Monday Memo: Weekend Warriors, Renegotiate. Weekend ask-the-expert shows exploit the most proven concept in marketing: free samples. Common example: The lawyer is in, the meter is off. Done well, these shows can grow all sorts of service businesses. In this week’s column consultant Holland Cooke describes “an EXTERMINATOR who’s a rock star!” But HC observes that, “too often these shows are well-kept secrets because stations don’t promote them properly.” And in this week’s column he shares “two magic words” and other deal points for hosts who broker Saturday/Sunday airtime. Read it here.
Pending Business: Reimagining How News/Talk is Sold. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column in TALKERS that “chances are you are still pitching the news/talk format the same way you did when podcasting was still a rumor. Is anyone still wondering why podcast ad sales are exploding, while news/talk radio is proud to be hitting 2019 levels?” He suggests sales teams reimagine how news/talk radio is sold. Read more here.
Exclusive ‘Kim Komando Show’ to Air on WLS-AM, Chicago on Friday Nights. A new deal between Cumulus Media’s Chicago news/talk WLS-AM and WestStar TalkRadio Network is bringing Kim Komando to the station’s listeners for a one-hour, Friday night program produced exclusively for WLS. The 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm show debuts this Friday (3/25) and “will showcase the latest news and insights in digital-lifestyle and technology that helps improve the daily lives of Chicagoland listeners.” Komando’s award-winning, nationally syndicated three-hour weekend show is also heard on WLS-AM 890 every Saturday and Sunday night from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “We are thrilled to have more of Radio Hall of Famer Kim Komando on the ‘Big 89.’ For over 25 years, Kim has been part of the WLS-AM family, providing our listeners with the latest tech news. Now she brings that experience to Friday nights at WLS, where listeners will learn more about why tech matters.” Komando comments, “People have different interests — politics, cars, cooking — you name it. But there is one thing that affects us all and that’s tech. It’s hard to navigate Big Tech taking our privacy along with the hackers, scammers and stalkers. You can Google anything. You can’t Google trusted advice and that’s why I am honored to be our nation’s premier digital expert. I’m thrilled that WLS sees my show worthy for the Friday schedule. Tech isn’t a hobby. It’s our lives.”
Christopher Layfield Named OM for Cumulus Indianapolis. Radio programming pro Christopher “Boomer” Layfield is promoted to operations manager for Cumulus Media’s Indianapolis station group that includes sports talk WXNT-AM and five music brands. Layfield joined Cumulus Indianapolis in April 2018 and served as one of two operations managers for the cluster until January, and as program director for country WFMS-FM. He will continue to program WFMS-FM and adult contemporary WNTR-FM. Layfield comments, “It truly is a thrill for me to be able to work with such a gifted group of radio pros at these iconic broadcasting brands here in Indianapolis. Being given the chance to continue to lead these teams at this level is something that I look forward to making the most of, working together for the benefit of our listeners and advertisers… and having fun doing it! I’d like to thank Chuck Fredrick, Doug Hamand and Dave Milner for this amazing opportunity.”
Adam ‘The Bull’ Gerstenhaber to Exit Cleveland’s ‘92.3 The Fan’ on April 1. According to a report in TheFocus, Adam “The Bull” Gerstenhaber told his listeners that he will leave Audacy’s sports talk WKRK, Cleveland “92.3 The Fan” on April 1. Gerstenhaber, who co-hosts the afternoon drive “Bull & Fox” with Dustin Fox, has been with the station for almost 11 years. Gerstenhaber is not saying what his plans are for his post-Fan career but tweeted: “In case you missed it, I am leaving @923TheFan. The last @BullandFox show will be April 1st (No, this is not an April fools joke). I leave with nothing but love for everyone…especially @DustinFox37 and @KeithBritton86!!”
NFL Insider and KIRO-AM Personality John Clayton Remembered. After last week’s passing of longtime sports media figure and NFL insider John Clayton, Bonneville International’s Seattle staff are remembering him with tributes. Clayton was a personality on the company’s KIRO-AM “Seattle Sports” for the past 14 years. Bonneville Seattle SVP and market manager Cathy Cangiano says, “John was a treasured member of our team. John was a legend in our industry and a true Hall-of-Famer. He was a consistent advocate for the game of football. His connections, friendships and relationships throughout the sports world were simply unmatched. His love of football was only surpassed by his love, loyalty and dedication to his wife Pat. John will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Pat and his family and friends.” KIRO-AM program director Kyle Brown adds, “John was an amazing journalist, colleague and friend. A Hall-of-Famer both personally and professionally, John was one of the most loyal people you’d ever meet. While his loyalty extended to friends and co-workers, it was never stronger than in his commitment to his beloved wife Pat, who he cherished every moment of his life. Our ‘Seattle Sports’ family will miss John dearly and keep his family in our hearts.”
