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Friday, January 29, 2021

| January 29, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment 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, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Raging Politics!” looks back at this past week of January 25-29, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Holland Cooke, media consultant / talk show host, RT AmericaCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, WABC / GOP primary candidate for Mayor of New York City / founder Guardian AngelesSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; Bill Graff, talk show host KSCO, Santa Cruz; Amy Hao, co-talk show host, China Uber Alles; Nan Su, co-talk show host, China Uber Alles; senior reporter, The Epoch TimesVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The 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 WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio 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.

Cox Media Group Names Rob Babin SVP of Radio. Atlanta vice president and market manager Rob Babin is promoted to senior vice president of radio for Cox Media Group, effective immediately. Over Babin’s 20-year career with Cox, he’s held numerous management and sales management positions, including his most recent overseeing the Atlanta market that includes news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, three music brands, as well as the six-station Athens, Georgia market. Cox Media Group says that “as head of radio and a member of the company’s executive leadership team, Babin is responsible for the profitability, strategic direction, and operational execution of CMG’s radio platform, spanning 65 radio stations in 11 markets across the country. He will focus heavily on achieving CMG’s radio strategic growth objectives while maintaining CMG’s industry leading content, impactful community engagement, and growth-focused culture.” Cox Media Group president and CEO Dan York comments, “We are so excited that Rob accepted this role on the CMG leadership team. He is a proven leader with a true passion for the radio, CMG and his people. Rob is a collaborative and agile executive, with deep industry and CMG expertise and passion for everything he does – making him the ideal leader for CMG Radio.” Babin says, “Over the past 20 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work alongside many exceptional individuals and teams across CMG. I am thrilled to accept this position and honored to lead our CMG radio team. With our company’s incredible strength, brands, and people, we will continue to excel and grow our radio business to new heights.”

SummitMedia EVP of Programming Bill Tanner Dies. Radio programming executive Bill Tanner died at his home in Birmingham, Alabama on Wednesday evening. Tanner had been serving as executive vice president of programming for SummitMedia, LLC. In a press statement, the company says, “Tanner, who had an incredible career spanning nearly five decades, was known for his fierce competitive spirit and his brilliant approach to radio programming. He amassed one of the radio industry’s most consistent track records of number-one stations in markets ranging from South Florida to Los Angeles.” SummitMedia CEO Carl Parmer comments, “I had the honor of working alongside Bill since the early 90s from our days together at Heftel Broadcasting. His knowledge of the industry and loyalty as a friend continued as we worked to build SummitMedia together. All those who knew Bill came to respect his skills and watch in awe of how he connected with listeners. We will all truly miss him.” Parmer and Tanner joined forces in 2013 to create SummitMedia LLC, a company formed to purchase a number of radio stations being divested by Cox Radio. Later, they added 20 stations acquired from E.W. Scripps. Tanner began his career in the early 1970s doing mornings in Jackson, Mississippi followed by the ‘Tanner in the Morning Show’ on Miami’s WHYI “Y-100.” Soon thereafter, he was named VP of programming for parent company Heftel Broadcasting Corporation, where Parmer served as president and co-CEO. SummitMedia’s Randy Chase says, “We will miss Bill’s incessant enthusiasm, his love for our business, and his desire to always put the consumer first. But we will carry on with the fierceness he demonstrated and his passion for building an emotional connection with the listener.” Tanner is survived by his son Scott and two grandchildren, Tessa and Ryan.

