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Monday, April 4, 2022

| April 4, 2022

Larry Elder Exits Salem Radio Network Talk Show. Longtime Salem Radio Network personality Larry Elder exits his role as host of his eponymous nationally syndicated talk program, effective immediately. Salem Media Group says that Elder has decided to move on from the Salem Radio Network after a six-year run hosting the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET program and that it expects to announce a replacement for Elder in this slot very soon. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Larry is an icon as a radio talk show host and is a powerful voice as a leading black conservative, and we wish him all the best in his future endeavors. I hope there will be future opportunities for us to work together.” Boyce adds that this was “completely, 100% Larry’s decision.” Salem continues to be a major platform for Elder’s documentaries like Uncle Tom, released two years ago, and will be providing a platform for the sequel, Uncle Tom 2, coming out in a few months. SalemNow.Com will be hosting that movie, as it did in the past. During Elder’s three-month hiatus to run for governor California in the recall election of Gavin Newsom, Orlando-based personality Carl Jackson hosted Elder’s program. Jackson will resume hosting the show for the foreseeable future. Jackson says, “It was an honor for me to sit in Larry’s chair last summer for a few months, and it will be another honor to continue his tradition on the radio now.”

 

Monday Memo: Good News. Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “pandemic/inflation/Ukraine-weary listeners NEED some” and, in his view, “many syndicated shows earn news/talk radio a reputation for negativity” which local content can balance, “something listeners will appreciate, and advertisers will notice.” In this week’s column, HC links to video examples that illustrate. Read more here.

 

Pending Business: The Talk Radio Metaverse. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa asks you to imagine a political debate game in the metaverse in which “players pick political parties, moderators, topics, questions, debaters, venue and media coverage.” Now imagine this town hall debate in the metaverse will include advertisers and sponsors. He says, “The gaming wizards are a new generation more comfortable with commercial integration and the flexibility of working towards content that is profitable at all levels. There is a lot to be learned here. If you can open your thinking to the future, you could be in for a fun and energetic exchange in your next sales meeting.” Read more here.

 

Andrea Darlas to Host Arts & Entertainment Podcast for WLS-AM, Chicago. Chicago media personality Andrea Darlas is hosting a new podcast for Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM called “Show and Tell with Andrea Darlas.” The weekly local arts and entertainment podcast will showcase the hottest cultural experiences in the Chicago area, including new plays, musicals, museum exhibits and more. Darlas is currently senior director of constituent engagement for the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, based at the Illini Center in Chicago. She was a news anchor and reporter at WGN Radio for more than 22 years and a news reporter and weekend break/features reporter for WGN-TV for 10 years. She currently is a regular contributor to WGN-AM, WLS-AM, WCPT-AM, WCIU-TV, and the nationally syndicated home improvement TV show “House Smarts,” as well as other radio and TV shows/programs across Chicago. Cumulus Media says this new podcast will present “Chicago arts and entertainment news and information at its best, curated by one of the most trusted and well-known media figures in Chicagoland. Each week, listeners get a backstage pass to every experience and show Darlas covers, with insights and information typically reserved for arts and entertainment insiders. Darlas will interview actors and actresses, curators and docents, organizers and artists, producers, directors, stars – and everyone in between. Darlas comments, “I am so excited to bring my love for theatre, musicals, museums, arts and culture – and all things Chicago – to the legendary Big 89! I want the WLS listeners to have their very own immersive ‘backstage pass’ to the arts and entertainment community – in the greatest city in the world!”

 

 

Bill O’Reilly Appears at Live Event for Affiliate WLS-AM, Chicago. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality Bill O’Reilly – whose program “The Bill O’Reilly Update” is syndicated by Key Networks – appeared at the Genesee Theatre in suburban Waukegan, Illinois on March 31 for a live Q&A event produced by affiliate WLS-AM, Chicago. Pictured above at the event are (from l-r): Dennis Green, COO, Key Networks; Jeff Hill, director of sales, Cumulus Media Chicago; O’Reilly; Marv Nyren, vice president/market manager, Cumulus Chicago;  Stephanie Tichenor, program director, WLS-AM; and Bruce St. James, morning host, WLS-AM.

 

Midday Shows Flip at WMVP-AM, Chicago. Windy City media writer Robert Feder reports that sports talk WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” is flipping its midday programs, effective today. The Good Karma Brands station is moving “Carmen & Jurko” – Carmen DeFalco and John “Jurko” Jurkovic to the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot and the station will air Mike Greenberg’s ESPN Radio program “Greeny” from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. WMVP program director Danny Zederman says, “We are very excited for the future and the new station lineup.”

