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Friday, December 20, 2019

| December 20, 2019

WGN, Chicago Names Bob Sirott Morning Drive Host.  The legendary Chicago media personality Bob Sirott will take over for Steve Cochran on Nexstar’s news/talk WGN-AM, effective January 6.  At the same time, Mary Sandberg Boyle is promoted to general manager.  She’s been acting GM since September 20 in addition to her director of news and operations position.  WGN notes that Sirott started as a morning radio show personality in 1971.  “His acclaimed broadcasting career has spanned nearly five decades and has included stints at WMAQ, WBBM-FM, WLS, WGN and various television stations.  In 2015, Sirott was recognized for his achievements in the media industry and inducted into the Silver Circle by the Chicago/Midwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.”  This move is the latest in a series that finalizes the station’s programming going into 2020.  Sirott’s 5:00 am to 9:00 am show is followed by John Williams (9:00 to 12:00 noon), the “Wintrust Business Lunch with Ji Suk Yi” (12:00 noon to 1:00 pm), Anna Davlantes (1:00 pm to 3:00 pm), Roe Conn (3:00 pm to 7:00 pm), Justin Kaufmann (7:00 pm to 11:00 pm), Nick Digilio (11:00 pm to 4:00 am), and a WGN Radio simulcast of WGN-TV “Early Morning News” from 4:00 am to 5:00 am.

Dan Proft Named Night Host on Salem Radio Network. Chicago-based talk host Dan Proft is the new host of the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show on the Salem Radio Network.  Proft, who has been co-hosting the WIND, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” morning show with Amy Jacobson since 2015, fills the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot that opend up when Joe Walsh entered the 2020 presidential race.  Prior to joining WIND in 2015, Proft co-hosted a talk show on crosstown WLS-AM with Bruce Wolf from 2010 through 2014.  SRN SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Dan Proft is incredibly intelligent, insightful, and full of knowledge.  We are delighted to have a host of his quality available to take over the night slot on the lineup.  I think stations will love having his wit and humor every night.”  Proft, who has a JD from Loyola University, Chicago Law School, will continue his morning drive duties on WIND.

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”  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 on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC (12/20).  The new episode titled, “Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Persons!” looks back at this past week of December 16-20, 2019 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  John Caracciolo, president/CEO, JVC BroadcastingJoe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio;  Casey Hendrickson; talk show host, WRTC, South Bend, IN; Trevor Smith, president, Aloha Media Productions, Byron Bay, Australia; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on WONK-FM, Washington, DC on Friday evenings between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm.  It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; the Virginia Talk Radio Network, and Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA as well as appearing on the iHeartRadio App.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), please click here.  To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.

KMJ, Fresno Unveils New Afternoon Team ‘Philip & Skip.’ Fresno news/talk KMJ-AM/FM brings Frances “Skip” Echeverria (right) aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Philip Teresi (left).  Echeverria was most recently morning drive personality at One Putt Broadcasting’s crosstown rock outlet KFRR.  Teresi moved into the afternoon drive slot at the Cumulus Media station after talk host Chris Daniel resigned from the show in early September after a 10-year stint.  “Skip” says, “You’d be hard pressed to find someone in this valley that doesn’t know the legend that is KMJ.  When I started radio in 2001, I didn’t anticipate this opportunity.  But having been born and raised in Fresno, a graduate from Fresno State, and having chosen to raise my own family and base my mental health practice locally, I have a vested interest in the continued success of my community.  I absolutely love this valley and its people.  I’m honored and excited to join the KMJ team and am looking forward to conversations about topics that are important to us.”  Teresi adds, “I’m elated to be a part of the next step at KMJ.  Skip makes a brilliant, powerful addition to the station.  Bringing Skip to KMJ benefits the audience, the sponsors, and the station as a whole.”

