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Friday, May 6, 2022

| May 6, 2022

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, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Mothers of Contention,” looks back at this past week of 5/2 to 5/6. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSHarry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaTodd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; and Gregg Stebben, correspondent, beamz.live. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas;  WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; 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 NetworkPodcast Radio UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS 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.

 

iHeartMedia Reports Q1 2022 Consolidated Revenue Up 19.4%. Financial results from the first quarter of 2022 for iHeartMedia Inc. reveal consolidated revenue of $843 million, an increase of 19.4% over the same period a year ago. The company’s net loss shrank during the first quarter to $48.7 million from the $242 million net loss posted during Q1 of 2021. iHeartMedia posted operating income of $12.3 million for the first quarter, compared to the operating loss of $76.4 million it reported in Q1 of 2021. Looking at the company’s reporting by segment, broadcast radio was up 16.2% on revenue of $416.5 million, and networks was up 2.1% on revenue of $117.6 million. Those, along with sponsorships & events, comprise the company’s Multiplatform Group. The Digital Audio Group consists of digital excluding podcasting, which reported revenue of $145.7 million (up 22.2%), and podcasting, which reported revenue of $68.5 million (an increase of 78.7%). The company’s Audio & Media Services Group reported revenue of $60.9 million (up 10.4%) for the quarter. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “We’re pleased to report another quarter of strong results, and believe our performance is further evidence of the successful execution of our digital transformation and multiplatform strategy, and the power of our position as the #1 audio company in America across broadcast radio, digital radio, and podcasting. We remain committed to building on iHeart’s transformation into a data-led, digitally focused business; to investing in areas with high-growth potential; and to continuing our focus on innovation and being at the forefront of new technologies and digital platforms which create incremental growth opportunities for Audio.”

 

‘Toucher & Rich’ Morning Show Expands to Springfield, Mass. Market. The “Toucher & Rich” morning program based at Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” will be heard on rock Saga Communications WLZX-FM/W253CD in the Springfield-Northampton, Massachusetts market beginning on May 9. The program, hosted by Fred Toucher (left) and Rich Shertenlieb (right), began expanding to affiliate stations throughout New England last fall. This is an uncommon move for Saga, which has a history of keeping its morning drive programs live and local. Toucher & Rich comment, “We’re excited to be launching ‘Toucher & Rich’ in Springfield and Northampton on ‘Lazer 99.3 and 98.5’ with our new friends at Saga Communications. We’re fortunate to have some of the most loyal listeners in radio and look forward to introducing our show to a whole new audience of potential T&R diehards.”

 

Moms & Media 2022. “Two years into COVID,” Moms’ media consumption is changed. “The Research Moms” at Edison Research updated their annual report in a Thursday webinar consultant Holland Cooke attended; and HC’s “one-sentence version” is: “To reach Mom, use smartphones, Alexa, Facebook, and TikTok.” Click here for his notes, and links to download the report and watch a video of the narrated presentation. Read more here.

 

WJR-AM, Detroit Celebrates 100 Years on the Air. On Wednesday (5/4), Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR-AM, Detroit kicked off a year-long Centennial celebration. WJR signed on for the first time on May 4, 1922, as WCX, which changed a few years later to WJR to reflect the ownership of the Jewett Radio and Phonograph Company. Cumulus says, “The station has served the community with excellence for 100 years, with a 50,000-watt signal that can be heard across nearly half the country at night, providing the city of Detroit, the state of Michigan, and the Upper Midwest with news, music, sports, and information by some of the most talented people in the radio industry. Through the years, WJR’s legendary lineup has featured broadcasting giants such as Paul W. Smith, Jack Parr, Mitch Albom, J.P. McCarthy, Frank Beckmann, Ernie Harwell, Guy Gordon, and Rush Limbaugh.” In the last several months leading up to Wednesday’s 100th year birthday, WJR has presented dozens of on-air vignettes that mark memorable moments, tell interesting stories, and feature the unique sound and talented people from WJR’s history. In addition, the station has populated www.wjr.com with archival video, audio and photos that tell the story of WJR’s first 100 years. Cumulus Detroit VP and market manage Steve Finateri comments, “Being at WJR is like being part of an all-star team at every position in this famous Fisher Building. WJR is iconic because of the extremely high standards set by so many world class broadcasters over the past 100 years. Today, those same high standards and our ‘blow torch coverage’ is what still attracts top newsmakers from around the Great Lakes Region and is the reason for our continued success. We take great pride in our programming, our business and civic relationships, and serve the community by raising millions every year for numerous worthy charities that improve the quality of life in Detroit. The best-of-the-best seem to find their way to WJR, and I know that tradition will continue on for the next 100 years.”

