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Wednesday, March 31, 2021

| March 31, 2021

Watergate Co-Conspirator and Talk Show Host G. Gordon Liddy Dead at 90. Former talk radio host, author, and Watergate break-in architect G. Gordon Liddy died yesterday (3/30) in Mount Vernon, Virginia at the age of 90. Liddy’s son Tom told The New York Times that his father had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and had been in declining health recently. G. Gordon Liddy famously made the transition into the talk radio business in the early 1990s after then-Infinity chief Mel Karmazin heard him subbing on a talk radio show and offered him the midday show at the company’s hot talk WJFK-FM, Washington, DC – a station that at the time aired Howard Stern in mornings and Don & Mike in afternoons. Liddy’s program would later move into national syndication via Westwood One. He moved his syndication to Radio America in 2003. He retired from his regular radio program in July of 2012.

Remembering G. Gordon Liddy. On the occasion of the death of G. Gordon Liddy, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents an overview of Liddy’s colorful career based on a profile piece he wrote while serving as special features editor for the radio trade publication Inside Radio in 2004. In the piece, speaking about his radio career, Liddy told Kinosian, “I hope I’ve changed for the better and have [improved] at what I do. It’s like playing golf: The more you do something, the better you get at it. If I spend as many hours playing golf each day as I do with the radio show, I might have a fair game.” Read Kinosian’s story here.

Pictured above is TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (left) presenting the Freedom of Speech Award to G. Gordon Liddy (right).

FLASHBACK 1995 – G. Gordon Liddy was at the Center of a Talk Radio First Amendment Award Controversy. In 1995, the National Association of Radio Talk Show Hosts (NARTSH) – a pivotal industry trade association that played an active role in the “modern era” rise of talk radio between the late 1980s through the 1990s – presented then-syndicated radio personality G. Gordon Liddy with its annual Freedom of Speech Award (the same award still presented annually by TALKERS magazine). The award was (and still is) non-partisan and has been presented over the decades to a variety of personalities ranging from Rush Limbaugh to Al FrankenMark Levin to Thom HartmannHoward Stern to Karen Hunter and Sean Hannity to Joe Madison. It has been awarded to broadcasters from both sides of the American political divide who have demonstrated through their words, deeds and courage the First Amendment in action, its purpose and how it operates.  Liddy received the award that year for facing a lot of heat in the aftermath of remarks he made on the air pertaining to the then-explosive controversy over how Americans can use their Second Amendment rights to protect themselves from armed federal agents breaking into their homes with the intent of shooting them first and asking questions later. This grew out of the activities occurring at the time prompted by the tensions building during the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco, Texas and other related tragic events involving the BATF. Needless to say, it was wildly controversial and a major test for talk radio in establishing a standard for its position on the First Amendment. The award was presented that year at the NARTSH Convention in Houston. To view Liddy’s acceptance speech at the Kennedy Space Center (including attorney and then KABC, Los Angeles talk show host Gloria Allred’s one-woman protest demonstration) please click here. To view a clip from a luncheon that took place at that same contentious convention in which convention chairman Michael Harrison stood up to U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt (D-MO) over his call for NARTSH members to boycott the Liddy award presentation, please click here.

Update on Jail Status of ‘Free Talk Live’ Host Ian Freeman. In an interview with “Free Talk Live” co-owner, co-host, and head of sales Mark Edge, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison gets the latest on the legal status of co-host Ian Freeman and the federal government’s charges against him. Yesterday (3/30), TALKERS published a summary of the story from the Manchester Union-Leader that included news of the government’s charges against Freeman that include fraud, money laundering, and conspiracy. In addition to an update from Edge on the charges against Freeman, this interview contains some fascinating information, background, and insights into Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Listen to it here.