TALKERS News Notes. The air talent at Salem Radio Network – including Larry Elder, Sebastian Gorka and others – have been appealing for donations to the non-profit Food for the Poor, which provides food, water and medical supplies to 17 Caribbean and Latin American countries has no “footprint” in Eastern Europe. SRN announces that Food for the Poor has reached an alliance with Feed My Starving Children, which has had staff on the ground in Ukraine for the past eight years, and so effective today (3/21), SRN hosts will generate donations to rush food, clean water and other relief supplies to over 3 million Ukrainian refugees. SRN host Mike Gallagher says, “It took some diplomatic maneuvering between these two awesome charities to combine forces in order to rush emergency relief to the children and families of war-torn Ukraine. All of us at SRN are proud to play a role in this unique campaign, and we’ll be urging our listeners to open their hearts – and their wallets – in the exciting days ahead.”…..The Newsmax-syndicated “Rob Carson Show” announces the addition of new affiliate stations. Launched last fall, the show adds WJFP-AM, Philadelphia; KMZQ-AM, Las Vegas; KSCO-AM, Santa Cruz, California; and WJFP-FM, Trenton, New Jersey. The “Rob Carson Show” airs in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart, the same time slot that Rush Limbaugh occupied. Newsmax notes that Carson wrote comedy for Limbaugh for over 20 years.
Russia-Ukraine War/Biden Europe Trip, Gas Prices/Inflation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, COVID-19, Jackson Confirmation Hearings, and Kanye Cut from Grammys Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the weekend attacks on Kyiv, plus President Joe Biden’s planned trip to Europe; soaring gas prices in the U.S. and the still rising price of consumer retail goods; the battle for control of Congress in November’s mid-term elections, the Republican prospects for president in 2024 and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the rising rate of the Omicron variant BA.2 cases in some parts of the world and the U.S.; this week’s start of the confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and Kanye West is ousted from performance at Grammy Awards for his “concerning online behavior” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Cumulus to Shutter Arkansas Radio Network. Arkansas Business reports that Cumulus Media is letting the 18 affiliates of its Arkansas Radio Network know that the network that has provided news, sports, and farm market reports for the last 50 years will end that service on March 20. The network is based at Cumulus’ news/talk KARN-FM, Little Rock and the notification was signed by KARN program director Toby Howell. The Arkansas Business piece by Kyle Massey reports that the 30-day notice does not offer a reason for the cessation of the news network but says “insiders and regular listeners said paid advertising has been sparse lately, with public service announcements prominent in ad spots.” The piece says the network had as many as 70 affiliate stations during its zenith in the late 1980s and affiliate count was around 50 stations as recently as a couple of years ago.
Radio Hall of Fame Accepting Nominations Through March 31. The Museum of Broadcast Communications announces that the Radio Hall of Fame nominating committee is accepting suggestions for 2022 nominees today through Thursday, March 31, 2022. You can submit your nominations here. The HoF is accepting nominations in the following categories: Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more); Active Local/Regional (10 years or more); Networks/Syndication (10 years or more); Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more); Music Format On-Air Personality; and Spoken Word On-Air Personality. Radio Hall of Fame chairman Kraig T. Kitchin says, “We desire the input and suggestions of both industry members and longtime radio listeners, both who have front row seats to radio programs hosted by very deserving air personalities the 2022 nominating committee members should give consideration to.” Nominating committee chair Dennis Green adds, “It is important to hear from those within the industry as well as the listening public to arrive at a deserving list of nominees for the 2022 Radio Hall of Fame Class. We welcome suggestions from around the country as we begin the process that will culminate with the induction of this year’s honorees later this year.” The annual Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony is set to take place in Chicago on Thursday, October 27, 2022.
‘Radio Night Live’ Presents ‘Broadcast for Broadway.’ The WNYM-AM, New York program “Radio Night LIVE with Kevin McCullough” recently presented “Broadcast For Broadway,” a follow-up to the September broadcast aimed at raising awareness of the 15 new shows opening in March and April. In September, the broadcast heralded 12 shows and the reopening of Broadway since the start of the pandemic. The two-hour, special broadcast emanated from longtime Broadway establishment Sardis in the heart of Times Square. The broadcast featured sneak previews of upcoming shows, conversations with Broadway critics and cast and producers from current hits like Come From Away and brand-new shows already receiving nomination rumors, such as Paradise Square. Pictured above are (from l-r): McCullough, original Come From Away cast member Tony LePage, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani assistant Cristyne Nicholas, and Come From Away producer Randy Adams.