Will Sterrett Joins KMBZ’s ‘Kansas City’s Morning News’ as Co-Anchor. On-air pro Will Sterrett makes the move to morning drive co-host on “Kansas City’s Morning News” alongside Ellen Schenk.  He takes over for E.J. Becker, who dials back his responsibilities with the Entercom news/talk stations.  The “Kansas City’s Morning News” program airs on both KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM.  Both stations air separate programming outside of AM drive.  Sterrett had been a contributor to the afternoon drive “Dana & Parks” show on KMBZ-FM.  He says via Twitter, “I have big shoes to fill as outgoing anchor E.J. Becker will stay on with the show as a special contributor.  My final day with ‘Dana & Parks’ is Friday and I can’t thank Dana and Scott enough for their votes of confidence earlier this year and their support as this new opportunity took shape.  Many thanks, too, to [PD] Alan Furst for the opportunity and for putting up with all the back and forth that comes with it.”

Hobnobbing for Charity. Pictured above are Weiss Agency EVP Heather Cohen (right) and RC Communications Marketing owner Renee Cassis (left) with Red Apple Media chief John Catsimatidis (center) at the NYC Police Athletic League Luncheon.  The monthly luncheon – chaired by Catsimatidis – raises money for the PAL Kids charity.  Catsimatidis hosts the weekly “Cats Roundtable” talk show (heard on 14 affiliate stations) and his media company is in the process of purchasing WABC, New York from Cumulus Media.

TALKERS News Notes. Former Arizona Congressman and radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth (left) chats over a meal in Phoenix with Salem Radio Network v.p./news & talk programming Tom Tradup (right) about SRN’s strategy for covering the upcoming impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.  Tradup says Hayworth offered perspective from his six terms in Washington on what is likely to unfold in the historic Senate trial scheduled to begin in January…..WPG, Atlantic City morning drive host Harry Hurley scored a coup as he interviewed New Jersey Congressman Jeff Van Drew on his radio show today.  Van Drew made headlines recently after promising to switch parties from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party.  Hurley says, “Van Drew becomes only the 24th congressman in American history to switch political parties and my initial research indicates he’s the first to switch from the majority party to the minority…..iHeartRadio and Tenderfoot TV announce the third installment of the “Monster” podcast series, “Monster: DC Sniper,” premieres on January 2, 2020.  “Monster: DC Sniper” takes listeners back in time to the tragic killing spree of the D.C. Sniper, “one of the most tangled, intricate true-story killing sprees to ever take place.”  The podcast also fast forwards to the present as the Supreme Court considers whether or not to amend the sentence of one of the two men convicted for the crime…..SiriusXM is giving sports fans a “comprehensive and in-depth look back at the Defining Moments of the Decade in their favorite sports” via a series of specials that examine the memorable moments and trends in professional and college sports from the last 10 years.  SiriusXM will present these specials across 11 of its dedicated 24/7 sports channels.   SiriusXM SVP of sports programming Steve Cohen says, “Over the past 10 years, SiriusXM has aired so many of these great moments live, and we’ve covered all of these important stories and trends across our channels more extensively than anyone else in radio.  We’re proud to be the place where all fans can not only hear all about their favorite sport but can call in and talk about it as well.”…..Last Friday (12/13), Sinclair Radio’s Seattle stations all-news KOMO-AM/FM, news/talk KVI, and hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5” – along with Sinclair TV outlets KOMO-TV and KUNS-TV – held their annual Toy Drive benefitting the Salvation Army. The campaign resulted in the collection of $125,000 – including a $50,000 matching donation from the Wold Family Foundation – and more than 7,000 toys.   Sinclair Radio Seattle station manager Gary Greenberg says, “The toy drive has been a nine-year tradition for our stations.  Our team builds an amazing campaign every year and our listeners continue to come out to support the Salvation Army in a big way.  It’s what local radio is all about.”

