Tag: "Michael Harrison"

Saturday, January 23, 2021

| January 23, 2021

INDUSTRY AND NATION MOURN: Talk Media Pioneer Larry King Dead at 87. According to a report on Facebook posted by the producers of his current syndicated television show, Ora Media, legendary star of talk radio and television, Larry King died this weekend at the age of 87. The statement says: “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.” The statement continues, “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.” The cause of death was not indicated, however King had been reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month. King was a major player in the talk media world who ushered in the modern era of syndication in radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System and the cable news/talk show format on television at CNN. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “Larry King was not the greatest talk show host on radio or television in terms of skills, outrageous personality or direct and profound influence on public policy. He was, however, the most important pioneer who paved the way for today’s robust talk media presence on both radio and television. If there ever was a case of the right person at the right time, Larry King fit the bill and that’s all it took for him to be a mighty force. He was the modern era of talk radio’s first national celebrity born solely as a result of his work in the medium. And his contribution to today’s institutional cable news/talk TV format is undeniably fundamental to the medium’s current presence as America’s political and sociological meeting place. We have lost one of the greatest broadcasting presences of the first century of radio and television history as well as one of the quirkiest and most colorful individuals to ever sit behind a microphone.” TALKERS will publish more information about the life, career and legacy of Larry King in the days ahead.

Remembering Larry King. Particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 due to previous health scares, which included a heart attack, stroke, prostate cancer, lung cancer, and diabetes, broadcasting icon Larry King died Saturday (1/23) at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Official word was released on King’s Twitter account. “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television, and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster. Larry liked to ask short, direct, and uncomplicated questions. He believed concise questions usually provided the best answers, and he was not wrong in that belief.” The 87-year-old King had been sick for at least ten days prior to being hospitalized with coronavirus. It was anything but a ratings juggernaut, but the plotline for NBC-TV’s “Hello Larry” (1979 – 1980) involved radio talk show host Larry Alder (portrayed by McLean Stevenson) moving from Los Angeles to work at Portland’s fictional KLOW. A short time earlier (1978), “Hello Larry” became a typical utterance by actual radio listeners across America when the Mutual Broadcasting System began syndicating “The Larry King Show,” which would become one of the most popular late-night radio shows of all-time. Bostonians and New Englanders in that same timeframe could make a legitimate case that renowned late-night talk host Larry Glick – heard on Boston’s WBZ-AM – was the “Hello Larry” inspiration. Practically a poster boy for suspenders, Brooklyn-born Lawrence Zeiger is highly worthy of being dubbed a broadcasting ironman for his lengthy radio and CNN stints. Not only that, he was such a Nate ‘n Al’s partisan that well-traveled folklore has it that a critical reason he bought his home was because it was in close proximity to that particular Beverly Hills deli. Fiercely loyal, King routinely gathered with his chums from the old neighborhood at the Beverly Hills branch of Nate ‘n Al’s, which closed temporarily in March 2020 and reopened two months later. One could easily make the case that King was the top, pure, mainstream radio talk host. Regardless how one chooses to slice it though, ascribing Larry King as an iconic talk radio personality would not be in any way hyperbolic. Aired each weeknight between 12:00 midnight – 5:30 am, “The Larry King Show” featured the highly-inquisitive host asking every imaginable question of a guest for the program’s initial 90 minutes, with the guest usually then taking listener calls for a similar period. Any criticism of King being an inept, softball interviewer is nothing but laughable – especially if such assessment pertains to his radio days. Sure, what he did wasn’t as intricate as performing quintuple bypass surgery (King was 53 when he underwent that procedure in February 1987); however, there is an elegant skill and artistry in conducting a long-form broadcast conversation. In that arena, King had few, if any, equals. Notwithstanding his lack of a college degree, he stood his ground with U.S. presidents; the most impressive list of world leaders; newsmakers; and he frequently dabbled with pop culture personalities, many of whom were simply the “flavor-of-the-month.” Through it all, King emerged as broadcasting’s quintessential interviewer. Whenever asked what made him such a magnificent interviewer, King consistently said that he refrained from using the word “I” as often as he could. The trademark setup during “Open Phone America,” where he fielded calls on any topic, was King barking the name of the caller’s city followed by a generally raspy, “Hello.” That carried through to his CNN program, as did his impatient, “What’s your question?” whenever a caller got longwinded and/or star-struck. Countless bits have satirically skewered King, most notably Keith Olbermann or Rob Bartlett, who was priceless in character when he appeared on “Imus in the Morning.” They would typically follow the name of an offbeat-sounding hamlet with an out-of-the-blue, King-worthy, “Hello.” Without doubt, King was as adept and adroit at keeping caller interaction focused as any other host in the business. As evidence of King’s superior talent, no less than ten cable ACE awards; two Peabody awards; and one Emmy resided inside his trophy case. Radio always fascinated King who, in May 1957, realized his dream of being an on-air talent in the medium when a small Miami Beach station paid him $55 a week to do – among other station assignments – a daily 9:00 am – 12:00 noon air shift. Three years later, the intense sports fan was hosting WPST-TV, Miami’s Sunday night “Miami Undercover” and would eventually do color analysis of Miami Dolphins football games on Miami radio outlet WIOD. Similar duties followed for the World Football League’s Shreveport Steamer. In 1989, King met future wife, Julie Alexander, who would be number six in that heavily-populated category. Wasting no time and evidently undaunted by the fact they lived in different cities, King proposed to the blond, Philadelphia-based businesswoman on their very first date. One didn’t exactly have to be Kreskin to correctly guess that it was not long before they were divorced. To put it mildly, a pronounced fondness for the ladies was an ongoing part of King’s reputation, underscored by the fact that he was married eight times and even tied the knot twice to Playboy bunny Alene Akins (1961 – 1963 and 1968 – 1971). As David Letterman might quip, “Good gig.” Amid extensive coverage on prime access entertainment shows, King and his wife Shawn Southwick King filed for divorce in mid-April 2010, although they called it off one month later. The two had been married since 1997 and it was, by far, the longest of any of King’s other marriages. In fact, it actually totaled more than his previous three combined. While King said he wanted to divorce Southwick in 2019, it was revealed during King’s COVID-19 treatment that the two were still very much married, although estranged. Over and above his high-profile familiarity among radio and television audiences, King wrote a weekly USA Today column for almost 20 years (1982-2001). People routinely excoriated it, yet it had to be a popular guilty pleasure since it caught so many eyes. There was a vintage, approximately 90-second segment on “The Larry Sanders Show,” HBO’s definitive talk show sendup, where sidekick Hank Kingsley (Jeffrey Tambor) needed several “King’s Things”-like non-sequiturs for the “Hank’s Thought” portion of his fan club newsletter. With great deliberation, he produced six pearls that absolutely had to make King smile. They were: “It’s October and we all know what that means.” “If Princess Di were here, I’d tell her, ‘Hang in there.’” “I’d kill for a Dreamsicle right now.” “Maybe it’s me, but I think Sharon Gless should be on TV every night.”  “If I had my druthers, there would be no more world hunger.” “I sure do miss the Cowsills – that mini-skirted mom sure was sexy.” The Beverly Hills location of one of King’s investments, The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company, opened in March 2011. Exactly one year later (March 2012), the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim Helu, announced that King would be his first hire for the internet television station that Helu launched, Ora.TV. Using a fairly simple yet highly plausible formula, CNN claimed that King had conducted 50,000 interviews over his 50 years in the industry. There were occasions at the tail end of his run at the Cable News Network though that he would unfortunately look like a caricature of himself. Often stiff and ill-at-ease as the show was reaching its final broadcast (December 16, 2010), King was nonetheless a paradox when featured as a guest elsewhere. When given time to be himself in those settings, King underscored his priceless ability to perform the most critical function of an upper-echelon talk radio host, which is to tell a story. The goodie bag from which he selected was overflowing and the masterful broadcaster artfully used excellent timing and inflection to capture King-sized laughs. Therefore, it wasn’t shocking that when King left CNN, he took his storytelling act on the road. Obviously, he recounted the “Gil Moppo” narrative (“Go home Moppo – you’re dead”) innumerable times, yet King made each delivery fresh. Two other King Classics haven’t been as widely-told on the air, but are exceptionally noteworthy. In just his early-20s, King had moved to Miami and one Sunday morning, he decided to drive to Palm Beach. The gorgeous surroundings, however, so distracted him that he banged into the convertible in front of him. Fortunately, it was an ultra, slow-speed accident, so there was little to no damage. The driver of the car that was hit emerged befuddled from his vehicle to query the shaken King as to how he could have possibly gotten into an accident with literally no other traffic anywhere in sight. Thinking fast, King promised that he would vote for that person who happened to be then-Massachusetts Senator and presidential candidate … John F. Kennedy. Whether or not it is apocryphal, the other favorite King story indisputably serves as the platinum-standard for any high-hormone individual who has ever answered a radio station’s request line at night. The shared thread with the previous story is that it allegedly happened in King’s nascent radio days in Miami. In a non-broadcast setting, King marvelously sets the stage by using numerous embellishments but, in short, a husky-voiced female caller invited him to share what would be an immediate, amorous rendezvous. Once again displaying a sharp mind, King announced to his radio listeners that they were in for a special treat, as he would play a complete side of an album. Doing that, he surmised, would allow sufficient time to have his tryst and return to the station without anyone being the wiser. The manner in which King recounted the story indicated the woman’s physical attributes did not disappoint his expectations. Able to kill two birds with one proverbial stone, he monitored the station and took advantage of the mood music he had programmed. What he didn’t anticipate though was the needle getting stuck, prompting him to hastily curtail his escapade and race back to the station. On a July 2009 “Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien” appearance, King revealed that he wished to be cryogenically-preserved at death, a la Boston Red Sox hall of famer Ted Williams. Per King’s Twitter account posting, funeral arrangements and a memorial service will be announced later in coordination with the family. “Cucamonga, California – Hello.”

