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Tuesday, July 16, 2019

| July 16, 2019

APOLLO 11 ANNIVERSARY:  CBS News Radio Correspondent Peter King is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing (7/20) and the stellar 45-year career of a CBS News Radio reporter who has been covering the Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the past two decades, Peter King is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison (a passionate space enthusiast) and King discuss a wide variety of topics including NASA, US space exploration, memories of the Apollo 11 mission, their love of radio, and the state of journalism 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 of the daily TALKERS email newsletter and every page of Talkers.com.

Esiason Gets The Call to NY State Broadcaster’s Association HOF. Twelve-year Entercom New York City sports talk WFAN morning show co-host, Boomer Esiason, has been selected to the New York State Broadcaster’s Association’s Hall of Fame. The legendary former NFL quarterback will be inducted at the Broadcast Leadership and Hall of Fame luncheon during the NAB New York Show in October. Entercom New York regional president/market manager Susan Larkin remarks, “Boomer has been a cornerstone of this station since his arrival. This distinguished recognition represents his invaluable contributions to our station and industry overall.” In thanking the NY State Broadcaster’s Association “for this incredible honor,” Esiason comments, “It is extremely humbling to be recognized alongside hardworking, accomplished individuals in our industry.” He and Gregg Giannotti form “Boomer and Gio” weekday mornings on WFAN, which is the flagship of the Yankees, Giants, Brooklyn Nets, and New Jersey Devils. After his 14-year NFL career, Esiason debuted as a commentator on ABC-TV’s “Monday Night Football.” For nearly two decades, he has called games for Westwood One/CBS Radio Sports and served as a studio analyst for “The NFL Today” on CBS-TV and Showtime’s “Inside the NFL.”

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continue Posting Today with Special Luncheon Address by Salem Radio Network Host Sebastian Gorka.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s (7/16) post presents a special luncheon address by former Trump Administration advisor Sebastian Gorka, now a personality syndicated by Salem Radio Network.  Yesterday’s (7/15) post presents the panel discussion “Adding the Video Component to Talk Radio” featuring Howie Carr, host of the Howie Carr Show (Howie Carr Radio Network and Newsmax TV), Jared Hart, former PD, WPHT, Philadelphia, and  Art Vuolo, president, Vuolo Video.  The session was introduced and facilitated by Scott Lakefield, APD, WOR, New York.  Already posted: the special keynote address delivered by CBS Sports Radio syndicated host Jim Rome with an introduction from Yappy Days author/college professor Bernadette Duncan; the panel discussion, “Generating Talk Radio Revenue in 2019” featuring (in alphabetical order) Asa Andrew, host, AsaRx;  Vince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media Group;  Suzanne Grimes, EVP/marketing, Cumulus Media and president, Westwood One; and Dave Robinett, chief marketing officer, #250-America’s Mobile Speed Dial – moderated by Erica Farber, president and CEO of the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) and introduced by renown independent station owner Michael Zwerling of KSCO/KOMY, Santa Cruz, CA; the special keynote address by Key Networks syndicated personality Bill O’Reilly; the one-on-one discussion, “Sports Talk Radio’s Role in Popular Culture” featuring a conversation between Mark Chernoff, senior VP/programming WFAN/Entercom, NY and captain/sports format, CBS Sports Radio and Mike Thomas, PD, WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub,” Boston and brand manager/spoken word, podcasts, esports, Beasley Broadcasting with  Kate Delaney, host, GCN and correspondent NBC Sports Radio, serving as facilitator; the panel discussion, “Broadcasting and Podcasting,” featuring (in alphabetical order) Greg Batusic, chief operating officer, PodcastOneSteven Goldstein, founder/CEO Amplifi MediaMichael Czarnecki, program director, WONK-FM, Washington, DC and iHeartRadio Podcast Channel; and Craig Schwalb, former program director WABC, New York and WPRO, Providence with moderation by Mike Kinosian, managing editor/West Coast bureau chief, TALKERS; the keynote “fireside chat” in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones; the opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories;” RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com where they will remain on view for the rest of the year.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Preliminary iHM Q2 Results, NASDAQ Listing. Under the Global Select Market ticker symbol “IHRT,” NASDAQ approves the listing of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock, par valued at $0.001 per share. Class A shares are expected to begin trading on NASDAQ this Thursday (7/18). Meanwhile, preliminary SEC-filed second-quarter financial show year-to-year revenue rose 2.4% to $913 million. Operating income (OI) was off $1 million to $180, while Adjusted EBITDA grew 3.1% ($255 million to $263 million). Preliminary results have not been audited or reviewed by the company’s independent accountants, and remain subject to review by iHeartMedia’s management and audit committee. Results may differ from actual results, which remain subject to completion of management’s and the audit committee’s final review, as well as the interim review by its independent accountants.

