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Thursday, April 7, 2022

| April 7, 2022

‘The Jimmy Malone Show’ to Debut on WTAM, Cleveland. Morning drive radio host Jimmy Malone – whose eponymous program airs on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WARF-AM “FOX Sports 1350 AM The Gambler” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am begins hosting a daily one-hour show on sister news/talk WTAM “The Big One” that will air from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on April 12. The show takes the place of the one-hour “Geraldo in Cleveland” program that had been airing in the slot for the past four years. iHeartMedia says Malone will host conversations with politicians, community and business leaders, journalists and more, all with the goal of making a difference in Northeast Ohio. In addition, Malone will feature fun and entertaining segments including his signature feature, “Knuckleheads In The News.” The program will feature veteran producer Rob Rozycki and contributor Cache Roberts. iHeartMedia Cleveland SVP of programming Keith Kennedy says, “We’re thrilled to launch ‘The Jimmy Malone Show’ on WTAM. Jimmy is a passionate talk show host, a generous philanthropist, and lover of all things Cleveland. We are thrilled to add yet another powerful local voice to a station that means so much to the community.” Malone was a co-host on WMJI-FM, Cleveland’s morning show from 1991 through 2021 when he left that show to launch his WARF program. He says, “I’m thrilled with the opportunity to connect with the WTAM audience. WTAM is the news and information leader in the market, and it’s humbling to have the opportunity to join such a legendary radio station. I simply can’t wait to get started.”

 

Bruce St. James Exits WLS-AM, Chicago. According to a story by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media news/talk WLS-AM and morning drive host Bruce St. James have parted company after 16 months. St. James, who’s worked much of his career in Arizona, took over the morning program from Erich Mancow Muller. St. James posted the following to Facebook: “Arizona, I’m coming home. Chicago is an amazing city and I truly enjoy it here (even with the snow!), but for a variety of reasons I need to be back in the Valley.” For now, Ramblin’ Ray Stevens will host mornings along with contributor Judy Pielach until the company names a permanent morning program for the station.

 

Alex Jones Sits for Deposition in Sandy Hook Suit. Several days after Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that talk media figure Alex Jones was in contempt of court for failing to sit for depositions in the complaints against him by several families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook School shooting, Jones sat for depositions on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, according to a report by NBC News. The story indicates that Jones, who was being fined $25,000 per day for each day not sitting, paid a fine of $75,000 prior to the deposition. Jones’ attorney said that Jones didn’t sit because he was under doctor’s orders to stay home and avoid stress, but the attorney also admitted that Jones left his home to record his programs. This week’s depositions were for a looming trial that will determine how much Jones pays the eight families of victims suing him. Last year, Jones was found guilty of defamation when the families of the victims were harassed and threatened after Jones’ broadcasts accused them of being “crisis actors” even though he knew the 2012 massacre was real.

 

iHeartMedia and KFI, Los Angeles Launch Season 2 of ‘Unsolved with Steve Gregory.’ The second season of the weekly, true crime podcast “Unsolved with Steve Gregory” launches on iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles and on the iHeartRadio platform. The series – hosted by KFI national correspondent Steve Gregory (pictured here) – features cold cases, challenging cases, missing persons, and high-profile criminals. iHeartMedia says it is one of the most successful in Los Angeles Radio, with more 59,000 podcast downloads in the first month. It also airs on KFI Saturdays from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. It is produced by Gregory, Jacob Gonzalez and digital producer Andro Mammo. In season one, Gregory explored cases like the unsolved murder of Mark Leonard, the father of NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard. In addition, Gregory also observed the 75th Anniversary of the Black Dahlia, the most notorious unsolved case in the history of the LAPD. In season two, Gregory will focus on the case of a missing man who owned his own video music production company and was known for working with members of both the Crips and the Bloods – two of the most well-known gangs in the United States. The man also grew up in Compton with childhood friends and hip-hop artists Kendrick Lamar and Jayceon Taylor, a.k.a. The Game. Season two will also explore the science of forensics, including a medical examiner, a cybercrimes detective, and a drone pilot who searches for mass graves.

