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Friday, October 22, 2021

| October 22, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the 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 “What, Me Work?” looks back at this past week of 10/18 – 10/22. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Howard Monroe, talk show host/station owner, WVLY, Wheeling; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The 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; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

 

Armstrong & Getty Podcast Hits 100 Million Download Mark. Podcasts from the syndicated news/talk morning duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty have surpassed the 100 million mark, according to “The Armstrong & Getty Show.” They say tracking of Armstrong & Getty podcasts began in 2019, meaning the show reached this milestone in less than three years. The total includes Armstrong & Gettty’s “One More Thing,” “On Demand,” and “Extra Large” podcasts. The duo says they see podcasting as a natural extension of their show. “We love the podcasting era. Now our listeners can come back to the show after dealing with life. They don’t turn off the radio, they just hit pause.” The Armstrong & Getty podcasts average more than 3.4 million downloads each month.

 

Miller & Moulton Launches on Beasley’s Tampa and Ft. Myers Stations. Florida sports talk personalities Mark Miller (left) and David Moulton (right) are back together on Beasley Media Group stations as the company partners with the Florida Sports Network to bring the “Miller & Moulton” show to WBCN-AM/W251AL, Fort Myers “ESPN Southwest Florida” and business talk WHFS-AM, Tampa “Money Talk 1010” for morning drive. Beasley says Miller and Moulton have produced an entertaining and informative show with national guests since 2006 and have been consistently ranked among top rated sports shows in the history of Southwest Florida radio. Beasley Southwest Florida VP and market manager AJ Lurie says, “It’s great to have ‘Miller & Moulton’ back where they started. Our audience has missed them.” Florida Sports Network president Marty Booher comments, “We have a great relationship with Beasley in Detroit with the Michigan Sports Network and are thrilled to partner with them again in their hometown of Naples and across the state of Florida. We already know that sports fans love the ‘Miller & Moulton’ brand and we’re proud to put them back on the air as we expand their show across the state. Listening to the show is like being in your favorite Florida sports bar for four hours in the morning!”

 

iHeartMedia Execs Reveal New Workplace Plan. In a memo to all staffers, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman and CFO/COO Rich Bressler explain their plans for the future of working from the office and from home. Saying that at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, they believed all staffers would return to the office when it was safe to do so, they say now, however, “that construct fails to take into consideration everything we’ve learned in the last year and a half – from new skills and new ways of working to maximizing our technology to enable us to communicate, innovate and work together as a team. So, we will never ‘return to the office’ as we all knew it; instead, we’ll be returning to a ‘New Work Environment’… Although we’ll start as a hybrid of working from home and some use of the office, we know it will evolve as we learn together. We should all think about the office as a productivity tool, vs that more rigid ‘home base’ we’ve been used to – and the office will always be open for your use.” They go on to say that “overall we think most people will have a hybrid approach, one in which they’ll spend a period of time in the office every week, depending on what their team’s needs are. And even that schedule may vary week to week, or even month to month, depending on what you are working on… On a practical note, your individual schedule will be developed with your managers, built around the needs and timetables of each location and function, and hopefully tailored to everyone’s specific talents and jobs. In this process, the most important thing we can do is protect your well-being. To that end, we would encourage you to follow the latest recommendations for both vaccines and office protocols. We’ll remain committed to providing you support through all our office and company policies.”

WFAN, New York’s Steve Somers to Retire from Full-Time Show. According to Andrew Marchand’s story in the New York Post, WFAN, New York night host Steve Somers will retire from his full-time position sometime this fall. The 74-year-old sports talk host has been with the station for the entirety of its 34 years as a sports talk outlet. Somers told listeners to his show that he doesn’t want a farewell tour as some hosts who’ve left the station have done saying he would find it embarrassing. Audacy SVP Chris Oliviero tells the Post, “Yes, sadly it is true. Steve will be wrapping up his full-time run at WFAN sometime this fall. He is without a doubt one of the most important building blocks in the history of WFAN. Steve and the FAN became stars together in this town. The voice, the wit, the humor, the catchphrases all iconic. Now we have to convince him to give us all, especially the listeners, a chance to celebrate him because he is worthy of the accolades.”

iHeartMedia Washington, DC Names Jen Richer APD. Programming pro Jen Richer is named assistant program director for iHeartMedia’s Washington DC cluster that includes news/talk “104.7 WONK-FM,” WUST-AM “DMV BIN 1120,” and six music brands. Richer was most recently executive producer for WMAL-FM, Washington’s “Vince Coglianese Show.” In the past she’s also served as executive producer for 104.7 WONK- FM’s “Reaction Zone,” news director for iHeartMedia Washington D.C., co-host and executive producer of “The Tommy Show” on WIAD-FM, and host and executive producer of “The Fresh Perspective Show” on WIAD-FM. She says, “I am so excited to rejoin the team at iHeartMedia Washington, DC for this incredible new opportunity to work with such a talented team of programmers and talent. There couldn’t be a more important time for radio to connect with our listeners as we start transitioning into the ‘new normal,’ and I am looking forward to helping deliver an awesome experience for the Washington DC community through these landmark stations.”