Coleman and Conn Swap Dayparts at ‘105.7 The Fan’ in Baltimore. A couple of talent moves take place at Entercom’s Baltimore sports talker WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan.” Jerry Coleman is leaving his role on the “Big Bad Morning Show” to host his own program, “Sports with Coleman,” evenings from 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Meanwhile, Jeremy Conn moves from the evening daypart to join Rob Long and Ed Norris as part of the morning show, effective February 8. Entercom Baltimore SVP and market manager Tracy Brandys says, “With his vast knowledge of sports and his connections to the sports world, Jerry Coleman was born to host his own show. Jeremy Conn will bring his unique brand of humor, his extensive gambling knowledge, and his signature bits to morning drive. We appreciate both Jerry and Jeremy’s hard work and dedication to ‘105.7 The Fan’ and are excited to have two Baltimore natives serve as bookends for our impressive weekday lineup.” Coleman says, “Switching from the mornings to the evening will allow me to bring back ‘Sports with Coleman’ and grow my brand. I’m grateful to Entercom for this opportunity.” Conn comments, “I am unbelievably excited and humbled to join the ‘Big Bad Morning Show.’ I am also nervous to work with two former cops, considering my shady background – thank goodness for the statute of limitations. Ed, Rob, producer Joe LaCroix and myself will have fun and I am confident Baltimore will laugh their way to work each morning.”

Al Galdi Exits Entercom’s WTEM, Washington ‘The Team 980.’ There’s been no official statement from Entercom, but sports talk personality Al Galdi announces via Twitter that he’s been let go from the company’s newly acquired sports talk outlet WTEM-AM, Washington “The Team 980” where he hosted the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. He tweeted, “So…I am no longer w/ @Team980. Started there as an intern on Memorial Day Weekend 1998 & had been there ever since. A time in my life I’ll never forget. A sincere thank you to my coworkers & anyone who ever listened or contributed to a show I did in some way. Much appreciated.”

Al Peterson Dies at 68. The family of Al Peterson announces that he died about a week ago after an unusual series of medical events led to multiple organ failure that led to his passing at age 68. Peterson was well known in the radio industry for his years of service to Radio & Records as news/talk/sports editor. After R&R was shuttered by its parent company, Peterson launched his own news/talk/sports-focused trade publication that he ran for a number of years prior to retiring from the business about four years ago. Art Vuolo tells TALKERS magazine that per Al’s very clear directive, the family agreed to keep him on life support long enough for his organs to be harvested. He adds that his liver already saved a woman in Southern California and they harvested enough skin, bone, tissue, etc. that he could potentially help 60-plus other people. Peterson’s work in radio prior to entering the radio trade business included serving as program director at news/talk KOGO-AM, San Diego.

Beasley Media Group Initiative Celebrates Diversity and Inclusion. The ongoing Community of Caring initiative from Beasley Media Group is now focused on diversity and inclusion. The company says that the initiative will feature on-air public service announcements, customized online content, and in-car messaging utilizing Quu technology that will underscore the importance of diversity and inclusion across the company’s 63 radio properties. It officially launches on Monday (2/1) and “will shine an important spotlight on Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and Diversity/Belonging. Beasley Media CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Diversity, collaboration and respect are paramount to our core values. This initiative reflects the vision and philosophy my father, George, had when he founded the company 60 years ago. We are thrilled to launch this important initiative that promotes a culture of belonging and encourages, supports and reflects the communities we serve.”

Senate Impeachment Trial and Capitol Insurrection Investigation Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump and the investigation into the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of January 25-29. At #2 this week was the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S., the vaccine rollout, and the variant strains. Coming in at #3 was the GameStop stock frenzy, the U.S. economy’s contraction, and the education crisis, followed by U.S. relations with China and Russia 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 form TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Friday, December 2, 2016

| December 2, 2016

Art Bell and Wife Suing Michael Savage and WW1 for Defamation.  In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California, radio talk host Art Bell and his wife Airyn Ruiz Bell are suingsavagemichael Michael Savage, Westwood One and parent company Cumulus Media for defamation, defamation per se, false light invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.  The Bells are seeking damages “in the amount to be proven at trial.”  The bellartcomplaint stems from a September “Savage Nation” broadcast in which Savage said, “I generally avoid gun questions. I know this from the first day in radio. I learned you never do certain topics where you can destroy your show. Third rail… You say UFOs, you wind up in the Philippines with a 10-year-old hooker and you are off the radio after a number of years. You can’t do UFOs. That’s an in joke, by the way, for people who understand the business. There are other topics you can’t do…”  The Bells argue that to anyone who knows the business, it was obvious Savage was referring to Art Bell and further, that the “10-year-old hooker” remark refers to his wife, Philippines national Airyn Ruiz Bell.  The Bells say they petitioned Westwood One for a retraction but their request was not honored.

