TALKERS magazine - "The Bible of Talk Radio &the New Talk Media" : TALKERS magazine – “The bible of talk media.”

Friday, January 21, 2022

| January 21, 2022

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, “Manchinian Candidate,” looks back at this past week of 1/17 to 1/21. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDave Elswick, talk show host, KDXE 101.1 The Answer, Little Rock; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale-Miami- Palm Beaches; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/Physician.  The show airs each weekend on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; 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 NetworkPodcast 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.

 

Steve Jones Named CEO and President for Skyview Networks. Network executive Steve Jones is promoted to CEO and president of Skyview Networks from his previous COO/president role. In this new role, Jones will lead the sales, content, broadcast distribution and technology company. Founder and CEO Ken Thiele transitions to founder and executive chairman of the board, in which he’ll continue to engage in a high-level advisory role for the company. Thiele says, “Over the last 25 years, Skyview has evolved into a dynamic solutions leader in network audio, and through our enduring growth, we have always maintained a commitment to innovation and quality. I have had the privilege of working alongside Steve both as a client and as a leader within our company — he embodies these characteristics, which are also matched with an unyielding drive for excellence, keen business sense, and distinguished experience. I am privileged to welcome him to the role of CEO.” Jones comments, “I am grateful to Ken for trusting me to steward the company he has built in partnership with longtime EVP, Jeanne-Marie Condo. During the last three-years, despite pandemic challenges, Skyview Networks has become the fastest growing leader in network audio sales, syndication and distribution. Our unwavering commitment to customer service and proven financial performance have convinced content creators and influencers to join Skyview, while simultaneously providing advertisers effective, efficient and creative campaigns that achieve their marketing goals. At the core of this success is our company culture built on integrity and transparency, resulting in employees committed to one another and to our customers.”

 

FOX News Channel Reveals New Weekend Primetime Lineup. Effective the weekend of January 29, FOX News Channel debuts a new Saturday primetime lineup. Lawrence Jones will host a new, one-hour show titled, “Lawrence Jones Cross Country” airing at 10:00 pm ET and Brian Kilmeade will host his eponymous show at 8:00 pm ET. “Unfiltered with Dan Bongino” moves to the 9:00 pm ET slot. The 8:00 pm ET hour was formerly hosted by Jesse Watters who was named solo host of the weeknight “Jesse Watters Primetime” program. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says the promotion renders Jones, 29, the youngest Black solo host of a program in cable news. In addition to this new role, Jones will continue as the enterprise reporter for the “FOX & Friends” franchise. “Lawrence Jones Cross Country” will focus on newsmakers from across the political and cultural spectrum, spotlighting the leading concerns facing Americans nationwide. Kilmeade remains a co-host of FNC’s morning franchise “FOX & Friends” while also hosting the three-hour daily “Brian Kilmeade Show” on FOX News Audio and “What Made America Great” on FOX News Media’s streaming service FOX Nation. Scott says, “Lawrence has been an impact player since joining the network in 2018 and we are thrilled to add his critical insights to our weekend lineup.” Kilmeade comments, “I am truly honored that Suzanne has given me another incredible opportunity at FOX News Media. My ultimate goal is to create a program that will always seek solutions rather than sow division.”

 

Triton Digital Publishes December 2021 Podcast Report. The U.S. Podcast Report from Triton Digital is released and ranks podcast networks and podcasts from participating podcast networks based on average weekly downloads in the U.S. For the period of November 29 to January 2, Stitcher Media was the #1 podcast network with 43.1 million active downloads. NPR was #2 with 31.7 million, Audacy Podcast Network was #3 with 28.7 million, and Cumulus Podcast Network was #4 with 18 million. The report also ranks individual podcasts by average weekly download and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” was #1. At #2 was “NPR News Now,” followed by Cumulus’ “The Ben Shaprio Show” at #3. You can see the complete rankers for the top 20 networks and the top 100 podcasts here.

SiriusXM Talk Host Joe Madison Ends Hunger Strike. In the aftermath of the failure of the Democrats to get the Senate to take up the Voting Rights Act, SiriusXM Urban View channel morning drive host Joe Madison ended his hunger strike. Madison spoke at length on his program about what, in the face of the Democratic leadership’s failure, his 74-day hunger strike accomplished. The SiriusXM PR staff transcribed his monologue and you can read it here.

