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Thursday, July 2, 2020

| July 2, 2020

COMING THIS WEEKEND:  Independence Day Weekend Edition of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The latest installment of the vibrant, 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, will be posted tomorrow (Friday) afternoon at 3:00 pm ET.  This new episode titled “Self-Evident!” will look back at this past week of June 29-July 3, 2020 in addition to paying tribute to the founding of America.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital Talk RadioMatthew B. Harrison, law professor, Western New England University / VP Goodphone CommunicationsLincoln Ware, talk show host WDBZ, Cincinnati; Dan Yorke, talk show host, WPRO, Providence; Doug Stephan, talk show host, “DJV Show” / talk show host, “American Family Farmer.” This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode (posted Friday 7/3 at 3:00 pm ET),  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.

LiveXLive Closes on PodcastOne Acquisition. The live stream and on-demand platform LiveXLive Media, Inc announces it has closed on its acquisition of PodcastOne. LiveXLive says in a press release, “PodcastOne, which recorded revenue of $27.5 million in calendar 2019, will operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of LiveXLive. The acquisition is expected to be accretive and will strengthen LiveXLive’s balance sheet as well as diversifying its business model with a significant advertising component.” PodcastOne’s library includes more than 300 podcasts, including: “The Adam Carolla Show”, “The Big Podcast with Shaquille O’Neal,” A&E’s “Cold Case Files,” “Hotboxin with Mike Tyson,” and more. PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz joins LiveXLive as a significant shareholder and remains executive chairman. Under the terms of the acquisition, LiveXLive acquired 100% of the equity interests of Courtside Group, Inc., the owner and operator of PodcastOne, and issued to stockholders of PodcastOne approximately 5.36 million restricted shares of LiveXLive’s common stock, which are subject to a 12-month lock-up period and certain trading restrictions thereafter.

TALKERS News Notes. Baton Rouge alt-weekly The Advocate reports that Guaranty Broadcasting’s sports talk KNXX-FM “104.5 ESPN” shuffles its programming lineup. Writer Kyle Whitfield says the station breaks up the “Sports Today” duo of Charles Hanagriff and Jimmy Ott with Hanagriff being partnered with former LSU running back Jacob Hester for the new 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm “Hangin’ with Hester and Hanny” show and Ott starting his own “Gametime” program airing from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm…..FOX News announces that after an independent investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, it has fired “America’s Newsroom” co-anchor Ed Henry. The company sent a memo to staffers written by FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace explaining Henry’s departure. Henry’s attorney, Catherine Foti, issued a public statement that Henry denies the allegations and “is confident that he will be vindicated after a full hearing in an appropriate forum.”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that radio producer Carl Amari’s golden age of radio programming is moving from Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM to Salem Media Group’s crosstown WIND-AM. WGN recently announced it is dropping the weekend overnight “WGN Radio Theatre” program. Now, the syndicated “Hollywood 360” – co-hosted by Amari and Lisa Wolf – will air from 8:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on WIND-AM. Salem Chicago RVP and general manager Jeff Reisman says, “We are excited to have ‘Hollywood 360’ and Carl Amari back on AM 560. Carl expertly weaves together a unique mix of content that has continued to attract and entertain listeners for years, and we look forward to welcoming them back.”…..This might fall into the “at least they spelled our name right” category. Daily Herald columnist Jim O’Donnell writes about the state and future of ESPN’s WMPV, Chicago “ESPN 1000” – being operated by Good Karma Brands under the leadership of general manager Mike Thomas. O’Donnell is clearly not impressed with sports talk in Chicago but gives Thomas – who arrived in his home state back in January after leading the programming at Entercom’s WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” – the opportunity to talk up the changes taking place at WMVP.

‘Mightier 1090’ in San Diego to Use SportsGrid Tech Platform. When the new iteration of talk programming takes to the airwaves of San Diego on XEPRS as “The Mightier 1090” sometime this summer, SportsGrid’s cloud-based automation and live production tools will be used by the station. SportsGrid says its production services will stream the “Mightier 1090” audio feed through a low-latency IP connection from the cloud to the station’s transmitter. Marketing executive Bill Hagen is leading operations of the soon-to-debut station. He says, “I’ve listened to the people and the dream of bringing ‘The Mighty 1090 AM’ back to Southern California has now become a reality. The legendary tradition is back in a Mightier fashion, allowing for carefully thought out, desired programming to once again serve the Southern California region.”