 

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Windy City media personality and former WGN-AM, Chicago morning drive host Steve Cochran is going to be heard on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM in mornings next week. Cochran will guest host the program that is without a permanent host since Bruce St. James exited the station last month. Since exiting WGN, Cochran has been producing a twice-weekly podcast titled, “Live from My Office.”…..Audio streaming service TuneIn names Tom Fuelling chief financial officer. Fuelling has served as CFO for Hulu, OpenX, ARTISTdirect and most recently, Spokeo, Inc. TuneIn CEO Richard Stern says, “Tom is an incredible addition to our growing leadership team. His experience scaling global media businesses that consumers love is unparalleled. Working in a competitive landscape, TuneIn has emerged as a leader in live audio streaming and we look forward to working with Tom as he’ll help us sustain and maintain our growth both domestically and abroad.”…..FOX News Media, in partnership with the National Merit Scholarship Program, announces the selection of the recipients of the third annual Dr. Charles Krauthammer Memorial Scholarship. This year’s scholarships will be endowed to Emmett Gaffney, son of vice president of documentary programming, Brian Gaffney and Grace LeCroy, the daughter of FOX News assignment desk manager Lillian LeCroy and FOX News Edge photojournalist Phil LeCroy. The winners will be featured on the network’s evening newscast, “Special Report with anchor Bret Baier,” on which Dr. Krauthammer was a fixture over the years. Additionally, Daniel Krauthammer will appear on the program tonight to discuss his father’s legacy. In making the announcement, FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “We are pleased to continue the tradition of honoring Charles Krauthammer’s extraordinary and celebrated career. Emmett and Grace are exceptional students whose many talents extend beyond the classroom. It is our hope that Charles’ brilliant intellect, integrity and courage will serve as an inspiration for them throughout their next endeavors in higher education. Congratulations to Emmett, Grace, and their families.”

 

Roe v Wade Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 2-6. The leak of a draft decision indicating the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v Wade was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was partisan politics tied with the 2022 and 2024 elections, followed by January 6 committee activity tied with Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the 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.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

| April 7, 2022

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Monday, December 21, 2020

| December 21, 2020

Monday Memo: “Oh the Weather Outside Is Frightful…” in wint’rish New England, where consultant Holland Cooke reminds stations that – even with smartphones outnumbering radios in such regular use – information staples can still drive listening (and are sponsorable). Read his column here.

Pending Business: Pain Management. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, says that in 2021 we should eliminate the “pain point” from the radio sales process. “It makes no sense to me today or from the first day I was exposed to the ‘probe for the pain point’ strategy of selling. Discovering marketing solutions is a fluid, positive process anchored by a relationship built on trust, not finding the pain.” Read more here.