Brad Lane Returns to Twin Cities as WCCO-AM Brand Manager. Programming pro Brad Lane is named brand manager for Audacy’s news/talk WCCO-AM, effective April 19. Lane was most recently serving Good Karma Brands as director of content for news/talk WTMJ-AM and sports talk WKTI-FM/WAUK-AM “ESPN Milwaukee.” Prior to that, he spent 20 years at Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM in numerous capacities, including as program director. Audacy Minneapolis SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “WCCO Radio serves as an extremely important news brand for the people of the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota who rely on us to be informative, timely, relevant and entertaining. Brad brings a wealth of experience leading content teams and his leadership and vision will be instrumental to the success of our station. We’re looking forward to adding him to the team.”

KROF, Lafayette Adds ‘Todd Starnes Show’ for Early Afternoons. The nationally syndicated “Todd Starnes Show” is added to the program lineup at Townsquare Media’s KROF-AM, Lafayette, Louisiana “TalkRadio 960” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. The program will also be broadcast on the company’s sister sports talk station KPEL-AM. Both stations will also air the short-form daily program “Todd Starnes News & Commentary.”

Ramsey Show Passes One Billion Downloads Mark. Over the course of the last 15 years, “The Ramsey Show” podcast with Dave Ramsey and his team of co-hosts has surpassed one billion downloads, what the Ramsey Network says is a rare milestone reached by only a handful of podcasts in the world. In addition, callers have paid off $500 million dollars in debt since the podcast began 15 years ago. Each weekday, “The Ramsey Show” podcast produces three episodes heard across every platform. Ramsey Network EVP Brian Mayfield says, “We’re teachers at the core. And podcasts are an extremely useful medium, giving us another megaphone to reach people. We’ve never seen anything grow the way the podcast world has grown, so we see tremendous opportunity there to continue to increase our audience.”

Alpha Media’s WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw Takes Station of the Year Honors. Saginaw, Michigan news/talk outlet WSGW-AM/FM “100.5 & 790 Newsradio” is named Medium Market Station of the Year by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. This is the seventh time the Alpha Media station has earned Station of the Year honors from the MAB. Operations manager, Dave Maurer states, “This past year was challenging in our part of Michigan with a devastating flood that hit in May and captured the headlines for much of the year. This was on top of the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 elections which were huge stories that demanded much of our staff’s focus. We are pleased that our team’s performance has won recognition for the quality of content gathered in difficult circumstances.” In addition to Station of the Year, WSGW won 12 other awards including six Best of Show and six Merit Awards in the MAB Broadcast Excellence Awards competition.

Jaleigh Long Officially to Lead Cox Media Group Atlanta and Athens. Sales and management pro Jaleigh Long has been interim market manager for Cox Media Group’s Atlanta and Athens, Georgia markets since earlier this year and now the company officially appoints her VP and market manager. The clusters include news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta; news/talk WGAU-AM/W254CJ, Athens; sports talk WREF-AM, Athens “960 The Ref”; and seven music brands. Long comments, “I am abundantly proud and honored to lead this group of industry-defining stations. The great work we do in all areas of the business every day is making an impact on our audiences, advertisers, and communities we serve. The power of radio is exhilarating and fortunately we get to experience that firsthand each day through the powerful programming, compelling promotions, and important community initiatives that define and underscore CMG’s purpose.”

Keith Lawless to Lead Cox Media Group’s Tampa and Houston Markets. Broadcast executive Keith Lawless is promoted to regional vice president of Cox Media Group Tampa + Houston. He’s been serving as VP and market manager for the company’s Tampa cluster since 2009. Cox Media Group Radio SVP Rob Babin comments, “I am thrilled to announce Keith Lawless as regional vice president over two of CMG Radio’s key markets, CMG Tampa and now CMG Houston. Keith has demonstrated an unwavering commitment for many years and has made an incredible impact on CMG Tampa and successfully led many CMG Radio strategic initiatives. His passion for his team, CMG Radio, and our industry make him the ideal leader to take on the role of RVP.”