WEEI, Boston Names New Leadership Team.  The Entercom sports talker announces its new programmingzarbanojoe management team.  It is promoting assistant program director Joe Zarbano to PD, taking over for Kevin Graham, who announced his exit from the station back in June.  This comes after a six-month search that resulted in the station promoting from its “in-house talent bench.”  In addition to Zarbano’s kichenbenpromotion, senior producer Ben Kichen rises to executive producer.  He’s been lead producer for both the Glenn Ordway and “Dale & Holley” programs.  He also produces Kirk Minihane’s “Enough About Me” podcast and hosts “Soccercast” for WEEI.com.  Carlson Mozdiez, currently director of integrated marketing strategies for Entercom Boston, assumes the director of operations role for the cluster with special emphasis on the company’s WEEI.com digital platform.  Entercom New England VP/marketmozdiezcarlson manager Phil Zachary says the search was necessarily long and intensive.  “With its massive broadcast reach and associated digital assets, the WEEI brand is arguably among the most influential and complex in all of broadcasting.  Many of our outside candidates simply couldn’t get their arms around all of it.  As each month passed, it became clear to me that we had the talent right here in Ben, Carlson and Joe.  Plus they each have that inimitable DNA of the true Boston sports fan.”

Brandys Promoted to Baltimore SVP/Market Manager for CBS RADIO.  From her most recent position as VP, director of sales, Tracy Brandys is elevated to senior vice president, market manager and director of sales for CBS RADIO’s Baltimore stations, including sports talk duo WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan,” WJZ-AM “CBS Sportsbrandystracy Radio 1300,” adult contemporary WLIF “Today’s 101.9,” CHR WWMX “Mix 106.5,” as well as the CBS RADIO Up Close Performance Studio that hosts local and national sports figures and musicians.  She replaces former Baltimore market manager Bob Philips who was recently named chief revenue officer for CBS RADIO.  Company COO Scott Herman says, “Tracy’s years of sales and management experience, coupled with her intimate knowledge of our Baltimore stations and the overall market, made her the natural choice to take on this important role.  Throughout her tenure with CBS RADIO Tracy has proven to be a powerhouse salesperson who has led and grown our revenue and market share in Baltimore and has been a trusted leader to our valued employees.  We are delighted to reward her accomplishments with this well-deserved promotion.”

The News Media Alliance and National Association of Broadcasters Seeking Review of FCC’s Cross Ownership Rules.  The News Media Alliance is going straight to President-Elect Donald Trump with a white paper that lays out its case for abandoning the 1975 rule that makes cross-ownership of electronic and print medianewsmediaalliance illegal and the National Association of Broadcasters is petitioning the FCC for nab-logoreconsideration of the 2014 Quadrennial Regulatory Review’s conclusion to maintain the ban (as well as other policies).  Regular TALKERS readers are aware of the argument that the current state of media looks nothing like it did in 1975 and current regulations should reflect the current business conditions.  News Media Alliance president and CEO David Chavern states, “While news organizations are innovating and adapting to a vastly different media landscape, antiquated government regulations and imbalanced policies are unnecessarily hindering investment and growth at news media companies.  We encourage the new administration to revisit these regulations and policies as it charts a new course for our nation’s economic growth.”

Al Peterson to Cease Publication of NTS MediaOnline in New Year.  After 10 years serving the spoken-word radio business, radio pro Al Peterson is announcing he’ll stop publishing his NTS MediaOnline Today andpetersonal NTS MediaOnline Monthly come January.  In a press release, Peterson says, “After serving as the News/Talk/Sports editor for 10 years at the top industry newspaper Radio & Records, to then creating NTS MediaOnline and building it into a reliable hub for news, information and conversation about talk radio for the last decade, it just feels right to start a new chapter in my life – one where I’m not waking before sunrise to a blank page and a daily deadline.”  Working with Peterson during the last 10 years (and before that with R&R) has been his sales and marketing partner Brooke Williams.  The statement says Peterson plans to enjoy more time with his family and pursue other interests outside the industry.