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Hunter Biden Investigation, COVID-19, Gas Prices/Inflation, January 6 Committee, Deadly Sacramento Shooting, Jackson Confirmation Vote, and the Grammys Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and accusations of war crimes against Vladimir Putin’s military; the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation into Hunter Biden’s international business ventures; relaxing mandates across the U.S. and concerns about new sub-variants sparking a new wave of cases; the still-high price of gas at the pump and the high cost of consumer retail goods; the January 6 committee’s recent testimony from Jared Kushner; the shooting in Sacramento that left six dead and 12 wounded and precipitated calls for gun control from President Joe Biden; this week’s confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; and Sunday evening’s Grammy Awards ceremony were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

| February 8, 2022

Beasley Broadcast Group Reports 2021 Q4 Net Revenue Up 3.3%. Reporting its financial data from the fourth quarter of 2021, Beasley Broadcast Group reveals net revenue was $70.7 million, an increase of 3.3% over the same period in 2020 that the company says primarily reflects “a year-over-year increase in audio and digital advertising revenue and other revenue due to the continued recovery of the commercial advertising market from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, partially offset by a decrease in political revenue.” For the whole of 2021, Beasley reports net revenue of $241.4 million compared to net revenue of $206.1 million for all of 2020. The company reports operating income of $6.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2021 compared to operating income of $19.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2020. The decrease largely reflects higher operating expenses related to its digital agency build out, and the return of certain expenses that had been reduced in 2020 due to temporary measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley comments, “Beasley delivered a strong finish to a solid year of operating and financial performance, as the strength of our content and continuing improvement in advertising trends, combined with the ongoing success of our digital transformation and revenue diversification strategies, continue to fuel our recovery. Throughout the year, we made significant progress on our near-term goal of returning all of our revenue sources to pre-pandemic levels, as reflected by the 17% increase in full-year net revenues to $241 million. Top-line growth was the primary factor contributing to a 75% year-over-year increase in Station Operating Income to $42 million. Overall, we believe these results demonstrate the strength and relevance of our industry-leading audio content and our teams’ extraordinary efforts to serve our listeners, customers and communities through challenging circumstances. Growing consumer and advertiser demand for Beasley’s digital audio content drove a 47.3% year-over-year increase in digital revenue, with digital accounting for 15% of total fourth quarter revenue. Notably, our digital network delivered record digital audience impressions for the third consecutive quarter, with total digital impressions growing 20% over third quarter 2021 levels and 39% over the prior year period. Total outstanding debt as of December 31, 2021 was $300 million and we had $51.4 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand. Our strong liquidity position enables us to make debt repayments while providing us with increased financial flexibility to pursue a potential acquisition or investment within the digital space, should an opportunity arise that could accelerate our digital growth or provide synergies and increased free cash flow.”

Melissa Rapp Named SVP of Affiliate Sales for Key Networks. Media sales pro Melissa Rapp is named senior vice president, affiliate sales for Key Networks. Rapp was most recently with SDS as vice president of sales. During her career she’s also served with vCreative and MediaSpan Online Services and has held sales positions at several radio stations. Key Networks COO Dennis Green says, “As we continue to build a best-in-class organization at Key Networks, we are delighted to welcome Melissa Rapp to lead our affiliation efforts. Melissa has extensive contacts in the industry, understands broadcasters’ needs and has the confidence from affiliates that she will deliver best-in-class products and services for their stations.” Rapp comments, “I’ve known Key Networks CEO Rob Koblasz and COO Dennis Green for many years, and I’m thrilled to finally have the opportunity to work with them. My passion has always been to help stations be more efficient and serve their communities with the best possible product. It’s a great time to be in radio and a grand time to represent the premium talent and programming at Key Networks!”

Carl Jackson Podcast Joins Salem Podcast Network. The host who filled in for Larry Elder during his hiatus from radio to run for governor of California in September’s recall election is getting his podcast added to Salem Media Group’s Salem Podcast Network. Carl Jackson’s eponymous podcast launched yesterday (2/7) with new episodes dropping each weekday. In addition to subbing for Elder, Jackson has also been regularly heard on WORL-AM, Orlando “AM 950 The Answer.” Salem VP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Carl Jackson has an amazing story, and every day on this podcast he will be telling it. When Larry Elder took his leave of absence to run for California governor, Carl took over and never missed a beat. He is smart, articulate, and fearless.” Jackson comments, “I’m absolutely humbled and excited to be a part of the team on the Salem Podcast Network. This opportunity is proof that the American Dream is alive and well when you work hard. I look forward to reaching a new audience with this podcast that will help me fight to save America as we know it.”