The Articles of Impeachment Against Donald Trump Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 16-20. The U.S. House’s vote to levy articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 this week was the 2020 presidential race and last night’s Democratic debate.  Coming in at #3 was the Australian heat wave-drought-bushfires and the related topic of climate change, followed by the Obamacare mandate ruled unconstitutional and health care reform 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 from TALKERS magazine.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Triton Digital to Issue Podcast Reports. There will be another firm rating the performances of podcasts in the New Year as Triton Digital announces it is launching Podcast Reports in the U.S., powered by its Podcast Metrics measurement service.  Triton says, “The reports will provide a ranking of the top networks and top podcasts in the U.S., as measured by Podcast Metrics.  Reported entities will be ranked by Average Weekly Downloads, in accordance with the latest IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines.”  Podcast publishers signed up for the new service so far include: NPREntercom’s RADIO.COM, Stitcher, and Cumulus Media.  Triton Digital president of market development John Rosso adds, “We are pleased to leverage our 10-plus years of digital audio measurement expertise to provide reliable and informative data around podcast consumption in the U.S.  Our Podcast Reports will provide buyers with the trusted, third-party podcast measurement they need to make informed decisions around podcast advertising.  Furthermore, our reports will provide podcast networks with the reputable consumption data they need to grow their podcast strategies, gain a better understanding of their listening audiences, and increase their advertising revenue.”  The first U.S. Podcast Report will debut in March 2020.  Triton currently publishes Podcast Reports in Australia and Latin America and has announced that the Netherlands will follow in early 2020.

 

 

Two News Positions Open at FOX News Radio and FOX News.  There are two news posts that FOX News is seeking to fill.  The first is Overnight Freelance Anchor for FOX News Radio in Washington, DC or New York City.  FOX says, “As a radio news anchor you will work under tight deadlines and deliver top notch newscasts.  You have a passion for breaking news and the flexibility to work on a days’ notice.”  See more about that position and apply here.  The second position is a Freelance Writer for FOX News Headlines 24/7.  The company says, “We are looking for a freelance writer to join the FOX News Headlines 24/7 team.  As a writer, you will be a crucial member of our broadcast team.  You will write news for our national news network, conceptualizing, writing, compiling enterprise stories, fact checking, and building show content newscasts for FOX News Headlines 24/7.  You may be the right candidate if you have the right attitude and understand the level of commitment required to be successful in this role. Your passion for national and international news is bar none!  See more and apply for this position here.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Seeks News Anchor. Charlotte news/talk WBT-AM/FM has an immediate opening for a full-time news anchor. The Entercom station says, “You’re an engaging, experienced on-air personality. You’re a great storyteller. You know how to get to the heart of a story and make it relatable to the listener. You’re never satisfied with knowing just the “Who?, What?, Where?, and When?” of a story; you always seek to know “Why?” If this sounds like you, News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT/Entercom Charlotte would like to hear from you. We are seeking a full-time news anchor for our programming team. Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: Writing and on-air delivery of news reports based on programming clock; editing and preparation of news audio; filing of two to three recorded reports per day to be aired outside the live daypart of the shift; on-air interaction with the talk show host and personnel; and coverage and reporting of breaking news events in real-time. Interested candidates should visit the Entercom site here. EOE.

Cool Job Opportunity. An experienced guest booker/researcher is needed to find/book four to five top-tier guests per week to do telephone/Skype interviews for a top-ranked podcast. This is a work-from-home job with a great potential for advancement. This person will also research other interesting content for the podcast “Something You Should Know,” primarily a self-help, news-you-can-use program. This is an excellent opportunity for someone with experience producing/booking talk radio programs. Resumes should be sent to: info@somethingyoushouldknow.net.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, Marty Linck is named brand content manager for Hubbard Radio’s adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” and rock KSHE.  Linck previously served in the market as OM for Entercom’s hot AC KYKY, AC KEZK and CHR KNOU.  He’s most recently been brand director for the JACK-FM format.  Hubbard St. Louis VP and market manager John Kijowski says, “Marty is a dedicated leader whose professionalism and experience has achieved outstanding results.  He also brings many years of success in managing high-performance radio brands that focus on live and local talent.  We are excited to add him to our team.”…..On-air pro Alex Waters is joining Max Media’s CHR WVHT, Norfolk “Hot 100” as afternoon drive personality, effective January 6. He’s been serving as the evening jock at Bahakel Communications’ CHR WDOD-FM, Chattanooga “Hits 96.”