Talk Radio Host Dr. Asa Pursuing Pro Wrestling Dream. Nationally syndicated talk radio and television personality Dr. Asa Andrew (right) is pursuing his dream of being a pro wrestler at the not-so-tender age of 50 – and he’s doing it with the help of WWE three-time World Heavyweight Champion Diamond Dallas Page (left). But after turning 50 and being asked if he has any regrets considering his vast accomplishments in medicine and media, he said, “I started a professional wrestling career years ago, and due to several life events, I wasn’t able to finish. I finish everything that I start.” In 2000, Dr. Asa was invited to an open tryout at the original WCW Power Plant in Atlanta. There he was one of two out of 35 that made it and was offered a contract. Paul Orndorff and Jody Hamilton ran the facility and told him to go finish his doctorate, and then he would start. Dr. Asa had nine months left to complete his degree, and during that time Vince McMahon bought WCW, and the opportunity was gone. His next chance had to be passed on as Dr. Asa’s father was dying of cancer and Asa knew he had to be there for him. Years later, Dr. Asa and his friend Dallas Page – whose backstory is that he is the oldest to successfully start a career in professional wrestling – decided the time is now to start that journey. Dallas called Cody Rhodes and QT Marshall with AEW’s affiliated developmental school, The Nightmare Factory, in Atlanta, and Dr. Asa started their training camp in October. As Dr. Asa continues to pursue his dream, he and Dallas Page are filming a new documentary on helping others transform their health that will be released sometime in the upcoming year.

WWO: NCAA Men’s Basketball Listening Reaches 33 Million. A study called the NCAA Men’s Basketball Listening Report from the CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One Audio Active Group concludes that 33 million people listen to NCAA Men’s Basketball each season on Westwood One. This report includes a just-completed Nielsen PPM analysis of season-long audiences and brand-new data from a MARU/Matchbox study tracking a day in the life of an NCAA basketball fan. The study also found that among persons 18-34, Westwood One reaches 59% of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Audience and is the number two platform, ahead of linear television (behind streaming video). The younger the NCAA audience, the greater the reach and resonance of Westwood One’s audio platform. It also concludes that its audio coverage maximizes the value of an NCAA television media plan, generating incremental reach (+19%) and frequency. Executive vice president of marketing for Cumulus Media and president of Westwood One Suzanne Grimes says, “There is no denying the fervor of the NCAA basketball audience and the excitement March Madness generates. Our Westwood One broadcasts cater to everyone, from the casual fan to the diehard, and they all are just the kind of listeners advertisers want – upscale, employed, and listening on the go.” See the complete study here.

TALKERS News Notes. Radio talk host Dave Elswick signs a new, one-year extension with Salem Media Group’s KDXE-FM, Little Rock “101.1 The Answer” to continue hosting the station’s morning show. He’s been with KDXE for the past eight years after serving for 14 years with crosstown news/talk KARN-FM…..The Radio Mercury Awards, produced by the Radio Advertising Bureau and funded by the Radio Creative Fund, announces that Alejandro Ortiz, executive creative director, Campbell Ewald, is the 2022 chief judge for the 31st annual edition of the Radio Mercury Awards. In his role, Ortiz leads the creative teams in New York, for a number of clients, including Empire State Development, I❤️NY, Port Authority of NY and NJ, a number of spirits and beverage brands at Constellation, and the New York Power Authority, as well as Shamrock Farms. Call for Entry for the 2022 Radio Mercury Awards will open in a few weeks. Learn more information on this year’s Call for Entry guidelines and deadlines here.

Biden Anniversary Press Conference & Agenda Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 17-21. Wednesday’s press conference by President Joe Biden on the first anniversary of his taking office, criticism of his first year, and his agenda going forward were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, coming together atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Supreme Court denying Donald Trump’s request to keep White House notes from the January 6 House Select Committee tied with the New York attorney general’s investigation into the Trump Organization. Following at #3 was the rate of COVID-19 Omicron variant cases, vaccine & mask mandates and the effect on the nation’s schools. 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.

 

 

FOX News Media Has Radio Reporter Opportunity. For this Washington, DC-based position, FOX News Media is seeking an experienced reporter. You will cover a wide range of political, government, and Congressional stories for FOX News Audio (FOX News Headlines 24/7 and FOX News Terrestrial Radio). You possess strong journalism skills and thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Most importantly, you have great editorial judgement and the ability to break important news stories. See more about this position and apply here.

