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, “Shake Your Tree,” looks back at this past week of 12/20 – 12/24. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Jim Polito, talk show host, WXKS, Boston/WHJJ, Providence/WTAG, Worcester/WHYN, Springfield; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network /physician; Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV-Radio; 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 Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; 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.
Jared Merves Named SVP of Digital for Cumulus Media. Digital media pro Jared Merves joins Cumulus Media as senior vice president, digital, effective January 18, 2022. Merves was most recently chief revenue officer of Distributed Media Lab, which had acquired Wundervue, a company he founded to support media companies and advertising agencies in their digital transformation, operations, product development, and growth opportunities. In his new role with Cumulus, Merves will “lead and further shape the company’s digital strategy with a focus on generating revenue across multiple Cumulus Media platforms and channels.” Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “Jared has been at the forefront of digital media throughout his career and has helped many companies propel their businesses forward through innovation. Digital has been a critical and successful pillar of our business strategy, and Jared brings the experience, creativity and technical expertise to build on that foundation and catapult us to the next level.”
HC Holiday Extra: Guest Hosting a Show Next Week? – Consultant Holland Cooke offers some advice to talk hosts sitting in for full-timers on vacation – what he calls “Talk Radio Audition Week.” But if you’re guest-hosting, this tends to be a perennially slow news week. In this column, HC suggests four call-in topics. Read more here.
Connoisseur Media’s EVP/CFO Driscoll to Step Down; Price Named New CFO. The company’s co-founder and current executive vice president and chief financial officer, Michael O. Driscoll, will step down from his CFO role on December 31. Driscoll has been CFO of Connoisseur Media since July 2004 and has been working with CEO and co-founder Jeffrey D. Warshaw for more than 25 years. Driscoll has been with Connoisseur and Warshaw since he was hired as CFO of Connoisseur Communications in 1996. He has handled financing, acquisitions, human resources and operational issues and has worked hand-in-hand with Warshaw in building the current company over the last 17 years. He remains at Connoisseur as EVP but will be stepping back from day-to-day management duties. Warshaw says, “Mike and I have worked together for a long time. In the years working with him, we have occasionally had different opinions, but never harsh words or arguments. I am glad in this new role he will get a chance to take some more time for travel and things he had wanted to do, but I look forward to still working together. He will always be my partner.” Assuming the SVP/CFO role on January 1 will be Oliver G. Price. He joined Connoisseur in 2012 and was most recently vice president of finance and accounting.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Announces Three Inductees into Hall of Fame. Heritage Charlotte news/talk station WBT-AM/FM announces that it will induct three personalities into the WBT Hall of Fame on April 9, 2022. John Stokes (left), Bob Lacey (center), and Jim Szoke (right) will be inducted as part of the Urban One station’s 100th Anniversary ceremony. John Stokes joined WBT in September of 1987 as the station’s news director. For over 30 years, Stokes anchored the news in morning drive on the station, covering everything from the PTL scandal to Hurricane Hugo to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The original announcement of Stokes’ induction into the WBT hall of Fame was made upon his retirement from the station in 2019, but the celebration was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bob Lacey began his career at WBT in 1972 as one of the youngest regular on-air personalities ever on the station. Soon after, he began hosting the groundbreaking nighttime talk show, “Lacey Listens.” Three years later, he was promoted to host mornings, where he and partner Harold Johnson brought an edgy, modern sound to start the station’s daily lineup. His top-rated show continued until 1980 when he moved on to television. Lacey ultimately returned to radio as part of the nationally syndicated “Bob & Sheri Show.” Arriving at WBT in 1986, Jim Szoke later became the station’s sports director during a time of major growth for the region’s sports market, including the launches of Charlotte’s NBA and NFL franchises. In 1993, he helped secure the flagship station broadcast rights for WBT and two years later, he was named to the first-ever Carolina Panthers Radio Network crew, a role he still holds today. He has gone on to broadcast more games for the Panthers than any voice in the team’s history.