Tampa Radio Figure Tedd Webb Dies at 72. Longtime Tampa radio personality Tedd Webb died on Tuesday (3/30), a week after entering hospice following a long illness. WFLA-AM reports Webb’s passing, noting that he was a host at the station for more than 30 years. He co-hosted the “AM Tampa Bay” program with Jack Harris beginning in 1994 and ending in 2017 when Webb retired. Webb was born Henry Ruiz – son of Cuban immigrants – in Tampa and began his radio career at the age of 14. He was a music DJ for the first 15 years of his career before transitioning to talk. He hosted a sports talk show, worked with Nanci Donnellan “The Fabulous Sports Babe,” and as part of WFLA’s “Gardner and Company” morning show before partnering with Harris for “AM Tampa Bay.”

COVID-19 Stats/Variants/Vaccines, WHO COVID Report, Biden Stimulus-Infrastructure Plan, Violence Against Asians, Border Crisis-Immigration Policy, Derek Chauvin Trial, Voting Legislation, Trump Website, and Matt Gaetz Allegation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/30). The number of COVID-10 cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; scrutiny of the WHO COVID origin report and criticism of China’s cooperation; President Biden’s $2 trillion economic stimulus and infrastructure plan; the brutal beating of a 64-year-old woman in New York and more reports of assaults on Asian Americans; the crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s immigration policy; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; Georgia’s new voting rules and the Democrats’ push for expanded voting rights laws; Donald and Melania Trump launch a new website; and the allegations against U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz of sexual relations with a minor were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

| March 16, 2021

Cox Media Group’s ‘95.5 WSB’ Names Erick Erickson Early Afternoon Host. At news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta, Cox Media Group announces that the daypart long occupied by the “Rush Limbaugh Show” will be hosted by the station’s Erick Erickson, beginning on Monday (3/22). Erickson will move from his current 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm slot and the station’s early evening host Mark Arum will take over the 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm program. WSB will air an hour of Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity program live at 3:00 pm and will air the rest of the show delayed from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. WSB director of branding & programming Drew Anderssen says, “With these lineup changes, 95.5 WSB will better serve Atlanta with more local programming. Erick Erickson and Mark Arum are both tremendous talents, and the move will continue to strengthen the extraordinary brand that is 95.5 WSB.” Erickson also hosts his own self-syndicated 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET talk radio show that has garnered almost 20 affiliate stations in its first year (although speculation has already begun that other syndication developments could be in the works that take into account the host’s new schedule).  Erickson says, “I would never have gotten into radio without encouragement from Rush Limbaugh who has been gracious over the years with a lot of great advice and guidance. It was an honor to fill in for him on his show, and it is overwhelming and humbling to move into the slot Rush occupied with such distinction for so long. I appreciate and intend to live up to the responsibility that comes with this time slot.” Mark Arum, who’s been with WSB since 1997, also serves as traffic anchor for WSB-TV’s “Channel 2 Action News This Morning.” Arum says, “When I was hired at 95.5 WSB over 23 years ago, I could never have envisioned that I would ever get the opportunity to host a drive time show on the best news and talk station in the nation. It’s a cliché, but this is truly a dream come true.”

WOKV-FM, Jacksonville Goes Local in the ‘Rush Daypart.’ As sister news/talk giant WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta is doing (see story above), Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville is filling the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart occupied by Rush Limbaugh for so many years with a local host, in this case current late morning personality Mark Kaye. CMG says that Kaye “has been growing his audience on 104.5 FM from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon for multiple years. Mark has gained a national following through multiple video streaming platforms, as well as a show on Newsmax TV.” Cox will fill Kaye’s current daypart with FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade whose radio show will air from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Kaye comments, “As a life-long fan of Rush Limbaugh, I am still adjusting to a world without his voice. Producing a daily show in ‘Rush’s timeslot’ is a daunting task for any broadcaster, but I am grateful to the leadership team at CMG and 104.5 WOKV for placing their trust in me. With the audience’s help I promise to do my best to keep Rush’s spirit, energy, and unique brand of conservative entertainment alive. This is an incredibly bittersweet opportunity.”

