Vaccine Mandates Causing Strife Among Staffers in Broadcasting Industry. The mandate by several radio companies that workers return to the office and get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they do is causing angst for some in the industry. Already, a handful of radio personalities have chosen to be terminated from their positions rather than get a vaccine. TALKERS reported on the dismissal of sports talk host Tim Hill from Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina and Jeff Crank’s exit from Cumulus Media’s KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs for refusing the vaccine. Also, country jock Roxanne Steele exited Cumulus’ WDRQ-FM, Detroit for the same reason. Cumulus is not the only radio company with a mandate. Beasley Media Group also has instituted a vaccine requirement. But the threat by talk host Dan Bongino to leave his program syndicated by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One if the company doesn’t retreat on the mandate has pushed the issue into mainstream news outlets. It has also put WWO in a difficult situation with Bongino as the company has replaced Bongino’s live show with best-of editions so far this week, ostensibly so the company can sort out this matter. Bongino – who is vaccinated but says he’s taking this stand for his fellow employees – has only been syndicated by WWO since May but the company has invested a lot of time and money in his show. His popular podcast was the #8-ranked podcast in terms of average weekly downloads in September, according to Triton Digital’s rankings so this makes Cumulus’ handling of Bongino’s threat very tricky. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison comments, “We haven’t seen this kind of dramatic brinksmanship since the Cuban Missile Crisis… well perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration… but Bongino has clearly drawn a red line in the sand and both parties have boldly stepped over it. Now it’s a matter of image and pride for each. Unless this is defused by a masterful display of diplomacy in which both sides can save face and move the issue forward to the benefit of all involved – including society at large – [Cumulus CEO] Mary Berner has no choice but to let Bongino go. He made his choice… and Dan must now make good on his threat and live with the consequences, whatever they might be. One thing’s for sure… we’ve come a long way from the old ‘morals clause’ that was a standard part of media talent contracts. We’ll now be seeing the ‘political clause’ become part of the deal in talk media management/talent legal agreements.”
Audacy Rebrands WQAM, Miami; Unveils Tweaked Lineups for South Florida Sports Talkers. A number of changes talk place at Audacy’s South Florida sports talk stations, including the rebranding of WQAM, Miami. The station is leaving the “560 The Joe” moniker behind and the station is now “AM 560 Sports WQAM.” While sister sports talker WAXY-AM remains branded “AM 790 The Ticket,” some programming changes also take place, including the move of personality Jonathan Zaslow to middays (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) on WQAM from his previous role in middays on WAXY. Meanwhile, “AM 790 The Ticket” adds “BetQL Daily” for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.
Hubbard Radio’s Talk KTMY-FM, Minneapolis Launches Marketing Campaign. Twin Cities talk outlet KTMY-FM “myTalk 107.1” is beginning a four-and-a-half month marketing campaign that sets out to differentiate itself from its pure news/talk cousins with the slogan: “Where Talk is Fun.” The first billboard (top) was a teaser that was followed by the next in the series (bottom) featuring morning duo Jason Matheson and Alexis Thompson that reveals the station’s brand. Hubbard Radio VP and region manager Dan Seeman says the next four months will see the campaign expand with bulletins, poster billboards, indoor advertising (women’s bathrooms), OTT, and digital display.
Talk Host John Hancock Honored with Induction into NC Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The North Carolina Broadcasters Association held its annual business meeting virtually this year and presented its annual broadcast awards. Longtime WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte personality John Hancock was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame. Hancock’s bio says: “John recently retired after 50 years of on-air service with the past 30 years in Charlotte. John arrived in Charlotte and at WBT in December of 1990 and has helped shape the conversation in the Queen City ever since by musing on the issues of the day with his unique perspective. For nearly three decades, John’s daily show provided a mix of information and opinion, peppered with humor and just the right dose of sarcasm, enabling him to become a cherished and trusted voice for the community, known universally as ‘Charlotte’s Most Beloved.’ As an integral part of the community, he showed how much he cared including his 27 year, unconditional commitment to the Kids First of the Carolina’s annual holiday drive, raising millions in dollars, toys, bikes (over 20,000) and services. Additionally, John’s annual ‘Father’s Day’ show on the anniversary of his own father’s death, March 16 and the annual ‘Peanut Butter N July’ benefitting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, became Charlotte traditions. John Hancock aired his final daily show on WBT 1110 AM on October 17, 2019. But, even in retirement, he remains active in radio and at WBT in the form of two commentaries a week and joining Bo Thompson on the WBT morning show for an hour every Friday.
Sean Spicer Celebrates Release of New Book. Pictured above at the launch party for former White House press secretary and current Newsmax personality Sean Spicer’s new book are (from l-r): U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Spicer and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy. Newsmax says, “The top movers and shakers in Washington came out for the launch of Sean Spicer’s new book, Radical Nation: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ Dangerous Plan for America (Humanix, 2021). The book launch party, hosted by Chris Ruddy, drew approximately 40 members of Congress, including many from the top leadership, former Trump administration cabinet members, media personalities, and major policy experts.”