FOX News Audio Seeks Podcast Producer. For this New York-based position, FOX News Audio is looking for a podcast producer to be part of the fast-paced and growing FOX News Podcast Network. This position’s responsibility will be to develop ideas, pitch stories, and work with FOX News Channel talent in crafting daily and weekly podcasts. They will direct bookings, edit shows for broadcast, and work with production teams to create high-quality products every day. In addition to their production duties, they will also lead creative on social media posts and website write-ups to promote the products. See more about this position and apply here.

Full-Time News Anchor Opening at FOX News Audio. This is a New York-based position. FOX News Audio is seeking a full-time news anchor to join the FOX News Audio family as on-air talent for FOX News Headlines 24/7, Sirius XM Channel 115. In addition, you may be asked to anchor on the FOX News Radio affiliate network. As a radio news anchor, you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top-notch newscasts. You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice. See more about this position and apply here.

KFRU-AM/FM, Columbia Seeks Talk Show Host. KFRU-AM/FM, Columbia, Missouri is looking for a dynamic full-time, talk show host who will hit the ground running and immediately contribute to the successful community-based heritage radio station. The successful candidate understands the broadcast business and takes pride in their work. This candidate needs to be a strategic and pro-active thinker. We require creative idea generating skills to constantly put the station in a position to succeed. Candidate needs a deep understanding of on-air, digital, and social media branding as well as a passion for impacting listeners in the community. If you enjoy a fast-paced work environment and have the gift to talk, please apply. Send your information to: casey.bartholomew@cumulus.com

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association Has Opening for Programming and Content Manager. In this position, the programming and content manager must meet objectives related to the mission and goals of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as the key contributor to and executor of the long-term strategic plans for The Billy Graham Channel. Assists executive director and managing producer in determining the target audience for the channel. With target in mind, crafts the formatic structure of the channel and cultivates its particular “personality” in production and writing of content. This includes development and direction of special programming for the channel. Direct and, as needed, writes “Billy Graham Radio Specials” for broadcast radio. Serves as point contact for “Billy Graham Minutes” features. Also contributes in the development and review of Audio Ministry Services-produced podcast content. See more about this position and apply here.

Thursday, January 20, 2022

| January 20, 2022

Jeff Rickard Exits WEEI-FM, Boston Brand Manager Role; Ken Laird Transitions to Operations Manager. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn Tweeted the news that Jeff Rickard has exited his role as brand manager for sports talk WEEI-FM and the station is moving “The Greg Hill Show” producer Ken Laird to operations manager. Rickard joined the station in August of this year, replacing Joe Zarbano, who had left that role in January of 2021. Finn cites a memo from Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas, who writes, “I want to thank Jeff Rickard for his time here and all the work he put into this legacy brand since arriving last August. Jeff is returning to Indianapolis to be with his family and pursue other opportunities. We wish him nothing but the best and appreciate what he did as brand manager of WEEI. A new brand manager will be named in the future. In the meantime, we are excited to announce the promotion of Ken Laird to a new role at WEEI. Ken will be the day-to-day operations manager. He will be coming off producing ‘The Greg Hill Show,’ so he has time in his day to work closely with me and the entire content team on WEEI. One of his first projects will be to work with Greg, Chris and I, to name his replacement on the show.”

Jim Colony to Retire from Full-Time Role at Sports Talk KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh. Longtime KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh “93.7 The Fan” personality Jim Colony is retiring from his full-time role with the Audacy sports talk outlet. The station notes that Colony has been “a constant in Pittsburgh sports media since the early 1990s” and has “been a critical part of ‘The Fan’ since we started over 10 years ago.” Colony says, “I have been pretty lucky since I stumbled into radio nearly 43 years ago, like when ‘The Fan’ came along just months after I’d been let go across town. It really was ‘right place/right time’ and it’s lasted for 12 years – an eternity in this business. While it’s not the right time for me to retire altogether, now that Linda is retired it is time for me to step back a bit so we can spend more time together but not too much time (she’d get sick of me)!” Colony will continue to work a fill-in role for the station. Audacy Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Jim Colony is one of the great characters in Pittsburgh radio who is beloved by so many listeners. We are so appreciative for all of the work and entertainment he has brought to so many over the years. While we are excited for Jim and Linda (we think) as Jim moves to this next phase of his life we are just as happy that Jim will remain a big part of ‘The Fan’ in a variety of different ways.”

