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.