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Wednesday, January 5, 2022

| January 5, 2022

Sean Hannity Cooperation Sought by House Committee in January 6 Investigation. Texts between FOX News Channel and Premiere Networks star Sean Hannity and Donald Trump staffers before, during the January 6 Capitol attack, and after have been revealed as part of the House Committee’s investigation. Now, the House Select Committee is asking Hannity for his cooperation in its investigation. According to a report in The Hill, the Select Committee tells Hannity it is interested in communications between him and Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and others, as well as President Trump himself between December 31, 2020 and January 20, 2021. Citing a number of texts, the Committee says it appears Hannity had advance knowledge of Trump’s and his legal team’s plans for January 6. Hannity’s takes and suggestions indicate he was, at least to some degree, at odds with Trump’s beliefs about his January 6 strategy regarding the election certification. The Hill reports Hannity attorney Jay Sekulow says he’s not yet been informed of the Committee’s request but says it would raise “serious constitutional issues.” Regarding that matter, the Committee’s letter states, “The Select Committee has immense respect for the First Amendment to our Constitution, freedom of the press, and the rights of Americans to express their political opinions freely. For that reason, we do not intend to seek information from you regarding your broadcasts on radio or television, your public reporting or commentary, or your political views regarding any candidate for office.” TALKERS founder and First Amendment advocate Michael Harrison states, “In the talk media business, influence is every bit as important as ratings. Sean Hannity has consistently proven to be at the top of the pack in both measurements year after year. Obviously, not everyone agrees with his opinions – that is the nature of our business, not to mention the times. Free speech, politics and democracy are untidy affairs. The role Sean has played and continues to play in being a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the microphone is the quintessential example of just how far our format – talk radio – has come in shaping the history of this era. Fortunately, those of us who know Sean personally recognize him as a man of integrity. Although some refer to his texts as ‘damning,’ I am pleased that the ‘concerns’ he expressed to the White House a year ago put him on the right side of history when it comes down to the real nitty gritty. The rest is the real-world stuff of big-time commercial media positioning. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone when it comes to attacking those who have bravely built this medium to being a lot more than a platform for the low hanging fruit of mediocre music, disingenuous promotion codes and superficial chatter.”

Salem Radio Network Talk Host Larry Elder Won’t Run for California Governor This Year. According to numerous media reports, including one from KNBC-TV, Los Angeles, Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder will not run for governor of California this fall. Elder ran as a Republican in last September’s recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom and of the dozens who qualified to be on the ballot was the Republican with the most votes. It was moot, however, as voters rejected the recall. Elder says he will form the Elder for America political action committee that will benefit Republicans in federal and local elections. In a statement, Elder says, “I ran for governor because I wanted to make a difference. While I may not know what the future holds for me politically, our campaign’s ability to attract millions of votes and millions of dollars in a very short time demonstrates we have a message that resonates with Americans, and I believe we can put that to good use.” The KNBC-TV story notes that Elder for America says Elder’s recall campaign raised about $22.5 million in eight weeks.

CES2022: “Pandemic Pivots.” The pandemic has accelerated trends “that have been simmering for a while and are now coming to a boil,” according to Consumer Technology Association research. 2022 tech spending is forecast to top a TRILLION dollars in the USA alone. And covering CES this week in Las Vegas, consultant Holland Cooke spots opportunities for radio sales. Read more here.

SRN’s Hugh Hewitt Named Contributor for FNC’s ‘Special Report with Brett Baier.’ Washington-based Salem Radio Network morning drive host Hugh Hewitt is named a regular contributor to FOX News Channel’s “Special Report with Brett Baier.” Hewitt was a longtime contributor on MSNBC and he currently writes a regular column for The Washington Post.

TALKERS News Notes. The sports talk radio show “Outkick 360” – hosted by Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow and Paul Kuharsky – recently entered national syndication via Skyview Networks. The company says that the show recently picked up new affiliate WMBH, Joplin, Missouri which joins the growing list of affiliate radio stations carrying the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program…..The National Association of Broadcasters announces that it is now accepting entries for the 35th annual NAB Crystal Radio Awards, honoring outstanding community service efforts by radio stations throughout 2021. Winners will be recognized at the NAB Show, April 23–27, 2022 in Las Vegas. A panel of judges representing the broadcast industry and community service organizations will review applications and select 50 finalists and 10 winners. The deadline for submissions is January 31 and entry information can be found here…..Newsmax announces it is premiering its new documentary, “Day of Outrage,” tonight at 9:00 pm ET. Newsmax says the program “was produced by Newsmax to accurately and fairly detail the events related to the tragic day of January 6, 2021. The film includes powerful video footage of the protests and riots that took place on January 6, as well as a careful examination of events that led up to that fateful day.”…..ESPN Radio is celebrating its 30th anniversary this month. The national sports talk radio platform launched in January of 1992. Senior coordinating producer, content strategy & audio Amanda Gifford says, “This is an incredibly meaningful milestone for our network. Sports radio has evolved in so many ways over the past 30 years and through it all, ESPN continues to be a leader in the space thanks to the dedication and passion of everyone involved behind the scenes and on-air.”…..The Motley Fool announces that its “Motley Fool Money” weekly flagship podcast is now airing new episodes seven days a week. Weekday episodes will focus on analyzing the companies making headlines, bringing a long-term perspective to daily market news, and putting new stock ideas on the audience’s radar. Weekend episodes will feature interviews with special guests and conversations about investing styles, strategies, and psychology. Show host and head of podcast strategy Chris Hill says, “More than ever people are focused on how to achieve financial independence, and we’re excited to provide programming that’s relevant to everyone on the investing spectrum. Gen Xers are thinking about how to retire, Millennials are entering their 40s, and more members of Gen Z are starting to invest every month. Motley Fool Money is going to be a resource for all of them, seven days a week.”…..Baltimore public radio news/talk outlet WYPR-FM “Your Public Radio” is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The station says it will celebrate its platinum anniversary with a variety of in-person and virtual events, special on-air programming, fundraising campaigns and a host of unique activities for listeners all year long. Station president and general manager LaFontaine E. Oliver says, “Our community of members and listeners is the reason that we are so successful. We have one of the best performing sustaining programs in the country with almost 70% of our members giving monthly donations. Their support has allowed the station to grow to the point where we are more than terrestrial radio – our content now reaches audiences on-air, online, on-demand, on mobile and in the community.”

