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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

| January 5, 2022

Sean Hannity Cooperation Sought by House Committee in January 6 Investigation. Texts between FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity and Donald Trump staffers before, during the January 6 Capitol attack, and after have been revealed as part of the House Committee’s investigation. Now, the House Select Committee is asking Hannity for his cooperation in its investigation. According to a report in The Hill, the Select Committee tells Hannity it is interested in communications between him and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and others, as well as President Trump himself between December 31, 2020 and January 20, 2021. Citing a number of texts, the Committee says it appears Hannity had advance knowledge of Trump’s and his legal team’s plans for January 6. Hannity’s takes and suggestions indicate he was, at least to some degree, at odds with Trump’s beliefs about his January 6 strategy regarding the election certification. The Hill reports Hannity attorney Jay Sekulow says he’s not yet been informed of the Committee’s request but says it would raise “serious constitutional issues.” Regarding that matter, the Committee’s letter states, “The Select Committee has immense respect for the First Amendment to our Constitution, freedom of the press, and the rights of Americans to express their political opinions freely. For that reason, we do not intend to seek information from you regarding your broadcasts on radio or television, your public reporting or commentary, or your political views regarding any candidate for office.” TALKERS founder and First Amendment advocate Michael Harrison states, “In the talk media business, influence is every bit as important as ratings. Sean Hannity has consistently proven to be at the top of the pack in both measurements year after year. Obviously, not everyone agrees with his opinions – that is the nature of our business, not to mention the times. Free speech, politics and democracy are untidy affairs. The role Sean has played and continues to play in being a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the microphone is the quintessential example of just how far our format – talk radio – has come in shaping the history of this era. Fortunately, those of us who know Sean personally recognize him as a man of integrity. Although some refer to his texts as ‘damning,’ I am pleased that the ‘concerns’ he expressed to the White House a year ago put him on the right side of history when it comes down to the real nitty gritty. The rest is the real-world stuff of big-time commercial media positioning. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone when it comes to attacking those who have bravely built this medium to being a lot more than a platform for the low hanging fruit of mediocre music, disingenuous promotion codes and superficial chatter.”

Salem Radio Network Talk Host Larry Elder Won’t Run for California Governor This Year. According to numerous media reports, including one from KNBC-TV, Los Angeles, Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder will not run for governor of California this fall. Elder ran as a Republican in last September’s recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom and of the dozens who qualified to be on the ballot was the Republican with the most votes. It was moot, however, as voters rejected the recall. Elder says he will form the Elder for America political action committee that will benefit Republicans in federal and local elections. In a statement, Elder says, “I ran for governor because I wanted to make a difference. While I may not know what the future holds for me politically, our campaign’s ability to attract millions of votes and millions of dollars in a very short time demonstrates we have a message that resonates with Americans, and I believe we can put that to good use.” The KNBC-TV story notes that Elder for America says Elder’s recall campaign raised about $22.5 million in eight weeks.

CES2022: “Pandemic Pivots.” The pandemic has accelerated trends “that have been simmering for a while and are now coming to a boil,” according to Consumer Technology Association research. 2022 tech spending is forecast to top a TRILLION dollars in the USA alone. And covering CES this week in Las Vegas, consultant Holland Cooke spots opportunities for radio sales. Read more here.

SRN’s Hugh Hewitt Named Contributor for FNC’s ‘Special Report with Brett Baier.’ Washington-based Salem Radio Network morning drive host Hugh Hewitt is named a regular contributor to FOX News Channel’s “Special Report with Brett Baier.” Hewitt was a longtime contributor on MSNBC and he currently writes a regular column for The Washington Post.

TALKERS News Notes. The sports talk radio show “Outkick 360” – hosted by Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky – recently entered national syndication via Skyview Networks. The company says that the show recently picked up new affiliate WMBH, Joplin, Missouri which joins the growing list of affiliate radio stations carrying the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program…..The National Association of Broadcasters announces that it is now accepting entries for the 35th annual NAB Crystal Radio Awards, honoring outstanding community service efforts by radio stations throughout 2021. Winners will be recognized at the NAB Show, April 23–27, 2022 in Las Vegas. A panel of judges representing the broadcast industry and community service organizations will review applications and select 50 finalists and 10 winners. The deadline for submissions is January 31 and entry information can be found here…..Newsmax announces it is premiering its new documentary, “Day of Outrage,” tonight at 9:00 pm ET. Newsmax says the program “was produced by Newsmax to accurately and fairly detail the events related to the tragic day of January 6, 2021. The film includes powerful video footage of the protests and riots that took place on January 6, as well as a careful examination of events that led up to that fateful day.”…..ESPN Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month. The national sports talk radio platform launched in January of 1992. Senior coordinating producer, content strategy & audio Amanda Gifford says, “This is an incredibly meaningful milestone for our network. Sports radio has evolved in so many ways over the past 30 years and through it all, ESPN continues to be a leader in the space thanks to the dedication and passion of everyone involved behind the scenes and on-air.”…..The Motley Fool announces that its “Motley Fool Money” weekly flagship podcast is now airing new episodes seven days a week. Weekday episodes will focus on analyzing the companies making headlines, bringing a long-term perspective to daily market news, and putting new stock ideas on the audience’s radar. Weekend episodes will feature interviews with special guests and conversations about investing styles, strategies, and psychology. Show host and head of podcast strategy Chris Hill says, “More than ever people are focused on how to achieve financial independence, and we’re excited to provide programming that’s relevant to everyone on the investing spectrum. Gen Xers are thinking about how to retire, Millennials are entering their 40s, and more members of Gen Z are starting to invest every month. Motley Fool Money is going to be a resource for all of them, seven days a week.”…..Baltimore public radio news/talk outlet WYPR-FM “Your Public Radio” is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The station says it will celebrate its platinum anniversary with a variety of in-person and virtual events, special on-air programming, fundraising campaigns and a host of unique activities for listeners all year long. Station president and general manager LaFontaine E. Oliver says, “Our community of members and listeners is the reason that we are so successful. We have one of the best performing sustaining programs in the country with almost 70% of our members giving monthly donations. Their support has allowed the station to grow to the point where we are more than terrestrial radio – our content now reaches audiences on-air, online, on-demand, on mobile and in the community.”

