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Thursday, April 8, 2021

| April 8, 2021

Cumulus Fires PD and Morning Hosts in Aftermath of Racist Bit at WGRF, Buffalo. As reported by WGRZ-TV, Buffalo, Cumulus Media has taken further action after the March 24 morning program radio bit by “The Morning Bull” personalities in which the three cast members discussed the color of Black female celebrities’ skin, comparing them to burnt toast. On that day, WGRF-FM, Buffalo “97 Rock” morning host Rob Lederman was fired and co-hosts Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein were suspended. Now, the station has fired Gaenzler and Klein as well as program director John Hager. Cumulus issued the succinct statement: “Upon further consideration following the racist incident that occurred on ‘The Morning Bull Show,’ we decided to terminate the whole morning show in addition to the program director.” Rich Gaenzler also lost his gig as arena announcer for Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits games and as stadium announcer for University of Buffalo football.

Richard Baum Named Chief Revenue Officer for Sun Broadcast Group. Sales pro Richard Baum joins Sun Broadcast Group as chief revenue officer. SBG says that in this newly created position, Baum will lead partner strategy, revenue growth, and oversee the growing ad-sales team. SBG adds that Baum’s “proven success in sales planning, team management, revenue strategy, and business development blend seamlessly into his new role, as he will focus on leveraging both sales and ROI to drive growth for Sun Broadcast Group.” Sun Broadcast Group president Warren Friedland comments, “When looking for our new CRO we wanted to find an industry professional with vast knowledge of network radio, emerging tactics, an impeccable reputation as well as an eye for growth, and Baum fits all those characteristics. His knowledge will allow us to provide more comprehensive and competitive solutions for both clients and agencies, while maximizing revenue growth across all platforms.” Baum says, “In searching for my next opportunity, I was looking to join a team with a strong infrastructure, a solid foundation, and the available resources to grow aggressively. Warren and his team at Sun fit that criteria perfectly. I am excited to work with the crew at Sun and Gen Media Partners to continue to help build a best-in-class network audio company.”

Hillsdale Weekend Program Available Via Salem Radio Network. The “Radio Free Hillsdale Hour” program produced by Hillsdale College is being made available for radio stations via Salem Radio Network. The one-hour, weekend radio program is divided into four segments with each episode featuring multiple guests including Hillsdale faculty members, speakers who visit one of the College’s campuses, alumni, and others. WRHF, Hillsdale “Radio Free Hillsdale” general manager Scot Bertram is host of the program and he says, “We’re thrilled to be able to offer the program through Salem and give radio stations another option for airing the show. Talk radio listeners already know Hillsdale by reputation, but this is an opportunity to hear more directly from the college’s faculty, staff, alumni, and others. Our goal always has been to reach as many listeners as possible across the country. The ideas and arguments discussed here at Hillsdale are relevant to all citizens, and this radio program is one way to share them.” Stations that recently added the program to their lineups include: WIBX-AM, Utica, New York; WZUS-FM, Decatur, Illinois; and KTOE-AM, Mankato, Minnesota.

Westwood One Offers Barstool Sports’ ‘Picks Central’ to Radio Stations. In a deal between Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Barstool Sports, the Barstool program “Picks Central” will be made available to radio stations live from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET or for delay broadcast.  The daily gambling and sports show is hosted by Brandon Walker with a rotation of Barstool personalities including Dave Portnoy and Dan “Big Cat” Katz, in which they “provide the scoop on the best gambling lines of the day. The crew discusses relevant sports topics, bad beats, moneylines, and over/unders. They also offer their thoughts on where to place winning bets for every sport under the moon.”

Hallerin Hilton Hill Named to Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame. Knoxville talk radio host Hallerin Hilton Hill – heard in afternoon drive on Cumulus Media’s WOKI-FM, “NewsTalk 98.7” – is being inducted into the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021. Cumulus Knoxville market manager Ken Slayer says, “Our entire team is very proud of Hallerin and his career accomplishments. No one deserves this honor and statewide recognition more than he does. His commitment to broadcast excellence and service to our community are unsurpassed.” Hill also works as singer/songwriter, author, motivational speaker, and trainer. He wrote “Who Would Imagine a King” with Mervyn Warren which was recorded by Whitney Houston for the film, The Preacher’s Wife, and was included on the film’s Grammy-nominated soundtrack.

Gimlet Media and The Ringer Podcast Producers Unionize. The writers and producers at Gimlet Media and The Ringer – both owned by Spotify – ratified first collective bargaining agreements as members of the Writers Guild of America, East. The contracts affect 48 members at Gimlet Media and 65 members at The Ringer. Some of the key components of the union contracts provide for: Significant increases to salary minimums with The Ringer establishing $57,000 plus overtime as an entry-level floor and Gimlet Media beginning at $73,000 for associate producers; limitations on the use of contractors within bargaining unit positions; minimum of 2% guaranteed annual increases; minimum severance of 11 weeks for all employees, regardless of tenure; and more. Writers Guild of America, East executive director Lowell Peterson comments, “The collective bargaining agreements at Gimlet Media and The Ringer demonstrate that the people who make podcasts, from writers to producers to editors, bring enormous value to the major platforms for whom they create content. Collective bargaining ensures creative professionals have a seat at the table to address issues like inclusion and equity, intellectual property concerns, and sustainability of careers.”

Adnan Virk to Contribute to Meadowlark Media. According to a story in The Wrap, Adnan Virk is joining the talent stable at Meadowlark Media – the company launched by former ESPN chief John Skipper and sports talk personality Dan Le Batard. In addition to his work as a contributor, Virk’s “Cinephile” podcast will become part of the “Le Batard & Friends” network. Virk says, “I’ve had the amazing fortune to have John Skipper as my boss at ESPN, DAZN, and now Meadowlark. Clearly the third time is the charm and I’ve long enjoyed John’s ambition, erudition, and sense of humor. Skipper adds, “Adnan is a unique talent – the kind of broadcaster who can thrive in any sport and in any environment. We’re thrilled for the opportunity to welcome a friend who offers a diverse voice and shares our desire to create high-quality content that pushes beyond the boundaries of sports.”

WPHT USO Radiothon Raises More Than $95,000. The March 19 “Talk Radio 1210 WPHT USO Radiothon” raised more than $95,000 to benefit the United Service Organization of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey (Liberty USO). The 12-hour radiothon was hosted by WPHT, Philadelphia talk show hosts Rich Zeoli and Dom Giordano and included interviews and stories from USO staff and families, dignitaries and special guests such as actor Justin Melnick, WWE announcer Lillian Garcia, and Phillies broadcaster Larry Andersen. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “We’re proud of another successful year raising funds and awareness for Liberty USO. These individuals have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country and it’s our honor to band together with our listeners to support them and their families.”