iHeartMedia Names Paul Rogers Area President for North Florida. Media executive Paul Rogers is named area president for iHeartMedia’s newly configured North Florida area that includes Jacksonville, Tallahassee, and Panama City. Rogers takes over for Nicky Sparrow who was recently promoted to SVP of multicultural sales for iHeartMedia Markets Group. Rogers reports to division president Linda Byrd. She says, “I’ve worked with Paul for over 35 years, in many different roles. His integrity, judgment, professionalism, and competitiveness are what any manager would look for in a market leader. He is the perfect choice as a successor, and I have no doubt that he will take this area to the next level. I also want to thank Nicky for the great work she has done in getting Jacksonville to where we are today and congratulate her on this exciting new opportunity to expand her role in iHeartMedia.” Rogers has been serving iHeartMedia as market president for Tallahassee and Panama City since 2017.

Townsquare Media 2020 Q4 Net Revenue Down 3.2%; Full Year Revenue Declines 15%. Compared the second quarter of 2020 when Townsquare Media’s net revenue was down 35% compared to 2019, the fourth quarter’s decline of just 3.2% was a source of joy for CEO Bill Wilson. While Q4 net revenue was $108.5 million (down 3.2%), net revenue for the full year was $371.3 million, down 15% from the full year 2019 ($431.4 million). What has Wilson pumped is Townsquare’s digital assets. He says, “Townsquare Interactive, our digital monthly subscription business, excelled throughout the year, accelerating year-over-year net revenue growth in Q4 to +16% and generating over $70 million of revenue for the full year (+14% YoY) at a profit margin of approximately 30%. In total, digital net revenue increased +6% year over year, driven by both Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite (our digital programmatic advertising platform), which grew net revenue by +11% year over year.  With $162 million of 2020 digital net revenue, digital now accounts for approximately 44% of our total net revenue, further differentiating us in the local media marketplace.” Wilson says that the company is proud of its roots and DNA in local radio, “2020 was the year Townsquare became a ‘Digital First’ company.” He says, “I am also pleased to reaffirm our expectation that Townsquare Interactive and Townsquare Ignite will each generate $100 million in revenue in two to three years. 2020 served to accelerate Townsquare’s transformation into a premier local media and digital marketing solutions company proudly super-serving markets outside the top 50 markets.”

TALKERS News Notes. One of WFAN, New York afternoon co-host Craig Carton’s fraud victims is petitioning the court asking that Carton’s restitution order be rewritten because Carton has returned to the Entercom sports talk station in what petitioner Gerard LoDuka says “is almost surely an extremely lucrative job,” according to a piece in the New York Post. LoDuka claims that the restitution order requiring him to pay 15% of his yearly income toward the nearly $5 million he owes victims should be rewritten because of his new, high-profile job. But Carton’s attorney says Carton makes “a fraction” of his previous salary as morning drive co-host…..Cumulus Media announces that for the second year in a row, news/talk KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno’s “Morning News” takes home the Golden Mike Award for “Best Newscast under 15 minutes” (Division B) from the Radio & Television News Association of Southern California. KMJ news anchors Matt Otstot, Tony Manes, Liz Kern and Aaron Abeytia – along with sports anchor George Takata and weather anchor Kimberly Kolliner – teamed up for the winning newscast…..The National Association of Broadcasters is offering a new online training course for radio stations containing critical information and guidelines for complying with Federal Communications Commission regulations. The Radio Rules! A Guide to FCC Regulations for Radio Stations course is now available here. The scenario-based training course tests participants’ understanding of acceptable practices for FCC regulation compliance. The guide outlines compliance related to content, advertising, station operation and management, copyright, and public files and reporting in four learning activities.