COVID-19, January 6 Investigation/Trump Presser, Filibuster-Voting Rights Battle, 2022 Midterm Elections, Prince Andrew Civil Suit, and Southeastern Snow Storm Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/4). The soaring rate of Omicron variant cases in the U.S., the heated debate over in-school learning, and the scramble for COVID tests; the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol attack, the release of texts between Trump staffers and the media, and Donald Trump cancels Thursday’s press conference; the battle in the U.S. Senate over voting rights legislation and the filibuster; the potential change in power in Congress after the 2022 midterm elections; Prince Andrew fights the civil suit filed against him by Jeffrey Epstein victim Virginia Giuffre; and the stranding of hundreds of vehicles on I-95 in Virginia after the Southeastern snow storm were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, November 22, 2021

| November 22, 2021

Monday Memo: The Pandemic Dividend. As our lives were upended, advertising rose to the occasion, relating to – and offering solutions for – challenges imposed by the shutdown, and enduring change in The New Normal. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke demonstrates ten (10) successful copy points worth emulating when you craft commercial copy for station or podcast advertisers. Read it here.

Pending Business: Be Thankful.  Sales pro Steve Lapa writes, with some COVID-consciousness, this the time of year we pause and give thanks. For many of us, food, family, friends and maybe football will dominate Thanksgiving Day. To all the heroes and their families who protect our health, safety and freedom let’s all start this holiday with a collective, “Thank you.”  As our post-pandemic lives recover, off we go to the shopping races on line or on location. The numbers crunchers will be ready with the results of the first U.S. post-pandemic recovery Black Friday. How does that impact those of us in radio?  Read about it here.

Phoenix Bumps Up Hatch To Sr. VP/MM. Ten-year vice president of programming for Bonneville Phoenix, Ryan Hatch, is elevated to senior vice president and Phoenix market manager. He succeeds Scott Sutherland, who was recently promoted to executive vice president, regional media operations, where he oversees Bonneville properties in San Francisco, Seattle, Phoenix, Denver, and Sacramento. Bonneville Phoenix market manager since 2009, Sutherland states, “I am incredibly proud and excited to see Ryan in his new role as senior vice president and market manager. I have no doubt that under his leadership, Bonneville Phoenix will soar to new heights.” Hatch comments, “I’m humbled, honored, and thrilled for the opportunity to lead the most talented team in local media in a city that my family loves and calls home. I look forward to continuing to serve our dynamic and growing community, our advertisers, team broadcast partners and audiences.” Hatch has been with Bonneville the past fifteen years, including a stint as operations manager of its Seattle facilities. The three-station Bonneville Phoenix cluster consists of news/talk KTAR-FM “News 92.3,” sports talk KMVP “Arizona Sports 98.7,” and sports talk KTAR-AM “620 AM ESPN Phoenix.”

Dunaway To Exit WTIC-AM. After nearly 30 years at news/talk WTIC-AM “1080 News Talk,”  Ray Dunaway announced this morning (Monday, 11/22) that he is retiring from the Audacy Hartford station and will air his final show Christmas Eve (12/24). Beginning (Monday) January 3 (2022), Brian Shactman, who joined Dunaway the past year, will host WTIC-AM mornings along with Aaron Kupec (news); Bob Cox (weather); Mark Christopher (traffic); and Matt Sirois (sports). Audacy Hartford senior vice president and market manager Stephanie Perl remarks, “We want to extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to Ray Dunaway, who has dedicated almost 30 years of his career to WTIC-AM. Ray is known as the morning man, and his iconic personality is synonymous with our station. In addition, he had a significant impact over these past 29 years with Audacy and the larger Connecticut community. Ray is a true broadcaster and we will miss him greatly. We wish him all the best in his retirement.” Audacy Hartford operations manager Steve Salhany notes, “It goes without saying that Ray has been an important part of WTIC-AM, and more importantly, our community. While I am sure he’s going to enjoy sleeping in, he will be greatly missed.” Dunaway adds, “It’s been a long, wonderful run, but having hosted morning shows since 1980, the time has come to sleep in – at least I hope I can. I want to thank [those who listened] since 1992 at WTIC-AM. You are truly wonderful people, as [is] the staff at Audacy. I can honestly say these friends are the best I’ve ever worked with.” Prior to arriving at WTIC-AM in May 1992, Dunaway worked at Kansas City’s KMBZ-FM.