COVID-19, Biden Gun Control Moves, Infrastructure/Tax Plan, Voting Legislation, Border Crisis, Derek Chauvin Trial, and Matt Gaetz Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/7). The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S., status of variants, post-COVID effects, and vaccine rollout; President Joe Biden moves to ban ‘ghost guns’ and stabilizers; the Biden administration’s infrastructure plan and the proposed tax changes to pay for it; Georgia’s restrictive voting laws and Democrats’ plans for a national voting rights bill; the large number of unaccompanied minors amassed at the U.S.-Mexico border; the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; and the investigation into allegations U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz had sexual relations with a minor were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, April 2, 2021

| April 2, 2021

The Michael Harrison Wrap Reaches 100 Installment Milestone.  This weekend’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” marks the program’s 100th episode.  It is heard weekends on stations and regional networks coast to coast in the US and across the UK and is available on a market exclusive basis to stations in syndication by Talk Media Network (TMN).  For affiliate information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Trillions and Trillions,” looks back at this past week of March 29 – April 2. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkDerek Hunter, talk show host, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupRichard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeartPodcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Supreme Court Unanimously Overturns 3rd Circuit Court’s Vacating of FCC’s Ownership Regulations. As most media watchers are aware, in 2017 – after what many radio operators say was a long time coming – the FCC concluded that three of its ownership rules no longer served the public interest and it repealed the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule and the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule and it modified the Local Television Ownership Rule. Shortly thereafter, a collection of public interest and advocacy groups known as the Prometheus Radio Project appealed the FCC’s ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals which vacated the FCC’s reconsideration order holding that the record did not support the agency’s conclusion that the rule changes would have minimal effect on minority and female ownership. The FCC petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case and yesterday (4/1), it ruled that the FCC’s rule change was not “arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).” The unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court said, in part, “In challenging the FCC’s order, Prometheus argues that the Commission’s assessment of the likely impact of the rule changes on minority and female ownership rested on flawed data. But the FCC acknowledged the gaps in the data sets it relied on, and noted that, despite its repeated requests for additional data, it had received no countervailing evidence suggesting that changing the three ownership rules was likely to harm minority and female ownership. Prometheus also asserts that the FCC ignored two studies submitted by a commenter that purported to show that past relaxations of the ownership rules had led to decreases in minority and female ownership levels. But the record demonstrates that the FCC considered those studies and simply interpreted them differently. In assessing the effects of the rule changes on minority and female ownership, the FCC did not have perfect empirical or statistical data. But that is not unusual in day-to-day agency decision making within the Executive Branch. The APA imposes no general obligation on agencies to conduct or commission their own empirical or statistical studies. And nothing in the Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to conduct such studies before exercising its discretion under Section 202(h). In light of the sparse record on minority and female ownership and the FCC’s findings with respect to competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity, the Court cannot say that the agency’s decision to repeal or modify the ownership rules fell outside the zone of reasonableness for purposes of the APA.”

The NAB Comments on the Supreme Court’s Ruling. The National Association of Broadcasters issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s overturning the 3rd Circuit Court’s vacating the FCC’s ownership rule changes. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “NAB commends today’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that the FCC’s recent and long-overdue modernization of its broadcast ownership regulations was lawful and appropriate. It is critical that the Commission continue to examine its media ownership rules to ensure that America’s broadcasters are able to compete and meet the needs of local communities across the nation in today’s media landscape. We look forward to working with the Commission on this effort given the essential role radio and television broadcasters play for all Americans.”

Meadowlark Media Secures $12.6 Million in Funding. According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter, Meadowlark Media – the company formed by former ESPN president John Skipper and former ESPN radio and cable personality Dan Le Batard – has raised $12.6 million in a “Series A funding round.” Investors include DAZN, DraftKings, Snap Inc. chairman Michael Lynton, EMJ Ventures, Verance Capital, Wasserman, and Carmen Busquets. The THR story says the money will be used for “key hires” and for the “first slate of projects.” Skipper says, “With the intense competition to retain audiences at established media and to attract customers to new streaming services, we and our investors see an exciting opportunity for Meadowlark to work with the industry’s best storytellers to add the highest quality sports-focused original programming to their existing entertainment offerings.”

Buffalo Association of Black Journalists Meets with Cumulus Buffalo in Aftermath of Rob Lederman Firing. According to a report by WKBW-TV, Buffalo, the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists has met with local management of Cumulus Media’s WGRF-FM “97 Rock” in the aftermath of the firing of morning host Rob Lederman and the suspension of morning show cast members Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein. Cumulus took the punitive actions after the three engaged in a bit about color of famous black women’s skin. BABJ issued a statement noting that Cumulus has implemented steps to “accelerate diversity training in Buffalo” and has scheduled meetings with members of Buffalo’s Black community. The statement also says BABJ is pleased with the “progress being made at ‘97 Rock’ and Cumulus Media” and is advocating for increased diversity at the cluster.

Westwood One Presents Coverage of Men’s and Women’s NCAA Final Four and Championships. This weekend’s NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four games as well as both championship games are being presented by NCAA exclusive national audio partner Westwood One. The broadcast of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Final Four begins on Saturday with The Final Four Show at 3:30 pm ET leading up to the first game between the Houston Cougars and Baylor Bears, followed by coverage of the semifinal between the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs and the UCLA Bruins. The NCAA Men’s Championship Game will tip off on Monday with the pre-game at 7:00 pm ET and the game following at 8:00 pm. Westwood One will also present coverage in Spanish, called by Rafael Hernández Brito, former Puerto Rican national team coach Carlos Morales, and Clemson Smith Muñiz. Westwood One’s presentation of the NCAA Women’s Final Four this afternoon at 5:45 pm ET, as South Carolina takes on Stanford, followed by Arizona versus Connecticut. Coverage of the Women’s National Championship Game will be on Sunday at 5:30 pm ET. The Westwood One broadcast crew for the Women’s Final Four will include Ryan Radtke on play-by-play and Debbie Antonelli as lead color analyst, her 18th time in that role and 25th year overall. Krista Blunk will serve as pregame, halftime, and postgame host.

TALKERS News Notes. The Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated program “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at KROS Broadcasting’s KROS-AM, Clinton, Iowa…..The podcast network Ramble announces the launch of “Crazy Stupid Fangirls,” a new weekly podcast hosted by YouTube star Elle Mills and creator Michelle Platti. Ramble – a studio division of Audacy’s Cadence13 – says the podcast features the longtime friends and fellow fangirls diving into pop culture spanning decades from all angles, debating and dissecting their favorite movies, music, streaming shows, television, artists, creators, iconic moments and more. In addition to sharing their own fangirl picks and stories on the show, Elle and Michelle will be joined by a wide range of guests who will share their favorites.

COVID-19, Vaccines, Variants and Origins Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The combination of COVID-19 stats, vaccines, concerns about variants, and questions about the origin of the coronavirus made up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 29 – April 2. At #2 this week was the Derek Chauvin trial tied with race relations, and police reform. Following at #3 was the Joe Biden infrastructure stimulus initiative and the related U.S. economy. 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.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

| March 25, 2021

Cumulus Fires One and Suspends Two at WGRF-FM, Buffalo After Racists Remarks on ‘Morning Bull Show.’ One member of the “The Morning Bull Show” at Cumulus Media’s classic rock WGRF-FM, Buffalo “97 Rock” has been fired and two other members have been suspended after they did a bit that involved comparing the color of famous Black women’s skin to burnt toast. Spectrum News reports that Cumulus fired Rob Lederman and suspended Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein. Gaenzler also lost his gig as arena announcer for Buffalo Sabres and Buffalo Bandits games and the University of Buffalo says Gaenzler will not be considered for stadium announcer next fall (a position he’s held in the past). At least two advertisers pulled their ads from the station as Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and the West Herr Auto Group canceled their current ad schedules. Cumulus issued the following statement: “Cumulus Media operates from a clearly defined set of programming principles and there is no question that Rob Lederman’s comments made on The Morning Bull Show are in direct violation of those principles. We swiftly terminated him and suspended the remainder of the show’s on-air talent. We apologize and deeply regret the incident.”