Mildred Carter Mentoring Program Announces 2021 Participants. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group, a volunteer organization dedicated to developing management and leadership skills for women in radio broadcasting, introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2021. They are (pictured above from left to right) The 2021 class is comprised of the following professionals, listed in alphabetical order: Lisa Kirkman, national accounts director, Ruby Radio, Northeastern Nevada; Jenna Miller, integrated sales manager, Cox Media Group, Tampa; Tonee Roper, on-air personality and promotions director, Neuhoff Media, Springfield, Illinois; and Ashley Wilson, director of country programming, iHeartMedia, Kentucky/Indiana Region. The program, now in its 20th year, matches up-and-coming women in radio with female professionals recognized as leaders in all aspects of the industry. vCreative is serving as the lead sponsor of this year’s program. The MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is named in the memory of Mildred Carter who, along with her husband Andrew “Skip” Carter, founded the first African American-owned radio station in the U.S. in 1950, when they turned on KPRS, Kansas City.

Migrant Border Crisis, COVID-19, Cuomo Allegations, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Voting Bills, Georgia’s Trump Investigation, Gavin Newsom Recall Effort, North Korea Warns U.S., and the Grammy Awards/Oscar Nominations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/15). The Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the voting bills in various states critics say will make voting more difficult; the investigation into Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State asking for more votes; California Governor Gavin Newsom battles the recall effort against him; the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un warns the U.S. about military exercises with South Korea, and Sunday night’s Grammy awards and the unveiling of this year’s Oscar nominations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, March 1, 2021

| March 1, 2021

Monday Memo: On the Air, In the Air. Repetition is a powerful radio tactic. As billion-plus-dollar lawsuits and corporate censorship edicts throttle toxic talk post-January 6, consultant Holland Cooke asks, “Should it take that?” In this week’s column, he cautions that credibility is on thin ice. Read it here.

Pending Business: Stop Fighting, Start Selling. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column that the natural reaction from sellers who face objections is to fight. “Your overwhelming instinct is to defend the pitch as designed and sidestep the objections. The poise and discipline you’ve practiced when physically face-to-face with your advertiser is lost in the current fast-moving, rapid-response world of email and text. You push your point instead of ‘listening’ to the voice behind the words in the email, text, or other digital reply.” Read Lapa’s six steps for overcoming this urge here.

Round Four of January PPM Ratings Survey Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s January PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s January 2021 survey covered January 7 – February 3. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Austin, Waterloo Media’s news/talk KLBJ-AM rises 1.5 shares to finish with a 5.7 share and the #4 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTKK-FM, Raleigh jumps from #5 to #3 after tacking on 1.6 shares for a 7.0 share finish. In Indianapolis, Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM jumps to #1 after adding 1.3 shares to finish the survey with an 8.9 share. And in Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM takes over the #1 rank after adding 2.8 shares for an 11.0 share, while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown news/talk WTMJ-AM rises a half share to a 6.5 share good for the #3 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets here.

John Fredericks Expands Radio Network into Atlanta. In a Local Marketing Agreement deal with WMLB-AM, Avondale Estates, Georgia owner Delmarva Educational Association, the Richmond, Virginia-based John Fredericks Radio Network begins programming the station and launches a conservative talk format. Talk host and CEO John Fredericks says, “News/talk radio is the last bastion of free and unencumbered speech in America. It’s our final frontier of free speech, and it’s a community devoid of the cancel culture now stifling and squashing free and open discussion in our country. We are honored to bring our fresh and dynamic brand of news/talk radio and cutting-edge commentary to our Atlanta metro listeners.” In conjunction with the launch of the format, John Fredericks Radio Network announces the launch of the daily “Doug Collins Show” hosted by the former Georgia Congressman. It will air from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm on WMLB-AM. Fredericks adds, “We are very excited to have Doug as part of our radio syndicated network and I believe his show will become immediate must-listen radio not only in Georgia but nationally. Doug has always had his finger on the pulse of America.” Collins’ show will also air live on Fredericks-owned stations in WJFN-AM/W224EB, Chester, Virginia and WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia.

