Tag: "Harry Hurley"

Friday, September 25, 2020

| September 25, 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 Mensch, the Bench and the Stench!” looks back at this past week of September 21 – September 25, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Scott Sands, talk show host, WSPD, Toledo/SVP Programming, North Ohio Area, iHeartMedia Communities DivisionHeidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; and Joe Thomas, talk show host/program director, WCHV, Charlottesville. 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 (“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; 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.

Edison Research Releases The Infinite Dial Profiles Listeners of Popular U.S. Radio Formats. Yesterday (9/24), Edison Research presented its latest webinar titled, “Radio Format Profiles: An Infinite Dial Study” that revealed data about P1 listeners based on 11 individual radio formats. The study was conducted in January and February of this year, prior to listening habits being affected by the coronavirus pandemic. When it comes to P1 listeners of spoken-word radio such as news/talk and sports talk, there are stark differences in listening habits in a number of categories. For example, when it comes to online audio listening – listening to an AM/FM station online or a stream available only on the internet – sports talk P1s were tops among all radio format P1s with 82% (Persons 12+) saying they listened online in the last week. However, for news/talk P1s, just 51% had done the same, beating only classic hits P1s (39%). Listening to an AM/FM station online was again done most by sports talk P1s with 45% saying they had done so in the last week. News/talk P1s tied for third place, with 26% saying they had done so in the past week. Regarding podcast listening, news/talk P1 were in the bottom half of the 11 formats with 53% saying they had ever listened to a podcast and 32% saying they had listened to a podcast in the last week. Sports talk P1s were more into podcasts with 69% saying they had ever listened to a podcast and 40% (second only to alternative rock P1s) saying they had listened to a podcast in the last week.

Newsmax TV Debuts ‘The Benny Report.’ A new weekly program is premiering on Newsmax TV tomorrow evening (9/26) as Benny Johnson, conservative social media star and chief creative officer for Turning Point USA, debuts “The Benny Report” at 6:30 pm ET. Newsmax TV says, “If you’ve never experienced the world according to Benny, you’re in for a treat as this funny, quick-witted, viral storyteller shares his creative insights on the political world. Benny believes that entertaining tales told straight from the heart and without politically correct B.S. can win the culture war for conservative-thinking Americans… He has more than 1 million followers on his social media accounts and his viral political videos have racked up over 2 billion — that’s right, 2 billion — views on broadcast and online mediums.” Based in Washington, DC, Johnson previously served as viral politics editor at Independent Journal Review, BuzzFeed, TheBlaze, National Review and The Daily Caller.

The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the Battle Over Filling Her Seat Top News/Talk Story for the Week of September 21-25. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death and the Republican-led Senate’s determination to fill her seat before the November election was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the presidential race and the debate over the reliability of mail-in voting. Coming in at #3 was race relations, police reform, and the protests over the lack of charges against the police involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, followed by the U.S. COVID-19 statistics and projections 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.

TALKERS News Notes. The first presidential debate will take place on Tuesday evening in Cleveland and FOX News Radio announces it is providing live coverage of it and the other three presidential and vice presidential debates. FNR says its coverage begins with an hour-long pre-show at 8:06 pm ET and will conclude at 11:29:50 pm ET. The debates themselves will be 90 minutes in length uninterrupted. Coverage will be led by FOX News Radio’s national correspondent Jared Halpern and FOX News Radio political analyst Josh Kraushaar…..According to a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Public Radio has fired KWMU-FM, St. Louis general manager Tim Eby after an investigation into allegations of unfair treatment of staffers of color. The group St. Louis Public Radio Journalists of Color complained about what they said was inequity and racism at the public news/talk station. The University of Missouri St. Louis – owner of the station – investigated and announced yesterday (9/24) that Eby has exited and that public radio consultant Tom Livingston will serve as interim general manager while a search is conducted for a permanent GM…..SiriusXM announces it is exclusively premiering the long-lost comedy album from the legendary Lenny Bruce tonight at 8:00 pm ET on its Comedy Greats channel. The album is titled “Lenny Bruce Is Out Again” and is the unreleased album fully authorized by Bruce’s daughter, Kitty Bruce. She’ll speak with SiriusXM host Ron Bennington during a special hour-long interview that will air at 5:00 pm ET. Also joining the panel will be actor Luke Kirby, who won an Emmy Award for his portrayal of Bruce on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” and comedian W. Kamaul Bell.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Special programming takes place tonight on SiriusXM Satellite Radio that celebrates the release of the remastered and expanded reissue of Prince’s “Sign O’ the Times” album and the new deluxe box set with a special new docuseries on the Volume channel. Tonight’s program, “Prince Sign O’ the Times – The Audio Biography,” airs at 8:00 pm and is hosted by Alan Light. It tells the story of the iconic album’s recording sessions, the behind-the-scenes workings and relationships, and the period of time that sparked Prince’s unmatched creativity and features interviews with vocalist (and former fiancé) Susannah Melvoin, The Revolution’s Lisa Coleman and Matt Fink, saxophonist Eric Leeds, engineer Susan Rogers, and Prince historian Duane Tudahl.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

| September 15, 2020

Van Harden Announces Retirement from WHO-AM, Des Moines in January. Thirty-four-year WHO, Des Moines morning personality Van Harden announced he’s retiring from the station on January 8, 2021, capping a 50-year radio career. In a public statement, iHeartMedia notes that during Van Harden’s time at WHO, he’s won five Marconi awards for his work as the host of the morning show and has been inducted along with co-host Bonnie Lucas into the Iowa Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Harden says, “I know people will ask why I am retiring. My answer is, after 50 years, why not? For years people have asked me if I ever think about retirement and I have told them, ‘Yes, at 2:45 weekday mornings.’ Getting up has been the biggest challenge of the job and it has gotten more difficult as time has gone on, but I wouldn’t trade any of those past mornings for anything. I want to deeply thank my past co-hosts and good friends, Patti Christensen, Connie Murad, and Bonnie Lucas, especially Bonnie, after putting in 25 years of her own, for being such fabulous on-air partners. I could make a huge list of incredible co-workers from the past 50 years that have made this an amazing ride. Besides the on-air shows it was a great honor to be the program director of WHO for 30 years and of KXNO from the day we put it on the air as a sports station. It has been a privilege to have hired and worked with so many talented people on both stations.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. In today’s report from TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, he notes that news/talk stations in PPM markets have been remarkably consistent in their 6+ AQH share increases this year over last. Based on Nielsen Audio’s data, 64% of news/talk outlets in PPM markets were up August 2019 – August 2020. For the two previous surveys, growth was very similar as is evidenced by the 65% up from July 2019 – July 2020 and the 68% up from June 2019 – June 2020. Returning to the August data, 55% of news/talk stations were up from July 2020 to August 2020 with iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (+2.3), WTAM, Cleveland (+2.0), and WISN, Milwaukee (+1.8) leading gainers. Joining WLW and WISN as #1-ranked stations in their respective markets in August were Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. Mike Kinosian also provides cume data in this report and notes that 54% of news/talk stations in PPM markets showed improved cume from the July 2020 survey to August 2020 with Nexstar Media Group’s WGN, Chicago leading the gainers. See his complete report here.

Minnesota Public Radio Reporter Quits in Solidarity with Victims of Air Personality. According to a report by WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Radio news reporter Marianne Combs resigned her position with the public media company after her editors did not run her investigative piece about the actions of an unnamed air personality at sister triple A station KCMP, Minneapolis “The Current.” Combs tells WCCO-TV that she spent two months speaking to eight women who were “sexually manipulated and psychologically abused” by the staffer. Combs says that she was told that although editors found the behavior “creepy,” it did not rise to the level of illegality and was therefore not worthy of news coverage. MPR president Duchesne Drew told WCCO-TV that they are “blindsided” by her resignation and believed she was continuing to work on it but that he stands by his editors’ decisions. He also adds that editors discussed with Combs how to strengthen the story to allow it to “meet our standards.”