Monday, January 5, 2015

| January 5, 2015

bubbaBubba the Love Sponge Returns to Tampa on WHFS-FM.  Via an official press statement issued today (1/5), Beasley Broadcasting confirms the news a local advertiser spilled on Friday about the return of Bubba the Love Sponge to the market on the company’s newly-acquired Tampa signal WHFS-FM.  The former FM sports talk outlet will make public its new format at some point in the future but after signing on this morning at 6:00 am, Bubba the Love Sponge announced the station would air his program continuously for the next few weeks or so before debuting WHFS-FM’s new format.  Bubba aired in the market on Cox Media’s crosstown WHPT “102.5 FM The Bone” before being ousted from the station in August and replaced by then-afternoon drive host Mike Calta.  The move pits former station-mates Calta and Bubba against each other in mornings.  Last week, Ker’s WingHouse debuted Bubba Style Wings and announced Bubba’s return to the market on WHFS-FM.  Beasley says listeners are still voting for their format choice at the station’s website — thenew98.7.com — and the new format is expected to be announced within weeks.

carrhowieHowie Carr’s New England Regional Juggernaut Keeps Gaining Steam – New Stations Signed and GSM Brought Aboard.  The independent talk radio network recently launched by Boston-based, multi-media icon Howie Carr continues to gather major affiliates throughout the six New England states and sets a shiningly optimistic model for what can be created and accomplished in the often-tenuous arena of regional spoken-word syndication.  The latest stations joining the Howie Carr Radio Network (HCRN) include WCAP, Lowell, MA (which started last week); WBEC, Pittsfield, MA (which starts tomorrow 1/6); and WFEA, Manchester, NH (which begins on 1/19), bringing the total number of affiliates to 19.  Also, HCRN VP of sales & marketing, Kathy Carr announces the hiring of sales heavyweight Ross Holt as the company’s new general sales manager.  Holt, who is moving back to his home in New England, was most recently part of the sales team at CBS O&O WINS, New York and has sold Carr in the past while at WGAN, Portland.  The sheer power of the loyal-listener-generating Carr program in market after market across the Northeast segment of the US has proven to be a strong advertising lure for such regional blue chip sponsors as Subaru of New England and a long list of others.  Commenting on the growth and impact of the Howie Carr show in its independent regional incarnation (since the host left Entercom’s WRKO, Boston this fall and replaced it as his flagship with Beantown’s reconstituted WMEX) TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “It is not easy doing what Howie and Kathy Carr are accomplishing with this network – and that is creating a pertinent local flavor that resonates with listeners across a very large and diverse expanse of markets and works in terms of both ratings and revenue.  There are lessons for the industry to learn from this extremely interesting endeavor.  Of course, you must have the right host to pull this off and this guy is a true rarity.  If New England were to suddenly declare itself a single state, Howie Carr would be elected its first governor.”

cohenshattuckBoston Herald Radio and WMEX, Boston Share New Morning Show.  The morning drive show on the Boston Herald’s digital platform – Boston Herald Radio – is now hosted by Adriana Cohen and Tom Shattuck (pictured here).  The program airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am and is also being heard on Blackstrap Broadcasting-owned and Wallis Communications-operated WMEX.  Shattuck, who also serves as executive producer of Boston Herald Radio, says in the compay’s paper, “We’ve always been straight with our audience.  This is the city of Jerry Williams, Gene Burns and David Brudnoy.  We are lucky enough now to have an opportunity to be custodians of those same airwaves and we will do it humbly, tirelessly and with the utmost respect for the listener.”  WMEX grabbed longtime Boston afternoon personality Howie Carr after his contract with Entercom’s crosstown WRKO expired in November.