KGB-AM Sends Warriors Home With $1.4 Million. As a result of its annual 12-hour “Give-A-Thon” broadcast, iHeartMedia San Diego news/talk KGB-AM helped raise $1,455,741 for the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station to reunite injured service members with their families during the holidays. iHeartMedia San Diego president and market manager Melissa Forrest comments, “We are honored to have participated in the Warrior Foundation Freedom Station ‘Give-A-Thon’ which supports our deserving military men and women. It’s amazing to see this level of generosity; this is a true testament to our San Diego listeners. Thank you to everyone who made this year’s ‘Give-A-Thon’ a huge success.” Warrior Foundation Freedom Station founder and chief executive officer Sandy Lehmkuhler adds, “We are forever grateful to our wonderful media partners and donors for giving back to our nation’s service members during this special time of year. By shining a spotlight on our warriors and their brave struggles with the visible and invisible wounds of war, [iHeartMedia San Diego] rallied the support of thousands of people to fly our heroes home for the holidays. It’s a gift our troops will remember forever.” In 2004, Lehmkuhler contacted “760 AM” (when it was KFMB-AM) to ask its listeners to donate shaving razors for holiday gift bags being given to warriors in recovery at Balboa Naval Hospital. It then grew into an annual fundraising effort that reunites families during the holidays, and helps warriors face the challenges of recovery, rehabilitation and transition from military service to civilian life. KGB-AM’s syndicated morning show – Armstrong & Getty – promoted the “Give-A-Thon” for an entire week, as did KGB-AM’s similarly-formatted cluster-mate KOGO “News Radio 600.”

Not Just For Audio Anymore. Regular Fox News Channel talking head Ethan Bearman (right) spars with FNC hosts by representing a differing point-of-view. Formerly a host on California news/talk outlets KABC, Los Angeles; KGO, San Francisco; and KSCO, Santa Cruz, the frequent TALKERS’ “Heavy Hundred” entry secured his law degree and passed the California Bar. Bearman now practices media law and – with wife Amy (left) – hosts the “Law Junkie Show” podcast, which adds a video component.

TuneIn Handles Live Audio Streaming Portion of C-SPAN Now App. Under a new partnership, the deal with C-SPAN makes four news-oriented apps using TuneIn for audio streaming, including the CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC apps. TuneIn chief executive officer Richard Stern comments, “C-SPAN serves a valuable role in bringing an unvarnished look at government proceedings to the general public. TuneIn is excited to be partnering with C-SPAN to provide live and on-demand access to C-SPAN Now users via our live radio streaming technology. All around the world, TuneIn is helping broadcasters and content creators bring their content to new audiences through digital distribution. This unique partnership showcases how TuneIn can both serve as a platform and value-add for media companies.” C-SPAN vice president of digital media Richard Weinstein adds, “C-SPAN Now was designed from the ground up to bring C-SPAN’s mission [of] delivering an unfiltered, high-quality viewing and listening experience of our government’s proceedings to another digital platform and to new audiences. From day one, TuneIn has helped C-SPAN bring compelling American political news to a new generation of digital listeners.”

TALKERS News Notes. Over $365,000 was raised this past Tuesday (11/16) in Audacy Minneapolis news/talk WCCO’s 19th annual “Union Gospel Mission Hunger Radiothon.” The 13-hour event (6:00 am – 7:00 pm) will help to provide over 186,000 meals and care to those in need. WCCO “News Radio 830” brand manager Brad Lane comments, “I couldn’t be prouder of everyone’s hard work on this event. This is yet another great example of how live and local radio can truly help change lives. We’re so grateful that WCCO can partner with Union Gospel Mission and impact the community in such an amazing and rewarding [way].” WCCO hosts spoke with current and past Union Gospel Mission clients, as well as staff members and the charity’s leaders. This year’s $365,000+ brings WCCO’s overall UGM Hunger Radiothon fundraising total to over $3.6 million … For the 12th year in a row, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” and Premiere Networks will give away thousands of turkeys as part of the “Steve Harvey Morning Show Annual Turkey Give.” Nearly 9,000 turkeys will be provided to affiliates of Harvey’s morning radio show to help those less fortunate celebrate Thanksgiving. Giveaways will take place today (Monday, 11/22) and tomorrow (Tuesday, 11/23) in affiliate markets across the country. Nearly 100,000 turkeys have been given away since 2009 when “The Turkey Give” was first launched. Harvey states, “It’s an honor and a privilege for all of us here to help those in need.” … For the past nine years, comedian Jerry Seinfeld has hosted/directed “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee.” In Boston, Buzz Knight Media president Buzz Knight debuts “Takin A Walk,” a podcast in which the consultant records results of his walks with celebrities. “The joy of this project,” he notes, “is that there are no boundaries to the type of guests we can book. We’re excited about this project along with future content creation opportunities.” Forthcoming is a walk-and-talk with historian Doris Kearns Goodwin … Newsmax re-signs Benny Johnson to a multi-year deal and plans to expand his weekend show, “Benny Reports.” Newsmax executive vice president of programming Elliot Jacobson says, “‘Benny Reports’ is a provocative and highly engaging show. Benny’s incisive and humorous commentaries have developed a strong following of Newsmax viewers. We are enthusiastic to grow our relationship with Benny and to expand ‘Benny Reports’ to a full hour show.” … What started as a fun on-air wager last Thursday (11/18) between WAJI “Majic 95.1,” Ft. Wayne (Indiana) on-air hosts Andy Beckman and Kat Walburn turned into “The Andy in the Morning Underwear Run.” Beckman lost the bet and – owing to terms of the agreement – had to do a city run in his underwear this past Saturday (11/20) at Ft. Wayne’s minor league baseball stadium, Parkview Field. The stunt on the Sarkes Tarzian-owned/Mike McVay-consulted adult contemporary outlet wasn’t done strictly for laughs as it benefitted Erin’s House for Grieving Children. Beckman notes, “The goal was to raise awareness and funds for every single Erin’s House family this holiday season.” For nearly 30 years, Erin’s House for Grieving Children has provided a safe, nurturing, and comfortable environment for children to process their grief. They learn how to express their emotions, share their feelings, and reinvest back into their lives.