Talking About Michael Jackson – Producer Lyle Gregory is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The man who served as the late talk radio legend Michael Jackson’s producer for 30 years, Lyle Gregory, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Lyle Gregory is the official spokesperson for the Jackson family. Michael Jackson passed away this past Sunday (1/16) at age 87. Harrison and Gregory pay tribute to the legacy of a man who was one of the founding fathers of modern talk radio in a deep-dive discussion that covers his life and times… and offers the listener insights into the magic of one of radio’s most-golden eras. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Texas Sues Google Over Radio Talent Phone Endorsement Campaign. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton has filed a suit in Montgomery County, Texas against Google, alleging that the big tech firm struck a deal with iHeartMedia for some of its radio personalities in the Dallas and Houston markets to endorse its new Pixel 4 smartphones even though they were not on the market yet and the personalities had not actually used the devices. The complaint says Google sought out radio talent for the campaign in 2019 and that the endorsement of goods that they hadn’t used violates the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Consumer Protection Act. The suit goes on to say that even though iHeartMedia told Google that endorsement-without-use violates regulations, Google did not provide phones for the personalities. Specific personalities are not named in the suit but a sample of the ad copy is included. Here’s one script:

“The only thing I love more than taking the perfect photo? Taking the perfect photo at night. With Google Pixel 4 both are a cinch. It’s my favorite phone camera out there, especially in low light, thanks to Night Sight Mode. I’ve been taking studio-like photos of everything…my son’s football game… a meteor shower… a rare spotted owl that landed in my backyard. Pics or it didn’t happen, am I right? Pixel 4 is more than just great pics. It’s also great at helping me get stuff done, thanks to the new voice activated Google Assistant that can handle multiple tasks at once. I can read up on the latest health fads, ask for directions to the nearest goat yoga class (yes, that’s a thing), and text the location to mom hands-free.”

The complaint says any “customization” of the script had to be approved by Google’s ad buyer. Google has said it is reviewing the complaint but that it does not accurately represent what happened.

Mike Gallagher Broadcasts from SHOT Show. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher preparing to go on the air from the exhibit floor at the annual SHOT Show in Las Vegas where he is broadcasting this week. The Shooting/Hunting/Outdoor Trade Show is the largest professional event for the shooting industry…and Gallagher says he promises “high caliber” broadcasts on both radio and the new Salem News Channel.

TuneIn Offers New Program for Content Creators. Calling it a “new program that will provide emerging content creators, educational, and non-profit broadcasters in the United States with access to the same distribution tools as major broadcasters,” TuneIn unveils the TuneIn On Air program. TuneIn says the program “was created to empower emerging content creators by providing them seamless access to digital distribution capabilities. Immediately upon joining TuneIn On Air, broadcasters will expand their reach to TuneIn’s 30 million United States-based listeners. This new offering is aligned with TuneIn’s commitment to reinvent radio for a connected world by bringing radio distribution into the digital age and realizing its promise of an open platform for everyone.” The program costs $249 per quarter. TuneIn chief industry evangelist Andrew Bock says, “One of our aims with the launch of TuneIn On Air is to re-energize college radio stations and independent broadcasters around the US by providing them with a simple and easy-to-use way to dramatically increase their distribution through digital audio. College radio and independent broadcasters serve an important and irreplaceable role in their communities. Through the TuneIn On Air platform, we are giving these voices a clear path to expand and grow their audiences through digital distribution.”

TALKERS News Notes. On the heels of the recent retirement of partner Charlie Sislen, Research Director, Inc. announces staff changes and promotions. Kathryn Boxill creates and leads the new quality control team as the quality control team manager. She previously served as a senior sales research consultant. Nicole Somerville transitions to the production team manager position from her previous role as sales research consultant. Anne Doyle moves into the information systems administrator position from operations management. Nakia Smith and Hayden Waugh move from their sales research consultant positions to join the client service department as client service consultants.…..ABC Audio launches its new GMA channel on Apple Podcasts and announces three new podcast projects: a “Good Morning America” podcast, the second season of “Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson,” and new entertainment podcast “Close Up,” hosted by Kelley Carter. ABC Audio’s free GMA channel will house these new projects, as well as all of ABC News’ lifestyle, culture and entertainment on-demand audio content, including its popular “In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson” podcast…..Audacy’s Cadence13 partners with @DeuxMoi – the pop culture and celebrity Instagram account hailed as “the new outlet of choice for the celebrity obsessed” by The New York Times – for “Deux U,” a weekly show featuring an extensive analysis of the most popular and controversial posts from the account…..iHeartRadio and Sports Illustrated Media unveil an original podcast series focused on iconic names in the sports industry called, “Sports Illustrated Weekly.” Hosted by SI senior writer John Gonzalez, the weekly series takes sports fanatics through untold moments, iconic interviews and the best stories in sports thus far.

