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Friday, September 17, 2021

| September 17, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “East Side, West Side,” looks back at this past week of 9/13 – 9/17. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta; Jimmy Failla, talk show host, FOX News RadioRudy Giuliani, talk show host, WABC, New York/former Mayor of New York City; 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; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Be the Best Talent Coach: Maximize Potential. Radio consultant Jon Quick says that many programmers just don’t do it, “though it’s the most important part of their role, or at least it used to be. Coaching talent for great preparation, powerful execution, compelling communication, audience retention, and better relating to the listener is something many PDs say they just don’t have the time for. Programmers are often so caught up in corporate matters or minutiae that they really don’t have the time by the end of the day.” He adds that “surprisingly, many programmers and personalities believe coaching is beneath them or they don’t know how to coach, because many PDs never actually learned how to do it.” Read his advice here.

WBZ-AM, Boston Celebrates Centennial on Sunday (9/19). Boston all-news outlet WBZ-AM “NewsRadio” is celebrating its 100th anniversary on Sunday (9/19). The iHeartMedia station says it will cap its celebration with a day of vignettes spanning memorable moments from its first 100 years. 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 VP of news, talk & sports Rob Sanchez says, “‘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.” The station also received an official commemoration letter from President Joe Biden, who wrote, “I send my warmest greetings to ‘WBZ NewsRadio’ as you celebrate your 100th anniversary. As one of America’s oldest radio stations, ‘WBZ NewsRadio’ has kept generations of listeners informed with the latest stories and breaking news. Radio has long been an important aspect of American life – narrating the triumphs and tragedies that have defined America – as well as the day-to-day news that keeps listeners engaged with their communities. Over the decades, radio stations like ‘WBZ NewsRadio’ have been on the forefront of journalism, providing entertainment and valuable information to the people who tune in throughout the day.”

‘NPR News Now,’ ‘Crime Junkie,’ and ‘Ben Shapiro Show’ Top Podcasts for August According to Triton Digital. The August 2021 U.S. Podcast Report from Triton Digital ranks the top 100 podcasts based on average weekly downloads and NPR’s “NPR News Now,” AdLarge/cabana’s “Crime Junkie,” and Cumulus Podcast Network’s “The Ben Shapiro Show” were the top three U.S. podcasts, respectively. Other programs from radio-affiliated podcast divisions that made the chart include: “The Dan Bongino Show” (#8, Cumulus Podcast Network), “Pod Save America” (#12, Audacy Podcast Network), “FOX News Radio Newscast” (#13, FOX News Podcasts), and “The Charlie Kirk Show” (#15, Salem Podcast Network). See more, including the report’s ranking of the top 15 podcast networks (based on average weekly downloads) here.

iHeartMedia’s Panama City News/Talker Announces New Frequencies. Panama City, Florida news/talk outlet WFLA has new dial positions. iHeartMedia says that “FOX Sports NewsRadio WFLA” changes dial positions and rebrands to the new “96.3-102.5 WFLA Panama City’s Talk Radio,” effective immediately. The station’s signal emanates from WPAP-HD2 and is heard on translators W242BF at 96.3 FM and W273DU at 102.5 FM. The station’s lineup includes: “The Morning Show with Preston Scott,” “The Glenn Beck Program”, “The Schnitt Show”, “The Joe Pags Show,” “The Jesse Kelly Show,” and “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show.” iHeartMedia SVP of programming John Lund comments, “We are excited to continue providing Panama City with the quality news and information that they have come to expect from the WFLA brand. Now it’s available on two broadcast signals and in HD, rather than just one.”

NAB Produces PSAs Promoting the Importance of Local Broadcast Journalism. The National Association of Broadcasters unveils new spots designed to underscore the importance of fact-based broadcast radio and television journalism “at a time when misinformation is running rampant on social media. The new spots highlight the work of broadcasters to deliver trusted, reliable coverage of the local, national and global events that affect our lives.” NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith adds, “At a time when misinformation and disinformation are all too common online, the local journalism broadcasters provide is more important than ever – we deliver the facts Americans need to know without fear or favor. We want to remind the public and our nation’s leaders about the indispensable role broadcasters play in our local communities every day as the most trusted source of news.” Stations can download the spots here. The NAB says, “The new spots were created in response to research showing the business practices of big tech companies prevent local stations from recouping their investment in local journalism, as these platforms exert enormous influence over what online content is eligible to be monetized. At the same time, the tech giants are contributing to the spread of misinformation as their algorithms favor controversial content over high-quality journalism, the study shows. The new ‘We Are Broadcasters’ spots seek to remind policymakers and the public that TV and radio stations invest significant resources in local journalism for their communities, whether they are shining a light on corruption or preparing the public for a weather emergency.”

