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Friday, June 11, 2021

| June 11, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Taking Place Today. The 24th annual installment of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important conference, the Talkers Convention, is taking place today at between 8:00 am and 6:00 pm on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY. The event is a presentation of TALKERS in association with Hofstra’s multi-award-winning radio station, WRHU. More than 50 industry leaders from talk radio and cable news/talk TV will be speaking during a non-stop day of presentations and panel sessions. CHECK OUT THE AGENDA here. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison says, “We are delighted to be able to join forces again with our colleagues at Hofstra – the site of our very successful 2016 event – to be able to actually present a live conference in an extremely COVID-19 compliant environment which Hofstra is equipped to provide. The convention will boldly address key existential issues facing the talk radio and talk media industries at this dramatically critical juncture.” The conference has been limited to a smaller number of attendees and exhibitors than usual and only open to members of the working media and closely associated industries. For the sake of safety, all attendees will be required to comply with COVID-19 regulations in effect at the time of the actual conference regarding social distancing, the wearing of masks, and providing proof of vaccination and/or testing, etc.

WBZ, Boston Begins Celebration of 100 Years of Service. Boston’s all-news WBZ-AM today (6/11) begins a 100-day celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of its first day of broadcasting on September 19, 1921. The iHeartMedia station “celebrates 100 years of being a legendary cornerstone of the Boston media landscape,” broadcasting the latest headlines and news coverage on 1030 AM. The station will celebrate on-air and online with short stories and photos of memorable moments in WBZ’s rich history. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “For a station to broadcast for 100 years is nothing short of amazing. Listeners and advertisers consistently utilize this heritage brand as evidenced by WBZ’s continued ratings and revenue success. People lean into objective news sources to remain informed and none has been more dependable than WBZ NewsRadio.” iHeartMedia Boston vice president of news, talk & sports Rob Sanchez adds, “WBZ NewsRadio is defined by our strong, unmistakable presence in the communities we serve. As the media landscape continues to evolve, our reach has only increased as WBZ listeners have adopted streaming on smart devices and the iHeartRadio app.”

Elston Howard Butler Named to Lead Talk KBLA, Los Angeles. The new talk radio station being launched on KBLA-AM, Los Angeles by Tavis Smiley will debut on June 19, a.k.a. Juneteenth. Smiley Audio Media announces that it has hired Elston Howard Butler to serve as president and general manager of the station as well as president and CEO of Smiley Audio Media. Smiley says the launch of the station will give Los Angeles its “first and only ‘Unapologetically Progressive’ talk radio station for the African-American listening audience.” Butler most recently served as market manager for Taxi Productions’ urban contemporary KJLH-FM, Los Angeles “Radio Free 102.3.” Butler says, “I’m having a great run, but I’m not tired yet. The eyes of the future are looking back at us, hoping and praying that we get it right this time. I have been in and around LA my entire life, and now more than ever in this moment of racial reckoning for America, I feel a deep responsibility to help put our city on the right track.” He adds, “For me, that starts with helping to build a new talk radio station that will sound like our city and reflect the way it looks. KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ is a talk radio station that will give everyday people a voice, and advance conversations that matter. I am grateful to Tavis Smiley for his vision and stewardship of this historic Black-owned and operated media venture. The city is ready, our talented team is ready, I am ready.”

iHeartMedia Names Barb Neren Director of Marketing and Partnerships. In the Twin Cities market, iHeartMedia promotes Barb Neren from director of sponsorships and events to director of marketing and partnerships. In this role, Neren will be responsible for overseeing the market’s marketing, promotions, events and partnership efforts. She will report to market president Greg Alexander. He says, “I am excited to see Barb promoted into this expanded role. Her industry knowledge, both on the promotions and programming side of the business, will serve her well as she leads our marketing and partnership efforts.” The company says Neren’s leadership while events were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic showcased her ingenuity. She was able to create events to connect listeners with their favorite on-air personalities and artists whether that was via Facebook Live or virtual concerts like KDWB’s Star Party. Neren can also be heard Fridays on “KFAN 100.3” and weekends on Cities 97.1. Neren comments, “I am honored to lead this team. While we have loved finding new and creative ways to bring our listeners, advertisers and artists together virtually, we are looking forward to our events being live and in person once again.”

Audacy’s Cadence13 and American Public Media Enter Multi-Year Partnership. This new deal between Cadence13 and the podcast arm of American Public Media makes Cadence13 the exclusive podcast sales representative for APM. Additionally, the organizations will develop future on-demand programming initiatives, co-productions, and collaborative new revenue opportunities. APM podcast division general manager Lily Kim says, “Our organizations share a complementary vision for premium audio storytelling and we are delighted to form a partnership with an established powerhouse like Cadence13 that will help us expand our collective reach and pursue new ways to connect directly with our fans. A cornerstone of public media is the commitment to serve our listeners by providing meaningful content that enriches, informs and builds community. This partnership will further enhance our ability to deliver on that mission.” Cadence 13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran adds, “Cadence13’s objective is to align with the best. Partnering with APM, one of the most premium networks in the industry, brings together two of the most accomplished podcast companies for unmatched opportunities for scale and development. We are so proud to be joining forces with the entire team at APM and look forward to taking this to market together.”