Biden Press Conference, Voting Rights-Filibuster, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, U.S.-Russia Tensions, Inflation/Supply Chain, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, and Beijing Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/19). Reaction to President Joe Biden’s Wednesday press conference; Democrats fail to alter the filibuster and to take up voting rights legislation; the rate of COVID-19 cases, vaccine effectiveness, and schools’ policies; the Supreme Court nixes Donald Trump’s bid to keep records from January 6 Committee; the tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the Russian troops amassed at the Ukraine border; soaring retail and oil prices and the supply chain troubles; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP; and China warns athletes about political commentary while at the Beijing games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

| January 19, 2022

iHeartMedia Ups Joe De Angelis to SVP of Promotions. This corporate promotion to SVP of promotions for the iHeartMedia Markets Group for Joe De Angelis comes after serving as director of marketing and promotions for iHeartMedia New York and national event brand manager since 2015. In his new role, De Angelis will “oversee promotions efforts across iHeartMedia’s entire roster of iconic brands and franchises — broadcast and digital — and align promotional efforts across iHeartMedia markets by creating and spearheading iHeartMedia’s Promotions Center.” De Angelis will report to Scott Hopeck, division president for the iHeartMedia Markets Group. Hopeck says, “I’m thrilled to promote Joe to senior vice president of promotions. During his time with iHeartMedia New York, Joe has proven that he is more than qualified for this role. He has extensive experience overseeing all marketing and promotions initiatives for our New York City stations, as well as our national tentpole events. Joe is a natural leader and an exceptional collaborator. I’m confident that he will effectively evolve how we develop and execute promotions for our brands and our partners.”

Audacy’s Bennett Zier Honored with MLK Jr Community Leaders Award. Radio executive Bennett Zier – who serves as Audacy Virginia SVP and market manager – was honored by The Urban League of Hampton Roads at its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders event with the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders Award. Zier says, “I am honored to receive this award on behalf of the Audacy stations in Hampton Roads. It’s our goal every day to embrace our local communities and partner with local leaders to build awareness in key areas like education, health and job growth…all while promoting compassion in our daily lives.” The award is presented to individuals or groups who exemplify service, demonstrate the values modeled by Dr. King, and make significant contributions to the Hampton Roads community. This year, Pharrell Williams served as the keynote speaker for the virtual event to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and recognize dedicated leaders in the Hampton Roads community.

Compass Media Networks Promotes Doug Ingold. Eight-year Compass Media Networks staffer Doug Ingold is promoted to vice president of affiliate sales for entertainment & music programming, effective immediately. Ingold will continue to be based out of the company’s Los Angeles office and will continue to spearhead distribution of some of the company’s entertainment shows, including “Big D & Bubba,” “Dave & Mahoney,” “Free Beer & Hot Wings,” “Rick Dees,” “Pop Crush Nights,” “Taste of Country,” “Ultimate Classic Rock” and many others. Ingold comments, “Compass Media Networks commitment to music & entertainment programming is strong and I’m grateful to be contributing to its long-term growth. It’s a privilege to serve our affiliates and partners with a tremendous roster of talent, shows and digital assets. Many thanks to our team for their support and much gratitude to Peter Kosann, Hiram Lazar, and Adam Wilbur.”

‘Today’s Homeowner’ Announces Backyard Makeover Promotion. The nationally syndicated home improvement television show “Today’s Homeowner” announces the 2022 edition of the “Backyard Paradise” promotion is now accepting entries through February 13. The winner of this contest, sponsored by Pavestone and Quikrete, will receive a backyard makeover and be featured on “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford.” Lipford’s Today’s Homeowner Media also syndicates a weekly radio program of the same name. Lipford says, “You can’t go wrong when developing an outdoor living area for your home. This contest is a highlight for me every year because it’s rewarding to work with homeowners who want to improve and invest in their homes. My team and I get to help bring a dream to reality, plus share some creative, practical inspiration with our audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that public radio WBEZ-FM’s parent company “is moving forward on plans to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times — a merger designed to assure survival of the money-losing newspaper while creating one of the nation’s largest nonprofit local news organizations.” Feder says that the “financial terms were not disclosed, but major funding is expected from Michael Sacks, lead investor in the Sun-Times, along with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation…..PodcastOne announces the launch of the “Cobra Koves” podcast and vodcast with beloved “Cobra Kai” star Martin Kove. The podcast will make its debut tomorrow (1/20) and will feature Kove and his children, fraternal twins Jesse and Rachel, as they recap episodes of the Netflix global hit television series, share stories from the original Karate Kid trilogy of films and give insight into their close-knit family bond…..Today’s episode of ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” is the 1,000th episode of the program hosted by Brad Mielke…..The PGA TOUR and SiriusXM sign a multi-year extension of their broadcasting agreement, which will continue to deliver extensive tournament coverage on the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel for subscribers nationwide through 2024. The deal provides for live coverage of every round of 38 PGA TOUR events throughout the season.

