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Monday, August 23, 2021

| August 23, 2021

Remembering Phil Valentine. “We are saddened to report that our host and friend, Phil Valentine, has passed away. Please keep the Valentine family in your thoughts and prayers.” That’s how Cumulus Media Nashville news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” shared the news of Valentine’s death. Having spent the past several weeks in a Nashville-area hospital battling COVID-19, the 61-year-old conservative talk show host – and coronavirus vaccine skeptic – died Saturday afternoon (8/21). Last month, his brother, Mark Valentine, told The Tennessean, “I know if [Phil] were able to tell you this, he would [say], ‘Go get vaccinated. Quit worrying about the politics. Quit worrying about all the conspiracy theories. He regrets not being more adamant about getting the vaccine. Look at the dadgum data.” In a July 26 (2021) interview with CNN’s Alisyn Camerota, Mark said Phil was “still very deep in the woods” and breathing with assistance. “He recognizes now that him not getting the vaccination has probably caused a bunch of other people not to get vaccinated. This is a real threat – it is a real public health crisis. His cavalier attitude wouldn’t have been what it was and he would have gotten vaccinated and encouraged everybody to get vaccinated.” Tennessee has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country with only 50.1% of adults fully-vaccinated. Modifying the lyrics to the Beatles’ song “Taxman,” Valentine wrote/performed “Vaxman,” which included such lyrics as, “Let me tell you how it will be, and I don’t care if you agree, ‘cause I’m the Vaxman. If you don’t like me coming round, be thankful I don’t hold you down.” In a December 2020 blog, the “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” afternoon drive personality wrote that his chance of dying from COVID-19 was “probably way less than 1%.” He had said of the vaccine, “I have a very low risk of getting COVID and dying of it if I do. Why would I risk getting a heart attack or paralysis by getting the vaccine?” He said  he’d been taking ivermectin, an anti-parasite medication that comes in different forms for animals and humans. Acknowledging on July 11 (2021) that he had COVID-19, Valentine claimed it would not be a problem, saying that as a “precaution,” he might take a day off from his radio show. In fact, his Facebook post that day read: “Unfortunately for the haters out there, it looks like I’m going to make it. Interesting experience. I’ll have to fill you in when I come back on the air. I’m hoping that will be tomorrow.” Valentine’s health, however, quickly deteriorated and his family issued a statement saying that “the experience” had changed the radio host’s mind on vaccination. “Phil would like for his listeners to know that while he has never been an ‘anti-vaxer’ he regrets not being more vehemently ‘Pro-Vaccine.’ [He] looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he is back on the air, which we all hope will be soon. PLEASE GO GET VACCINATED!” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “This is a tragic loss for Phil’s family as well as the people of Nashville; WWTN; the talk radio industry; and the national conversation. His track record as a nationally known, super-successful, longtime radio personality is among the best. It is painfully ironic that his position on COVID-19 became the headline component of his sad passing. May his courage to reverse his stance during his final days serve as an effective influence to save lives.” On “The TALKERS magazine 2021 Heavy Hundred,” Valentine appears at #47. Tennessee Republican senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted that, “Phil Valentine was a visionary for the conservative movement, and he made an enormous impact on the lives of many Tennesseans. My deepest condolences and prayers are with Phil’s wife, Susan, and his family. May they be comforted and surrounded by love during this difficult time.” The junior senator from Tennessee, Republican Bill Hagerty, noted that, “Tennessee has lost a strong conservative voice that will be sorely missed.” That state’s governor, Republican Bill Lee, tweeted, “Maria and I are deeply saddened by the loss of Phil Valentine and pray for his family as they navigate the difficult days ahead.” Meanwhile, lieutenant governor Randy McNally also took to social media, writing, “Deeply saddened that we have lost Phil Valentine to COVID-19. He was an inspirational and persuasive conservative voice. He will be greatly missed. If you haven’t yet done so, please consider vaccination. It is the only way to defeat this scourge.” Even though Valentine was a conservative talk show host, he was the son of former six-term North Carolina Democratic representative Tim Valentine. A radio personality since he was 20, Valentine – who attended East Carolina University and the Charlotte branch of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting – protested against a state income tax proposed by Tennessee’s governor at the time, Republican Don Sundquist. Valentine signed a three-year deal in 2019 that would have kept him on “99.7 WTN” through next year. He  authored three books: “The Conservative’s Handbook: Defining the Right Position on Issues from A to Z”; “Right from the Heart: The ABC’s of Reality in America”; and “Tax Revolt: The Rebellion Against an Overbearing, Bloated, Arrogant, and Abusive Government.” Valentine and his son, Campbell, joked about their relationship via the podcast “PodGOATs.”  Reiterating a vaccination plea, Cumulus Nashville vice president/market manager Allison Warren comments, “Phil Valentine was a charismatic broadcaster who entertained millions and enriched countless lives throughout his career. A beloved friend and mentor to many, his contributions to our city and his passion for his listeners cannot be overstated. We know he will be missed. We send our heartfelt condolences and prayers to Phil’s family and wish them peace during this difficult time. If you aren’t yet vaccinated, we fervently hope that you will honor Phil’s memory by taking to heart the urgent plea he made in the last weeks of his life – please go get vaccinated.” Funeral arrangements for Valentine are pending.