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

| January 6, 2021

Radio Programming Legend Tom Bigby Dies at 77. The programming mind that helped build some of the most successful radio stations in modern history has died at the age of 77 after several years of heart issues. Tom Bigby programmed a number of stations with heritage calls – WIFI, WNEW, KOST, and WXYT – but he’s best known for being the PD behind Philadelphia sports talker WIP. In noting his passing, a piece on the WIP website says, “Known for his at times contentious relationship with talent and his radio-ready voice, Bigby is the most well-known, well-respected, and most iconic PD in the history of WIP. His legacy will include many things, but from a WIP perspective, his belief that the Eagles were the biggest thing in town, and that the fans should be heard will be two of the most lasting for WIP. His ‘two-minute rule’ and ‘once during the week, and once on the weekends rule’ for callers will not be far behind.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison says, “Tom was a program director in the true sense of the title as it existed in radio’s most recent golden age. He understood just about every aspect of radio and applied that knowledge and experience to the well-balanced intersection of programming, sales, promotion, and technology that marked the great stations of that era and inspired them to value their air product above all else. He was also a quirky friend, formidable negotiator, and larger-than-life individual the likes of which make him a true industry legend.” At WIP, Bigby worked with Philadelphia talent that included Howard Eskin, Rhea Hughes, Angelo Cataldi, Glen Macnow, Tony Bruno, Jody MacDonald, and Mike Missanelli, to name a few. A number of these posted their thoughts about working for Tom Bigby at the WIP website. You can read them here. Bigby leaves behind his wife Phyllis, two children and four grandchildren.

Salem Media Group Unveils Podcast Platform. With the new year comes a new venture from Salem Media Group as it announces the formation of the Salem Podcast Network – what the company calls “a new entity focused on bringing conservative content to more listeners and viewers.” The network’s first podcast partner is author and documentarian Dinesh D’Souza, whose new podcast “Pardon Me!” will debut on January 11 across all podcast platforms, as well as SalemNow.com, YouTube, and Rumble. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “This is a natural extension of the Salem brand, which is already considered one of the strongest in conservative media. Salem will be producing more content with meaningful names on the conservative side, so look for more big announcements soon. The future for podcasting is unlimited, and our efforts will tightly focus on hosts who will contribute to our brand and to the message.” The company announces that WIND-AM, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” program director Marcus Brown is taking on the additional role of director of content strategy for the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Broadcast Division president David Santrella adds, “Salem’s brand of podcasting will remain consistent with what Salem is best known for — content that approaches the issues through a biblical worldview and a politically conservative lens. Podcast listeners will know that when they come to the Salem Podcast Network, they’ll find content that addresses the issues they care most about.”

WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence to Drop Andy Gresh Show. GoLocalProv.com tips us that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence and evening sports talk host Andy Gresh are unable to come to terms and Gresh will exit the station after his Friday evening program (1/8). Gresh tells the news site, “Basically, we have a business disagreement.” GoLocalProv.com reports that former Providence Journal sports reporter Kevin McNamara will host a one-hour program from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot will be filled a by a syndicated program.

WNYM, New York Adds Ben Shapiro for Afternoons. New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” announces it is adding the Westwood One syndicated “Ben Shapiro Show” to its daily lineup. Salem Media Group says the program will air at 5:00 pm (except on Wednesdays when it airs at 9:00 pm). Shapiro’s podcast will air evenings at 9:00 pm. To make room, the station moves the Kevin McCullough program to a 7:00 pm start. Additionally, WNYM is adding “Real Estate Today,” the official radio program of the National Association of Realtors hosted by Stephen Gasque, to its program schedule. It will follow “Eye on Real Estate” hosted by New York City real estate expert Dottie Herman. Salem Media Group vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “We’re always looking for ways to make our lineup stronger, and these changes will do just that. Shapiro is a rising young superstar on talk radio. The real estate show will give our listeners great information and content. Kevin McCullough will continue to do the great show we know and love.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former WJFK-FM, Washington afternoon drive host Chad Dukes teases a new sports talk program that’s set to debut on Monday (1/11). Dukes was fired by Entercom in October for what the company called “racist comments” on the “Big O and Dukes” podcast. The new program appears to be a digital streaming venture. His website says of the new program, “The Chad Dukes Show is going to be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re a looking for a radio show from Chad Dukes. Discussion of movies, video games, food, booze, music, football, fighting and copious amounts of ball busting. You want politics? You want COVID discussion? You want middle relief pitching analysis? Look somewhere else.”…..WOBT-AM/W267AF, Rhinelander, Wisconsin flips from country to sports talk. The NRG Media station is airing the complete weekday lineup from iHeartMedia’s sports WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “The Game” – Steve Czaban, John Kuhn & Brian Butch, The Crossover, Drew & K.B. – as well as FOX Sports Radio content in evenings and on weekends…..iHeartMedia Cleveland is launching two initiatives that it believes will improve the bottom lines of local businesses in 2021. All this month, local Cleveland area small businesses are encouraged to register online for the opportunity to be featured in a $25,000 iHeartMedia marketing plan. iHeartMedia Cleveland president Keith Hotchkiss says, “Last year was brutal for small businesses in our community. We believe the significant reach of our media assets, combined with this meaningful marketing campaign, will be the difference maker for a local company here in Cleveland. There are 36% fewer local businesses operating in the area than this time last year, according to Crain’s Cleveland.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of on-air pro Connie Kellie of the “Connie & Fish Morning Show” on Townsquare Media’s hot AC WLHT, Grand Rapids “Mix 95.7.” Kellie died on January 4 after a brief battle with liver cancer. Her radio partner Fish Calloway says, “Over 25 years ago, this incredible, smart and strong woman allowed me the opportunity to be a part of her radio career. Our journey will not only be with those who were touched by her immense talent but engraved in my heart. Thank you, Connie, for this adventure. I look forward to the day we meet again.”