Study: Podcast Ads Least Likely To Be Skipped. Monthly podcast listeners skip digital ad formats the most – online pop-up ads, online banner ads, e-mail advertising, direct mail, and online video. That’s among the nuggets Westwood One uncovered when it teamed with Canadian media research consultancy Audience Insights in a study focused on podcast consumers and their listening habits. Fielded this past March, the report examines podcast consumption habits of 1,407 monthly podcast listeners. It addresses four distinct segments based on when people began listening to podcasts: 313 “Podcast Pioneers” who started listening four or more years ago; 415 who began listening two to three years ago; 327 who began listening in the past seven to 12 months; and 352 “Podcast Newcomers” who began listening within the last six months. Westwood One president/Cumulus Media executive vice president of marketing Suzanne Grimes states, “The finding that emerging podcast listeners are using a diverse number of platforms signals a turning point for the podcast industry. When compared to the ‘Podcast Pioneers,’ who use Apple Podcasts almost exclusively, ‘Podcast Newcomers’ are open to using multiple platforms to access podcasts.” Audience Insights president Jeff Vidler notes, “This podcast download report expands on much of what we have seen as we put our microscope on Canadian podcast listeners. Podcasting is uniquely engaging, on trend with on-demand content platforms like Netflix or paid music streaming services, but the only one accessible to advertisers.” Other study highlights include: Roughly three of ten (31%) “Podcast Newcomers” typically discover podcasts by hearing about them on terrestrial radio. While the average monthly podcast listener accesses 2.7 podcast platforms, “Podcast Newcomers” use 3.5 platforms. Two of three “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast hosts on social media. Podcast listeners equally use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube to follow their favorite hosts. Approximately two of five (42%) “Power” podcast listeners follow their favorite podcast host on Twitter, compared to 22% of U.S. adults who ever use Twitter. Spotify and Google Podcasts are attracting consumers who recently began listening to podcasts. Among those listening to podcasts over four years, Apple is the leading destination.

SBG President: “Case Is Far From Over.” As we reported yesterday (TALKERS, 7/15), a Los Angeles superior court jury ruled unanimously in favor of independent syndicator of radio live play-by-play Sports USA in its multi-year violation of contract suit against Sun Broadcasting Group. The jury awarded Sports USA damages in excess of $2 million as compensation for Sun’s breach of its advertising representation agreement with Sports USA. Sun Broadcast Group president Jason Bailey, however, stresses, “This case is far from over. We were shocked and saddened by the verdict in Pacific West Radio Sports, LLC (d/b/a Sports USA) v. Sun Broadcast Group, Inc. Despite establishing wrongdoing by Sports USA from even before the inception of the agreement between the parties, the jury granted judgment in favor of Sports USA. The jury reached that verdict without the benefit of being able to consider key evidence of Sports USA’s wrongdoing. Sun was barred from introducing that evidence at trial on hearsay grounds. We remain determined to see that justice is done, and plan to pursue every available avenue to overturn this result so that Sports USA’s improper business practices are exposed and no other company falls victim. This verdict involves the old Sun, which has not traded since late 2018. It does not involve the current SBG-owned and operated by Gen Media Partners.” Bailey further notes, “This will be the only statement I will make on the matter while we work through the appeal process.”

