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Thursday, September 2, 2021

| September 2, 2021

Scott James Matheson – Mayor and Radio Broadcaster – is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. It is not uncommon for longtime AM drive local radio personalities to be dubbed the “morning mayor” of the cities in which they broadcast. Scott James Matheson, the morning host at Talk 92.1 WDDQ, Valdosta, GA, actually is the mayor of the South Georgia city in which he is heard daily! In addition, he is the owner of WDDQ and its parent company, Smalltown Broadcasting, LLC.  He is also this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Wrap.” Matheson was inaugurated mayor of the Deep South city of 60,000-plus residents in early 2020 and has a very interesting story to tell juggling both demanding jobs. Harrison and Matheson discuss small town America politics and the view of today’s national conversation from Valdosta’s key geographic perspective located right near the Florida-Georgia line. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

KFAQ-AM, Tulsa’s Flip to Sports Talk Happens Tuesday. Tulsa news/talk outlet KFAQ-AM will flip to sports talk on Tuesday (9/7), according to owner Griffin Communications. The company says it “is excited to announce ‘The Blitz 1170 AM’ – Tulsa’s new sports talk station covering Oklahoma and national sports by the folks who know sports best, the experts from Oklahoma’s Own.” Griffin VP of content Todd Spessard says, “We are so excited to bring the best local sports radio to Tulsa. From high school to college to professional – Tulsa has so many great sports stories to tell, and we can’t wait to bring them to Green Country. We’re putting together a local lineup of some of the best and well-known Tulsa voices and are ready to start talking sports!” The station will be live and local from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Its lineup is as follows: University of Tulsa hoops play-by-play announcer Rick Couri from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dan Hawk from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Big Al & Friends from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm; Jeremie “Pop” Poplin from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; Colby Daniels from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and Barstool Sports from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Griffin says the station will also feature content from the KOTV-DT “News On 6 Sports” team led by veteran sports director John Holcomb and appearances by KWTV-TV “News 9” sportscaster Dean Blevins covering all things OU, OKC Thunder reporter Steve McGehee, and college football analyst Dusty Dvoracek. KFAQ director of programming Jeremie Poplin adds, “I am incredibly excited for this opportunity with The Blitz. A lot of hard work has gone into all the stages of planning for a station that will reach a variety of different fan bases. We will strive to present a product everyone can be proud of and help fill the local sports void in Tulsa.”

WOKY-AM, Milwaukee Pulls Bill Michaels Show After Audacy Cries Foul. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Madison, Wisconsin-based sports talk host Bill Michaels’ program has been removed from the program schedule at iHeartMedia’s WOKY-AM after two days because Michaels’ former employer Audacy is claiming his being on WOKY violates his non-compete. Michaels’ show aired on Audacy’s crosstown WSSP-AM until January of this year when he was let go. His program is currently based at Mid-West Family Communications’ WOZN-AM/W244DR, Madison and it launched on WOKY on Monday (8/30) in the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart. Michaels tells the paper, “Audacy sent a cease-and-desist to iHeart. What they’re claiming is that no station in Milwaukee can carry me.” He says the question is whether his contractual obligation to Audacy allows him to appear on a Milwaukee station as a syndicated talent versus as an employee. It’s not clear when the non-compete period expires.

El Dorado Broadcasters Unveils Hyperlocal News Platform in Yuma. The owner of news/talk KBLU-AM, Yuma, Arizona and two music outlets – El Dorado Broadcasters – announces the debut of a hyperlocal news website for Greater Yuma called Yumadailynews.com. The company is calling it a “new newsroom focused on the local happenings in southwest Arizona.” It will distribute its content via Yumadailynews.com, its radio stations, social media platforms and daily e-news headlines. El Dorado executive president Chris Fleming says, “We serve our local market with our broadcast stations, but this is a logical expansion of services for the market. It seems like an opportunity for our company to step into this space and make an immediate impact for the community we serve.” The newsroom is being managed by news director Andrew Caravella.

WLS-AM, Chicago Debuts Weekend Travel Show. A new travel show is launching on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago. “Round Trip With Colleen Kelly” will air on Sunday (9/5) from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Kelly is a digital contributor to National Geographic and Travel + Leisure and is host, creator and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated PBS series, “Family Travel With Colleen Kelly.” She says, “I am thrilled to be working with the legendary WLS team and Cumulus Media, bringing audiences the latest in travel news, tips, and destinations on ‘Round Trip with Colleen Kelly.’ It is always an honor and a pleasure to work with and create work at the WLS-AM radio station. What a fantastic opportunity to connect with not only dedicated Chicago listeners but also listeners from across the U.S.”

