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Friday, September 3, 2021

| September 3, 2021

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, “I Had a Cow,” looks back at this past week of 8/30 – 9/3. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Mike Gallagher, talk show host, Salem Radio Network; Larry Elder, gubernatorial candidate, California; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Doug Stephan, talk show host, Stephan Multimedia; and 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; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; 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; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast 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.

Salem to Debut ‘Daybreak Insider Daily Podcast.’ On Tuesday (9/7), Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network will launch the “Daybreak Insider Daily Podcast.”  Salem says the podcast is an audio companion to the Daybreak Insider Newsletter, which is currently distributed each weekday morning to more than 100,000 subscribers. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “It’s clear that podcast listeners are looking for informed reporting on what’s really happening in their world. Within Salem, we have a wealth of resources, both for newsgathering and for analysis. With the ‘Daybreak Insider Podcast,’ we’ll be pooling all of those resources into a single podcast to provide in-depth coverage from a conservative worldview. You’ll hear trusted voices from SRN News, Townhall.com, as well as the Salem Radio Network every day on this podcast, and it will all be pulled together by the experienced voice of Rich Thomason.” Thomason has served for more than 20 years with SRN News as an anchor, correspondent, and news producer.

‘710 ESPN Seattle’ Announces ‘The Matt Hasselbeck Show.’ Sports talk outlet KIRO-AM, “710 ESPN Seattle” announces “The Matt Hasselbeck Show” joins the programming lineup as a weekly program. The new, one-hour show will air each Wednesday at 9:00 am as Hasselbeck joins morning host Mike Salk, who says, “No one tells a story quite like Matt and he uses his incredible experiences to paint an extraordinary picture of what’s happening in the NFL. He’s as entertaining, knowledgeable and insightful as anyone in this business and his Seahawks credentials are second to none. I can’t wait to talk with him every week!” Kyle Brown is program director for the Bonneville station. He adds, “We couldn’t be more excited to add one of the most illustrious players in Seahawks franchise history to our team here at ‘710 ESPN Seattle.’ Matt is among the premier football analysts in the country and his indelible ties to Seattle make him the perfect addition to our Seahawks coverage.” The inaugural show will air Wednesday, September 15 and it also be offered as a weekly podcast at 710Sports.com.

Erick Erickson Lays into Anti-Vaxxers. In a story published in Newsweek, WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, nationally syndicated talk host Erick Erickson lashed out at anti-vaxxers after a relative of his died from COVID-19. The piece says that during Erickson’s Wednesday broadcast, he referred to anti-vaccination activists as “idiots” after a healthy, unvaccinated relative of his died from COVID-19 after being influenced by anti-vaccine messaging. He’s quoted calling “organized efforts to undermine trust in the vaccines… a deeply evil thing” and “a sin.” He also chastised a group of anti-vaccination demonstrators who harassed health care workers and people waiting in line for vaccinations that led to the vaccination site being shut down. He said on his program, “Listen to this, you idiots. What I care deeply about though is that some of you are scared of getting [the vaccine] because you’ve heard people on the internet lie to you and you don’t know that they’re lying. I don’t care that you don’t want the vaccine, but if you’re out there spreading lies and misinformation and disinformation and willfully undermining people’s trust with a vaccine, I care about that a great deal.”

iHeartMedia Panama City Fills Three Trucks for Hurricane Ida Relief. Staffers at iHeartMedia Panama City and community volunteers worked together on the “iHeartMedia Operation Storm Relief” effort to collect enough items to fill three semi-truck trailers donated by Tarpon Dock Seafood owner Greg Abrams, and Bay County Sheriff Tommy Ford. The drive was held at a local Super Walmart on Wednesday (9/1). Two of the trucks are en route to south Louisiana, with the third going early next week. iHeartMedia general manager Darrell Johnson says, “Having been through a category 5 hurricane ourselves less than three years ago, we knew what the folks of South Louisiana needed. Even as our community is still recovering from that natural disaster while also dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew it was important for our community to step up and help our Gulf Coast neighbors.” In addition to the supplies, the drive also raised over $10,000 in monetary donations, which was used for purchasing additional critically needed items to fill the third truck for Hurricane Ida victims

NAB’s Gordon Smith to Be Honored with 2021 Lowry Mays Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith is this year’s recipient of the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award that is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship. Smith will be presented with the Award at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on October 12 during NAB Show. Smith joined the National Association of Broadcasters in November 2009. Prior to joining NAB, he served as a two-term U.S. senator from Oregon and later as senior advisor in the Washington offices of Covington & Burling, LLP. The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award salutes its namesake and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation. Past recipients include: Ajit Pai, Bill Clark, Eddie Fritts, Cathy Hughes, Mel Karmazin, Jeff Smulyan, Dick Wiley, and others.