NRG Media Promotes Jim Smith to COO. Media executive Jim Smith is promoted to chief operating officer at NRG Media, LLC. Smith has served the company as chief financial officer for the past 14 years. NRG says Smith will continue to oversee the financial component of NRG Media as the company’s CFO but will add leading the operational oversight of NRG’s nine markets and 38 radio stations throughout the Midwest in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and Wisconsin to his duties. NRG Media president and CEO Mary Quass says, “Jim understands the importance of NRG’s mission to provide great local radio and plays an instrumental role in leading the company through operational challenges created by the pandemic over the last two years.”

‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ Tops Edison Research’s Podcast Chart. This chart of the top 50 podcasts in the U.S. from Edison Research is based on Edison’s Podcast Consumer Tracking Report, which Edison says is the only podcast measurement service that measures the relative audience size and demographics of all podcast networks and is also the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads. For the fourth quarter of 2021, Spotify’s “The Joe Rogan Experience” ranked #1, followed by The New York Times’ “The Daily” at #2 and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” at #3. Edison says its podcast chart “is derived from data collected continuously Q1 2021 – Q4 2021, from surveying weekly podcast consumers ages 18 and older in the U.S. Participants indicate which podcasts they listened to in the past week along with a variety of demographic, psychographic, and purchase behavior information.” Subscribers include SXM Media, Google, NPR, Spotify, Wondery, ESPN/ABC/Disney, WarnerMedia, and more. You can see the complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM news anchor Mariam Sobh is launching a new podcast titled, “News with a Bite,” in collaboration with former WGN-AM programmer Todd Manley of EarSight Studios. Feder writes, “In addition to highlighting news headlines with Sobh’s commentary, the podcast features sketches, comedy songs and in-depth interviews with a variety of guests.”…..AdLarge announces the addition of the “Late Night Drive with Ellie Schnitt” podcast to its ad sales portfolio. The podcast expands on health and wellness content, specifically focusing on mental health, love, and navigating adult life. Schnitt is the former host of the popular Barstool Sports podcast, “Schnitt Talk.”…..The Nebraska Broadcasters Association will enshrine Rick Alloway, Gary Kerr and Neil Nelkin into its Hall of Fame at a celebration scheduled for August 9 in Lincoln, during the 87th Annual NBA Convention. Rick Alloway worked for KFOR, Lincoln from 1972-1984 as an announcer, producer, promotions director and operations manager. Nelkin’s career includes work as an announcer, talk show host, program director, operations manager, station manager and co-owner. He continues to stay active in Omaha radio, at both NRG Media and at Walnut Media.

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19/Freedom Convoy, SCOTUS Redistricting Decision, Spotify-Joe Rogan Controversy, January 6 Investigation/Trump Documents Question, and Beijing Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/7). The diplomatic tensions over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, the loosening of mask mandates, and the Canadian truckers’ Freedom Convoy; the Supreme Court sides with the Alabama GOP over its new congressional map; the ongoing controversy over Spotify’s PR maneuvers with podcaster Joe Rogan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and allegations that former President Donald Trump tore up documents related to the day’s events; and the Beijing Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

| October 12, 2021

Colorado Talk Host Jeff Crank Exits KVOR-AM Over Vaccine Mandate. Refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine to comply with Cumulus Media’s company-wide mandate, KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs talk host Jeff Crank has been let go from the station for his stand. The Colorado Times Recorder reports that Crank calls the mandate “unethical and immoral.” He posted to his Facebook page: “Recently Cumulus Media – which owns KVOR – instituted a forced employee vaccination policy nationwide. While I am not anti-vaccination, I am anti-tyranny and I told them that I find their policy unethical and immoral. I’ve already had coronavirus. I discussed the vaccine with my doctor, and he recommended that I not take the vaccine at this time as there was very little risk to me contracting COVID and even less risk of having severe complications from COVID. I’m going to make my medical decisions after consultation with my doctor – and it won’t be forced onto me by the CEO of a company that I’ve never met or knows nothing about me. One day our country will look back on this time in our history with shame – that we live in a country where you can be forced to go against your doctor’s best medical judgment in order to feed your family.” Crank says he’ll launch a podcast to continue his program.