New Lexington, Kentucky Sports Talker Launches. Flipping from country to sports talk, Clarity Communications’ WZNN-FM, Stamping Ground, Kentucky re-launches as “Sports 96.1 The Zone” using content from FOX Sports Radio. The station’s press release says, “The station will feature the only live and local afternoon drive show hosted by program director Terry Ford, Big Blue reports daily, extensive live pre- and post-game UK coverage before and after every Wildcat game, play-by-play of high school football and basketball, play-by-play of regional and national college football and basketball and play-by-play of the biggest NFL games every week. Clarity CEO Charlie Cohn says, “Clarity Communications is pleased to bring local sports talk to FM in Lexington. We will not only have the only local afternoon sports talk show in the market, but we plan to expand all our local coverage of the sports teams and topics that matter in Central Kentucky. Plus, we are pleased to bring Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd back to Lexington. And our partnership with FOX Sports Radio means Lexington and the surrounding areas can expect the best sports coverage 24/7.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new program from ESPN Podcasts hosted by former NFL coach Rex Ryan and former NFL linebacker Bart Scott will debut on September 12. Titled, “Organized Chaos,” new episodes will drop each Monday and will “provide listeners with expert insight and analysis on everything happening around the league featuring trending stories from on and off the field.”…..SiriusXM is presenting a new 13-episode podcast series called, “9/11 & Sports: 20 Years Later.” It looks back at the impact of that day’s events on the world of sports and the reaction by leagues, players and fans in the hours, days, weeks and years that followed. SixiursXM SVP of sports programming & podcasts Steve Cohen says, “We’ve produced this series to tell the story of how the events of 9/11, one of the most tragic days in our history, reverberated through the world of sports through the days and months that followed the attacks, and in ways even now 20 years later. We remember lives heartbreakingly lost that day, the way our country responded, and the impact on citizens and public figures alike.”

KTBB-AM/FM, Tyler, Texas’ Paul Berry Dead at 52. Longtime KTBB-AM/FM, Tyler, Texas news and operations director Paul Berry died on Tuesday afternoon of an apparent heart attack at the age of 52. The station says, “Berry joined KTBB more than 20 years ago after having previously been the program director and morning air personality on KTBB’s then sister station, KDOK. In addition to overseeing the editorial operation of the KTBB newsroom, he also managed the day-to-day technical operations of KTBB 97.5 FM, 600 AM and 92.1 FM, The TEAM Sports Radio.” Station owner Paul Gleiser adds, “Paul and I really loved the radio business. We spent a lot of time talking about the work of the great broadcasters that we both admired, and we also spent a lot of time looking for just one more way to make this station better. Somewhere in all of that an employment relationship morphed into friendship. I’m going to miss him.”

Gen Media Partners Launches Multicultural Initiative. In an effort to “champion the power and influence of certified minority-owned and -targeted radio stations to advertisers and agencies,” Gen Media Partners announces the formation of a strategic task force that will “advocate on behalf of the largely overlooked multicultural-owned and -targeted radio stations across all market sizes, including non-metro, and demonstrate multicultural radio’s remarkable power to connect with audiences.” The company says that Ann-Marie Figueira, whose promotion to SVP of Hispanic platforms and multicultural initiatives was announced recently, will lead the initiative. Gen Media Partners CEO Kevin Garrity adds, “Our goal – our job – is to make sure advertisers and their agencies look beyond the large-scale companies and include independent, certified minority-owned and -targeted radio groups in their plans. We’re already seeing a receptiveness to learning more about these stations and their effectiveness at reaching multicultural audiences with content that is relevant to their specific lifestyles, tastes, and cultures.” The company says it represents 1,176 radio stations in 168 markets, either minority-owned or -targeted to Hispanic, African American, Asian, or Indigenous audiences and has one of the strongest multicultural platforms in radio, reaching  95% of the multicultural segment of the US population.

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Ida Devastation/Caldor Wildfire, Texas Abortion Law, Social Security Insolvency, January 6 Investigation, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/1). Criticism of President Joe Biden and Pentagon leaders over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the stress on ICUs in several states, and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the devastation in Louisiana from Hurricane Ida and the flooding in the Northeast & the battle to keep the Caldor wildfire from Lake Tahoe; the Supreme Court votes 5-4 not to block the restrictive Texas abortion law; the report that the U.S. social security system will be insolvent by 2034; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens telecom companies that might comply with the January 6 committee’s investigation for phone records; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, March 4, 2019