WBEN-AM, Buffalo Extends Bauerle and Bellavia Shows to Cover Limbaugh Daypart. According to a report in the Buffalo News, Entercom’s Buffalo news/talk WBEN-AM is going to fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart long occupied by “The Rush Limbaugh Show” by expanding the midday David Bellavia and afternoon drive Tom Bauerle shows. Beginning on April 5, the David Bellavia show air from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and Tom Bauerle’s program will air from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm. The station will add a 9:00 am to 10:00 am program hosted by AM drive co-host Brian Mazurowski and producer and fill-in host Joe Beamer. To fill the 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm hour created by Bauerle’s move, WBEN will air “The News Hour with Tom Puckett and the WBEN News Team.” Program director Tim Wenger says in a memo to staff, “This lineup gives us the ability to super-serve the market with the most compelling stories and topics on the minds of people in Buffalo and Western New York and establishes us as THE go-to outlet for full LIVE coverage all day long.”

Dana Loesch Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The leading female news/talk radio host in America, Dana Loesch, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Loesch has been syndicated by Radio America in the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET time slot for the past seven years and is considered one of the leading players in a growing field of competitors seeking to be cleared on stations looking to fill the vacancy left by the passing of Rush Limbaugh. Loesch, a staunch conservative described as a “next generation” talker, is the author of three highly influential books: Hands Off My Gun: Defeating the Plot to Disarm America (Hachette, 2015), Flyover Nation: You Can’t Run a Country You’ve Never Been To (Sentinel, 2016), and Grace Canceled: How Outrage is Destroying Lives, Ending Debate, and Endangering Democracy (Regnery, 2020). Harrison and Loesch discuss the state of the talk radio industry as it enters the post-Limbaugh era along with her views on the gun control debate in the wake of the latest wave of mass murders in the news.  They also tackle the big questions about the future of the Republican Party, Donald Trump and the conservative movement in America.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.  Don’t miss this!

Round Three of Nielsen Audio’s February PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s February 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s February 2021 sweep covered February 4 – March 3. All-news and news/talk stations that typically see a decline in listening following a presidential election kept the attention of listeners due to the chaos that followed the elections and that continued into the new year with the January 6 Capitol attack and the incoming Biden administration. In this report, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM drops from #1 to #2 after losing two-tenths to finish the February survey with a 6.0 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share). Urban One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds 1.1 shares to finish with a 5.5 share and slides to the #4 rank. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK remains ranked #1 even while losing six-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 9.6 share. There’s a second-place tie in Salt Lake City as iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-FM dips nine-tenths and Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM is flat – both posting 7.0 shares. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets – as well as the first two rounds – here.

Nielsen: Women Make Up 45% of Podcast Consumers; Kids & Family Most-Listened-To Genre. The new Podcasting Today report from Nielsen indicates that the top genre among female podcast listeners in the U.S. is ‘kids & family,’ with a 77% audience composition while true crime is fourth with a 60% audience composition (health & fitness and arts are second and third, respectively). The rest of the top 10 is: religion and spirituality (58%), education (54%), society and culture (53%), fiction (50%), and TV, film, and music (48%). “Perhaps what this tells us is that regardless of characteristics such as gender, podcasts listeners are a diverse group with diverse interests and that women are among the most voracious consumers of podcasts of all types and subjects.” Nielsen states, “Women are savvy consumers of news, information, and other media across devices. They also make up 45% of all podcast consumers over-indexing in podcasts across all genres. This is a coveted demographic for marketers and advertisers, as female-led households in the U.S. increased 41% in the last five years. No matter what media they’re consuming, truth, transparency, and real representation matter.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new podcast deal is announced in which iHeartMedia partners with Will Packer Media for a slate of original scripted and unscripted podcasts to the iHeartPodcast Network. iHeartMedia says, “The new partnership builds on the success of the true crime podcast ‘Fight Night,’ which launched on the iHeartMedia platform in October 2020 and was co-produced by Will Packer and James Lopez, president of Will Packer Productions. ‘Fight Night’ examined one of Atlanta’s most infamous armed robberies from the night of Muhammad Ali’s historic 1970 return to boxing.”…..ABC Audio unveils its new podcast “Inside the Oscars,” hosted by ABC News’ Ginger Zee. ABC says the six-part series dives into everything listeners want to know in the one-month countdown to an Oscar Sunday that will be like no other, including how filmmaking and the way we enjoy movies has changed. The first episode of “Inside the Oscars” is available today (3/25) with new episodes posting Thursdays…..Entercom and Global Music Rights announce a long-term partnership that allows Entercom to perform GMR’s catalog of hit songs across all of its platforms. Entercom says the multi-year deal starts immediately and paves the way for a strong partnership between the rapidly growing audio content and entertainment platform and the boutique performing rights organization featuring some of music’s most talented hitmakers. Entercom chief David Field adds, “We are excited to partner with Irving [Azoff] and the team at GMR. They represent some of the top talent on radio today. The combination of Entercom’s reach and GMR’s music is a huge win for our audience.”

Biden’s Immigration Policy, COVID-19, Cuomo Troubles, Georgia Voting Bill-Dem’s For the People Act, Suez Canal Blocked, Deadly Boulder Shooting/Gun Control, Biden Press Conference, and Chinese Cotton Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/24). The growing crush of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s response; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in some U.S. states, concern about variants, and vaccine rollouts; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is accused of giving his family priority in COVID testing, he faces allegations of sexual harassment, and engineering a cover-up over nursing home COVID deaths in the state; the Georgia bill that would restrict voting and the House Democrats’ For the People voting expansion bill; the freighter creating a roadblock in the Suez Canal; the slaying of 10 at a grocery in Boulder, Colorado and the larger issue of gun control; today’s first live press conference for President Joe Biden; and the allegation that Xinjiang cotton is made in Chinese detention camps were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

| January 12, 2021

Ramsey Solutions’ Ramsey+ Presents ‘RESET Live’ Tonight. This evening (1/12) at 8:00 pm ET, Ramsey Solutions’ Ramsey+ is presenting an “all-in-one financial guide called ‘RESET Live.'” Ramsey+ says, “Nearly half (46%) of Americans say their debt level creates stress. New Years’ resolutions are a first step to changing financial habits, but it takes a proven plan and small wins to get real peace of mind.” To take part in this free virtual event, viewers can RSVP to RESET Live by texting “RESET” to 33789 and tuning in at www.daveramsey.com/reset. Nationally syndicated radio host Dave Ramsey, bestselling authors Chris Hogan and Rachel Cruze, and Life.Church pastor Craig Groeschel will host the program in which viewers will discover how to: Develop discipline, get small wins with money right away, get out of debt for good, and build better money habits that last. Dave Ramsey says, “We’re looking in the rearview mirror at 2020, a year when so many families were completely devastated financially. Looking ahead, we need a reset – a time for families to leave behind what was lost and dream about what the future will look like. People need a plan for working their way out of debt, saving for the future and building wealth. More than that, they need hope, and that’s what this event is going to provide.” Ramsey Solutions says that Ramsey+ “has guided millions with an easy-to-follow, personalized plan for their money. Members learn Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps, which start with saving for an emergency fund. Within the first 90 days, the average Ramsey+ member saves $2,700 and pays off $5,300 in debt.” A Ramsey+ membership comes with access to online financial courses like Financial Peace University, the EveryDollar budgeting tool, the goal-tracking BabySteps app, virtual and in-person classes and communities, and more. People can start a free trial of Ramsey+ by visiting www.daveramsey.com/ramsey-plus.