October 5 Announced as Date for Virtual Gracie Awards. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation will hold the 46th Annual Gracie Awards program virtually on Tuesday, October 5, at 7:00 pm ET at @AllWomenInMedia on Facebook. Hosted by actress and comedian Lauren Ash, the annual gala will feature performances by GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Jewel and GRAMMY award-winning American Gospel Singer CeCe Winans, honoring this year’s award winner’s whose work continues to influence and further the achievements of all women in media. This year’s awards coincide with AWM’s 70th anniversary, which includes the launch of a VOICES OF COURAGE digital tapestry, a commemorative logo and a social media campaign using #VoicesOfCourage and #70YearsOfCourage. Since its inception in 1951, AWM, originally known as American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT), has been committed to inspiring, educating, celebrating accomplishments and expanding networks of women across all segments of media. AWMF president Becky Brooks says, “Lauren’s comedic spirit and incredibly talented performers will create a Gracies to remember…and worthy of our 70th anniversary celebration. We will inspire and entertain our friends, fans, and followers with this year’s virtual event, and look forward to raising a glass together, in person next year to celebrate the accomplishments of women in media.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago news/talker WLS-AM is adding a travel show to its weekend program schedule. The Cumulus Media station debuts “Let’s Go with Catie Keogh” Sunday at 7:00 pm. Keogh is an Emmy Award-winning host and executive producer who is also a digital contributor for Travel + Leisure Magazine and National Geographic Magazine. Keogh says, “I am so excited to be back on WLS with my new show, ‘Let’s Go with Catie Keogh.’ My show is a place to escape, a place to learn and a place to dream about your next travel adventure around the globe and close to home. I am looking forward to sharing Chicago’s best-kept secrets again, too!”…..According to data from Comscore, FOX News Digital earned the top spot in both multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views in August, reaching nearly 1.8 billion multiplatform views and approximately 3.7 billion multiplatform minutes. FOX News says that breaking news coverage surrounding the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, led by FOX News Channel’s national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin and foreign correspondent Trey Yingst, helped drive FOX News Digital to its second-best month of the year, following January 2021…..Audacy’s C13Features announces that critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated actress Kate Mara and SAG Award-nominated actor Adam Scott have signed on to star in the psychological thriller, “Ghostwriter,” that is currently finalizing all production plans and will debut worldwide on Monday, December 6. C13Features partnered with Best Case Studios on the project and Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “Kate Mara and Adam Scott are incredible actors whose abilities and voices make them the perfect fit for this multi-layered thriller. C13Features is looking for the best material, with ambitious expectations and vision, with the high-quality content and production of this feature, and with Kate and Adam leading the way, we believe that ‘Ghostwriter’ will leave listeners on the edge of their seats.”

COVID-19 Boosters, Vaccines, Masks & Mandates Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 13-17. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., debate over COVID-19 boosters, and vaccine & mask mandates combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the California recall election that was won by Governor Gavin Newsom, followed by the January 6 Commission investigation into the attack on the Capitol tied with Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally in Washington. 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.

95.5 WSB, Atlanta Seeks Assistant PD. Atlanta news/talk outlet WSB-AM/WSBB-FM “95.5 WSB” has an opportunity for an assistant program director. The station says, “95.5 WSB, one of the most successful and respected news & talk radio brands in the country, is looking for an assistant program director. This person assists the director of branding and programming in executing the 95.5 WSB programming and news strategy to include managing and developing news & talk talent, hosts, producers, the operations team, imaging producers, as well as coordinating strategic goals and input with the news director, manager of traffic operations, and digital content lead. This role requires a strong balance of strong people skills, initiative, creativity, and strategic and tactical command; it includes handling of assigned administrative duties, personnel management, coordination of schedules, and promotions (sales and marketing).” See more about this position and apply here.

Thursday, August 20, 2020

| August 20, 2020

Cincinnati Reds Broadcaster Thom Brennaman Suspended For Gay Slur. Cincinnati Reds play-by-play broadcaster Thom Brennaman – son of National Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman – has been suspended for his using a gay slur during Wednesday night’s Reds-Royals broadcast. Apparently, Brennaman thought he was not on the air when he said, referencing and unknown place, that it is “one of the fag capitals of the world.” Brennaman apologized and left the broadcast before the completion of the double-header. The Reds issued the following statement. “The Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman. He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts.” During his apology, Brennaman implied that he realizes this may cost him his job. “I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am. It never has been. And I’d like to think maybe I could have some people that could back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.” Brennaman is part of the broadcast team for the Reds Radio Network and television’s FOX Sports Ohio.