MIW Group Announces Applications Now Being Accepted for ‘Mildred Carter Mentoring Program.’ The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group announces that the application window for the 2021 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is open. MIW says its heritage annual mentoring initiative “connects mentees with accomplished women recognized as leaders, mentors, and game-changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting.” The program is being sponsored by vCreative for the second consecutive year. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines will be selected for the 2021 program. The deadline to apply is January 29. See mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply here.

Georgia Runoff Elections, Electoral Vote Count/DC Protests, Trump GA Secretary of State Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Jacob Blake Case, and China Blocks WHO Scientists Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). Tuesday’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; today’s Electoral College vote count in the Senate and the protests taking place in Washington, DC; the aftermath of Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking a reversal of his loss in that state; the spiking number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of the vaccines; prosecutors in Wisconsin reveal no charges will be filed against officer in shooting of Jacob Blake; and China blocks two WHO scientists investigating the origin of the coronavirus from entering the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday Memo: Who Will Replace Rush?

| January 4, 2021

By Holland Cooke
Consultant

 

BLOCK ISLAND, RI — It’s talk radio FAQ #1. GMs – excuse me, “market managers,” overseeing more-stations-than-they-have-time-to-hear – are anxious, now forced to pay attention to 15 hours a week they’ve had on autopilot for decades.

Short answer: Nobody can

Thousands of our talk radio brothers and sisters will always owe him for leading the format that extended AM radio’s useful life. On my TV show I reminded Michael Harrison of a prediction he made at the TALKERS New York conference 20 years ago, that talk will eventually save FM, where music formats are now largely robotic and under assault from streaming and satellite competitors that users love. Many pay to subscribe.

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Friday, December 18, 2020

| December 18, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

| December 15, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

| November 24, 2020

Takeaways from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the first round of Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey that included the markets New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Some observations of note from this group of markets: iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York enters the top 10 in NYC (#9) on the strength of its weekly, 6+ AQH share of 3.6; Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas rockets up to #4 after posting a 1.6 share jump to a 4.9 share; and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (11.5 share) maintains its hold on the #1 position for the 17th straight PPM survey. Check out Mike Kinosian’s complete ratings takeaways from this round of markets that look at the news/talk, all-news, sports talk, and public radio news/talk formats here.

WLS-AM, Chicago Officially Names Bruce St. James Morning Host. The story of talk radio pro Bruce St. James being named the new morning drive host at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago was broken last week by Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Now, the company officially announces that St. James will take over for Erich “Mancow” Muller on December 14. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “WLS 890 AM has served our Chicagoland audiences for 96 years. From John Landecker to Roe Conn to Mancow, every host has left his mark on the Big ’89 and none more so than Rush Limbaugh. In 2021, we will bring the focus back to those who matter most – our listeners. Bruce St. James is here to have a conversation with our listeners, not a lecture. He is not here to change formats. He is here to continue what 890 already does best – inform and entertain our listeners. We are thrilled to welcome Bruce to mornings on the New ’89. Bruce knows radio. And, now Chicago will know Bruce.” St. James comments, “‘Thrilled’ doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. It is an honor and privilege to host a show on the legendary WLS, and I accept the responsibility of living up to the standard set by those before me. Now, more than ever, people need to connect, as well as be informed in an entertaining way. That is our goal every morning and I look forward to getting to know the amazing city of Chicago. Now, about the weather…” St. James has worked almost exclusively in the Southwest, most recently as co-host of the late morning program on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix.

TALKERS News Notes. Today and tomorrow (11/24-25), sports media personality Jason Whitlock – who writes for Outkick.com – is filling in for Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck on his nationally syndicated late morning talk radio show…..Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman has been named to the 40 Under 40 list for 2020 by the Sacramento Business Journal. As part of the feature, the SBJ asked Kauffmann what in the industry she sees changing as a result of COVID-19. She says, “COVID-19 is accelerating rising trends of increased in-home listening via smart speakers and streaming that we were seeing pre-pandemic. I believe that will continue to increase, as more companies lean into a remote workforce and time-shifted scheduling.”…..AdLarge Media’s podcast network cabana adds three AccuWeather podcasts to its library. Joining cabana’s offerings are: “Everything Under The Sun,” “Weather Insider” with Bernie Rayno, and “This Date in Weather Industry” with AccuWeather senior meteorologist Evan Myers…..iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated “Armstrong & Getty Show” – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announces it raised approximately $1.2 million for the Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station through the show’s annual “Warrior Foundation Freedom Station Give-A-Thon.” The Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station is a 501(c)3 volunteer-based organization that helps wounded vets recover both physically and mentally from service injuries. The funds raised will be used to purchase plane tickets for injured warriors so they can spend the holidays at home and with their families…..Streaming audio and on-demand service TuneIn announces that Richard Stern is named the new chief executive officer. He joins TuneIn from his most recent position as chief product officer for Audible. At the same time, the company announces that a new investment in the company led by Innovation Endeavors will serve to fund the acceleration of TuneIn’s technology innovation and market share as “one of the most widely used streaming audio platforms in the world with an unparalleled offering that brings together live sports, news, music, podcasts and radio.” Stern says, “Over 75 million listeners have come to depend on TuneIn to stay connected and informed in our fast-moving world. It’s my privilege to lead the TuneIn team on our mission to reinvent radio as a digital medium and continue to drive the live audio streaming revolution well into the future.”…..SportsGrid Radio and SiriusXM announce a deal to launch the SportsGrid Radio Channel on SiriusXM, effective January 7, 2021. SportsGrid Radio is replacing the VSiN channel, which will air on SiriusXM until December 31. SportsGrid Radio will feature the team of on-air personalities including Scott Ferrall, Gabe Morency, Ariel Epstein, and Jared Smith along with expert contributors and guest analysts.

RAB and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to Host Presentation Focusing on Client Spot Loads. The RAB announces that as part of its Business Unusual initiative, its upcoming Open for Business live-video series episode is titled, “How Many Spots Should a Client Run in a Weekly Schedule?” The presentation features findings and takeaways from a joint spot load study conducted by the RAB and CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One. The presentation will unveil the survey results and provide sellers with a framework of guidelines to help them determine weekly spot schedules that are best suited to meet advertising clients’ campaign goals. It takes place on December 10 at 1:00 pm ET and features Cumulus Media | Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard and Cumulus Media | Westwood One director, content marketing Lauren Vetrano. The presentation is free for RAB members.