‘Our American Stories’ Hits 300-Affiliate Milestone. The nationally syndicated program “Our American Stories” announces it has hit the milestone 300-affiliate mark as it welcomes iHeartMedia’s KEIB, Los Angeles “The Patriot”; Entercom’s WBEN-AM, Buffalo; KJCE, Austin; WILK-AM/FM, Wilks-Barre/Scranton; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland; and Townsquare Media’s KLXX-AM, Bismarck, North Dakota, and more. The program is produced and syndicated by American Private Media and is hosted by CEO Lee Habeeb. He says, “At a time when talk radio is top heavy with what divides us as Americans, listeners are responding to our nightly program that celebrates what brings us together. America is a good and beautiful country – not a perfect country, but a good and beautiful one – and we celebrate the stories that made us who we are each and every day. ‘Our American Stories’ really is about who we are, revealing what President Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. The news mostly focuses on what isn’t working in life and the bad things that happen each day. Our show is an antidote to that, a place to be inspired and moved and to learn.”

‘The Dana Show’ to Air on KVI, Seattle.  The Radio America-syndicated talk radio program “The Dana Show” – hosted by Dana Loesch – is joining the program schedule at Sinclair Broadcast Group’s news/talk KVI, Seattle, effective tonight (1/12). “The Dana Show” takes over the slot previously held by “The Savage Nation.” KVI program director Rick Van Cise says, “We are excited to welcome Dana to KVI, America’s first conservative talk station! Her unique perspective shines a bright light on the issues that matter most to conservatives and their families.” Dana Loesch appears regularly on FOX News Channel and has provided election analysis for ABC, CNN, and FOX. She’s appeared on HBO and has co-hosted “The View.”

CES2021: Finally, You Can Attend!  It’s massive, it’s mind-boggling. You’ve heard so much about the Consumer Electronics Show, but you just couldn’t get to Las Vegas for a week in January. Each year, consultant Holland Cooke has, and he’s reported here. “Lately,” he reckons, “everyone but rioters are avoiding crowds,” and CES has gone-virtual. HC explains how you can attend, and why broadcasters should. Read it here.

Ben Ferguson and iHeartMedia Enter into Deal for Podcast and Weekend Show. Talk radio host Ben Ferguson and iHeartMedia are entering into a relationship that will make Ferguson’s “Ben Ferguson Podcast” available on the iHeartPodcast platform and his three-hour weekend talk radio program joins Premiere Networks. Ferguson’s radio program – airing live Sundays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm – currently is heard in markets including Dallas, Miami, Minneapolis, Denver, and Baltimore. He says, “This is a significant milestone in my career. Partnering with iHeartRadio and Premiere Networks is like being called up to play in the majors. Working with the best in the business has always been my dream and now I get to do what I love in radio and podcasting with a brilliant team behind me!”

TALKERS News Notes. News/talk KFOR and sports talk KLMS, Lincoln, Nebraska sports director Jeff Motz is named 2020 Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association. Motz joined Alpha Media’s KFOR in 2006 as a news anchor/reporter and backup sportscaster and earned the title of sports director for KFOR and KLMS in 2013. Motz has also earned numerous gold level and first place awards in sports, news, and severe weather coverage from the Associated Press and Nebraska Broadcasters Association. He has also been the television play-by-play voice of Nebraska Wesleyan University football and basketball since 2006 and is a member of the Nebraska School Activities Association’s media advisory committee…..FOX Sports Radio reports that it has achieved record, year-end audience gains across multiple digital platforms. The FOX Sports Radio Podcast Network garnered more than 221 million podcast listens in 2020, more than doubling the total from 2019. On the streaming front, FSR experienced its best month of all time in the most recent survey, with total listening hours increasing +62% year-to-year…..Entercom announces the launch of “BetQL Countdown to Kickoff,” a six-episode series of special NFL playoff programming in partnership with recently acquired sports data and iGaming affiliate platform QL Gaming Group. Led by Nick Kostos of RADIO.COM Sports and host of the platform’s “You Better You Bet” podcast, as well as sports broadcaster Sara Perlman, “BetQL Countdown to Kickoff” serves as previews of the weekend’s upcoming games featuring a mix of sports gambling insight…..Cadence13, a premium podcast company that is part of Entercom’s Podcast Network, and NBA veteran JJ Redick and Tommy Alter’s ThreeFourTwo Productions announces a new weekly podcast called “The Long Shot,” hosted by Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson and former teammate and longtime friend Davis Reid…..“Hard Factor” and Podcast Ad Reps announce an exclusive sales representation agreement for the daily news podcast. “Hard Factor” is hosted by Mark Borghi, Pat Cassidy, Will Smith, and Wes Shephard, and “focuses on giving the day’s news in a funny and engaging manner without political bias.” “Hard Factor” was launched as a part of the ‘Barstool News Network’ in December of 2018, but exited Barstool to proceed as an independent podcast for 2021…..Frankie Boyer, founder and host of the Frankie Boyer Radio Shows, announces expansion of her “Frankie Boyer Lifestyle Show” on WADK, Newport, Rhode Island. It replaces the Clark Howard Show and is heard weekdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm…..New York Public Radio names Rebecca Kaplan Haase senior vice president of sponsorship. She was most recently overseeing sales and content distribution at Hearst Communications’ King Features. Prior to that, she spent 11 years at The Washington Post, where “she helped build a robust, multi-platform advertising sales operation that successfully shepherded the organization through one of the most challenging periods in its history.”

Urban One Prices $825 Million in Senior Secured Notes. Media firm Urban One announces that it has priced an offering of $825 million in aggregate principal amount of its 7.375% senior secured notes due 2028. These notes will bear interest semi-annually at a rate equal to 7.375% per annum and were offered at par value. Urban One says that net proceeds from the offering, to be used together with cash on hand, will be used to repay or redeem the loans outstanding under that certain Credit Agreement, dated as of April 18, 2017, the Company’s 8.750% Senior Secured Notes due December 2022, the Company’s 7.375% Senior Secured Notes due 2022, and the loans outstanding under that certain Credit Agreement, dated as of December 4, 2018. The offer is expected to close on or about January 25, 2021.

Democrats Pursue Impeachment, Biden Inauguration Prep/State Capitols on Guard, Capitol Riot Investigation/Arrests, Social Media and the Capitol Attack, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines/WHO Herd Immunity Declaration, and Belichick Turns Down Medal of Freedom Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/11). Democrats in Congress announce intent to pursue impeachment of Donald Trump; the strategic preparation for Joe Biden’s inauguration and concerns at state capitols about attacks on them; the investigation into the Capitol riot and the ongoing arrests of participants; social media platforms boot Trump, others and Parler is removed from several app stores; the fast-rising number of COVID cases in the U.S., the rollout of vaccines, and the WHO’s declaration that herd immunity won’t be achieved this year; and Patriots coach Bill Belichick turns down Presidential Media of Freedom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

| August 11, 2020

O’Reilly Set To Land at WABC? It certainly looks as though former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly could soon be in-place to join Red Apple Media New York City’s WABC “Talk Radio 77.” O’Reilly’s attorney, Fred Newman – through his assistant – tells CNBC, “We are in the final stages of a contract and a program should be on in the fall.” O’Reilly’s representative also confirmed the talks were being held with WABC, which New York businessman John Catsimatidis acquired from Cumulus Media in June 2019. Catsimatidis tells CNBC, “I will confirm that; I think he is one common-sense American.” The 70-year-old O’Reilly has been accused by multiple former Fox News employees of sexual harassment. The network ended his “O’Reilly Factor” show three years ago, after the revelation of several costly settlements for the alleged harassment. His follow-up “No Spin News” airs on his website; YouTube; and The First, a conservative streaming channel. O’Reilly has been maintaining a strong radio presence on Key Networks’ syndicated daily feature “The O’Reilly Update,” which has roughly 225 affiliates. WABC’s current weekday lineup consists of: “Red Eye Radio” (1:00 am – 5:00 am); “Fox News Run Down” (5:00 am – 6:00 am); “Bernie & Sid” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Brian Kilmeade (10:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Curtis & Juliet” (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); Rudy Giuliani (3:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Ben Shapiro (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Mark Levin (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and John Batchelor (9:00 pm – 1:00 am).