| March 4, 2019

PPM Analysis: News/TalkTALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s January 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk radio.  Coming off the historically down Holiday survey, almost 80% of news/talk stations on this panel were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) in the January survey with iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (+2.4) and WISN, Milwaukee (+2.2) leading the gains.  Comparing January 2018 to January 2019, almost 45% of stations were up (slightly more were down) with Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville (+2.3) and WLW, Cincinnati (+2.0).   CMG’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta dropped 2.3 shares from last January to this year but still retains its #1 ranking (6+) in the Atlanta market.  Four other news/talk stations ranked #1 in their respective markets in the January survey: iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento and WLW, Cincinnati; Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5; and CMG’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Monday Memo: ‘Today’s Bonus Question…’ Consultant Holland Cooke writes in this week’s Monday Memo about evergreen talk radio topics.  He says, “Smart talk radio hosts have always kept an evergreen file, undated call-in topics for use, y’know, back when we had slow news days.”  Even though there have not been lot of those lately, Cooke says for hosts who want to break away from Washington topics for a bit he has some thoughts on questions they can throw out to their listeners to start a fun topic, such as, “What’s your gripe about where you work?”  See Cooke’s entire Monday Memo here.

Ethan Bearman Leaves KGO.  Heavy Hundred talk media rising star Ethan Bearman has informed TALKERS magazine that he and KGO, San Francisco have parted ways.  Bearman, known for his youthful view of politics and lifestyles from an independent position, began his career at KSCO, Santa Cruz.  He joined Cumulus San Francisco in January of 2014 as a personality at KSFO and moved over to KGO in early 2016 where he was most recently heard live each day between 10:00 am and 12:45 pm with a replay in evenings at 7:00 pm.  Bearman, who lives in Southern California and has been studying law at Loyola Law School Los Angeles, performed his daily show by remote from the Westwood One studios in Culver City.  Bearman tells TALKERS, “I love the Bay Area audience and the folks at KGO have been wonderful, but my home and family are in LA and I always knew that this set up would eventually have to end.  I’m excited about receiving my law degree this coming May and moving on with my media career with that extra credential from this location.”  In addition to his radio work, Bearman has become a popular go-to commentator on cable news/talk TV and regularly appears as a guest on the Fox News Channel.

Alfred Williams Joining iHeartMedia Denver.  Sports talk host Alfred “Big Al” Williams left Bonneville’s KKFN, Denver “104.3 The Fan” last week where he was co-host of the market’s highest-rated show with partner Darren McKee to join iHeartMedia’s crosstown news/talk KOA, according to a report by KUSA-TV, Denver.  Williams will wait out a non-compete (probably six months) and speculation is that he’ll join Dave Logan and Rick Lewis on the afternoon drive program.  In the piece, Williams speaks about how much Bonneville manager Bob Call has meant to his career.  His new boss, iHeartMedia region president Tim Hager says, “I’m unbelievably excited about the possibility of having Big Al on our team as a broadcaster, a talent and a man. Right now, I just respect Bob [Call] and Bonneville and everything they have going on as they transition from that great broadcaster and talent and man.  Much more to come, but really exciting times.”

iHeartMedia Ups Marc Sherman to Regional SVP of Programming for New Orleans and Baton Rouge.  Houston senior vice president of programming Marc Sherman has been promoted to regional senior vice president of programming for the New Orleans and Baton Rouge markets, that include news/talk WRNO-FM and sports talk WODT-AM in New Orleans and news/talk WJBO-AM/K249DV in Baton Rouge.  iHeartMedia region president Eddie Martiny says, “I’m excited to expand Marc’s programming expertise to the New Orleans and Baton Rouge markets.  I have had the pleasure of working with Marc for over 15 years and he is not only a brilliant programmer but an excellent leader. New Orleans and Baton Rouge are in good hands.”

Amber Parker Named SVP of Programming for iHeartMedia Tuscaloosa. Programming pro Amber Parker moves from iHeartMedia’s Colorado Springs where she served in programming and on-air roles to Tuscaloosa where she’s senior vice president of programming for the four-station Tuscaloosa cluster that includes news/talk WRTR-FM “Talk Radio 105.9” and three music outlets.  Parker will be responsible for spearheading the programming, promotions, and digital strategies for all four stations and will also host the midday show on country WTXT.

Harvey Wells Named Director of Sales Development and Marketing for GeoBroadcast Solutions. Radio sales and management pro Harvey Wells joins GeoBroadcast Solutions as director of sales development and marketing.  In this role, Wells is responsible for the continued roll-out of GeoBroadcast Solutions’ MaxxCasting technology and help introduce its ZoneCasting technology to a broader audience.  The company’s press release says MaxxCasting “leverages Single Frequency Network (SFN) architectures to optimize a radio station’s signal strength within its FCC-allocated contour, allowing greater numbers of potential listeners and Nielsen Personal People Meter encoding…ZoneCasting, pending FCC approval, will allow a radio station to divide its signal based on a market’s geography, allowing a radio station on its single frequency to air different news, traffic, weather, public service announcements and advertisements based on where a listener is located.”  Wells was most recently general manager for Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Illinois cluster.  During his career he also managed CBS RADIO’s Chicago station group.