Entercom Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Detroit’s WWJ-AM. Detroit all-news outlet WWJ-AM is celebrating 100 years on the air today (8/20). Entercom says it’s proud to honor “Detroit’s news leader and America’s first continuous broadcasting commercial radio station.” Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “WWJ has served as an important news source for Detroiters for 100 years and continues to provide the most credible and comprehensive multiplatform news coverage relevant to our city. We look forward to honoring our station’s rich history by reflecting on key moments with integral talent and welcoming distinguished guests to celebrate with us. I congratulate and thank the hardworking staff of WWJ and look forward to another 100 years as Detroit’s go-to news source.” Today WWJ will air special programming, including clips of major news stories the station has covered over the past 100 years and interviews with politicians and business leaders including Entercom president and CEO David Field, FCC chairman Ajit Pai, and former Detroit police chief Ike McKinnon. Highlighted in the programming will be on-air pros who have been with the station for over 25 years, including morning anchor Roberta Jasina, auto reporter Jeff Gilbert, city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and business reporter Murray Feldman. There’s a nice piece in the Detroit News accompanied by lots of vintage photos of the station from the paper’s files. It also delves into the hotly contested debate over which was the first commercial radio station in the U.S., KDKA in Pittsburgh, KCBS in San Francisco or WWJ? The Detroit NewsMichael H. Hodges writes that WWJ being the first is disputed by KDKA and KCBS, but “it mostly comes down to a matter of technical definition. KDKA got its federal license a few months before WWJ in 1921, and that’s its line in the sand. But 8MK, as WWJ was known in 1920, was on the air with an amateur license well before Pittsburgh.” Entercom says WWJ is “America’s first continuous broadcasting commercial radio station” and boasts such accomplishments as “being the first radio station to broadcast election returns on August 31, 1920, the first sportscast on September 1, 1920, the first missing person report on March 15, 1922, the first Detroit Tigers play-by-play broadcast on April 19, 1927, and more.”

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post is reporting that former Howard Stern show cast member “Stuttering” John Melendez is suing SiriusXM for “using his name, likeness and voice without permission on channels dedicated to Stern.” Melendez left the Stern program in 2004 – prior to Stern joining SiriusXM in 2005 – to become the announcer on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” The suit was filed in federal court in New York complaining that the airing of old Stern programs violates California law and “his right of publicity.”…..Westwood One and PodcastOne founder Norm Pattiz is featured in the August-October issue of the investor-targeted magazine Luckbox. The theme of the issue is “Podcasts Rising” and in the interview piece, Pattiz discusses his building of Westwood One in the late 1970s and how in 2011 he began using what he’d learned running WWO to launch PodcastOne for the soon-to-be-burgeoning podcasting industry. You can read the piece here…..Newsmax TV announces that it has entered into a deal with Cox Media Group to air WOKV-FM, Jacksonville’s Mark Kaye program. Kaye’s program airs daily on WOKV-FM from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. The Newsmax TV show will air weekly – Saturdays at 3:30 pm – and will feature “funny and informative clips from Mark Kaye’s radio broadcasts, as well as behind-the-scenes ‘vlog-style’ content that is exclusive to Newsmax.”…..Hearst’s Baltimore radio duo news/talk WBAL-AM and rock WIYY-FM – along with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens – announce the radio broadcast team for the 2020 NFL season. Former Ravens players Dennis Pitta and Obafemi “Femi” Ayanbadejo are joining Ravens play-by-play announcer Gerry Sandusky to handle color and analysis. WBAL and WIYY president and general Manager Cary Pahigian says, “We are pleased to offer Baltimore Ravens fans an exceptional broadcast team. As a former Raven, Dennis has always provided astute analysis to our broadcast. Femi’s extensive NFL experience will add keen insight, and there is no better play-by-play announcer than Gerry Sandusky.”

Stephen K. Bannon Charged with Fraud in ‘We Build the Wall’ Effort. Former Donald Trump adviser, former Breitbart executive, and podcast/talk radio host Stephen K. Bannon is being charged in New York with fraud in what U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss says is his role in a scheme related to the “We Build the Wall” online fundraising effort. The New York Times reports that Bannon is one of four defendants who allegedly “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction.” Bannon has not commented publicly.