Jim Meyer to Retire from SiriusXM CEO Position. After seven years as chief executive officer of SiriusXM, James E. Meyer announces he intends to retire on December 31, 2020. Meyer was named CEO in April of 2013 after serving as interim CEO since the previous December. Under his watch, revenue has more than doubled to an expected $7.7 billion and the number of subscribers has grown to 34.3 million. SiriusXM says that current president of sales, marketing and operations Jennifer C. Witz will become CEO. Meyer will remain on the company’s board of directors and will serve as vice chairman. Board chair Gregory Maffei says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Jim for his outstanding service, helping to create the leader in audio entertainment in North America. During his tenure as CEO, SiriusXM has grown to become a diversified audio entertainment provider that is poised to reach more than 150 million people, the largest addressable digital audio audience in North America. We are a better company for his stewardship. We look forward to continuing to work with him on the board and to build on SiriusXM’s strong momentum.” At the same time, SiriusXM announces that David J. Frear will leave the EVP and chief financial officer position to pursue other opportunities and Sean S. Sullivan is appointed to that role. Sullivan has been serving in a similar capacity for AMC Networks since 2011.

Salem Radio Network News Presents September 29 Debate Coverage. When the first presidential debate takes place on Tuesday, September 29 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Salem Radio Network is presenting live coverage. SRN begins coverage with an hourlong “SRN Debate Preview” hosted by nationally syndicated SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt, joined by special guests and SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston. The debate itself runs with no commercial breaks from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm and will be followed by a “SRN Debate Wrap-Up” at 10:30 hosted by Hewitt. SRN VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup says, “Excitement in anticipation of this first 2020 debate has been building for months. With the polls tightening and no teleprompters on stage, our debate coverage promises to highlight the first gloves-off, no-holds-barred encounter between these two candidates for the highest office in America.”

Hurley in the Morning Charity Passes $1 Million Mark. With last Friday’s 13th Annual “Hurley in the Morning” Charity Golf Tournament at The Harbor Pines Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey in the books, the charity founded by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley pushes the charity’s total funds raised since its inception past the $1 million mark. Hurley says, “The latest installment generated more than $50,000, which has enabled the ‘Hurley in the Morning’ Charity to surpass $1 million raised in our history. We are so grateful for the amazing support that we have received over the years. It’s also very gratifying that we have proven that you can safely and responsibly hold an outdoor event during the pandemic. The annual charity event was modified to respect social distancing and was made as contactless as is humanly possible.”

The Presidential Race, Western Wildfires/Climate Change Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, PA Protests/BLM Movement, Facebook Whistleblower Memo, Iran Assassination Plot, and Hurricane Sally Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The November presidential election; the wildfires raging in California, Oregon, and Washington and the debate over climate change and its effect on the wildfires; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the protests in Lancaster, Pennsylvania after police kill a knife-wielding man; a Facebook whistleblower’s memo about the company’s challenges dealing with voter manipulation; President Trump warns Iran after rumors of its intent to assassinate an American ambassador; and Hurricane Sally’s projected path into the Gulf Coast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Jim Richmond Named Director of Sales for Bonneville Seattle. Sales pro Jim Richmond is named director of sales for the Bonneville Seattle Media Group. Richmond was most recently general sales manager for Entercom San Francisco and assumes the role held by Cathy Cangiano prior to her promotion to SVP and market manager. She says, “I believe Jim Richmond’s experience, combined with his business acumen and strong leadership skills are well aligned to capitalize on opportunities that we have identified as integral to our success. In addition to his responsibilities leading the sales teams, he will be a key contributor to our Leadership Team and our constant efforts to align with Bonneville’s purpose.”

TALKERS News Notes. Broadcaster and journalist Rita Cosby is named the chair of the Global Service Institute at Long Island University.  In this role, Cosby will lead the Institute’s “game-changing and innovative educational initiatives to inspire a timely commitment toward volunteerism and elevate the importance and power of service. During this unprecedented moment with the economic devastation caused by the virus, the need for volunteers to assist drastically depleted nonprofit organizations has never been greater.” LIU president Dr. Kimberly R. Cline says, “The Global Service Institute established LIU as a premier destination for developing values-driven global citizens who will impact their communities. With her global experience exploring critical headlines and lifelong dedication to service, Rita Cosby is an exemplary leader who will elevate the Institute to even higher levels.”…..This week’s Westwood One blog examines a number of Nielsen case studies that indicate AM/FM radio ad campaigns lift TV viewership. The studies compare those who had been exposed to AM/FM radio ads for TV tune-in with people who had not heard the ads. The studies show that while on-network promos and paid TV buys reach heavy TV viewers, AM/FM radio TV tune-in campaigns reach medium and light TV viewers. In one case, the returning season of a scripted cable drama ran an AM/FM radio campaign that represented only 5% of the media plan but generated 20% of the total campaign impressions. 70% of the AM/FM radio impressions were from persons 18-54, while half of the paid TV and TV promo impressions were from persons 55+…..iHeartRadio and Treefort Media announce a new docuseries podcast titled, “DRAFTED,” that follows top college football players as they prepare to enter the NFL Draft. The program is produced in association with Klutch Sports Group and is narrated by Emmy-winning actor Keegan-Michael Key. He says, “I’m excited to be part of this series because it gives mega fans like myself intimate access and insight into the world of these incredible athletes. It’s really special to be able to hear everything they’re going through, and experience their nerves, excitement and tension leading up to one of the biggest events of their lives. I look forward to every moment.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. An internal memo from Entercom chief operating officer Susan Larkin reveals the company’s “hub-and-spoke” programming philosophy for its alternative and country radio stations. As a reduction-in-force for air talent and programmers takes place, we learn that Entercom is creating national and regional program hosts for certain dayparts and is realigning its programming management. For country, Tim Roberts is named format captain/VP of country programming with John Foxx and Kevin Callahan serving as regional vice presidents. Marci Braun, Justin Cole, and Scott Roddy are named regional brand managers. On air, Katie Neal is the national midday host and “Rob and Holly” are national night hosts. In the alternative format, Mike Kaplan is format captain/SVP of alternative programming with Matt Malone, Christine Malovetz, and Leslie Scott serving as regional vice presidents of programming. Regional brand managers are Bailey and Bryce Segall. Kevan Kenney is the national night host and regional on-air personalities are: “Cane and Corey” for mornings, “Church of Lazlo” in afternoons, and morning shows “Dave and Mahoney,” “Gregr,” and “Stryker and Klein.”…..Country radio personality Shawn Parr begins hosting the Camping World Concert Series “Taking the Highways Across America” tonight, featuring the legendary country group Alabama. Parr hosts the Key Networkssyndicated “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” program. He’ll host the 10-week virtual concert series that will feature such country acts as Martina McBride, Chris Young, Ricky Skaggs and Steven Curtis Chapman, Sugarland, Zac Brown Band, Lady A, Brett Young, Little Big Town, and Vince Gill and Amy Grant. Parr says, “I am SO excited to team up with Camping World and host their virtual concert series, ‘Taking the Highways Across America!’ We are having a ball bringing it to all of our affiliates and fans ‘Across The Country!’ Plus, we are hitting the road for some NEW adventures in the Parr-V very soon.”…..Beasley Media Group announces that Charlie Maxx is promoted to production director and assistant program director at country WXTU-FM, Philadelphia. She also hosts the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Program director Mark Razz says, “Charlie has a depth of experience that will be so helpful in her expanded role her at 92.5XTU. I look forward to putting our heads together to move the station forward.” In addition, WXTU promotes Jennifer “JJ” Scordo to production staffer and weekend personality.

