Longtime KFGO, Fargo Personality Bob Harris in Coma Battling COVID-19. According to a story posted on KFGO, Fargo’s website, station personality Bob Harris is in a coma suffering from the effects of COVID-19 at a Fargo hospital where he’s been since Thanksgiving. The piece notes that Harris – who hosts the “Nighttime Live” show and the “Harris Happenings” podcast – went to the hospital after experiencing shortness of breath. Harris’ sister Jeanie Smith says Harris has suffered two cardiac arrest events, but doctors say the pneumonia he’d been suffering has improved and there’s no indication that he’s suffered a stroke or brain damage. She says if he does not regain consciousness soon, he will undergo an MRI.
Christmas Special Available from ‘Our American Stories.’ For news/talk stations seeking quality holiday programming, Lee Habeeb’s American Private Radio is offering a multiple-hour “Our American Stories Christmas Holiday Radio Special,” featuring “behind-the-stories of our most cherished traditions, plus some extra special stories designed to warm the hearts and spirits of listeners everywhere.” APR says that in addition to the Friday, December 25 two-hour special edition of “Our American Stories,” several extra hours will also be made available to stations looking to expand their holiday programming (via FTP download). No contracts required. If you’d like more information, email Affiliates@Oanetwork.org
or call 855-276-8020.
Salem Names David Cruz VP of New Latino-Targeted Salem Si. Broadcasting pro David Cruz is joining Salem Media Group as vice president of Salem Si – a new digital streaming platform scheduled to launch in January that’s focused on the nation’s Latino market. Cruz began his career with Spanish International Network, the predecessor to Univision. He worked in various news capacities with ABC, CBS, and NBC television network stations and became anchor of the nation’s first syndicated, bilingual news talk program for CNN Spanish Radio and Radio Centro in Latin America. Most recently, Cruz served with iHeartMedia in Los Angeles hosting a talk show on news/talk KFI and KEIB and as director of corporate and community partnerships in emerging markets. Salem broadcast media president David Santrella says, “We are very excited that David and Salem have entered into this collaboration that promises to reach and serve the youngest and fastest growing audience demographic in the United States. The challenges presented by COVID-19 have only accelerated the shift in listening patterns by Latinos who are seeking timely, relevant, and accurate information live and on-demand. David’s extensive background as one of the country’s established and well-known Latino broadcast network journalists makes him the ideal person to lead this new digital initiative with Salem Media Group.”
Heritage Foundation Honors Rush Limbaugh with Award; Names Studio After Him. Conservative Washington, DC think tank The Heritage Foundation presented Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh with its inaugural “Titan of Conservatism Award” during the organization’s annual President’s Club Meeting. In addition, the Heritage Foundation will honor Limbaugh by naming its new, state-of-the-art studios the Rush Limbaugh Radio Studios “to ensure his legacy continues to shape future generations.” Heritage Foundation president Kay C. James states, “If there was a ‘Conservative Hall of Fame,’ Rush would no doubt be a first-ballot entry. From behind the golden EIB microphone, he inspired millions of Americans to cherish our God-given rights and freedoms and the country and Constitution that serve to protect them. Rush helped bring the conservative movement together three hours a day for a family meeting, he helped everyday Americans realize they were conservative, and he brought millions of new people into the conservative movement. The extraordinary reach of his #1-rated radio talk show has allowed him to attract listeners with his common sense, everyday-language explanations of why conservatism works and how every American benefits because of it. The conservative movement simply wouldn’t be where it is today without the venerable Rush Limbaugh.
Armstrong & Getty Add Affiliates in Alaska and Nebraska. The KSTE-AM, Sacramento-based talk radio show “Armstrong & Getty” – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – adds two new affiliate stations as Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska and KFQD, Anchorage, Alaska agree to add the program to their lineups. KFQD content director Joe Campbell says, “Too much of the dial is dedicated to hardline opinion and ‘picking a side.’ We’re chopping the audience up into too many camps. It shouldn’t be about left or right, but rather entertaining the listener. Joe and Jack are a couple of guys you just want to hang out and have a drink with. They’re capable of serious political discussion, but it’s always entertaining and genuine. Armstrong & Getty just get it. I’m excited to have them on-board at KFQD.” Armstrong & Getty comment, “We’re really grateful that Alpha has invited us to join the team. We’re not beltway pundits. We’re Middle-American guys with families who are just trying to bring a little perspective, honesty, and humor to the day’s events. We’re patriots more than we’re partisans.”