Cumulus Media Partners with Adomni to Rep Uber OOH. This agreement between Cumulus Media and programmatic advertising platform Adomni (with 460,000 out of home digital screens nationally) makes Cumulus the exclusive sales partner to local businesses for the Uber OOH powered by Adomni cartop advertising network in markets where Cumulus operates radio stations. Uber OOH is the official Uber digital out-of-home national advertising network which, in partnership with Adomni, features two-sided internet-connected, video-enabled screens on the tops of Uber vehicles. Cumulus Media EVP of operations Dave Milner comments, “Cumulus Media is delighted by its selection as Adomni’s exclusive Uber OOH local sales partner. Not only does this product give advertisers a unique and creative new way to connect with consumers, but it is also a terrific addition to the portfolio of radio, streaming, podcasting and other digital marketing solutions we already offer local businesses to meet their marketing needs.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Way Media board of directors and president/CEO John Scaggs announces he is stepping down from his post, effective immediately. Scaggs says, “Leading through the pandemic is the hardest thing many of us have done. The board recognized this and recommended a season of rest for me, to which I’ve agreed. My wife Cathy and I plan to relax and catch our breath before finding another great Kingdom role to serve in.” Scaggs spent 18 years on the Christian network’s board prior to being named to president/CEO in 2017. Way Media COO Tim Dukes has been appointed interim president while the board prepares for a national search to select a permanent replacement…..Radio One Charlotte regional vice president Marsha Landess announces that news/talk WBT-AM/FM will partner with the Charlotte Knights on this year’s Fourth of July Skyshow. The annual July 4th holiday event has been celebrated every year since 1976 and is a staple event in the Charlotte community. Last year’s event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic…..ABC News Radio is providing live anchored coverage of next week’s Joe BidenVladimir Putin summit (6/15-16), with correspondent Karen Travers reporting live from Geneva, Switzerland. Correspondent Aaron Katersky will anchor from New York and be joined by ABC News contributors and experts on Russia and cybersecurity. Hourly status reports will be offered throughout the morning and as news warrants. ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will provide coverage of the summit, featuring the latest updates from ABC News’ reporters and analysts.

COVID-19 Vaccines, Origins, Stats & Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of June 7-11. The issues of vaccine hesitancy, the coronavirus origins, infection rates and politics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between voting legislation and the status of the senate filibuster, followed by the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack 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.

New York City Radio Sales Opportunity. The New York City radio stations owned and operated by Salem Media Group announce a sales opportunity. The company says, “NYC is REOPENING and sales are starting to boom – the hottest stations around belong to Salem Media Group’s NY cluster, come join us! If you were born to sell and want a great career with benefits and financial security, write directly to: Jerry Crowley, VP/GM at: Jcrowley@nycradio.com.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

| September 8, 2020

Monday Memo: Noise Fatigue = News Renaissance?  With one new nightly network newscast launched, and another debuting this month, consultant Holland Cooke – himself a cable host – welcomes new play-it-straight players to the TV news menu. Read Cooke’s post-holiday Tuesday edition of the Monday Memo here.

Presidential Race/Polls/Vote-By-Mail Debate, School Openings/College Outbreaks, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Portland Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election, the most recent polls, and the debate over voting by mail; the opening of schools across the country and the outbreaks of COVID-19 cases at numerous college campuses across the country; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, projections for future cases, and the progress on a vaccine; the ongoing violent clashes between protesters and police in Portland; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: 19 Years Ago This Friday. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about his memory of the terror attacks on the U.S. 19 years ago this Friday. Read it here.

WGN, Chicago Makes Surprise Programming Changes. The departure of Roe Conn from the afternoon drive slot on Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago was not entirely unexpected – it has been rumored that the station was considering moving on when Conn’s contract ends in December – but the timing of Friday’s announcement was a bit surprising. Conn is gone from his show, effective immediately, as is longtime WGN overnight personality Nick Digilio. Effective September 28, Steve Bertrand will host the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm “Chicago’s Afternoon News” program and Chicago radio legend John Records Landecker joins to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm program. Anna Davlantes’ early afternoon program expands to 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. In a press release, Bertrand says of the new show, “I am thrilled to get a chance to help create a show that will be equal parts informative and entertaining. With any luck, we’ll end the day a little smarter and have a good time getting there.” WGN Radio general manager Mary Boyle adds, “The importance of local news and information being shared by someone who is trusted by our audience is paramount during these challenging times. Steve Bertrand has always been committed to reporting the news in a fair and thoughtful way. This afternoon news-oriented program led by Steve is a welcome addition to our WGN Radio weekday lineup.”