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections/Mask Controversy, Seattle CHOP Ends, Policing in America, Confederate & Colonial-Era Monuments Issue, Russia-Taliban Bounty Report, Facebook Advertiser Boycott, Court Strikes Trump Asylum Order and Vacate Mary Trump Book Restraint, and Status of Sports Leagues Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/1). The rise in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future outbreaks tied with the controversy over the wearing of masks to diminish transmission; the Seattle police clear the CHOP in the aftermath of two killings in the area; the criticism of policing in the U.S.; the movement to remove Confederate and Colonial-era monuments; the report that Russia has been offering bounties to Taliban fighters for killing U.S. servicemen; Facebook deals with an advertiser boycott over its handling of “hate speech” and “misinformation”; a court strikes down the Trump administration’s order denying asylum requests from people from Latin American nations and a court vacates the restraint on Mary Trump’s book; and the status of American sports leagues were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. New York hip hop outlet WWPR “Power 105.1” is presenting “A Celebration of Pop Smoke’s Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon Album Release” starting at midnight tonight (7/3). iHeartMedia’s “Power 105.1” will celebrate the life and works of Pop Smoke by playing songs from Shoot for the Stars, Aim for the Moon at the top of every hour, plus exclusive Pop Smoke interviews with Power 105.1’s Angie Martinez, behind-the-scene photos and performances from Power 105.1’s POWERHOUSE available at Power1051’s website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, as well as check-ins from 50 Cent, Steven Victor, Lil Tjay, Fivio Foreign, The Breakfast Club and more…..The weekend country radio show “B-Dub Radio Saturday Night” debuts Saturday (7/4) in partnership with its syndication development partner, Skyview Networks. Host Bryan “B-Dub” Washington is throwing a Fourth of July party featuring country radio’s superstar duo LoCash as a special guest to celebrate the show’s re-launch with listeners across the country. The show has added new affiliate stations, including iHeartMedia’s WEBG, Chicago “BIG 95.5,” whose PD Lance Houston says, “B-Dub has added such a great energy to ‘BIG 95.5’ on Saturday nights! If you want your station to sound fun again on Saturday night, while staying true to the format and the sound of country music, then this is the show for you.”…..Programming pro Mike McCoy is named operations manager at Stephens Media Group’s Rochester, New York that includes adult contemporary WRMM-FM “Warm 101.3,” alternative WZNE-FM “94.1 The Zone,” and adult hits WFKL-FM “Fickle 93.3.” He will also program “Warm 101.3” and “Fickle 93.3” SVP of programming Bob Thornton says, “Mike is exactly the kind of person we need in the Rochester market. His relentless pursuit of excellence, leadership qualities and vast experience will take this cluster to new heights.”

Friday, May 29, 2020

| May 29, 2020

Cox Media Group Names Daniel York President and CEO. The board of directors of Cox Media Group announces Daniel York is the company’s new president and chief executive officer, effective today. York most recently served as senior executive vice president and chief content officer of AT&T and its subsidiary, DirecTV. York assumes the role previously held by Kim Guthrie, who left the company last month. Executive chairman Steve Pruett says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to welcome Dan as the president and CEO of Cox Media Group. He has a background of success in media, content, distribution, operations, and successfully leading large organizations. Most importantly, he embraces contemporary thinking as the media landscape continues to evolve. We have full confidence he is the right person to lead CMG in the next phase of the company’s growth.” York says, “I am excited to lead Cox Media Group, a company that has the most talented team and leadership in the industry. I have always admired and respected the unparalleled quality of CMG’s 90+ TV and radio stations, digital and advertising platforms, and the company’s unwavering commitment to journalistic integrity. The past few months have underscored that there is no substitute for the most important and valuable content in the ecosystem, market-leading local news and entertainment. I look forward to working with the board and the CMG team as we continue to enhance our partnerships with our advertisers, content providers and distribution outlets to best serve our communities and millions of viewers and listeners.”

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, 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.  The new episode titled, “Aside From That Mrs. Lincoln, How Was The Beach?” looks back at this past week of May 25-29, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneBrett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / webmaster, Scamicide.com; Lars Larson, talk show host, KXL, Portland / Compass Media Networks; Dr. Sebastian Gorka, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; and Peter King, correspondent, CBS News Radio, Kennedy Space Center.  This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Report: KFNS-AM, St. Louis Morning Host McKernan Leading Group to Acquire the Station. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Dan Caesar reports that KFNS-AM, St. Louis sports talk personality Tim McKernan is leading a group of potential investors to buy KFNS from current owner Randy Markel. Earlier this year, Markel announced he was on track to sell 50% interest in the station to two local businessmen. But the coronavirus pandemic has put that deal on hold. Now, sources tell Caesar that Markel and McKernan have signed a letter of intent for the sale. McKernan hosts the morning drive program “The Morning After” on the station. The report indicates McKernan’s investor group includes former St. Louis Blues player Pat Maroon. Markel tells Caesar he’s in the process of selling the station for “seven figures” but he can’t reveal to whom – just that the deal will happen, or not, by July 1.

POTUS Appears on Buck Sexton Show. Several days after Premiere Networks syndicated talk host Buck Sexton visited the Oval Office for “private, exclusive conversation” with President Trump, the president made good on his promise to appear on Sexton’s radio program. The two discussed America’s approach to the coronavirus pandemic and why we have to move forward before it’s too late; how “Russia Gate” makes Watergate look like small potatoes; why his executive order curtailing the power of social media platforms was necessary; what his administration has accomplished the last three and a half years; what he thinks about running against Joe Biden, and more. Photo by Shealah Craighead