WGN, Chicago and Northwestern University Sign Five-Year Broadcast Extension. Chicago news/talk outlet WGN-AM and Northwestern Athletics agree to a five-year broadcast rightsholder extension to keep Wildcats football and men’s basketball on the station through the 2025-26 seasons. Nexstar Media’s WGN Radio has been the home of the Wildcats since 1996. As part of the agreement, Northwestern Athletics head coaches Pat Fitzgerald and Chris Collins will continue to make frequent appearances on the station’s shows. WGN Radio VP and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “For the past 25 years, WGN Radio has broadcast Northwestern football and men’s basketball and I am thrilled to be extending our partnership for five more years, bringing Chicago’s Big Ten team play-by-play to our Chicago’s Very Own audience. WGN sports director Dave Eanet, who has handled play-by-play duties for Wildcats football since 1990, and basketball since 1996, says, “I’m excited to see our relationship with Northwestern Athletics continue. We’ve had so many great moments: Bowl games, two Big Ten Championship games, the NCAA Tournament, and I know many more thrilling moments are ahead. We look forward to bringing them to WGN Radio listeners for the years to come.”

Afghanistan Withdrawal Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 30 – September 3. The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and criticism of President Joe Biden’s handling of the exit was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was talk about the COVID-19 variants and the vaccines & mask mandates. Coming in at #3 was the greater topic of climate change along with the devastation from Hurricane Ida and the battle to stop the Caldor wildfire in California. 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.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

| December 1, 2020

WLS-AM, Chicago News Pro John Dempsey to Retire. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WLS-AM, Chicago news director and afternoon drive anchor John Dempsey is retiring – or as Feder phrases it, “voluntarily stepping down” – after 38 years in broadcast journalism and the last 13 years with the Cumulus Media news/talk station. In a memo to fellow staffers, Dempsey says, “My career in news has been one of the highlights of my life, one that has allowed me to cover thousands of stories and meet people from every walk of life. The entire experience has made me a better person and enriched my life beyond anything I could have imagined, but now I want to step aside to give myself more time to think about my next chapter.”

Report: Clark Howard to End His Radio Show. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that consumer advocate Clark Howard is putting the wrap on his WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta-based, nationally syndicated talk radio program at the end of the year. Howard tells Ho, “Not being under the gun every week with how much content I have to generate for radio is something I’m so relieved not to do anymore. I’m at a point in my life I don’t need the money.” Howard will continue to contribute to WSB’s programming via commentaries and will also continue his WSB-TV work as well as his weekly column for the AJC. His program is syndicated by Westwood One and has approximately 250 affiliate stations.

Ratings Takeaways from Final Round of November PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Takeaways from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey that covered October 8 through November 4 and included the markets of Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Some of the moves of note include iHeartMedia’s WTKK-FM, Raleigh adding 0.8 shares to finish with an 8.5 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) good for the #2 rank. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis claims the #1 rank after rising 1.7 shares to a 10.9 share. iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee was #1 for the third straight survey after tacking 1.5 share on in November for a 12.7 share finish. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville climbs from #6 to #3 after adding 1.2 shares to post a 6.8 share for the month. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville remains #1 with a full share addition to wrap the survey with an 11.7 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Atlanta news radio pro Jamie Dupree is exiting Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM after 30 years with the station. Dupree has been affected by the medical condition tongue protrusion dystonia for the past four-plus years that has robbed him of his ability to speak. He’s remained with CMG handling reporting duties and, through a text-to-speech program, has been filing reports for the station. He announced via Facebook, “I am looking for work. I had a great run, working with fantastic colleagues at our radio and TV stations. I may not be able to speak, but I can still report.”…..Sun Broadcast Group is now handling affiliate sales and distribution for i-News, a service that offers twice hourly news reports to radio stations. Sun Broadcast Group COO Danno Wolkoff says, “i-News Network has been specifically designed to help radio stations stay relevant in the news cycle. The network news service delivers content that your listener’s want and need every hour with a fresh new sound from experienced journalists. Plus, sales departments can still sell local advertising and sponsorships for each newscast delivered.”…..WTOP partners with local entrepreneur Elly Rowe – founder of Elly Jane Collective – for a new podcast called, “Women-Owned Wednesday By Elly Jane.” Rowe says, “I’ve always been passionate about supporting small business and, specifically, female-founded brands and the incredible women behind them. My podcast provides a platform where I can talk to those women about their journey and what motivates them to continue pursuing their dreams. My hope is that it inspires other women to do the same.” WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler adds, “I have been a fan of Elly Jane Collective and everything the brand stands for since its launch earlier this year. When Elly approached WTOP about partnering with her on this podcast, it was an easy decision. WTOP is proud to work with an exceptionally gifted local entrepreneur like Elly.”