Dolan Appointed To Libsyn Board. Joining the board of directors of Libsyn (Liberated Syndication) is the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s former president/chief operating officer, Patrick Dolan. Libsyn chief executive officer Bradley Tirpak notes, “[Patrick Dolan] brings decades of digital media experience at for-profit companies, as well as the most important trade organization, the IAB. He has [long been] a supporter of both Libsyn’s business and the podcasting sector overall. As a board member, I know Patrick will contribute significantly to Libsyn’s growth and help position the company to be a go-to-destination for podcasters for all of their needs.” Dolan adds, “I am honored to join Libsyn’s board. As the first podcast hosting company, Libsyn has long been an innovator in the podcast industry; it is an exciting time in the company’s history. I hope to be able to support Libsyn’s platform strategy and development of new value-added services for podcasters.” A former director of business operations at Doubleclick, Dolan most recently has been an executive-in-residence for Progress Partners.

VICE World News Seeks Archival Conservative News/Talk Radio Airchecks for Forthcoming Documentary. The TV arm of VICE World News is producing a four-part documentary series on the history of talk radio, from the 1980s through present day. This series utilizes a combination of original footage with archival materials. The production is currently seeking archival recordings of conservative talk radio programs, particularly from 1989 – 1995, including material that is on tape and not digitized. If you have any archival audio recordings that meet this description, please contact archival producer Elijah Stevens at elijah.stevens@vice.com.

 

 

FOX News Audio Has Talk Show Producer Opening. The FOX News Audio division of Fox News is looking for a creative talk show producer to be part of a growing national radio show and podcast. The talk show producer – based in New York City – will develop and execute ideas, provide strong story selection, book guests, and grow the show, its social media platforms, and website. See more information about this position and apply here.

FOX News Audio Seeks Podcast Producer. There’s an opening for a podcast producer at FOX News Audio. This New York City-based position’s responsibility will be to develop ideas, pitch stories, and work with FOX News Channel talent in crafting daily and weekly podcasts. They will direct bookings, edit shows for broadcast, and work with production teams to create high-quality products every day.  In addition to their production duties, they will also lead creative on social media posts and website write-ups to promote the products. Find out more and apply here.

FOX News Media Has Radio Reporter Opening. The Washington, DC bureau of FOX News is seeking an experienced, full-time reporter. The successful candidate will cover a wide range of political, government, and Congressional stories for FOX News Audio (FOX News Headlines 24/7 and FOX News Terrestrial Radio). You possess strong journalism skills and thrive in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment. Most importantly, you have great editorial judgement and the ability to break important news stories. Find out more about this position and apply here.

Friday, November 19, 2021

| November 19, 2021

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 “Biden Passed Gas” looks back at this past week of 11/15 – 11/19. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dave Ramsey, talk show host/CEO, Ramsey Solutions; Lars Larson, talk show host, Compass Media Networks; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; and Sean Spicer, talk show host, NewsmaxTV. 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; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; 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; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer 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.

Salem Los Angeles Re-Ups Horn In AM Drive. A new contract agreement between Jennifer Horn and Salem Media Group will keep Horn as co-host of “The Morning Answer” on Los Angeles news/talk KRLA “AM 870 The Answer.” Horn and Grant Stinchfield co-host the 6:00 am – 9:00 am show, which is simulcast in the Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario) on Salem’s KTIE “AM 590 The Answer.” Salem vice president of spoken word Phil Boyce remarks, “Waking up Los Angeles is one of the most important jobs in radio – Jen and Grant have figured out the formula. They always have a smile, but can deliver the day’s top news with a dose of reality. Salem is very proud to showcase these hosts.” KRLA & KTIE program director Chuck Tyler notes, “Jen and Grant are the most talented team I have ever had the privilege of working with. They have the rare ability to cover and comment on serious issues, while having some fun at the same time.” Horn adds, “Once in a career you get a golden opportunity and this is it. It has been the ultimate honor working with Salem and our local team to develop a morning show that is making incredible strides in the Los Angeles market. Grant Stinchfield  is the ultimate professional. He brings a background in journalism, a unique perspective, and sense of humor. It’s been so much fun to partner and build chemistry with him.” Newsmax host Stinchfield came aboard to join Horn on KRLA & KTIE six months ago (5/18).

 

Lieberman Lands In The IE as iHM’s Senior VP/Sales. Three-year Townsquare Media Tri-Cities, Washington market president Ryan Lieberman is named senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s five-station cluster in Southern California’s Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario). Lieberman – whose appointment is effective immediately – spent almost two decades with CBS Radio (now Audacy) in both Los Angeles and Chicago. iHeartMedia San Diego, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario president Melissa Forrest states, “We look forward to having Ryan on board. His knowledge, leadership, and passion will be a tremendous addition to the region and to our team.” Lieberman adds, “I am thrilled to return to Southern California as part of the iHeartMedia family by joining the Riverside team. Having spent the better part of my career competing against iHeartMedia, and being envious of how their teams execute marketing solutions for their clients, I’m excited to lend my expertise to an already high-functioning team.” News/talk KFOO “1440 AM Black Information Network” and sports talk KPWK “AM 1350 Fox Sports” are among iHeartMedia’s Inland Empire outlets, as are rhythmic CHR KGGI; rock KTMQ; and alternative KMYT.

 

iHeart Pledges To Create 180 Jobs in Downtown Nashville. The iHeartMedia commitment would generate 180 jobs in downtown Nashville over the next five years. While the company’s “Music City” radio stations (news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 98.3 & 1510”; Black Information Network affiliate WNRQ-HD2; classic rock WNRQ-FM; CHR WRVW; urban contemporary WUBT; and country WSIX) are housed in a separate Music Row facility, the new jobs will be based in the company’s 40,000 square-foot downtown facility, which opened last year. As first reported by the Nashville Business Journal, the Tennessee Funding Board, “unanimously approved a $1.25 million grant to iHeartMedia [yesterday, 11/18]. The company was finalizing a lease as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early-2020.” At the time, iHM was billing the downtown location as a “second headquarters” for its digital division. The state grant reportedly equals 44% of the $2.85 million that iHeartMedia is spending on its Nashville expansion. Per the NBJ article and state records, “The grant will be used for building retrofit, fixture improvements, lease payments, and tenant improvements. A headcount did not become public until Wednesday’s meeting of the Funding Board.” State records indicate that the 180 jobs will pay an average of $51.82 an hour.