WBT, Charlotte Morning Host Pat McCrory is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Former North Carolina governor turned WBT, Charlotte talk show host Pat McCrory is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  McCrory is heard weekday mornings on the Entercom-owned heritage station with co-host, newsman Bo Thompson, 8:00 – 10:00 am on a highly-rated show that addresses local, regional and national topics along with a blend of pop culture items and a heavy dose of “fun.”  He has successfully held that position since 2017 after serving a four-year term as the Republican governor of North Carolina.  His gubernatorial service was a wild ride during which he garnered a tremendous amount of national attention, both positive and negative, due to the controversy surrounding his signing of the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act – also referred to as”HB2″ – and became embroiled in the issue of transgender use of public rest rooms.  There was a political backlash against that move which resulted in North Carolina being the target of numerous economic boycotts that resulted in the loss of revenue and jobs for the state.  McCrory, who refers to himself as one of the first victims of the “cancel culture,” lost his bid for re-election following that episode by a razor thin margin.  Prior to that, he had a long track record of being one of North Carolina’s most popular political figures.  Before being elected Governor, he served seven consecutive terms as mayor of Charlotte and presided over the Queen City’s notable growth as a business and cultural center during that period.  Harrison and McCrory candidly discuss a variety of topics from the impact of hyper political correctness on public discourse to current political issues.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Wrap” located in the right-hand corner on every page of Talkers.com.

Bubba Launches New Podcast – Inks with Crossover Media Group Sales for Ad Representation.  One of the most colorful and, at times, controversial personalities in the talk radio industry, Tampa-based Bubba Clem, is on a positive roll with a revamped nationally syndicated show, “The Bubba Army,” and a brand new podcast titled “The Bubba Army Podcast.”  One of the industry’s fasted rising rep firms, NYC and LA-based Crossover Media Group Sales, has announced signing the podcast to its growing roster of programs. Dropping his longtime “Love Sponge” moniker, Clem now goes by the mononymous handle “Bubba” and has evolved into a more “polished” performer on both his syndicated show and new daily podcast focusing on top-tier guests and pertinent commentary.  The radio show and new podcast are produced and syndicated by his in-house Bubba Radio Network.  Bubba tells TALKERS, “We’re looking forward to delivering a guest-driven podcast that is fresh, current, relevant and that will become a daily destination for folks who want to have a little fun.” Commenting on his new podcast sales deal, Bubba adds, “The Crossover Media team has a great track record; they know the advertising marketplace and they’ve assembled a powerful portfolio of programs.  It’s great to be working with them.” Bubba’s daily morning show is carried on radio stations in Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville, Charleston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Phoenix and more.  It has a significant social media presence and is carried as an audio and video program on Twitch which confirms it is that platform’s number one radio show.  “Over his decades on air, Bubba has regularly shaken up the audio landscape and, along the way, he has attracted a massive and loyal listenership and high-profile celebrity guests who understand the power of his platforms,” says Sue Freund, Crossover Media Group Sales managing member. “And now Bubba brings that loyal audience to an entirely new, highly polished and potentially game-changing podcast that promises to take him to new heights.  Whether they’re fans or not, people are talking about Bubba – and we expect they’ll be talking about him even more once they hear the new podcast.”

Hewitt Lands Presidential Interview. It happened this morning (Tuesday, 8/11) as Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt scored an exclusive on-air interview with president Donald Trump. Salem Radio Network vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup remarks, “We are thrilled that Hugh Hewitt got to share President Trump’s views on breaking news with our nationwide affiliates today. In the 2016 election cycle, Hugh interviewed Donald Trump 16 times. With today’s interview completed, he only has 15 more to execute between now and November to tie his record.” Among other things, the wide-ranging discussion between Hewitt and Trump covered presidential politics; a potential Supreme Court vacancy; and international relations.

Miraldi Boosted to iHM’s EVP/Digital Content Strategy. Relocating to Nashville where he will oversee iHeartMedia’s new digital content hub, senior vice president of digital content strategy Paul Miraldi is promoted to executive vice president of digital content strategy. “During Paul’s time overseeing the national editorial, social & photo team, our monthly digital audience has enjoyed record growth, hitting a new all-time high last month,” notes iHeartMedia Networks group president Darren Davis. “Under his direction, the iHeart daily newsletter program has grown from four to eight daily mailings, most recently with the launch of the ‘Coronavirus Update,’ which has become our most successful newsletter. Paul will continue to lead the national editorial/social/photo team. The digital content hub will improve the efficiency and quality of our digital and social content across all of our local markets, as well as increase digital audience and social engagement.” Miraldi previously was vice president of editorial operations in New York and Clear Channel’s senior VP/digital programming & marketing. Eight years ago, he and Don MacLeod teamed to create full-service marketing agency Miraldi & MacLeod. The former director of marketing for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) New York CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and classic rock WAXQ “Q-04.3,” Miraldi was executive producer of several major station events. His resume also includes stops at New York City’s WPLJ and WCBS-FM; Minneapolis’ KDWB and KEEY; and KSAN, San Francisco.

Entercom Division Cadence13 Launches “Pod Is A Woman.” Three former officials in the Barack Obama administration have initiated “Pod Is A Woman.” The weekly Cadence13 political podcast featuring former White House deputy director of Hispanic Media, Alejandra Campoverdi; ex White House director of press advance, Darienne Page; and former White House director of veterans outreach, Johanna Maska, started yesterday (Monday, 8/10) with Dr. Jill Biden as the first guest. According to Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran, “Campoverdi, Page, and Maska’s powerful and diverse voices couldn’t be more important to bring to the larger political conversation as we enter the home stretch to the 2020 presidential election and look ahead to the next four years. With their singular White House and campaign experiences, they will inform and engage listeners with wit, wisdom, and candor; we are thrilled to partner with them for this one-of-a-kind show.” In a joint-quote press release, the hosts state, “Throughout our years working in the White House for President Obama, we saw just what was possible when people of all backgrounds come together under a common mission of equality and opportunity. We also experienced firsthand the leadership role women played in getting the job done. This moment will be no different. At this pivotal time for our country, we’re thrilled to partner with Cadence13 to create space for honest, unapologetic, and representative conversations that will cut through the political noise and bring the focus back to the issues that really matter.”