Transition Process Approved/Trump Doesn’t Concede, Biden Administration Appointments, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Holiday Travel, Israel-Saudi Arabia Relations, China’s Moon Shot, and David Dinkins Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/23). The General Services Administration begins the transition process while Donald Trump announces he’s continuing to challenge the election results; Joe Biden announces members of his administration, including John Kerry to the National Security Council; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, predictions for future cases, and warnings about traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend; the reports that Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman held a private meeting; China announces it is sending a rocket to the moon to collect samples; and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins 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. The annual Mayflower Marathon to benefit the Springfield Open Pantry is going virtual this year due to COVID-19. The charity event produced by Saga Communications’ WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts “Rock 102” usually features market morning legends “Bax & O’Brien” – Mike Baxendale and John O’Brien – camped out in the parking lot of the Basketball Hall of Fame for three days straight collecting food stuffs and cash. Bax tells TALKERS magazine, “Because of COVID we had to be creative and avoid violating curfews and protocols. Rather than have listeners donate non-perishables at the Hall of Fame, we are doing a 52-hour long fundraiser.  We’re encouraging listeners to donate online and over the phone for Open Pantry instead, and so far, so good. In fact, we’re actually ahead of last year, which had been our best year to date.”…..In Philadelphia, Beasley Media Group’s rock WMMR-FM morning show hosts Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison held their annual “Preston & Steve Camp Out For Hunger” event that raised over 2.5 million pounds of food and $1.4 million dollars in cash to benefit Philabundance, which offers hunger relief to needy individuals and families in the greater Philadelphia area…..iHeartMedia Boston’s country WBWL “101.7 The Bull” and WBTS-TV, “NBC10 Boston” raised more than $38,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during last Saturday evening’s “One Night Only” broadcast special. The show was broadcast on NBC10 and hosted by “101.7 The Bull” personalities Colton Bradford, Amanda Jo, and Jess. It featured performances by country artists Kane Brown, Old Dominion, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Maren Morris, Lauren Alaina, and Jimmie Allen…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX-FM, Detroit is presenting the “6th Annual People Helping People” campaign to assist families in Metro Detroit who are facing challenges during the holidays. Now through December 11, listeners are nominating families in need on the air and at WCSX.com. The “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” is sharing requests they receive on behalf of needy families and is connecting them with the appropriate business donors…..WUNC Music – the music discovery streaming radio station produced by WUNC-FM in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina adds two new hosts to its schedule. Alan Thompson, a.k.a. DJ Who4thecru, comes to the station from WNCU in Durham where he hosts the “Morning Jazz” show. Susan Castle joins the WUNC Music team to host the 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm show. She is the long-time morning host at KUTX, Austin.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

| November 11, 2020

LA Times: Post White House Talk Show Career for Trump? The Los Angeles Times published an article today (11/11) by entertainment/arts/media writer Stephen Battaglio speculating on industry chatter about the possibility of President Trump launching a talk media career after leaving the White House that would involve either starting his own television network or joining an existing operation such as FOX News Channel or Newsmax TV as the host of his own program. The article also touches upon Trump’s option of doing a daily talk show on radio – perhaps even replacing Rush Limbaugh if and when the superstar is forced to leave the airwaves due to his battle with lung cancer. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states in the article he does not think that would be a likely prospect. “With all due respect for the president, he cannot hold a candle to Rush when it comes to the demands and expectations of doing a high-profile, daily three-hour talk show, which requires hours of prep per day, an original take on the issues and the ability to connect the complex dots of presenting a thesis and then setting about supporting it in a cogent manner,” Harrison said. “Trump is a showman, but what Rush listeners expect is a much more sophisticated and nuanced approach to creating a meaningful listening experience than what it takes to hold court and mug over a campaign rally before thousands of adoring followers.” To read the entire article, please click here.

Beasley Media Group Enters into Distribution Deal with RADIO.COM. A deal between Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform and Beasley Media Group puts live-stream channels for each of Beasley’s 64 stations across 15 markets on RADIO.COM, along with all of its premium on-demand audio and podcasts. Entercom VP of business development Corey Podolsky says, “We’re delighted to bring Beasley Media Group aboard the RADIO.COM platform and its incredible stations across news, entertainment, music and sports. This partnership will give Beasley’s 20 million weekly listeners a new destination to consume their favorite audio content, while providing our existing consumers more options to satisfy their listening habits.” Beasley chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Beasley is proud to partner with our friends at Entercom and RADIO.COM. Listeners are consuming our content in more places than ever and we are excited to expand the distribution for our amazing brands on this first-class audio platform.”

WABC, New York ‘Ties a Yellow Ribbon’ in Honor of Veterans Day. Pictured above are singer Tony Orlando (left) and Red Apple Media owner John Catsimatidis (right) along with U.S. Marines tying a yellow ribbon on a tree outside the WABC, New York studios as a symbol of support for veterans and the military. Orlando, who recorded the 1973 hit “Tie A Yellow Ribbon ‘Round the Ole Oak Tree,” recently joined 77 WABC as part of its Saturday night music lineup, hosting a two-hour show that airs at 10:00 pm. All day today (11/11), TALKRADIO 77 WABC is saluting the brave men and women who served in the military with special Veterans Day programming that includes interviews with America’s heroes and their families. The station has been promoting its Veterans Day programming on the air and social media for several days, and distributed hundreds of TALKRADIO 77 WABC Yellow Ribbons to listeners who want to show their support.

TALKERS News Notes. After the cancellation of the “America’s Trucking Network” program hosted by Steve Sommers, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WLW, Cincinnati has filled the overnight slot with a talk program hosted by Dan Carroll. The ouster of Sommers is part of an ongoing reduction in force of employees at iHeartMedia that, according to a tally by radio trade AllAccess, has put almost 80 on-air and programming staffers in the unemployment line. It’s unclear how many behind-the-scenes employees have been affected…..Former ESPN Radio morning drive personality Mike Golic is the host of a newly created college sports trivia program produced by Learfield IMG College and Sidearm Sports called “The Fan Exam.” As reported by NJ.com, the free online program will air Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8:00 pm ET on some 150 college athletics websites. Golic is quoted saying, “This sounds like fun. I’ve enjoyed calling the college [football] games. This opportunity came up and it reminded me of the ‘HQ Trivia’ game that was out for a while that I played all the time. So, this will be a lot of fun… Who doesn’t love to try to answer trivia questions? The beauty about this is you’re never eliminated through all the shows that we’re going to have. You can win for that week, there’s a cumulative score for the entire year. So even if you miss questions, it doesn’t matter. You still get to answer all twelve [questions]. Your score is logged — and you can win a bunch of different ways. It’s cool. You’re never out of it.”