Report: WarnerMedia Planning An Audience-Measurement Data Operation. While this would be for television, Variety reports that WarnerMedia is directly targeting Nielsen Holdings, which – of course – has had a stranglehold on the TV ratings business for decades. According to Variety, WarnerMedia is talking to as many as 15 different measurement vendors with expectations it can test possibilities in next year’s first quarter. WarnerMedia data/research chief Andrea Zapata opines to Variety, “There has got to be a better alternative in measurement solutions.” At the same time though, she comments, “Nielsen is definitely a part of our business as usual and can earn a place in our future.” As the James Aycock-written Variety article mentions, “Nielsen has taken a number of hits from its media partners, particularly complaints of mismeasurement during the COVID-19 pandemic that culminated in losing its MRC accreditation.”

Today’s Homeowner Media Acquires On The House Media. After a 35-year home improvement media career, James and Morris Carey (The Carey Brothers, pictured at the right) are retiring to focus on their family remodeling business, and have sold their On The House Media to Today’s Homeowner Media. The final installment of “On The House with the Carey Brothers,” will air on its 100+ affiliates Christmas Day (12/25). Then one week later (1/1/2022), Today’s Homeowner Media will take ownership of On The House Media’s website, digital content, and social channels. Today’s Homeowner Media president/host Danny Lipford comments, “I’m both happy and sad about James and Morris’ decision to hang up their headphones and step down from their 35-year home improvement media career. They are legends in the business and will be missed. I’m glad they’ve enjoyed such a successful run, and grateful that I’m able to carry on their media tradition and legacy. Today’s Homeowner looks forward to featuring their articles, videos, and, hopefully, airing on the many radio stations they’ve earned during their career.” James Carey notes, “Morris and I have been moved by the tremendous outpouring that we have received since announcing our retirement. The positive comments, and expression of gratitude and support have been overwhelming and heartening.” Morris Carey adds, “Danny [Lipford] is a warm, pleasant and knowledgeable guy. I can’t think of anyone to whom I would rather pass on the torch.” Currently in its 13th year, the weekly, two-hour “Today’s Homeowner” is hosted by Lipford and author Joe Truini; it has 320 affiliates.

TALKERS News Notes. Recent Comscore data details continued growth of Newsmax’s online properties, including Newsmax.com. According to Comscore, Newsmax is now the #2 conservative news brand online, behind Fox News. Newsmax reports that its online increase mirrors “tremendous audience growth.” Meanwhile – per Nielsen – Newsmax TV is the fourth-highest-rated cable news channel … Syndicated host Erick Erickson’s annual three-hour “Erick Erickson Christmas Show” combines Erickson’s theological background; conversations about Christmas; and Christmas music. “Christmas is the perfect time to focus on the big picture and not the daily news headlines,” he comments. “[Our] Christmas show is designed so everyone can come together, exhale after a crazy year, and focus on the holidays.” Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM “Atlanta’s News & Talk” is the flagship for “The Erick Erickson Christmas Show,” which is available on a first come/first served basis. It can be broadcast anytime from 6:00 am -12:00 midnight on (Friday) December 24 and (Saturday) December 25 … The five-station Cox Media Group Tampa cluster – which includes news/talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone” – is teaming with Metropolitan Ministries today (Friday, 11/19) to host “Feed The Bay.” All five CMG Tampa outlets are encouraging listeners to donate food items to Metropolitan Ministries’ donation location. Cox Media Group Tampa vice president and market manager Keith Lawless notes, “This is the ninth consecutive year that Cox Media Group Tampa has been a partner with Metropolitan Ministries for the holidays. We are starting to get back to normal, but there is still a tremendous need to feed those in our community.”

U.S. Podcast Report. Top network reports are ranked by average weekly downloads and average weekly users in accordance with v2.1 of the IAB Podcast technical guidelines. They are measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics and cover the reporting period of October 4 – October 31 (2021). Stitcher Media remained first on the top networks report with 39.5 million average weekly downloads/10.7 million average weekly users. It was followed by NPR with 32.3 million average weekly downloads/7.2 million average weekly users. Coming in third was Audacy with 31.8 million average weekly downloads/10.2 million average weekly users. Among the top twenty networks, new podcast network ViacomCBS ranked ninth in average weekly downloads/tenth in average weekly users. New shows debuting this period include “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah: Ears Edition” (ViacomCBS); “Over My Dead Body” (Wondery); “Fantasy Football Today” (Viacom CBS); and “The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe” (Audioboom). Full results of the U.S. Podcast Report can be seen at https://www.tritondigital.com/resources/podcast-reports.

IBA, Vipology Sign Multiyear Extension. The pact with the Independent Broadcasters Association retains Vipology as IBA’s exclusive digital consultant and partner. In its first year, Vipology created the IBA’s member site; scheduled/moderated over 60 info-webinars; and handled IBA’s national contesting. Independent Broadcasters Association chief executive officer Ron Stone comments, “There would be no IBA without Vipology’s vision, technology, and execution. I’m thrilled to continue to have Vipology on-board to advise and provide the best digital products and services.” Vipology chief executive officer Chris Peaslee notes, “We are thrilled to continue to work with the IBA; dedicated to the digital success of the IBA and its members; and offering the latest digital solutions at the industry’s lowest prices. We’re proud to be standing side-by-side with  Ron [Stone] and IBA members.” The IBA was established last year (July 2020) to serve the needs of independent radio stations and groups across the country; it represents a membership base of 1,500 stations.