 

SportsMap Radio Network to Launch ‘Journey Through Life and Sports.’ A new program is launching on April 22 at 7:00 pm ET on the SportsMap Radio Network titled, “Journey Through Life and Sports.” SportsMap says the show is a roundtable interview show, “taking listeners on journeys through the lives of sports and entertainment professionals. The program will focus on the role that sports has had in building the legacies and the opportunities to inspire future generations.” The show is hosted by multi Emmy award-winning sports anchor and broadcast journalist Scott Murray; award-winning sportswriter (and the first female Dallas Cowboys beat writer) Marjorie Herrera Lewis; and CEO, inspirational speaker, author, and philanthropist Marnie Schneider. The three say, “We’re looking forward to sitting at the table with our well-known guests, sharing their wisdom with our listeners, as we engage in conversation that takes us back in time with sports favorites. Why did a Hall of Famer take up football? Why did a tennis player defect from her country to build a career and life in the U.S.? We anticipate listening to the unforgettable stories of iconic athletes as they share their great legacies with moments our listeners have likely never heard before.” Pictured here is the program’s first guest, Cowboys great Drew Pearson (left) with (from l-r) Lewis, Schneider, and Murray.

 

CORRECTION: In the April 5 edition of TALKERS, we published a story about The Spectator Washington editor Amber Athey being fired from WMAL-FM, Washington for a tweet critical of Vice President Kalama Harris that Cumulus said violated its social media policy. In our story, we wrote that Athey said Harris’ brown pant suit worn during the State of the Union Address made her look like a Hershey chocolate bar. In truth, Athey wrote that others made the comparison. Athey wrote that Harris “looks like a UPS employee.” TALKERS regrets the error.

 

TALKERS News Notes. The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, are proclaiming April 10, 2022, as WBT Day in recognition of News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT’s 100th anniversary. Also, various Charlotte organizations will light the Charlotte skyline that night in the station’s colors of red, white and “WBT Blue.” As the third radio station officially licensed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the first in the Southeast, WBT has served the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and listeners “From Canada to Cuba” since April 10, 1922. WBT program director Mike Schaefer says, “Quite simply, we are humbled and honored. Recognition by the city and county of this unique milestone, and their proclamations of WBT Day means everything to the 25 team members of WBT, and to the over 100 hard-working members of our extended Radio One Charlotte family.”…..FOX Nation is debuting a new series hosted by award-winning actor, producer and director Kelsey Grammer titled, “Kelsey Grammer’s Historic Battles for America” on May 1. The series will take viewers on an inside look at eight key battles that left an indelible mark on this nation, spanning the American Revolution, the Texas Revolution, the Civil War, and the American Indian Wars. FOX Nation president Jason Klarman says, “Kelsey is a legend in the entertainment industry, and we are proud to bring his talents to our platform with ‘Kelsey Grammer’s Historic Battles for America.’ His affinity for our nation’s history and charismatic delivery will provide FOX Nation subscribers with an entertaining yet educational viewing experience they can’t get anywhere else.”…..Paul Martin is named chief of development for Hope Media Group. Currently serving as senior partner at DickersonBakker, Martin brings decades of experience in donor development and business development in both radio and digital media. WAY Media and Hope Media Group announced earlier this year their intent to merge into one media organization. Company CEO Joe Paulo says, “Paul possesses the perfect mix of leadership, experience, and knowledge we’ve been looking for to lead the revenue-generating strategies for the newly merged Hope Media Group. His heart for God and passion for why we exist is obvious, and contagious. Our bright future just got even brighter with Paul joining our leadership team, and I could not be more excited.”

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Gas Prices/Inflation, Hunter Biden Investigation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Jackson Confirmation, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, Elon Musk & Twitter, Severe Southeastern Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the allegations of war crimes by Russian soldiers in Bucha, and the new economic sanctions that include targeting Vladimir Putin’s daughters; high gas and food prices and Wednesday’s testimony before Congress by big oil executives about oil prices; the DOJ’s investigation of Hunter Biden’s international business dealings; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; the first January 6 participant to be charged and found not guilty and Ivanka Trump’s testimony before the January 6 committee; the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and concerns about the Omicron BA.2 variant; Elon Musk becomes the largest Twitter shareholder and gets a seat on the board; and the severe weather doing damage across the Southeastern U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

| April 5, 2022

Key Networks and Bill O’Reilly Launch Nightly ‘No Spin News’ Program. A new, nightly one-hour program hosted by Bill O’Reilly and syndicated by Key Networks is launching in May. Dubbed “No Spin News,” the program is the next step for the one-hour show that has been airing weeknights at 9:00 on WABC, New York for over a year as “Common Sense with Bill O’Reilly.” Key Networks says the show is the number one show (Persons 12+) among talk-formatted radio stations in the New York DMA, MF 7PM-12Midnight, according to Nielsen. Key Networks syndicates O’Reilly’s radio shows “The O’Reilly Update,” “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition,” and “The O’Reilly Update – Weekend Edition” on more than 250 radio stations. O’Reilly says, “The incredible success of our nightly news analysis hour on WABC took me by surprise. I knew the product was strong, but the ratings are overwhelming. The folks caught up with us on the radio very quickly.” Key Networks COO Dennis Green says, “Stations have asked for more O’Reilly content and we are delivering! We are delighted to offer his ‘No Spin News’ program to radio stations every weeknight to get the latest news and information you won’t get anywhere else.”