Trump Refuses to Accept Election Results, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccine Quest, Trump Purges Pentagon, Georgia Runoff Elections, SCOTUS Hears Obamacare Arguments, and Tropical Storm Eta to Hit Florida Again Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/10). The challenges to the election results being put up by Donald Trump; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for winter cases; the race to produce an effective COVID vaccine and Pfizer’s statement its vaccine is 90% effective; President Trump fires numerous civilian Pentagon officials and installs loyalists in the posts; the January runoff elections in Georgia that will determine control of the U.S. Senate; the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments in the Obamacare case; and Tropical Storm Eta on course to hit Florida again 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. In honor of Veterans Day, Cumulus Media’s classic rock KCFX-FM, Kansas “101 The Fox,” along with Price Chopper and Cars4Heroes, are giving 11 cars to 11 veterans. A special ceremony takes place at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City and legendary Chiefs player Deron Cherry will present the car keys to these 11 local heroes. Cherry will be accompanied by many other Chiefs legends to personally thank the veterans for their service and for protecting our freedom. For 26 years, Cars4Heroes has been helping people in the Kansas City area. Terry Franz, who is affectionately referred to as “Car Santa,” is the founder and president of Cars4Heroes. He says, “If somebody is down and out you can go hand them some cash and fix everything for today, but the money goes away. When we give someone a car, it is a tool that changes their life! We are proud to salute and honor these veterans here today.”…..iHeartMedia Boston’s country WBWL “101.7 The Bull,” in partnership with WBTS-TV “NBC10” presents “One Night Only,” a night of live music to benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital on Saturday, November 21 at 7:00 pm ET on NBC10 Boston and live on “101.7 The Bull.” Artists performing will include: Kane Brown, Old Dominion, Maren Morris, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Brett Eldredge, Jimmie Allen, Lauren Alaina, and special guest host Chrissy Metz of NBC’s “This Is Us.”…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WMGK-FM, in conjunction with City Team Philadelphia, is presenting the 19th Annual John DeBella Turkey Drop on Tuesday, November 24 at The Kimmel Center in Philadelphia. Morning personality John DeBella will broadcast live from 6:00 am to 9:00 am and will accept monetary as well as turkey donations onsite. The John DeBella Turkey Drop is the largest, single day food gathering event in the City of Philadelphia. Last year’s collection raised over 11,000 turkeys.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

| November 10, 2020

iHeartMedia Third Quarter Revenue Down 22%. The earnings report from iHeartMedia for the third quarter of 2020 shows the media company in a slightly better situation than some of its similar-sized competitors as revenue was $744 million, a decrease of 22% over the same period in 2019. (Cumulus Media and Entercom were both down 30% and Beasley was down 25%.) iHeartMedia says that its third quarter revenue was up “53% sequentially, moving from down 47% [year-over-year] in Q2 to down 22% [year-over-year] in Q3. The company adds that October revenue increased 2%, benefitting from significant political advertising and digital revenue increased 17% [year-over-year]. Breaking the report down by segment, broadcast revenue declined 29% from $573 million in Q3 2019 to $404 million this year but increased 66% quarter-over-quarter. Networks revenue declined 26% from $160 million to $119 million but increased 24% quarter-over-quarter. Digital revenue increased 17%, from $97 million to $113 million, led by a 74% increase in podcasting revenue. iHeartMedia posted a loss of $32 million in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the net income of $12 million in Q3 of 2019.

iHM’s Pittman: Podcasting Already Profitable for Us. During yesterday’s investors conference call, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman explained the success of its podcasting segment. He said, “Podcasting continues to be our strongest performing business line, reflecting the fact that we built iHeart into the number one commercial podcast publisher in America, with 252 million downloads a month as of September, which is up 71% year-over-year. In Q3, as measured by Podtrac, we were number one in downloads each month. Our audience continues to be more than twice the size of the next largest commercial podcaster. And we extend that our lead over all other ranked podcasters. Let me share with you our model. We partner with the best content creators in the world – some of whom are our very own radio talent – distribute their content to the largest audience possible without a paywall, and use the unparalleled scale of our broadcast radio business as a built-in marketing machine to drive engagement with our podcast shows. We feel this is an important part of our secret sauce. It’s how we continue to build hit podcast after hit podcast, and how we continue to grow our leadership position. According to Podtrac’s latest data, not only are we number one overall, but we currently have the most shows featured across all categories, and we have ranked shows featured in all 19 possible categories, the most among all publishers. Let me be clear, podcasting is already a profitable business for us, and has an EBITDA margin that is higher than the overall company margin. Our podcast business is advertiser supported, it’s not subscription based, and it’s not behind a paywall, which enables our creators to share their passion with the widest audience possible, as we distribute their podcast not only on the iHeartRadio app, but across as many other distribution platforms as possible.”

Entercom Closes on $32 Million Acquisition of QL Gaming Group. According to a press release, Entercom Communications’ acquisition of sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group will give Entercom “unrivaled data, analytics, and insight-driven content to Entercom’s best-in-class sports broadcast stations, influential podcasts, and RADIO.COM.” The QLGG technology portfolio includes sports betting data and analytical capabilities (BetQL), daily fantasy sports (RotoQL), simulation-based sports outcome predictions and game forecasting (AccuScore), and comprehensive analytical coverage of the ATP and WTA Tours (TennisInsight.com), each with respective subscriber base and licensing opportunities. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “As the sports betting marketplace continues to grow exponentially, the acquisition of QL Gaming Group is a perfect fit for our unrivaled sports audio platform. Integrating QL’s analytics and content with our sports brands enables us to deliver unparalleled experiences for sports fans. The acquisition builds on our track record of digital growth and further enhances our direct-to-consumer technology portfolio with data and analytics capabilities, while also adding an innovative new subscription offering to our platform.” Justin Park, QLGG co-founder and CEO, will continue to lead the business reporting to Entercom president of sports Mike Dee and Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley. Entercom adds that in 2021, under the company’s first full year of ownership, QL Gaming Group is expected to generate approximately $12 million in revenue with an EBITDA margin in the high 20s.

Flag Family Media Partners with Forum Communications to Operate WDAY-AM, Fargo. A deal between Flag Family Media and Forum Communications will give the former “an extensive role in WDAY-AM’s day-to-day operations and provides an eventual path to ownership.” Flag Family Media owns news/talk outlets WZFG, Fargo “AM 1100 The Flag” KTGO, Tioga, North Dakota “AM 1090 The Flag.” Both of Flag Family Media’s principals – Steve Hallstrom and Scott Hennen – have worked at WDAY-AM in the past. Forum president and CEO Bill Marcil, Jr says, “This partnership allows us to focus our attention on our in-depth TV, digital, and print news operations while still sustaining a strong local radio presence in the region. We know Flag Family Media will honor the legacy of WDAY-AM and are looking forward to seeing how they transform our region’s radio experience.” Scott Hennen adds, “This is an extremely significant day for our company, and we look forward to learning from, and working with, some great professionals at WDAY Radio. Steve and I can’t wait to roll up our sleeves and bring some energy and creativity to this legendary radio station.”

WOR, New York’s Michael Riedel Publishes New Broadway Book. WOR, New York morning drive co-host Michael Riedel has released his second book, Singular Sensation: The Triumph of Broadway (Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 2020), that chronicles “a transformative decade on Broadway, featuring gripping behind-the-scenes accounts of shows such as Rent, Angels in America, Chicago, The Lion King, and The Producers. In this book, Riedel presents the drama behind every mega-hit or shocking flop, bringing readers into high-stakes premieres, fraught rehearsals, tough contract negotiations, intense Tony Award battles, and more. From the bitter feuds to the surprising collaborations, all the intrigue of a revolutionary era in the Theater District is packed into Singular Sensation. Broadway has triumphs and disasters, but the show always goes on. Riedel, who co-hosts the WOR morning show with Len Berman, says, “I’m a newspaper guy who’s become a radio guy. It’s been my great pleasure to host the morning show with Len Berman on WOR for nearly three years. Len spent his life in sports. I spent mine on Broadway. We certainly talk a lot about politics and current events, but variety is the spice of life, so sports and Broadway are always in the mix. Broadway’s going through a tough time right now, but my book, recounts a better time – the 1990s. I have no doubt that Broadway will be back one day, and Len and I will be there to cheer it on.”