‘New Jersey 101.5 Town Hall’ Presents ‘College Alternatives.’ This Thursday (2/24) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents the latest in its series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey residents navigate life in the Garden State. Hosted by senior political director Eric Scott, this edition examines alternatives to the traditional four-year degree. Scott says, “New Jersey is facing a real crisis in terms of a skilled labor shortage. These are solid careers, with excellent pay, and don’t come with the debt of a four-year degree. Not everyone needs a four-year degree to have a successful and rewarding career. New Jersey desperately needs workers in skilled trades.” The program’s expert panel will feature: John Tillman, founder of Ecliptic Financial Advisors; Aaron Fichtner, president of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges; Chrissy Buteas, chief government affairs officer with the New Jersey Business & Industry Association; and Amy Lombardo, with the New Jersey School Counselor Association. The program will also feature representatives from New Jersey trade unions that run their own certification schools for members.
WMVP-AM, Chicago Adds CDGA Golf Show to Lineup. Chicago sports talk outlet WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” adds the “CDGA Golf Show” to its Sunday lineup in the 7:00 am to 9:00 am slot. The program, hosted by “ESPN 1000” personality Tyler Aki and Chicago District Golfer magazine editor Barry Cronin, allows fans to hear from their favorite golfers throughout the region, as well as news about the professional tours, other major golf events, and more. WMVP director of content Danny Zederman states, “We are excited to partner with The Chicago District Golf Association to create an entertaining and informational show every Sunday morning.”
Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Urban Crime, Trump Social Media App, Arbery Hate Crime Trial, and China’s Winter Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/21). Western condemnation of Vladimir Putin’s Ukraine incursion after his recognition of separatist provinces; the slowing rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Canada’s prosecution of trucker protesters; November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the politics surrounding the spike in urban crime and homelessness in America’s large cities; the Trump social media app launches amid technical glitches; the jury deliberates in the federal hate crime trial of the three men found guilty of killing Ahmaud Arbery; and the post-mortem on China’s Winter Olympic Games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour, weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Vulnerability,” looks back at this past week of May 10-14, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / founder, Scamicide.com; Joey Hudson, talk show host, 94.5 The Answer, WGTK-FM, Greenville, SC; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / physician; Wayne Avrashow, attorney / commentator, RealClear Politics; 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; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer 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.
Radio One’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and Morning Host Bo Thompson Renew. WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host Bo Thompson and Radio One reach a multi-year agreement for Thompson to continue hosting the morning show on the heritage news/talk station. The Charlotte native began his career at WBT in 1990 at age 16. He worked at the station while still attending Myers Park High School and continued through his years at Davidson College. Thompson’s entire three-decade broadcast career has been in Charlotte, mostly dedicated to WBT. Radio One regional vice president Marsha Landess says, “Bo has done an amazing job of keeping Charlotte listeners engaged and informed during mornings on WBT. He has proven to be a compelling broadcaster keeping Charlotte informed on local, regional and national issues and we are thrilled he will be taking WBT into the future.” Thompson adds, “I’m very proud to continue working for the station that has been my broadcast life. It’s an honor for me that I’ll be here both for WBT’s 100th anniversary and to celebrate a decade hosting mornings next year.”
Bill O’Reilly’s Killing the Mob Hits #1 on NYT Best Sellers List. The latest book by conservative media personality, author, and broadcast journalist Bill O’Reilly has reached #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Sales of KILLING THE MOB: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America (St. Martin’s Publishing Group) have soared since its release on May 4 to push it into the top spot and it’s the 16th time one of O’Reilly’s books has accomplished this feat. O’Reilly is also host of the Key Networks-syndicated programs “The O’Reilly Update” and “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition,” heard on more than 240 stations across the country. In his new book, O’Reilly traces the brutal history of 20th century organized crime in the United States and plumbs the history of this nation’s most notorious serial robbers, conmen, and especially, mob family bosses.
Markley, van Camp & Robbins Show Adds 10 New Affiliate Stations; Surpasses 100 Station Mark. The Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley, van Camp & Robbins Show” has recently added 10 new stations to its roster of affiliates and now enjoys distribution across a growing platform of 105 metro markets. Compass Media Networks says the show – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daily – “represents perspectives from every generation. David van Camp is a millennial, Jamie Markley represents Gen X, and Scott Robbins is the Baby Boomer. The witty and downright funny conversations between the hosts about the news topics of the day make this show truly unique.” Jamie Markley comments, “I’m humbled. We feel like we have such a real connection with all the great people that listen to the show. Something I seem to hear a lot is something to the extent of ‘when I listen to you guys, I feel like I’m hanging out with friends, talking about what’s going on in the world and having some laughs.’ That’s one of the greatest compliments you can get in my opinion. Thanks to Compass Media Networks for taking a shot on us and connecting us to so many good people across America!”