Friday, August 21, 2020

| August 21, 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 Straw that Almost broke the Snail’s Back!” looks back at this past week of August 17-21, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSMandy Connell, talk show host, KOA, Denver; Ken Lanphear, talk show host, WKZO, Kalamazoo; Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle / CRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkKenneth S. Stern, director, Bard Center for the Study of Hate; and Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City. 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 WRKO, Boston; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Newsmax TV Names Carl Higbie Host of ‘Saturday Report.’ Retired Navy SEAL Carl Higbie is the new host of Newsmax TV’s “Saturday Report,” airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on the cable TV network. Newsmax says, “Higbie will tackle current events and the biggest headlines of the week, with smart, provocative analysis and commentary from newsmakers and the nation’s top political thinkers.” Higbie adds, “I am extremely excited to join the Newsmax family. With the team we have in place, I believe we can soon become America’s go-to weekend news program.” Higbie was a member of the Navy SEALS for nine years, with two combat tours in Iraq in which he saw dozens of combat missions and was decorated with valor in leadership positions. During one mission, he and his team were responsible for the capture of Jordanian jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the most wanted terrorist in Iraq. Higbie was an early surrogate spokesperson for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016. He was appointed chief of external affairs for the National Corporation for Community, overseeing grants with AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity. He also served as director of advocacy for America First Policies, a nonprofit social-welfare organization supporting President Trump’s policy platforms. Higbie has published three books, most recently Crisis of Culture: The Political Battlefield of the New Civil War (2018, Tactical 16).

PodcastOne Inks Deal with Chris Myers. Sports media pro Chris Myers and PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc. sign an exclusive podcast deal for the platform to publish the FOX Sports personality’s “CMI: The Chris Myers Interview.” The first episode will drop on August 26 and offer revealing conversations between Myers and some of the greatest names in sports, including college football’s Urban Meyer, MLB legend “Mr. October” Reggie Jackson, Super Bowl MVP and fellow broadcaster Troy Aikman and more. PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “I’m sitting on the beach in Santa Barbara and next to me is Chris Myers and a very famous athlete. I said to Chris, ‘Do you think this guy would guest on your podcast?’ Chris replied, ‘I don’t have a podcast.’ Well he does now and it’s right here on PodcastOne. We couldn’t be happier.” Myers comments, “Anytime you have a chance to share a conversation with the most accomplished and interesting personalities in and around sports it’s a good thing and I am excited to do that with ‘CMI: The Chris Myers Interview’ on PodcastOne where you can eavesdrop on people you know or would like to.”

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a nice piece in the Times-Free Press in Chattanooga that spotlights the changes in programming at Brewer Broadcasting’s talk station “NoogaRadio” WPLZ-HD4/W224AZ. It focuses on Jeff Styles’ 7:00 am to 10:00 am “Fred the Show” program, Bryan Stone’s daily, one-hour “StoneOnAir Podcast” and Styles’ weekly, one-hour music program called, “Rockaeology.” Styles’ “Rockaeology” airs on University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s non-commercial WUTC-FM. It is also now airing on “NoogaRadio” Fridays at 6:00 pm…..Radio ratings firm Eastlan Ratings announces that its move to continuous measurement has yielded two more new markets: Johnson City/Kingsport/Bristol in Tennessee and Virginia and Billings Montana. Bristol Broadcasting has been using Eastlan for its Charleston, West Virginia stations for four years and for its Paducah, Kentucky cluster for about 20 years. Eastlan president and CEO Mike Gould says, “We are certain the increased consistency and stability of our new continuous measurement will provide radio advertisers a new level of accountability and at the same time, instill more confidence in our subscribers. We are excited to be able to offer this enhancement to small and medium market broadcasters without increasing our annual rates.”…..iHeartMedia Birmingham is partnering with United Way of Central Alabama to launch the “Chromebooks For Kids” fundraising campaign to purchase Chromebooks for local students to use at home and in the classroom. Through September 3, iHeartMedia Birmingham’s 10 stations are encouraging listeners to make a donation and support students in the community. iHM Birmingham program director Dino Conrad says, “The COVID-19 pandemic created a need for laptops as Alabama schools and students shifted to at-home learning. As some children return to class this fall or continue at-home education, we hope our community can help students access the tools and resources necessary for learning.”

Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers Without Buying Clicks.  Noted media consultant, TV talk show host, and TALKERS contributing columnist, Holland Cooke has written an informative new E-book titled, Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) that is now available to TALKERS readers. Cooke states, “With Spotify paying Joe Rogan a reported $100 million to distribute his podcast, The New York Times pronounced the former ‘Fear Factor’ host and MMA commentator ‘the new Mainstream Media.’ This is a whack-on-the-side-of-the-head to broadcasters, who marginalize podcasters as a shadow medium, or ‘the future.’ At these prices, the future is now.” Cooke advises radio broadcasters to step up their efforts in making podcasting an effectively monetized part of their expanding communications platform stating, “There are an estimated 260 million smartphones in the USA. With that many of us walking around with a device that can broadcast live video, instantly, worldwide – and with nearly a quarter billion of us on Facebook and nearly 50 million active Twitter users in the USA – We The People are now, measurably, ‘the Mainstream Media.’”  Cooke says one of the keys to broadcasters succeeding, where such a large percentage of the 850,000 active podcasters out there fail, is in their ability to promote TSL (time spent listening). In this new E-book, Cooke details the strategy to prompt listeners to share podcasts with friends by employing the fundamentals that are second nature to broadcasters, but often lacking in podcasts. To purchase Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers without Buying Clicks (Talkers Books, 2020) for $9.00 or get more information, please click here.

The Presidential Race and the Democratic National Convention Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The November presidential election and this week’s Democratic National Convention tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio from August 17-21 and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the funding issues at the United States Postal Service and President Trump’s allegation that mail-in voting breeds fraud. Coming in at #3 was the COVID-19 statistics and projections, followed by health care, medications, and vaccines 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. Wilmington, Delaware hot AC WJBR-FM “Mix 95.5” is awarding $50,000 in advertising grants to assist small businesses in need in Wilmington. Beasley Media Group says that “to assist in the reopening efforts, the station will offer a total of five $10,000 advertising grants (all to air on “Mix 99.5”) over a six-week period from 9/7/20- 10/18/20. General sales manager Marta DeLisi says, “We are thrilled to be able to help local businesses during the reopening process during these unprecedented times.”…..Cumulus Media’s KBUL, Carson City, Nevada recently partnered with Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada after the charity had to cancel its primary annual fundraiser due to the pandemic. The gala event would have brought in an estimated $150,000 and supported their efforts as a safety net for the community in times of crisis. “K-Bull 98.1” presented the public with “Boxers For Bucks” in which afternoon personality J.J. Christy (at right) donned nothing but a pair of boxer shorts (and Garfield house slippers) and literally “weathered” the morning show on top of the local Toyota dealership. During that time, he was greeted with temperatures nearing 100 degrees, a brief monsoon that nearly blew his pop-up tent away, no food, and a swarm of bats! In the end, $152,000 was raised (and still counting) for Catholic Charities of Northern Nevada.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

| July 1, 2020

WABC, New York Begins Simulcasting on WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays. The Red Apple Media-owned news/talk station begins simulcasting on VMT Media’s WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays on Long Island. Red Apple is operating the signal under an LMA. The addition of the signal means listeners on eastern Long Island will now be able to hear the station over the air. WLIR-FM had been airing a classic rock format. Red Apple chairman and CEO John Catsimatidis says, “When we bought WABC, I said we were in radio to stay. Our expansion with this LMA and simulcast is just the beginning. We’re going to deliver news and information that will keep listeners informed with the truth of what’s really going on in New York, Washington, and the world.” Coincidently, this iteration of WLIR-FM, although having gone through ownership and frequency changes over the years, is the artistic and cultural descendent of the original WLIR discussed in this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Listen to it here.