TALKERS News Notes. As eyes and ears shift to Georgia for the January 5 runoff elections to decide that state’s two U.S. Senate races, Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher’s syndicated late morning talk show will “parachute into Georgia in December” as he launches a “Save The Senate” initiative. Gallagher will use Salem’s WGKA-AM, Atlanta “AM920 The ANSWER” as his December base to follow what promises to be the most expensive runoff election in U.S. history. Gallagher says, “This pair of runoff elections in Georgia will be enormously consequential for America. I’m eager to originate my show from the studios of ‘AM 920 The ANSWER’ in Atlanta for a number of days in December, highlighting the dramatic differences between the Republicans and the Democrats in the race. It is all-hands-on-deck for Georgia!”…..The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Cincinnati Public Radio’s WVXU-FM had to shut down its operations after a staffer tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the station is without much local content until further notice. It posted to its website: “Our programming is being provided through a national feed with limited local information. We apologize for this inconvenience and are doing everything possible to maintain the service you expect. We will return to normal operations as quickly as it is safe to do so.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting the 2020 Masters Tournament with exclusive hole-by-hole coverage beginning Thursday (11/12) through Sunday (11/15). The 84th Masters Tournament from Augusta National Golf Club is being played in November for the first time…..San Francisco public news/talk personality Michael Krasny is retiring from his position with KQED-FM where he’s been host of the late morning “Forum” program for almost 30 years. His last program will be on February 15, 2021. He says, “I want to thank all of the listeners, guests and exceptional colleagues I’ve had the great fortune to encounter over the years as host of Forum. I’ve been unusually fortunate to sustain such a long career serving the Bay Area in a role that allows me to participate in such rich and thoughtful conversations about the topics of our times.”

Biden Transition Process/Trump Refuses to Concede, Barr Orders ‘Irregularities’ Investigations, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Pfizer Vaccine, SCOTUS Obamacare Case, Trump Fires Esper, and Georgia Runoff Elections Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/9). President-Elect Joe Biden proceeds with the transition process while President Trump refuses to concede the election; Attorney General Bill Barr orders Justice Department election crimes office to investigate voter “irregularities”; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and in Europe and projections for fall and winter cases; Pfizer announces its COVID vaccine is 90% effective; the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments on the Affordable Care Act; President Trump fires Defense Secretary Mark Esper and appoints Christopher Miller acting secretary; and the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats 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. Country radio on-air pro Brooke Taylor is named midday host at iHeartMedia’s WSIX-FM, Nashville “The BIG 98.” Taylor was most recently with the company’s Chicago country station “BIG 95.5” until that station’s recent flip to a rock format. Taylor will continue to host the night show for iHeartMedia Denver’s “107.7 The Bull” and broadcast on several iHeartCountry stations across the country. She says, “When I set out to work in country music, one of the first things I prayed for was to be in Nashville one day, and the fact that this is becoming a reality is honestly a dream come true. I can’t wait to join an already incredible team at ‘The BIG 98’ and to represent the iHeartCountry brand.”…..Alpha Media Lincoln names Joe Dobbins, a.k.a. JDub, content director for CHR KFRX. JDub comes to Lincoln from Alpha’s CHR WDJX, Louisville where he was content director and afternoon show host. Alpha Media Lincoln operations manager Rob Kelley comments, “Joe is an outstanding programmer with outstanding vision. He is the perfect leader for our staff and for the brand of a great heritage CHR like KFRX.”…..iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated “The Breakfast Club” announces that its fourth annual #Change4Change broadcast will feature a day of giving to help listeners in need. Traditionally a radiothon, this year’s event will grant wishes to listeners experiencing hardship. #Change4Change will broadcast on Thursday, November 19, 2020 on hip hop WWPR, New York “Power 105.1” and across more than 77 affiliates of “The Breakfast Club.”…..WXKB, Fort Myers “B103.9FM” morning personality and Army veteran Jason “Big Mama” Jones, in conjunction with ABC 7, raising awareness and support for Home Base Southwest Florida Veteran and Family Care on Veterans Day (11/11). Jones also hosts Beasley Media Group’s “Bravery Network,” a weekend program dedicated to shining a light on important issues and services available for veterans and their families. He says, “I am very excited about this partnership. Being able to use the power of radio and television to help raise awareness and money for the veterans of Southwest Florida. I am planning some ‘star’-studded guest for the day that will not only make show informative but very entertaining as well.”…..The CHR evening show “Party LiveLine!” partners with Sun Broadcast Group effective immediately. The program was created by John Garabedian and his hosted by Mason Kelter. SBG chief development officer Rich O’Brien says, “Broadcasters are worried about the loss of TSL among 18-34-year-olds, who spend extraordinary amounts of time with streaming services on their mobile devices. Add to this the negative effects which RIFs and voicetracking have had on the ratings of Top 40 stations, and until now there were no good alternatives. That’s why we are so excited to be offering this breakthrough Top 40 night show which is 100% live and interactive.”

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

| October 20, 2020

Rush Limbaugh Updates Listeners on Cancer Battle; ‘Under a Death Sentence.’ Talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh gave listeners an update on his battle with cancer at the outset of his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated program on Monday (10/19) and said that after a long period of keeping the cancer from spreading via treatment, recent tests show “some progression of cancer.” He told listeners, “I hate the way I feel every day. It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over. Now, we all are, is the point. We all know that we’re going to die at some point, but when you have a terminal disease diagnosis that has a time frame to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it.” But he went on to say that he still looks forward to going on the air every day. “I feel very blessed to be here speaking with you today. Some days are harder than others. I do get fatigued now. I do get very, very tired now. I’m not gonna mislead you about that. But I am extremely grateful to be able to come here to the studio and to maintain as much normalcy as possible – and it’s still true.” You know, I wake up every day and thank God that I did. I go to bed every night praying I’m gonna wake up.” Limbaugh first announced he’d been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer on February 3.

Industry Shocked by Savage’s Criticism of Limbaugh Cancer Update. Numerous talk radio industry pros – from executives to staffers working “in the trenches” – have told TALKERS magazine today that they are “disgusted” by Michael Savage’s Twitter post in the aftermath of Rush Limbaugh’s on-air update about the progression of his Stage 4 lung cancer and how he’s handling his terminal diagnosis. The tweet came yesterday immediately after Limbaugh’s first segment and read: “Limbaugh’s crying about his cancer on air! Worst 15 minutes in radio history! Spilled a large coffee all over counter and floor. I PROMISE MY AUDIENCE THIS – I WILL NOT DRAG YOU DOWN WITH ME! Best wishes RUSH, but stop and leave the stage with dignity.”  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison even threw his two cents into the discussion stating, “Savage got it all wrong.  Rush tapped the deepest level of the ties that bind talk show hosts to their listeners – the sharing of personal life experiences and feelings – yes, feelings. What Rush bravely did in sharing his first-hand perspective on his circumstances was a gift to his listeners and to the rest of us in radio.  It’s what makes our business a true community and elevates our place as a public forum to an enormously special level in a world awash in superficiality and hype.  Rush shared his heart with us.”