NAB Show’s “Collectively Speaking” Kicks Off Next Month. The NAB online forum will look at issues facing the media and entertainment industries in the pandemic. NAB executive vice president/conventions and business operations Chris Brown comments, “‘Collectively Speaking’ will provide our global community new opportunities to collaborate, explore, and learn about trends and innovations as they develop. We look forward to the conversations that emerge and are committed to making the series an immersive and educational experience for all participants.” The series will debut September 2 with “Collectively Speaking: Production During a Pandemic.” It will feature USC Entertainment Technology Center‘s Erik Weaver discussing the use of advanced technology to re-open television and film sets and implement virtual sets. The series will include pre-recorded and live material in each session with audience questions.

Edison Research Ranks Top 30 Q3 2019 – Q2 2020 Podcasts. As it has been since Edison Research’s “Podcast Consumer Tracker” (PCT) was established last summer, “The Joe Rogan Experience” continues to be America’s number one podcast. The podcasts are ranked by reach – not downloads – among weekly podcast consumers. “Reach” is the percentage of weekly podcast listeners who say they have listened to any one of these shows in the last week. Edison Research senior vice president Tom Webster states, “Even with the work and life disruptions caused by COVID-19, people did continue listening to their favorite podcasts. We ultimately saw little to no reduction in reach among weekly podcast listeners.” The PCT Top 30 ranker is based on 8,080 online interviews with weekly podcast consumers (18+) in the United States. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Sampling was conducted continuously from July 7, 2019 to June 24, 2020.The top five podcasts include: “The Joe Rogan Experience”; “The Daily”; “This American Life”; “My Favorite Murder”; and “Crime Junkie.” All respondents were instructed to enter the names of all podcasts they listened to the week before the interview into an online diary and were provided instructions to obtain that information from their podcast client/player of choice.

TALKERS News Notes. Last Thursday (8/6), Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO “News Radio 1000 & FM 97.7,” news/talk KVI “Talk Radio 570,” hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” and KOMO-TV held an all-day “Wishes in Flight” airline miles campaign for Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. In addition to $3,700 in cash, the effort brought in nearly ten million miles, which includes a 750,000 match from Alaska Airlines. One couple donated more than 200,000 miles that they were saving for a trip of their dreams, but decided the “wish kids” needed it more. After spending more than a year in isolation for treatment, “wish kid” Brianna visited Hawaii in 2018 with her family. She describes her wish as “a chance to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, instead of the darkness that surrounds [kids facing critical illnesses].” Over the years, this annual drive has helped to raise over 1,700 plane tickets donated by listeners and partners; however, hundreds of wishes are on hold due to COVID-19. “Make-A-Wish” will book flights as soon as it’s safe for wish kid travel to resume. The local organization continues to grant “safe” wishes, including virtual meetings with celebrities, online shopping sprees, and items that can be delivered to a child’s home … Effective one week from this Thursday (8/24), Premiere Networks/Fox Sports Radio’s weekday, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon (ET) Dan Patrick Show” will begin to be streamed on NBCUniversal’s Peacock. The show’s current YouTube streaming will end coinciding with the Peacock simulcast. Peacock executive vice president/chief revenue officer Rick Cordella comments, “We are excited to welcome Dan and his devoted following to Peacock. Dan adds a distinctive voice to Peacock as we continue to build our live topical sports offering.” Patrick added, “I’m thrilled to be coming back home to the NBC family to continue the show with the ‘Danettes’ and the rest of my talented team. A huge factor in partnering with Peacock is that our loyal fans can watch us for free. Who doesn’t love free? We can’t wait to get started.” His simulcast on AT&T’s Audience Network ended earlier this year … The National Hockey League’s expansion team Seattle Kraken names its first broadcaster – Cincinnati Cyclones (East Coast Hockey League) voice/director of media relations & broadcasting Everett Fitzhugh. While the team says his precise radio and television role “will be crafted as he works for the franchise,” Fitzhugh begins with the Kraken in three weeks (9/1). Prior to his five-year Cyclones tenure, Fitzhugh called games for the United States Hockey League’s Youngstown Phantoms. According to The Kraken, he will be the first full-time black play-by-play announcer in NHL history … Former Denver Nuggets coach George Karl joins Bonneville Denver sports talk KKFN “104.3 The Fan” as a Nuggets analyst for the remainder of the regular- and post-season. KKFN program director Raj Sharan opines, “I’m not sure anyone in Denver was more excited about basketball restarting than Coach Karl. We’re thrilled to have him appearing on all of our shows to give his opinion on what he’s seeing from the Nuggets, delivering the honesty that he’s known for.” Karl previously worked as an analyst at ESPN and TNT … The revised lineup at Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” includes Jason Martin-hosted “The Wake-Up Zone” (6:00 am -9:00 am); Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow, and Paul Kuharsky “Midday 180” (9:00 am -1:00 pm); Blaine Bishop & Mickey Ryan (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); and Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm). The “Midday 180” returns from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm for the “180 at 6.” Cumulus Nashville vice president/market manager Allison Warren remarks, “Since its inception, ‘104.5 The Zone’ has been a leader in live and local sports, and the appetite for sports programming keeps growing. With this lineup, ‘104.5 The Zone’ continues to offer the best and most comprehensive sports coverage and local play-by-play sports action to Middle Tennessee fans.” Program director Paul Mason notes, “I am excited that ‘104.5 The Zone’ now has four local shows for our listeners every Monday – Friday. The new lineup will give our on-air talent a larger spotlight to reach their full potential individually and as a team.” …  A central-Texas high school “Football Game of the Week” will air Friday nights on Entercom Austin news/talk KJCE “Talk Radio 1370.” Its partnership with high school sports media company Vype Media includes content sharing on websites and social media platforms and other year-round programming. Entercom Austin senior vice president/market manager Bob Mackay remarks, “High school sports have been a big part of our local programming for the past decade. We are proud to team up with Vype to expand our efforts and take our coverage to the next level. We look forward to bringing to life the stories behind the sports, shining a spotlight on exceptional student athletes across central-Texas and sharing high-quality high school sports coverage with our audience across all of our platforms.” Vype Austin editor Thomas Bingham adds, “[We are] heading into our third straight school year covering the Austin area and central-Texas. This opportunity allows our local web, digital and broadcasting coverage to reach new audiences and continue to promote local high schools, athletes, and coaches across the region.”

DuBois Debuts “Dead Life” Podcast. Medium Allison DuBois, whose aid to the Maricopa County (Arizona) district attorney’s office inspired the television series “Medium,” launches “The Dead Life,” a YEA Networks podcast. YEA Networks president Shawn Nunn notes, “We are so excited to welcome Allison DuBois to the YEA Networks family. Allison’s journey is quite unique and we are excited to bring her voice to a more intimate setting.” DuBois adds, “I wanted to start my podcast so I could reach more people and open people’s minds to life after death. My show will focus on teaching listeners everything I know about the dead, interviewing people who have insight into the afterlife, and our own soul’s journey.” The podcast began today (8/11) – with “Johnjay & Rich” co-host Rich Berra the first guest – and will post each Tuesday at 8:00 am (ET).