Three Moody Radio AM Stations Are On The Block. With plans to exit the AM radio business, Moody Radio is set to spin off its three AM facilities. Chicago-based operator Moody Bible Institute will focus on FM network expansion. Senior vice president of media Greg Thornton writes, “Moody Radio seeks to transform the world for Jesus Christ, one listener at a time, by producing and delivering quality, creative, biblical content, which helps people take the next step in their journey with Jesus. In looking to the future, Moody Radio is committed to double [our] overall impact by  2030. Our strategic roadmap to achieving this bold vision includes audience growth through market expansion/realignment, and content development strategies.” Thornton recognizes “the limitations of AM broadcasting today, including [that] many AM stations only broadcast in the daytime.” Thus, Moody Radio will be selling Spanish religion WMBI W268AY “Moody Radio – AM 1110,” Chicago; Spanish religion WDLM “Moody Radio – AM 960,” East Moline/Quad Cities, Illinois; and Spanish religion WGNR “Moody Radio – AM 1470,” Anderson, Indiana. According to Thornton, “Listeners in these cities will still hear Moody Radio 24 hours a day on our strong FM signals. Proceeds from the sale of these three AM licenses will be used to further the expansion of Moody Radio through the addition of digital/online content, new apps in both English and Spanish, and the acquisition of select FM broadcast licenses.”

TALKERS News Notes.  As part of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing investigating charges of bias against conservatives, Salem Radio Network host Dennis Prager will testify at 2:30 pm (ET) today (Tuesday, 7/16). Prager’s opening statement has already been submitted and, in part, he states, “I have been communicating this appreciation of America for 35 years as a radio talk show host, the last 20 in national syndication with the Salem Radio Network, an organization that is a blessing in American life.” According to Salem Radio Network vice president of news & talk programming Tom Tradup, videos from Prager’s “online Prager University have been blocked as ‘controversial’ by Google and other search engines. Google officials deny any political bias or filtering of conservative viewpoints.” Texas Republican senator Ted Cruz is the chair of today’s hearing ….. In two weeks (7/30 & 7/31), Westwood One News’ coverage of the Democratic National Committee-sanctioned/CNN-produced Democratic Presidential Debates will air from Detroit. Westwood One News correspondent Evan Haning will anchor, starting at 7:59 pm (ET) both nights, while Bob Costantini handles on-scene reporting and will be available for live Q&A from the Motor City. The network will offer stations an unanchored feed and one-minute special reports each night at the top and bottom of the hour (8:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) ….. Set to rejoin WTEM “980 The Team” in three weeks (8/5) is Kevin Sheehan, who wasn’t retained when Radio One acquired the Washington (DC) sports talk outlet late last year. Sheehan co-hosted mornings with Chris Cooley and will return for 7:00 am – 10:00 am duty. Radio One senior regional vice president Jeff Wilson comments, “I’m elated to have Kevin Sheehan back home on ‘The Team.’ His unique approach to the sports landscape, combined with his overwhelming passion, provides an entertainment destination for listeners throughout the Nation’s Capital.” Prior to departing last year, Sheehan had been with WTEM 14 years and states, “I’m looking forward to coming home – it’s great to be back.” ….. The first three Jim Rutt Show podcasts went live yesterday (Monday, July 15) on JimRuttShow.com. The series will examine “cutting-edge thinking” in science and technology, and the future of our economic, political and social systems and institutions. The past chair of The Santa Fe Institute; former chief executive officer of Network Solutions; and first CTO of Thomson-Reuters, Rutt was called “the internet’s bad boy” by The New York Times for his reputation for creative mischief. A complete collection of Rutt’s podcasts, including show transcripts, episode highlights, guest biographies, and links are available on the aforementioned website.