TALKERS News Notes. Finance and investment expert and best-selling author Jared Dillian is launching a podcast titled, “Be Smart: How Not to Be an Idiot with Your Money.” This is an all-new take on an existing podcast. Dillian says, “I’m on a mission to help people live a richer stress-free life, not by renting or borrowing it. I help discover how to conquer money troubles, escape the scarcity mentality trap, and ignite earning power. Yes, people can do it while still enjoying material possessions. You don’t have to live in a van down by the river.” Dillian is a 20-year veteran of the financial industry. He worked at Lehman Brothers from 2001 to 2008 —first as an index arbitrage trader and then as head of the ETF trading desk. He left Lehman to start his own newsletter, “The Daily Dirtnap,” where he shares trade ideas and market commentary for finance professionals and sophisticated investors. He also edits of “Street Freak,” “ETF 20/20,” and the “10th Man.”…..There’s a nice piece in The Southern Illinoisan recognizing 45 years on the radio for River Radio’s WJPF-AM, Herrin, Illinois morning host Tom Miller. The self-described “rock ‘n’ roll guy” has been hosting “The Morning News Watch” for 20 years and he says that during his rock radio days it was all about his image as “off-the-hook crazy, a wild card, loose cannon.” Now, unlike the majority of his talk radio colleagues, Miller says it’s not about him. “I had to remake myself completely. I didn’t use my name; I focused solely on content. I didn’t want anybody to think about any of the other stuff I had done before, because in this format it is about what you say and how you say it. It became about credibility.”…..TeshMedia signs an extension with Compass Media Networks to continue in its role as the exclusive advertising sales representative for its portfolio of radio assets including the daily “John Tesh Radio Show,” a/k/a Intelligence for Your Life, “The Best of the John Tesh Radio Show,” “Intelligence for Your Health with Connie Sellecca,” “The Weekend Show with John Tesh and Gib Gerard” and “Intelligence for Your Life Minute,” as well as “Intelligence For Your Life: The Podcast.”…..Cumulus Media, Imperative Entertainment and Vespucci dropped “Bonaparte,” a true crime podcast series revealing the remarkable journey of one woman’s resolve to help piece together events surrounding the mysterious and unsolved death of her childhood friend 25 years prior. The new, 10-part podcast series, hosted by Jason Stavers, reports on attorney Anne Champion’s endeavor to solve the death of her childhood friend of Laura Van Wyhe. Champion says, “Laura’s death has always stayed with me. There are too many things that don’t add up. A few years ago, I decided to start pushing for answers. I’m working with Laura’s family to see if we can get people to come forward and share new details. Based on my review of the files, it’s clear that there are many inconsistencies and many open issues begging for further investigation. I believe this is a cold case that can be solved, and solving it is long overdue for Laura’s family and friends.”
January 6 Investigation/Executive Privilege, COVID-19, Biden Infrastructure-Social Spending Bills/Unrealized Gains Tax, Virginia Governor’s Race, Bolsonaro Charges, and Rust Movie Set Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/26). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and President Joe Biden’s rejection of former President Donald Trump’s claim of executive privilege, the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine approval for kids, and protests over Biden’s looming vaccine mandate; the Biden infrastructure and social spending bills and the pushback against his taxing of the wealthy on unrealized gains; the too-close-to-call race for Virginia Governor between incumbent Terry McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin; Brazil’s senate recommends criminal charges against President Jair Bolsonaro for his response to the coronavirus pandemic; and the investigation into the death of assistant producer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: Dissuading the Dug-In. “Argument seems to have displaced baseball as our national pastime. Polls tell us that many Republicans think Donald Trump was re-elected. Almost 60 years later, conspiracy theorists still mutter about who was lurking on the grassy knoll. And as we marked 20 years since 9/11, deniers still tell us the twin towers crashes were as fake as the moon landing,” consultant Holland Cooke writes in today’s column. As the unvaccinated remain undaunted and COVID numbers surge, he debriefs a sociologist who explains why facts fizzle, but stories can be more convincing. Read it here.
Pending Business: Asking Questions. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column, “One of the most important skills to master in your selling life is the art and science of asking questions. The thing about asking questions during your sales calls is the process is more complicated than advertised. Yet, when mastered, the right questions will dictate the next steps to closing your deals.” Read his column here.