Urban One Reports Q1 Net Revenue Down 3.6%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2020, Urban One, Inc., parent company of Radio One, revealed net revenue for the quarter was $94.9 million, a decrease of 3.6% from the same period in 2019. Broadcast and digital operating income was approximately $37.6 million, an increase of approximately $4.3 million from the same period in 2019. Urban One is reporting an operating loss of approximately $27.3 million compared to operating income of approximately $14.8 million for the same period in 2019. Urban One CEO and president Alfred C. Liggins III says, “We got off to a great start to the year, with robust political advertising pushing same station revenues to +3.2% and +13.2% for January and February respectively. Then the impact of COVID-19 hit our radio markets and March rapidly turned from positive to finish -14.1%. Despite this, we were able to post double digit Adjusted EBITDA growth for the quarter, and this is a testament to both our diversified mix of assets and the dedication and skill of our employees. On a same station basis, radio advertising for April was down 58.3%, and Q2 is pacing -58.1%. Both local and national advertising is impacted by broadly similar percentages. Like many other businesses, we were forced to reduce fixed costs by means of furloughs, layoffs, significant salary cuts, and reduction of all discretionary expenditure. Our diverse mix of assets will help us through this crisis; in particular our cable TV and digital segments are not impacted to the same extent as radio, and due to a combination of strong ratings, deferred programming and marketing expenses plus other cost cuts, we expect the TV segment to deliver incremental EBITDA to help offset some of the declines in radio.  Liquidity remains strong, and I believe we have seen a floor in the revenue declines. As markets begin to re-open state by state, we intend to partner with our clients using all of our platforms to help them re-start their businesses and serve their communities in these unprecedented times.”

TALKERS News Notes. After announcing her retirement from Entercom’s WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago several weeks ago, morning news anchor Felicia Middlebrooks did her last shift at the all-news station today (5/29). WBBM gave her a “proper send-off” by airing a compilation of audio looking back at her time with the station as well as colleagues saying “good-bye.” Morning editor Zac Weber said, “The news can be ugly and scary and overwhelming sometimes, but you, more than anyone else, served as a constant reminder that we can always be hopeful, and always expect the best from you.”…..Three honors from the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Pro Chapter were bestowed upon Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” over the Memorial Day weekend. The awards were for work done in 2019. “New Jersey 101.5” deputy digital editor Sergio Bichao and reporter David Matthau won The Spotlight Award for their entry on how judges minimized sexual assault in New Jersey. Afternoon drive host Jeff Deminski won first place in the Blog category for a portfolio of opinion pieces. The team of Eric Scott, director of special projects; Patrick Lavery, afternoon anchor; Louis C. Hochman, digital managing editor; and Dan Alexander, digital news reporter won second place for Web Use, for the station’s on-air and online town hall event focusing on opioid abuse…..Entercom New York all-news outlets WCBS-AM and WINS-AM were honored with 10 2019 New York State Associated Press Association News and Broadcast Contest Awards. The two stations were jointly honored with a first-place award in the Podcast category for their collaboration on “The Breakdown,” a deep-dive into America’s infrastructure crisis. WCBS-AM took home nine other first place awards, including for Outstanding News Operation, Spot News Coverage, and Newscast…..SiriusXM announces that comedian Adam Carolla will host a special, virtual edition of his popular tour show “Adam Corolla Is Unprepared” on Monday, June 1 at 10:00 pm ET. This one-hour special video broadcast will feature Carolla hosting via Zoom. In this “Unprepared” show, Carolla – while sheltering in place from his home – improvises stand-up based on one-word suggestions from audience members pulled at random. Additionally, SiriusXM will also air a separate, exclusive two-hour “Unprepared” special featuring previously recorded comedy club shows from last year…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network News White House correspondent Greg Clugston at Joint Base Andrews preparing to board Air Force Two for Vice President Mike Pence’s flight to Atlanta for a memorial service honoring evangelist and best-selling author Ravi Zacharias, founder of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, who died on May 19.

Statistics & Projections and 100,000 Deaths Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 25-29. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., the death toll of more than 100,000 and projections for future cases combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the re-opening process and the state of the economy. Coming in at #3 was health care, tied with antibodies, testing, and the wearing of masks, followed by President Trump vs NC over the Republican National Convention, the presidential race, and politics at #4. 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.

 

 

News Anchor. With the retirement of a 35-year morning drive veteran, Chicago’s top-rated station, WBBM Newsradio, has a rare opportunity for a talented news anchor. Solid skills as a journalist are a must, including writing and reporting, along with strong on-air delivery and ability to handle high-pressure, breaking news situations with ease and grace. Requirements and expectations along with an online application can be found here. Entercom is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer.

Great Talk Host Opportunity: WBAL-AM, Baltimore Seeks PM Drive Personality. The Hearst news/talk station says: “Meaningful live and local talk is very healthy at WBAL NewsRadio FM & AM in Baltimore. We have stayed true to our mission for 95 years: a 24/7 local connection and commitment to breaking news and captivating talk. We are also the home of the Baltimore Ravens and Navy Football. This is a rigorous search for a dynamic individual, or team, to host PM drive. Beyond on-air responsibilities, our team is active on social media and in the community. Our presentation aims to be lively, fast, riveting and our hosts understand the pulse of Baltimore, Maryland and the country. We believe you can’t spell ‘Baltimore’ without B-A-L. Your mission is to create a daily PM drive program that transcends all formats as a ‘must listen.’ Be prepared to provide audio samples, but let’s start with your philosophy for local talk in 2020 and your background and life experiences. Your first step is to apply on-line at Hearst Television Careers here. Please know your interest will be held in strict confidence. Check us out at Hearst.com…a dynamic privately held organization with unmatched cable, television, radio, magazines and newspaper platforms.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” show joins the program schedule at Midwest Communications’ urban contemporary WQTX, Lansing, Michigan “Stacks 92.1.” The program is hosted by DeDe McGuire and is syndicated via a partnership between Dallas-based Service Broadcasting Group and Compass Media Networks. Station operations manager Terry Stevens says, “The playlist on ‘Stacks 92.1’ has a very fun, upbeat vibe. We needed a morning show that fits that vibe. All fun and no drama. After listening to ‘DeDe in the Morning’ and seeing the results she delivers in markets similar to ours we are 100% confident that DeDe and her team are the perfect fit for AM Drive on ‘Stacks 92.1!’”