Entercom Makes Lineup Changes at Portland’s ‘1080 The Fan’; Brings AJ McCord Aboard as Midday Co-Host. Portland sports talk outlet KFXX-AM, Portland, “1080 The Fan” announces the addition of KOIN-TV sportscaster AJ McCord to the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show alongside Dusty Harrah for the “AJ and Dusty” show. Harrah moves from morning drive as the midday “Dirt and Sprague” show with Andy “Dirt” Johnson and Brandon Sprague shifts to morning drive. FOX Sports Radio’s “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” continues in the 9:00 am to 12:00 pm slot and “Primetime with Isaac and Suke” featuring Isaac Ropp and Jason Scukanec continues in the 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm daypart. Entercom Portland SVP and market manager Kim Martinez says, “I’m so excited about this enhanced lineup. With Dirt and Sprague making the well-deserved move to mornings and the addition of AJ McCord in middays, ‘1080 The Fan’ will continue to provide the best content and entertainment for our listeners, and results for our advertisers.”

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Morning Radio Host Russ Martin Dead at 60. Dallas morning drive personality Russ Martin – host of the “Russ Martin Show” on iHeartMedia’s classic rock KEGL-FM, Dallas “97.1 The Eagle” – was found unresponsive at his home in Frisco, Texas early Saturday morning after a friend performed a wellness check. Authorities say the cause of death has not been determined but say that at this point, there is no foul play suspected. Martin was a longtime North Texas radio personality. He hosted an eponymous show on then-CBS Radio’s “Free FM” hot talk format on then KLLI-FM prior to its flip to sports talk as KRLD-FM “The Fan” in 2008. He joined KEGL in 2010.

Key Networks Launches ‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ on 100 SportsMap Radio Affiliates. The radio show “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” hosted by Michael Barr, is debuting today on 100 SportsMap Radio affiliate stations across the country. Key Networks is syndicating the program that “takes listeners inside the business end of the sports world and explains what it means to fans and their pocketbooks. The show follows the money in the world of sports and the decisions that power the multi-billion-dollar industry. From media and technology to finance and real estate, leagues and teams across the globe have matured into far more than just back-page entertainment. The show reports on sports trades, salaries, endorsements, contracts, collective bargaining and more – all from an insider’s perspective and explains the money behind the final score.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green says, “In today’s world, sports and business align more than ever. There is no brand better equipped than Bloomberg to report on the news and events that impact the business side of sports. We are delighted to bring this content to the SportsMap network and their affiliates around the country.”

iHeartMedia Launches ‘FOX Sports 1230 The Gambler’ in Toledo. WCWA-AM, Toledo is now “FOX Sports 1230 The Gambler.” Station owner iHeartMedia announces the programming lineup will consist of content from FOX Sports Radio and VSiN (Vegas Stats and Information Network). The company says the lineup will offer listeners betting guides, handicapping and strategies plus signature programming from FOX Sports Radio, including “The Dan Patrick Show” and “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” as well as highly respected Toledo sportscaster Anthony Bellino on weekday mornings. iHeartMedia Ohio and West Virginia SVP of programming Scott Sands says, “‘FOX Sports 1230 The Gambler’ is the future of sports radio. We are thrilled to bring this hot new format to Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan, assisting our growing audience in navigating the ever-growing world of sports wagering.”