Coronavirus Radio Ideas Awards Nominees Announced. These awards will honor those in radio who used their brands and platforms in creative/innovative ways to better serve their listeners, partners, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sponsors Benztown, P1 Media Group, Radiodays Europe, Radiodays Asia, and RDE Podcast Day are asking radio and podcast individuals worldwide to vote for the best ideas presented by the nominees. Online voting began this morning (Tuesday, 8/11) at 9:30 am (ET) and continues through September 17. Benztown chief executive officer Andreas Sannemann comments, “To all the people who nominated their station, themselves or their ideas, we salute you and we are sorry we couldn’t have all of you as nominees, as the field was incredibly strong. As an industry, we can be proud of how we have supported people in this worldwide pandemic.” Roots of The Coronavirus Radio Ideas Awards can be traced to  Benztown and P1 Media Group’s Coronavirus Radio Ideas Facebook group, launched March 26. P1 Media Group partner Ken Benson remarks, “When we joined Benztown to open this page, we knew the world of radio and podcasting was full of innovative people with a special connection to their audiences and listeners. What has emerged from these awards is that radio is more than ever at the heart of communities and is a place in which listeners put their trust.” The Coronavirus Radio Ideas Awards will recognize the best ideas in ten categories: “Best Social Media Video Content”; “Best Virtual Event”; “Best Parody”; “Best Virtual Concert”; “Best On-Air Promo”; “Best Community Service”; “Best Social Media Visual”; “Best Community Spirit”; “Best Sales Promotion”; and “Best Mega Promotion.” Also part of the awards are “Best Podcast” and “Best Journalistic Content.” Nominees were selected from more than 300 ideas from industry professionals around the world. Awards will be presented in four months (12/14) at the Radiodays Europe conference in Lisbon. US nominees include: Cumulus Media Dallas country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” (“Best Station Promo”); Entercom New York news WINS (“Best Station Promo”); Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle country KNUC “98.9 The Bull” (“Best Community Spirit”); Beasley Broadcast Group Fort Myers CHR WXKB “B-103.9” (“Best Community Spirit”); iHeartMedia Dallas (“Best Sales Promotion”); iHeartMedia New York City CHR WHTZ “Z-100” (“Best Mega Promotion”); and iHeartMedia Atlanta CHR WWPR “Power 96.1” (“Best Mega Promotion”).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Labor Day Weekend Marks Cousin Brucie’s WABC Homecoming. The words “icon” and “legend” are often overused; however, they definitely apply to Bruce Morrow, affectionately referred to by millions of fans as “Cousin Brucie.” The 2019 recipient of TALKERS’ “Lifetime Achievement Award” returns to New York’s WABC beginning September 5 for the weekly, three-hour “Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Rock & Roll Party.” Although now a Red Apple Media-owned news/talk outlet, WABC is where “Cousin Brucie” introduced listeners of the then Top 40 powerhouse to the Beatles, Motown, and surf music. Morrow’s Saturday night extravaganza will be simulcast in Hampton Bays, New York on WLIR-FM, as well as streaming nationwide on the WABC app. In typical exuberant style, Morrow proclaims, “Cousins, this is literally one of the most exciting projects of my life. It completes a circle – a career circle. It all started at WABC, and here we are all these years later, and the magic is still here. What magic we’re going to make.” According to Red Apple Media owner John Catsimatidis, “Brucie is a national treasure and talent. Listeners everywhere can now hear their favorite music from the early days of rock and roll on our radio stations and streaming on our digital platforms. Red Apple Media is about bringing the best in information and entertainment to New York and all of America however they want to listen – on their phone, radio, smart speaker or computer.” Catsimatidis is busy in securing another major broadcasting talent to WABC, Bill O’Reilly (see separate story above). Regarding Morrow, Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez comments, “It’s an honor to be part of these two legendary brands coming together and to welcome Cousin Brucie home to WABC.” Senior vice president of programming for Red Apple Media and WABC Dave LaBrozzi notes, “We’re excited to bring ‘Music Radio’ back to WABC every Saturday night with Cousin Brucie. Everyone across America can stream him.” The debut show will be replayed on Labor Day (Monday, 9/7) from 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm (ET). Most recently, “Cousin Brucie” was heard on SiriusXM satellite radio, where he hosted Wednesday and Saturday night programs since 2005. In the 1980s and 1990s, Morrow was a mainstay in New York City on WCBS-FM … The fifth installment of Entercom Los Angeles smooth AC KTWV’s social change “Justice Now! – Communities 2 Unity” (subtitled “Politics to Policy”) airs tomorrow night (Wednesday, 8/12) at 6:00 pm. In addition to being broadcast on “94.7 The Wave,” it will stream nationally via Radio.com and on the station’s website. This particular show will feature candidates for Los Angeles district attorney – incumbent Jackie Lacey and challenger/former San Francisco district attorney George Cascon. It’s expected the two will discuss the American legal system in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer … Hundreds of listeners to KRWM “Warm 106.9” who drove through the Coal Creek YMCA this past Saturday (8/8) were welcomed with “Warm” virtual bearhugs as the Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle adult contemporary station gave away sealed teddy bears from its “Teddy Bear Patrol.” A second such event – emceed by morning talent “Seth” – is scheduled for this Saturday (8/15) … Nineteen-year Cumulus Media Buffalo WHTT “Classic Hits 104.1” program director Joe Siragusa adds similar duties at co-owned alternative WEDG. Also at “103.3 The Edge,” afternoon drive talent/music director Tiffany Bentley takes on assistant program director duties. Cumulus Media Buffalo vice president/market manager Jim Riley remarks, “I’m thrilled to be able to announce that Joe Siragusa will be taking the reins at WEDG. Joe has been part of Buffalo’s programming leadership for most of [the station’s] 25-year history. His understanding of its heritage and the Buffalo market make him the perfect choice for this opportunity. With Tiffany Bentley as APD, I think we have a formidable team.” Siragusa comments, “‘The Edge’ is a heritage brand with a tremendously talented and passionate staff. I am thrilled to expand my role at Cumulus Buffalo and be part of the future of such a remarkable radio station.” Bentley adds, “I feel honored to work with such a great team and to be able to continue to contribute to and grow such a strong brand in this expanded role.” Siragusa previously programmed WRCL, Richmond; KGOR, Omaha; and WRQN, Toledo. Prior to joining “The Edge,” Bentley did mornings on crosstown alternative WLKK and has held programming and on-air positions in Syracuse and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania …Former morning talent at Radio One Dallas rhythmic CHR KBFB “97.9 The Beat,” Veda Loca, returns to the Radio One Dallas cluster to host “Veda Loca’s House Party” on urban AC KZMJ “Magic 94.5.” The six-hour Friday and Saturday night show will air 6:00 pm – 12:00 midnight …When the contract of morning co-host Brooks Williams expires early next year, he will not be returning to Griffin Communications-owned KVOO “98.5 Tulsa’s Country,” opting instead to pursue a real estate career. Griffin Communications director of radio operations and programming Steve Hunter notes, “We’re sad that Brooks will be leaving us, but we’re excited for him as he starts this new chapter in his life.” Shortly after joining KVOO four months ago to do afternoons, Williams segued to morning drive where he is teamed with Amber Glaze … An Albany, New York format flip finds Pamal Broadcasting hot AC WKBE “107.1 The Point” transitioning to classic country as “Big Country 107.1 – Country’s Biggest Legends.” Pamal Broadcasting general manager Tom Jacobsen remarks, “We are proud to bring these great country memories to the Capital region and north country on a great signal; we expect listeners to really love our new station.” WKBE’s lineup includes: Kevin Richards (mornings); Jacobsen under the air name Jake Thomas (middays); and Sean McMaster (afternoons) …  Work songs, summertime anthems, and current hits are part of Tim McGraw-hosted “Workin’ Hard Country,” a four-hour Labor Day special from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville. Among those sharing stories about jobs they had before they became successful playing music for a living are: Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Florida Georgia Line, and Carrie Underwood. Also featured are songs from McGraw’s “Here on Earth” album, and his recent single, “I Called Mama.” … Following a 49-year radio career – including 26 years at the same station – Forever Media Johnstown, Pennsylvania adult contemporary WKYE “Key 96.5” morning host Jack Michaels retired yesterday (8/10), owing to health issues. Forever Media Johnstown music director Brian Wolfe succeeds Michaels … Fishnet Syndication’s weekly “The Red Dirt Flirt” names Rita Ballou host. Afternoon co-host with Eric Raines on Genuine Austin Radio’s KOKE “Austin’s Country Alternative,” Ballou appears on KOKE’s morning show and manages the station’s social media and digital.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