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

| January 29, 2020

Talk Hosts Cover Trump’s Wildwood Rally. Talk radio hosts from the Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York areas were in attendance at last night’s Trump rally at the Wildwoods Convention Center at the Jersey Shore.  Above at left is WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley with a front row view as President Trump speaks.  At top right is WPHT, Philadelphia morning drive host Rich Zeoli (right) talking with the first person in line to get a ticket for admission, Duke (left).  At bottom right is WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer” afternoon personality Kevin McCullough (right) with Republican National Committee spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany (left).  Rally organizers say some 175,000 tickets were requested for the event although the venue holds 7,000.  McCullough tells TALKERS magazine campaign officials are considering another rally at a future date in Northern New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

Staffs of News/Talk KFMB-AM and Adult Hits KFMB-FM in San Diego Given Notice.  Some 45 staffers at Tegna’s two radio stations in San Diego have been given their two-week notice in advance of the stations’ transfer of ownership to Local Media San Diego after February 7.  The San Diego Reader reports that the staffers were told that new owner LMSD is keeping four salespeople and one commercial production person.  Tegna says that it’s now up to LMSD to decide if it wants to hire any of the dismissed employees back.  From news/talk KFMB-AM, local talk personalities Brent Winterble, Mike Slater, and Mark Larson are among the casualties.  It’s unclear at this time what LMSD’s format plans are for the two stations.  The hosts are still working through February 7 at which time all employees will receive their severance packages.  Tegna acquired the radio stations in 2018 along with two television stations from Midwest Television for $325 million.

PodcastOne Partners with Spotify for Podcast Distribution. Podcasts by such stars as basketball icon Shaquille O’Neal, WWE legend Steve Austin, bachelorette Kaitlyn Bristowe, and comedian Adam Carolla will soon be available worldwide via Spotify.  Spotify’s Lauren Jarvis says, “We are thrilled to bring PodcastOne’s 400-plus hours of fresh, weekly content to Spotify’s global listeners.  From longtime-running favorites like ‘The Adam Carolla Show,’ ‘Ladygang,’ and Kaitlyn Bristowe’s ‘Off the Vine,’ to shows from superstars like Shaquille O’Neal and T.I., we know that we are adding podcasts for diverse listener tastes to Spotify’s catalogue.”  Spotify listeners worldwide will be able to enjoy each of PodcastOne’s 300-plus programs, including original content produced by PodcastOne Global.  Eventually, Australian fans will be able to stream PodcastOne’s content as well, with the addition of PodcastOne Australia content in partnership with Southern Cross Austereo.  PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris comments, “PodcastOne is thrilled to make our extensive catalogue available to the Spotify audience.  Combining the power, talent, and reach of the leading ad-supported podcast network, PodcastOne, with Spotify’s best-in-class technology, and listening and user experience is a can’t miss.  This partnership creates new cross-promotional opportunities for us both and increases the accessibility of PodcastOne’s hundreds of programs for our listeners.  It’s been great to work with Lauren Jarvis and the Spotify team, as we launch our new partnership.”

Erika Beasley Promoted to VP of Digital Content for Beasley Media Group. At Beasley Media Group, Erika Beasley rises from her corporate digital content director position to vice president of digital content.  In this new role, she’ll be responsible for overseeing content creation on the company’s many digital platforms.  Beasley Media Group chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Erika’s outstanding work throughout the years, in a variety of different roles, speaks for itself.  Her many contributions to the company’s digital transformation has moved us forward in profound ways.  I look forward to Erika partnering with our vice president of digital market, Jennifer Williams, and the company’s highly talented digital content team to further expand our digital footprint.”

Impeachment, Trump Wildwood Rally, Presidential Race, Coronavirus, and Trump’s Middle East Plan Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; the large crowd gathered at last night’s Trump rally in Wildwood, New Jersey; the Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November; concerns about a global epidemic of the Wuhan coronavirus; and the Trump Administration’s unveiling of its Middle East peace plan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Cable news/talk outlet FOX News Channel is celebrating its ratings success.  In an internal memo, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president and executive editor Jay Wallace say, “We passed CNN at the end of January 2002 in viewership in the key 25-54 demo in both Today Day and Primetime and never looked back.  There is no other network in cable that can lay claim to this level of consistent dominance with one of the most loyal and passionate audiences in the country.”…..WSCR, Chicago morning drive personality David Haugh has exited his gig with the Chicago Tribune where he was a sports columnist.  Haugh, who co-hosts the “Mully & Haugh” show with Mike Mulligan, spent 17 years with the Tribune – the last 10 as a sports columnist – according to Chicago media writer Robert Feder…..Trenton, New Jersey-based Penn National Gaming is acquiring a 36% interest in the sports media firm Barstool Sports for $163 million – $135 million in cash and $28 million in non-voting convertible preferred stock.  Kennedy Rose has the story in the Philadelphia Business Journal.  In addition to its digital content that enjoys 66 million unique visitors per month, Barstool broadcasts radio shows via its own channel on SiriusXM…..Pictured below is KQTM-FM, Albuquerque “101.7 The Team” afternoon drive personality Jim Villanucci (right) with KQTM personality Sam Hauser (left) and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Zach Gentry (center).  Gentry — a star high school football player in Albuquerque and a big fan of the station — stopped by the studios to say hello.  “101.7 The Team” airs a regular slate of high school football games during the season.