TALKERS News Notes. If you’re still looking for some holiday programming, CBS News Radio is offering a radio version of “It’s a Wonderful Life!” – produced by the National Press Club and American Heritage magazine. CBS manager, affiliate services Amy Bolton says there are no network spots. If you’re interested, reach out to her at: email@example.com…..The Independent Broadcasters Association elects four new members to its board of directors. Tom Burns, owner, Technicom & Sauk Valley Broadcasting; Gary Berkowitz, president, Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting; Steve Clendenin, owner & general manager, WHGM-AM/FM; and Jim Jacobs, president, Radio Richmond, LLC are joining the board and begin their three-year terms on January 1. Executive director Ron Stone says, “The IBA is committed to having a board that is representative of its members and elected by the members. Every year, one-third of the board turns over to keep fresh ideas flowing. No existing Board member may serve more than one three-year term. This is our first election since the IBA was formed in April 2020, and we had over a dozen candidates that accepted nomination to fill the four open seats.”
Salem Central Arkansas Listener Wins Mortgage Payments for a Year. The four Salem Media Group stations in central Arkansas, including news/talk KXDE-FM “The Answer,” partnered with Sax Homes to give one person the chance to have their mortgage payments made for all of 2022. Pictured above is winner Skylar Oswalt of Benton, Arkansas who was randomly chosen from more than 1 million entries.
Economy/Build Back Better Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 20-24. The state of the U.S. economy and Senator Joe Manchin’s thumbs down to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At this week was the raging COVID-19 Omicron variant, vaccines and mandates at #2, followed by the January 6 investigation at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during 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.
Newsmax Radio/TV Personality Rob Carson is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime talk radio broadcaster Rob Carson is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” According to Harrison, “Throughout a colorful career of ups and downs and ups again (supplemented for a while by moonlighting as a car salesman), Carson has proven to be a master of the fine art of mixing politics with humor. He’s done it for years on some of the biggest stations in the nation, including a stint at KCMO in Kansas City, in addition to being one of the creative forces behind the profoundly successful comedic element of the Rush Limbaugh show.” Today, Carson is enjoying success with a highly produced, satirical weekend program on Newsmax TV titled, “What in the World,” and was recently launched into daily syndication during Rush Limbaugh’s former hours of 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET as the initial offering on Newsmax’s new talk radio network. Harrison and Carson discuss conservative media, comedy and the tough times Carson’s resilient career has faced on the road to his present multi-media prominence. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.
Galaxy Media Names Jen Major-Quinn Leader for Utica, New York Operations. Sales and management pro Jen Major-Quinn is promoted to the position of team leader for Galaxy Media’s Utica office that operates sports talk “ESPN Utica-Rome” (WTLB-AM, WRNY-AM, and W243DY) and three music brands. Galaxy says, “In this new role, Jen will provide guidance and leadership to the Utica team, while also overseeing goals and budgets for that office. Throughout her six years with the company, Jen has played an active role in its growth.” Major-Quinn has been serving the company as a senior AE. Galaxy CEO Ed Levine adds, “Jen continues to be a role model within our company. We’re excited to elevate Jen to a leadership role as we further develop our team. With Jen focused on the growth of our local radio stations, digital, and sports marketing divisions, we know that Utica is positioned for success in 2022.”
Students End Hunger Strike on Promise of Senate Taking Up ‘Freedom to Vote Act’; SXM’s Joe Madison Says ‘Not Until a Bill Is Signed.’ Yesterday the Huffington Post published a piece about students who’ve ended their hunger strikes after Senator Chuck Schumer said the U.S. Senate would take up the Freedom to Vote Act in the next session.SiriusXM talk host Joe Madison, who stopped eating solid food in early November to protest the Senate’s failure to take up a national voting rights bill such as the Freedom to Vote Act. Madison tells TALKERS magazine that he’s not stopping yet. “It is too early to claim victory. I will end my hunger strike when the bill’s signed, not a day before.”