WFAN, New York Celebrates Sports Talk Anniversary. All weekend long, Entercom sports talker WFAN, New York is celebrating its July 1, 1987 birth as the nation’s first sports-only radio station with programs hosted by former WFAN air personalities. Some of the personalities hosting shows this weekend include: Richard Neer (Sat. 6:00 am to 10:00 am) a WFAN host since 1988; Howie Rose (Sat. 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm) the station’s first evening host in 1987; Ed Coleman and Dave Sims (Sat. 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm), Eddie C is now WFAN’s Mets beat reporter, but Coleman and Sims were WFAN’s midday team in the early-1990s; Jody McDonald (Sat. 11:00 pm) was an original WFAN host back in 1987, and still hosts shows on the station occasionally while also working for CBS Sports Radio; Bob Salter (Sun. 6:00 am to 7:00 am) has been WFAN’s public affairs director since 1994, and hosts this timeslot every Sunday; Ann Ligouri (Sun. 7:00 am to 8:00 am) was also an original WFAN host and now covers golf and tennis for the station; Rick Wolff’s “Sports Edge” (Sun. 8:00 am to 9:00 am) is another Sunday morning staple on WFAN, airing in this timeslot since 1995; Suzyn Waldman (Sun. 9:00 am to 1:00 pm) was the first voice heard on WFAN, giving the first sports update at 3:00 pm on July 1, 1987, and these days she serves as the analyst for Yankees Baseball on WFAN. She has also served as both the Yankees and Knicks beat reporter, and co-hosted WFAN’s midday show with Jody McDonald as well; Steve Somers & Russ Salzberg (Sun. 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm), Somers is the only host who has been on the station full time since Day 1 in 1987! He and Salzberg hosted the midday show as “The Sweater and the Schmoozer” in the mid-1990s; and the Best of Mike and the Mad Dog (Sun. 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm), WFAN’s legendary afternoon team for nearly two decades (1989-2008).

Harry Hurley Marks 29 Years on the Radio. WPGG-AM, Atlantic City morning drive talk host Harry Hurley is celebrating his 29th year at the Townsquare Media news/talk station. It was July 1, 1991 that the “Hurley in the Morning” program launched on the station. Hurley says, “It’s been a privilege in every way. I want to thank our many loyal and faithful listeners, who have made it all possible, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year and decade after decade. I also want to thank our fiercely loyal clients who have been with us for decades. It is still amazing, new and fresh to sign on every day at the same radio station where it all began almost three decades ago. My sincere thanks and appreciation to my employer, Townsquare Media for their incredible support. We still have so much work to do. I’m excited about our continued future together.”

Edwards Media Launches Sports Talk Station in Waco Market. The station is being branded “CBS Sports Central Texas” and will air on the HD2 channel of hip hop KWBT-FM “94.5 The Beat.” Edwards Media LLC general sales manager and sports director Rich Richardson says, “We look forward to the opportunity to change the sports radio scene in Central Texas with the best in local, national, and play-by-play sports talk. The current situation in the country has changed the sports scene throughout the world, but there are more chances than ever for hosts and listeners to express their opinions, frustrations, even hypotheticals as to what happens next.  As live sports come back, we plan to do our best to keep listeners informed and entertained on a weekly, daily, and hourly basis while still allowing them to voice their opinions.” In addition to programming from CBS Sports, the station’s afternoon drive daypart will feature “Go Big or Go Home” with local host Big Rich.

Bob Long Retiring from GCN’s ‘Auto World.’ Citing health concerns that for the past few months have kept him from hosting the “Auto World” program distributed by Genesis Communications Network, Bob Long announces he’s retiring from his radio hosting duties. Mark Evans is taking over as permanent host of the program. GCN chief Ted Anderson says, “Bob Long has spent his years in broadcasting building the ‘Auto World’ radio show and will be missed by his fans. Bob has been a long friend of the Genesis Communications Network and we wish him success and health.” Mark Evans has been an “Auto World” contributor for many years and is a master technician who holds a patent on an automatic transmission cooler called Transguard that sells world-wide. Evans has filled in for Long over the years.

TALKERS News Notes. WGN-AM, Chicago announces it is adding the program “WGN Showcase” to its Saturday overnight schedule. It will air from 10:00 pm to 5:00 am, beginning July 11 and will feature highlights of weekday shows and excerpts of interviews with celebrities and newsmakers conducted by Bob Sirott, John Williams, Anna Davlantes, and Roe Conn. The Nexstar Media Group station says that it will continue a partnership with “WGN Radio Theatre,” which previously ran in the timeslot and presented classics from the golden age of radio, and the show’s host Carl Amari for special themed times throughout the year. Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s and founded Radio Spirits, the world’s largest marketer and distributor of these programs…..The deal between Mr. Master – the company that produces Automation Import Manager (AIM) – and Cumulus Media is expanded to put the software to use in all of Cumulus’ 424 local stations across 87 markets. Cumulus Media SVP of revenue strategy and operations John Kaufman says, “We were answering a call from our markets, which were looking for a way to improve the network continuity process and save meaningful time. Mr. Master’s AIM software offers a great solution for all Cumulus markets.”…..ESPN announces that it has reached a multi-year contract extension with host and commentator Bomani Jones to continue his ESPN Podcast, “The Right Time with Bomani Jones,” twice per week (Tuesday and Thursday). As part of his deal, Jones will also make regular guest appearances across ESPN Radio sports talk programming. Jones will play a significant role on “Highly Questionable” alongside Dan Le Batard, appearing three or four days each week. He will also continue to be a key contributor across ESPN’s television studio lineup, including “SportsCenter,” “Get Up,” “Outside the Lines” and as a panelist on “Around the Horn.”…..“The Todd Starnes Show” adds new affiliate stations WDMJ, Marquette; WMIQ, Iron Mountain; and WIAN, Ishpeming; all in Michigan. In addition to carrying the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show the stations will also carry the short-form feature “Todd Starnes News & Commentary.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Russian-Taliban Bounties Issue, BLM Movement/Public Monuments/Mississippi Flag, China’s Hong Kong Crackdown, Mary Trump Book Blocked, and Sports Leagues Plan Openings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). The rise in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future infections; the controversy over the reports of Russia offering bounties to the Taliban for U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan; the Black Lives Matter protests, the movement to take down Confederate and Colonial-era monuments, and changes to the Mississippi flag; China begins cracking down on dissent in Hong Kong; a judge issues a temporary block of Mary Trump’s book; and U.S. sports leagues plan to open or restart their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Legendary Rock/Sports Broadcaster Richard Neer Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Legendary WFAN, New York personality Richard Neer is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Weaving a colorful radio story, Harrison and Neer reminisce about a shared experience they had in the very early days of their long careers that had a tremendous influence on their lives and the history of album rock radio. Tomorrow (7/1) marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the progressive rock format at WLIR on Long Island.  On that Wednesday in the summer of 1970, the station transitioned from being an obscure suburban FM station that programmed a block format consisting of “beautiful music” and “easy listening” orchestras, along with classical music and show tunes into one of the most ground-breaking and longest-running FM rock giants of the past half century.  The station has been fertile ground for programming innovations, pop cultural evolution and the individual radio careers of countless personalities.  Harrison and Neer were a couple of college kids instrumental in making the historical transition happen and they engage in a remarkably candid conversation reconstructing the events between 1967 and 1971 that led up to and followed that meaningful format flip that changed their lives forever.  Don’t miss this!  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. Digital platform RADIO.COM is celebrating Independence Day with two exclusive music events on July 3 and 4 to remind everyone to register to vote. This is a partnership between Entercom and When We All Vote, whose mission is to “increase participation in every election and close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, harnessing grassroots energy, and through strategic partnerships to reach every American.” Both events are being streamed live nationwide on-air on select RADIO.COM stations and on the RADIO.COM app and website. “Party In Place” airs July 3 at 10:00 pm ET across all RADIO.COM alternative stations nationwide and features exclusive sets from: deadmau5, Disclosure, Major Lazer, ODESZA, RÜFÜS DU SOL, and Toro y Moi, as well as a world premiere and unreleased music from Flume and Rezz, with a special career-spanning mix from Porter Robinson, all performing virtually from their home studios. On July 4, “Summer Bash,” will feature performances by: Marshmello, Black Eyed Peas, Dillon Francis, Diplo, Kygo, Lil Jon, and Steve Aoki. Entercom SVP of programming and music initiatives Michael Martin says, “We’re looking forward to virtually coming together to enjoy incredible performances that will bring the festival experience right to listeners’ homes. We’re especially proud to celebrate Independence Day by supporting When We All Vote’s important mission to increase voter participation, one of the most patriotic acts we can do for our country.”…..TALKERS magazine confirms that Bob Lawrence has resigned his position as vice president of programming for Saga Communications. There’s no word from Saga on his replacement or a timetable for filling the corporate role. Lawrence took over the position in 2015 after Steve Goldstein exited the company.