Line Drives. This past weekend, NBC Sports Radio produced seven radio shows from the driving range at Edgewood Tahoe golf course in Lake Tahoe (Nevada), site of the American Century Championship celebrity golf tournament. Flanking MLB Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz (center) are Tim Murray and Michael Jenkins, hosts of NBC Sports Radio’s “The Daily Line.” Launched this past January in conjunction with Westwood One, “The Daily Line” is a weekday, 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm sports talk show, focusing on sports betting.

Trump’s Controversial Tweets; US Immigration Policy/Detention Facilities; 2020 Presidential Race; and US-China Trade War Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15). President Donald Trump’s Tweets attacking four Congressional Democratic women of color; conditions for migrants detained at the border; the relative standing and contributions raised by Democratic Party presidential candidates; and the US-China trade war’s impact on the Chinese economy were the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

CRB Elects 2019 – 2020 Board of Directors. Returning as board president of the Country Radio Broadcasters is Townsquare Media’s Kurt Johnson; Cumulus Media’s John Shomby is elected vice president; and SummitMedia’s Beverlee Brannigan returns as secretary. Johnson remarks, “This is one of the strongest boards CRB has ever had. [I am] so proud to work with this group of radio and Music Row leaders to present country with the best CRS ever – February 19 – 21, 2020.” This year’s board of directors are: Chuck Aly (Country Aircheck); Beverlee Brannigan (SummitMedia); Becky Brenner (Albright & O’Malley & Brenner Consulting); Johnny Chiang (KKBQ-FM, Houston); George Couri (Triple 8 Management); Andy Denemark (United Stations); Ryan Dokke (Curb); Mike Dungan (UMG); John Esposito (Warner Music Nashville); Dan Halyburton (Falls Media); Debra Herman (Apple); Steve Hodges (Sony Nashville); Clay Hunnicutt, Dave Kelly (Big Machine Label Group); Jon Loba (BBR/BMG); Mike McVay (McVay Media); Charlie Morgan (Emmis Communications); Rod Phillips (iHeartCountry); Tim Roberts (WYCD, Detroit); Royce Risser (UMG); Bob Richards (Emmis Communications/WLHK, Indianapolis); Brittany Schaffer (Spotify); John Shomby (Cumulus Media); Lesly Simon (Pearl Records); Matt Sunshine (CFSS); Joel Raab (Joel Raab Country Radio/Media); Ryan Redington (Amazon Music); Kristen Williams (Warner); and Charlie Monk continues as a lifetime director emeritus.