California Combo Rebrands From VPR To KVPR. As of this past Wednesday (11/17), Valley Public Radio (NPR affiliate) news/talk-classical KVPR, Fresno and KPRX, Bakersfield rebrands from “VPR” to “KVPR” and has a new logo. A driving force for the switch was a conflict with Vermont Public Radio, which uses the “VPR” name, as well. KVPR president and general manager Joe Moore states that, “Over the years, we’ve gone by so many different names – ‘KVPR,’ ‘FM-89,’ ‘VPR,’ ‘KPRX,’ ‘Valley Public Radio,’ and ‘NPR.’ It has led to clutter, and at times confusion. As more and more users access our content online, ‘FM-89’ has proven to be less than adequate as a name for the station. There are multiple ‘FM-89s’ across the country, and the term isn’t really relevant for non-broadcast content.” The rebranding includes a renaming of its Audiophile Magazine to the KVPR Magazine.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

| August 17, 2021

Ramsey Solutions’ Film Borrowed Future Debuts on October 14. The first documentary film from Ramsey Solutions will premiere on digital platforms on October 14. Titled, “Borrowed Future: How Student Loan Debt Is Killing the American Dream,” and produced by Dave Ramsey, it “uncovers the dark side of the student loan industry, exposes how it’s built to work against the 45 million Americans currently in debt for their education, and shows that it’s possible to beat the student loan system.” The film is directed by David DiCicco and features experts such as Seth Godin, Dave Ramsey, Seth Frotman, Kristina Ellis, Dr. John Delony and Anthony ONeal, as well as CEO of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, Mike Rowe. The main subjects of the documentary are college graduates who owe between $9,000 and $1 million in student loan debt, a debt-free college graduate, and high schoolers who haven’t yet questioned the norm of student loans. DiCicco says, “This film is a warning for kids and teenagers who aren’t victims of the student loan industry yet. I want viewers to walk away from this film with eyes wide open to the true cost of student loans. Teens need to know that they can have the American Dream — they just shouldn’t listen to America on how to get it.” Dave Ramsey adds, “The student loan problem is out of control, and it’s messed up millions of lives. Smart young people got sucked into a false narrative about what success looks like, and it’s left them paralyzed. It’s time to call the student loan industry what it is: an epic failure.” See more about the film here.

Phil Valentine Update: Family Says He Remains in ‘Grave Condition.’ The status of WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” afternoon drive talk host Phil Valentine has not improved as his family provided an update last night (8/16) asking his fans to “pray for a miracle” as he remains in “grave condition.” Valentine contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and initially Valentine told his listeners that while he was pretty sick, he believed he was “on the other side of it.” His family revealed on July 22 that he’d been hospitalized and was eventually put on a ventilator due to his suffering from COVID pneumonia. Although Valentine had expressed concerns over the safety of the vaccines and disagreed with mask mandates, his family says he was never an “anti-vaxxer,” but he does regret not being more “pro-vaccine.” His family is urging his fans to get vaccinated.

Salem Media Group Promotes Jamie Cohen to SVP of Broadcast Digital. Digital media pro Jamie Cohen is promoted to senior vice president, broadcast digital for Salem Media Group. The company says that in his new role he’ll oversee all aspects of the digital operations for Salem’s local and national/network digital efforts. Salem Broadcast Media president David Santrella comments, “Jamie has done a tremendous job building Salem’s digital enterprise for our local stations. Overseeing all aspects of our digital operations, both locally and nationally, will open more channels of opportunity and unify our efforts in reaching our audiences through digital avenues and monetizing our digital assets.” Cohen says, “I’m proud of the progress we’ve made and am bullish on our future. With the emergence of platforms like Salem Now, the Salem Podcast Network and other innovations, our audience has never been bigger. We have an amazing opportunity ahead of us and I can’t think of a better place to be.”

Phil Cianciola to Host Mornings on WOSH-AM, Oshkosh. Radio pro Phil Cianciola is named morning drive host for Cumulus Media’s WOSH-AM, Oshkosh, Wisconsin “NewsTalk 1490,” effective August 23. The station says, “It is important for WOSH that we retain a local voice in mornings and provide a show that will be uniquely Oshkosh. We wanted to find someone who would get what Oshkosh and the Valley are all about and would be able to entertain our listeners while also providing the news and community information that matters most. That’s a lot to ask of someone, but we’re confident that Phil fits our needs perfectly.” During his career Cianciola has served at Milwaukee news/talk outlets WISN and WTMJ. He comments, “I believe in LOCAL radio. The magic of radio is the relationships we build with listeners over the air. It’s all I’ve ever done. I guess you could say radio is in my blood.”

Brian Hauswirth Named News Director at KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri. News pro Brian Hauswirth joins Zimmer Communications to serve as news director for news/talk KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri “93.9 The Eagle.” In this role, he becomes the newest member of the “Wake Up Columbia” morning drive program. Zimmer Communications operations manager Jeremy Washington states, “We’re thrilled to have Brian Hauswirth be part of our Zimmer News Network. Brian shares our vision for excellence in broadcasting and will strongly enhance our award-winning local news coverage in Mid-Missouri.” Hauswirth most recently served with Missourinet where he was a senior capitol reporter, covering the Missouri statehouse in Jefferson City. His radio station experience includes time spent working at KMZU, Carrollton; KTRS, St. Louis; and KRES-KWIX, Moberly. In addition to his new role, Hauswirth will continue his 23rd season as a college football scoreboard host at Learfield, where he handles the updates for five major colleges across the nation, including Mizzou, Alabama, Texas Tech, Purdue, and Wyoming.