Alliance for Women in Media Foundation Announces Year-End Fundraising Campaign. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation launches a year-end fundraising campaign to continue its mission of using the media to create positive change while supporting educational programs and scholarships that benefit students of the media and allied fields. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks states, “The Alliance for Women in Media is approaching its 70th anniversary in 2021, and we hope to continue recognizing, educating, and connecting women in media for another 70 years. You can help us do that by donating to the Foundation. We still have work to do.” Donations can be made online at: https://allwomeninmedia.site-ym.com/donations/.

COVID-19 and Thanksgiving Effect, Vaccines, Biden Transition, Trump Tactics, SCOTUS Congressional Reapportionment Case, Georgia Runoff Elections, Australia-China Spat, and Iranian Scientist Death Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/30). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and concerns the Thanksgiving holiday will amplify the spread; Moderna applies for emergency use authorization for its COVID vaccine; Joe Biden adds more names to his administration and Neera Tanden nomination appears dead in the water; Donald Trump continues to argue the election was invalid; the Supreme Court hears arguments on Trump’s wish to keep undocumented workers from congressional reapportionment figures; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; Australia and China spar over a Chinese official’s sharing of a deep fake video of an Australian solider killing an Afghan child; and the assassination of Iran’s chief nuclear weapons scientist 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. This Christmas season Cumulus Media’s Westwood One is presenting the 14th annual broadcast of “An American Country Christmas” with Kix Brooks. Appearing on this year’s program are country superstars Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, and Kelsea Ballerini…..Beasley Media Group’s WMGK, Philadelphia “Classic Rock 102.9” and  morning star John DeBella announced a record- breaking grand total for this year’s John DeBella Turkey Drop: 12,509 turkeys! Beasley says the annual event is the largest one-day food gathering event in Philadelphia. DeBella says, “11,000 turkeys in 2019 was the biggest year we ever had. 12,509 turkeys truly proves that ‘The City of Brotherly Love’ is not just a saying… it’s a fact!”

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

| October 13, 2020

iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network Names Three Broadcasters to Key Positions. Three broadcast pros are joining iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network. Emmy Award-winning journalist Ed Gordon will serve as an anchor and correspondent, Chris Thompson is joining as director of network operations and longtime iHeartMedia Chicago communications executive Angela Ingram is taking on the director of local advocacy and engagement role. iHeartMedia says that Gordon will also produce special programming leading up to the 2020 presidential election and will provide exclusive reports covering politics, Black culture and more. BIN director of news operations Tanita Myers says, “There’s no question that this is the most important election in decades, especially for Black America, and we’re thrilled to have Ed Gordon leading our coverage of this upcoming Presidential race. Whether it’s talking with presidents or just talking about today’s biggest stories, Ed’s well-known, hard-hitting direct and no-nonsense style will be right at home at BIN: Black Information Network and further establishes our role as a trusted source for Black Americans nationwide.” Chris Thompson is the former vice president of radio operations for Reach Media. He also served with the WOR Radio Network as executive director of network operations.  Angela Ingram will continue in her role as SVP of communications for the Chicago region of iHeartMedia in addition to this new position. BIN president Tony Coles says, “One of our goals is to attract the best leadership and talent to the Black Information Network. As we continue to expand, this team is vital to providing our affiliates and partners with best-in-class service and support. I am thrilled to have Chris leading these efforts as our director of network operations and Angela spearheading integral advocacy initiatives as director of local advocacy and engagement.”