Trump at CPAC, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Biden’s Stimulus Bill/Minimum Wage Issue, Cuomo Allegations, Virginia Legalizes Pot, Myanmar Protests, and Golden Globe Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Former President Donald Trump speaks at the final day of the CPAC in Orlando; the falling number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is approved, and concerns about variants; President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package passes the House and the battle over the $15/hour minimum wage proposal; the allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and increasing calls for his resignation; Virginia becomes the 16th state to legalize marijuana; more violent protests break out in Myanmar; and Sunday night’s virtual Golden Globe Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, February 1, 2021

| February 1, 2021

Mark Chernoff to Retire from WFAN, New York. An internal memo from Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero reveals that longtime WFAN program director Mark Chernoff will retire from his position with the station this year. Oliviero’s memo states: “After nearly 30 years of unmatched success, our colleague and industry programming icon, Mark Chernoff, will step down from day-to-day oversight of WFAN and CBS SPORTS RADIO later in 2021 after a worthy successor has been identified – which trust me will be no easy task. Since no one knows the job better, Mark will be a member of the search committee for the next sports content lead for both brands and, until that time, will remain fully responsible for all operations. Also, Mark will continue on as an advisor to WFAN after the search and transition is complete. I was lucky enough to first meet Mark in 1998 in his windowless sub-sub-basement office out at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. I was a college grad groveling for part-time board op shifts at WFAN. That began a relationship that has evolved into one of the most rewarding, important and genuine friendships of my entire life. One that I have and always will cherish. When people think of WFAN, names like Imus, ‘Mike & The Mad Dog’ or Boomer often come to mind, but no name has been more responsible for the consistent excellence of ‘The  Fan’ than ‘Chernoff.’”

Monday Memo: Cancel Culture Canceled! “Cooperstown controversy! Social media malpractice! First Amendment flap! COVID contagion! Giddy over GameStop!” Anxious alliteration aside, this week’s column from Holland Cooke forewarns fake news fabricators. Read it here.

COVID-19/Vaccine Rollout, Trump Impeachment, GOP Election Deniers/‘Country First’ Drive, GameStop Trading/Financial Markets Activity, Putin Protests, and Myanmar Military Coup Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll and the complications affecting the rollout of the vaccines; the impeachment case against Donald Trump; Republican members of congress still implying that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, led by Georgia’s MarjorieTaylor Greene, and the “Country First” drive to “save the GOP” being launched by U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger; the GameStop trading saga and the global financial markets activity; the protests in Russia over Vladimir Putin’s detention of critic Alexei Navalny; and the military detains Myanmar’s leaders were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: All Impressions Are Not Created Equal. Radio sellers are hawking impressions to potential buyers. But, as sales and management pro Steve Lapa says in today’s column, all impressions are not created equal. Just as your body uses the same amount of calories from an apple and a processed snack differently, the various “products” your station offers have different impression values. Read more here.

Holiday 2020 PPM Ratings Takeaways. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the first round of Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 PPM survey that covered the period of December 3 – January 6. The annual Holiday PPM survey is usually not kind to the all-news and news/talk formats due in part to holiday music listening and the changes in listeners’ daily lifestyles because of the holiday season. However, this year was a little different because of the historical aftermath of the November elections. In New York, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR dipped only slightly from a 2.8 share in the December survey to a 2.4 share in the Holiday survey. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI adds one-tenth to finish with a 4.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. While Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM was flat at a 6.8 share and the #3 rank, Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM was up nine-tenths for a 3.7 share finish at the #7 rank. Meanwhile, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta remained the #1 ranked station while dipping seven-tenths to a 9.0 share. Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle also stayed in the #1 position while flat with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Remembering the King. Pictured above are TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) and media consultant and host of RT America’s “The Big Picture,” Holland Cooke, as they discuss the talk media career of Larry King, who died at age 87 last weekend. During Harrison’s appearance, they also talked about Rush Limbaugh and the nature of today’s media. See it here.

‘ESPN Charlotte’ Expands Local Afternoon Drive Show. “The Afternoon Rush” program on 2G Media’s sports talk WZGV-AM/W248CO, Charlotte expands as program director and co-host Bobby Rosinski (left) moves morning personality Molly Cotten (center) to the afternoon show alongside himself and co-host Mark Yarbro (right). Cotten had been co-hosting the morning program with Walker Mehl. The station begins airing ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill, and Zubin” in morning drive with Mehl continuing to host the morning edition of “SportsCenter CLT” as well as an evening edition of the program airing at 6:00 pm.