| July 21, 2020

David Bellavia Named WBEN-AM, Buffalo Late Morning Host. The replacement for longtime WBEN-AM, Buffalo 9:00 am to 12:00 noon personality Sandy Beach is former afternoon drive co-host David Bellavia. Beach is retiring at the end of this month after a long career on the Buffalo airwaves. Bellavia co-hosted the Entercom news/talk station’s afternoon drive program with Tom Bauerle from 2016 through 2019, at which time he took a leave from the station to tour the country on behalf of the U.S. Army following his receipt of the prestigious Medal of Honor. Bellavia is a former U.S. Army Staff Sergeant who joined the United States Army in 1999. He’s been awarded the Silver Star for his actions during the Second Battle of Fallujah, the Bronze Star, three Army Commendation Medals, two Army Achievement Medals and the New York State Conspicuous Service Cross. He says, “I have a deep respect for Sandy Beach and am truly humbled to have my own program on WBEN. My goal is to completely reinvent how local talk radio is perceived and make WBEN the place where Buffalo comes together to start their day.”

Entercom Amends Credit Agreement. The company announces that is has entered into an agreement to amend the financial covenants and other provisions under its Credit Agreement solely for the benefit of its revolver lenders. During the covenant relief period, which extends through December 31, 2021, unless terminated earlier by Entercom, the Amendment provides for a covenant holiday for the quarters ending September 30, 2020 and December 31, 2020, among other modifications. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “We are pleased to announce this credit facility amendment, which addresses the significant impact that COVID-19 has had on the economy and our advertising revenues. As previously announced, we have taken a number of actions to reduce costs and enhance our business model to both weather the storm and emerge stronger. We ended the second quarter in a strong liquidity position with $208 million of cash on-hand, up from $189 million at the end of March. During the 2nd quarter, we saw sequential month-over-month improvement in our revenue performance from April and we see the same pattern of month-over-month improvement in our pacing data for the 3rd quarter. Entercom is well positioned to fully participate in the recovery and the attractive growth opportunities in the audio space, with strong leadership positions in broadcast radio and podcasting, the fastest growing digital audio platform, unparalleled leadership in news and sports, and strong data and analytics capabilities. We will provide further comments on our performance and the outlook for the 3rd quarter during our 2nd quarter earnings call on August 7.”

June 2020 Analysis: Cume & Coronavirus. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents part one of a look at how cume (based on Nielsen Audio data from the June 2020 PPM survey) is shaking out for radio stations during the COVID-19 pandemic with today’s focus on the all-news format. Kinosian’s previous four analyses from the June 2020 survey have used weekly AQH share as the metric. Entercom’s WINS-AM, New York was the highest cume all-news station during the June PPM survey with 1.09 million. You can see how the rest of the nation’s all-newsers fared as well as rankings of all-news outlets based on cume increases from May 2020 to June 2020; stations by cume market rank; and more. See it all here.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, GOP Stimulus Plan, NJ Judge’s Son Slain, Presidential Election, Portland Protests, St. Louis Couple Charged, and Sports Leagues Openings Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The rapidly rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and the projections for future cases; the battle between President Trump and GOP lawmakers in crafting a new stimulus plan; the shooting death of Judge Esther Salas’ son and the hunt for his killer; the November presidential race and the controversy over election procedures; the protests in Portland and President Trump’s use of federal troops in the city; a St. Louis couple is charged with weapons violations after aiming guns at protestors; and the attempts by U.S. pro sports leagues to start or continue their seasons were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk personality Freddie Coleman re-ups with ESPN on a multi-year deal to keep him co-hosting the evening ESPN Radio show “Freddie and Fitzsimmons” with Ian Fitzsimmons. Coleman says, “I have been blessed beyond compare to have been with ESPN Radio for 16 years and that I will have a chance to add to it humbles me beyond words. To continue to keep loving what I do and doing what I love at ESPN Radio is something that I never take for granted.”…..Washington, DC sport talk outlet WSBN “ESPN 630 – The Sports Capitol” is joining the Virginia Sports Radio Network. Jake McCann is vice president and market manager for station owner Cumulus Media, he says, “We are thrilled to be the Washington D.C. area’s home for all the University of Virginia’s football and men’s basketball games. The school has a great tradition of excellence in athletics and in the classroom. There are many alumni in the area who will be delighted to hear the games as well as exclusive content we will be providing on ‘ESPN 630-The Sports Capitol.’”…..iHeartMedia and Tenderfoot TV are expanding their relationship to collaborate on nine new iHeartRadio Original Podcasts to air now through 2022. The deal kicks off with the second season of “Sworn,” Tenderfoot TV’s criminal justice system podcast that exposes the untold stories and hard truths behind major cases. Additionally, new investigative series podcasts for the slate will include “MLK Tapes,” produced in partnership with author Bill Klaber, co-creator of “The RFK Tapes,” set to premiere January 2021; and the next installment of the “Monster” podcast series, which has over 100 million downloads with the success of “Atlanta Monster” followed by “Monster: The Zodiac Killer,” “Monster Presents: Insomniac” and “Monster: D.C. Sniper,” set to debut early next year.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The iHeartRadio Music Festival is on this year – its 10th – but the show will be enjoyed by fans remotely. It’s being hosted by Ryan Seacrest will feature live performances recorded on stages in Los Angeles and Nashville in front of a virtual audience that will include a Capital One Fan Wall of iHeartRadio station winners. The two-day festival will be streamed on The CW App, and CWTV.com, and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide on September 18 and 19 at 9 pm ET. The CW Network will broadcast the two-night televised iHeartRadio Music Festival on Sunday, September 27 (8:00 pm -10:00 pm ET) and Monday, September 28 (8:00 pm -10:00 pm ET). Artists performing will include: BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown, with Special Guests Khalid, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett, Usher and more…..Neuhoff Media promotes Mike Shamus to vice president and general manager for its Lafayette, Indiana station group. Shamus was previously vice president of programming, cluster OM, and PD for country WKOA-FM. Company CEO Beth Neuhoff says, “Shamus, as we all know him, is an exceptional leader. His work with our award-winning programming team demonstrated his capacity for team building and getting the best out of people. When this position came available, he was the natural choice. I know he will lead this market to a new level.”…..Beasley Media’s classic rock WCSX-FM is working to raise $50,000 for Gleaners Food Bank. Morning show host Big Jim from Big Jim’s House will drive 27 hours on a rockin’ road trip from Detroit to Minnesota to raise the money with help from legendary artist Bob Seger. Big Jim will drive a Chevy truck (provided by Chevrolet) from Detroit to the North Star Bar in Minnesota where Bob Seger reportedly stopped and had a drink in his song, “Roll Me Away.” Big Jim will leave for Minnesota on Thursday, July 23rd and upon his return to the Motor City, Bob Seger and Chevrolet will make a $50,000 donation to Gleaners Food Bank of Detroit.