PPM Analysis: All-News. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2020 PPM survey (August 13-September 9), today focusing on the all-news format. This PPM survey was not particularly good to all-news stations as 65% of those saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share decline from the August 2020 survey. However, those stations that gained included Entercom’s KCBS-AM/KFRC-FM in both the San Jose market (+1.2) and in the San Francisco market (+0.5), Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington (+1.0), and Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle (+0.6). Year-over-year was a different story with 69% of all-news stations showing ratings increases, led by Entercom’s KYW, Philadelphia (+2.5 shares), KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle (+2.1 shares), and WTOP-FM, Washington (+2.0 shares). You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete report – including cume data – here.

RTDNA Bestows National Edward R. Murrow Awards. The Radio Television Digital News Association announced the 2020 National Edward R. Murrow Award winners during a virtual event on Saturday evening (10/10). The program featured the announcement and celebration of more than 100 National Murrow Awards, selected from more than 5,000 entries. During his opening speech, RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley said, “We know that this year has been extraordinarily tough. 2020 has brought about challenges that have tested us at every level of our professionalism and humanity and I couldn’t be more proud that you are always there, covering it all. That you – despite the previously unthinkable professional and personal challenges you’ve faced – are continuing to serve your communities with distinction and dignity and professionalism.” You can see all the winners here.

Biden Outspending Trump on Radio Ads. According to a story in Newsmax that cites McClatchy, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden outspent Republican President Donald Trump on radio ads by a margin of 50-1. The piece by John Gizzi says, “Federal Election Commission spending reports shows Biden spent over $15 million in radio ads across 50 states, while the Trump campaign spent a meager $270,000 across just seven states.” The story adds Biden is “spending heavily on radio targeting evangelical Christians, senior citizens, and core supporters like urban Blacks and Hispanics. Biden’s radio targeting could be pivotal to him winning such key states as Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — all of which went narrowly for Trump in 2016.” McClatchy notes Biden’s ad spend is going to urban, gospel, and Hispanic radio “to help create a big turnout.”

The Presidential Race, Microsoft vs Russian Hackers, Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Johnson & Johnson Pauses COVID Vaccine Trial, Columbus Day-Indigenous Persons Day, NFL Battles Positive COVID Cases, and Lakers Win NBA Championship Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/12). The November presidential election; Microsoft and U.S. intelligence shut down Russian hacker effort; the confirmation proceedings for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; the rising number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and other parts of the world and projections for a potential fall and winter second wave; drug maker Johnson & Johnson pauses COVID-19 vaccine trial after test subject’s adverse reactions; the holiday celebrated in some states as Columbus Day and in others as Indigenous Persons Day; the NFL’s ongoing strategy to deal with positive COVID-19 cases among its players; and the Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA Championship 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. Condolences to the family and friends of KFDI, Wichita morning personality JJ Hayes whose wife Michelle Horne died on Friday after a battle with COVID-19. The KFDI website features a tribute to Horne. Hayes says, “Tonight, I lost my superpower. I’m broken.” He says that Horne, who was 50, had been home from the hospital for nine days and appeared to be getting better before she stopped breathing on Friday evening…..The Times of San Diego reports that former KXSN-FM “Sunny 98.1” morning duo “AJ and Sara” – A.J. Machado and Sara Perry– have launched their own streaming radio station. The two were let go from the Entercom adult contemporary station back in January and debuted their “AJ and Sara Radio” on October 2. They host the 7:00 am to 10:00 am show and the rest of the day features AC music “with an expanded 80s and 90s playlist.” Machado tells the paper, “It wasn’t easy to build a radio station, everything was a struggle and a challenge. I learned a lot about music licensing, apps and technology, forming an LLC and the business side of everything. I thought it would take a few weeks, and it’s been nearly six months since the decision was made to go our own direction.”

Working from Home Made Easier

| March 18, 2020

By Walter Sterling
Talk Show Host

 

NEW YORK — For seven years I have broadcast my WPHT, Philadelphia and now network show “Sterling on Sunday” from home — specifically from my laundry room.