COVID-19, January 6 Investigation/Trump Presser, Filibuster-Voting Rights Battle, 2022 Midterm Elections, Prince Andrew Civil Suit, and Southeastern Snow Storm Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4). The soaring rate of Omicron variant cases in the U.S., the heated debate over in-school learning, and the scramble for COVID tests; the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol attack, the release of texts between Trump staffers and the media, and Donald Trump cancels Thursday’s press conference; the battle in the U.S. Senate over voting rights legislation and the filibuster; the potential change in power in Congress after the 2022 midterm elections; Prince Andrew fights the civil suit filed against him by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre; and the stranding of hundreds of vehicles on I-95 in Virginia after the Southeastern snow storm were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, January 10, 2020

| January 10, 2020

Starnes Media Group to Purchase KWAM, Memphis. Conservative talk media personality and author Todd Starnes, via his Starnes Media Group, is acquiring historic radio station KWAM-AM, Memphis and translator W300DE, Memphis (107.9 FM) from Legacy Media for $685,000.  Starnes produces his daily talk radio show – currently heard on some 60 affiliate stations – and commentary feature that is distributed by Hamilton Strategies.  Starnes tells TALKERS magazine KWAM will be the flagship for his radio show.  “Memphis is my hometown.  And I’m glad to be coming back to the Mid-South.  Memphis deserves a locally owned and locally run talk radio station.  Our news, traffic and weather will be produced in Memphis by Memphians.  And I can promise that all-new ‘The Mighty 990’ is going to be a blowtorch for freedom across the Mid-South.”  Starnes parted ways with FOX News in October of 2019 after his contract expired and shortly thereafter launched his new radio programs and podcast.

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, “Wag the Tongue!” looks back at this past week of January 6-10, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Michael Berry, talk show host, KTRH, Houston; Bill Brady, talk show host, KFNX, Phoenix; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Lee Elci, talk show host, 94.9 News Now WJJF, Southeast Connecticut; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Christopher Ruddy, president/CEO, Newsmax Media. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on: WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00-7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA;  KFNX, Phoenix; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

Cumulus EVP/CFO John Abbot to Exit in March. An executive-level change takes place at Cumulus Media as executive vice president and chief financial officer John Abbot announces he’ll leave the company in the beginning of March, after the company reports its full-year 2019 financial results.  Meanwhile, the company is conducting a search for his successor.  Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner says, “On behalf of the board and the entire company, I would like to thank John for his many contributions to Cumulus and for the strong finance and accounting organization he has helped build.  After nearly four years of commuting to Atlanta from Connecticut, it’s understandable that John has decided to pursue new opportunities at a company based closer to his home.  We appreciate his continued support through the transition and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”  Abbot says, “It has been a privilege and tremendously rewarding to work with Mary and the rest of the Cumulus team and I am truly proud of our many accomplishments over these past several years.  I am confident in the company’s ongoing ability to achieve its objectives and I look forward to following Cumulus’ continued success in the years ahead.”

WABC, New York Renews Clint Arthur’s Sunday Night Talk Show. New York City news/talk WABC announces it has “extended its commitment” with “The Greatest Show of All Time,” the Sunday evening program that stars celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur, to continue to air at 9:30 pm through the end of 2020.  Arthur says, “The mission of this show is personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more, and have more.  As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.”  Arthur is the author of best-selling books: What They Teach You at The Wharton Business School; Speaking Game: 7-Figure Speaker Secrets; and The Greatest Book of All Time.  WABC is currently owned by Cumulus Media and is in the process of being sold to John CatsimatidisRed Apple Media for $12.5 million.