Monday Memo: Empathy? Sympathy? While the parents of school-age children – “the mega-shoppers that our advertisers want to meet” – are confronting “the school year we hoped we would never repeat,” consultant Holland Cooke cautions against what he regards as “a media/consumer disconnect.” And in this week’s column, he recommends an urgent message that can literally be a matter of life and death. Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Is Radio Still the Frequency Medium? Do you remember your sales training that suggested a formula for getting results included your message hitting the target audience X number of times? What was that number? Maybe the number isn’t so important. Sales pro Steve Lapa says in today’s column, “Do you remember the thousands of daily ads you hear and see? Somehow your brain filters out what you don’t want to process. But when you’re hungry, thirsty, not feeling well, need a new computer, car, couch, or more cash, the appropriate ad jumps out of the jungle, demanding your attention. And that’s what great talk radio hosts are all about: owning the listener’s attention.” Read more here.

Cumulus Chicago Promotes Mallory Vor Broker to Reporter Covering City Hall and Politics. At news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago, Cumulus Media announces it has promoted Mallory Vor Broker to reporter for 890 WLS-AM. In this role, she’ll cover Chicago City Hall and the political beat for the station, filling the role vacated by Bill Cameron, who retired on August 20 after a 51-year career. Vor Broker was been serving with the station as executive producer for the “The John Howell Show.” In the past, she’s served as a producer for Steve Dahl, Roe Conn and Lauren Cohn during her nearly 10 years as a producer for Cumulus Chicago. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor comments, “As our new City Hall reporter, Mallory will tell the latest local news stories that matter to Chicago. She brings a fresh perspective and deep experience as a storyteller to this integral role. We look forward to continuing WLS’ superb coverage of City Hall and welcome Mallory to the 890 News Team.” Vor Broker says, “I am thrilled to begin my new role as City Hall reporter for WLS-AM 890. It’s a great opportunity to cover the dynamic political landscape in Chicago and Illinois after years of producing high-profile shows. I look forward to continuing to bring high-quality, thoughtful reporting to WLS-AM 890.”