GBH Names Jamie Bologna Executive for ‘Boston Public Radio.’ Radio producer Jamie Bologna is named executive producer for GBH News’ “Boston Public Radio” hosted by Margery Eagan and Jim Braude. Bologna comes to GBH from crosstown public radio outlet WBUR, where he was the senior producer and studio director of “Radio Boston.” GBH general manager for news Pam Johnston says, “As GBH News continues to focus on delivering audiences the most interesting and distinctive local stories of the day, Jamie will bring fresh vision to one of our most popular programs. I’m delighted that our nationwide search ended locally, with an accomplished and award-winning journalist who has deep professional roots in the region and in public media.” During his career, Bologna has been honored with two regional Edward R. Murrow awards for his work in writing and reporting, and news documentary work. He also won recognition from the Public Media Journalists Association for his work on a podcast about the trail of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated radio program “Free Talk Live” adds new stations to its roster of affiliates. Host Ian Freeman tells TALKERS magazine that Disruptor Radio-operated WMLB-AM, Atlanta and simulcast WJFN-AM, Richmond & WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia add the live weekend shows while NRG Media’s KLIN-AM/FM, Lincoln, Nebraska picks up the daily weekday program…..Former Congressman and talk radio host J.D. Hayworth is doing a lot of fill-in work over the holidays. He tells TALKERS magazine that on Monday (12/27) he’ll be on KTSA, San Antonio in AM drive, on WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte in the midday and on WWTN-FM, Nashville in afternoon drive. He’ll do KTSA’s morning show Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in addition to hosting the nationally syndicated “The Schnitt Show” on Thursday…..New York public radio outlet WNYC announces new additions to its newsroom. Herb Pinder joins as the new editor of the race & justice unit. Pinder was most recently senior editor at the Asbury Park Press. Tiffany Hanssen is named weekend host and board operator. She joins WNYC from Minnesota Public Radio where she produced several shows, including “A Prairie Home Companion,” and regularly guest hosted the “MPR News with Kerri Miller” talk show. In her new role at WNYC, she’ll deliver newscasts during “Weekend All Things Considered,” provide support to the weekday “All Things Considered” team and serve as a backup “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” host.
All in the Salem Family. Pictured here is Salem Radio Network talk host Sebastian Gorka (right) with Patriot Mobile marketing/events coordinator Ellie Tradup (left). She is the daughter of SRN vice president/news and talk programming Tom Tradup. The photo was taken at Charlie Kirk’s “AmericaFest” conference in Phoenix on Monday (12/20). SRN talk host Dennis Prager also addressed the “AmericaFest” attendees, as did FOX News‘ Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump, Jr. and Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH).
COVID-19, Manchin vs Biden, Economy/Supply Chain, January Investigation, U.S.-Russia Relations, 5G & Plane Safety, and Kim Potter Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/21). The spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, overcrowded hospitals, vaccine mandates, holiday plans, and the NHL’s suspension of the season; West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin torpedoes President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; the state of the U.S. economy, the ongoing supply chain issues and Biden’s economic poll numbers; the House investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s suit to block a House subpoena for his phone records; tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; Boeing and Airbus ask U.S. to delay rollout of 5G over safety concerns; and the jury deliberates in the case of former police officer Kim Potter in the shooting death of Daunte Wright were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Salem Media Group’s Ed Atsinger Transitions to Executive Chairman; David Santrella Rises to CEO. Current Salem Media Group CEO Edward G. Atsinger III will transition to the newly created role of executive chairman of the board of directors, effective January 1, 2022 and David Santrella – currently president of broadcast media – will become chief executive officer. At the same time, David Evans – president of digital media and publishing – is promoted to chief operating officer. Salem Media Group’s current chairman, Stuart W. Epperson, will resign from Salem’s board of directors, transitioning to the position of chairman emeritus and Stuart W. Epperson, Jr. will join the board of directors, filling the vacancy created by Mr. Epperson Senior’s resignation. In the executive chairman role, Atsinger will be chairman of the board, assuming leadership of the board of directors while providing oversight and guidance to both the CEO and COO. Atsinger will continue to be engaged full-time and focus more of his attention on macro strategy and planning, M&A, external relationships, government affairs and leadership development. He comments, “I am pleased to serve as executive chairman and to oversee the succession to the next generation of leadership of our company. I am looking forward to working with the executive team to continue Salem’s vitally important mission of serving the media needs of the audiences interested in Christian content and public policy programming with a traditional conservative focus. With Salem well-positioned for continued growth into the future, now is the right time to take the next step in implementing our long-term leadership transition. We have a tremendously talented, deep and dedicated leadership team at Salem. David Santrella and David Evans each have played a critical role in developing and executing the strategy in place today, and I am confident they have the vision, skills, experience and capabilities necessary to provide continued leadership of Salem well into the future.” Speaking about his new role, David Santrella states, “I am deeply honored to have been appointed as Salem’s next CEO. I look forward to working in close partnership with David Evans to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that exist in today’s media landscape, to further the mission of our company and to grow our business. I am blessed that I will have Ed alongside me in my new role.”
WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago Names Cisco Cotto Morning Drive Anchor. Chicago all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM appoints Cisco Cotto the morning drive news anchor, taking over for Pat Cassidy, who recently announced his retirement. Audacy Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson comments, “We are excited to welcome Cisco into morning drive. He has proven to be a true professional and teammate for the last seven years both reporting and anchoring on WBBM. Not only does he bring a bright energy but is a great communicator and strong journalist – the perfect combination as Chicagoans wake up each morning.” About his new role, Cotto says, “Pat and Felicia [Middlebrooks] spent many years as voices Chicagoans trusted to wake them up with all of the most important stories to start their day. I’ll work hard to maintain what they built. Thanks to Ron Gleason, Greg Solk, and Rachel Williamson for trusting me with such an important show on this great station. I look forward to continuing to be a small part of the award-winning news team on WBBM for many years to come.” Assuming the midday and noon business hour anchoring position is Rob Hart, who has been with WBBM since 2016.
WGAC, Augusta and Talk Host Austin Rhodes Sued for Defamation. A suit has been filed in Gwinnett Superior Court in Georgia by James Faller II who says in the complaint that WGAC, Augusta talk host Austin Rhodes defamed him through “false, malicious and defamatory” statements. Faller appears to be representing himself as the complaint is not signed by an attorney representing him. Faller alleges that Rhodes called him a “fraud,” “weirdo,” and “felon” and says Rhodes spoke with local politicians and warned them about associating with Faller. A story in the Augusta Press indicates that Faller admits to having served two years in federal prison on a felony conviction but says that he’s actually a whistleblower and he went to prison due to a government conspiracy against him. Faller also alleges that Rhodes’ refusal to allow him to appear on his radio show violates his First Amendment rights. Beasey Media Group is also named in the suit and it’s expected the company will seek to have the suit dismissed.
KHTK-AM, Sacramento Announces On-Air Changes for the New Year. A series of talent moves at Bonneville’s Sacramento sports talk KHTK-AM will take place beginning January 4, 2022. Current afternoon drive host Jason Ross will move to mornings to join Carmichael Dave. At the same time, Justin Marshall will move away from the on-air portion of his role to solely focus on his duties as assistant program director and morning show producer. The afternoon drive show will be hosted by program director Nick Cattles who will be joined by a rotating cast of co-hosts each day from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.