Cherry Creek Media and CreativeReady Announce Deal. The audio creative firm CreativeReady and Cherry Creek Media announce a new partnership that will allow all 50 Cherry Creek radio stations to use CreativeReady’s on-demand creative assets. Cherry Creek CEO Jonathan Brewster says, “CCM is always working to provide our markets with the tools needed to help clients thrive. The CreativeReady platform will really help us deliver outstanding creative strategies for clients and improve efficiencies within our stations.” CreativeReady founder and CEO Jamie Alpin comments, “We believe the key to a successful seller/client relationship is in developing longterm creative ad strategies. It’s about giving the client our very best and the Cherry Creek culture aligns with that mindset perfectly. They have an outstanding reputation for going above and beyond for their clients and we couldn’t be happier with this partnership.”
COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Holiday Travel/Family Get-Togethers, Trump’s Fraud Claims, Feds & States Sue Facebook, Biden Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections, and Hunter Biden Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The sharply rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S, the death toll, and the timetable for distributing vaccines; the warning from the CDC about traveling during the holidays and having large family get-togethers; Donald Trump’s continuing insistence on election fraud; the federal government and 48 states file anti-trust charges against Facebook; Joe Biden’s transition process; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; and the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax reporting from his overseas business endeavors were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Grace Curley Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Rising millennial talk radio star, Grace Curley is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” At 28, this multi-media conservative commentator is already known to thousands of New England radio listeners, newspaper readers, and podcast fans for her solid presence and longtime media accomplishments in the six-state region. She has successfully served as executive producer and on-air co-host for the regionally syndicated “Howie Carr Show” since 2014. She is a weekly columnist for the Boston Herald writing about media, politics, and popular culture. She is also the producer for “Dirty Rats” – a highly successful true crime podcast hosted by Howie Carr. And now she’s ready to become a major news/talk radio host in her own right as the Howie Carr Radio Network will be launching her into regional and potentially national syndication beginning January 4, 2021 and they’ve already gained an important clearance on the legendary WRKO, Boston in the daily 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm timeslot which serves as lead-in to the mega-popular Howie Carr show. Having followed her growth as an evolving media figure over the years, Michael Harrison states, “This outstanding young woman dazzles with millennial energy and across-the-board charm!” Harrison and Curley discuss the strong and productive relationship that has developed between her and her mentor, Howie Carr. They also talk about what it’s like being a young, female conservative commentator in liberal Massachusetts as well as Curley’s observations about the nature of today’s rapidly maturing millennial demographic. Check it out and be prepared to meet a fresh, exciting new talk radio voice. To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. For classic rock stations seeking Christmas programming, Compass Media Networks is presenting the 25th annual “Uncle Joe’s Rockin’ Christmas Show.” The program is a four-hour show full of classic rock Christmas songs, exclusive artist interviews and stories. Contact Doug Ingold 310-242-8746 or at firstname.lastname@example.org…..iHeartRadio Canada announces the first live international launch of “The Bobby Bones Show” on CIMX-FM, Windsor, Ontario “PURE COUNTRY 89” that also serves the Detroit market, effective December 14.
Monday Memo: Round-Off Teases. Even just-a-few more minutes, from just-a-few loyal listeners can move the ratings needle. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke has a simple tip. Read it here.
The Presidential Race/Early Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, Hunter Biden Laptop Case, Stimulus Deal, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ The Economy/Financial Markets Activity, and Sports During COVID Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November presidential election and the current early voting taking place; the rise in COVID-19 cases around the world and in the U.S., projections for fall-winter outbreaks, and the push for an effective vaccine; Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani teases more to come from Hunter Biden laptop trove; the negotiations over a new COVID stimulus package; complaints from conservative media figures about being censored by Twitter and Facebook; the state of the U.S. economy and the uncertain financial markets activity; and the functioning of U.S. pro sports leagues amidst the pandemic were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Pending Business: No Such Thing As a Born Salesman. Poll a bunch of radio sales pros and you’ll probably find most agree that successful salespeople are “born salesmen.” Well, sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, says that’s not true. He says, “Professional selling is a series of learned skills.” He adds that because of that, the most successful sellers and managers are constantly working to improve their learned skills. Read his column here.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Officially Cuts Ties with Wendy Bell. According to a story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Entercom’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh and talk show host Wendy Bell have mutually agreed to go their separate ways. This move came Friday, about six weeks after Bell was taken off the air by management for suggesting that park rangers should shoot on sight anyone seen vandalizing a public monument. The show segment in question was posted to Bell’s Facebook page in which she states, “My easy solution for the park rangers and hopefully snipers who are going to be watching for this is to shoot on sight. Shoot, done. No more messing with monuments. You want to mess with a monument? Done, get out.” Bell posted a Facebook video on Friday in which she is heard conversing with her husband and laments “being fired for sharing conservative values.” Bell had worked for CBS’ KDKA-TV for 18 years but was fired in 2016 over comments that the station deemed racist.