Legendary Jock Harry Harrison Dies at 89.  Top 40-era New York radio legend Harry Harrison died yesterday (1/28) after complications from numerous health issues.  Harrison worked on air at WMCA – one of the WMCA Good Guys – and at WABC, as well as later at WCBS-FM.  He retired from the latter in 2003.  He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame last fall.  Photo: Art Vuolo Jr.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. An administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Stephens Media Group violated labor laws when it let a number of air personalities go from its Watertown and Massena, New York stations in 2018.  Judge Charles J. Muhl ruled that not only must Stephens hire the fired staffers back but must compensate the affected workers for financial losses and tax consequences.  Stephens tells NNY360 that it plans to appeal certain aspects of the ruling…..The entire staff – both on-air and off – of adult hits KFMB-FM, San Diego was given its two-week notice as owner Tegna prepares to close on the sale of the station (and sister news/talk KFMB-AM) to Local Media San Diego.  Out of work are Chris Cantore, Meryl Klemow, Cha Cha Harlow, Robin Roth, and Rick Lawrence.  They are working through February 7, at which point they will receive their severance packages.  It’s not clear what LMSD’s plans are for the station, which as part of the sale contract, must give up the KFMB-FM call letters…..In Duluth, Minnesota, Patti Banner joins J.D. Justice as co-host of the morning show on Midwest Communications’ country KTCO-FM “Kat Country 98.9.”  She was most recently with Cherry Creek Radio’s adult contemporary KONA, Tri-Cities, Washington as morning drive co-host.  She takes over for Brookie the Rookie, who leaves for a gig outside the radio business…..This year’s iHeartCountry Festival taking place on May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin will feature the following acts: Dierks Bentley, Sam Hunt, Lady Antebellum, Dustin Lynch, Kelsea Ballerini, Kane Brown, Jon Pardi and Chase Rice, plus Hot Country Knights, Bobby Bones and more.

Thursday, December 19, 2019

| December 19, 2019

KNUS, Denver’s Chuck Bonniwell and Julie Hayden Fired for School Shooting Joke. The midday “Chuck & Julie” show has been cancelled from the program lineup at Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver after Chuck Bonniwell’s ill-advised joke about school shootings.  Bonniwell, who co-hosts the show with his wife Julie Hayden, was transitioning from a break back into programming and said – in an effort to express his weariness with the impeachment story – “You wish for a nice school shooting to interrupt.”  Julie Hayden was quick to interject, “Don’t even – don’t even say that. No, don’t even say that.  Don’t call us. Chuck didn’t say that.”  Then Bonniwell added “…which no one would be hurt.”  Station management later issued the following statement: “Given the history of school violence that has plagued our community, 710 KNUS confirms that an inappropriate comment was made on the ‘Chuck & Julie’ show by co-host Chuck Bonniwell.  A programming decision was made to end the program immediately.”  For his part, Bonniwell said via Twitter: “I made an inappropriate comment meant as a joke.  I’m sorry it was not received that way.”

Jim Vicevich Retires from WTIC-AM, Hartford; Will Mariotti to Assume Late Morning Show. Hartford talk radio host Jim Vicevich is leaving his role as late morning talk host on Entercom’s news/talk WTIC-AM due to his ongoing battle with Lupus.  Today is his last show.  WTIC personality Will Mariotti will become the permanent 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host.  Entercom Hartford SVP and market manager Stephanie Perl says, “We would like to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Jim, who has dedicated over 15 years of his career to the people of Hartford.  He has developed a strong bond with the local community through the show ‘Sound Off Connecticut’ and is a true media icon in the market.  We thank him for all of his contributions to our station and local community and wish him all of the best.”  Vicevich says, “While I’m sad to be leaving due to my Lupus, I’m happy that I’ve had the opportunity to entertain and interact with our audience for over 15 years.  I’m honored to be a part of this station’s great history.  Very few people have had the chance to get behind the same microphone of other WTIC greats like Bob Steele and Ray Dunaway.  Thank you to everyone who has played a role in making my time here special.”  Will Mariotti adds, “From the time I first filled in for Jim and all the way through working with him weekly in 2017 and 2018, I was always impressed by his knowledge and professionalism.  I know I have huge shoes to fill, but my time with Jim has prepared me for the next chapter of our daytime show.  I’m thrilled to have this opportunity to connect with our listeners every day.”

Chris Carlin to Host Nights at ‘ESPN New York.’ After months of speculation about what the New York City sports talk scene will look like in the New Year, another piece of the puzzle fits into place as former WFAN “The Fan” personality Chris Carlin will assume hosting the evening show at ESPN’s WEPN-FM “ESPN New York” on January 2.  “Carlin at Night” will air from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm.  Carlin was one-third of the show hired to replace Mike Francesa in afternoons on Entercom’s WFAN.  But Francesa returned to WFAN a few months after leaving and Carlin, Bart Scott and Maggie Gray were moved to the early afternoon daypart.  Then, in August Carlin was let go.  Back at WEPN, Alan Hahn is moving from nights to middays, reportedly to co-host with Bart Scott, who leaves WFAN and partner Maggie Gray this month to join WEPN.  Across town, WFAN has already announced that Gray and Marc Malusis are the new midday show and Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts are the new PM drive show.