Former KHTK, Sacramento Sports Personality Grant Napear Sues Bonneville for Wrongful Termination. KOVR-TV, Sacramento is reporting that former Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer and sports talk personality Grant Napear is filing a suit against station owner Bonneville International for firing him in June of 2020. Bonneville fired Napear after he tweeted a response to former Kings player DeMarcus Cousins who asked him for his take on the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing. Napear replied, “All Lives Matter… every single one.” At the time, Napear said, “I had no idea that when I said ‘All Lives Matter’ that it was counter to what BLM is trying to get across.” Now, he says he’s filing the lawsuit because he believes he’s been wronged, and he wants to be “vindicated.” Bonneville has not commented on the lawsuit.

Triton Digital Releases September 2021 Podcast Report. This report for the period of August 30 to October 3 from Triton Digital ranks the top 20 podcast networks in the U.S. based on average weekly downloads and the top 100 podcasts, also based on average weekly downloads. SiriusXM’s Stitcher ranks as the #1 network for September with 38.4 million AWD. Some broadcast companies whose podcast networks ranked in the top 20 include: NPR at #2 (32 million), Audacy Podcast Network at #3 (29.1 million), Cumulus Podcast Network at #4 (17.7 million), FOX News Podcasts at #10 (3.6 million), and Salem Podcast Network at #12 (3.2 million). The top podcast on Triton’s chart is NPR’s “NPR News Now.” Other podcasts of note on this chart include: Cumulus Podcast Network’s “Ben Shapiro Show” at #4, Cumulus’ “Dan Bongino Show” at #8, Salem’s “Charlie Kirk Show” at #12, and FOX News’ “FOX News Radio Newscast” at #13. See the complete charts here.

77 WABC Radio Backs the Blue. Pictured above are a number of New York City police officers with Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis and his wife Margo. Red Apple’s news/talk 77 WABC dedicated yesterday (10/21) to the men and women in blue with an all-day, on-air salute that included current and past police dignitaries. Photo: Jillian Nelson jillpics.com

TALKERS News Notes. The broadcast team for iHeartMedia Seattle’s coverage of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken is complete. Sports talk KJR-AM serves as the official flagship station for the Kraken Audio Network and will debut its broadcast team tomorrow (10/23) when the Vancouver Canucks come to town. The broadcast team includes: Everett Fitzhugh as the network’s play-by-play voice, retired NHL player Dave Tomlinson as broadcast analyst, and former voice of the Everett Silvertips, Mike Benton, as the network’s studio host…..Audacy’s C13Features releases a video trailer for its new, scripted audio movie, “Treat.” C13Features partnered with Babak Anvari and Lucan Toh of Two & Two Pictures, and Best Case Studios, to co-produce the story written by Nathan Ballingrud. “Treat” tells the story of a seemingly perfect American town that makes a deal with a mysterious outsider possessing supernatural powers to help it recover from social turmoil. When the town falls behind on its payments, a trio of teenagers must unlock the secret of his powers. Actress Kiernan Shipka plays protagonist and narrator Allie West…..CNN Audio debuts its first episode of “Tug of War” – a new limited-series podcast hosted by CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward. In this series, Ward travels to some of the most volatile corners of the world to document the greatest power struggles of our time. The first episode has her taking listeners onto the streets of Afghanistan and into the homes of its citizens as they watch the balance of power start to tip — and the Taliban tries to keep order with truncheons and whips. She shares firsthand accounts from Afghan citizens who witness the United States military withdrawal – after two decades of war – escalate into the Taliban swiftly toppling the Afghan government watching their 20 years of hard-earned freedoms crumble…..Chick Pallotta, creator, executive producer, and host of the nationally syndicated radio series titled, “The Inside Stories Behind the Christmas Songs,” signs a two-year agreement with Orbyt Media, a division of Bell Media Inc. of Canada, to syndicate his series to Canadian radio stations. Programs feature many legendary songwriters who explain how their holiday hits originated. The series comes in two forms: the original short-forms (structured where all the verses of the song are wrapped around the songwriter’s narrative) and the two-minute versions. The series now totals 39 programs. They have aired on SiriusXM and hundreds of radio stations across the U.S., including WCBS-FM, New York City and news/talk KXEL-AM, Waterloo, Iowa. Some 15 different radio formats have aired the holiday series that’s now in its 11th year of syndication.

Budget Debate/Infrastructure/Inflation/Supply Chain/Labor Issues Combine at Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 18-22. The negotiation among Democrats over President Joe Biden’s social spending and infrastructure bills, the world’s supply chain woes and labor shortages came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the January 6 investigation tied with the House voting to hold Stephen Bannon in criminal contempt and former President Donald Trump’s ongoing claims of election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the debate over boosters, mask & vaccine mandates and SRN talk host Dennis Prager’s intentional COVID case. 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.

Program Director/News Director. iHeartMedia is seeking a program director/news director to oversee news/talk WHAM, Rochester; news/talk WSYR, Syracuse and “FM Talk” WAIO-FM, Rochester. This person will “lead all aspects of the radio stations’ on-air experience in a leadership and operations role, responsible for talent, content, news operations, programming, and online presence.” This is a Rochester-based position. To find out more about this role and to apply, click here.