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Many stations are noting the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong’s first-ever “moon walk” (July 20, 1969) with Apollo lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin. Without question, one of the cleverest promotions is being done by the program director of Cumulus Media Salt Lake City country-formatted KUBL “K-Bull 93” … Travis Moon. As part of the “Travis Moon Walk,” which began today (Tuesday, 7/16) at 7:00 am and is expected to end Saturday (7/20) coinciding with that history-making mission, Moon plans to “walk” more than 80 miles to raise money for Salt Lake City-based Shriner’s Hospitals For Children. Hoping to travel approximately 16 miles a day, Moon admits it will be a “long, tough walk. The exciting part is the unknown – if I can actually do this physically. I guess we will all find out.” While on foot from (Utah cities) Provo to Ogden, Moon will discuss the hospital’s purpose and invite listeners to make donations ….. “California Live,” a 30-minute lifestyle/entertainment show, which airs on Los Angeles’ KNBC-TV (as well as KNTV-TV, San Jose and KNSD-TV, San Diego) has added “On Air with Ryan Seacrest” co-host Sisanie as a correspondent. In her latest segment, Sisanie visits Los Angeles’ first cat cafe experience, where customers can drink coffee while cuddling rescue cats that are up for adoption ….. Starting next Monday (7/22), Sytonnia “Toni” Moore joins Cox Media Group Atlanta urban AC WALR “Kiss 104.1” as co-host/news anchor on the (5:00 am – 9:00 am) “Morning Groove” with Art Terrell and Corey “Zooman” Miller. The station’s director/branding and programming, Terri Avery, declares, “Toni Moore is the real deal. Her experience and passion for radio is beyond compare and will take ‘Kiss 104.1’ to new levels.” Moore remarks, “This is an incredible opportunity: I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the powerhouse that is Cox Media Group and ‘Kiss 104.1.’ It’s a dream I’ve had for a few years. It’s beyond exciting to see it come to fruition.” Moore previously was an on-air personality for cross-town Entercom urban contemporary and sports talk siblings WVEE “V-103” and WZGC “92.9 The Game,” as well as a sports reporter for the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Falcons ….. Continuing his role as afternoon-drive host, Andy Chanley adds music director duties at California State University – Northridge’s KCSN & Saddleback College’s KSBR, Mission Viejo (both California, simulcast on 88.5). General manager Patrick Osborn proclaims, “Andy has done it all in this market – mornings, middays, afternoon drive – and has vast experience in all the rock format genres. I’m happy to say we are operating at full strength with great, experienced broadcasters in every position.” Program director Marc “Mookie” Kaczor notes, “Andy is such an asset for us. He’s an incredible personality and he’s been a great sounding-board for me. We’re constantly bouncing ideas off of each other.” Chanley adds, “There’s no station in the world like 88.5 FM. It’s a special blend of music and people — on both sides of the transmitter — that makes radio fun again. I’m really proud to be on this team, and beyond excited at the opportunity to help steer the rudder even more.” KCSN and KSBR began simulcasting just over two years ago …. Three-year WUSN “US-99” nighttime talent Kimmie Caruba departs the Entercom country outlet. Caruba was previously heard in the same day-part in Phoenix on co-owned KMLE “Country @ 107.9,” and she did mid-days in that Arizona market on cluster-mate KALV “Live 101.5.” ….. A six-episode podcast on Milwaukee’s hip-hop history, “Backspin,” debuted yesterday (Monday, 7/15) on Radio Milwaukee triple A WYMS “88Nine.” Hosted by hip-hop expert Tyrone Miller (“DJ Bizzon”) and “88Nine” music director Justin Barney, “Backspin” provides an insightful view into black America in the late-1970s and early-1980s, through the lens of hip-hop. Miller comments, “The series is about so much more than who recorded Milwaukee’s first hip-hop song. It’s about the journey of getting to that song. Hip-hop is more than a genre: It’s connected everywhere – radio, movies, TV, and fashion. It’s in every piece of culture.” ….. After departing two months ago from Townsquare Media, “Taste of Country Nights” host Sam Alex surfaced yesterday (Monday, 7/15) on the eponymous “Sam Alex Show.” Affiliate licensing and sales for the syndicated program are being handled by Sun Broadcast Group. Alex notes (in Forbes Magazine) that he’s “so excited about this new chapter. The world of radio,” he opines, “has changed so much in the past decade, with continued consolidations, new technology, and increased competition to discover new music. This change positions me to have full creative control and reach listeners in new ways.” ….. KDVV “V-100 Topeka’s Rock Leader” 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm talent Randy Raley adds PD duties at the Cumulus Media rocker and classic hits cluster-mate KWIC “99.3 The Eagle.” Cumulus Topeka operations manager Amber Lee notes, “Randy brings significant on-air experience and format knowledge to these stations and to our programming team.” According to Raley, “I’ve been a radio geek since an early age – I’m happy to be taking the programming reins at the legendary ‘V-100.’ Amber Lee has put together an incredible staff and we’re going to do great things together.” St. Louis Classic Rock Hall of Famer Raley did afternoon drive on St. Louis’ KSHE  for 13 years and has worked in Kansas City at KYYS “KY-102,” and KCFX “101 The Fox.” ….. Among the latest affiliates for Envision Networks’ “The Wolfman Jack Radio Show” is Metro Radio Berkeley Springs, West Virginia classic hits-oldies WXDC. The show airs Saturday nights starting at 7:00 pm on “Cool 92.9 – Good Times/Great Oldies.”