Columbia PD/Host Tim Hill Ousted from ‘107.5 The Game’ for Vaccine Refusal. Programming and sports talk pro Tim Hill was let go from his position as program director and co-host of “The Early Game” morning show on Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds. As noted in the story above, Cumulus issued a company-wide mandate that staffers return to the offices and be vaccinated by October 11. The State reports that Hill said, “Various religious reasons and the lack of any long-term studies have led me to this decision. I don’t know what medical decisions are right for others. Others don’t know what medical decisions are right for me. I felt like I had to stand up for it. I have three boys and tell them to stand up for what they believe in. It is my job to teach them that. I felt like it was a test in some way. That is what I stuck with. So, that is why it wasn’t a difficult decision from my perspective.” Hill told the paper that as a Catholic, he looked to the Catholic Medical Association which said it “opposed mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscience or religious exemptions.” He said, “If you have a sincerely held religious belief, then it becomes a matter of reasonable accommodation. They said they couldn’t reasonably accommodate me. I offered to wear a mask or do the show from where our producer does it, or from home. They thought none of that was reasonable.”

Salem Addresses Larry Elder Recall Run During C-Suite Presentation. Executives from Salem Media Group recently sat down with Noble Capital Markets senior research analyst Michael Kupinski to talk about the state of the company’s business. Salem Media CEO Edward Atsinger, president – broadcast media Dave Santrella, president – interactive and publishing David Evans, and EVP & CFO Evan Masyr appeared during the interview and Santrella addressed how Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder’s run for governor in California’s recent recall election has affected his program. Santrella said, “First off, it provided us with the opportunity to give a platform to another new talent, Carl Jackson, who has a great story and a great testimony… so we’re excited we have him now and I would anticipate we’ll keep some sort of relationship with Carl.” Santrella said Elder is still on his 30-day leave after the election and will return at the end of this month. “There’s no doubt it’s risen his popularity and we think ultimately that will be good for us because it will probably increase the number of people that are anxious to have him on their radio station and increase our affiliate numbers.”

WVON, Chicago Adds Buchanan to Afternoon Show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting is bringing host, podcaster, and political analyst Atiba Buchanan aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Kimberley Egonmwan. Buchanan takes over for Matt McGill who is expected to launch a new program on the station in the near future. Buchanan previously served with the station as a producer for Cliff Kelley. Buchanan says, “I could not be more honored or humbled to join such a storied tradition that is so vital to the well-being of the city of Chicago in general and to the Black community specifically.”

WABC, New York Broadcasts from Columbus Day Parade. Pictured above broadcasting from the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis, owner of WABC and Red Apple Media; Edward Salzano, business consultant to WABC; and Frank Morano, host of “The Other Side of Midnight” and co-host of the “77 WABC Early News.” The station launched yesterday’s coverage of the parade with a press conference on Friday (10/8) from the Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. A video stream of the entire broadcast was presented in television style online via a platform dubbed WABCRadio.TV.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “I was knocked out by the professional set and execution of a ‘television show’ mounted by the WABC staff during the parade that was very similar to how these things are historically handled by local TV stations.  John Catsimatidis and company are to be congratulated for providing the industry with a superb demonstration of the emerging concept of the ‘media station’ that will change the game over the next few years, for sure.”

ABC Audio Names Liz Alesse Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming. After leading ABC Audio’s podcast team for the past 11 months, Liz Alesse is named to the permanent position of director and executive producer of podcast programming. ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku tells fellow staffers in a memo: “Liz has already been able to leverage her understanding of the news division and relationships across the platforms on behalf of ABC Audio, working on recent podcasts including ‘In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson’ and ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.’ She has big plans for the unit, including adding new titles and seasons to our existing podcast library. Liz is a skilled producer in the control room, edit bay and in the field. She most recently served as a supervising producer with the Pennsylvania Avenue unit. While in that role, Liz took on special assignments that included leading site production of the spin room at the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary debate and the two presidential town halls in Philadelphia. Liz began her career at ABC News in 2015. At ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos,’ she managed the team and oversaw production and operations for the show, and even served as interim executive producer.”

Sports Betting Station Launches in St. Louis on WGNU-AM. In  deal with DraftKings-owned VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, WGNU-AM/K283CI, St. Louis flips from Gospel to a sports betting format. “The Game” will air content from VSiN and feature morning talk personalities Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard, sports betting analytics expert Gill Alexander, former pro football executive Michael Lombardi and sportscasting legend Brent Musburger. WGNU consultant Bill Moir comments, “We’re thrilled to introduce the St. Louis metro area to this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk. Sports betting education as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN, is a perfect choice for WGNU. We’re excited to be the St. Louis home of VSiN.”