COVID-19, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Biden Press Conference, Violent Crime, Inflation/Supply Chain, Ukraine Standoff, Trump Organization Investigation, and Synagogue Attacker Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18). The high rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, SCOTUS on Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, and mask purchase; the battle for control of Congress in the midterm elections and Donald Trump’s relationship with the GOP; today’s President Biden press conference; the rise of violent crime in America’s major cities; high retail and oil prices and the effect of the broken supply chain; relations between the U.S. and Russia over the Ukraine; the New York AG’s investigation into the Trump Organization; and the prior criminal record of Texas synagogue attacker Malik Faisal Akram were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

| January 18, 2022

WMAL-FM, Washington Unveils New ‘O’Connor & Company’ Co-Hosts. The morning drive “O’Connor & Company” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington, DC announces the program’s new co-hosts. Joining host Larry O’Connor are: Amber Athey, Washington editor at The Spectator, Julie Gunlock, director of the center for progress and innovation at Independent Women’s Forum, and Patrice Onwuka, political commentator and director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at the Independent Women’s Forum. The station says that the trio have been well received by WMAL listeners as guest hosts on the show in recent months. WMAL program director Bill Hess says, “We are excited to welcome these fresh voices to WMAL. Their varied life experiences, chemistry with Larry and with each other, and opinions on the issues of the day serve to create compelling content each weekday morning.” O’Connor adds, “Having a daily conversation with Julie, Amber and Patrice about what matters most to the people of our community is an absolute pleasure. From the halls of the Capitol to the vital debates at our local school boards, these intelligent and engaging women bring insights and humor that represent the best of Washington. It’s a genuine honor to team up with them every morning on WMAL.”

Livingston Named GSM for Cumulus Birmingham. Radio sales pro Todd Livingston is promoted to general sales manager for Cumulus Media’s Birmingham station group that includes the trio of sports talkers WJOX-FM “Jox 94.5,” WJQX-FM “Jox2 100.5,” and WJOX-AM “Jox3 690,” and news/talk duo WAPI-FM/WZRR-FM. Livingston is a 32-year media executive who joined Cumulus Birmingham in July 2021 as an account executive. Prior to that, he was local sales manager for Spectrum Reach in Tuscaloosa. Cumulus Birmingham VP and market manager James Robinson states, “We are excited to have Todd on our team as general sales manager. Todd has deep roots and broadcast experience in Alabama and his ability to create actionable ideas for our client partners make him a valuable asset to our team in Birmingham.”

Audacy Adds Two Sales Pros to Performance Sales Function. Media sales pros Shirin Peykar and Dan Wolman join Audacy – Peykar in the role of SVP of performance sales and Wolman in the VP of performance sales position. In her new role, Peykar will lead Audacy’s performance sales team and sell across its portfolio of products, leaning heavily into the company’s robust podcast library. Peykar will also strategize to drive the business forward and expand Audacy’s relationships with performance-driven marketers. She will report to Ken Lagana, EVP of digital sales. Wolman will work with performance clients and agencies to sell across Audacy’s portfolio of digital audio brands, with a focus on its podcast business. Both Peykar and Wolman join Audacy from Stitcher, where Peykar was SVP of direct response ad sales and Wolman was VP of performance sales. Lagana says, “Shirin’s rich experience leading multi-faceted ad sales operations for premier media and entertainment companies makes her a valuable addition to our performance sales business. We’re equally as excited about the addition of Dan to the team, which will collectively strive to drive revenue, market share and profit performance for our portfolio of assets.” Peykar says, “I’ve been watching Audacy’s progression in the podcast space over the past couple of years and their commitment to building a world class podcast portfolio has really impressed me. When you couple that dedication to the podcast space and audio in general, I couldn’t be more excited about bringing this portfolio to our performance clients and agencies!” Wolman comments, “Audacy is the industry leader in audio while remaining innovative, representing chart-topping content, generating loyal listeners, and serving as the home to influential talent. This is a performance sellers dream! I am excited to leverage my linear, OTT, and audio experience with this role and celebrate many wins with Audacy and our client partners.”