Charlie Kirk Latest SRN Personality to Have Twitter Account Locked. Although his Twitter account is active now, Salem Radio Network host and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk had his account locked on Sunday (10/18) after he posted a tweet based on a report published by ProPublica stating that the state of Pennsylvania had rejected 370,000 ballots. His actual tweet stated: “Pennsylvania has just rejected 372,000 mail-in ballots. One voter was said to have submitted 11 duplicate ballots. Pennsylvania might be the key to winning the White House. What’s going on?” However, the story actually said that 370,000 ballot requests had been rejected and that one voter had rejected 11 duplicate requests. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says, “Charlie Kirk and Sebastian Gorka are in good company since Twitter also locked President Trump’s official campaign account last week. But these attempts by Big Tech to muzzle the free and open exchange of ideas and opinions two weeks before the election are what has prompted the U.S. Senate to subpoena Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey this week to explain why he apparently feels it is okay to keep vital information from the American people.”
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Celebrates 100 Years; Adds FM Signal. Legendary news/talk outlet KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh is celebrating 100 years of service as “the authoritative news and talk voice of Pittsburgh.” In commemoration of the station’s centennial anniversary, the Entercom station will simulcast on FM for the first time ever and be heard on 100.1 FM (W261AX) as “100.1 FM and 1020 AM KDKA,” effective November 2. Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “KDKA Radio is part of the radio history books not just here in Pittsburgh, but on a national level. What started back in 1920 as an opportunity to instantaneously provide news and information about the presidential election returns has blossomed into a key part of our listeners’ lives. After serving Pittsburghers on our AM dial for the last 100 years, we are thrilled to expand the reach of historic KDKA on FM. It’s an honor to be part of the team carrying the torch from those before us into the next 100 years.” On October 27, 1920, the Department of Commerce issued the first commercial radio station license under the call sign KDKA. The station launched on November 2, 1920 when Frank Conrad, an engineer at Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, started 8ZZ and broadcast the results of the presidential election returns between Warren G. Harding and James Cox. The station’s yearlong centennial celebration has also included various original sound, historical soundbites and a special weekly program every Wednesday.
TALKERS News Notes. TALKERS magazine has learned that Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association, has been hospitalized for almost two weeks with a severe case of spinal meningitis brought on by an infection. It required he undergo delicate heart valve surgery. After several touch-and-go days in a coma, family sources indicate that the surgery and treatment are showing signs of being successful and Rotella has turned the corner toward recovery. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison states, “Our prayers go out to the Rotella family and all his many friends in the New Jersey broadcasting community and beyond who recognize Paul as one of the medium’s most dedicated advocates and all around wonderful human beings. We wish him a speedy recovery.”…..WABC, New York talk radio host Curtis Sliwa is planning to run for mayor of New York City and he wants to make the pigeon the city’s official bird. Seen at left wearing his pigeon gaiter, Sliwa tells TALKERS he now has hundreds of pigeons that follow him from his apartment on the Upper West Side to WABC’s studios on the Upper East Side. “They wait for me until I finish my broadcast and leave. Then they follow me. The other hosts like Bernie and Sid are upset because dozens of birds flock to the windows and streets around the WABC studios awaiting my arrival. People think that I’ve lost it because I stop and talk to them. Hey, I’m a talk radio show host. I get paid to talk.” See a YouTube video of Sliwa talking to his followers here…..WSB-TV, Atlanta is reporting that federal agents are investigating the disappearance of financial adviser Chris Burns who vanished a day before he was expected to turn over documents related to an undisclosed Securities Exchange Commission investigation. Burns had brokered time from Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM, Atlanta. Burns has not been charged with a crime, but one investor tells WSB-TV that she’s accepted that her money is probably gone. The piece also states Burns’ wife is cooperating with authorities…..Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles adds Starnes Media Group’s “All-American Radio with Jennifer Kerns” to air Sundays at 7:00 pm. The program is based at KWAM, Memphis…..GCN nationally syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs launched the Change.org petition to end the back-and-forth between Daylight Saving and Standard time because of the multiple health risks that have been cited in scientific literature during the “spring forward,” including car accidents, heart attacks and workplace injuries. Pre-existing legislation has stalled in Congress but Wachs tells TALKERS that the petition has gone viral, exploding in the last few days to garner over 194,000 signatures and rising. Its goal is to alert Congress to listen to the needs of individual states and their requests to end biannual time changes…..Pictured below are (from l-r): Lou Turco, president of the Lieutenant’s Benevolent Association; Vince Vallelong of the Sargent’s Benevolent Association; Margo and John Catsimatidis, owners of Red Apple Media and WABC, New York; and Pat Lynch, NYPD PDA Union President. They posed for the pic after taking part in TALKRADIO 77 WABC and Ramsey Mazda’s “Back the Blue Program” on Friday (10/16) in which that station asked New Yorkers to tie a blue ribbon around trees to show their support for police officers across the New York Metro area. 77WABC has already received almost 500 requests for ribbons.