COVID-19, Inflation/Gas Prices/Supply Chain Woes, Border Crisis, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Gruden Resigns from Raiders Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s edict outlawing mandates; the soaring price of gasoline, inflation, and the dearth of goods as a result of the global supply chain troubles; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s handling of the problem; the status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; China’s ongoing military aggression toward Taiwan; and Jon Gruden resigns from the Las Vegas Raiders after racist emails are made public were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

| September 22, 2021

Larry Elder to Return to Salem Radio Network Show Next Month. It’s been more than a week since the California recall election that Governor Gavin Newsom won by a two-to-one margin. Top Republican vote-getter Larry Elder has not yet returned to his nationally syndicated Salem Radio Network talk show that airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET. As TALKERS readers are aware, Elder took leave of his show to run in the recall election and Carl Jackson is hosting the program in his absence. SRN SVP spoken word format Phil Boyce says in a statement, “Larry is taking an additional 30 days to de-compress after a grueling run for governor of California. He plans to be back on the radio for Salem on or about October 18.  He wishes to thank all of his affiliates who supported him during this trying time, and he assures them when he comes back, he will be on fire and ready to save America once again.” At this morning’s editorial meeting, several TALKERS staffers raised the question as to why Elder wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to get back on the air as quickly as possible to capitalize on the current buzz generated by his good showing among the GOP field. After all, in an era of short-term attention span, one must strike while the iron is hot. If he had been elected, he hopefully wouldn’t have taken a month off to recuperate. Salem has been extremely supportive of Elder and his campaign. Is there something else at play here?

Dennis Glasgow to Program iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC. Radio programming pro Dennis Glasgow is the new program director for iHeartMedia’s Washington, DC talk station “104.7 WONK-FM” (WWDC-HD2/W284CQ). Glasgow was most recently with Capitol Broadcasting where he was vice president of operations and program director for three sports stations including WCMC-FM, Raleigh. iHeartMedia regional SVP of programming for Washington and Baltimore Jeff Kapugi comments, “As a veteran in sports and news radio, Dennis brings an unparalleled set of skills and experience to WONK-FM. We are thrilled to have him as part of the Washington, D.C. team!” Glasgow says, “It’s an exciting time to be at WONK in Washington, DC. I am looking forward to creating meaningful and informative content for D.C.’s insiders and thought leaders every day.”

iHeartMedia Re-Brands WINZ as ‘FOX Sports Miami’; Local Morning Show Cancelled. Miami sports talk outlet WINZ-AM re-brands as “FOX Sports 940 Miami,” effective today (9/22). iHeartMedia drops the morning drive Jeff “DeFo” DeForrest show and replaces it with its new nationally syndicated show, “2 Pros and a Cup of Joe with Arrington, Quinn & Knox.” It now airs the complete FOX Sports Radio national lineup. It will continue to serve as the official flagship radio station for Miami Marlins baseball as well as University of Florida Gators men’s football and basketball. iHeartMedia Miami/Fort Lauderdale market president Shari Gonzalez says, “We are excited to align 940 AM WINZ with a first-class organization like FOX Sports Radio. This partnership ensures passionate South Florida sports fans, and our 940 advertisers will have access to the nation’s top talk hosts and their insights on the most relevant topics facing teams, athletes, and fans.”

Audacy Names Steve Perrault Senior Producer for MLB Content. Sports radio pro Steve Perrault joins Audacy as senior producer for Major League Baseball content for its newly launched 2400Sports podcast studio. In this role, Perrault will oversee the creation and production of all MLB team podcasts and be a contributor to national podcasts co-produced in conjunction with MLB, following Audacy’s content partnership with the league. Perrault will co-host a new Boston Red Sox podcast under 2400Sports, which will debut in 2022 and will also serve as an on-air contributor for WEEI-FM, the flagship radio station of the Red Sox. This is in addition to his current role as co-host of the “Live BP Baseball Show” on the station. Perrault was most recently with Barstool Sports as co-host and producer of the company’s Red Sox-focused “Section 10” podcast. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley says, “As we continue expanding our new 2400Sports podcast studio and embark on our new expansive podcast partnership with Major League Baseball, we’re thrilled about adding Steve to our team to launch a new show centered around the Boston Red Sox. This podcast, which will be intensely focused on fan engagement and fan-created content, will lend a unique perspective to everything Red Sox, and we believe Steve truly encompasses the dynamic of the show.”