Ivy Savoy-Smith to Lead Entercom Washington, DC. Vice president and director of sales Ivy Savoy-Smith is promoted to SVP and market manager for Entercom’s Washington, DC station group that includes sports talk WJFK-FM “106.7 The Fan,” four music brands, and more.  She takes over for Phil Zachary, who exited the position last month. Entercom CRO and regional president Bob Philips says, “During her time here at Entercom, Ivy has embodied leadership, strategic thinking, accountability and hard work.  She is a forward thinker who has produced undeniable results and we are excited to have her lead Entercom Washington D.C. into the new decade.”  Savoy-Smith comments, “I’m grateful to Bob for giving me this opportunity to begin this new chapter of my career.  Working at Entercom has been an unbelievable experience and I look forward to putting my stamp on the D.C. cluster and leveraging the power of radio to continue to give back to the local community.”

Edison: Moms Have ‘Complicated Relationship’ with Social Media. According to a new study from Edison Research titled, “Moms on Social Media 2019,” mothers are big social media users – 92% of U.S. moms use social media compared to 79% to the 12+ U.S. population.  And although Facebook usage has fallen among users in the U.S. according to Edison’s “The Infinite Dial 2019,” moms are not dropping Facebook.  Eighty-one percent of U.S. moms use Facebook compared to 61% of the total U.S. population.  Edison says, “Moms have two major motivators for continuing to use social media: the emotional connection it provides and the practical ways it helps them in their busy lives.  The study finds that on the emotional side, moms are using social media to stay up to date with friends, share aspects of their lives, and share their opinions.  On the practical side, moms are using social media to get information on school events, details on extracurricular activities, health and parenting advice, and find product recommendations.”  Other findings from the study include: Pinterest and Instagram have seen significant gains year-over-year.  Among U.S. moms, 63% are using Pinterest in 2019 compared to 47% in 2017, and 53% are using Instagram in 2019 compared to 37% in 2017; 80% of moms on social media say they turn to it for product recommendations, and 58% of moms on social media said Facebook is the platform they turn to first for product recommendations; 53% of moms who use social medial say there is too much negativity on social media; and regarding how they feel about social media, 26% of moms on social media say they feel annoyed, 25% say they feel addicted, and 24% say they feel concerned.  See more from the study here.

PodcastOne Shows Named to CarMoney’s Top Podcasts List. Three of PodcastOne’s car-related podcasts were named to the international list of top car podcasts by the UK-based site CarMoney.  The shows named are: “Carcast” hosted by Adam Carolla and Matt D’Andria; “Everyday Driver,” with hosts Paul and Todd; and “Spike’s Car Radio” with car enthusiast and former “Seinfeld” writer Spike Feresten.  PodcastOne founder and executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “Adam Carolla is the king of podcasts, so I am not surprised to see his car show on the list. ‘Everyday Driver’ has been a great partner, and Spike knows cars and he knows funny.  That’s exactly the reason why his podcast has been a solid hit for the past 2 ½ years here at PodcastOne.  I’d say more, but I’ve gotta call Spike now for some car advice and laughs.”