 

 

June 2019 PPM Data – Part Four. June 2019 ratings information has been released for Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen Audio’s June 2019 survey period covered May 23 – June 19. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

| May 12, 2015

usaRadioNetworks‘Washington Watch with Tony Perkins’ to Air on USA Radio Networks.  Another afternoon program is added to the roster at USA Radio Networks as it announces “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” begins airing on the network on June 8 live from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.  Perkins is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council and a former member of the Louisiana legislature.  Perkins also serves as the president of the Council for National Policy an umbrellaperkinstony organization for dozens of conservative organizations that address fiscal, social, and foreign policy issues.  He says about joining USA Radio Networks, “I’m excited to join the USA Radio Networks at such a critical time for our nation.  ‘Washington Watch’ is uniquely positioned in the heart of our nation’s capital to provide daily interviews from Capitol Hill with political and conservative leaders.  Radio has only become more important to our mission to keep God-fearing Americans informed and equipped to respond to the policy and cultural challenges of our day.  We are excited to partner with USA Radio Networks as we advance faith, family and freedom across America.”  Tim Maranville is chief content officer at Cross Platform Media Group, parent company to USA Radio Networks.  He says, “Tony Perkins has been a prominent voice in Washington for years with the Family Research Council.  The important issues he brings will now be available for discussion and debate in the open market through USA Radio Networks.”

le batard danDan Le Batard Show to Simulcast on Fusion.  According to TVNewser, ESPN Radio’s “The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz” will begin being simulcast on May 19 at 4:00 pm ET.  Fusion – a multi-platform, joint endeavor from Disney-ABC Television and Univision – debuted in the fall of 2013 and targets millennial consumers.  Fusion’s chief programming officer Wade Beckett is quoted by TVNewser saying, “Dan and Stugotz are an extremely engaging pair, and we are thrilled that they are bringing their unique flare to Fusion daily line-up.  Dan’s smart-yet-irreverent take on sports and the stories making headlines perfectly aligns with Fusion’s desire to present this young, diverse generation with an array of dynamic voices that have an authentic point of view and, at the end of the day, are just are fun to watch.”

rtdna logoRTDNA Reports on Social Media and Mobile Strategies for Radio News Operations.  The third edition of a series of reports from Hofstra University professor emeritus Bob Papper – whose data comes from the annual survey of radio and television news directors – investigates newsrooms’ use of social media and mobile applications.  Among the questionspapperbob answered by the approximately 150 news directors who responded to the survey include: What’s the most important new thing you started doing with social media in 2014?  Almost 49% of radio news directors reported doing something new in social media in 2014.  In underscoring the importance of developing mobile apps for news consumers, Papper points out that 55% of news directors mentioned apps compared to the next most popular answer – streaming, at 11%.  The RTDNA will be releasing new reports every two weeks through July.  See the whole report here.

nielsen logoNielsen Audio Releases First Round of April 2015 PPM Data.  The first of four rounds of April 2015 PPM ratings data from Nielsen Audio has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey).  The April 2015 survey period covered March 26 through April 22.  You can find the complete ratings from subscribing stations here.  Additionally, TALKERS/RadioInfo managing editor Mike Kinosian provides his “Ten Takeaways” from this group on the main page of our sister publication here.