Audacy and Urban One Enter into Digital Platform Relationship. A content distribution partnership between Audacy and Urban One will put audio from the latter’s 57 stations in 13 markets onto the Audacy digital platform. Audacy VP of business development Corey Podolsky comments, “This partnership underscores our unwavering commitment to amplifying diverse voices and delivering premier audio content to the communities in which we serve. We’re delighted to unite with a power player in the audio space to expand and enhace our content offering and add dozens of dynamic brands to our library.”

iHeartMedia Launches Progressive Podcast Network Cool Zone Media. The launch of Cool Zone Media will highlight “vital voices often overlooked in today’s rapidly changing political landscape,” according to iHeartMedia. The progressive podcast network is being powered by investigative journalist and podcaster Robert Evans. The company says Cool Zone Media will provide an “in-depth look at topics including climate change, the Capitol insurrection, and uncovering QAnon – offering listeners a place unique from others in the political sphere by melding media and politics with storytelling.” The network debuts with the first episode of the new daily podcast, “It Could Happen Here,” that focuses on climate change and picks up where Evans’ 10-episode weekly podcast by the same name left off. Evans, who is serving as the head of content for Cool Zone Media, will be joined by the iHeartPodcast Network’s executive producer, Sophie Lichterman, who will become Cool Zone Media’s head of creative, to help curate and elevate other vital voices in today’s progressive political landscape for the network.

TALKERS News Notes. Canton radio stations WHBC-AM “News/Talk 1480” and WHBC-FM “Mix 94.1” wrapped their 14th Annual Aultcare Wish-a-thon to benefit Wishes Can Happen on Friday August 13 and the Alpha Media outlets helped raise a record $334,928. The charity grants wishes to children with severe and terminal illnesses in Northeast Ohio. The record number was an increase of almost $145,000 over last year’s event, thanks in large part to the many businesses, individuals and foundations who stepped up…..PodcastOne announces it has secured the exclusive sales and distribution rights for B-Real’s “Dr. Greenthumb” podcast and the sales rights to the show in its vodcast form. “Dr. Greenthumb” launched in January of 2020 as a program dedicated to all things entertainment, music, and cannabis and now has more than 300 recorded episodes to date that include guests such as Tommy Chong, George Lopez, Tony Hawk, Matt Barnes, John Sally and Ricky Williams. B-Real says, “PodcastOne has set the bar for what podcasts have become. With their amazing roster of shows, best-in-class distribution and advertising approach, there is no other platform for the ‘Dr. Greenthumb’ podcast. I am excited to partner with Norm Pattiz and the PodcastOne family.”…..Pictured below are staffers from the Audacy Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina operations celebrating their honors from the 2021 State Television and Radio (STAR) Awards presented by the South Carolina Broadcasters Association. News/talk WYRD-FM “106.3 WORD” was honored with four STAR Awards including: Radio Station of the Year, Radio Personality of the Year (Tara Servatius), Best News Talk Show (Tara Servatius), and Production PSA.

Benztown West Coast Commercial Production Director Jeff Kelly Dies at 50. The company announces the untimely death of Jeff Kelly, who had joined Benztown in January as West Coast Commercial Production Director. Kelly passed away unexpectedly on August 13 at the age of 50. He and his fiancé had recently moved to L.A. to work with the Benztown team in its Glendale studios. Benztown president Dave “Chachi” Denes says, “We are deeply saddened we were not able to spend more time with Jeff and we will miss him very much. Jeff was incredibly energized and excited about working for Benztown and his recent move to L.A. from Albuquerque, and his positive attitude and tremendous talents were inspiring. His production, writing and VO skills were among the very best in the business and I am incredibly grateful for his contributions to our company, the Commercial Production Department and YamanAir.”

Biden on Taliban in Afghanistan, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, New Trump Book, Western Drought/Wildfires, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/16). President Joe Biden defends his Afghanistan pullout amidst the Taliban’s resurgence and the social chaos; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the rate of vaccination, and mask mandates for schoolchildren; the new book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa titled, Peril, that chronicles the final days of the Donald Trump administration; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom heats up were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

| July 21, 2021

Pete Kaliner Returns to WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte for Early Afternoon Show. North Carolina talk radio personality Pete Kaliner is joining Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte as host of the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show, effective July 26. Kaliner, who has been hosting afternoon drive at iHeartMedia’s news/talk WWNC, Asheville, returns to the station where he spent a dozen years as news reporter and talk show host. Radio One Charlotte regional VP and market manager Marsha Landress says, “For three decades, ‘Noon to 3’ has been synonymous with an icon that is irreplaceable. We know that no one will ever replace Rush, and we’re not attempting to replace him. Bringing Pete Kaliner back to WBT represents our commitment to serving this community by utilizing his decades of experience in covering national issues and how they affect us here. We are excited by the future that having Pete on this team brings.” Kaliner says, “Returning to WBT is somewhat surreal, as it has been such a huge part of my life. Being a part of WBT for all those years meant being a part of Charlotte’s unique and inspiring story. WBT and Charlotte are inextricably connected by a century of history. I am sincerely humbled and honored to be entrusted to help contribute to the next chapters.” The station adds, “And, just as WBT has supported the community of Charlotte for over 99 years, Pete will join in this commitment to service by raising awareness to anti-poverty and animal welfare organizations as WBT approaches its Centennial celebration in 2022.”