Bold Gold Media Group Honored with NY Senate Empire Award. The New York State Senate Empire Award is bestowed annually to “businesses or organizations that encourage other area businesses or have formed partnerships within the community, those that volunteer their time and services and demonstrate exceptional leadership in the community; or have contributed significantly to their community’s quality of life.” Bold Gold Media Group was recently honored with the New York State 2020 Senate Empire Award, presented by Senator Jenn Metzger. She says, “Bold Gold Media is deserving on so many counts, it’s hard to count them. You have been the voice of the Catskills; you have really been there for the community in a way that is really unusual for a media group. There are so many great community organizations that are doing such important work and you share information; you educate them especially with your local news.  In a rural area many people are isolated and they need to know day-to-day and emergency information, and you play a vital role for our communities in providing that. On top of that, your volunteer work and sponsorship with the ‘98.3 WSUL Heart-A-Thon’ and the ‘Thunder 102 & 104.5 Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Radiothon’ is yet another way you give back to the community.  This is a way for us to recognize you and express our great appreciation for all that you do.” Bold Gold New York general manager Dawn Ciorciari comments, “Helping our community is not just what we do, it’s who we are. This award belongs to our amazing team of hard-working local professionals and a community that gives us amazing content to talk about everyday.”

Salem Radio Network’s Charlie Kirk Named to 1776 Commission. Nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk host Charlie Kirk (founder of Turning Point USA), is one of 18 Americans President Trump intends to appoint to his President’s Advisory 1776 Commission. A memo from the Office of the White House Press Secretary offers the purpose of the commission: “As our nation approaches its 250th anniversary of glorious Independence, many of America’s school children are tragically being taught to hate our founding, hate our history, and hate our country. This must stop. The 1776 Commission will help ensure that every American child learns that they live in the greatest and most exceptional nation in the history of the world. That is why it is absolutely vital to teach America’s young people all that is inspiring and unifying in our history. We want our children to become patriots who love their country. The 1776 Commission will share the story of our nation’s miraculous founding, proclaim the self-evident truths contained in the Declaration of Independence, and explain how these founding principles have helped our people overcome great national challenges throughout our history – and how these principles can guide us to a great American future. All Americans should pay close attention to this work.” About his appointment, Kirk states, “I’m incredibly honored to be named to the president’s 1776 Commission alongside so many other patriots. America is the greatest nation to exist in the history of the world. Our nation’s virtues and our accomplishments must be passed on to the next generation if it is going to survive into the future. I have devoted my life to that mission, and I am beyond humbled to be able to continue doing so in this new role.”

Retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Talk Host John Hancock Loses Foot to Infection. A story in the Charlotte Observer by Theoden Janes chronicles the recent health issues that retired WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk host John Hancock has been dealing with that resulted in the recent amputation of his right foot. Last fall, 68-year-old Hancock retired from Entercom’s WBT where he was afternoon drive host. He’d been diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes more than three years ago and took steps to lose weight and change his diet. But by his own admission, he fell off the healthy food wagon and put some of the weight back on. Then this summer, he began to notice tenderness in his right foot. As time passed it became worse until it was diagnosed as an infection. It was shortly thereafter that one of his doctors recommended the foot be amputated. He’s been fitted for a prosthetic leg that he’ll be getting early in the New Year.

WWL, New Orleans Talk Host Kristian Garic Returns to Air After Rehab Stint. New Orleans sports talk host Kristian Garic recently returned to the air on Entercom’s WWL-AM/FM after 29 days in a rehab program for alcoholism. Garic co-hosts the 4:00 pm to 8:00 pm “Sports Talk” program with Bobby Hebert. On his return, he penned an editorial piece on the WWL website explaining his situation, what he’s been through and the challenges that lay ahead of him as he works to remain sober. He wrote, in part, “Getting help was perhaps the hardest decision I ever had to make. Here I was, pretty successful, with a good job. My bills were paid, my kids are healthy and I’m a father actively involved in their lives. Nothing the matter, right? Not so fast. Just to give you the insight into the depth of my drinking; I didn’t just drink three or four beers and call it quits. I drank a 12 pack of beer and a fifth of whiskey nearly every night for the past ten years… I want to thank my co-workers and management at WWL (Diane Newman and Kevin Cassidy in particular), and our parent company Entercom. The outpouring of support from the few who knew of my addiction leading up to treatment is sincerely appreciated. That support will help me tremendously in my life-long battle against alcoholism.”