Friday, June 5, 2020

| June 5, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   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. The new episode titled “Get Me to the Church on Time!” looks back at this past week of June 1-5, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSHarry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Bobbie Winston, American ex-pat / artist, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, The Thom Hartmann Show; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; and Larry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio Network.   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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in 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.

SportsGrid Launches Slate of Overnight Shows on SB Nation Radio Network. An overnight trio of sports talk shows from SportsGrid will launch on Monday (6/8) distributed nationwide across the SB Nation Radio Network. The programs are: Scott Ferrall’s “Ferrall on the Bench” (1:00 am to 3:00 am ET Tues.-Fri.); Gabe Morency’s “SportsRage Late Night” (3:00 am to 5:00 am ET Mon.-Fri.); Scott Wetzel’s “Bagels and Bad Beats” (5:00 am to 7:00 am ET Mon.-Fri.) Gow Media COO and SB Nation Radio program director Craig Larson says, “We are thrilled to expand our relationship with SportsGrid. It’s truly an honor to help relaunch the legendary ‘Ferrall on the Bench’ show. We are also further solidifying the best lineup in the business with Gabe Morency and the return of Scott Wetzel to network radio.” Ferrall adds, “I’m looking forward to this dynamic new opportunity with SB Nation to reconnect with my loyal listeners all over the country. It’s perfect timing with the planned return of live major sports.”

Justin Kaufmann Named Interim Host of WBEZ’s ‘Reset.’ Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Justin Kaufmann – most recently host of WGN-AM, Chicago’s evening show – is serving as interim host of the midday “Reset” program on Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM, effective June 15. The program’s host, Jenn White, is leaving WBEZ to take over the host role on NPR’s nationally distributed “1A” program produced at WAMU, Washington. This is a return to WBEZ for Kaufmann, who served there as a producer for 21 years before joining WGN-AM five years ago. Chicago Public Media is searching for a permanent host for the show.

SiriusXM’s Progress Channel Presents ‘A Call for Change’ Programming. All day today (6/5), SiriusXM’s Progress channel broadcasts a live marathon titled, “A Call For Change,” in which all programs will use that title as each show focuses on the current unrest in America, and the hosts talk to on-the-ground organizers and leaders to make sure their voices are heard in the media. Some of the topics addressed will include: the progress that’s been made in the civil rights movement and why acts of violence continue, systematic economic injustice, medical care injustice during the age of coronavirus, and more. Shows taking part include: “Signal Boost with Zerlina and Jess,” “The Stephanie Miller Show,” “The Thom Hartmann Program,” “The Michelangelo Signorile Show,” “The Dean Obeidallah Show,” and “Tell Me Everything hosted by John Fugelsang.”

Race Relations/George Floyd Case Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 1-5. The state of race relations in America and the protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the civil unrest in cities across the country and President Trump’s invoking of the Insurrection Act to quell the destruction and looting. Coming in at #3 was the presidential race and the politics associated with it, followed by the state of the COVID-19 disease and health care in the U.S. 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.

Edison Research Releases Podcast Ranker for First Quarter of 2020. The latest Edison Research U.S. Top Ten Podcast ranker for Q1 2020 has been released. The survey – based on 2,013 online interviews with weekly podcast consumers in the United States, ages 18 and older – is “the only comprehensive and all-inclusive study of the reach of podcast networks and shows in America,” according to Edison. The research firm says “the ranker lists the top ten podcasts in America by reach – not downloads – among weekly podcast consumers. Reach is the percentage of weekly podcast listeners who say they have listened to one of these shows in the last week.” “The Joe Rogan Experience” – to be exclusive to Spotify later this year – ranked #1. Edison Research SVP Tom Webster says, “Spotify’s recent deal with Joe Rogan stands a very good chance of increasing Spotify’s reach, since once again the ‘JRE’ is comfortably in the top spot of our national ranker. The top 10 are: 1) The Joe Rogan Experience 2) The Daily 3) This American Life 4) Crime Junkie 5) My Favorite Murder 6) Stuff You Should Know 7) (tie) Office Ladies 7)   (tie) Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! 9) Planet Money 10) Pod Save America. The Top 10 is part of Edison’s subscription product The Podcast Consumer Tracker.

REMINDER: Talkers Convention Postponed Until Friday, October 16. REMINDER AND UPDATE ON THE TALKERS CONVENTION. As posted in TALKERS back in April, the 23rd annual presentation of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most important annual gathering originally scheduled for Friday, June 5 remains officially postponed until Friday, October 16 due to the coronavirus crisis. This year, the event – held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of TALKERS – will still take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. In announcing the update of the convention’s status, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are hopeful that the circumstances going forward will be conducive for an event of this nature to yet be feasible almost five months from now. We are doing our best to hold together the agenda that we’ve already established, but are cognizant that, to a certain extent, we will be rebuilding it to conform to the specifics of the times and events that have taken place and have yet to take place between now and then. If this crisis continues at this level through the second half of 2020, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. If we are able to hold the convention as planned, we will limit the number of registrations accepted to conform to the guidelines in place at the time. All paid registrations and sponsorships already accepted will be honored for the new date. However, we will continue to cease all promotion and recruitment for new and additional speakers, sponsors and registrants until at least the first week of August out of respect for the urgency and priority this crisis presents to our industry’s dedicated, hard-pressed professionals – not to mention the lingering uncertainty of this unprecedented situation.” For more information please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or email info@talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Syracuse.com reports that longtime market radio personality and programmer Rich Lauber exits iHeartMedia’s cluster there. He served as operations manager for the station group that includes news/talk WSYR, adult contemporary WYYY-FM, CHR WWHT, urban contemporary WHEN-AM/W269DT, and country WBBS “B104.7.” Lauber was also the afternoon drive host on WBBS…..Cox Media Group’s CHR WFLC, Miami “HITS 97.3” names Ian Richards director of branding and programming. Director of operations Jill Strada says, “Ian is a smart, passionate and competitive programmer. I feel confident he is going to tackle Miami’s competitive top 40 market and lead HITS 97.3’s talented on-air team to number one!”…..On-air pro Mark Manuel is promoted to program director at iHeartMedia’s classic rock KCQQ, Quad Cities “Q106.5.” He currently serves as the station’s afternoon drive personality and as web content director for the entire cluster – both duties that he will continue to handle.

Monday, May 11, 2020

| May 11, 2020

Monday Memo: Talkers, Listening. Cable television talk legend Larry King taught us that great talkers are good listeners. So, in this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke asks a quartet of our talk media cohorts what they’re hearing as listeners cope. HC speaks with Westwood One nationally syndicated star Jim Bohannon, Providence radio and TV news and talk pro Gene Valicenti, and two hosts working in recreation meccas – Harry Hurley at WPG, Atlantic City and Heidi Harris at KMZQ in Las Vegas. Read it here.

Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening and Second Wave Threats, COVID-19 at the White House, U.S.-China Relations, Ahmaud Arbery Slaying, Michael Flynn Case, and Jerry Stiller Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections for future infections; some U.S. states cautiously begin re-opening amid concerns about a second wave of infections; the reports of White House staffers testing positive; the war of words between the U.S. and China over the origin of the coronavirus; the arrest of Gregory and Travis McMichael in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery; the DOJ drops the Michael Flynn case and allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; and comedian Jerry Stiller dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Masks, Appointments, and Social Distancing. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that it’s important to be smart about what and how you are selling. “As local business categories slowly come back to life, dealing with restrictive guidelines never before anticipated, marketing dollars may take a more cautious path to recovery. Some of your advertisers are dealing with the logistics of government-funded loans to bridge the gap and the new challenges that will arise. Will hours and operations ever be the same as before the coronavirus pandemic?” Read his column here.

Beasley Media Group Announces Re-Opening. The company says that today (5/11) it is beginning the approved gradual Phase One implementation of re-opening its radio properties in states that have reopened for business.  Beasley Media Group states that “both the timing and safety measures for these re-openings will be based upon approved CDC, individual state, and local government recommended guidelines. During Phase One, no more than 25% of each cluster’s individual workforce will be in the workplace at any given time.” Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley adds, “We have taken a very conservative, thorough and thoughtful approach to our company’s gradual reopening plan to provide, first and foremost, a safe and healthy work environment for our employees. Our market managers have done an incredible job working closely with their individual state and local governments to ensure a safe transition process as we all continue to navigate these unprecedented times.”

Evening Show Change at WLS-AM, Chicago. Windy City media personality Jenniffer Weigel leaves her early evening talk show on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM and a sports-themed show hosted by Rob Martier debuts in its place. Chicago media writer Robert Feder breaks the story here. Martier has been with WLS-AM since joining as evening news anchor in 2018. He also hosts a weekend auto show and Illini football broadcasts. Weigel came aboard last March as a part of the Mancow Muller morning show before transitioning to late night host and then early evening personality.

Bob Matthews Retires from WHAM, Rochester. The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reports that longtime WHAM sports talk host Bob Matthews did his last show for the legendary iHeartMedia signal on Friday. Matthews tells the paper he was not fired nor furloughed but that at age 73 and after serving with the station for 35 years, he admits “the coronavirus got the best of me.” He adds, “It’s been very difficult the last two months. It’s been tough talking sports for two hours when there’s no sports. I’ll be OK.” Matthews, a longtime columnist for the Democrat & Chronicle who left the paper in 2012, says he’s recently been diagnosed with diabetes and knows he’s susceptible to the virus. The station will replace Matthews’ 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm show with Westwood One’s “The Savage Nation” with host Michael Savage.

iHeartMedia Adds New Voices to ‘Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020’ Podcast. A podcast addressing students graduating this year titled, “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” is being produced by iHeartMedia and will be published on Friday (5/15) ahead of National Graduation Day on the 17th. The company announces that Bill and Melinda Gates; singer, songwriter and actor Becky G; actor and gender equality ambassador Freida Pinto; stand-up comedian George Lopez; director and actor Henry Winkler; New York Times bestselling author John Green; Mary J. Blige; T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert; actor, producer, singer and songwriter Rita Wilson; acclaimed singer-songwriter Smokey Robinson; T.I.; Apple CEO Tim Cook; and Emmy award-winning news anchor Tom Brokaw have joined the podcast event featuring commencement addresses from some of the most inspiring and accomplished thought leaders impacting culture today. “Commencement: Speeches for the Class of 2020” will also feature speeches from iHeartRadio personalities Ryan Seacrest, Enrique Santos, Angie Martinez, Bobby Bones, Jake Brennan, Angela Yee, Woody, and J Cruz. The speeches will be produced specifically for the podcast, through the iHeartPodcast Network, and are dedicated to all the graduating classes of 2020 who will miss their commencement celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The podcast will be available on iHeartRadio and everywhere podcasts are heard.

Alpha Media Presents ‘Tools for Difficult Times’ for Staff and Clients. Last Thursday (5/7), Alpha Media held a virtual keynote titled, “Now What? Tools for Difficult Times,” featuring author and Ted Talk alum Greg Bell and special guest Meghan Trainor. Alpha CEO Bob Proffitt states, “The goal of the event was to offer our employees and clients positive and actionable planning strategies to maximize personal and professional opportunities as we begin the re-entry phase of this crisis.” Close to 1,000 guests virtually attended to hear motivational speaker Greg Bell provide key insights and incredible tools for moving forward in this new era. Grammy Award winner Meghan Trainor discussed with Skyview Network host Dana Cortez how she is using her platform positively to help feed those in need at this time. They also tackled how to handle the pressure and fatigue from the constant influx of social media during the pandemic. Alpha Media says that it believes that innovation, creativity and connection are important now more than ever. To meet that need, the company says its Virtual Keynote series will continue throughout the year with new speakers and guests to be announced.

Radio One Philadelphia and MyPhillyLawyer Salute Frontline Workers. In an effort to give back to the front-line workers of the COVID-19 pandemic, Radio One Philadelphia joined MyPhillyLawyer for the “Salute on the Front Line” campaign that features video tributes and special lunch deliveries to men and women nominated by members of the community. Listeners to Radio One’s Philadelphia stations can submit video tributes to the radio stations highlighting the work and contribution of friends or family members who are essential workers in the Philadelphia area. The radio stations will feature the videos and each day will have lunch delivered to the workplace of the honorees to thank them and their co-workers for their service. Radio One Philadelphia general manager Ezio Torres says, “This partnership with MyPhillyLawyer recognizes not only the front-line workers who immediately come to mind, but also those who work in the grocery stores and drug stores, along with the delivery drivers, postal workers, SEPTA personnel, and many others. It’s just a great way to acknowledge those who continue to allow us to move forward. We want to send them a big thank you!”

Westwood One: Radio Listening Levels Ramping Up. The data presented in this week’s Westwood One Blog are culled from “a brand-new study of consumer COVID-19 sentiment and spending intentions” as well as “just-released audience data from the 45 Portable People Meter markets. The PPM data covered the period of March 27, 2020 through May 6, 2020.” The PPM data indicates that Americans are listening at a rate of 82% or pre-COVID-19 levels.  A study conducted by Nielsen found that 32% of adult Americans consider themselves in the “ready to go” category and they have a greater intent to resume their spending habits. Read the blog here.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated radio program “Our American Stories” begins airing on iHeartMedia’s KTRH, Houston, effective June 1. Lee Habeeb is the show’s host and CEO of program producer American Private Radio. He says, “The Astros, Johnson Space Center, NASA, and KTRH. We are thrilled to join this town of giants. After announcing our partnership with Entercom last week in Dallas on KRLD-AM, and now this partnership with the leading talk station in Houston, we are truly humbled. There are milestones and we have just crossed two really big ones.”…..NPR has struck an agreement with SAG-AFTRA that will allow it to temporarily reduce employee compensation due to an expected budget shortfall because of the coronavirus pandemic. As reported at Current.org by Tyler Falk, employee salaries will be reduced on a sliding scale beginning next week, with a maximum cut of 9%. However, the move does not affect employees making less than $80,000. It will be in effect through the end of NPR’s fiscal year in September. The pact also prohibits NPR from laying off any workers for the rest of the fiscal year.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Detroit, Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WMGC “105.1 The Bounce” promotes J. Steele to assistant program director. He joined the station in April of 2019 and hosts the afternoon drive show. Beasley Detroit director of programming Jerry Tarrants comments, “J. Steele brings extensive programming background to the position and has proven to be a valuable member of the team since joining the station last year as our afternoon drive talent at ‘The Bounce.’ I know J. will bring the same energy and dedication to this role as he does with his very entertaining afternoon show for his listeners in the Motor City!”…..The Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated “Big D and Bubba” show is named the new morning program at country WCLT-FM, Columbus “T-100.” To make room, program director Wild Walley gives up the AM show and becomes host of the afternoon drive program…..At Max Media’s hip hop KFCO “Flo 107.1,” the morning duo of Larry Ulibarri and Kathie J are out. The company has made no official announcement, but the morning show’s info is gone from the station’s website.

Monday Memo: Talkers, Listening

| May 11, 2020

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — Larry King taught us that great talkers are good listeners. So I asked a quartet of our cohorts what they’re hearing.