BIA Advisory Predicts Radio Ad Spend Will Rise 5.5% to $13.54 Billion in 2022. Looking ahead to 2022, BIA Advisory Services reveals it has increased its U.S. Local Advertising Forecast for the year to $173.3 billion from its earlier estimate of $161.5 billion issued in the late summer. The 2022 forecast indicates an 11.4% increase over 2021 due to faster than anticipated growth in digital advertising and a strong political year. Traditional media ad revenue still maintains a slight advantage over digital at 50.8% of the ad spend ($88 billion), while digital media will get 49.2% of the ad spend at $85 billion. Looking at the radio industry, BIA predicts that radio ad spend will be $13.54 billion, a 5.5% increase over 2021’s $12.79 billion. For 2021, radio’s ad spend on over-the-air will be $10.91 billion with $1.88 billion coming from digital (website, streaming and mobile apps). Next year, radio ad spend is forecast to be $11.37 billion for over-the-air and $2.17 billion for digital. BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “2021 has been a year of fluctuations. The first two quarters of the year saw strong growth, with some stalling in Q3 once the Delta variant appeared late summer. We’ve taken pandemic concerns plus inflation and supply chain issues into account to prepare our local media estimates and, overall, we are bullish on ad revenue for 2022.”
WTOP-FM, Washington Was Top Radio Biller for 2020. As a sidebar to the previous story about BIA Advisory Services’ Local Advertising Forecast, the company has revealed the top radio billers for last year. The top-billing station for 2020 was Bonneville’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington with $62 million. Rounding out the top 10 were: iHeartMedia’s KIIS-FM, Los Angeles and WLTW-FM, New York with $38.9 and $30.8, respectively; Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was #4 with $30 million; Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago was #5 with $29.7 million; Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston was #6 with $29.6 million; iHeartMedia’s KBIG, Los Angeles and WHTZ, New York were #7 and #8 with $29.35 million and $29.3 million, respectively; Audacy’s all-news WINS-AM was #9 with $28.1 million and Audacy’s sports talk WFAN, New York was #10 with $28 million.
COVID-19, Build Back Better, 2022 Midterm Elections, Trump Sues NY AG, January Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Potter/Maxwell Trials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). The Omicron coronavirus variant sweeps across the U.S., the push for booster shots, and the pushback against mandates; Senator Joe Manchin’s blow to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; Republicans savoring early predictions of taking back Congress in the 2022 midterm elections; former President Donald Trump sues New York attorney general Letitia James to prevent investigation of his businesses; the investigation into the January attack on the Capitol; Russia’s ongoing military aggression at the Ukraine border; and the trials of former police officer Kim Potter in the shooting of Daunte Wright and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: Happy NEWS Year? “Not likely,” consultant Holland Cooke predicts; adding “that spells opportunity…for now. THEN what?” In this week’s column, HC suggests how recent Chris Wallace and Brian Williams sign offs point to what might be “talk radio’s next format.” Read it here.
Pending Business: What You See Is What You Get. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says that despite the significantly increased traffic on our roads as more people return to working away from home – which means more people listening to radio in their cars – radio sales pros may still have plenty of inventory to sell. He says it’s time to review four basic concepts that help any talk radio seller fill those avails. Read it here.
Audacy Renews Employment Agreements with CEO David Field and COO Susan Larkin. The company has entered into new employment agreements with president and CEO David J. Field and EVP and chief operating officer Susan Larkin. In a filing with the Securities Exchange Commission, Audacy reports that Field will continue to serve as the company’s president and CEO and becomes effective January 1, 2022. The Field agreement has an initial term of three years with automatic one year extensions following the initial term unless either party provides prior notice of non-extension. Field’s annual base salary will be $1,350,000 and a target annual performance bonus of up to 200% of Field’s base salary. Field is eligible to receive a one time “EBITDA Bonus” of $3,000,000 only if, prior to December 31, 2024, the company’s EBITDA for the immediately preceding consecutive 12-month period exceeds $400,000,000. Field is also entitled to an equity grant of 1,000,000 restricted stock units (“RSUs”), subject to the company’s shareholders’ approval of a new Company equity incentive plan at the 2022 annual shareholders meeting. Seventy five percent (75%) of these RSUs have performance-based vesting conditions while the remaining twenty five percent (25%) have time-based vesting conditions. Fields’ performance-based RSUs come after achieving company stock price increases. He receives 250,000 RSUs for hitting the stock price of $6.00; 250,000 for hitting $9.00 per share and 250,000 for reaching the $12.00 per share threshold. Audacy also retroactively amended EVP and COO Susan R. Larkin that increases her annual salary to $750,000 and applies retroactively from June 1, 2021 through May 4, 2023. Her agreement further amends the provision related to future equity grants so that Larkin will be entitled to an increased amount of future grants of restricted stock and/or stock options with an aggregate annual target amount of $500,000.