Nate Weaver Named Promotions Director for iHeartMedia Wilmington-Salisbury. Joining iHeartMedia to serve as promotions director for the Wilmington, Delaware and Salisbury, Maryland markets is Nate Weaver. He comes to the company from his most recent position with Audacy’s WBEB, Philadelphia. iHeartMedia VP of programming Josh Wolff says, “We are so excited to have Nate join our team. From the first time we spoke, we knew he was the perfect fit. Nate’s impressive background will only serve to improve our portfolio of already strong brands.” Weaver says, “I am super excited to join iHeartMedia Salisbury and Wilmington’s amazing and hard-working teams. Not only am I looking forward to growing brand engagement amongst our portfolio of market-leading stations, but now that I’m in Delaware, I get to really indulge in tax-free shopping – this is great!” The markets include news/talk WILM-AM, Wilmington; news/talk WDOV, Dover; sports talk WWTX-AM, Wilmington; news/talk WJDY-AM, Salisbury; and sports talk WTGM-AM, Salisbury.

iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network to Expand News Efforts; Three Promotions Announced. The BIN: Black Information Network, iHeartMedia’s “24/7 comprehensive national audio news network dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news with a Black voice and perspective,” announces plans to expand local news coverage in all 32 affiliate markets beginning January 2022. The network is also promoting three staffers: Tanita Myers, previously director of news operations, is now vice president of news operations; Chris Thompson, previously director of network operations, is now vice president of network operations; and Lauren Crawford, previously associate editor, is now senior director of digital and social strategy, effective immediately. The company says the expanding local news coverage will create new employment opportunities including multiple news anchor and reporter positions, a managing editor, and a podcast managing editor. BIN president Tony Coles states, “We are incredibly proud of the growth and success of BIN during our first year. We are thrilled to continue our leadership in providing the most trusted news source for the Black community, offering even more local news coverage to the communities we serve. BIN’s success has been, in no small part, due to our dedicated and talented team. I look forward to seeing how Tanita, Chris and Lauren continue to grow within BIN, and I am excited to add even more experienced talent to our team.”

Nexstar Media to Acquire The Hill. The politics and Washington, DC publication The Hill is being acquired by Nexstar Media for $130 million. Nexstar is primarily a television company but also owns news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago. A press release from Nexstar says, “The acquisition marks a continuation of Nexstar’s content-first strategy, focused primarily on news, designed to further leverage and monetize its expansive digital reach… With more than 100 journalists who cover political news and events and provide a wide variety of engaging content to its users, The Hill’s business model is primarily advertising supported by direct, programmatic, and licensing revenue. Nexstar’s omni-channel approach to content distribution will allow it to expand The Hill’s reach and revenue channels while creating synergistic opportunities with Nexstar’s growing national cable news network, NewsNation, and its leading local news gathering platform, which counts 5,500 journalists producing over 275,000 hours of local and national news annually.”

Red Table Talk and iHeartMedia Strike Content Deal. The EMMY Award-winning talk show “Red Table Talk” enters into a deal with iHeartMedia to launch the Red Table Talk Audio Network. The venture will include a slate of co-produced podcasts, including its two current audio series: “Red Table Talk,” hosted by Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris; and “Positively Gam,” a podcast hosted by Banfield-Norris. The newly formed network will launch five new series over the next two years with iHeartMedia that will allow listeners to go deeper into topics covered at the table, with all-new original podcasts from Red Table Talk hosts and regular show contributors. The first show to launch on the slate will be the podcast version of the EMMY and GLAAD Media Awards-nominated RTT spinoff, “Red Table Talk: The Estefans,” hosted by Gloria Estefan, Emily Estefan, and Lili Estefan.

Afghanistan, COVID-19, Extreme Weather/Wildfires, Arizona Vote Audit, Staffing & Shipping Woes, Trump in Alabama, and Portland Protest Skirmish Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The U.S. evacuation from Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the move; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the battle over mask and vaccine mandates; the flooding in Tennessee, Hurricane Henri hits the Northeast, and the California wildfires; the anticipated release of the controversial audit of Maricopa County, Arizona’s 2020 election votes; the ongoing troubles employers are having finding workers and filling orders and the chaos affecting the world’s shipping industry; former President Donald Trump is booed in Alabama for suggesting people get COVID vaccines; and the violence in Portland between Proud Boys and Antifa protesters were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