Judy Pielach Joins WLS-AM, Chicago as Contributor. Former WGN-AM news personality Judy Pielach is now part of the WLS-AM morning show hosted by Bruce St. James. The program is being billed on the Cumulus Media station’s website as “The Bruce St. James Show with Judy Pielach.” Pielach accepted a buyout from former WGN owner Tribune Broadcasting in 2018 and left her afternoon drive post at WGN. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “Judy Pielach is a radio force majeure that has delivered the news to Chicago audiences for decades. Now, her strong voice, wit, and wisdom will be heard every weekday morning on 890 WLS-AM from 5:30 am to 9:00 am on ‘The Bruce St James Show,’ where she and Bruce will entertain and inform our Chicagoland listeners. Judy is a perfect match for Bruce. She’s local, she’s funny and she knows the news that Chicago is talking about.” Pielach adds, “When I left an iconic radio station two years ago seeking a new adventure, I never imagined I’d find it at another iconic radio station. It turns out, I just can’t stop talking. And, I especially like talking to Bruce. Really looking forward to the conversation on 890 WLS! A big thank you to Stephanie Tichenor for giving me this opportunity.“

Entercom Announces $1 Million Community Giveback Initiative. In an effort to help fellow businesses in the communities in which Entercom operates, the company is making a $1 million commitment to local restaurants, arts, and charitable organizations in the cities and towns where Entercom’s employees live and work. The employee-led initiative allows local managers to buy gift certificates and tickets that will then be disbursed to full-time staffers.

Congress Strikes COVID Relief Deal, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/New Strain Concerns, Trump Continues Election Fraud Claim/Martial Law Considered, Russian Hack of U.S. Government Networks, and Georgia Runoff Elections Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Congress agrees to a $900 billion COVID relief package; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for post-Christmas cases, and the report of a new and more transmissible strain in Europe; Donald Trump continues to claim election fraud and reports of a White House meeting discussing martial law to stay in office; the breadth of the Russian hack of U.S. government computer networks; and the Georgia runoff elections for the state’s two U.S. Senate seats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. There’s a holiday special program for Country top 40 affiliates as “Bob Kingley’s Country Top 40 with Fitz” presents “Christmas In America with Fitz and special guest Carrie Underwood,” a six-hour Christmas music celebration. CT40 says, “This six-hour music-intensive radio special offers country music’s most loved Christmas songs – past and present, the stories behind them and wonderful memories and traditions of the holidays. This year we are honored to have Carrie Underwood join Fitz as we also feature music from her new Christmas album My Gift.”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s WRFF-FM “ALT 104.5” is teaming up with Crew Nation – a global relief fund for live music crews – to throw a virtual New Year’s Eve celebration featuring Bastille on Thursday, December 31 at 8:00 pm, with a pre-show starting at 7:00 pm. All ticket sale donations will support Crew Nation/Music Forward Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that extends a helping hand to the touring and venue crews that have been impacted by the pandemic and depend on shows to make a living.

Friday, November 20, 2020

| November 20, 2020

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 “Let Me Take You Down…” looks back at this past week of November 16 – November 20, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, Walter Sterling, talk show host, “Sterling on Sunday”; Holland Cooke, media consultant / talk show host, RT AmericaDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / medical physician; Sid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley RadioPodcast 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.

WLS-AM, Chicago Names Bruce St. James New Morning Drive Host. On the heels of Erich “Mancow” Muller’s recent announcement that he’s leaving Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago morning show because he’s tired of doing “radio without joy” during the pandemic, the station says it is hiring radio pro Bruce St. James to assume the morning show duties, effective December 14. Most recently, St. James had been midday talk host on Bonneville Media’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix until last February. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the story here. Station program director Stephanie Tichenor says in a memo to staff that St. James “is here to have a conversation, not a lecture. He is not here to change formats. He is here to continue what 890 already does best – inform and entertain our listeners.” It’s not clear from the memo whether St. James will move to Chicago or work from Phoenix.