 

 

Amber Athey Explains Exit from WMAL-FM’s ‘O’Connor & Company’ Show in Spectator Column. The Spectator Washington editor Amber Athey says in her column that her critics on the left have tried “every trick in the book” to drive her out of the industry but her exit from Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington finally came as the company bowed “to the mob.” Athey was one of three rotating women co-hosts on the “O’Connor & Company” morning show led by Larry O’Connor. In early March she posted a tweet critical of Kamala Harris’ brown pant suit worn at the State of the Union address, comparing her to a UPS employee. After a period of time, she was informed by the company that the perception of the tweet was racist, and she was being let go for violating the company’s social media policy. In her piece she says, “This incident has destroyed the integrity and reputation of WMAL and Cumulus as hosts of conservative content. We spoke frequently about the dangers of censorship and cancel culture on our program, and yet here they are bowing to the mob. If I can be fired for making fun of the vice president’s outfit, every single host on a Cumulus station is in danger of losing their job at a moment’s notice. Political commentary is worthless if it can’t be used to speak truth to those in power without fear of professional consequences.”

 

 

Salem GM Mike Shields to Retire; Segar Kannan to Lead San Francisco Stations. Radio executive Mike Shields is retiring from his position as general manager for Salem Media Group’s San Francisco stations in June. The company is appointing current Portland cluster general sales manager Segar Kannan to lead the San Francisco operations. Salem CEO David Santrella says of Shields, “Mike has been leading Salem’s San Francisco cluster for 11 years and has built a solid team, terrific culture, and delivered growth in both revenue and operating income yearly. Mike has had a great run than includes nearly 50 years in media and he has been a pleasure to work with. We wish them a multitude of blessings!” Segar Kannan has served for 23 years with Salem. Santrella says, “He is a leader who has worked hard, driven his team to excellence in digital revenue and earned this opportunity at the next level of leadership.” The San Francisco cluster includes news/talk KTRB “860 AM The Answer,” business talk KDOW-AM “Wall Street Business Network,” and three Christian-formatted stations.

 

 

TALKERS News Notes. During this year’s MLB season, New York Yankees manager, Aaron Boone will appear regularly on Good Karma Brands’ sports talk station “ESPN New York.” Boone will join “The Michael Kay Show” each week on Thursdays during the 4:00 pm hour. Kay says, “We are thrilled that Aaron will join us every week on the show. Aaron is honest, self-effacing and will be able to answer the questions that rabid baseball fans have about the games. This will be a must listen for fans of any team.”…..iHeartRadio and Propagate Content announce a new podcast titled, “Return to the Shadows with Katherine McNamara and Dominic Sherwood.” The podcast will revisit “Shadowhunters,” the hit television fantasy series that launched the Freeform network and ran for three seasons, and whose premature ending sparked a worldwide #SaveShadowhunters campaign. Returning to their time as leading duo Clary Fray and Jace Wayland, McNamara and Sherwood will delve into the Shadow World, highlighting stories from the set, favorite plotlines, and the show’s legacy – kept alive by millions across the globe. The series debuts on April 11.

 

Russia-Ukraine War, the Economy/Inflation, Hunter Biden Investigation, IPCC Report, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Jackson Confirmation, and Sacramento Shooting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/4). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the growing evidence of Russian war crimes; the American economy, high gas and food prices; the DOJ investigation into Hunter Biden’s foreign business activities; the UN’s IPCC issues dire climate change report; November’s midterm battle for control of Congress and Donald Trump’s influence within the GOP; the confirmation process for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and the search for the shooters in Sunday’s deadly Sacramento attacks were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

| January 18, 2022

WMAL-FM, Washington Unveils New ‘O’Connor & Company’ Co-Hosts. The morning drive “O’Connor & Company” program on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM, Washington, DC announces the program’s new co-hosts. Joining host Larry O’Connor are: Amber Athey, Washington editor at The Spectator, Julie Gunlock, director of the center for progress and innovation at Independent Women’s Forum, and Patrice Onwuka, political commentator and director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at the Independent Women’s Forum. The station says that the trio have been well received by WMAL listeners as guest hosts on the show in recent months. WMAL program director Bill Hess says, “We are excited to welcome these fresh voices to WMAL. Their varied life experiences, chemistry with Larry and with each other, and opinions on the issues of the day serve to create compelling content each weekday morning.” O’Connor adds, “Having a daily conversation with Julie, Amber and Patrice about what matters most to the people of our community is an absolute pleasure. From the halls of the Capitol to the vital debates at our local school boards, these intelligent and engaging women bring insights and humor that represent the best of Washington. It’s a genuine honor to team up with them every morning on WMAL.”