Morning News Reporter. News/talk WSYR, Syracuse seeks a morning news reporter. This role is based in Syracuse and the position requires the news reporter gather and verify factual information through interviews, observation and research; Monitor sources for breaking news, e.g., wires and social media; Plan, write, edit, and voice news broadcasts; Finalize content using digital audio editing software; Maintain crucial deadlines in order to provide news stories in a timely fashion; and more. Find out more about this position and apply here.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

| October 21, 2021

Blake Thompson Transitions to EVP of Ramsey Network. After nine years at the helm of Ramsey Network, Brian Mayfield accepts a new role at Ramsey Solutions, creating the opportunity for broadcast veteran Blake Thompson to step into the role as the network’s executive vice president. Thompson began his career as Dave Ramsey’s first producer in 1996. As EVP, in addition to serving on the Ramsey Solutions operating board, Thompson will be responsible for distribution and content development of all programs and platforms for The Ramsey Network. That includes “The Ramsey Show,” “The Dr. John Delony Show,” “The Ken Coleman Show,” “The Christy Wright Show,” “The Rachel Cruze Show,” EntreLeadership, as well as new feature podcast productions such as “The Fine Print,” “Everyday Millionaires,” “Ramsey Call of the Day,” and “Work Matters with Ken Coleman,” and the newly released documentary film, Borrowed Future. Thompson says, “I look forward to this new opportunity to serve our listeners and viewers with programming that brings hope. Brian has done a stellar job leading the Ramsey Network, and I look forward to continuing to partner with him in his new role.” As EVP of strategic alliances under Ramsey’s newest brand, Ramsey Trusted, Brian Mayfield will continue to serve on the Ramsey Solutions operating board. He will also lead the team responsible for overseeing the more than 5,000 relationships comprised of national advertisers and the endorsed local provider network. He comments, “It’s been an absolute honor serving as EVP of Ramsey Network. I have been blessed to make a lot of friends in the industry as well as experience the development and tremendous growth into what Ramsey Network is today. I can’t wait to see where Blake takes it with his expertise in content development. I’m equally excited to continue my journey with Ramsey Solutions as part of the development of this new brand within our organization.”

Zoe Burdine-Fly Named Regional President for Alpha Media. Media executive Zoe Burdine-Fly joins Alpha Media as regional president, effective November 1. Burdine-Fly most recently served as regional VP with Townsquare Media. In her new role with Alpha Media, she’ll oversee the operations, talent management and the strategic growth of 13 Alpha Media markets, including Amarillo, Bakersfield, Lincoln and Topeka. She’ll play a key role supporting the development of the company’s growing digital engagement platform. Alpha Media chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt says, “I am pleased to welcome Zoe as the newest member of Alpha Media’s senior leadership team. We conducted a thorough search process, and Zoe stood out as possessing the right leadership experience, sophisticated expertise and deep radio industry knowledge to guide our markets and support our long-term growth strategy. Zoe will help us further expand our digital capabilities across our nationwide platforms so we can continue to deliver excellent results and value in partnership with our advertiser partners. I look forward to all we will accomplish together.” Burdine-Fly comments, “Alpha Media continues to deliver incredible programming in all of its communities, and I am thrilled to join the Alpha Media family at a pivotal moment in the company’s growth. I am eager to get to work with Alpha Media’s team as together we continue to strengthen our market presence, serve our advertiser partners and honor the company’s legacy of engaging content and relevant local programming.”

Quick: And Now, the News. Consultant Jon Quick writes in a column for TALKERS published today (10/21), “The world of radio news writing and presentation has changed over the decades… Newscasts today tend to be shorter and more direct. They are written more concisely and in a more conversational style. There is more sound, and sometimes even music is used. For better or for worse, people don’t have as much time as we exist in a faster-moving world with many more options for getting our information.” Quick presents his “Effective Ways to Improve Your Radio News Writing and Presentation in Today’s World.” Read about them here.

Connecticut Court to Sanction Alex Jones Attorneys. According to a report in the Hartford Courant, Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis says she’ll sanction the defense attorneys representing media figure Alex Jones in the civil lawsuit filed against him by parents of children killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. Judge Bellis says she’ll “impose new sanctions on Jones’ attorneys for violating a court order when they included information from a confidential deposition this summer in a motion seeking to question former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, suggesting Clinton had arranged the families’ lawsuit as a vendetta against Jones after her 2016 loss to former President Donald Trump. Bellis also will consider additional sanctions over what she called ‘highly inappropriate’ and ‘abusive questioning’ by Jones defense attorney Jay Wolman during a September deposition, during which he demanded the man being deposed search email records on his phone even though the subpoena issued by the court did not require it.” This comes after yesterday’s (10/20) two-hour virtual hearing. Judge Bellis is also accusing Jones’ attorneys for violating a “very straightforward protective order that (defense) counsel themselves filed and asked the court to approve.” The order makes information from depositions entirely confidential but Jones’ attorneys, in their filing to depose Clinton, included “two sentences that make reference to an unnamed plaintiff and witness — information available only from the deposition being taken that day that was supposed to be entirely confidential.” Judge Bellis issued previous warnings to Wolman earlier this year and said she is “‘leaning toward’ issuing a sanction herself, but that she will decide at a hearing scheduled for early November.”