Cox Media Group Names J.P. Hannan EVP and CFO. Media executive Joseph P. “J.P.” Hannan joins Cox Media Group as EVP & chief financial officer, effective immediately. Hannan, who previously served as CFO for Cumulus Media and Lincoln Financial Media, was most recently EVP/CFO for AutoWeb. CMG says that Hannan brings “three decades of deep functional expertise and technical knowledge in all aspects of corporate finance and financial planning across media and technology” to the company. “He has successfully completed $5 billion in career M&A and financing transactions as CFO; realized $250-plus-million of post-deal operational synergies across 16 separate transactions; and implemented numerous enterprise ERP systems for financial and human capital management. He is well versed in complex tax strategies to maximize operating cash flow and has leveraged his role on several executive leadership teams to help create expanded efficiency, innovation and growth.” Hannan says, “This is an exciting time to be joining CMG and I am energized by the potential for enhanced growth and value creation given the well-respected and dynamic content, products and people CMG is known for. I look forward to working with the team to drive a clear focus on delivering strong results that will help CMG continue to grow and gather momentum as an innovative industry leader that is shaping the future of media.”

TALKERS News Notes. Las Vegas talk radio host Heidi Harris moves from morning drive to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot on Kemp Communications’ KMZQ-AM, effective November 23. Harris says, “I am excited about this change and am really looking forward to doing some things we haven’t been able to do in the past. We’ll still have a great mix of news and analysis, compelling guests, and of course my snarky take on what our elected and unelected ‘leaders’ are doing to our money, our rights, and our country.” Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher will air during the 6:00 am to 9:00 am daypart…..New York Post columnist Phil Mushnick writes an interesting piece about the awkward dynamic between Entercom’s WFAN, New York afternoon personality Craig Carton – who served one year of a three-year prison sentence for a fraud scheme designed to pay off gambling debts – and the station’s recent $32 million acquisition of QL Gaming Group, as well as its relationship with FanDuel for which Carton’s partner Evan Roberts voices ads. In the piece, Mushnick references an on-air conversation Carton and Roberts had on Monday in which they discussed the fact that, as he puts it, “Gambling operations, even legal, are not out to make money for anyone other than themselves. We were therefore left to glean that the ‘make it rain’ and ‘get-rich-quick’ commercial promises, mostly aimed at young adults, target the vulnerable.”…..As part of a contract extension that runs through December of 2024, WGN-AM, Chicago’s Lou Manfredini, a.k.a. “Mr. Fix It,” is getting a fourth hour for his Saturday morning talk program on the Nexstar Media station, beginning in January. “HouseSmarts Radio with Lou Manfredini” will air from 6:00 am to 10:00 am. WGN VP/GM Mary Sandberg Boyle is quoted saying, “We are excited to continue the legacy that Lou has built at WGN Radio the past 25 years. While his media empire looks a lot different now than when he first started here, one thing remains the same: Lou is here to serve the audience. He is patient and kind with every listener, while keeping his genuine sense of humor. He truly is the definition of the ‘helpful hardware man.’”…..Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis helped raise more than $330,000 to provide over 169,000 meals and care to those in need through its “2020 Union Gospel Mission Hunger Radiothon” that took place on November 17. The amount raised during the 18th annual radiothon brings the overall fundraising total since 2003 to over $3.3 million. Entercom SVP and market manager Shannon Knoepke says, “Entercom Minneapolis and 830 WCCO are proud to support the Union Gospel Mission Twin Cities and its local efforts to fight hunger, homelessness and addiction in Minnesota. During this pandemic, I’m incredibly proud of the selflessness and generosity of our listeners who stepped up to help us deliver another successful radiothon.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of former talk radio host Barbara Heisler, who passed away on Monday (11/16) at the age of 89. Heisler began her radio career in 1958 at WDEW-AM, Westfield, Massachusetts. She worked in radio for three decades, including stops at WREB-AM, Holyoke, Massachusetts; WPTF-AM, Raleigh, North Carolina; and finishing her talk radio career at WNNZ-AM, Springfield, Massachusetts.