proftdanWLS-AM, Chicago Breaks Up Proft and Wolf Morning Show.  As tipped by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, the morning show at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago will be hosted by Bruce Wolf solo after the company parted ways with Dan Proft.  Wolf and Proft had worked together at the station, first in middays, before moving to mornings after longtime duo Don Wade and Roma exited due to Don Wade’s health issues.  (Wade later died from complications from a brain tumor.)

dealgordonNEWbannerFormer WSJRN Programming Evolves and Continues as Compass Media Networks Content.  As TALKERS reported last month, Compass Media Networks is advancing the business news radio programming abandoned by the Wall Street Journal after the latter chose to get out of the radio business at the end of 2014.  Today, Compass debuts breaking business and money news under the “Your Money Now” brand.  The one-minute reports are fed to affiliate stations twice per hour at :20 and :50 from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET Monday through Friday.  Anchors for the reports are former WSJRN morning drive anchor Jennifer Kushinka, former CEO Radio, WSJRN and BusinessWeek Radio anchor Ray Hoffman in middays, and former WSJRN evening anchor Bruce Vale in afternoon drive.  Also, Compass is continuing the morning drive program hosted by Gordon Deal for the WSJRN as the show is renamed “This Morning, America’s First News with Gordon Deal.”  Compass says the show continues to air on some 250 affiliate stations as well as on numerous digital platforms.

salemcommunicationsSeven Salem News/Talkers Assume ‘The Answer’ Brand.  Adding to the number of Salem Communications news/talk stations already using “The Answer” brand are seven more of the company’s like-programmed outlets, including:  KCBQ-AM, San Diego; KLFE, Seattle; KZNT, Colorado Springs; WGKA, Atlanta; WGUL, Tampa; WGTK, Louisville; and WLSS, Sarasota. WNYM, New York began using the “Answer” brand in 2012.  Salem SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce comments, “We discovered that our listeners are information seekers, always craving the answer to every possible question, from why am I stuck in traffic to who won the November election.  This branding allows our stations to cut through in markets where they are competing with more established stations that only need their call letters as a brand.  We needed something more, and this works.”

union edge logo‘The Union Edge’ Radio Show Releases New App.  Pittsburgh-based radio talk show “The Union Edge,” hosted by Charles Showalter with executive producer and co-host Angela Baughman and co-host/communications director Brittany Sheets, unveils its new app created with partner Jack of Trade Apps.  The new app allows listeners to stream the daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET program live as well as listen to podcasts on demand and “demonstrate some serious solidarity by sending in photos showing their everyday union actions.”  Listeners can also use the “speak out” voice recorder function to react to the show and expand on their thoughts and feelings about issues that impact their lives.  Jack of Trade Apps president Andrew Davis says, “What this app does is allow union families to organize in a way that surrounds this already great programming that heralds issues that directly impact them.  We are excited to be able to give them such a valuable tool, to help them achieve their growth and spread their message in a new way.”

Odds & Sods.  Former Arkansas governor and one-time presidential candidate Mike Huckabee gives up his weekend talk program at Fox News Channel.  Huckabee – still heard on the radio via his “Mike Huckabee Report” dailyhuckabeemike commentaries now distributed by WYD Media – says he’ll make an announcement about whether he intends to run for president in 2016 sometime in the first part of this year…..Salem Communications expands the “Cats Roundtable” program heard on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer.”  The Sunday morning show, hosted by New York City businessman John Catsimatidis is now heard from 8:30 am to 10:00 am…..KBGG, Des Moines sports talk host Larry Cotlar exits the station as it transitions from “The Zone” to “The Champ.”  Cotlar’s show is being replaced by CBS Sports Radio Network’s Doug Gotleib…..Dr. Frank Wright exits Salem Communications where the former National Religious Broadcasters chief served as president and chief operating officer.  Dr. Wright will receive his salary in the form of severance for the next six months…..Beasley Broadcasting’s WHFS-AM, Tampa drops the CBS Sports Radio Network-programming on the station and flips the station to business talk using programming from the company’s WSBR, Boca Raton, Florida.  Beasley acquired the station from CBS RADIO in a swap.