| September 14, 2017

Craig Carton Resigns from WFAN.  A day after releasing his first public statement declaring his innocence relative to the federal fraud charges filed against him, radio personality Craig Carton has resigned from his position as morning host alongside co-host Boomer Esiason on CBS RADIO’s WFAN, New York.  As most TALKERS readers are aware, Carton is charged with being part of a Ponzi scheme that bilked $5.6 million out of investors, ostensibly to pay off gambling debts.  Carton’s attorney says the government’s case is a “gross misunderstanding of what happened.”  Here’s Carton’s statement: “Unfortunately, the unfounded legal issues currently plaguing me will only be a distraction to everyone at WFAN and the show I helped build.  With that in mind, I have submitted my resignation to the station and they accepted.  I am sad to see this chapter of my life close but know that it will allow me to focus on my family, my well-being and clearing my name, while giving the show the best opportunity to succeed without further disruption.  I’ve always felt a personal connection to our listeners and want to thank them for making me a part of their daily routine. I hope they can respect the fact that as much as I want to talk about the allegations against me I can’t at this time. There will come a time when I will be able to speak directly about the case and I hope our listeners will be there.”  In accepting Carton’s resignation, CBS RADIO issued the following statement: “We appreciate all of his contributions over the last decade and wish him and his family well during this next phase.  We are especially grateful to our dedicated employees, sponsors and listeners for their continued support of ‘THE FAN.’  The search for a replacement co-host for the morning show will begin immediately.”

PPM Analysis: Public News/Talk. Managing editor Mike Kinosian presents the second of four analyses of the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2017 PPM survey, today focusing on public news/talk.  Kinosian reports that, comparing July PPM figures to August numbers (all 6+ ratings), “six of every 10 stations on this public news/talk panel are up (60%)…while 29% are down; the remaining 11% of the sample is flat.”  Similarly, a comparison of August 2016 ratings to August 2017 shows 60% of stations are up year-over-year.  As far as market rank is concerned, there were four public news/talk stations that ranked #1 in their respective markets in the August survey: KQED-FM, San Francisco (which also ranked #1 in the adjacent San Jose market); WAMU, Washington; KUOW, Seattle; and KPBS, San Diego.  Five other public news/talk stations finished in the top five in their respective markets.  Read the whole report here.

Watkins Named LSM at Cox Atlanta. Sales and marketing pro Mike Watkins is appointed to the local sales manager position at Cox Media Group’s Atlanta radio operations.  In this role, Watkins will “focus on developing talent and driving new business development initiatives” for the cluster’s stations, including news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM.  For the past 20 years, Watkins has been a media consultant for CMG Atlanta.  Prior to that, he spent the first half of his career on the programming side of the business working at legendary stations KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and WGCI, Chicago.  Watkins came to Atlanta in 1993 as the program director of WALR “Kiss 104.”

WTAR, Norfolk Debuts New Lineup; Local PM Drive Show. On Monday (9/18), Sinclair Communications unveils the new programming lineup at WTAR, Norfolk “Sports Radio 850.”  The schedule will consist of FOX Sports Radio’s “Outkick the Coverage with Clay Travis,” Dan Patrick; “The Herd with Colin Cowherd”; the local Nick Bailey show; and the Rich Eisen show.  Host and PD Nick Bailey says his show will also feature Jason Dick, from “101X” in Austin.  It will also include Tim Murray based in Washington.  Murray is nationally syndicated as part of SBNation.  Bailey states, “We are excited to give the people of Hampton Roads premiere sports talk every weekday.  I think the lineup gives a fresh entertaining spin on sports no matter what time of the day you tune in.  Plus, local sports talk starting at 3:00 pm will be a nice addition to the market.”

Rita Cosby Hosts ‘Pubs and Politics’ Event at The Cutting Room.  This evening in New York City, 77 WABC Radio personality and political editor Rita Cosby hosts “Pubs and Politics” at The Cutting Room on E. 32nd Street.  The evening features three of the top New York City mayoral challengers: Nicole Malliotakis, Sal Albanese, and Bo Dietl.  Also appearing will be former Milwaukee County sheriff David Clarke.  Appearing to discuss the media’s role in the political scene is CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota.  The program will be opened by “Saturday Night Live” cast member Darrell Hammond with remarks and thoughts on the current political environment.  WABC program director Craig Schwalb says, “It’s hard to imagine a better night of political debate and comedy.  The stars come out for Rita, our great listeners, and for WABC Radio.”