New Deal with CBS Sports for ‘Boomer & Gio.’ A new, multiyear extension is inked between Entercom and CBS Sports to continue simulcasting WFAN-AM/FM, New York’s “Boomer & Gio” morning drive show on the CBS Sports Network. The show co-hosted by Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti airs live from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Boomer and Gio have become a must-listen for New York sports fans to start their day with their unique perspectives, humor and a bit of the unexpected sprinkled in. WFAN is happy to extend our long partnership with CBS Sports Network to let fans nationwide take a peek into their world and join in on the fun each morning.” CBS Sports Network available through all major cable, satellite and telco distributors as well as via OTT streaming service providers YouTube TV, fuboTV, DirecTV and Hulu. Additionally, a live CBS Sports Network stream is available through CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App by authenticating with select providers.

The Presidential Race/Voting Begins, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, the Economy/Stimulus Talks, Hunter Biden Laptop Case, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ Limbaugh Cancer Update, Russian Cyberattack Charges, and Jeffrey Toobin Zoom Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The November presidential election, the final debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden as well as the early and mail-in voting procedures; the rise in COVID-19 cases across most of the U.S. and Europe and projections for a fall/winter second wave; the state of the U.S. economy and negotiations in congress over a new stimulus package; chatter about the legitimacy of the Hunter Biden laptop matter; complaints by conservative media figures about “censorship” of posts that have locked their accounts; Rush Limbaugh delivers somber update on his battle with cancer; six Russian military officers are charged with cyberattacks by the U.S.’ and New Yorker writer and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is suspended after exposing himself during a Zoom meeting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story by Neil Best at Newsday, Entercom’s WFAN, New York “The Fan” will – “barring a contractual glitch” – hire former morning drive star Craig Carton within the next few weeks and put him in the afternoon drive slot by January, if not sooner. The New York and Philadelphia media have been watching the sports talk radio scene intensely since Carton was let out of prison early after his fraud conviction in 2018. Most reports have cited sources indicating Carton will be with WFAN before long, but Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in Philadelphia has reportedly been courting Carton…..Salem Radio Network is presenting coverage of this Thursday’s final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, moderated by Kristen Welker of MSNBC. SRN’s coverage begins at 8:06 pm ET with a special “SRN Debate Preview” hosted by nationally syndicated SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt with special guests including HotAir.com’s Ed Morrissey and an update from SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston, who is credentialed and will report from the debate venue at the Belmont University campus in Nashville. Hewitt will also host a 60-minute “Debate Wrap-Up” show immediately following the 90-minute debate…..The Radio Advertising Bureau approved a new slate of officers at its recent Fall Board of Directors meeting. Neuhoff Media chief operating officer Mike Hulvey is the new board chair; Bill Hendrich, EVP, Cox Media Group is vice chair; Jeff Warshaw, CEO, Connoisseur Media, LLC joins as finance chair; Sabina Widmann, VP, general manager/director of sales, Univision Radio is secretary; and Susan Larkin, COO, Entercom Communications is immediate past chair. Hulvey says, “It’s an honor to serve the RAB and radio industry in this capacity. Radio is building a great success story not only of recovery, but revival. Thanks in part to the hard work of the RAB team, radio will accelerate from a new normal to a new better.”

Independent Broadcasters Association Commissions Financial Report. The newly formed Independent Broadcasters Association announces it is partnering with media specialty accounting firm dk east associates to conduct a financial analysis of independent broadcaster operations. Stations can be participants in the financial report at no charge, but they must be members of the IBA by October 31. The IBA says the financial report is the first independent-only analysis of its type. IBA founder and executive director Ron Stone says, “Finally, there will be intelligence that independent broadcasters can use to properly measure performance. We see a lot of information about the industry, but typically it only speaks to larger public companies and it is difficult to use it in a meaningful way for local operations. The IBA was formed to bring shared resources like this to independent broadcasters, along with revenue-generation and cost-saving opportunities.” The completed report will allow participating IBA members to compare and contrast their operations to others of similar size. It also will provide data against 2019 by quarter to allow members to gauge their own performance against similar operations during the COVID-19 crisis. Headcount figures will reflect changes from 2019 to reveal how independent operators are weathering the storm from a human resource perspective. In addition, intelligence on Q4 and 2021 will be gathered to determine how independents are feeling about the immediate future.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Laura G is promoted to program director at Cumulus Media’s country WSJR-FM “NASH 93.7.” She’s been serving as midday personality and will continue in that role. Cumulus Scranton/Wilkes-Barre vice president and market manager Chris Kenney says, “Laura has shown strong leadership and work ethic throughout her career with Cumulus and we are elated to promote her to PD of ‘NASH FM 93.7.’”…..Hubbard Radio names Kelsey Danca promotions director for hot AC WRMF, West Palm Beach. She joins the station from her most recent position as integrated marketing manager for AEG Presents in West Palm Beach.  WRMF program director Randi West comments, “Kelsey’s background in radio, events and digital made her the perfect fit for WRMF and ‘Party 96.3!’ Excited to have her on board to grow these heritage brands to all new levels.”.….Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville is offering a special broadcast to honor American veterans hosted by “American Country Countdown” host Kix Brooks. The annual two-hour holiday music special, “A Salute to Our Military Veterans with Kix Brooks,” includes friends and fellow artists Florida Georgia Line, Chris Janson, Kane Brown, Dustin Lynch, Jon Pardi, and Brantley Gilbert talking about their appreciation for the nation’s military. It’s available for stations to air beginning Saturday, November 7 through Wednesday, November 11 between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight.

Monday, October 19, 2020

| October 19, 2020

Monday Memo: Round-Off Teases. Even just-a-few more minutes, from just-a-few loyal listeners can move the ratings needle. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has a simple tip. Read it here.

The Presidential Race/Early Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Hunter Biden Laptop Case, Stimulus Deal, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ The Economy/Financial Markets Activity, and Sports During COVID Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the current early voting taking place; the rise in COVID-19 cases around the world and in the U.S., projections for fall-winter outbreaks, and the push for an effective vaccine; Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani teases more to come from Hunter Biden laptop trove; the negotiations over a new COVID stimulus package; complaints from conservative media figures about being censored by Twitter and Facebook; the state of the U.S. economy and the uncertain financial markets activity; and the functioning of U.S. pro sports leagues amidst the pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: No Such Thing As a Born Salesman. Poll a bunch of radio sales pros and you’ll probably find most agree that successful salespeople are “born salesmen.” Well, sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, says that’s not true. He says, “Professional selling is a series of learned skills.” He adds that because of that, the most successful sellers and managers are constantly working to improve their learned skills. Read his column here.

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Officially Cuts Ties with Wendy Bell. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and talk show host Wendy Bell have mutually agreed to go their separate ways. This move came Friday, about six weeks after Bell was taken off the air by management for suggesting that park rangers should shoot on sight anyone seen vandalizing a public monument. The show segment in question was posted to Bell’s Facebook page in which she states, “My easy solution for the park rangers and hopefully snipers who are going to be watching for this is to shoot on sight. Shoot, done. No more messing with monuments. You want to mess with a monument? Done, get out.” Bell posted a Facebook video on Friday in which she is heard conversing with her husband and laments “being fired for sharing conservative values.” Bell had worked for CBS’ KDKA-TV for 18 years but was fired in 2016 over comments that the station deemed racist.