TALKERS News Notes. In Burlington, Vermont, Vox AM/FM makes changes to the morning show on news/talk WVMT, ousting Pete Belair and Sarah Mitiguy after two months as hosts of the morning show and launches a new program hosted by Burlington City Council president Kurt Wright and local DJ and podcaster Marcus Certa.  Belair and Mitiguy took over the morning program after working together at Sison Broadcasting’s CHR WXXX, Burlington. They replaced Charlie Papillo and Ernie Farrar, who retired at the time Vox AM/FM was buying the station from Paul Goldman in late 2018.  Seven Days Vt has the story here…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports on what he’s calling “reality-show premise of an inspired stunt” as most of the talk hosts from Entercom’s sports talk WSCR “The Score” will live in a rented house in Mesa, Arizona while covering the Chicago Cubs’ spring training.  The hosts – midday’s Dan Bernstein and Connor McKnight and pm drive’s Dan McNeil and Danny Parkins (along with PD Mitch Rosen) – will live together in the house with show producers and a video producer.  Morning hosts Mike Mulligan and David Haugh are staying in a nearby hotel.  Fans can watch for video highlights on the station’s website…..Entercom Pittsburgh news/talk KDKA-AM is presenting the seventh annual “Larry Richert Honors our Hometown Heroes” event being emceed by morning show host Larry Richert on March 26 at Pittsburgh’s Rivers Casino. Richert will honor five hometown heroes who’ve made contributions to the local community.  This year’s honorees are: Joyce Erdner, founder of The DoorWay, an organization that serves those who need a second chance from dealing with abuse, addiction and neglect; Steven D’Achille who, following the loss of his wife to post-partum depression, founded The Alexis Joy D’Achille Center for Perinatal Mental Health at West Penn Hospital; Debbie Thackrah, founder and president of Feeding the Spirit, a special non-profit dedicated to nourishing the bodies, minds and spirits of those in need in the Greensburg community; German Township police corporal John Lingo, who stepped into the line of fire and took down a gunman who shot four people in a magistrate’s office; and George O’Donnell, who operates Runs Friends to Friends, an organization bringing kids with and without disabilities together through sports and mentoring.

Trump-Russia Investigation/House Obstruction of Justice Investigation, Trump CPAC Speech, Cohen Testimony, Trump-Kim Summit, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls, Deadly Alabama Tornadoes, Leaving Neverland Controversy, and NBA and NCAA Basketball Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The status of the investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents and the related investigation by the U.S. House into possible obstruction of justice by President Trump; the president’s two-hour speech at CPAC; last week’s congressional testimony by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen; the meeting between President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un; the list of Democrats vying to oppose President Trump in the 2020 election; the tornadoes that ripped through Alabama and taking the lives of at least 23; the controversy over the HBO documentary Leaving Neverland and the legacy of Michael Jackson; and NBA and NCAA basketball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

RadioInfo Review: Australian Artist Michael Burrows Deserves American Radio Attention.  Melbourne, Australia-based recording artist Michael Burrows knows a thing or two about life – and his take is laid out beautifully within a custom blend of folk, rock, and country music.  Burrows’ music has been described as a fusion of musical genres with hints of artists such as the BeatlesWilcoEagles and Ron Sexsmith. From intimate solo shows to full band performances, his songs are deceptively simple about complex things: love, family, home, and trust. The latest single, “Turn This Love Around,” is attracting a lot of attention from music directors and on social media with listeners. It’s a strong melodic tune with lyrics that Ed Sheeran or Jason Mraz would have been proud to have written. It’s a comfortingly familiar track that conjures feelings of a time when things were easier, responsibilities were less, and the vulnerability in Burrows’ voice provides an invitation for the lover and the listener to engage in more – coming back to bed…while tapping their feet and singing along.  To check out his latest single please click here.  To set up an interview with Michael Burrows, please email Sam Schipman at sam@howiewood.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A format flip takes place in the Motor City as iHeartMedia drops alternative on WDTW-FM and goes classic rock as WLLZ-FM “106.7 Detroit’s Wheels.”  The station’s core artists are 80s and 90s rock artists: AC/DC, Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Metallica,Ozzy Osbourne, and Pearl Jam.  The jock lineup features well-known Detroit radio personalities, including Bill McAllister in mornings, Trudi Daniels in middays, Doug Podell in afternoons, and Casey Krukowski in evenings.  iHM region president Paul Corvino states, “Detroit’s Wheels is back.  The attitude, music, and personalities featured on ‘106.7 Detroit’s Wheels’ is the perfect formula and will contribute to building a great audience for our advertisers.”