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Engages in Stimulating Conversations with Rebecca Costa and Buzz Aldrin on New Podcast.  TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison presents a “double header” on this week’s installment of the international hit podcast “Up Close and Far Out” as he interviews two provocative thinkers on the connection between human evolution and the species’ chances of survival.  The podcast opens with Harrison in conversation with a personality he describes as “one of the most intelligent voices in talk radio today,” sociobiologist Rebecca Costa.  Costa, a renowned author, speaker and consultant, hosts radio’s weekly “Costa Report” – a nationalcostarebeccaposed weekend talk show syndicated by GCN, in which she interviews thought leaders with an eye on the future from a wide spectrum of fields and disciplines.  Costa, author of the worldwide best-seller, The Watchman’s Rattle (Vanguard, 2010), says the human brain needs to evolve if it has a chance of coping with the increasingly complex nature of society and its technological/information-generating systems.  She calls for humanity rising above the traits it shares with lower animals (“the lower instruments of our aldrinbuzzgenetic inheritance”) to be able to enter an age of cooperation and enlightenment, vital to its survival, by tapping into the evolutionary advantages offered by the brain’s frontal cortex.  In part-two of the podcast, Harrison engages legendary astronaut Buzz Aldrin in a discussion about the Apollo moonwalker’s new book, Mission to Mars (National Geographic, 2015) in which he encourages humanity to begin planning its future as being more than a “one-planet species” – an evolutionary step he believes necessary for humanity’s long-term survival.  To listen to Rebecca Costa and Buzz Aldrin on “Up Close and Far Out with Michael Harrison,” please click here or click on the special player box in the right hand column of every page of Talkers.com.  Archived interviews currently available for download at www.upcloseandfarout.com in the “Up Close and Far Out” series include Sean Hannity, Mike Francesa, Dr. Joy Browne, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Sciacca, Christopher Ruddy, Norm Pattiz, Alan Colmes, and Steve Weisman.

wddz logoSalem Media Group to Unveil ‘AM 1250 The Answer’ in Pittsburgh.  The station acquired from Disney – WDDZ, Pittsburgh – becomes the latest Salem-owned AM news/talk to assume the brand “The Answer.”   In addition to airing the Salem Radio Network lineuptennentrose of talk hosts, local news/talk personality Rose Tennent – formerly with partner Jim Quinn on crosstown WPGB-FM – is signed on for a local morning show that will air from 8:00 am to 10:00 am.  The rest of the schedule is: Bill Bennett, 6:00 am to 8:00 am; Mike Gallagher, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon; Dennis Prager, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Michael Medved, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Westwood One’s Mark Levin, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; and Hugh Hewitt, 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  Salem general manager Tom Lemmon comments, “Pittsburgh deserves a news/talk station that reflects the conservative, hard-working heart and soul of its people.  We’re thrilled to have an opportunity to provide an intelligent, sensible, conservative voice to the market.  We want to be a station that tackles solid local and national issues with an intelligent opinion committed to truth and integrity.

focus 360 logoWYD Media and Focus 360 Announce Partnership.  Saying that this agreement “significantly extends the reach of Focus 360‘s sales efforts and its ability to provide top-shelf service to agencies,” Focus 360 and WYD Media Ad Sales announce a new partnership.  The deal provides for WYD to provide enhanced ad sales representation for Focus 360.   Focus 360 CEO Phil Brown explains, “This is a tremendous opportunity for us to extend our sales efforts.  WYD’s resources and sales talent will enable us to increase our presence at key agencies, thereby boosting revenue and enabling us to do an even better job at servicing our partners.”  Brown says Focus 360 will continue to work directly with certain agencies where the company has long-standing relationships.  Focus 360 also will continue to build its Jelli programmatic advertising platform.

Odds & Sods.  There’s a new all-comedy station as Austin Radio Network flips its Gospel-formatted KLGO, Austin and re-brands it “Comedy 1260 AM.”…..The Georgia Association of Broadcasters kicked off its second annual Radio Talent Institute at Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia, as the opening Institute this summer from the National Radio Talent System.  The GAB sponsors the Institute, now in its second year, with further support from Cox Media Group.  Twenty-five students from Georgia schools with a “desire and passion for broadcasting” were accepted into the program.  Opening day speakers included Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey, Cox Media VP Scott Smith, and Cox EVP Kim Guthrie, to name a few.  Numerous other radio pros are speaking and teaching courses.

