.

Read More

Thursday, August 20, 2020

| August 20, 2020

Cincinnati Reds Broadcaster Thom Brennaman Suspended For Gay Slur. Cincinnati Reds play-by-play broadcaster Thom Brennaman – son of National Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman – has been suspended for his using a gay slur during Wednesday night’s Reds-Royals broadcast. Apparently, Brennaman thought he was not on the air when he said, referencing and unknown place, that it is “one of the fag capitals of the world.” Brennaman apologized and left the broadcast before the completion of the double-header. The Reds issued the following statement. “The Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman. He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts.” During his apology, Brennaman implied that he realizes this may cost him his job. “I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am. It never has been. And I’d like to think maybe I could have some people that could back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.” Brennaman is part of the broadcast team for the Reds Radio Network and television’s FOX Sports Ohio.

Entercom Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Detroit’s WWJ-AM. Detroit all-news outlet WWJ-AM is celebrating 100 years on the air today (8/20). Entercom says it’s proud to honor “Detroit’s news leader and America’s first continuous broadcasting commercial radio station.” Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “WWJ has served as an important news source for Detroiters for 100 years and continues to provide the most credible and comprehensive multiplatform news coverage relevant to our city. We look forward to honoring our station’s rich history by reflecting on key moments with integral talent and welcoming distinguished guests to celebrate with us. I congratulate and thank the hardworking staff of WWJ and look forward to another 100 years as Detroit’s go-to news source.” Today WWJ will air special programming, including clips of major news stories the station has covered over the past 100 years and interviews with politicians and business leaders including Entercom president and CEO David Field, FCC chairman Ajit Pai, and former Detroit police chief Ike McKinnon. Highlighted in the programming will be on-air pros who have been with the station for over 25 years, including morning anchor Roberta Jasina, auto reporter Jeff Gilbert, city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and business reporter Murray Feldman. There’s a nice piece in the Detroit News accompanied by lots of vintage photos of the station from the paper’s files. It also delves into the hotly contested debate over which was the first commercial radio station in the U.S., KDKA in Pittsburgh, KCBS in San Francisco or WWJ? The Detroit NewsMichael H. Hodges writes that WWJ being the first is disputed by KDKA and KCBS, but “it mostly comes down to a matter of technical definition. KDKA got its federal license a few months before WWJ in 1921, and that’s its line in the sand. But 8MK, as WWJ was known in 1920, was on the air with an amateur license well before Pittsburgh.” Entercom says WWJ is “America’s first continuous broadcasting commercial radio station” and boasts such accomplishments as “being the first radio station to broadcast election returns on August 31, 1920, the first sportscast on September 1, 1920, the first missing person report on March 15, 1922, the first Detroit Tigers play-by-play broadcast on April 19, 1927, and more.”

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post is reporting that former Howard Stern show cast member “Stuttering” John Melendez is suing SiriusXM for “using his name, likeness and voice without permission on channels dedicated to Stern.” Melendez left the Stern program in 2004 – prior to Stern joining SiriusXM in 2005 – to become the announcer on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” The suit was filed in federal court in New York complaining that the airing of old Stern programs violates California law and “his right of publicity.”…..Westwood One and PodcastOne founder Norm Pattiz is featured in the August-October issue of the investor-targeted magazine Luckbox. The theme of the issue is “Podcasts Rising” and in the interview piece, Pattiz discusses his building of Westwood One in the late 1970s and how in 2011 he began using what he’d learned running WWO to launch PodcastOne for the soon-to-be-burgeoning podcasting industry. You can read the piece here…..Newsmax TV announces that it has entered into a deal with Cox Media Group to air WOKV-FM, Jacksonville’s Mark Kaye program. Kaye’s program airs daily on WOKV-FM from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. The Newsmax TV show will air weekly – Saturdays at 3:30 pm – and will feature “funny and informative clips from Mark Kaye’s radio broadcasts, as well as behind-the-scenes ‘vlog-style’ content that is exclusive to Newsmax.”…..Hearst’s Baltimore radio duo news/talk WBAL-AM and rock WIYY-FM – along with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens – announce the radio broadcast team for the 2020 NFL season. Former Ravens players Dennis Pitta and Obafemi “Femi” Ayanbadejo are joining Ravens play-by-play announcer Gerry Sandusky to handle color and analysis. WBAL and WIYY president and general Manager Cary Pahigian says, “We are pleased to offer Baltimore Ravens fans an exceptional broadcast team. As a former Raven, Dennis has always provided astute analysis to our broadcast. Femi’s extensive NFL experience will add keen insight, and there is no better play-by-play announcer than Gerry Sandusky.”

Stephen K. Bannon Charged with Fraud in ‘We Build the Wall’ Effort. Former Donald Trump adviser, former Breitbart executive, and podcast/talk radio host Stephen K. Bannon is being charged in New York with fraud in what U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss says is his role in a scheme related to the “We Build the Wall” online fundraising effort. The New York Times reports that Bannon is one of four defendants who allegedly “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction.” Bannon has not commented publicly.