St. Joseph, Missouri’s KFEQ Joins “Market Rally”Affiliate Network. The daily analysis of farm commodity markets airs 4:06 pm – 5:00 pm on the Eagle Communications-owned talker. KFEQ general manager Gary Exline comments, “Ever since Farm Journal launched ‘Market Rally’ [in March 2014], we have taken a wait-and-see attitude [but] when farmers in our region started asking for it – we knew we couldn’t wait any longer. ‘Market Rally’ is the perfect programming solution as we set out to reboot our afternoon drive lineup.” According to Farm Journal Radio vice president and general manager Mark DePrez, “Market Rally” host Chip Flory “already has more than 6,500 Twitter followers, a clear signal that farmers and ranchers are highly engaged in his entertaining and educational approach to the markets.” When Illinois outlets WRHL, Rochelle and WAIK, Galesburg begin carrying the program early this year, “Market Rally” will be heard on 42 affiliates in nine states.

cookeholland

2015 International CES; What Next?  Radio consultant Holland Cooke is in Las Vegas covering the huge 2015 Consumer Electronics Show.  As Cooke notes, video and pictures are paramount to viral media.  “Major recent news stories demonstrate how profoundly technology impacts our lives.  More pictures and video are now shot with smartphones than cameras.  When Eric Garner’s take-down for selling untaxed cigarettes turned fatal, bystander video turned an already painful national conversation about race even more-painful.  When video of North Korea’s hack attack against Sony Pictures spooked movie theaters, The Interview was released on YouTube.”  Read more here.

sabowalterSabo: Biggest Trends Affecting Radio.  Media consultant Walter Sabo, in a piece published in TALKERS today (1/5), writes about seven trends in media that have been influential over the past year and will continue to be so through 2015.  From NextRadio to sports talk on FM to online audio platforms, Sabo suggests avenues radio practitioners can explore to build new and profitable content ventures.  Read Walter Sabo’s entire piece here.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

| September 25, 2012

Bomb Scare Empties CBS Radio Los Angeles for More Than Two Hours.  The Wilshire Boulevard studios of CBS Radio’s Los Angeles stations, including all-news KNX and news/talk KFWB were evacuated from about 8:15 am to 10:45 am PT this morning after a promotional clock sent to the station raised suspicions, sent the staff into precautionary mode that brought police and medical personnel to the scene.  According to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan KNX and K-Earth simulcast sister all-news station in San Francisco, KCBS/740 AM.  The other stations switched to alternative programming from servers.  Shortly before the all-clear was given, KNX returned to the air full-time from emergency studios on the Paramount Studios lot.

WLS, Chicago’s Don Wade to Undergo Brain Surgery.  The morning duo of Don Wade and his wife Roma have been off the air at Cumulus Media’s WLS, Chicago for the past week and now Chicagoans know why.  The 71-year-old WLS AM drive host suffered a seizure on September 13 while in New York for his daughter’s wedding.  Time Out Chicago’s Robert Feder reports Wade will have the surgery to remove a growth from his brain during an operation scheduled for this Thursday and the duo will remain off the air for the next four to six weeks.  In the meantime, late-morning hosts Bruce Wolf and Dan Proft will sub on the morning show and Jake Hartford and John Kaas will host the 9:00 am to 11:00 am program.