Deadline for 2022 Gracie Awards Submissions Extended to January 27. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the final deadline to submit entries for the 47th annual Gracie Awards has been extended until January 27 – a seven-day extension from the original January 20 deadline. The Gracie Awards celebrate programming and individual achievement by, for and about women in television, radio/audio and digital media.  Submissions from all facets of media are encouraged. AWMF president Becky Brooks says, “We know the circumstances of the past two years led to delivering content to audiences in ways we never expected, which is why we are more committed than ever to honoring the remarkable work that has been created by, for and about women. As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Gracie Awards enable the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to deliver on its promise of furthering the connection, education and recognition of women in media even during times of uncertainty.” The Gracie Awards Gala is still currently scheduled for an in-person celebration May 24 at the famed Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and Gracie Awards Luncheon for June 22 at Cipriani 42nd Street. AWMF extends gratitude to its ongoing donors and sponsors committed to furthering the mission of the organization including Crown Media Family Networks, CNN, and NCTA – The Internet and Television Association. The Gracie Awards are also honored to have the leadership of Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency; Annie Howell, chief communications officer, Crown Media Family Networks; and Mike McVay, McVay Media Consulting as Gracies co-chairs and Vicangelo Bulluck serving as executive producer. You can find entry details here.

COVID-19, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Voting Rights, MLK Holiday, Inflation/Supply Chain, Synagogue Attack, and Tonga Eruption Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17). The high rate of COVID-19 cases, the Omicron variant, masks, and vaccine mandates; the potential loss of power for Democrats after the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s hold over the GOP; the fate of the Voting Rights Act without support from Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema; Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; high prices at the pump and at retail outlets combined with supply chain woes; the aftermath of the attack on the Texas synagogue; and the volcanic eruption near Tonga were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, January 17, 2022

| January 17, 2022

Talk Radio Legend Michael Jackson Passes at 87. Talk radio host Michael Jackson, who achieved legendary status during his career in Los Angeles, died on Sunday (1/16) at his home in L.A. at the age of 87. Jackson, who retired from radio in 2007, had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for the past 10 years. He is best remembered for his iconic work at KABC, Los Angeles that lasted from 1966 to 1998. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison (who served as a talk show host on rocker KMET in Los Angeles between 1975 and 1986) issued the following statement: “Michael Jackson was one of the all-time greats – a founding father – of talk radio. During his 32-year run at KABC, his very presence gave the station prestige and national stature as one of – if not THE – first very rare commercial outlets fully committed to the spoken-word format. Michael Jackson and KABC were synonymous with the phrase ‘talk radio.’ It should also be pointed out that his heyday in the format began prior to the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987 which, in my opinion, marked the beginning of the modern era of talk radio.  That made him the member of an exclusive club of radio performers whose historical relevance and influence on things to come in the broadcasting industry are incalculable.” Jackson’s longtime producer Lyle Gregory remembers Jackson in a piece you can read here.

Monday Memo: Podcasting ‘Will Continue to Explode.’ In a marketing piece to the advertising community, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman sees “no signs of growth abating.” In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke outlines opportunities at the station level. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Early Warning. According to the “sales calendar,” January is over, and the first quarter is headed toward spring. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says it’s time for an early review of your sales game plan. “Like any other performance skill, practice, evaluation and repetition makes for improvement. The skills required for success in today’s sales environment may be different from the last few years.” Read about Lapa’s six questions you can ask yourself here.

Chicago Sports Personality Les Grobstein Dead at 69. Windy City sports media personality and WSCR “The Score” overnight talk host Les Grobstein was found dead at his home in suburban Elk Grove Village on Sunday, according to a report from Chicago media writer Robert Feder. He reports that WSCR operations director Mitch Rosen said Grobstein had been away from his show since last Wednesday due to illness. During his career, Grobstein was sports director at WLS-AM, Chicago for 10 years. He served at sports talk WMVP from 1991 to 1997. He began his overnight stint with WSCR in 2009.