WABC Unveils ‘Studio 77’ Video Platform. Pictured above at 77 WABC’s new “Studio 77” during the station’s two-day tribute to the 9/11 victims, first responders, and families are (from l-r): former NYC police commissioner Bernie Kerik, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Red Apple Media chairman and CEO John Catsimatidis, and former New York Governor George Pataki. “Studio 77” is WABC’s new state-of-the-art audio and video facility that offers high-quality video news and entertainment to 77 WABC listeners. “Studio 77” content is streamed at wabcradio.com and via the mobile app and is designed to accommodate live in-studio audience experiences. Catsimaditis says, “When we decided to get into radio, we decided to go big! We bought a 50,000 watt clear channel signal with WABC, and that is just the beginning. We have the big-name talent and the right management to lead our team forward. We’re giving our listeners what they want across all audio, video, and digital channels.”
Round Three of August 2021 PPM Ratings Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s August 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s August 2021 sweep covered July 22 – August 18. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. Alpha Media news/talk KXL-FM, Portland remains ranked #4 in the market after dropping three-tenths for a 5.2 share ( weekly, 6+ AQH share). Radio One’s Charlotte news/talk WBT-AM/FM sheds two-tenths to finish with a 3.8 share good for the #10 rank. iHeartMedia’s WOAI-AM, San Antonio gains seven-tenths for a 5.2 share finish and jumps from the #10 rank to #5. In Sacramento, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFBK remains ranked #1 after posting another 8.7 share. Audacy’s KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh adds a half share to finish the survey with a 5.4 share and rises from #6 to #5. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the two previous rounds) here.
Lynne Hayes-Freeland Leaving Daily Talk Show at KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh talk host and radio journalist Lynne Hayes-Freeland is leaving her daily 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm talk show after her November 12, program. She’s been hosting the early afternoon daypart since January of 2019. Hayes-Freeland will remain with KDKA-AM in various other capacities, including a weekly, one-hour appearance with late morning host Marty Griffin, a weekly column on kdkaradio.com, becoming a bigger part of KDKA’s social media presence, and continuing her monthly hosting duties on “Minority Health Matters,” a program KDKA does in cooperation with Gateway Medical Society, a Pittsburgh-based organization dedicated to combatting racial disparities in health care. Audacy Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “Lynne’s career in the Pittsburgh media needs no comment from me. Simply said, she is an icon in the city and a pillar of the community. We have been fortunate to have her be such a large part of KDKA the past three years and are more than thrilled she will continue on the radio station as she transitions to this next phase of her life.”
WDAY, Fargo Unveils New ‘Bonnie and Friends’ Morning Show. Fargo news/talk outlet WDAY Radio announces its new morning drive show that debuts on Thursday (9/16) will be hosted by longtime market media personality Bonnie Amistadi and will be co-hosted by Flag Family Media president Steve Hallstrom. The “Bonnie & Friends” show will air from 5:00 am to 8:30 am. Amistadi says, “I love that feeling of being there early in the morning for my radio listeners. Many of them have become friends and whether they are starting their day, heading to bed, or somewhere in between, I enjoy being the one who delivers their news, weather, and sports. And plenty of laughs too!” Hallstrom comments, “We are thrilled to announce this new program. ‘Bonnie & Friends’ completes a re-engineering of the broadcast day on WDAY Radio, and we’re proud to now have a full lineup of live, local shows between 5:00 am and 6:30 pm each weekday. We’re thankful to the Marcil family and Forum Communications for their partnership in helping us shape a robust lineup that pours massive resources into local news and weather content.”
TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow’s California recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom will be covered by Salem Radio Network News starting at 6:00 pm ET. SRN News is distributing non-stop coverage from Los Angeles, anchored by KRLA “The Answer” host Jennifer Horn and KRLA news anchor Larry Marino until 12:00 midnight ET. SRN News is also providing one-minute Special Reports each hour at :40-past the hour…..Media Staffing Network founder and CEO Laurie Kahn is delivering another IBA ‘members only’ webinar titled ‘Talent Acquisition Tips to Attract a Higher Quality of Job Seeker’ tomorrow (9/14) at 4:00 pm ET. In this webinar, Kahn will detail what it takes to compete to hire top talent. In addition, she’ll demonstrate how to create a job profile that attracts top talent, including updating of company websites and using social media to get the word out…..Newsweek announces the official launch of a new podcast called, “The Daily Break,” hosted by editor-at-large Naveed Jamali, former FBI double agent, Navy intelligence officer and author of How to Catch a Russian Spy. The show is inspired by Jamali’s work in national security and will bring his unique experience in intelligence-focused analysis to trending news stories across the political spectrum…..The GCN nationally syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs” program is being added to the program schedule at KGUM-AM, Guam.
9/11 Anniversary, Afghanistan, COVID-19, Newsom Recall Election, Biden Tax Hikes, January 6 Investigation/September Rally, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The remembrance of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001; the criticism of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and the Taliban’s swift takeover of the country; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom and talk host Larry Elder’s chances of taking over; the battle over Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending plan that includes new taxes; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack & the looming Justice for J6 rally; and the ongoing western wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.