Northern California Hosts Armstrong & Getty Dive into Islam Controversy.  KSTE, Sacramento-based morning drive hosts Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are putting out a call for not less but more criticism of Islam and the prophet Muhammad on the internet  — in a move that runs contrary to the wishes of the Obama Administration.  Jack Armstrong, responding to the riots and violence in the Muslim world in response to the short film titled, “Innocence of Muslims,” said on the program, “The only response to this is to flood YouTube and flood the world with cartoons, movies and songs saying bad things about Muhammad until they finally grow up.  In other words, free speech.”  He questions why the U.S. government is spending money airing ads with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton denouncing the video.  “I’m horribly disappointed that there are not thousands of Muhammad mocking videos out there on YouTube right now.”

Journal Broadcast Group Promotes Jeff Falconio to Full Time on WTMJ, Milwaukee.  Jeff Falconio has been hosting the “Wisconsin Sports Weekend” show on Journal’s WTMJ, Milwaukee.  Now, he’s upped to a full-time position with the station taking over for Trenni Kusnierek (who left for a TV gig at Comcast SportsNet Boston) beginning October 1.  Falconio will handle sports anchor duties on the PM drive show on WTMJ and co-host the evening “Sports Central” program with Greg Matzek.  In a statement, program director Joe Scialfa says, “We are excited to have Jeff join the sports department in a full-time capacity.  Jeff has been a regular fixture covering Wisconsin sports for 15 years.  His passion for sports and knowledge of our Wisconsin teams make him the perfect person to continue the strong WTMJ sports tradition.”

More Staff Layoffs at Merlin Media’s Chicago Offices.  According to a report in Chicagoland Radio and Media, Merlin Media let go of most of the rest of its off-air staff that had been working at WIQI “FM News 101.1” prior to its return to a music format in July.  The site reports writers, reporters and producers Brad Robinson, Safa Eshmawy, Sarah Engel, James Edwards, Michael Cronin, Megan Buckley, Shannon Beverly and Shannon Ward were all released from their positions on Friday, September 21.

WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta Announces Weekend Program for Belinda Skelton.  The nationally syndicated Neal Boortz program – emanating from Cox Media’s news/talk giant WSB-AM/FM – is produced by Belinda Skelton (who calls it the “perfect job”).  Now Skelton will put her interest (and degree) in interior design and more into play as she hosts “Belinda Skelton’s Atlanta Lifestyles” beginning in January.  Cox Media Atlanta market manager Ben Reed defines the show: “Think of Pinterest, Martha Stewart or the Oprah brand where lifestyle can be defined by everything from food, wine and design to family, entertainment, and local events.”  On the new show, Skelton says, “I can’t think of something more perfect for me than this show.  This speaks to my core being and everything that excites me!”  Although Neal Boortz is retiring from full-time radio work in the new year, Skelton will remain his executive producer managing his daily commentary, appearances, and guest hosting duties.

Odds & Sods.  WHO, Des Moines afternoon drive talk host Simon Conway fills in this Wednesday through Friday for Premiere Networks’ “America Now with Andy Dean.”…..Talk radio pioneer Bruce Williams, who has been hosting a pre-produced program on the internet via his Made in America Broadcast Network, announces he’ll begin hosting live shows from 8:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET starting tomorrow (9/26) and running for “a couple of weeks.”

NBC Radio’s “Miss Monitor” Dies at 89.  Dorothy Ruth “Tedi” Thurman passed away in Palm Springs, California at age 89 on Saturday, September 22.  Thurman was a model who came to fame as the sultry “Miss Monitor” on the old NBC Radio Network.  She held that position doing the weather from 1957 to 1961.  She also was featured as the weather girl on “The Tonight Show” with Jack Paar beginning in 1957.

CNN Stevens Diary Controversy, Obama ‘View’ Appearance, Ahmadinejad Speaks at UN, and Presidential Polls Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24).  The controversy over CNN’s reporting from the journal of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens after telling his family it would wait for permission; President Obama’s planned appearance on ‘The View’; Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at the United Nations; and the latest in presidential contest polls were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.