Galaxy’s Ed Levine Inducted into Syracuse University’s WAER Hall of Fame.  Pictured above is Galaxy Communications president and CEO Ed Levine (center) during the ceremony inducting him into the WAER Hall of Fame.  Flanking him are Scott MacFarlane (left) and Marv Albert (right). Levin comments, “WAER is where it all started.  It’s where my love for radio was realized, where I met my wife (Pam), and where Craig Fox, Ted Utz and I formulated the plan to start WAQX, which was my first real job in radio.  I couldn’t be happier to be a part of a class that includes Scott MacFarlane and the great Marv Albert.”  Past WAER Hall of Fame inductees include: Bob Costas, Mike Tirico, Lakshmi Singh and former ABC News anchor Ted Koppel.  WAER, once a student-run radio station, is a public radio station based at Syracuse University that maintains a student workforce, primarily in the news and sports departments.

Trump Administration’s DACA Policy, Trump Tax Code Overhaul, Irma and Harvey Aftermath, Hillary Clinton Book, ESPN’s Jemele Hill Controversy, North Korea Threats, Ben Shapiro’s Berkeley Speech, Equifax Security Breach, Apple Introduces New iPhones, ‘Racism’ Banner Unfurled at Red Sox Game, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/13).  The negotiations between Democrats and President Trump on immigration policy regarding ‘dreamers’; the Trump Administration’s efforts to rewrite the U.S. tax code; the effects of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey and the prognosis for long-term recovery; Hillary Clinton’s new book What Happened and her current media tour; the controversy at ESPN over Jemele Hill’s statement calling Trump a white supremacist and the sports media organization’s reaction; the nuclear threats against the U.S. by North Korea; anticipation of protests at UC Berkeley at tonight’s Ben Shapiro speech; the Equifax security breach and criticism of the company’s handling of it; Apple’s introduction of new iPhones, including the iPhone X; protesters unfurl anti-racism banner at Wednesday’s Red Sox game; and NFL 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. Country stations KPLX, Dallas “99.5 The Wolf” and KSCS “New Country 96.3” brought Broken Bow Records artist Dustin Lynch to Cowboys Red River Dance Hall in Dallas on Tuesday (9/12) to raise money for the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.  Lynch performed a 90-minute set for the nearly 2,600 fans in attendance, raising $25,750 to help those affected by last month’s Hurricane Harvey…..CBS RADIO CHR KLUC, Las Vegas partnered with Zappos For Good, Lyft and the Salvation Army for a three-day broadcast last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to collect items for Hurricane Harvey and Irma relief efforts. KLUC’s “Chet Buchanan & the Morning Zoo” filled five semi-trucks with donated supplies and hit the road this past Saturday for the 1,200 mile trek from Las Vegas to the Salvation Army Divisional Disaster warehouse in Arlington, Texas…..Envision Networks is partnering with Skid Trax to offer “The Ashley & Brad Show” to affiliates on a barter basis. Ashley & Brad are based at KWSV-LP, Simi Valley, California.  Envision says the show “targets the 25 to 54 audience with current topics and humor.  Radio stations’ music playlists will remain intact – just add Ashley & Brad voice tracks.”…..Jim Dorman joins iHeartMedia to serve as operations manager for the company’s four-station Wichita cluster that includes CHR KZCH, country KZSN, adult contemporary KRBB, and alternative KTHR.  Dorman takes over for the departed Brian Jennings…..Milwaukee hip hop outlet WKKV “V100.7” is presenting the 6th annual Cracker Barrel Sista Strut – a 3K breast cancer charity walk that aims to bring awareness to the importance of breast cancer screenings.  The charity walk will take place on Saturday, October 7.