Oklahoma Talk Radio Host Pat Campbell Dies After Battle with Brain Cancer. Former KFAQ, Tulsa and WFLF, Orlando talk radio personality Pat Campbell passed away on October 20 after a long battle with brain cancer. Griffin Communications owns sports talk KTSB-AM, Tulsa – previously news/talk KFAQ – and company VP and COO Rob Krier says in a memo to staff, “Pat joined 1170 Talk Radio (KFAQ) in 2008 and immediately his voice developed a loyal following in Green Country. He got his start in radio as a talk show caller. Prior to KFAQ, Pat worked at WFLA 540 in Orlando. He also made numerous appearances on ‘FOX & Friends,’ ‘The O’Reilly Factor,’ ‘Tucker Carlson’ and others. In 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2011 he was named one of TALKERS magazine’s most important talk show hosts and was also recognized as one of Oklahoma’s best radio personalities by Oklahoma magazine. Pat will be greatly missed and we and ask that you please keep Pat’s family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.” Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe commented, “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and long-time radio personality Pat Campbell. I will never forget how last summer, Pat called me up and told me he was working through his bucket list, and one of the items was that he had always wanted to fly upside down with me in my airplane. On September 5, 2020, Pat was able to cross that off his list, and I was honored to be a part of it. Pat – always larger than life – had a profound impact on television and radio, proudly representing Tulsa and Oklahoma locally and nationally. Yet, more than being a pioneer for Conservative values in America, he was a friend. This loss will be felt for years to come. I am praying for peace for his loved ones during this difficult time.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Free Talk Live” host Ian Freeman says one of his program co-hosts – a man legally known as Nobody – is out of custody. Freeman writes, “After being held in jail for nearly six months after our studio was raided in March, ‘Free Talk Live’ host Nobody was released last month on insanely restrictive bail conditions. While I am being held on home confinement with an ankle monitor, Nobody does have the freedom to move about, however he is unable to speak publicly and is currently off-the-air as a result. The restrictions prevent him from being interviewed by any media or publicizing his opinions, a clear violation of his right to free speech. Though we are accused of victimless financial ‘crimes’ and have not been convicted, our liberties have been stripped from us. We are even barred from speaking with each other.” Freeman goes on to say, “However, not all the news is bad. Free Talk Live’s family of broadcast stations nationwide now expands to 186 with the addition of Townsquare Media stations ‘Newstalk 98.3 FM’ and KGVO in Missoula, Montana and KLYQ in Hamilton, Montana to our live Sunday night edition.”…..The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation is recognizing nine distinguished industry leaders and celebrities for lifetime achievement on November 9 during its Giants of Broadcasting & Electronic Arts virtual awards ceremony. Being honored are: Emily Barr, president CEO, Graham Media Group; Frank Boyle, president & CEO, Frank Boyle & Co; Bob Costas, Hall of Fame sportscaster; Russell Perry, founder & president, Perry Publishing & Broadcasting Co; Robin Roberts, co-anchor “Good Morning America,” president, Rock’n Robin Productions; Marion Ross, actress; Neal Shapiro, president & CEO, The WNET Group; Sen. Gordon H. Smith, president & CEO, NAB; and Jordan Wertlieb, SVP, Hearst Communications, president, Hearst Television…..Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski is hosting the 17th season of his “Basketball and Beyond with Coach K” program for SiriusXM. The show features Coach K and co-host Dave Sims discussing basketball as well as the headline stories from the larger sports world and interviewing successful people from many different walks of life.  On today’s debut, Krzyzewski’s guests will be seven-time Olympic Gold Medal-winning swimmer Katie Ledecky and Jeff Vinik, owner of the back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning…..ESPN Podcasts debuts a new, signature series, “Swagu & Perk,” on Monday, October 25. The weekly podcast will be led by its namesake hosts, former NFL veteran and analyst Marcus Spears, a.k.a., Swagu and NBA champion and analyst Kendrick Perkins. ESPN says, “The duo will take fans inside the latest news across the NFL, NBA and beyond with their own unique, personal insight and expert, in-depth analysis with new episodes every Tuesday morning. Spears and Perkins will also bring listeners inside their lives, career journeys and so much more with can’t-miss conversations and welcome in top sports and celebrity guests.”

January 6 Investigation/Bannon Case, COVID-19, Biden Social Spending Bill, Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Afghanistan Withdrawal Investigation, Southern Border Crisis, and Chinese Military Aggression Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/20). The investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and the move to charge former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon with criminal contempt; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; President Joe Biden considers reducing his $3.5 trillion social spending bill to $1.9 trillion; the effects of the supply chain breakdown on the availability of consumer goods and soaring retail prices; the State Department inspector general’s investigation into the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border; and China’s development of hypersonic weapons and its aggression against Taiwan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Fresh Edition of ‘The Fisher House Story’ Available for Veterans Day and the Holidays. There’s new programming from the Fisher House Foundation for this Veterans Day as well as for the holiday season. The Jeff Wyatt Group has produced a fresh edition of “The Fisher House Story” for 2021 available for download. “The Fisher House Story – Peace of Mind and a Place to Heal” is a radio special provided in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations as well as a 30-minute public affairs show for all formats in the U.S. and around the world. Fisher House Foundation provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Fisher Houses provide temporary free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis because “A Family’s LOVE is Good Medicine.” The program is available in three-hour, one-hour, 25- and 30-minute radio special versions and is hosted by long-time radio personality Jeff Wyatt. It features stories of America’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. This informational talk show will leave listeners feeling inspired during Veterans Day weekend (Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11) and through the holiday season, sharing stories of amazing service members, veterans, and their families. Host Jeff Wyatt’s love and respect for our military will only amplify these radio specials, scheduled to deliver Oct. 28 for potential airing Veterans Day weekend, during the holiday season, and for Memorial Day and 4th of July weekends as well. You can hear a demo and see the clock at: radio.fisherhouse.org. For more information on this radio special, available cash and barter free, contact Jeff Wyatt at 301-518-3640 or jw@thejeffwyattgroup.com.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