siriusxmsmallReport: Pandora and SiriusXM Talking Acquisition.  According to CNBC, digital music pure play Pandora is talking with SiriusXM about being acquired by the satellite radio company.  The report indicates that the talks arepandoralogo very preliminary but that this shows a change of heart after Pandora dismissed an informal offer of $15 per share from SiriusXM parent Liberty Media back in July.  Liberty CEO Greg Maffei is quoted saying, “We think that the free space, whether it be commercial, terrestrial radio or Pandora, is still a very attractive space.  And we talked about how we’d like to find a way to participate.  I think the streaming business, which Pandora seems to have doubled down on, is a very unattractive business.  So there are parts of Pandora that could be attractive.  And there’s parts that we’d have questions about.”  Read the CNBC piece here.

talkersten-logoTrump Cabinet Nominees Top News/Talk Story for Week of November 28 – December 2.  The growing list of cabinet nominees for the Trump Administration was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the election recount tied with Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud.  Coming in at #3 was the Trump-Carrier deal, followed by Trump’s flag burning comments 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.  View this week’s entire chart here.

Odds & Sods.  News/talk WHBY, Appleton, Wisconsin is broadcasting in FM as well now with the addition of translator W287AU at 103.5.  Woodward Radio Group brand manager Justin Hull states, “We are thrilled to be taking WHBY to the FM side of the dial.  The new frequency, along with our revamped website and app, gives listeners another way to experience WHBY in all aspects.”…..Midway Broadcasting Corporation, the parent company of WVON, Chicago is hosting its 26th Annual Seniors Breakfast tomorrow (12/3) at the House of Hope.  Seniors will enjoy a hot breakfast and live entertainment from three-time Grammy nominee Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues and Christmas carols from musical artist Uneqka…..Both satellite radio broadcaster SiriusXM and digital platform TuneIn will be broadcasting live from the Baseball Winter Meetings starting this Sunday, December 4, through Thursday, December 8.

gracies-logoSix Days Left for Gracies Early Bird Deadline.  The deadline for early bird entries for the 2017 Gracie Awards is Thursday, December 8.  The annual awards, presented by the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation, recognize “exemplary programming created by, for and about women in all facets of media and entertainment, as well as individual achievement.”  All submissions must have been released, posted or aired between December 1, 2015 and December 31, 2016.  Please note, this is a change from previous years’ timeline for eligibility.  The final deadline for submissions is January 12, 2017 at 11:59 pm ET.  See how to register submissions here.

bernadettestudio16The Yappy Tour Rolls Through WABC, New York.  The recently published book, Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (AuthorHouse/Talkers Books), by veteran talk radio producer Bernadettehamburgjoan Duncan (left), continues to burn up the airwaves.  The coast-to-coast book tour rolled through New York City yesterday (12/1) as the author was interviewed by the legendary talk radio grand dame Joan Hamburg for her Saturday show (12/3) on the legendary WABC.  Duncan tells TALKERS, “It was one of the highlights of my career being interviewed by the great Joan Hamburg.  Not only is she one of my personal idols, but I can safely describe her as one of the best radio talkers of any era and a national treasure.  Being on her show and the airwaves of WABC is deeply gratifying to me and hopefully to the thousands of radio enthusiasts who have been giving this book such wonderfulbernadettebooksmall support.”  Yappy Days recounts Duncan’s 26-year career as a producer of radio talk shows working with such big-name talents as Larry KingSally Jessy RaphaelLou DobbsTom SnyderGil GrossCharles Osgood and many more during modern talk radio’s pre- and post-9/11 “golden era.”  Plus, she tells stories about behind-the-scenes encounters with hundreds of guests from the worlds of show business, politics, media, business and literature.  The interview is already posted as a podcast on the WABC website and can be heard by clicking here.   Due to the strong response by hosts across the nation to the subject and Duncan’s lively air presence, the national “Yappy Tour” will continue to roll on through the first quarter of 2017.  Duncan has already appeared on more than 40 local and syndicated programs.  Hosts and shows interested in booking Bernadette Duncan can do so by calling Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.