Presidential Race/Democratic National Convention, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Fall School Plans/College Outbreaks, USPS Funding/Vote-By-Mail Debate, Putin Critic Poisoned, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/19). The November presidential election and Wednesday evening’s Democratic National Convention; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools in September and the COVID-19 outbreaks at several college campuses; the controversy over funding the U.S. Postal Service and the related debate over mail-in voting; Vladimir Putin critic Alexey Navalny in a coma after allegedly being poisoned; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WPHT’s Giordano Is on a Documentary-Special Roll. WPHT, Philadelphia’s legendary mid-morning host Dom Giordano has written, produced, and hosted the third in a dynamic series of two-hour specials tapping into his background as a teacher and one of talk radio’s most astute observers of education. The first two specials focused on issues surrounding COVID-19 and kids returning to school as well as a July 4th weekend special celebrating America.  The new show airing this week titled, “The Case for Civics: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Reason,” explores the need for civics to be taught in schools and how important it is to the future of America to raise knowledgeable citizens. Like all of Giordano’s productions, it is bi-partisan and features prominent figures including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed RendellSara HarrisEntercom VP for social impact is featured and details the radio company’s major commitment to promote civics education. The program is airing on WPHT tonight (8/20) from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm and Saturday (8/22) from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Beijing’s Persecution of Chinese Spiritual Movement Falun Gong Is Focus of This Week’s Harrison Podcast.  While Americans continue to be preoccupied with COVID-19, a faltering economy and racial strife, the strained relationship between the United States and China intensifies with each passing day. America is confronted with the CCP’s unfair trade practices, subversive cyber warfare against US interests, intellectual property theft, military aggression in the South China Sea, strangling democracy in Hong Kong, and covered up misdeeds in the origins and spread of COVID-19. Add to that disturbing list the CCP’s heinous abuse of the human rights of its own citizens as evidenced by Uyghur labor camps and the imprisonment, torture, and organ-harvesting of innocent practitioners of a burgeoning spiritual movement based in peaceful Buddhist principles called Falun Gong. Levi Browde is the executive director of the New York-based Falun Dafa Information Center, an organization working to end the human rights abuses against people who practice Falun Gong in China. He is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  In discussing this podcast Harrison states, “The CCP views the growing practice of Falun Gong among Chinese people both home and abroad as a threat to the State’s core position as the ultimate authority. They not only commit atrocities against its participants, they wage a war of toxic propaganda against the spiritual practice portraying it as a subversive cult – a view that has been unwittingly absorbed and perpetuated by the American media. It is my hope that this deep-dive conversation will clear up these misconceptions as well as shed light on the Beijing regime and the dangers its complex relationship with the United States presents going forward into the uncharted, turbulent waters of the 21st century. This is not a left versus right issue but one that I believe should be of great concern to all American talk media hosts and commentators interested in a secure America, freedom of religion, and human decency.” 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. Las Vegas’ KWNR “95.5 The Bull” has a new program director as Mojoe Roberts assumes the reins. iHeartMedia says Roberts joins the country station after most recently serving as country format captain for Alpha Media and PD for KUPL, Portland. SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Las Vegas Tony Matteo says, “MoJoe brings a wealth of format knowledge and expertise. We’re thrilled to have him joining our iHeartMedia Las Vegas team.”…..Seattle CHR KBKS is re-branded “HITS 106.1” The New Home of the Jubal Show and Commercial Free Weekends. The iHeartMedia station is programmed by Jared Fallon who says, “From the moment we launched ‘Jubal 106.1’ the reception from the entire city and across the country has been massive. Today we are thrilled to unveil ‘HITS 106.1,’ the new home of the Jubal Show!”…..Pittsburgh morning radio personality Cris Winter exits Renda Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WWSH “WISH 99.7” as the result of budget-related cuts. She tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “When you look at covid-19, it’s a situation where everyone is making cuts. It is such a bizarre time, and everybody is struggling right now. It’s just an unprecedented time for everyone. We are all just trying to keep our heads above water.”…..Programming pro Don Jarrett is named PD at Rich Broadcasting’s country simulcast KWFI-FM and KWFO-FM “The Wolf” in Idaho Falls. Jarrett was most recently programming Riverbend Communications’ crosstown country KTHK-FM “105.5 The Hawk.” Rich Broadcasting operations manager Josh Tielor says, “We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to add Don to our team. He’s well known in the community and well connected in the industry. He brings a new level of excitement and energy to our station family.”…..The photo below published at LARadio.com is not from a time capsule. That KMET billboard is currently up and it put the folks at LARadio.com into investigative mode. The picture was snapped by Los Angeles publicist Hal Lifson who set the investigative wheels in motion. It appears the billboards are up for a movie shoot for a film that takes place in the 1970s. TALKERS magazine publisher and former KMET program director Michael Harrison says, “Seeing the billboard is a rush. I still find it hard to imagine L.A. without KMET. It would be like Brooklyn not having Coney Island.”

Monday Memo: About Pottymouth

| July 27, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Fine. Call me a prude. Because I still cringe when I hear a radio voice say “pissed-off.” What gets lost if, instead, you say “irked” or “miffed” or “dissatisfied” or some other more-specific and safe-for-the-whole-family synonym?

There are lots of common expressions Mom and Dad use, but not in front of the munchkins. But when a single diary or PPM meter represents thousands as Nielsen numbers crunch, every…Quarter Hour…counts. And with advertisers increasingly wary of content that can appear alongside their digital ads, AM/FM radio has nothing to fear from manners.

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