Report: Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes Off SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network. According to a story in Crossing Broad, the “Tony Bruno Show with Harry Mayes” has been taken off of SiriusXM’s Dan Patrick channel as well as the Houston-based SportsMap Radio Network in the aftermath of Bruno’s recent comments about NBA players boycotting games and about LeBron James in particular. Deadspin wrote a very critical story about Bruno’s segment on the NBA and paraphrased Bruno in its headline that read, “NBA Players Can’t Read.” Bruno was critical of Deadspin’s twisting of his words in a piece published by Barrett Sports Media. Bruno can be heard saying, “Most of these guys can’t even read, for God’s sake.” BSM writes, “In context, it is clear that Bruno was being flippant and not as malicious as Deadspin portrays.” The Bruno and Mayes program has been removed from the website program schedules at both SiriusXM and SportsMap Radio Network.

Wendy Bell Off Air at Entercom’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. According to a piece at Patch.com, afternoon drive talk host Wendy Bell is off the air of Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. The move came after Bell said on the air that park rangers should shoot people who are vandalizing monuments to historical figures. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP Michael Spacciapolli said in a statement: “Entercom is the home to thousands of voices representing Americans of all races, ethnicities, gender identity, sexual orientation, beliefs and ability. We take very seriously our responsibility to provide a platform for our communities to engage in diverse and meaningful dialogue, debate and the right to freedom of speech, we do not condone the incitement of violence on any of our platforms. Members of our community have recently brought to our attention comments made by Wendy Bell that do not align with Entercom’s values. Wendy has been taken off air until further notice. Entercom Pittsburgh remains steadfast in our commitment to inclusive conversations that engage everyone in Pittsburgh while excluding any form of violence.”

Sterling: My Cousin Brucie Problem. Talk show host Walter M. Sterling (pictured at left) writes today about his Cousin Brucie “problem.” Sterling hosts the hour immediately following radio legend Cousin Bruce Morrow’s new Saturday evening program on WABC, New York. His “problem” is figuring out how to keep as much of Cousin Brucie’s audience as he can. Read more here.

Premiere Networks Puts Black Information Network into Syndication. The newly launched BIN: Black Information Network, billed by iHeartMedia as “the first and only 24/7 national all news audio service dedicated exclusively to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of news coverage with a Black voice and perspective,” is being made available to stations nationwide via Premiere Networks. “Black Information Network News” features :60 newscasts at the top and bottom of the hour, as well as breaking news, from experienced and award-winning Black journalists, including Vanessa Tyler, Mike Stevens, Madelyne Woods, Morgyn Wood, Mike “Devin” Dunston, Tanita Myers, and Julius White. “Black Information Network News” launched on September 7 on nearly 20 stations across the country, including WVON-AM, Chicago; KMAZ-FM, Houston; KMOJ-FM, Minneapolis; and more. Midway Broadcasting chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper says, “WVON is pleased to add the Black Information Network as our national news source. WVON’s 24-hour Black talk format is an important and impactful voice in the Chicago market and BIN is the perfect complement to keep our vibrant local community aware of what’s happening across the country. What happens in Black America matters. Telling our story matters. BIN’s timing is perfect!”

KNX, Los Angeles Celebrating 100 Years of Service. Beginning today (9/8), Entercom begins celebrating 100 years of KNX 1070 News Radio “Southern California’s only 24-hour news and traffic station” with the airing of “KNX: a Century of Covering Southern California,” a “history-rich, eight-part on-air series to commemorate its centennial anniversary and pay tribute to former employees who helped grow KNX 1070 News Radio into one of the nation’s premiere all-news brands.” On Thursday (9/10 – the station’s official anniversary) KNX will reimage itself for the day using memorable jingles, sounders and sound bites from the previous 100 years. The radio station launched on September 10, 1920 when Fred Christian started 6ADZ for the customers of his Electric Supply Company to listen to. Twenty months later in May 1922, the electric supply company was issued the call sign, KNX. Current KNX brand manager Ken Charles says, “KNX is a historic brand and I’m in awe of being a part of its illustrious history. This station is a local pillar, here before the Hollywood Sign, the Santa Monica Pier and the Rose Bowl. Just as iconic as any of our local treasures, KNX is a consistent part of the fabric of Southern California, serving as a breaking news resource for our communities, first responders and the nation.”