Burlington, Vermont Sports Talker ‘101.3 The Game’ Drops ‘The Huddle.’ The afternoon drive show “The Huddle” with hosts Arnie Spanier and Rich Haskell has been dropped from the station’s program schedule on Vox AM/FM’s sports talk WCPV-FM, Burlington, Vermont “101.3 The Game.” The Burlington Free Press reports that the station has cited substandard ratings as the reason for the program’s demise. Haskell continues to work for Vox AM/FM, including calling Middlebury High School football on the company’s WVTK-FM. Spanier exits the company but continues his work with FOX Sports Radio on Sunday evenings. Haskell tells the paper, “It’s been a great run and it’s hard to see it end in the blink of an eye. But it’s also the nature of the business, that’s the real difficult nature of format and show changes in radio.”

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media personality and reporter William J. Kelly returns to the airwaves at WCGO-AM with his “The Citizen Kelly Show” on Monday (9/27). He says, “‘The Citizen Kelly Show’ is back! I’m very proud to be back on AM 1590 WCGO and 95.9 FM. We are a turning point in our nation’s history and, more than ever before, people want the truth. That’s what the Citizen Kelly Show is all about.”…..CNN Audio launches the first episode of “Margins of Error,” a new limited-series, weekly podcast hosted by CNN senior data reporter Harry Enten. The company says, “In this series, Harry is on a mission to discover the statistical stories that live just a little under the radar. From making an unusual case for Daylight Saving Time, to the re-examination of a century old-dating rule, this podcast is a love letter to every listener who may need a pause from the news-of-the-day headlines, but still want the rigor of CNN reporting”…..John Davis joins the support team at Wheatstone. Davis – who has 18 years of on-air experience with Cox Media Group and continues to host weekend shows for the company – was most recently with Logitek Electronics Systems as a support manager. Davis has a background in AoIP support of almost 20 years and has previous experience in broadcast automation as the marketing manager for OMT Technologies.

COVID-19, Debt Ceiling, Biden UN Speech, Infrastructure Bill, Southern Border Crisis, Trump Sues Niece and NYTimes, and Gabby Petito Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21). The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the debate over booster shots, and mask & vaccine mandates; the battle in congress over raising the U.S. debt ceiling to avoid default on the nation’s debts; President Joe Biden’s speech before the UN general assembly; debate in congress over the Biden administration’s infrastructure bill; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of Haitian migrants; former President Donald Trump sues his niece Mary Trump and The New York Times over the disclosure of his tax information; and the homicide case of Gabby Petito and her missing fiancé Brian Laundrie were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, August 16, 2021

| August 16, 2021

iHeartMedia Launches News/Talk Outlet in St. Louis. Urban contemporary KMJM “Majic 104.9” is gone (now available on KTLK-HD2) as iHeartMedia flips the signal to news/talk with new call letters KTLK-FM and the brand “104.9 The Patriot.” The station launches today and features market media pro Jamie Allman in morning drive and the much of the slate of conservative talk programming from Premiere Networks, including: Glenn Beck, Clay Travis & Buck Sexton, and Jesse Kelly, plus “The Ramsey Show” and Westwood One’s “Red Eye Radio.” iHeartMedia St. Louis market president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “St. Louis is excited to welcome a talk radio station featuring the latest news, opinions, and discussions from a conservative point of view that isn’t afraid to engage with the other side. ‘104.9 The Patriot’ will deliver all of that and more every weekday.” Allman hosted mornings at crosstown news/talk KFTK-FM until 2018 when he exited in the aftermath of his social media post about Parkland, Florida shooting survivor David Hogg in April of that year.  Until that time, Allman had also been hosting “The Allman Report” on KDNL-TV “ABC-30.” Allman joined Salem Media Group’s KXFN-AM, St. Louis in early 2019 but Salem subsequently sold the signal, along with a number of others, to Relevant Radio later that year.

Monday Memo: Disinformation, the New Disco. As school bells ring – or don’t – angst is amplified, and employers’ vaccine mandates and renewed mask mandates echo a 2020 we’d like to forget. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke cautions that “the pandemic protocol resistance narrative is approaching its ‘use-by’ date.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: The Feedback & Agreement of Sales. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communcations Corp, writes in today’s column about the deadly effects of the “assumptive close.” He says, “What’s really going with these poorly timed assumptive closers? It’s all part of a fast track sell-by-email culture. When a seller bypasses key steps in any sales flow, the result is typically pushback. When an assumptive close is pushed too early in the sales flow, rapport and ease of access are stressed and difficult to reignite.” Read his piece here.