I asked for ADJECTIVES…

… to describe listeners’ mood while we’ve all been hunkered-down.

  • Gene Valicenti gets it in both ears each day. After hosting morning drive on WPRO, Providence, he anchors top-rated NBC10 TV news at 6:00 pm. People are “in good humor,” he reckons, “but edging toward impatience.”
  • Frustrated. Suspicious” is what Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon hears. “And to a lesser extent I hear ‘determined’ (to gut it out).”
  • Understandably, “the mood is stunned and confused” in Las Vegas, hardest-hit by the shutdown. KMZQ’s Heidi Harris says people there “aren’t getting assurances on when it will end. Will they go back to work? Will their old jobs exist? No one has clear answers.”
  • Also surrounded by closed casinos, WPG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley describes folks there as “disgusted (with the stay-at-home order), ‘Anxious,’ ‘Depressed,’ ‘Scared’ (worried about becoming infected with coronavirus).” And like Las Vegans, “worried about whether or not they’ll be able to return to work.”

Read More

Friday, April 3, 2020

| April 3, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.   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.  The new episode titled, “Behind Closed Doors!” looks back at this past week of March 30-April 3, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Blasingame, talk show host, “The Small Business Advocate”; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Doug Stephan; talk show host, the “DJV Show”; Mike Bendixen, program director, CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010”; Ethan Bearman, attorney/correspondent, FOX News Channel; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist, Psychcast-MDedge. 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 WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), 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.

Radio’s John McConnell Cheats Death Thanks to Anti-Malaria Drug. Former ABC Radio SVP of programming and current EVP of talent and content management agency Workhouse Media, John McConnell, narrowly escaped the clutches of COVID-19 thanks to Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) – a drug used to combat malaria, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.  McConnell tells TCPalm.com’s Laurence Reisman that after being admitted to Cleveland Clinic Indian River Hospital in Vero Beach in very bad shape, he and his wife had made out their wills and, after a time, had even said goodbye to each other, expecting the worst.  Staff were preparing to put him on a ventilator and McConnell had heard about the poor recovery rates for ventilated patients. But Dr. Gene Posca was also talking to McConnell about the pros and cons of Plaquenil and McConnell decided to try it.  The first 12 hours did not provide relief, but soon thereafter, McConnell began to feel better.  He says he’s feeling better every day and his main concern is to not get exposed again.

Missouri Radio Personality Recovering from COVID-19. “American Viewpoints” host Mike Ferguson believes he contracted the coronavirus during a recent trip to Chicago.  Feeling ill about a week after his trip, Ferguson saw a doctor who diagnosed a bad cold.  KRCG-TV, Columbia, Missouri reports that diagnosis was wrong, and Ferguson ended up spending nine days in a St. Louis hospital before being released.  Ferguson produces the “American Viewpoints” program that airs across numerous radio stations in Missouri, including on Zimmer Broadcasting’s talk stations KWOS-AM, Jefferson City and KSSZ-FM, Fayette “93.9 The Eagle.”  He tells KRCG-TV, “It was very painful in the lungs.  When I would start having a coughing fit, and these would last 90 seconds to 2 minutes, you would get residual pain from headaches, abdominal strain and things like that.  The really scary part is when you just can’t suck in enough air and you just keep coughing out more air than you can bring in.”  Ferguson was given a three-day treatment of anti-malaria medicine.

Sterling: Call in Your Chips. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling wonders why the industry that put the current administration into power – radio – isn’t asking to be saved from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “Right now, radio companies are firing people.  Why?  Isn’t radio eligible for the bailout?  Every radio company expense line could easily fit into a two trillion-dollar package.  Isn’t that bailout for media as well as other industries?”  Read his column here.

John Minko Takes Early Buyout from WFAN. As reported by Newsday, WFAN, New York update anchor John Minko is taking a buyout from the Entercom sports talk outlet, thereby creating a position for another staffer.  The 67-year-old Minko has been with the station since June 29, 1987 – two days before it flipped to sports.  It was about a year later that Emmis executive Rick Cummings (remember, Emmis owned the station at the time) saved Minko’s job at the station.  Minko tells Newsday he told Cummings, “I said, ‘There’s no way I can thank you for this,’ And he said, ‘Yes, there is a way… you could do this for somebody else someday.’”  He adds, “I thought that if I took it now, which was the right thing to do, if that prevented somebody else from getting fired, then I thanked Rick [for what he did].”

Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco and KWFN, San Diego Present ‘Virtual Game of the Week.’ Sports talk outlet KWFN, San Diego “97.3 The Fan” and KGMZ-FM, San Francisco “95.7 The Game” are inviting fans to “97.3 The Fan’s Virtual Game of the Week,” a baseball game featuring the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants on SonyPlayStation 4’s “MLB The Show 20” video game.  The contest will be streamed on the stations’ Facebook pages and will feature real-time commentary from air talent Ben Higgins, Steve Woods, John Kentera, Tony Gwynn Jr. and Chris Ello.  KGMZ-FM personalities Joe Fortenbaugh, Lorenzo Neal, Dan Dibley, Joe Shasky and Ryan Covay will also participate.

TALKERS News Notes. WFAN, New York sports talk host Mike Francesa and station owner Entercom have issued a cease-and-desist order to a Twitter user – and regular Francesa antagonist – for that person to stop posting audio and video of Francesa’s program.  The New York Post reports that the anonymous person behind the Funhouse Twitter account will abide by the order but tweeted, “He just went from being mostly irrelevant to completely irrelevant.  Don’t misunderstand… I’m a nobody, but I lost count of how many people told me they only hear him via my clips.  He didn’t think this through.”…..The previously announced RAB webinar, “Data Drives Revenue” featuring Analytic Owl will feature brand-new granular data. COVID-19 has challenged marketers to find the best messaging and methods to communicate with consumers.  The RAB says that in this one-hour webinar, Analytic Owl’s David Shapira will share new data and insights for the current business unusual landscape.  It’s free for RAB member and takes place Tuesday (4/7) from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon ET and Thursday (4/9) from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm ET…..Podcast listens continue to rise for FOX Sports RadioPremiere Sports Network says FSR realized one million more podcast listens in March 2020 than in February 2020, when there was a full month of live sporting events.  FSR goes on to say that year-over-year, the network’s total podcast audience grew by 67%…..Pineapple Street Studios and The Meteor announce the launch of “Doctor’s Log: A COVID-19 Journal,” a limited-run podcast series on which leading ER physician Dr. Esther Choo reports from the frontlines of the coronavirus crisis — the emergency room of a busy American hospital — as health professionals encounter the most significant health threat and pandemic in modern history.  She says, “There is a gap between what we’re experiencing and worrying about on the healthcare delivery side and what the general public sees.  My experience is just one piece of the global healthcare response to the pandemic, but hopefully with this podcast, I can represent the voices of my colleagues, honor their work, and share their struggles as the entire country grapples with an unprecedented threat.”

Statistics About COVID-19 Infections and Projections of Future Cases Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 30 – April 3. Statistics and projections about the infection and fatality rates of the coronavirus were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the strain placed on the U.S. health care system by the pandemic.  Coming in at #3 was the state of the world’s financial markets, the economy, and the relief package approved by congress and signed by President Trump, followed by the politics surrounding the pandemic and its effect on the November presidential race 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 entire chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Mike Waters is joining NRG Media’s classic hits KOKZ, Cedar Rapids/Waterloo as morning drive personality, effective Monday (4/6).  Station operations manager Jeff Winfield says, “We are thrilled to have Mike join NRG Media as the voice for 105.7 KOKZ for the morning drive.  He brings more than 30 years’ experience in the radio industry across a variety of formats.  Mike understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio.”  Waters adds, “I look forward to the opportunity to work with a great team already in place in the market!  I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a very talented group of individuals, a great radio company.  I can’t wait to get on air.”…..SiriusXM – with the help of pop star Taylor Swift – is launching a Home DJ series on its CHR channel SiriusXM Hits 1.  Beginning today, Swift (followed by other pop artists) will take over SiriusXM Hits 1 from her home.  Swift and the other stars will be playing the most requested hits and their favorite music, providing commentary and more to connect with their fans all across North America.  Others to take part in the program will include: Niall Horan, Camila Cabello, Sia, 5SOS, Diplo, Kelsea Ballerini, Charlie Puth, Pete Wentz, and more.  SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “We love to connect fans with their favorite artists, and our Home DJ series will bring some of the biggest names in music into our homes as people look for ways to be entertained.  Taylor Swift will lead the way and will be followed by many stars on Hits 1 in the days ahead as they play their favorite music for the channel’s faithful national audience and new listeners too.  Our new Stream Free option opens up our channels to anybody who wants some diversion and great music.”