| October 20, 2021

Liberty Media Sells All Shares of iHeartMedia Stock. The company is exiting the broadcast radio business after selling 5.94 million shares of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock – a trade that’s worth about $150 million. Variety has the story and reports that “between November 2017 and February 2018, Liberty Media purchased $600 million of iHeartMedia debt for a total of $490 million. After iHeartRadio reduced its debt load through a bankruptcy settlement, the bonds were converted into about 6.9 million shares.” iHeartMedia issued the following statement: “We appreciate Liberty’s support for iHeartMedia, originally as a holder of debt which then converted into a meaningful equity stake, and we are delighted that they received a good return on their investment.” The iHeartMedia stock was part of the company’s Liberty SiriusXM Group that owns 78.1% of SiriusXM stock, 32% of Live Nation stock, plus small percentages of Formula One Group and the Atlanta Braves.

Audacy Acquires WideOrbit. There are no financial details included in the Audacy press release as the company announces its acquisition of “an exclusive, perpetual license to WideOrbit’s digital audio streaming technology and the related assets and operations of WO Streaming. This acquisition gives Audacy control of its product roadmap to deliver enhanced consumer-facing streaming features for its 170 million monthly listeners.” At this time, it’s unclear if this deal is the “small digital acquisition for approximately $40 million” that Audacy referenced last week when it announced it was offering $45 million in senior secured second-lien notes to raise capital, but it appears likely. Audacy will operate WO Streaming under the name AmperWave. The entire WO Streaming team, led by John Morris, SVP streaming, joins Audacy. Audacy chairman, president and CEO David Field comments, “The WideOrbit digital audio tech business perfectly complements our organic investments to make Audacy’s digital platform the top choice for listeners, clients and partners.”

Boston Sports Talkers ‘Toucher & Rich’ Launch Syndication Effort. WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” morning drive duo “Toucher & Rich” Fred Toucher (left) and Rich Shertenlieb (right) – along with cast member Jon Wallach – begin a regional syndication effort on Monday (10/25). Beasley Media Group says the show recently celebrated 12 years on ‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ as the dominant program for Male and Adult audiences 25-54. Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna says, “We are thrilled to be able to bring Toucher & Rich’s unique brand of content and humor to sports fans throughout New England through this syndication initiative. The T&R team is already a favorite with their passionate audience. We look forward to expanding that loyal audience through this new affiliation!” Toucher says, “Being syndicated has always been a career goal and I am very excited to start this new challenge.” Rich adds, “I couldn’t be more excited to launch ‘Toucher & Rich’ into syndication. Our listeners have always been the most loyal in radio, and I’m thrilled to introduce our show to a whole new audience of potential T&R lifers.”

Bob Kessler to Anchor Midday News at WGN-AM, Chicago. Longtime WGN Radio news reporter Bob Kessler is now anchoring midday news Tuesdays through Fridays. Kessler joined WGN in 1994 as a producer and became a weekend newsroom anchor in 1997. Kessler’s work has been recognized with an award from the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters’ Association in 2019. WGN news director Ryan Burrow says, “Bob’s been an integral part of the WGN family for decades. He’s a great newsman and capably leads the anchor desk. A true teammate, he brings a positive energy and personality to the newsroom. I’m glad we’re able to expand his role on the news team.”

WWO: WARC Study on the Value of Audio to Marketers. In this week’s blog from CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One’s Audio Active Group, a study from marketing advisory firm WARC and iHeartMedia is examined. Titled, “The Investment Gap: Understanding the Value of Audio,” it reveals “a major audio investment gap for marketers.” It notes that 1) Consumers spend 31% of their media time with audio, yet audio is only allocated 8.8% of media budgets. Other media represent 91.2% of ad spend and 69% of consumer media use; 2)  Marketers overspend on digital and TV, and underspend on audio: WARC’s analysis reveals brands are overspending on TV and digital by 32%, and underspending on audio by a factor of 3X; 3) AM/FM radio generates a +36% increase in monthly reach for the average brand: An incremental reach analysis of 15 P&G brands conducted via Nielsen Media Impact, the media optimization platform, reveals the average P&G brand experiences a +36% increase in reach to their TV plan through the use of AM/FM radio; 4) The younger the demographic, the greater the lift in reach: Across P&G’s 15 brands, the lift in reach generated by AM/FM radio keeps growing in younger demographics. Among persons 35-44, the average P&G brand realizes a +63% increase in reach due to AM/FM radio. Among persons 25-34, AM/FM radio doubles the TV reach. See the blog here.