KBOI-AM, Boise to Add FM Signal. Effective January 3, 2022, Cumulus Media’s Boise news/talk KBOI-AM will have an FM simulcast as current sports talk KTIK-FM becomes KBOI-FM. The sports talker keeps its FM signal (a simulcast of KTIK-AM) on FM translator K237HA at 95.3 FM. In a statement, KBOI program director Nate Shelman says, “Being a part of any positive station launch or new venture is exciting. Our audience has asked for this over the years and it’s exciting to see KBOI return to the FM dial after KBOI-FM switched call signs to KQFC in 1985. The growth in the Treasure Valley and changes in technology have warranted the need for an FM outlet. Interference from powerlines being the most prevalent.”
KABQ-AM, Albuquerque to Flip to Sports Talk. Albuquerque talk station KABQ-AM is flipping to sports talk as “FOX Sports 1350 AM”, effective Monday, January 3. The iHeartMedia station will broadcast FOX Sports Radio programming around the clock on weekdays and weekends. “FOX Sports 1350 AM” will feature “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with LaVar Arrington, Brady Quinn & Jonas Knox,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Doug Gottlieb Show” “Straight Outta Vegas with R.J. Bell,” “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show.” iHeartMedia market president Hope Romero says, “We’re thrilled to be able to bring the sports talk leader back to Albuquerque. FOX Sports Radio leads the industry with the biggest names and best shows.”
Audacy Names Sarah Foss Chief Technology Officer. The company promotes Sarah Foss to chief technology officer, a role in which she’ll spearhead Audacy’s efforts to innovate and differentiate its products and services via new technological capabilities. The company says that Foss will manage Audacy’s key technology initiatives including: software development, ad tech, business intelligence and analytics, data solutions, and Audacy’s recently acquired live and on-demand audio streaming business, AmperWave. Foss had been serving as Audacy’s chief information officer since joining the company in 2020. Audacy CFO and EVP of strategic initiatives Rich Schmaeling comments, “Audacy continues to invest in technology to create innovative offerings for its listeners, advertisers and clients. We are excited to have Sarah leading these critical areas to drive our transformation faster and further.” Foss states, “Audacy is in the enviable position that we have unique content, great platforms, and an appetite for transformative growth. I am excited that technology is seen as an accelerant and differentiator for us at Audacy.”
Biden’s Build Back Better Plan/Economy, COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Civil War Fears, Russian Ukraine Aggression, Kim Potter Trial, Ghislaine Maxwell Trial, and Spider Man Film Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Negotiations over Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan between the White House and Senator Joe Manchin break down and the cooling predictions for the U.S. economy; the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, vaccines and mandates; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol; retired U.S. generals warn of possible U.S. civil war; Russia’s military aggression toward the Ukraine; the trial of former police officer Kim Potter; the defense rests in the trail of Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell; and the new Spider Man movie’s blockbuster opening were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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, “Whether the Weather, Whatever,” looks back at this past week of 12/13 – 12/17. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV-Radio; Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/medical podcaster; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; 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 Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; 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.