Pioneering Talk Host Susan Bray Dies at 79. A number of news outlets are reporting that former talk host Susan Bray (pictured here on C-SPAN) died in her native Australia last week at age 79. The Des Moines Register has a nice story written by her longtime friend Julie Gammack, who would replace her on WHO-AM. During her career, Bray worked at such outlets as WHO-AM, Des Moines and WWDB-FM, Philadelphia. She earned the nickname the “Saucy Aussie” because of her ribald sense of humor. After a long talk radio career in the U.S., Bray, who had married American Ed DeLong, returned to her hometown of Mudgee, Australia where she and DeLong ran a bed and breakfast.

Maine Station Fires Sportscasters After Body Shaming Incident. The owner of Houlton, Maine radio station WHOU-FM has fired two sportscasters who were caught on a hot mic body-shaming female basketball players during a game between two high school teams. Jim Carter and Steve Shaw were calling the game while watching it on a livestream and made comments about the weight of some of the teenage girls. Carter is a former coach from another school and Shaw had been the athletic director at one of the schools playing in the contest that night. Carter told the Portland Press-Herald that he has apologized to the superintendent of one of the schools, adding, “I don’t even know what to say. Hopefully everybody can get through this and be OK.” Northern Maine Media owner Fred Grant posted a notice of the pair’s dismissal on the station website saying, in part, “Our mission has been to highlight the best of our communities, our schools, the programs we love, and most importantly – our students.  Last night, two broadcasters made comments that were not only inappropriate, they were also blatantly wrong.  Those broadcasters were terminated… We’ve heard from many of you, and many have shared clips of the event in question. While it’s wrong that it happened, I’m going to ask each of you to help us shift the focus back on the excellence we see every day in our students. If you’ve shared the video post, I’m hoping you will take it down, not to downplay the incident, but to better help all of our students move on to the important work and events in their lives.”

MIW Names Three to Board of Directors. Three new members are joining the board of directors for Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio. Haley Jones of MRC Data, Melissa Mitchell of Bonneville International, and Brittney Jackson of Urban One/Radio One are joining the board of the organization that “consists of top-level female radio professionals who use their experience, influence, and resources to help other women in radio develop management and leadership skills.” Jackson currently serves as the general and digital sales manager for Urban One/Radio One in Richmond where she is responsible for recruiting and developing new talent, leading multi-platform sales efforts, and increasing annual revenue. Jones serves as head of independents for MRC Data where she oversees independent labels, small radio groups, and managers with music intelligence for today. Mitchell is Bonneville International’s director of finance, corporate controller and is based in their Denver market. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “We are extremely fortunate to have not one, but three powerhouses join our board. Their success speaks for itself; it’s their willingness to pay it forward for the good of women and our industry that makes each so special and appreciated. I’d be remiss in not thanking the three members leaving our board as their terms end: Kay Olin, principal of Olin & Associates, and past MIW spokeswoman, whose constant leadership, dedication, and long term participation profoundly impacted MIW and me personally; Valerie Blackburn, principal at VKB Consulting, whose financial expertise led MIW through the arduous process of establishing a formal 501(c)(3) status; and Beth Neuhoff, president & CEO Neuhoff Media who provided invigorating energy and challenging ideas that MIW will push ever forward.”

Cowboys Great Chad Hennings Takes Part in SRN News Series. Pictured here is Salem Radio Network VP of news Tom Tradup (left) with three-time Dallas Cowboys Superbowl champion Chad Hennings. Hennings is in the SRN studios working with Tradup on a special, week-long series on SRN News aimed at getting men involved in Christian ministries. The five-part series titled, “Get Off the Bench,” begins airing today (1/17)

Tuscaloosa Sports Talker Jay Barker Arrested on Assault Charges. Former University of Alabama star quarterback Jay Barker was arrested in Nashville and charged with aggravated assault after allegedly trying to ram the car his estranged wife was riding in. Barker hosts the midday show on Townsquare Media’s sports talk WTUG-HD2/W256CG, Tuscaloosa “Tide 100.9” and is married to country artist Sara Evans. She filed for divorce from Barker in August.

COVID-19, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Texas Synagogue Assault, Djokovic Booted from Australia, NFL Playoffs, Winter Weather, and Martin Luther King, Jr Day Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The high rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the Supreme Court’s rejection of the Joe Biden vaccine mandate; the battle for control of Congress in November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence in the GOP; the Texas synagogue hostage incident; Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic is kicked out of Australia ahead of the Australian Open after violating the country’s COVID protocols; the NFL’s Wild Card weekend; intense winter weather hitting the Eastern U.S.; and the Martin Luther King, Jr weekend and holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.