Cumulus Podcast Network to Join Strata Platform. A new partnership between Comcast’s FreeWheel, Cumulus Media, and Triton Digital brings Cumulus Podcast Network’s premium podcast inventory into the Strata media stewardship platform. The FreeWheel’s Strata allows agencies to automate the podcast buying process within their existing platform workflow, including receiving electronic proposals and sending electronic orders. Through this partnership, Strata users will be able to find and buy impression-based premium podcast inventory from Cumulus Media that is validated by metrics including downloads, as measured by Triton Digital’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. FreeWheel says this will mark the first time a podcast publisher has surfaced titles and lineups, which are curated groups of podcasts designed to reach specific desired demographics and psychographics, with metrics measured by industry leader Triton Digital, in a media buying platform. Cumulus SVP, digital operations and business development Larry Linietsky says, “Cumulus Media is pleased to expand its partnerships with FreeWheel and Triton to provide current and future marketing partners efficient access to the Cumulus Podcast Network’s vast offering of premium podcasts spanning entertainment, news, sports, politics, business, money and technology as well as the voices from our 413 stations.” Triton president of marketing development John Rosso adds, “Triton is pleased to be partnering with FreeWheel and Cumulus Media to provide advertisers with streamlined access to trustworthy, aggregated podcast data within their media buying system for the first time. Our IAB-accredited Podcast Metrics lineups provide advertisers with consistent data across networks and publishers, making the process of discovering, planning, analyzing and ultimately buying podcasts at scale seamless and efficient.” Strata users will be able to access Cumulus Podcast Network’s premium podcast inventory in the Strata system beginning in the 4th quarter of 2021.

Stonecom Adds Sports Talker to Livingston, Tennessee Market. The Overton County News reports that Stonecom debuts a new sports talk radio station for the Livingston, Tennessee market. “Sports Radio 104.7 emanates from WKXD-HD3 and is heard on translator W282AG at 104.7 FM. Stonecom president and GM Larry Stone says, “We know sports fans in this area are passionate about our local teams. During all the years doing Titans Caravan stops in Cookeville and Crossville, I saw that first-hand. It’s Big Orange Country with a huge love of everything orange. We love our championship high school sports around the region, and support the hard work of Tech athletes. ‘Sports Radio 104.7’ will serve that passion.” Programming will include “Outkick 360” featuring Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky, “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and more.

January 6 Investigation/Bannon Held in Contempt, COVID-19, Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Biden Reconciliation Bill, Afghanistan Withdrawal Investigation, Chinese Military Aggression, Southern Border Crisis, Kidnapped Missionaries, and Facebook Rebrand Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol and the committee’s vote to refer Stephen K. Bannon to the DOJ for criminal prosecution; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; the effects of the supply chain breakdown on the availability of consumer goods and soaring retail prices; President Joe Biden considers reducing his $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill to $1.9 trillion; the State Department inspector general’s investigation into the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; China’s development of hypersonic weapons and its aggression against Taiwan; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border; the 17 missionaries being held for $17 million ransom in Haiti; and rumors that Facebook is planning a rebrand were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Fresh Edition of ‘The Fisher House Story’ Available for Veterans Day and the Holidays. There’s new programming from the Fisher House Foundation for this Veterans Day as well as for the holiday season. The Jeff Wyatt Group has produced a fresh edition of “The Fisher House Story” for 2021 available for download. “The Fisher House Story – Peace of Mind and a Place to Heal” is a radio special provided in varying lengths for news/talk radio stations as well as a 30-minute public affairs show for all formats in the U.S. and around the world. Fisher House Foundation provides a home away from home for families of patients receiving medical care at major military and VA medical centers. Fisher Houses provide temporary free lodging so families can be close to their loved ones during a medical crisis because “A Family’s LOVE is Good Medicine.” The program is available in three-hour, one-hour, 25- and 30-minute radio special versions and is hosted by long-time radio personality Jeff Wyatt. It features stories of America’s heroes, the families who serve by their side, and how Fisher House plays a role in their journey. This informational talk show will leave listeners feeling inspired during Veterans Day weekend (Veterans Day is Thursday, November 11) and through the holiday season, sharing stories of amazing service members, veterans, and their families. Host Jeff Wyatt’s love and respect for our military will only amplify these radio specials, scheduled to deliver Oct. 28 for potential airing Veterans Day weekend, during the holiday season, and for Memorial Day and 4th of July weekends as well. You can hear a demo and see the clock at: radio.fisherhouse.org. For more information on this radio special, available cash and barter free, contact Jeff Wyatt at 301-518-3640 or jw@thejeffwyattgroup.com.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

| October 19, 2021

Bongino: ‘Me or the Vaccine Mandate.’ Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Dan Bongino told listeners to his Monday (10/18) program that he’s issuing an ultimatum to Westwood One owner Cumulus Media that he will quit the radio show he’s been hosting since May 24 of this year if the company insists on mandating that workers return to the offices/studios after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The Washington Examiner reports that the author and media personality is vaccinated but he is “standing up against the company’s ‘political decision’ so that people without platforms could make a ‘private and personal medical decision.’” He tells his employer, “You can have me, or you can have a vaccine mandate, but you can’t have both.” He added, “I have no intentions of letting these guys get let go, get harassed, because they made a private and personal medical decision on only one of the biggest issues of our time. There is a real thing called natural immunity. There is an even realer thing called freedom and liberty. This is a constitutional republic. People have the right to make their own medical decisions.” There’s been no public response from Cumulus Media management so far.