Livingston Named GSM for Cumulus Birmingham. Radio sales pro Todd Livingston is promoted to general sales manager for Cumulus Media’s Birmingham station group that includes the trio of sports talkers WJOX-FM “Jox 94.5,” WJQX-FM “Jox2 100.5,” and WJOX-AM “Jox3 690,” and news/talk duo WAPI-FM/WZRR-FM. Livingston is a 32-year media executive who joined Cumulus Birmingham in July 2021 as an account executive. Prior to that, he was local sales manager for Spectrum Reach in Tuscaloosa. Cumulus Birmingham VP and market manager James Robinson states, “We are excited to have Todd on our team as general sales manager. Todd has deep roots and broadcast experience in Alabama and his ability to create actionable ideas for our client partners make him a valuable asset to our team in Birmingham.”

Audacy Adds Two Sales Pros to Performance Sales Function. Media sales pros Shirin Peykar and Dan Wolman join Audacy – Peykar in the role of SVP of performance sales and Wolman in the VP of performance sales position. In her new role, Peykar will lead Audacy’s performance sales team and sell across its portfolio of products, leaning heavily into the company’s robust podcast library. Peykar will also strategize to drive the business forward and expand Audacy’s relationships with performance-driven marketers. She will report to Ken Lagana, EVP of digital sales. Wolman will work with performance clients and agencies to sell across Audacy’s portfolio of digital audio brands, with a focus on its podcast business. Both Peykar and Wolman join Audacy from Stitcher, where Peykar was SVP of direct response ad sales and Wolman was VP of performance sales. Lagana says, “Shirin’s rich experience leading multi-faceted ad sales operations for premier media and entertainment companies makes her a valuable addition to our performance sales business. We’re equally as excited about the addition of Dan to the team, which will collectively strive to drive revenue, market share and profit performance for our portfolio of assets.” Peykar says, “I’ve been watching Audacy’s progression in the podcast space over the past couple of years and their commitment to building a world class podcast portfolio has really impressed me. When you couple that dedication to the podcast space and audio in general, I couldn’t be more excited about bringing this portfolio to our performance clients and agencies!” Wolman comments, “Audacy is the industry leader in audio while remaining innovative, representing chart-topping content, generating loyal listeners, and serving as the home to influential talent. This is a performance sellers dream! I am excited to leverage my linear, OTT, and audio experience with this role and celebrate many wins with Audacy and our client partners.”

Deadline for 2022 Gracie Awards Submissions Extended to January 27. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the final deadline to submit entries for the 47th annual Gracie Awards has been extended until January 27 – a seven-day extension from the original January 20 deadline. The Gracie Awards celebrate programming and individual achievement by, for and about women in television, radio/audio and digital media.  Submissions from all facets of media are encouraged. AWMF president Becky Brooks says, “We know the circumstances of the past two years led to delivering content to audiences in ways we never expected, which is why we are more committed than ever to honoring the remarkable work that has been created by, for and about women. As our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Gracie Awards enable the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation to deliver on its promise of furthering the connection, education and recognition of women in media even during times of uncertainty.” The Gracie Awards Gala is still currently scheduled for an in-person celebration May 24 at the famed Four Seasons Beverly Wilshire and Gracie Awards Luncheon for June 22 at Cipriani 42nd Street. AWMF extends gratitude to its ongoing donors and sponsors committed to furthering the mission of the organization including Crown Media Family Networks, CNN, and NCTA – The Internet and Television Association. The Gracie Awards are also honored to have the leadership of Heather Cohen, executive vice president, The Weiss Agency; Annie Howell, chief communications officer, Crown Media Family Networks; and Mike McVay, McVay Media Consulting as Gracies co-chairs and Vicangelo Bulluck serving as executive producer. You can find entry details here.

COVID-19, Midterm Elections/Trump & the GOP, Voting Rights, MLK Holiday, Inflation/Supply Chain, Synagogue Attack, and Tonga Eruption Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/17). The high rate of COVID-19 cases, the Omicron variant, masks, and vaccine mandates; the potential loss of power for Democrats after the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s hold over the GOP; the fate of the Voting Rights Act without support from Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema; Monday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; high prices at the pump and at retail outlets combined with supply chain woes; the aftermath of the attack on the Texas synagogue; and the volcanic eruption near Tonga were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.