Perhaps you are just starting to broadcast from your home. If so, these findings might be useful.

Read More

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

| December 19, 2017

Midwest Television to Sell San Diego TV and Radio Stations to Tegna for $325 Million.  Obviously, the bulk of that price tag relates to the value of the television stations KFMB-TV and the sub-channel that carries The CW.  But, included in the deal between Midwest Television and Tegna are the two radio stations – news/talk KFMB-AM and triple A KFMB-FM.  Tegna is the company that operates the television and local digital media outlets that used to be part of the Gannett brand before the company split, with Gannett continuing to operate the newspaper division.  The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the $325 million acquisition is a cash deal.  It cites a Tegna spokeswoman saying Tegna has no plans to make any changes to the operations of the TV or radio stations.  Tegna owns 46 television stations in 36 markets.  The San Diego radio stations will be its first radio properties.

KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa Anchor Russell Mills Takes Part in Journalists Trip to Pakistan.  The program that brought KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa anchor and reporter Russell Mills (pictured) to Pakistan is a cooperative effort between the University of Oklahoma’s Gaylord School of Journalism, the U.S. State Department and a Pakistani organization called Uks (the Urdu translation of which is “reflection”).  In the first chapter of his reports from Pakistan, Mills says the country has come far in recent years.  Back in 2002, the only radio and television outlets were run by the state.  Now, there are private media entities and Mills says reporters enjoy “a great deal of latitude in what they cover and how they cover it.”  But, he says they also “face the possibility of censorship, from both the military and civil government.”  He says the strict blasphemy laws complicate the journalistic process and physical danger is real: 14 journalists were killed in 2014.  Read his report here.

Boyd Named to Lead Cumulus Mobile.  This is a promotion within Cumulus Media for Don Boyd, who leaves his general sales manager role at the company’s Atlanta station group to move to Mobile to lead the cluster as vice president and market manager.  Cumulus Mobile includes: news/talk WQXW, urban contemporary WDLT, CHR WABD, hip hop WBLX, and Gospel WGOK-AM.  Cumulus Media EVP Bob Walker comments, “Don Boyd is a seasoned media manager and operator with an established track record in leading high-performing teams that grow station brands and drive revenue.  He will be a great addition to the team in Mobile as vice president/market manager of our five-station group.”

FOX News Radio Renews Deal with CMG for Brian Kilmeade Show.  The nationally syndicated Brian Kilmeade radio show picks up some additional broadcast hours on three affiliates and is added to the program schedule on another.  The new deal between FOX News Radio and Cox Media Group brings the Kilmeade talk show to KRMG-AM/FM, Tulsa for the first time.  It also extends the airing of the show to 9:00 am to 11:00 am on WDBO-FM, Orlando and WOKV-AM/FM, Jacksonville; and from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on WHIO-AM/FM, Dayton.  Kilmeade is one third of the FOX News Channel “Fox & Friends” morning show alongside Steve Doocy and Ainsley Earhardt.

TALKERS News Notes. At news/talk KQTH, Tucson, talk show host James T. Harris exits the station after a six-year run.  Harris was a weekend and fill-in host at Scripps’ WTMJ, Milwaukee before relocating to Tucson to host the two-hour midday show in October of 2011.  In September of 2012, he moved to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm afternoon drive daypart.  Scripps has not announced its plans for the afternoon show…..NPR reveals its plan for the afternoon “All Things Considered” program with the impending retirement of longtime host Robert Siegel.  The public radio content creator is moving national security correspondent Mary Louise Kelly into the co-host role alongside Audie Cornish and Ari Shapiro, effective January 17.  Kelly McEvers has been co-hosting both “All Things Considered” and producing “Embedded.”  She will relinquish the ATC role and continue to focus on “Embedded.”…..There’s been a change of heart at TV One, though it’s hard to tell if Reach Media syndicated radio star Tom Joyner’s call for a boycott of TV One forced programmers to reconsider canceling the Roland Martin-hosted news program, “NewsOne Now.”  Regardless, TV One (a subsidiary of Urban One) now says it will not cancel the program and is “working to restructure ‘NewsOne Now’ in 2018 under a new format that will better serve its audience and advertisers.”…..iHeartMedia begins broadcasting the signal from all-news WBZ-AM, Boston on the HD-2 channel of sister CHR WXKS-FM at 107.9 FM.