SiriusXM Debuts New Podcast Destination. Satellite and online audio platform SiriusXM is making it easier for users to find podcasts as it creates a new category on its menu under which all podcasts can be found. SiriusXM says subscribers with streaming access “can enjoy a unique mix of exclusive, original, and popular podcasts via the SiriusXM mobile app or online. The launch of SiriusXM’s new podcast destination coincides with its latest “Listen Free” campaign, in which any non-subscriber in North America can sample SiriusXM for free from November 19 to December 1. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein comments, “As the popularity of podcasts continues to expand, we’re thrilled to offer our subscribers an amazing selection of podcast entertainment and expand on our unmatched variety of compelling, must-hear programming. With exclusive new series from entertainment powerhouses like Marvel and Kevin Hart, SiriusXM originals from some of our most popular hosts, and a curated collection of top shows from leading providers, subscribers now have direct access to our new destination for podcasts without ever leaving the SiriusXM app. And with Stitcher and their catalog of hugely popular original podcasts joining the SiriusXM family, this is just the beginning.”

IBA and MSN Partner to Help Out of Work Radio People. Radio pros currently out of work can take advantage of the partnership between Media Staffing Network and the Independent Broadcasters Association that is part of the recently announced IBA Rapid Response Opportunity. This partnership with MSN “gives jobseekers in radio access to valuable tools that will help them improve their story with more effective resumes and job search skills that can help them land more quickly. MSN plans to host informative webinars on how to research and target new opportunities, stand out in the hiring process, and conduct and navigate a search in a remote world.” IBA president and executive director Ron Stone says, “With many broadcasters needing to downsize because of the impact COVID has had on the economy, there are many radio professionals looking for work. Media Staffing Network’s expertise in the media business, especially radio, will be an asset to those seeking employment, as well as to those looking to hire. We’re very pleased that they are sharing their insights and knowledge as we work together to keep radio strong and help radio talent get through a very difficult situation.”

Broadcasters Foundation of America Launches Year-End Giving Campaign. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is launching its annual year-end giving campaign, appealing to those in the broadcast industry for tax-deductible personal donations to the Guardian Fund and corporate contributions to the Angel Initiative. The Broadcasters Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity and the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by tragic illness, accident, or catastrophe. The annual Giving Campaign comes as more broadcasters than ever before are reaching out for monthly or emergency relief. This year, the Broadcasters Foundation will award more than $1.7 million in monthly and one-time emergency grants. Monthly grants have increased over 79% since 2016, and more than 500 emergency grants have been awarded since 2017. Over the past 20 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has distributed over $13 million to broadcasters in need. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “Our only goal at the Broadcasters Foundation is to provide aid to those in our industry who need it most. Our grant recipients are hard-working broadcasters from across the country, who have been hit by challenging, often life-altering circumstances. Together, we can help them get through the toughest times.” Donations can be made by visiting www.broadcastersfoundation.org/donate.

COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines, and Prevention Top News/Talk Stories for Week of November 16-20. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for future cases, vaccines and prevention combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election and the executive transition problems, followed by post-election 2020 politics and the Georgia runoff elections at #3. 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.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The “Wilhite and Wall” show is being syndicated nationally by Sun Broadcast Group. Starring Darren Wilhite and Tim Wall, the country radio program is being offered for all dayparts. SBG chief development officer Rich O’Brien says, “We are excited to add high profile personalities Wilhite and Wall to our content line up. In these challenging times, it is important for stations to have flexibility in how and when they integrate programming into their local lineup. Wilhite and Wall provides multiple format options and dayparts for barter.”