How Do the Dominion Lawsuits Affect Talk Hosts? TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman writes in a column today (8/13) about the recent rulings allowing the lawsuits by Dominion Election Systems against Sidney Powell, Rudy Giuliani, and Mike Lindell to go forward and the recently filed suits by Dominion against One America News Network, Newsmax, and FOX News. In denying the motions to dismiss by Powell, Giuliani, and Lindell, Federal Judge Carl Nichols wrote, “It is true that courts recognize the value in some level of ‘imaginative expression’ or ‘rhetorical hyperbole’ in our public debate…But it is simply not the law that provably false statements cannot be actionable if made in the context of an election.” Weisman notes that the landmark NY Times v. Sullivan recognizes the importance of the media being able to report on newsworthy topics without the threat of being sued for minor errors in reporting. However, he says, “There is a responsibility that comes with the microphone and camera and that responsibility is to not make statements that you know to be false or to make statements of fact when you have not properly investigated the basis for making those statements.” Read his column here.

Jeff Sottolano to Take Over for Pat Paxton as Audacy Chief Programming Officer. Late Friday (8/13), Audacy announced that 21-year corporate programmer Pat Paxton is exiting the company and he’ll be replaced by company programmer Jeff Sottolano, who rises to executive vice president, head of programming. Audacy CEO David Field says of Paxton, “Pat has been a key leader in the organization for the past 21 years, spearheading programming and playing a critical role in helping us build many of the industry’s greatest brands. Pat’s steady, decisive leadership and thoughtful insights have made him a valuable and trusted voice on Audacy’s leadership team. Pat has left an outstanding legacy at Audacy which will stand the test of time. We deeply appreciate his many important contributions to our success and everything he has meant to this company. Please join me in thanking Pat for all of his excellent work at Audacy and wishing him all the best for the future.” Addressing Sottolano’s rise within the company, Field states, “Like Pat, Jeff is a veteran team member, having spent his entire career at Audacy, Entercom, CBS Radio and Infinity. Since the merger, he has played an important leadership role overseeing a number of initiatives and many key elements of our programming.  Over the past year, Jeff led our news transformation efforts and the launch of the BetQL Network. In addition, he expanded our programming data and analytics capabilities, managed our network content partnerships and contributed to our Audacy Exclusive Station launch strategy. In his new role, Jeff will be responsible for the content strategy and performance of Audacy’s local brands in all formats across both broadcast and digital distribution platforms. He will oversee our outstanding programming leadership team, including SVP, programming Dave Richards; VP, news Bill Smee; VP, sports Matt Volk, and Audacy’s team of experienced format VPs.  He will also work closely with our Music Initiatives and Live Events team led by SVP, music initiatives Michael Martin and SVP, promotions and experiences Chad Fitzsimmons, as Audacy curates amazing experiences for its listeners in-person and online. Finally, he will collaborate with digital leadership to ideate new and exclusive features and content on the Audacy app and distribution platform as the company expands its capabilities and offerings.”

Gen Media Partners Unveils G Networks. This new radio network sales and affiliates sales division of Gen Media Partners debuts as G Networks. The company says, “Rising in tandem with the Gen Media Partners successful umbrella of other radio divisions, G Networks will stand alone as a full-service audio network company that is already engaged with over 250 million listeners each month through over 4,000 affiliated radio stations. G Networks has an existing and extensive portfolio of high-quality audio services, produced features, research services, entertainment, sports, news, and programming.” Gen Media Partners managing partner Warren Friedland adds, “Evolution isn’t possible without change. It is with this ethos that we have upped the commitment and engagement for our G Networks radio division and are focusing on what is now vitally important to advertisers and stations in the current media environment. With an eye to the future, we intend to both invest and transform the future of audio.”

Big Joe Staysniak Exits Sports Talk ‘The Fan’ in Indy. Longtime Emmis Communications air personality Big Joe Staysniak has exited “The Fan Morning Show.” The company says in a statement, “Big Joe Staysniak is no longer with Emmis and ‘The Fan.’ We would like to thank Big Joe for his many contributions to Emmis since he joined WIBC in 1998. He was always a fan favorite, and his knowledgeable insights and affable nature will be missed by his coworkers and listeners. We wish him nothing but the best in his next chapter.” Staysniak had been co-hosting the morning show with Jeff Rickard but Rickard recently left “The Fan” to take the brand manager position at Audacy’s WEEI, Boston. Meanwhile, Kevin Bowen continues as morning host at “The Fan” and it’s unclear at this time if Emmis will hire a co-host to work with him. The company recently took “The Fan” off WFNI-AM and shut the signal down after selling its transmitter property for development. “The Fan” is currently heard on WIBC-HD2 and translators W228CX at 93.5 FM and W298BB at 107.5 FM.