Salem Radio Network Host Dennis Prager Contracts COVID-19. According to a story by KUSA-TV, Denver, Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager has contracted COVID-19, missing three days of his program last week. Prager was back on the air on Monday (10/18) and told his listeners that he had hoped to get COVID to achieve natural immunity. Prager attended a campaign event in Colorado Springs hosted by Republican gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl on October 10. He said, “That is what I hoped for the entire time. I engaged with strangers, constantly hugging them, taking photos with them, knowing that I was making myself very susceptible to getting COVID – which is, indeed, as bizarre as it sounded.” Obviously, it’s difficult to tell where Prager contracted the virus, be it at the event, traveling to or from Colorado, or elsewhere. Ganahl’s campaign issued the following statement: “The campaign was not aware Dennis had contracted COVID until the announcement on his show. We have not been made aware of anyone who attended the event outside of Dennis’ inner circle getting the virus. We are reaching out to all those who attended to make sure they are informed. We encourage those who attended, and all Coloradans for that matter, to get tested and follow CDC guidelines if they experience any COVID-like symptoms.” Prager told his listeners he credits his recovery to treatments including ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine.

Porretti to Lead Katz Digital Audio.  Radio sales pro Scott Porretti is promoted to president of Katz Digital Audio where he’ll continue to oversee all Katz Digital Audio offerings, manage relationships with an expansive roster of publishing and technology partners, and further the growth of podcasting and programmatic digital audio on behalf of current and new partners. He was most recently EVP of Katz Digital Audio. Porretti says, “We have seen an explosion of growth in the digital audio space that is not slowing, with more people listening on their various devices than ever before. In addition, an increasing number of data attribution companies have shown undeniable validation of the unique and positive impact digital audio has on advertisers looking to reach their consumers. I am so proud of what our team has accomplished and extremely excited to help shape where our industry is heading to support Katz’s ever-expanding position in the digital marketplace and help our clients execute effective digital audio campaigns.” Katz Media Group CEO Mark Gray comments, “Katz excels at helping brands reach and engage with consumers in meaningful, impactful ways. Scott’s in-depth knowledge and vast background in developing audio solutions across a variety of platforms has helped Katz grow its diverse digital offerings and proprietary technologies. Scott’s effective team leadership style, and his extraordinary vision in this marketplace, has catapulted Katz Digital to a place where it is now viewed by advertisers as a one-stop-shop to reach diverse audiences with unparalleled scale.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Radio Advertising Bureau announces that iHeartMedia president, multiplatform group and president, Black Information Network Tony Coles joins its board of directors. Coles takes over the seat from iHeartMedia’s Darren Davis, who is retiring from the company at year’s end…..FOX News Media announces that its FOX News Digital closed out the third quarter of 2021 earning the top spot in both multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views, reaching over 5.2 billion multiplatform views (+10 percent vs Q2’21) and nearly 10.6 billion multiplatform total minutes (+8 percent vs Q2’21) for the second consecutive quarter, according to Comscore. The company goes on to say that in September, the digital network surpassed CNN.com in total multiplatform minutes for the seventh month in a row and outperformed all other news brands in the news competitive set, with 3.6 billion minutes, also according to Comscore. In September, the digital network notched over 1.8 billion total multiplatform views, outpacing CNN.com in the metric yet again and delivering over 100 million multiplatform unique visitors…..Connoisseur Media’s news/talk WICC-AM, Bridgeport, Connecticut adds FM translator W297CP at 107.3 FM as an additional frequency. Program director Allan Lamberti says, “With the addition of an FM frequency, we will really be able to get local news and information to more of the listeners of Bridgeport and beyond. This is a community that is underserved by local television news and really WICC is the only radio station that delivers it.”…..PodcastOne inks a “high seven-figure renewal deal” with podcast host and former Wall Street attorney Jordan Harbinger that keeps him and his eponymous program with the network for the foreseeable future. “The Jordan Harbinger Show” launched with the network in 2018 and PodcastOne says the show’s download numbers are nearing 11 million monthly and over 300 million all-time. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Jordan embodies what podcasting is all about. His impeccable interviewing skills, his unmatched rapport with guests, his integrity and his knowledge of marketing and the business of podcasting are keystones in the growth of ‘The Jordan Harbinger Show’ and his audience is ever expanding. Not only is Jordan a dream partner in podcasting, he’s also a dear friend and we are looking forward to, and anticipating, even bigger things in 2022 and beyond.”

Global Supply Chain/Inflation, January 6 Investigation/Bannon Contempt, COVID-19, Afghanistan Withdrawal Investigation, and Colin Powell Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/18). Concerns about the effects the global supply chain breakdown will have over the winter and of soaring retail prices; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s risking criminal contempt over his refusal to testify; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and mask & vaccine mandates; the State Department inspector general’s probe of the Biden administration’s withdrawal from Afghanistan; and former Secretary of State Colin Powell dies at 84 after complications from COVID were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WBZ-AM and FEMA Unveil Emergency Studio. Pictured above at the WBZ-AM emergency broadcast facility in Hull, Massachusetts are WBZ’s Ben Parker (left) and FEMA’s IPAWS division director Antwane Johnson (right) at a ceremony for the refurbished facility on Friday (10/15). iHeartMedia‘s WBZ-AM facility serves as a Primary Entry Point (PEP) station for FEMA’s National Public Warning System (NPWS), maintained under FEMA’s Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS), and provides critical information to the public before, during and after incidents and disasters. Under the Integrated Public Alert and Warning System Modernization Act enacted in 2015, Congress required FEMA to upgrade PEP stations across the country to ensure continuity of terrestrial broadcast services under all hazards. PEP stations are specially designated NPWS broadcast stations that serve as the primary intake source of initial broadcasts for a national alert. FEMA equips these stations, which are operated by local station personnel, with backup communications equipment and power generators that enable them to continue broadcasting information to the public during and after an emergency, including conveying official alerts to communities regionally and nationwide.