Charlie Kirk Latest SRN Personality to Have Twitter Account Locked. Although his Twitter account is active now, Salem Radio Network host and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk had his account locked on Sunday (10/18) after he posted a tweet based on a report published by ProPublica stating that the state of Pennsylvania had rejected 370,000 ballots. His actual tweet stated: “Pennsylvania has just rejected 372,000 mail-in ballots. One voter was said to have submitted 11 duplicate ballots. Pennsylvania might be the key to winning the White House. What’s going on?” However, the story actually said that 370,000 ballot requests had been rejected and that one voter had rejected 11 duplicate requests. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Charlie Kirk and Sebastian Gorka are in good company since Twitter also locked President Trump’s official campaign account last week. But these attempts by Big Tech to muzzle the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions two weeks before the election are what has prompted the U.S. Senate to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey this week to explain why he apparently feels it is okay to keep vital information from the American people.”

KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Celebrates 100 Years; Adds FM Signal. Legendary news/talk outlet KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh is celebrating 100 years of service as “the authoritative news and talk voice of Pittsburgh.” In commemoration of the station’s centennial anniversary, the Entercom station will simulcast on FM for the first time ever and be heard on 100.1 FM (W261AX) as “100.1 FM and 1020 AM KDKA,” effective November 2. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “KDKA Radio is part of the radio history books not just here in Pittsburgh, but on a national level. What started back in 1920 as an opportunity to instantaneously provide news and information about the presidential election returns has blossomed into a key part of our listeners’ lives. After serving Pittsburghers on our AM dial for the last 100 years, we are thrilled to expand the reach of historic KDKA on FM. It’s an honor to be part of the team carrying the torch from those before us into the next 100 years.” On October 27, 1920, the Department of Commerce issued the first commercial radio station license under the call sign KDKA. The station launched on November 2, 1920 when Frank Conrad, an engineer at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, started 8ZZ and broadcast the results of the presidential election returns between Warren G. Harding and James Cox. The station’s yearlong centennial celebration has also included various original sound, historical soundbites and a special weekly program every Wednesday.

TALKERS News Notes. TALKERS magazine has learned that Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, has been hospitalized for almost two weeks with a severe case of spinal meningitis brought on by an infection. It required he undergo delicate heart valve surgery. After several touch-and-go days in a coma, family sources indicate that the surgery and treatment are showing signs of being successful and Rotella has turned the corner toward recovery. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “Our prayers go out to the Rotella family and all his many friends in the New Jersey broadcasting community and beyond who recognize Paul as one of the medium’s most dedicated advocates and all around wonderful human beings.  We wish him a speedy recovery.”…..WABC, New York talk radio host Curtis Sliwa is planning to run for mayor of New York City and he wants to make the pigeon the city’s official bird. Seen at left wearing his pigeon gaiter, Sliwa tells TALKERS he now has hundreds of pigeons that follow him from his apartment on the Upper West Side to WABC’s studios on the Upper East Side. “They wait for me until I finish my broadcast and leave. Then they follow me. The other hosts like Bernie and Sid are upset because dozens of birds flock to the windows and streets around the WABC studios awaiting my arrival. People think that I’ve lost it because I stop and talk to them. Hey, I’m a talk radio show host. I get paid to talk.” See a YouTube video of Sliwa talking to his followers here…..WSB-TV, Atlanta is reporting that federal agents are investigating the disappearance of financial adviser Chris Burns who vanished a day before he was expected to turn over documents related to an undisclosed Securities Exchange Commission investigation. Burns had brokered time from Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. Burns has not been charged with a crime, but one investor tells WSB-TV that she’s accepted that her money is probably gone. The piece also states Burns’ wife is cooperating with authorities…..Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles adds Starnes Media Group’s “All-American Radio with Jennifer Kerns” to air Sundays at 7:00 pm. The program is based at KWAM, Memphis…..GCN nationally syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs launched the Change.org petition to end the back-and-forth between Daylight Saving and Standard time because of the multiple health risks that have been cited in scientific literature during the “spring forward,” including car accidents, heart attacks and workplace injuries.  Pre-existing legislation has stalled in Congress but Wachs tells TALKERS that the petition has gone viral, exploding in the last few days to garner over 194,000 signatures and rising. Its goal is to alert Congress to listen to the needs of individual states and their requests to end biannual time changes…..Pictured below are (from l-r): Lou Turco, president of the Lieutenant’s Benevolent Association; Vince Vallelong of the Sargent’s Benevolent Association; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and WABC, New York; and Pat Lynch, NYPD PDA Union President. They posed for the pic after taking part in TALKRADIO 77 WABC and Ramsey Mazda’s “Back the Blue Program” on Friday (10/16) in which that station asked New Yorkers to tie a blue ribbon around trees to show their support for police officers across the New York Metro area. 77WABC has already received almost 500 requests for ribbons.

SiriusXM Closes on $325 Million Acquisition of Stitcher. Back in July Sirius XM Holdings announced that it is acquiring full-service podcast platform Stitcher for $325 million. Today (10/19), SiriusXM announced it has closed the deal. The company says that alongside Pandora, Simplecast, and AdsWizz, Stitcher strengthens its position in the fast-growing podcast arena. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “We are deepening our position in podcasting, the fastest-growing sector in digital audio, and with completion of this transaction, our vision is taking shape. With Stitcher and its varied assets, we are now a one-stop shop able to meet the needs of podcast creators, publishers and advertisers, while also providing listeners with access to great shows, series and programming.” Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn stays with the company and reports to SiriusXM president and CEO Scott Greenstein. Stitcher’s chief revenue officer Sarah van Mosel also remains with the company and reports to SiriusXM chief advertising officer John Trimble.

Three Firms Partner to Expand Pacific Northwest Ag Network. The partnership between Gen Media Partners, J.L. Farmakis, Inc., and Cherry Creek Media will endeavor to expand the Pacific Northwest Ag Network that serves radio stations across Idaho, Oregon and Washington. As part of the effort, Cherry Creek Media will expand its news and content for the network that has “developed a reputation of providing in-depth and accurate farm news and information” that “producers across Washington have come to know and trust. Now that same programing is available for quality radio stations across the Northwest.” Affiliate, national, and network advertising sales will be handled by Gen Media Partners and agricultural media rep firm J.L. Farmakis, Inc. Pacific Northwest Ag Network program director Glenn Vaagen says, “The strength of the Pacific Northwest Ag Network is our connection to the farm community; those boots on the ground. Each weekday, our team provides listeners across Washington not only the latest state and national ag news, but also the latest farm research occurring at area universities, connect them with the next generation of farmers through FFA and 4-H, and much more.  We are excited about the opportunity to expand this programing across the entire Pacific Northwest.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated program “The Jubal Show” is being added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s CHR KKMG-FM, Colorado Springs “98.9 Magic FM.” Host Jubal Fresh, a.k.a. Jubal Flagg, had previously been heard on the station while partnered with Brooke Fox for the syndicated “Brooke & Jubal” show. After Jubal’s exit from the show in late March of this year, KKMG-FM continued to air the “Brooke and Jeffrey in the Morning” show. Now, “The Jubal Show” takes over the AM drive daypart…..Saga Communications names Borna Velic program director for Milwaukee classic rock WKLH-FM. Velic is also program director for the company’s rock WHQG-FM, Milwaukee “102.9 The Hog.” At the same time, WHQG midday personality Mindy Novotny is promoted to music director and programming assistant for that station while sister CHR WNRG-FM midday host and music director Mandy Scott adds WKLH programming assistant duties…..Nashville Public Radio announces that Jewly Hight is named music director for WNXP “91.ONE” and Marquis Munson joins the soon-to-launch station as production coordinator. Hight has served with Nashville Public Radio as a reporter and as a contributor to the NPR Arts Desk and NPR Music, among others. Munson most recently served with Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game.”

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