Talk Radio Rises to Coronavirus Challenge

| March 9, 2020

By Michael Harrison
TALKERS
Publisher

 

JUPITER, Fla. — This past weekend seems to have marked a tipping point in America regarding public anxiety over COVID-19, still commonly referred to as the coronavirus.  Fears and near-panic have infiltrated the beleaguered heath care systems of our communities, the stock market, and a number of inter-connected industries and public events.  Add to that, discourse about the problem in our politically oriented media have included the “weaponization” of issues per the troubling practice of each side tending to seek victory at the expense of truth.

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

| January 29, 2020

Talk Hosts Cover Trump’s Wildwood Rally. Talk radio hosts from the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas were in attendance at last night’s Trump rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center at the Jersey Shore.  Above at left is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with a front row view as President Trump speaks.  At top right is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Rich Zeoli (right) talking with the first person in line to get a ticket for admission, Duke (left).  At bottom right is WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon personality Kevin McCullough (right) with Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany (left).  Rally organizers say some 175,000 tickets were requested for the event although the venue holds 7,000.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine campaign officials are considering another rally at a future date in Northern New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Staffs of News/Talk KFMB-AM and Adult Hits KFMB-FM in San Diego Given Notice.  Some 45 staffers at Tegna’s two radio stations in San Diego have been given their two-week notice in advance of the stations’ transfer of ownership to Local Media San Diego after February 7.  The San Diego Reader reports that the staffers were told that new owner LMSD is keeping four salespeople and one commercial production person.  Tegna says that it’s now up to LMSD to decide if it wants to hire any of the dismissed employees back.  From news/talk KFMB-AM, local talk personalities Brent Winterble, Mike Slater, and Mark Larson are among the casualties.  It’s unclear at this time what LMSD’s format plans are for the two stations.  The hosts are still working through February 7 at which time all employees will receive their severance packages.  Tegna acquired the radio stations in 2018 along with two television stations from Midwest Television for $325 million.

PodcastOne Partners with Spotify for Podcast Distribution. Podcasts by such stars as basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal, WWE legend Steve Austin, bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and comedian Adam Carolla will soon be available worldwide via Spotify.  Spotify’s Lauren Jarvis says, “We are thrilled to bring PodcastOne’s 400-plus hours of fresh, weekly content to Spotify’s global listeners.  From longtime-running favorites like ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ ‘Ladygang,’ and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s ‘Off the Vine,’ to shows from superstars like Shaquille O’Neal and T.I., we know that we are adding podcasts for diverse listener tastes to Spotify’s catalogue.”  Spotify listeners worldwide will be able to enjoy each of PodcastOne’s 300-plus programs, including original content produced by PodcastOne Global.  Eventually, Australian fans will be able to stream PodcastOne’s content as well, with the addition of PodcastOne Australia content in partnership with Southern Cross Austereo.  PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris comments, “PodcastOne is thrilled to make our extensive catalogue available to the Spotify audience.  Combining the power, talent, and reach of the leading ad-supported podcast network, PodcastOne, with Spotify’s best-in-class technology, and listening and user experience is a can’t miss.  This partnership creates new cross-promotional opportunities for us both and increases the accessibility of PodcastOne’s hundreds of programs for our listeners.  It’s been great to work with Lauren Jarvis and the Spotify team, as we launch our new partnership.”

Erika Beasley Promoted to VP of Digital Content for Beasley Media Group. At Beasley Media Group, Erika Beasley rises from her corporate digital content director position to vice president of digital content.  In this new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing content creation on the company’s many digital platforms.  Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Erika’s outstanding work throughout the years, in a variety of different roles, speaks for itself.  Her many contributions to the company’s digital transformation has moved us forward in profound ways.  I look forward to Erika partnering with our vice president of digital market, Jennifer Williams, and the company’s highly talented digital content team to further expand our digital footprint.”

Impeachment, Trump Wildwood Rally, Presidential Race, Coronavirus, and Trump’s Middle East Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the large crowd gathered at last night’s Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey; the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; concerns about a global epidemic of the Wuhan coronavirus; and the Trump Administration’s unveiling of its Middle East peace plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Cable news/talk outlet FOX News Channel is celebrating its ratings success.  In an internal memo, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace say, “We passed CNN at the end of January 2002 in viewership in the key 25-54 demo in both Today Day and Primetime and never looked back.  There is no other network in cable that can lay claim to this level of consistent dominance with one of the most loyal and passionate audiences in the country.”…..WSCR, Chicago morning drive personality David Haugh has exited his gig with the Chicago Tribune where he was a sports columnist.  Haugh, who co-hosts the “Mully & Haugh” show with Mike Mulligan, spent 17 years with the Tribune – the last 10 as a sports columnist – according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Trenton, New Jersey-based Penn National Gaming is acquiring a 36% interest in the sports media firm Barstool Sports for $163 million – $135 million in cash and $28 million in non-voting convertible preferred stock.  Kennedy Rose has the story in the Philadelphia Business Journal.  In addition to its digital content that enjoys 66 million unique visitors per month, Barstool broadcasts radio shows via its own channel on SiriusXM…..Pictured below is KQTM-FM, Albuquerque “101.7 The Team” afternoon drive personality Jim Villanucci (right) with KQTM personality Sam Hauser (left) and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry (center).  Gentry — a star high school football player in Albuquerque and a big fan of the station — stopped by the studios to say hello.  “101.7 The Team” airs a regular slate of high school football games during the season.

Legendary Jock Harry Harrison Dies at 89.  Top 40-era New York radio legend Harry Harrison died yesterday (1/28) after complications from numerous health issues.  Harrison worked on air at WMCA – one of the WMCA Good Guys – and at WABC, as well as later at WCBS-FM.  He retired from the latter in 2003.  He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall.  Photo: Art Vuolo Jr.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Stephens Media Group violated labor laws when it let a number of air personalities go from its Watertown and Massena, New York stations in 2018.  Judge Charles J. Muhl ruled that not only must Stephens hire the fired staffers back but must compensate the affected workers for financial losses and tax consequences.  Stephens tells NNY360 that it plans to appeal certain aspects of the ruling…..The entire staff – both on-air and off – of adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego was given its two-week notice as owner Tegna prepares to close on the sale of the station (and sister news/talk KFMB-AM) to Local Media San Diego.  Out of work are Chris Cantore, Meryl Klemow, Cha Cha Harlow, Robin Roth, and Rick Lawrence.  They are working through February 7, at which point they will receive their severance packages.  It’s not clear what LMSD’s plans are for the station, which as part of the sale contract, must give up the KFMB-FM call letters…..In Duluth, Minnesota, Patti Banner joins J.D. Justice as co-host of the morning show on Midwest Communications’ country KTCO-FM “Kat Country 98.9.”  She was most recently with Cherry Creek Radio’s adult contemporary KONA, Tri-Cities, Washington as morning drive co-host.  She takes over for Brookie the Rookie, who leaves for a gig outside the radio business…..This year’s iHeartCountry Festival taking place on May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will feature the following acts: Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones and more.

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