House Votes to Impeach Trump, 2020 Presidential Race, Obamacare Ruling, FBI Report/FISA, U.S.-China Trade Talks, Financial Markets Activity, and New Obesity Report Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/19). The vote in the U.S. House to impeach President Donald Trump on two counts and the president’s response from his rally in Michigan; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020 and the build-up to this evening’s Democratic debate; an appeals court rules the Obamacare mandate unconstitutional; the aftermath of the inspector general’s report on the FBI’s use of the FISA; the Trump administration’s trade talks with China; the record setting performances of the financial markets; and the New England Journal of Medicine report indicating half of all American adults will be obese by 2030 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Tulsa news/talker KRMG-FM and KOKI-TV “FOX23” organized the 12th Annual Tulsa Holiday Blood Drive for the American Red Cross, taking place today (12/19).  In the past 11 drives, the program has collected 2,254 units of life-saving products (blood and platelets).  KRMG director of branding and programming Levi May says, “During the crazy holiday travel season, the American Red Cross sees a big drop in its scheduled donations and that could create a real problem for people seeking medical help during this time.  We are honored to partner with our news partners at ‘FOX23’ to help drive awareness and donations to help ensure that Green Country medical facilities have everything they need to treat our neighbors.”…..The NFL’s Minnesota Vikings and iHeartMedia Minneapolis’ KFXN, Minneapolis “KFAN 100.3” and news/talk KTLK have agreed to a five-year extension renewing the stations’ broadcast rights for Vikings preseason, regular season and postseason games.  The 2020 season will mark the 20th consecutive year “KFAN” will serve as the flagship station for the Vikings Radio Network.  iHeartMedia market president Jeff Tyler says, “My thanks to the Wilf family and all the great people we work with at the Minnesota Vikings.  They are at the top level of sports franchises and our entire team at iHeartMedia Minneapolis is thrilled to have the opportunity to continue our partnership for another five years.  Both organizations are dedicated to innovation and excellence which makes this partnership so unique and valuable.”…..SiriusXM is presenting live play-by-play broadcasts of all 41 Division I FBS and FCS bowl games this college football postseason, including ESPN Radio’s coverage of the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship.  The schedule begins Friday, December 20 and concludes with the crowning of the national champion on January 13…..Former CBS News reporter and anchor Peter Maer was recently honored with a lifetime achievement award from the St. Louis Press Club.  During his more than 25 years covering national news for CBS, Maer received numerous awards, including an Edward R. Murrow Award, five Merriman Smith Awards, the IAF Cronkite Award, and more.  Maer retired from CBS News in 2015.  He was interviewed on CBS News Radio affiliate KMOX, St. Louis.  He’s pictured here (left) with St. Louis Press Club president Bill Greenblatt (right)…..Pictured below are ESPN Radio’s “Golic and Wingo” hosts Mike Golic (third from right), Trey Wingo (second from right), and Mike Golic Jr. (second from left) after teaming up with Mercedes-Benz Vans to benefit the Salvation Army.  ESPN employees in Bristol, Connecticut donated more than 300 toys and Mercedes-Benz Vans donated a new Sprinter Passenger Van for the Salvation Army to use to transport students to after-school activities. In addition to the Sprinter Passenger Van that was donated, Mercedes-Benz provided a Cargo Van that was utilized to transport the toys from ESPN’s Bristol campus to the Salvation Army.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Chicago triple A WXRT-FM, the longtime morning show with Lin Brehmer and Mary Dixon wraps, with Brehmer moving to the midday show and current midday personality Richard Milne moving to mornings.  Dixon, who according to a report in the Chicago Tribune was offered the evening/overnight news anchor position with sister all-news WBBM-AM/WCFO-FM but declined, leaves the station.  Brehmer says, “Like a veteran centerfielder who moves to first base, I look forward to batting second.  The exhilaration of being a morning companion to the families that support 93XRT offset the brutal schedule of someone who likes to go to concerts at night.  I’m not 29 anymore.  May the phrase, ‘Isn’t it past your bedtime?’ be applied to someone else for a while.”  Entercom Chicago OM and program director Greg Solk says, “93XRT has long held the reputation for playing Chicago’s finest rock, but also has enjoyed hosting Chicago’s finest jocks.  Lin Brehmer is a Chicago treasure.  All of us at the station are indebted to Lin for his 28 years of wrestling with his alarm clock.  His morning fans will now get to enjoy their best friend in the whole world sharing their workday as Lin accompanies their middle of the day rituals.  We are also blessed to have someone of Richard’s character, charm, music knowledge and wit to take over for Lin.  It’s Richard’s turn to get in early and Rock Chicago.”…..Classic hits KONO-FM, San Antonio morning drive personality Dave Rios is retiring from the station after 26 years in the position.  Prior to joining KONO-FM, Rios worked in the market as news director for rock outlet KXZL – now Spanish hits KZEP-FM…..Hubbard Radio personality Fitz is named the permanent host of “Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40.”  He becomes the third host in the 45-year history of the national radio show.  Kingsley died in October after a battle with cancer.  The new “Bob Kingsley’s Country Top 40 with Fitz” airs on more than 300 stations worldwide and features audio from the Kingsley archives.  Skyview Networks is the exclusive network sales rep for the show.  Fitz says, “I listened to Bob Kingsley every weekend when I was a kid.  His loss is still sinking in, but I am honored to be taking the reins from the man who instilled in me a lifelong love of country music and the love of the ‘countdown.’  This moment is surreal, and I do not take the responsibility lightly.  I am excited and honored to carry his torch and hope that I can do for the next generation of country music fans what the legendary Bob Kingsley did for me…..Entercom announces that Zac Brown Band is headlining the 5th annual “The Night Before” concert at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida on February 1, 2020 – the night before the Super Bowl.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

| June 27, 2017

Dennis Prager Guests on This Week’s Harrison Podcast.  Longtime Salem Radio Network radio host Dennis Prager joins Michael Harrison as this week’s guest on the PodcastOne award-winning series, “Up Close and Far Out.”  The two seasoned broadcasters get into an in-depth discussion about “snowflakes” and the erosion of free speech on college and university campuses across the nation.  The conversation focuses on a forthcoming documentary examining the phenomenon.  The film, No Safe Spaces, currently in production and scheduled for release in 2018, features the unlikely pairing of religious scholar and conservative pundit Prager with satirist, podcaster and self-proclaimed atheist Adam Carolla.  The unlikely duo has joined forces in the crowd-funded project based on their common concerns about the state of free speech on university campuses in America today.  Harrison and Prager also discuss the state of religion, media, politics and raising children in today’s increasingly frenzied culture.  To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

TALKERS News Notes. TALKERS magazine hears that WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence program director Tony Mascaro has exited the station, though there’s been no public explanation by Mascaro or station management.  It’s unclear what WPRO’s plans are for replacing Mascaro…..Today and tomorrow (6/27-28), KHOW, Denver morning drive personality Ross Kaminsky is sitting in for Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo on his WOAI, San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated program…..In Tampa, John Mamola tweets that he’s been promoted from his APD/executive producer/online content coordinator role at iHeartMedia’s sports talk WDAE to program director.  He’s been with the station for the past six years.  The Chicago native previously served with CBS RADIO in the Windy City…..ABC Radio is debuting a new podcast titled “Motivated” hosted by ABC News Correspondent Mara Schiavocampo.  The podcast addresses all things health, wellness, nutrition and spirituality. ABC Radio says, “After struggling with her weight her entire life, Schiavocampo finally discovered the keys to living a healthier, happier life and losing 90 pounds along the way.  She shares her journey in her bestselling weight loss memoir, Thinspired: How I Lost 90 Pounds: My Plan for Lasting Weight Loss & Self-Acceptance.