WJR, Detroit Finalizes New Lineup as Next Year’s 100th Anniversary Approaches. Detroit news/talk 760 WJR announces it has finalized its new on-air programming lineup, “just in time for its 100-year anniversary celebration in 2022.” This week, the Cumulus Media talk station launched the new “All Talk with Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz” program in the late morning daypart, capping “a year of evolutionary moves that position WJR for its next 100 years serving the Detroit area with the best news, information, opinion and analysis.” The company says the retooling of WJR was accelerated by the retirement last December of longtime news director, Dick Haefner, the February death of Rush Limbaugh, and the retirement of 50-year station veteran Frank Beckmann in March. Changes made this year include Ann Thomas being promoted from senior executive producer to assistant program director of WJR. Paul W. Smith, who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary as WJR morning host, is joined by co-host Sean Baligian, who has spent most of his career in Detroit sports, including as pre- and post-game host of WJR’s Detroit Lions coverage. Laura Hessen moves from the “Guy Gordon Show” to serve as executive producer of “All Talk with Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz.” Nick Roddy, former Detroit Lions broadcast producer, takes the reins as executive producer of the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm “Guy Gordon Show.” Blake Majchrzak joins WJR as studio & audio engineer for the “Mitch Albom Show.” Also, FOX News Radio has been added as the WJR network news provider and WJR news reporter/anchor Marie Osborne, WJR producer Chris Renwick and former WJR news reporter Lloyd Jackson sign on as the first WJR senior news analysts, covering, writing and producing stories and presenting them across the day within the local WJR talk shows. The senior news analysts present the story, add analysis and participate in discussions with the WJR talent and listeners. WJR is also announcing major upgrades on weekends by adding legendary Detroit morning show host Jim Harper with his “Great Michigan Weekend Show.” Weekday specialty programming additions also include four-time Stanley Cup champion Darren McCarty, WJR sports fan favorite Steve Courtney and popular local television personality Jamie Edmonds. Cumulus Detroit VP and market manager Steve Finateri says, “We are extremely proud of this team, their credentials, their integrity and their ability to represent WJR and Cumulus in the tradition expected by all Michiganders! The new talent we’ve added around our longtime superstars Paul W. Smith, Guy Gordon and Mitch Albom makes WJR one of the most powerful and trusted media outlets among all peers. Individually they each are ‘A’ players with big brands, and as a collective group of broadcasters, we feel we have the absolute strongest lineup in Michigan radio, maybe anywhere in the country.”
Keith Abrams Joins Alpha Media Portland as Content Director. Programming pro Keith Abrams joins Alpha Media Portland’s leadership team as content director, effective January 3, 2022. Abrams will oversee programming for KXL “FM News 101,” KUFO “Freedom 970,” and sports talk KXTG-AM “750 The Game.” Abrams was most recently SVP of programming and brand coordinator for iHeartMedia Cleveland. Alpha Media Portland operations manager Gene Sandbloom comments, “Celebrating its 95th year, KXL is one of the best performing local news radio stations in the country, with one of the smartest and highly motivated news teams anywhere. After an exhaustive search, we are very happy to welcome Keith Abrams to lead our Alpha Media news/talk stations in Portland. His knowledge and lifelong commitment to great news is most welcome, as is his extensive format experience and love for sports which will be a great addition to our team at ‘750 The Game.’”
SuperTalk Mississippi Names J.T. Mitchell News Director. News pro and freelance journalist J.T. Mitchell returns to SuperTalk Mississippi Media as news director for SuperTalk Mississippi News. Mitchell served as a journalist and digital specialist at SuperTalk Mississippi Media from 2019-2021. Most recently, Mitchell was the managing editor of Our Mississippi Home while pursuing various freelance journalism stories around the world. Mitchell says, “When [president and CEO] Kim [Dillon] and [founder and chairman] Steve [Davenport] reached out to me about this position, I was blown away—honored actually. SuperTalk already has a great news team, and I look forward to working together to bring Mississippians timely, hard-hitting, and exclusive news from across the state.” Dillon says, “We are excited to have J.T. return to the team here at SuperTalk. His energy, hard work ethic, and attention to detail will move our company and news department forward as we welcome in a new year.” In this role, Mitchell will oversee news programming on 48 SuperTalk and affiliate radio stations and on SuperTalk Mississippi News’ digital media platforms.