Colin Cowherd and iHeartMedia to Launch New Podcast Network. A collaborative effort between Colin Cowherd and iHeartMedia is producing another podcast network, this one called “The Volume.” The two partners have already created “The Herd Podcast Network.” Colin Cowherd says, “There has never been a more exciting time to develop new sports content. Podcasts have totally changed the game, and the expanded use of sports gambling makes this the perfect moment to launch this endeavor. I’m thrilled to work with iHeartRadio and this dynamic group of talent to start building ‘The Volume.’” FanDuel has signed on as a primary sponsor. Five new podcasts will appear on the network that debuts today (2/1): A new “Colin Cowherd Podcast”; an NBA-themed show called “The Jenkins & Jonez Podcast” starring LaJethro Jenkins and Dragonfly Jonez; “Moneyline Monaco” hosted by comedian and sports gambling fanatic Alex Monaco; “Oral Sessions with Renée Paquette” focusing on combat sports; and “Catchin’ Fades With Aqib Talib,” an NFL show hosted by Aqib Talib.

TALKERS News Notes. PhillyVoice.com reports that longtime Philadelphia sports talk personality Marc Farzetta is starting his own streaming sports talk show via YouTube called, “The Farzy Show with Marc Farzetta.” Farzetta was let go by Beasley Media’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in early December. Prior to his two years with WPEN, he served with Entercom’s crosstown WIP for 13 years. The new program streams from 6:00 am to 7:00 am daily. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Hugh Douglas (a former co-host of Farzetta’s) will be a recurring guest on the program…..Nationally syndicated talk host Thom Hartmann publishes his latest book this week. The Hidden History of American Oligarchy — Reclaiming our Democracy from The Ruling Class (2021, Berrett-Koehler Publishers). The publisher says that in this book Hartmann “lays out the ways in which inequality in America has shifted over the last 50 years and identifies a handful of sensical, powerful solutions that address these issues at different levels, such as getting money out of politics, addressing social despair and economic inequality, strengthening democratic institutions of governance, and fighting fear.”…..Radio One’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte helped raise $255,000 for three charities in the Charlotte area. In partnership with Moments of Hope Church, WBT was able to donate $85,000 each to The Charlotte Rescue Mission, Kings Kitchen, and Camino Community Center. The awarding of the funds took place on “The Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson,” along with Moments of Hope Church pastor David Chadwick (who hosts a Sunday morning show on WBT) present. The live broadcast resulted in an additional $5,000 being donated, which was matched by Moments of Hope and rounded up so that the final total was $270,000, with each charity receiving $90,000…..GCN nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured at left getting her first COVID-19 shot from Pfizer. She says, “It was painless going in, but the next day or two I had some muscle aches, fatigue, and nausea. Thirty hours later, however, I felt great. I know the vaccine scares a lot of people and new variants keep popping up, but I feel we need to protect and plan for the here and now, with expectations that booster shots will be required for the newer strains. The vaccination is not without its risks but COVID illness is much riskier.”

Friday, January 29, 2021

| January 29, 2021

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Raging Politics!” looks back at this past week of January 25-29, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Holland Cooke, media consultant / talk show host, RT AmericaCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, WABC / GOP primary candidate for Mayor of New York City / founder Guardian AngelesSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder Scamicide.com; Bill Graff, talk show host KSCO, Santa Cruz; Amy Hao, co-talk show host, China Uber Alles; Nan Su, co-talk show host, China Uber Alles; senior reporter, The Epoch TimesVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senate Impeachment Trial and Capitol Insurrection Investigation Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump and the investigation into the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol tied for the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of January 25-29. At #2 this week was the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S., the vaccine rollout, and the variant strains. Coming in at #3 was the GameStop stock frenzy, the U.S. economy’s contraction, and the education crisis, followed by U.S. relations with China and Russia at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research form TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.