Will WFAN (and Sports Talk) Exist 30 Years from Now?  Those are the questions asked by Newsday columnist Neil Best, who reflects on the state of sports talk radio in New York as CBS RADIO’s WFAN celebrates its 30th anniversary as a sports talk station.  Original WFAN staffer Suzyn Waldman says that while it’s true that social media has changed the game, two people talking is what makes sports talk radio.  “It’s a person, and you can hear the feelings.  And I think if you’re a host, this never goes away: If you’re on the radio, fans know immediately whether you’re full of baloney or you’re not.  They can love you, they can hate you, but they know whether you’re honest.  You can’t hide.”  Read Best’s Newsday piece here.

TALKERS 2017 Convention Videos Begin Posting Today (6/27).  The entire agenda of the recent Talkers 2017: A New Era national talk media convention has been video recorded and, beginning today (6/27), its sessions will be posted to Talkers.com starting with the “Welcoming Remarks” by WMAL, Washington, DC afternoon drive host Larry O’ Connor.  Tomorrow (6/28), the special presentation “You HAVE Options” by consultant Holland Cooke will be posted. On Thursday (6/29) the “Fireside Chat” between Michael Harrison and Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel host Sean Hannity will be posted.  Closing out the week on Friday (6/30) the “Fireside Chat” between Mike Kinosian and WFAN, New York sports talk show host Mike Francesa will be posted.  Within the following weeks, every session will be posted and will remain on Talkers.com for the rest of the year.  To view the video page of Talkers 2017: A New Era, please click here.

WILK-AM/FM, Wilkes-Barre’s L.A. Tarone Dies at 58. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton talk show host Louis Alfred Tarone, a.k.a. L.A. Tarone, died at age 58 on Sunday (6/25) after a 19-month battle with lung cancer.  Tarone hosted the afternoon drive show on the Entercom news/talk station during the last two years.  He’d also worked during his career as a reporter for the Hazleton Standard-Speaker.

SCOTUS Travel Ban Ruling, GOP Health Care Plan, CNN Journos Resign After Retracted Story, U.S. Warns Syria on Chemical Attack, Changes at Pandora, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/26). The Supreme Court’s ruling allowing a portion of President Donald Trump’s travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim nations to take effect; analysis of the GOP’s proposed overhaul of the Affordable Care Act; the resignation of three CNN journalists after the news organization retracts a Trump official-Russia connection story; the White House warns Syria’s Bashar al Assad on threats of new chemical weapons attack; the recent investment in Pandora by SiriusXM and Pandora CEO Tim Westergren’s decision to step down from that post; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Seattle rhythmic oldies outlet KHTP “HOT 103.7” announces the addition of Seattle radio pro Eric Power as program director and afternoon drive personality plus the addition of award-winning rap artist Anthony Ray, a.k.a. Sir Mix-A-Lot to serve as morning drive personality.  Both start July 5.  Entercom Seattle VP of programming and operations Dave Richards comments, “We’re so excited to have Eric Powers on board to lead ‘HOT 103.7.’  He is the guy who made all the songs ‘HOT 103.7’ now play, hits in the first place.  With two local Seattle icons, Sir Mix-A-Lot in mornings and Powers in afternoons, ‘HOT 103.7’ is ready to launch into the next stratosphere.”…..Two promotions take place at Cumulus Media’s hot AC WRQX, Washington, DC.  First, midday personality and music director Ashley Nickels adds assistant program director duties, and the station ups part-timer Seth King to permanent evening host, handling the 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart.   Nickels has been with the station since she joined from KDND, Sacramento in 2014.  King became a WRQX personality after working on air at CHR WXXX, Burlington, Vermont…..Midday air personality Sunni moves to mornings at CBS RADIO’s hip hop WPGC, Washington.  She becomes part of the “Joe Clair Morning Show” after six years with the station.  CBS Washington VP of programming Steve Davis states, “Sunni is the perfect fit for the ‘Joe Clair Morning Show’ and we are incredibly fortunate she wanted to get up early and make the transition to mornings…..The Cromwell Group names Tara Nickerson general manager for its eight-station Decatur, Illinois cluster.  Nickerson rises from the programming and operations ranks with Cromwell to lead the cluster, taking over for Chris Bullock…..Tim Westergren officially exits the CEO role at Pandora.  The company announces that chief financial officer Naveen Chopra will serve as interim CEO…..Alpha Media country WFLS, Fredericksburg, Virginia is honored with three Reader’s Choice awards from the local Discover magazine.  The station took home 1st Place awards for Favorite Radio Station, Favorite Local Radio Personality – Steve Waters and Jessica Cash, and Favorite Weather and Traffic on Radio.

MIW and Nielsen Music Unveil Mentoring Program. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group executive committee and Nielsen Music announce a collaborative effort to open doors for women interested in management positions in music broadcast programming across the country.  The MIW-Nielsen Music Mentoring Program matches a female programming candidate with key mentors from both the MIW Radio Group and Nielsen Music to sharpen her programming and professional skills and further her career in music programming.  MIW Group executive committee member and Presslaff Interactive Revenue president Ruth Presslaff says, “Improving the number of women in programming has been on our radar for several years.  With the generous support of Nielsen Music, the MIW Group is now keenly focused on the challenge of increasing the percentage of growth in this vitally important sector.  We are so appreciative of Nielsen Music’s backing in this endeavor.”