ESPN’s John Skipper Resigns to Seek Addiction Treatment.  The report that ESPN president John Skipper is resigning his position with the sports media giant to seek addiction treatment shocked the media world.  After all, Skipper had just signed a new multi-year contract and there were no indications (at least none reported) that something like this was an issue.  Executive chairman John Bodenheimer will slide back into the president role for the interim while the company seeks a new president.

GOP Tax Reform Plan, Soaring Dow, Washington Train Disaster, Obama-Hezbollah Drug Trafficking Allegation, Mueller’s Trump-Russia Investigation, U.S.-China Relations, North Korea Nuclear Threats, The Last Jedi, and Sunday’s NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/18). The politics of the GOP tax reform plan and reports of the public’s mood on the matter; the Dow rises 5,000 points in Donald Trump’s first year in office; the deadly Amtrak train crash in Washington state; the allegation an Obama Administration policy left the door open to Hezbollah-sponsored U.S. drug trafficking; the status of Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; the tenuous relations between the U.S. and China over the Trump Administration’s national security policy; North Korea’s nuclear program and threats against the U.S.; the latest Star Wars film, The Last Jedi; and Sunday’s 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.  Windy City radio pro Dave Fogel joins Kim Berk to co-host the AM drive show on Cumulus Media’s classic hits WLS-FM.  Fogel was most recently co-host of the morning show on crosstown adult hits WJMK, but Entercom quickly flipped the station to hip hop after acquiring it in the CBS RADIO merger.   Fogel had been heard on WLS-FM in the past – from 2010 through 2013 in morning drive.  With Fogel’s arrival, local weather personality Brant Miller leaves the co-host role and will anchor the weather on Cumulus’ WLS-FM and news/talk WLS-AM…..After last week’s shuffle of rock station frequencies in the Denver Region, iHeartMedia announces the flip to country for KWYW, Denver – now branded as “106.7 The Bull.”  The station launches 10,000 commercial-free songs in a row and will be an affiliate for Premiere NetworksBobby Bones morning drive show…..Urban radio pros Donnie Simpson and Tony Perkins are being reunited at Radio One’s urban contemporary simulcast WMMJ, Washington/WDCJ, Prince Frederick, Maryland “MAJIC 102.3 and 92.7 FM.”  Effective January 16, the afternoon show becomes “The Donnie Simpson Show” featuring Simpson and Perkins.  The duo worked together on Radio One’s hip hop WKYS-FM from 1985 to 1992.  For the past 20 years, Perkins has been serving with WTTG-TV “FOX 5 Washington.”  Radio One DC VP and general manager Jeffrey Wilson comments, “We are honored to deliver ‘The Real Sound of the DMV’ and that’s not better defined than the historic pairing of Donnie Simpson and Tony Perkins.  So, for the great people of this region we made it happen.  Donnie and Tony are back together for the New Year.  And with that new partnership, comes new opportunities to serve our communities with Donnie, Tony, and our friends at ‘FOX 5’ in the months and years to come.”  Perkins will remain with “FOX 5,” hosting Friday and Saturday mornings, beginning January 19…..Cumulus Media names programming pro Roger McCoy program director and afternoon drive host for country WLXX-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “NASH FM 92.9.”  McCoy has been with the company’s country WESC, Greenville, South Carolina as evening personality…..Rock radio programmer Russ Mottla is the new program director at NRG Media’s rock KFMW, Waterloo/Cedar Falls/Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Mottla has served as vice president of programming at Envisage Radio Group.  He’s also held programming positions at such rock outlets as WGIR, Manchester, New Hampshire; WIYY, Baltimore; and WFNX, Boston.

Bob & Sheri Welcome Troops Home.  The nationally syndicated Bob & Sheri show helped welcome the troops coming home through the Charlotte airports as part of USO’s annual Operation Exodus.  Bob & Sheri helped provide “big smiles, words of gratitude and breakfast to 3,900-plus men and women returning from deployment and heading home to family and friends. Many of the troops traveling for Operation Exodus are fresh out of basic training and returning home for their first visit since enlisting.  Pictured above are Bob (far left) and Sheri (far right) with service members.