Monday, February 17, 2020

| February 17, 2020

Mike Broomhead Takes Over Morning Daypart on KTAR-FM, Phoenix. Phoenix media personality Mike Broomhead begins hosting the 8:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart on Bonneville’s news/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix, effective next Monday (2/24).  Broomhead, who was longtime morning host at iHeartMedia’s crosstown KFYI-AM, replaces “The Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes Show.”  Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Scott Sutherland says, “We are extremely excited to add one of the most talented talk show hosts in the country to our powerful lineup.  Mike is a values-driven, influential thought leader who is committed to making a positive impact in our community, which is core to the KTAR mission.”  Broomhead comments, “I can’t wait to be on FM talking to a massive and diverse audience about important issues on the most historic radio station in Phoenix.  KTAR is Arizona and so am I.  I’m so excited to go to work with the talented news, talk, and digital teams.”  Broomhead also hosts a weekly show on cable’s AZTV.

Monday Memo: Crash For Cash!  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke says, “Rip-off this spot…I did!” Read it here.

Presidential Election, Impeachment Aftermath/Roger Stone Sentencing, Coronavirus, Dennis Smacks Britain, and Trump at Daytona Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Democrats battling to challenge President Trump in November and next weekend’s Nevada caucuses; the president’s post-impeachment temperament and the controversy over changes in Roger Stone’s sentencing recommendation; the status of the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic; winter storm Dennis ravages Britain with high winds and flooding rains; and President Trump serves as grand marshal for the Daytona 500 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post reports that CBS is the target of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed in New York.  The suit seeks $10 million and class action status as complainant Jacquelyn Musiello – a former payroll staffer in the human resources department at CBS RADIO – alleges that she was forced to quit her position because of “physical and emotional distress” after being sexually harassed by talent.  She also states that she was witness to numerous other situations in which others were the victims of harassment.  Additionally, she describes uncomfortable incidents with former WCBS-FM, New York personality Dan Taylor.  He left the company last July after it came to light that New York Attorney General Letitia James initiated an investigation into the former CBS RADIO properties…..DMR/Interactive names Tony Bannon VP/marketing strategy.  He most recently served in the sales department at Cumulus Media’s Cincinnati station group.  He’ll serve with DMR/Interactive at its Covington, Kentucky offices.  President/COO Andrew Curran says, “Tony is passionate and knowledgeable about radio.  His experience in both Diary and PPM markets is truly an asset. Clients will benefit from his creative and analytical approach.”…..At the Podcast Movement Evolutions conference in Los Angeles last week, it was announced that new organization called The Podcast Academy is being created and will produce a “Golden Mics” award ceremony that will debut in early 2021.  The announcement was made by Wondery CEO Hernan Lopez.  The industry non-profit organization will be overseen by a 10-member board of governors.  Lopez says, “Film, television, music – all other major forms of art have long-ago established a member-based academy with the goal of fostering and celebrating creative excellence.  It’s time for podcasts to establish their own.  I am delighted to be joined by a diverse group of people who really care about excellence, from across the country, representing all kinds of podcasts, from public radio to independents and networks.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Chi is the new afternoon drive personality on NRG Media’s hot AC KQKQ, Omaha “Sweet 98.5,” effective today (2/17).  She’ll also serve as music director for NRG’s hip hop KOPW “Power 106.9.”  She was most recently an air personality and music director for SummitMedia’s crosstown CHR KQCH.  NRG general manager Mark Shecterle says, “We could not be more pleased with the addition of Chi to the NRG family.  Chi has a great reputation in the market with both listeners and clients.  She will be a great addition to our team, and we are blessed to have her.”…..Saga Communications brings Riley Reed aboard the Q Crew at CHR WQPO, Harrisonburg, Virginia  “Q101.”  He was most recently with Connoisseur Media at former alternative WWYY, Lehigh, Pennsylvania “Spin Radio 107.1.”  Saga Harrisonburg operations manager Paul “Uncle Pauly” McDaniel says, “I’ve known of Riley for 10-plus years and watched him on social media grow from an intern to a morning show host over the years.  He’s a digital machine and will complement the already-fantastic job HRG is doing with our station socials.”