Cherri Gregg Exiting KYW, Philadelphia to Join Public Radio WHYY. The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Cherri Gregg will leave her community affairs reporter position with Audacy’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia to join crosstown public radio outlet WHYY-FM, effective June 14. In her new role with WHYY, she’ll be afternoon host in which she’ll anchor local top-of-the-hour news and other breaks in the national programming plus take on interview and news assignments. In a statement, Gregg says, “I truly respect the grassroots, in-depth approach to storytelling at WHYY. I am excited about the opportunity to help engage the community in the many important conversations of our time.” Gregg has been with KYW since December of 2010. Her role with KYW has included serving as host and executive producer of the weekly public affairs show “Flashpoint.”
BIA Advisory: Radio Revenue Fell 23.6% in 2020; Digital Continues to Be Strong. The first quarter edition of BIA Advisory Services’ 2021 Investing In Radio Market Report is out and BIA says, “As anticipated, the radio industry took a very big hit in 2020 due to the pandemic and subsequent cutbacks in overall spending activity. According to the report, over-the-air advertising revenues dropped to $9.7 billion, a 23.6 % decline from $12.8 billion in 2019. Digital ad revenues at stations demonstrated their continued strength, though, posting only a slight decline to $939 million in revenues in 2020 versus $1 billion in 2019.” BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “Local radio stations have been feeling the impact of new competition for the past few years; unfortunately, the pandemic just exacerbated the problem and it will take some time to recover. The shining star continues to be radio’s online digital advertising revenues, which will outpace over-the-air growth this year and moving forward. Those broadcasting groups that have invested in and oriented their companies toward digital will benefit faster from that foresight.” Fratrik forecasts 2021 total local radio revenues to reach $11.7 billion, with $1 billion coming directly from online revenues; a 9.7 % increase over 2020. Find out more about the study here.
TALKERS News Notes. A new multi-year agreement between Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” and the NHL’s Boston Bruins is signed, extending the partnership for the station to serve as flagship for the Boston Bruins Radio Network. In addition to broadcasting all Bruins games, “98.5 The Sports Hub” will continue to air 30-minute pre- and post-game shows along with the two-hour weekly program, “The Hockey Show” which airs Saturdays from 9:00 am to 11:00 am during season. Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna comments, “We are thrilled to continue our longstanding partnership with the Boston Bruins and to be able to share our passion for the Bruins with our loyal New England fans. We are so excited to be back in the TD Garden cheering the Bruins on to the playoffs.”…..At the 2021 IAB Podcast Upfront, Audacy’s Cadence13 announces some new podcasts it is launching. First, Grammy-nominated bassist Este Haim and Primetime Emmy Award-winning actor Darren Criss are co-hosting their first-ever podcast, “That Thing I Do.” Launching this summer, the close friends will share their mutual love of music, pop culture, and more with special guests on the weekly show that focuses on the “things that people do” that wider audiences may not be as familiar with. Second, Cadence13 is partnering with award-winning actress Ellen Pompeo — the star of ABC’s long-running hit series “Grey’s Anatomy” — for her first-ever podcast, “Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo,” set to launch this fall. On the program Pompeo will sit down for in-depth, candid conversations with a wide range of guests— celebrity and otherwise — who inspire her, extraordinary people who do extraordinary things, to find out what makes them great. Pompeo will use the weekly show to shine a light on people and highlight issues important to her and the world at large…..iHeartMedia is launching a new, standalone podcast venture – My Cultura, dedicated to elevating Latinx voices and creators, and sharing the Latinx experience with millions of listeners. In partnership with Enrique Santos, the company’s top-rated on-air personality and president and chief ceative officer of iHeartLatino, My Cultura will offer creators a platform to share stories and perspectives relevant to Latinx listeners and all audiences. The network will roll out six new shows at launch in Summer 2021, and 30 shows throughout its first year, across a variety of genres including pop culture, music, comedy, mental health, finance, news and more.
COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy, Variants and Stats Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 10-14. The number of Americans who are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine, concerns about variants, and the number of cases in the U.S. and abroad combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s ouster from her leadership role and the influence of former President Donald Trump on the Republican party. Following at #3 was the Colonial Pipeline hack and the resulting gas shortage in the Southeast. 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.
Barry Farber Memorial Tribute Now Posted on YouTube. The Industry Memorial Tribute to talk radio legend Barry Farber presented by the Farber Family and TALKERS has been posted to YouTube. Several dozen family members, colleagues, and friends of late talk radio icon Barry Farber gathered via Zoom on Wednesday, May 5 to pay tribute to the uniquely talented broadcaster who passed away a year earlier, one day after his 90th birthday. The informal presentation was moderated by Michael Harrison and featured, among its many speakers, members of Barry Farber’s immediate family including his daughters Bibi Farber and Celia Farber, industry colleagues Sean Hannity of Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel, Mike Horn of CRN Digital Talk Radio Network, and Frank Morano of WABC, New York. To view the event on YouTube, click here or visit the memorial website Barry Farber Radio here.