SiriusXM Closes on $325 Million Acquisition of Stitcher. Back in July Sirius XM Holdings announced that it is acquiring full-service podcast platform Stitcher for $325 million. Today (10/19), SiriusXM announced it has closed the deal. The company says that alongside Pandora, Simplecast, and AdsWizz, Stitcher strengthens its position in the fast-growing podcast arena. SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer says, “We are deepening our position in podcasting, the fastest-growing sector in digital audio, and with completion of this transaction, our vision is taking shape. With Stitcher and its varied assets, we are now a one-stop shop able to meet the needs of podcast creators, publishers and advertisers, while also providing listeners with access to great shows, series and programming.” Stitcher CEO Erik Diehn stays with the company and reports to SiriusXM president and CEO Scott Greenstein. Stitcher’s chief revenue officer Sarah van Mosel also remains with the company and reports to SiriusXM chief advertising officer John Trimble.
Three Firms Partner to Expand Pacific Northwest Ag Network. The partnership between Gen Media Partners, J.L. Farmakis, Inc., and Cherry Creek Media will endeavor to expand the Pacific Northwest Ag Network that serves radio stations across Idaho, Oregon and Washington. As part of the effort, Cherry Creek Media will expand its news and content for the network that has “developed a reputation of providing in-depth and accurate farm news and information” that “producers across Washington have come to know and trust. Now that same programing is available for quality radio stations across the Northwest.” Affiliate, national, and network advertising sales will be handled by Gen Media Partners and agricultural media rep firm J.L. Farmakis, Inc. Pacific Northwest Ag Network program director Glenn Vaagen says, “The strength of the Pacific Northwest Ag Network is our connection to the farm community; those boots on the ground. Each weekday, our team provides listeners across Washington not only the latest state and national ag news, but also the latest farm research occurring at area universities, connect them with the next generation of farmers through FFA and 4-H, and much more. We are excited about the opportunity to expand this programing across the entire Pacific Northwest.”
Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated program “The Jubal Show” is being added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s CHR KKMG-FM, Colorado Springs “98.9 Magic FM.” Host Jubal Fresh, a.k.a. Jubal Flagg, had previously been heard on the station while partnered with Brooke Fox for the syndicated “Brooke & Jubal” show. After Jubal’s exit from the show in late March of this year, KKMG-FM continued to air the “Brooke and Jeffrey in the Morning” show. Now, “The Jubal Show” takes over the AM drive daypart…..Saga Communications names Borna Velic program director for Milwaukee classic rock WKLH-FM. Velic is also program director for the company’s rock WHQG-FM, Milwaukee “102.9 The Hog.” At the same time, WHQG midday personality Mindy Novotny is promoted to music director and programming assistant for that station while sister CHR WNRG-FM midday host and music director Mandy Scott adds WKLH programming assistant duties…..Nashville Public Radio announces that Jewly Hight is named music director for WNXP “91.ONE” and Marquis Munson joins the soon-to-launch station as production coordinator. Hight has served with Nashville Public Radio as a reporter and as a contributor to the NPR Arts Desk and NPR Music, among others. Munson most recently served with Cromwell Radio Group’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game.”
Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.
Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”
Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.
COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.
Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”
Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”
Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.
Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.
Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”
TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on. I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.” … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” … Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”
Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11). The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11). It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.