Jason Bailey Exits Sun Broadcast Group. Media exec Jason Bailey is leaving his role as president of Gen Media PartnersSun Broadcast Group to “move on from the network he founded in order to focus his attention on his company Reatro Ventures, the developer of affiliate research software, ARC.”  Reatro is co-owned by former Sun COO Julio Aponte who will also be taking a more active role in the start-up venture. Warren Friedland, the managing partner of Gen Media Partners, will be filling the role of president for Sun. Bailey says, “Today is bittersweet for me. I’m excited to join Julio and our team at Reatro to focus on the amazing software and app development projects we have on our plate. I’m also incredibly sad to leave my baby (Sun) for the very last time. It has been the honor of a lifetime to work with the great men and women at Sun these last 12 years. They are my family and will always be in my heart. I am certain that under the leadership of Warren along with new COO, Danno Wolkoff, Sun will continue to shine bright for years to come.”

iHeartMedia Re-Brands WNIO, Youngstown as ‘The Gambler.’ Youngstown, Ohio sports talk outlet WNIO re-brands from “The Sports Animal” to “1390 The Gambler,” effective immediately. iHeartMedia says, “‘The Gambler’ will focus on sports talk with a concentration on gambling, including top-of-the-hour wagering updates from VSiN and will feature programming from the BetR Network, including “My Guys in the Desert,” hosted by sportscaster Brent Musberger. The station will also broadcast programming from FOX Sports Radio, including “The Clay Travis Show,” “The Dan Patrick Show,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” and “The Lombardi Line,” hosted by former Cleveland Browns general manager, Mike Lombardi. iHM Youngstown market president Keith Kennedy says, “‘The Gambler’ is the future of sports radio. We are thrilled to bring this hot new format to The Valley and assist the Youngstown community with navigating the ever-growing world of sports wagering.”

WGAU, Athens’ Tim Bryant Honored with Enshrinement in Georgia Radio Hall of Fame. Radio news and on-air pro Tim Bryant – currently morning show host and news director for Cox Media Group’s WGAU, Athens – has been honored as a Georgia Radio Hall of Fame Career Achievement Inductee for his more than 30-year career in radio. Bryant is one of seven radio icons to have receive this top honor, which recognizes and celebrates individuals who have had a lasting impact on Georgia radio. The virtual ceremony was held on Friday (9/4). Cox Athens station director Kelsey Gresham says, “The name Tim Bryant is synonymous with WGAU and Athens, as his has been a steady and trusted voice on Athens’ radio station of record for a quarter of its more than 80-year history. Tim’s work goes well beyond the airwaves, as he is an integral part of the fabric of the Classic City. He is extremely involved in the community, often hosting forums and debates between political candidates, covering major local events and giving back as a volunteer to various community efforts as often as he can. We are so proud and honored to have him as part of the CMG team.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. This year’s 2020 iHeartRadio Music Awards were handed out via an on-air and social media special over the Labor Day weekend on iHeartRadio stations nationwide, and the iHeartRadio App, the all-in-one digital music, podcast, on demand and live-streaming radio service. Some of the winners included: Lizzo for “Song of the Year”; Billie Eilish for “Female Artist of the Year”; Jonas Brothers for “Best Duo/Group of the Year”; and Taylor Swift for “Album of the Year.”…..Beasley Media Group brings Delaware Valley radio personality Jessie Jordan to hot AC WJBR-FM, Wilmington “MIX 99.5” as co-host of “The Mix Morning Show with Johnny B and Jessie Jordan.” Jordan has worked on air at WIOQ-FM and WBEB-FM in Philadelphia prior to joining WJBR-FM this past summer. Station program director Eric Johnson says, “We are thrilled to have Jessie join Johnny B weekday mornings. She certainly added sparkle and feel good fun to this summer’s weekend programming. Now we get to start our day with her sunshine each morning!”…..Nick Cannon announces he’s returning to the helm of his Skyview Networks-syndicated radio program after taking time away for a period of reflection, dialogue, and study with some of America’s most notable Jewish community leaders and representatives. Skyview says, “During his hiatus, Nick worked to deepen his understanding of the issues long troubling the Black and Jewish communities and pledged from this point forward to be a leading voice and advocate for positive change, greater understanding. and unity.” Skyview president and COO Steve Jones says, “We are so appreciative of Nick Cannon’s affiliates for their commitment to Nick during his period of reflection. We recognize that he is an incredible entertainer with a powerful voice that will continue to command the interest and attention of radio listeners during this volatile time in America.”…..Connoisseur Media welcomes Janine Johns back into the company fold as general sales manager for its five-station cluster on Long Island that includes: hot AC WALK-FM, adult contemporary WKJY “K-JOY 98.3,” classic hits WBZO “103.1 MAX FM,” rock WWSK “94.3 THE SHARK,” and oldies WHLI-AM.  She’s been serving as senior account manager for Altice since 2015.