Presidential Race/Democratic National Convention, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Fall School Plans/College Outbreaks, USPS Funding/Vote-By-Mail Debate, Putin Critic Poisoned, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/19). The November presidential election and Wednesday evening’s Democratic National Convention; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools in September and the COVID-19 outbreaks at several college campuses; the controversy over funding the U.S. Postal Service and the related debate over mail-in voting; Vladimir Putin critic Alexey Navalny in a coma after allegedly being poisoned; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WPHT’s Giordano Is on a Documentary-Special Roll. WPHT, Philadelphia’s legendary mid-morning host Dom Giordano has written, produced, and hosted the third in a dynamic series of two-hour specials tapping into his background as a teacher and one of talk radio’s most astute observers of education. The first two specials focused on issues surrounding COVID-19 and kids returning to school as well as a July 4th weekend special celebrating America.  The new show airing this week titled, “The Case for Civics: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Reason,” explores the need for civics to be taught in schools and how important it is to the future of America to raise knowledgeable citizens. Like all of Giordano’s productions, it is bi-partisan and features prominent figures including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed RendellSara HarrisEntercom VP for social impact is featured and details the radio company’s major commitment to promote civics education. The program is airing on WPHT tonight (8/20) from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm and Saturday (8/22) from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Beijing’s Persecution of Chinese Spiritual Movement Falun Gong Is Focus of This Week’s Harrison Podcast.  While Americans continue to be preoccupied with COVID-19, a faltering economy and racial strife, the strained relationship between the United States and China intensifies with each passing day. America is confronted with the CCP’s unfair trade practices, subversive cyber warfare against US interests, intellectual property theft, military aggression in the South China Sea, strangling democracy in Hong Kong, and covered up misdeeds in the origins and spread of COVID-19. Add to that disturbing list the CCP’s heinous abuse of the human rights of its own citizens as evidenced by Uyghur labor camps and the imprisonment, torture, and organ-harvesting of innocent practitioners of a burgeoning spiritual movement based in peaceful Buddhist principles called Falun Gong. Levi Browde is the executive director of the New York-based Falun Dafa Information Center, an organization working to end the human rights abuses against people who practice Falun Gong in China. He is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  In discussing this podcast Harrison states, “The CCP views the growing practice of Falun Gong among Chinese people both home and abroad as a threat to the State’s core position as the ultimate authority. They not only commit atrocities against its participants, they wage a war of toxic propaganda against the spiritual practice portraying it as a subversive cult – a view that has been unwittingly absorbed and perpetuated by the American media. It is my hope that this deep-dive conversation will clear up these misconceptions as well as shed light on the Beijing regime and the dangers its complex relationship with the United States presents going forward into the uncharted, turbulent waters of the 21st century. This is not a left versus right issue but one that I believe should be of great concern to all American talk media hosts and commentators interested in a secure America, freedom of religion, and human decency.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Las Vegas’ KWNR “95.5 The Bull” has a new program director as Mojoe Roberts assumes the reins. iHeartMedia says Roberts joins the country station after most recently serving as country format captain for Alpha Media and PD for KUPL, Portland. SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Las Vegas Tony Matteo says, “MoJoe brings a wealth of format knowledge and expertise. We’re thrilled to have him joining our iHeartMedia Las Vegas team.”…..Seattle CHR KBKS is re-branded “HITS 106.1” The New Home of the Jubal Show and Commercial Free Weekends. The iHeartMedia station is programmed by Jared Fallon who says, “From the moment we launched ‘Jubal 106.1’ the reception from the entire city and across the country has been massive. Today we are thrilled to unveil ‘HITS 106.1,’ the new home of the Jubal Show!”…..Pittsburgh morning radio personality Cris Winter exits Renda Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WWSH “WISH 99.7” as the result of budget-related cuts. She tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “When you look at covid-19, it’s a situation where everyone is making cuts. It is such a bizarre time, and everybody is struggling right now. It’s just an unprecedented time for everyone. We are all just trying to keep our heads above water.”…..Programming pro Don Jarrett is named PD at Rich Broadcasting’s country simulcast KWFI-FM and KWFO-FM “The Wolf” in Idaho Falls. Jarrett was most recently programming Riverbend Communications’ crosstown country KTHK-FM “105.5 The Hawk.” Rich Broadcasting operations manager Josh Tielor says, “We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to add Don to our team. He’s well known in the community and well connected in the industry. He brings a new level of excitement and energy to our station family.”…..The photo below published at LARadio.com is not from a time capsule. That KMET billboard is currently up and it put the folks at LARadio.com into investigative mode. The picture was snapped by Los Angeles publicist Hal Lifson who set the investigative wheels in motion. It appears the billboards are up for a movie shoot for a film that takes place in the 1970s. TALKERS magazine publisher and former KMET program director Michael Harrison says, “Seeing the billboard is a rush. I still find it hard to imagine L.A. without KMET. It would be like Brooklyn not having Coney Island.”