davislaurenCFRA, Toronto News Anchor Lauren Davis Dies Suddenly at 24.  Condolences are pouring in to the family, friends and co-workers of Lauren Davis, who died unexpectedly at age 24 over the weekend.  Davis was a news anchor on CFRA, Toronto.  She’s the daughter of longtime CHFI, Toronto personality Erin Davis.  Lauren Davis’ husband Phil Shirakawa also works at CFRA as a producer.  Lauren Davis was on maternity leave after giving birth to her son Colin last fall.  Bell Media regional vice president Richard Gray issued the following statement, “Lauren’s sudden passing was a shock to our CFRA and Bell Media staff here in Ottawa.  We are deeply saddened by the loss of Lauren, who had just become a mom in the last year.  We also want to extend our deepest sympathies to Lauren’s husband, Phil Shirakawa, who is a producer with us here at CFRA.  Lauren will be deeply missed by her family and the many colleagues here who knew her so well.”

2015 NYC 150Talkers New York 2015 Nearing Maximum Capacity.  Based on the diminishing number of registrations still open and the rate at which they are being filled, Talkers New York 2015 – the 18th annual installment of the talk media’s longest-running and most important national convention — will be sold out sometime this week.  According to TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey, “We are gratified by the strong response this event is receiving and we clearly do not like to turn folks away – however, we must abide by New York City’s building codes, not to mention be sensitive to the comfort and safety of our attendees.”   Casey continues, “There will be no registrations sold after 5:00 pm EDT this Friday May 15, IF NOT SOONER.  Friday at 5:00 pm Eastern will be the absolute cut off point… but we cannot guarantee that we won’t run out of room earlier.”  The event will be located at the historic India House Club dramatically situated at One Hanover Square in the heart of Manhattan’s financial district.  It is an all-day event – 8:45 am to 6:15 pm.  Registrations, priced at $299 per person and only open to professionals currently or recently employed in media-related industries, include all sessions, presentations, exhibits and breakfast/lunch/refreshment/and social networking activities.  The heavyweight, non-stop agenda will include approximately 65 speakers and 500 attendees will be the allowed limit.  Registrations can only be taken over the phone and paid for by credit card.  They are not refundable or transferable.  For registration, sponsorship and hotel information, please call 413-565-5413.  To see the latest agenda, please click here.

wccr logoEWTN Launches Programming on Cleveland Affiliate.  Catholic broadcaster EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network debuts its programming on WCCR, Cleveland “AM 1260 The Rock.”  The Cleveland station, which launched on Monday, May 11, becomes EWTN Radio’s 300th affiliate in the United States.  St. Peter The Rock Media acquired the former WWMK from Radio Disney Group, LLC.  EWTN Radio general manager Dave Vacheresse says, “We are grateful to all the folks at St. Peter The Rock Media who have worked so hard to make this station a reality!  EWTN Radio is the beneficiary of incredible partnerships like this all over the U.S. and around the world.  These partnerships, combined with the cooperation and blessings of bishops across the U.S., has led to a growth rate of nearly 250% in the last five years – from 120 stations to over 400 and growing!”

Michelle Obama ‘Racism’ Commencement, 2016 Presidential Prospects, Baltimore Freddie Gray Death Aftermath, Obama Trade Bill Issue, Arctic Drilling Approved, NATO Expels Alleged Russian Spies, Clinton Email Suit Reopened, and Deflategate Sanctions Announced Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11).  Criticism of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “racism” commencement address at Tuskegee University; the potential candidates for president in 2016; the legal and political aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore; the controversial trade bill being pushed by President Obama; the approval by the Obama Administration to allow oil drilling in the Arctic; the expelling from Brussels of alleged Russian spies by NATO; the lawsuit seeking to force Hillary Clinton to turn over private emails is reopened by a judge; and the NFL issues a fine for the Patriots and four-game suspension for Tom Brady in the “deflategate” case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.