Monday, October 18, 2021

| October 18, 2021

Pending Business: Beam Me Up, Scotty. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says, “If you sell talk radio for a living, take a minute to thank William Shatner.” Why? “For years talk radio sellers used the anecdotal examples of iconic figures who crossed into the older demographic with faces and lifestyle that made the older demo more advertiser friendly. From Mick Jagger and Joe Namath, to Cher and Goldie Hawn, these were the easy-to-reference examples leading the path to older demo acceptance. And now a new normal has fallen into our collective talk radio lap, William Shatner who at age 90 touched the sky as the planet logged on.” Read more here.

Monday Memo: Speaking of Vaccine Mandates. “Until we can come up with something else to argue about,” the latest COVID controversy offers what consultant Holland Cooke calls “new evidence demonstrating the importance of choosing our words carefully.” In this week’s column HC bullet-points some fresh research. Read it here.

Matt Sheeder Promoted to VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Minneapolis. Radio sales pro Matt Sheeder is promoted to vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Minneapolis station group that includes KTLK-AM, sports talk KFXN “KFAN,” and news KQQL-HD2/W227BF “BIN 93.3,” plus five music brands. Sheeder was most recently serving the cluster as local sales manager. Sheeder started in the media industry in 2015 at Comcast Spotlight. He joined the iHeartMedia Minneapolis team as an account executive in 2018. Sheeder says, “I feel fortunate to be able to help expand and lead this high-performing team. The past three years of my career at iHeartMedia have been incredibly enriching and have only helped me grow both professionally and personally. Thank you to the iHeartMedia Minneapolis team for this exciting new opportunity!”

WTOP, Washington’s Chris Roth to Acquire WNAV-AM, Annapolis from Pat Sajak. The Annapolis, Maryland radio station owned by “Wheel of Fortune” host Pat Sajak – oldies intensive, full-service outlet WNAV-AM – is being acquired by partners Chris Roth and Frank Brady for $1,000. Roth is currently a staffer in the WTOP-FM, Washington production department. WTOP has the story and notes that Roth and Brady will have to trim some of the payroll but hope to keep as many of the two dozen staffers as they can. The station will have to move from land that Sajak owns but Sajak is committing up to $100,000 to help with the move and a new lease. Roth says he will keep his position with WTOP as he transitions to his new role as co-owner of the station. Meanwhile, Sajak comments, “I am indebted to our advertisers and, of course, our loyal listeners. As I move toward retirement over the next couple of years, I’ll always look back at my ownership of WNAV with great pride and satisfaction.”

AdLarge Releases 2021 Podcasting Buying Guide. The 2021 Podcast Buying Guide V4.0 has been released by AdLarge. The company says this guide features “essential information on the rapid evolution of the marketplace including the latest resources and tools for measurement, analysis, and attribution available today. While similar to the first three guides by remaining simple to follow and understand, the fourth edition goes beyond the basics of buying and delves into the specifics behind content selection, measurement efficacy, and targeted delivery.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek adds, “As more buyers continue to experience the unmatched ROI of podcast advertising, we recognized the opportunity to provide guidance and context to the quickly evolving landscape of attribution, measurement, and delivery. The unprecedented growth we are witnessing today is a true testament to the power of podcasting.” AdLarge co-CEO Cathy Csukas states, “Working with a broad range of shows and clients has uniquely positioned AdLarge as an authentic resource to buyers. Our spectrum of knowledge has enabled us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, which we’ve outlined in this playbook. Our goal is to provide everyone with the tools to make the most informed advertising decisions possible. The substantial increase year-over-year in advertiser spend has proven the audience is attentive, engaged, and ready to take action.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WGN-AM morning drive personality Steve Cochran has kicked off the fourth season of his podcast “Live From My Office.” Guests on the twice-weekly podcast this season are expected to include: Tom Waddle, Mark Giangreco, Lou Piniella, Bill Leff, Spike O’Dell and comedians Kathleen Madigan and John Da Cosse…..Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT-FM, Nashville “ESPN 102.5 The Game” and the NHL’s Nashville Predators agree to a multi-year extension that continues WPRT’s role as the official flagship station and broadcast partner of the Nashville Predators Radio Network. Cromwell Media president Bud Walters says, “For over 10 years the Predators have been the ‘best’ to work with. They’ve brought such excitement to Nashville, and we look forward to continuing our partnership together. We are very proud to be the flagship home of the Nashville Predators Network.”…..Townsquare Media’s KHOM, Hannibal, Missouri “NewsTalk 1070” adds Premiere Networks’ “Glenn Beck Program” to its daily lineup, effective today (10/18). Beck’s show airs locally from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Biden vs Progressive Democrats, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation/Bannon Subpoena, U.S. Missionaries Kidnapped, and Ahmaud Arbery Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The effects of the global supply chain breakdown and soaring retail prices; President Joe Biden’s challenges bringing progressive Democrats aboard his agenda; the rate of COVID cases in the U.S., and mask & vaccine mandates; the January 6 investigation and former Donald Trump adviser Steve Bannon’s defying a subpoena to testify before a congressional committee; the kidnapping of 17 U.S. missionaries by a gang in Haiti; and the trial of three Georgia men in the slaying of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.