WVON, Chicago’s Todd Ronczkowski Retires from Broadcasting. After a 35-year radio career, Todd Ronczkowski is leaving the business, and his role as program manager at Midway Broadcasting’s talk WVON, Chicago, to take a position with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department assisting with community outreach efforts. Ronczkowski has been serving with WVON for the past 13 years. Prior to that, he served with Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM as a producer. Midway Broadcasting’s Melody Spann Cooper comments, “I will miss Todd tremendously because he became a jack-of-all-trades for the company. He gave a lot and learned a lot which will be a tremendous asset to him in his new role at the Sheriff’s Department. Most importantly, it will allow him to spend more time with his family.” WVON has named Delvin Randall interim program manager.
FOX Sports’ LaVar Arrington Launches ‘Up On Game Presents’ Podcast. Former NFL great and current sports talk personality LaVar Arrington – co-host of FOX Sports Radio’s “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with Brady Quinn and Jonas Knox” and co-host of the nationally syndicated weekend program/podcast “Up On Game with TJ Houshmandzadeh and Plaxico Burress” – announces today the launch of the “Up On Game Presents” podcast. Produced in partnership with FOX Sports Radio, the podcast is an extension of the network’s “Up On Game” program. Arrington says, “I’m super excited to kick off ‘Up On Game Presents’ with this entertaining and engaging lineup of wide-ranging personalities and shows. I’m so proud of what we’re accomplishing with the FOX Sports Radio and iHeartRadio team, and I’m confident listeners will love what they hear!” Featured within the “Up On Game Presents” podcast feed will be: “Conversations with a Legend,” hosted by Arrington; “Pritty Left Hook,” hosted by Rhett Butler; “Straight Facts,” hosted by James Jackson, Jake Galli, “Stat” Matt Robinson and Kyle Syrek; and “What Are Those?” with producer, writer and filmmaker Adam Butler.
Triton Digital Releases U.S. Podcast Report for November 2021. Global technology and services provider Triton Digital announces the release of the latest U.S. Podcast Report for the November 2021 reporting period (November 1 – November 28, 2021), as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The Top Network Reports are ranked by Average Weekly Downloads and Average Weekly Users, in accordance with v2.1 of the IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines. The Top 20 Podcast Networks for the period are: Stitcher at #1, NPR at #2, Audacy Podcast Network at #3, and Cumulus Podcast Network at #4. Among The Top 100 Podcasts are: “NPR News Now” at #1, “The Ben Shapiro Show” at #2, and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” at #3. You can see all 20 of the top networks and all 100 of the top podcasts here.
TALKERS News Notes. With the end of 2021 around the corner, ABC Audio is offering end-of-year special programming in both long-form and short-form versions. Long-form programming includes: “Playback 2021,” a one-hour special anchored by ABC News correspondents Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky that delves into the biggest news reports of 2021; “2021: The Year in Review,” a three-hour look back at the year’s top stories, told utilizing sound from ABC News Radio’s special programming and breaking news reports; and “World News This Year,” a special edition of the regular show, “World News This Week”…..SiriusXM is presenting post-season college football, including the Division I FBS bowl games and highlighted by the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship. On New Year’s Eve, subscribers hear both College Football Playoff Semifinal games – the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic featuring #4 Cincinnati vs. #1 Alabama (3:30 pm ET), followed by #3 Georgia vs. #2 Michigan in the Capital One Orange Bowl (7:30 pm ET). Two weeks later, on January 10, listeners will get live play-by-play as the winners of those two games face off in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.
Inflation, Build Back Better, the Supply Chain and Labor Force Combine as Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 13-17. The high consumer prices, negotiations over President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan, the effects of the damaged supply chain, and the U.S. labor force came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the COVID-19 Omicron variant, vaccines, the winter resurgence, and stats, followed by the January 6 investigation, Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP and predictions about the 2022 mid-term and 2024 presidential elections at #3. 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 Position Open. This Washington, DC-based position is for an experienced full-time reporter. FOX News Media says, “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 pace, deadline driven environment. Most importantly, you have great editorial judgement and the ability to break important news stories.” Learn more and apply here.