Larry Elder Sues California Secretary of State for Keeping Him Off Recall Ballot. In a suit filed in California Superior Court, Salem Radio Network talk show host Larry Elder complains that California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has improperly applied the state’s election code that requires candidates for governor submit five years of tax returns. Elder is among a number of people who filed as a candidate in the September 14 recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom. Elder’s suit says that he fully complied with the code that requires filing of the tax returns and was informed by the Secretary of State that everything appeared to be in order and therefore the state’s Elections Code says it’s incumbent on the Secretary of State to correct any redacting errors that might have occurred. Further, Elder says the law requiring the filing of tax returns specifically applies only to “direct primary elections” so it’s debatable whether it applies to recall elections at all. Additionally, the way the law is being applied does not require Gavin Newsom to file his returns and this, Elder argues, violates his equal protection rights under California’s Constitution. Read the court filing here.

TALKERS Founder Michael Harrison Guests on 11th Episode of Limbaugh Tribute Podcast Series – Premiere Networks and EIB Network Presenting ‘Rush Limbaugh: The Man Behind the Golden EIB Microphone’ Podcast Series. This 12-episode podcast series is narrated by Rush Limbaugh’s longtime call-screener and “official show observer” James Golden, a.k.a., Bo SnerdleyPremiere Networks says, “The 12-episode series details legendary radio host Rush Limbaugh’s award-winning, 30-plus year career in radio that revitalized the spoken-word format and provided a platform for him to develop and lead modern conservatism in America. Featuring Limbaugh’s own words and never-before-heard stories shared by colleagues, friends and family, the series gives listeners a guided tour of the five-time Marconi Award winner’s historic journey from Cape Girardeau, Missouri to becoming the number one talk radio host in America. The series will also highlight Limbaugh’s lasting legacy.” Golden says, “The only blessing greater than working with Rush was knowing the man that he truly was. It is not only my honor, but also my duty, to help ensure his legacy is properly acknowledged. I want to thank Premiere Networks and the EIB Network for allowing me this profound opportunity.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “It is gratifying to share this incredible series with millions of Rush Limbaugh fans. Those who knew Rush best are providing an insider’s look at his life and career, presenting a true celebration and tribute to the greatest talk radio host of all time.” Michael Harrison states, “I am honored to be part of this magnificent project. Congratulations to the entire team at Premiere including the production wizards Phil Tower and Chris Kelly for their superb craftsmanship.” You can listen to the first 11 installments of this historic 12 part series including the latest featuring Michael Harrison and Salem Media Group VP Phil Boyce titled, “Talkers,” by clicking here.

TTWN Expands Relationship with The JOY FM. The Total Traffic and Weather Network announces an expanded newswire content partnership with The JOY FM. Under the agreement, TTWN will provide news, sports, show-prep and audio content via its 24/7 News Source wire service to The JOY FM’s 14 radio stations across Georgia, Florida and Alabama. TTWN says that with a completely redesigned all-in-one broadcast interface, 24/7 News Source provides its affiliate partners with market-customized text and audio news, weather, sports, and entertainment updates, including format-specific content and show-prep, plus the ability to instantly click-n-share stories via social media. TTWN SVP of affiliate sales Jack Dunkle says, “TTWN delivers custom solutions for all formats to meet our affiliate partners’ needs, including more than 200 Christian Radio affiliates.  We’re excited to expand our partnership with The JOY FM to provide more of their stations with trusted, premium newsroom content.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM is hiring Hollywood entertainment reporter Sam Rubin to contribute show biz reports to Steve Bertrand’s afternoon drive program on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Rubin is based at Nexstar’s KTLA-TV, Los Angeles and he also contributes to the NewsNation cable channel. WGN-AM vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle tells staffers, “These added resources help WGN report and tell stories that other audio platforms can’t deliver.”…..Compass Media Networks unveils the lineup of NFL games that it will make available to radio stations this season. The season starts on September 9 with the Dallas Cowboys at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Compass Media Networks says the schedule will feature a double-header every Sunday for all 18 weeks of the regular season along with full coverage of the Dallas Cowboys and Las Vegas Raiders…..3G Broadcasting’s WADK-AM, Newport, Rhode Island adds a translator to its broadcast at 101.1 FM. Station owner Bonnie Gomes says WADK can now operate 24 hours and they’ll be rounding out the program schedule soon. “We’ll make the announcement as our programming increases, but we’re still going to be the source for wide, local news, and a resource to the community. That’s who we are, we’re not going to change.”…..The Undefeated columnist, commentator and host Clinton Yates is leading a new The Undefeated and ESPN podcast, “Black History Always,” produced by Roj Grobes, beginning July 28. Yates says, “With ‘Black History Always,’ we’re looking to remind people that who we are as a culture is a living, breathing entity in all parts of American society. It’s not just history books and social media. The humans who make up the fabric and backbone of this country aren’t all superstars or slaves. We contain multitudes and everyone deserves to be heard. So, tune in.”…..RAB announces that the deadline for entries for the 2021 Radio Mercury Awards has been extended to August 23. For more information and to register, click here.

Jiggy Jaguar Interviews Stars at Exxxotica Conference. Pictured above is Transmedia World Wide talk host James “Jiggy Jaguar” Lowe (center) at last weekend’s Exxxotica conference in Chicago interviewing two adult film stars for his radio program.

COVID-19/Paul-Fauci Battle, Infrastructure Bill, Critical Race Theory, Trump Books/Trump and the GOP, Bezos Space Flight/Philanthropic Awards, Western Drought and Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/20). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in all 50 U.S. states, vaccine hesitancy, and the Senate floor accusations between Senator Rand Paul and Dr. Tony Fauci; the status of Joe Biden’s infrastructure bill and Republicans’ plans to kill debate and negotiate a new bill; the ongoing backlash against teaching critical race theory in schools; the various books detailing the final year of the Trump administration and Donald Trump’s relationship with the GOP; Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ space flight and his awarding $100 million to CNN’s Van Jones and chef Jose Andres; and the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.