TALKERS News Notes. In the wake of the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti early Saturday morning (8/14) the Salem Radio Network announces that it is using its network-wide resources to generate food donations for victims. The quake Saturday was worse than the 2010 earthquake that left 220,000 dead across the island nation. SRN’s 24/7 news service SRN News and its news/talk counterpart TOWNHALL News have immediately launched a campaign to generate donations for Florida-based Christian non-profit relief organization FOOD FOR THE POOR. SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “For over 35 years FOOD FOR THE POOR has had boots on the ground in Haiti, and their teams are uniquely qualified to distribute food to earthquake-devastated areas of Haiti through their network of local churches.” The Haiti earthquake relief effort will be joined by SRN’s nationally syndicated talk hosts Mike GallagherEric Metaxas, Sebastian Gorka, Hugh Hewitt and Carl Jackson (who is guest-hosting Larry Elder’s national talk show while Elder runs for Governor of California in the state’s September 14th Recall.)…..“Bar Fights: Taking on Issues that Matter,” a new podcast hosted by advocate, survivor and preeminent sexual abuse attorney Sarah Klein makes its debut today. Klein is also a former gymnast and the first known survivor of former Olympic women’s gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. In 2018, she accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs for the bravery that she and her sister survivors exhibited to bring Nassar to justice. On “Bar Fights,” Klein goes after the issues that matter to protect children and vulnerable adults from perpetrators of sexual abuse, the institutions that enable them, and the laws that protect them. “Using my voice and platform to create awareness and positive change has been a huge part of my healing journey. It is an honor to bring on such an incredible line-up of guests who will inform, inspire, and challenge our listeners. To affect real change, we all have to do our part. That’s what we are doing here on ‘Bar Fights.’”…..Pictured below is Tom Griswold, host of the nationally syndicated “The BOB & TOM Show” in an Indianapolis hospital recovering from heart valve replacement surgery. It will be several weeks before he returns to his microphone at the studio, but a home studio is being assembled so he can get back on the air quicker. Those wishing to send well wishes to Tom may send them to: getwell@bobandtom.com.

WFOY, St. Augustine Owner Kris Phillips Dies. Lifelong broadcaster Kris Phillips, whose Phillips Broadcasting owns news/talk WFOY-AM, St. Augustine, has died at age 61 after a long illness. The station’s Facebook page features her obituary. Phillips, a native of Chicago, worked in the TV news and weather business for most of her career. She settled in St. Augustine in 2008 and formed the company that would buy WFOY and sister WAOC. Phillips had lived with Type 1 diabetes since she was a child and battled cancer twice.

COVID-19 Stats, Vaccines & Mandates, Taliban Takes Afghanistan, Haiti Earthquake, COVID Benefits Cyberfraud, Western Wildfires/Drought, Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rising rate of COVID-19 cases on some parts of the U.S. and the controversy over vaccines and mask mandates; criticism of the Biden administration’s response as the Taliban takes control of Afghanistan; the aftermath of the deadly earthquake that hit Haiti; the report indicating that “tens of billions” of dollars of COVID relief benefits were stolen by cyberfraudsters abroad; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Great News Opportunities at Saga Communications. The company is expanding its NEWS presence in several markets. Group program director Scott Chase says, “We are looking for news people who are more than just news people. If you’re a storyteller with a news mindset; if you’re charismatic and have a sense of humor; if you’re active in your community; if you’re interesting; if you’re an elite communicator, we’re looking for you. We want someone who understands how to reach the local listeners and make a story interesting. We want an individual who loves to connect with listeners and the leaders of their respective community. Are you still with us? If so, APPLY NOW. We are expanding our news footprint in South Dakota, Iowa, New York, Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and the New England area, and we would love to talk to you about your ideas on news in a world that thinks the media delivers fake news. Saga Communications is a great company to work for and an equal opportunity employer. Apply Now!” Contact group program director, Scott Chase at schase@sagacom.com. Please send your resume, audio sample, and or writing sample.