Management Changes at ESPN. After 15 years with the company, Traug Keller is retiring from his position as SVP of ESPN Audio.  He moved into that role in 2004 after having served as president of ABC Radio Networks.  He’ll officially exit the company next month.  Also retiring from ESPN Audio is vice president of national radio programming and production Marcia Keegan.  Assuming the leadership of the ESPN Audio division will be Dave Roberts, currently vice president of production, and Amanda Gifford, who holds the coordinating producer title.  At the same time, Tim McCarthy, who leads sports talk radio outlet WEPN-FM, New York as SVP and general manager for the company, is taking on the same responsibilities for ESPN’s sports talk KSPN, Los Angeles “ESPN 710.”

Kachinske Named OM for Cumulus Media Providence. Programming pro Mary Ellen Kachinske comes to Cumulus Media’s Providence cluster after most recently serving as program director at Hubbard Radio’s high-performing hot AC WTMX, Chicago “The Mix” for the past 18-plus years.  In Providence, she’ll be program director for adult contemporary WWLI “Lite Rock 105” and serve as operations manager for the cluster that includes news/talk outlets WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM and WPRV-AM and two other music brands.  Cumulus Providence vice president and market manager Holly Paras says, “After an exhaustive nationwide search, I am pleased to have Mary Ellen Kachinske joining the Cumulus Providence programming team.  The breadth of Mary Ellen’s experience will no doubt be felt immediately throughout the cluster. We look forward to her leadership and her ability to think strategically, in order to allow these well-established brands to continue to grow into the next decade.”

SummitMedia Ups Brannigan to SVP of Programming; Johnson to Lead Wichita Cluster. Being promoted from president and general manager of SummitMedia’s Wichita operations to senior vice president of programming for the company is Beverlee Brannigan.  As she moves into the corporate role, Todd Johnson is upped from general sales manager to president/GM for the Wichita station group.  Brannigan served as president/GM of Wichita for nearly six years.  Her previous programming experience has earned her a place in Country Radio Hall of Fame and she programmed country KFDI to a CMA Station of the Year Award.  She says, “I am honored to join Bill Tanner and John Olsen on the SummitMedia programming team.  We all share a commitment to radio that strongly connects with our audience.”

Iran Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 6-10. The killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by U.S. forces and its diplomatic aftermath was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the impeachment articles against President Trump.  Coming in tied at #3 was the presidential race and the political speeches at last Sunday’s Golden Globe Awards, followed by the Australian bush fires and climate change 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 entire chart here.

Radio Sales Opportunity. Religious broadcaster Pillar of Fire International is seeking a full-time ad salesperson. The company says: “Star 99.1 is looking for our next great radio salesperson! This full-time position includes work in the office and travel throughout the NY metropolitan area to meet with customers and prospects. Over-achievers strongly encouraged to apply! A proven track record in radio or media sales is a pre-requisite and high standards of business integrity are expected. We offer a positive working environment and the satisfaction of doing a job that ‘counts.'” Qualified candidates should send letter and resume to jobs@star991.com or mail to Jobs, Star 99.1, P.O. Box 9058, Zarephath, NJ 08890. No calls please. Star 99.1 is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

PPM Analysis Extra: The ‘All Christmas’ Phenomenon. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a “bonus” PPM analysis based on data from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 survey.  Kinosian says that the shift to all-Christmas music has been a ratings boon for stations that adopt the change.  “In our December 2019 ratings recap ‘extra,’ let’s see if playing wall-to-wall holiday hits is still growing strong or starting to wane.  The following breakouts reflect those stations in the 48 PPM-markets that either increased their 6+ stat by at least one full share or faltered by that margin in the December 2019 sweep (November 7 – December 4).  Hefty positive November 2019 – December 2019 movement is more often than not directly attributable to the all-Christmas music phenomenon.”  See the report here.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. New Haven urban AC WYBC-FM adds the “DeDe in the Morning” show to its program schedule, effective Monday (1/13).  WYBC is operated by Connoisseur Media.  The program is produced by Service Broadcasting’s KKDA, Dallas “K104” and is syndicated by Compass Media NetworksDeDe McGuire says, “It is an absolute honor to be part of the legendary WYBC and we can’t wait to wake up New Haven. Thank you, [director of operations] Juan Castillo and the WYBC team for your support and confidence.  We are going to have some fun together.”  As part of this move, Castillo – who had been morning host – moves to the afternoon drive daypart…..In Nashville, air personality and program director Zigz, a.k.a. Chris Cox, is leaving one of his positions with Cromwell Media’s alternative WBUZ “102.9 The Buzz.”  Zigz will continue to host the midday show but is relocating to Illinois as the result of his wife accepting a new gig.  In the interim, current afternoon drive host and digital/social media coordinator Hayley St. John is handling programming duties.  Station vice president and market manager Dennis Gwiazdon says, “Naturally, a decision like this didn’t come easy for Zigz and we most certainly had to respect his decision to be supportive of his wife’s career and the needs of his family.  There’s no question Zigz will be missed but the good news is he will remain a key part of our team, anchoring the midday show.”…..Pictured below is Ultra Records recording artist Chelsea Cutler (right) appearing in front of a roomful of listeners as air personality Mikey V (left) interviews her on iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108.”