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Thursday, July 8, 2021

| July 8, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” The seventh video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the panel discussion, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS; introduced by Dick Morris, talk show host, Newsmax TV/WABC, New York; and sponsored by the Michael Berry Show, the panel features (in alphabetical order): Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss AgencyGrace Curley, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio NetworkErick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta/Cox Media GroupDom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. The stars of Premiere Networks’ recently launched Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The program serves as the official Premiere Networks replacement for the historic 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET Rush Limbaugh Show. It launched on June 21, 2021 on some 400-plus affiliates in all 50 states making it the largest rollout of a syndicated news/talk show in modern talk radio history. Travis has a background in leading edge sports talk commentary developed on both the Internet and terrestrial radio. Sexton has a background in political news/talk radio and served a number of years as a counter-terrorism expert for the CIA and the NYPD. They discuss their brand of conservative broadcasting and the strategy steering their course to effectively serve the existing fans and affiliates of Rush Limbaugh while building upon that base to grow the show going forward. Don’t miss this timely, fascinating conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here.

Tavis Smiley’s KBLA, Los Angeles Names Otis Warren VP of Sales. The new Los Angeles talk station launched by Tavis Smiley’s Smiley Audio Media – KBLA “Talk 1580” announces radio executive and sales pro Otis Warren is named vice president of sales. The company says that it is “building a sales team that is dynamic in understanding the changing market demographic and the economic power of its targeted audience,” and adds that during his career, “Warren has built a successful track record in client development and expanding station growth and marketability.” During his career, Warren has served as the national sales manager for American General Media, overseeing 12 stations in two markets – Bakersfield and Albuquerque. He began his radio career with Buckley Broadcasting and served with the company for more than 16 years, rising to VP of sales. Warren says, “I’m a radio guy and I am looking forward to being a part of the KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ family. I respect what Tavis is trying to accomplish with KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ as a Black-owned and operated radio station for the sophisticated African American listening audience. I think it is something that is long overdue.”

Stitcher’s 2021 Podcast Report Reveals Changes in Growing Media Platform. Based on data from its listener base, Stitcher unveils its second annual Stitcher Podcasting Report that it calls “a comprehensive look at who and where these listeners are, behavioral patterns, trends shaping the medium and the factors contributing to its growth.” Chief marketing officer Amy Fitzgibbons says, “Podcasting is a powerful medium that has not only prevailed, but thrived, in the midst of a global pandemic, as people sought a sense of connection during periods of isolation.” Some of the findings of the study: 1) Pre-pandemic, top listening hours aligned with peak commuting times, which have been replaced by a shift to lunchtime/early afternoon (11:00 am – 2:00 pm); 2) Similarly, household chores and gardening have replaced commuting as the primary activity that listeners do while listening to podcasts; 3) Based on user “favorite” activity, younger generations gravitated to comedy and talk content (age 13-34), while news and politics did better with older generations (age 35+); 4) Median monthly hours per listener per month rose from 7.5 in 2019 to nearly 8 in 2020; 5) Pandemic and COVID-19 searches were the top most searched terms for the year (2020), with listeners turning to podcasts for the latest on major global events; 6) “NFL” was the second highest cultural search term in 2020 – despite a shortened season and inability to attend games, fans still wanted to get involved and turned to podcasting to do so; 7) Some states are more dedicated: Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, Wisconsin, Utah, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Montana, Vermont, North Dakota and Alaska all rank higher in listening hours than they do in the total number of listeners; and 8) Habits differ by gender: Men have a slight edge in the average number of shows listened to and hours listened per week, whereas women continue to have more favorites. Women are also more likely to listen to podcasts for entertainment, while men tend to seek news/information. See more about the study here. Stitcher was acquired by SiriusXM in July 0f 2020.

Jim Bohannon Recognized as 2020 Inductee into the Missouri Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The 2020 induction ceremony for the Missouri Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame didn’t take place due to the pandemic, so the 2020 inductees will be honored as part of this year’s ceremony on August 7 at the Branson Hilton Convention Center in Branson, Missouri. The induction ceremony is part of the 2021 Awards Banquet at the MBA’s annual convention. Westwood One nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon will be among those honored as a 2020 inductee.

Longtime WVMT, Burlington Host Ernie Farrar Dies at 78. Burlington, Vermont broadcasting legend Ernie Farrar passed away recently at age 78. Farrar retired from Sisson Broadcasting’s news/talk WVMT-AM/W242BK in 2018 after more than 50 years with the station. WCAX-TV reports that Farrar was inducted into both the Vermont Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame. Farrar’s son, Tony Farrar, tells WCAX News,“All of the practical jokes and laughter will be greatly missed! All I can say is that I hope heaven is ready for one heck of a show!”

TALKERS News Notes. Actress and New York Times best-selling children’s book author Jamie Lee Curtis and iHeartMedia collaborate to produce a new weekly iHeartRadio Original Podcast called, “Good Friend.” Premiering July 15, the podcast addresses the good, the bad and the ugly of friendships through both intimate and candid unscripted conversations. Throughout the 15-episode season, Curtis has unscripted, relatable conversations with celebrity friends and public figures such as Senator Amy Klobuchar, Michelle Williams, Robin Wright, Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts, Michelle Yeoh and Maria Shriver, among others, about conflict resolution, making new friends and keeping friendships alive during difficult times like the pandemic.  On the premiere episode of “Good Friend,” Curtis sits down with her new friend Lena Dunham…..Full-service sound agency TM Studios inks a deal with Greau Creative to serve as its agency of record to handle all national creative design, event production, communications, and branding. Greau, the marketing company led by former Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey, will lead creative and branding efforts to further expand TM’s presence across all platforms including the launch of several new products in the coming weeks. TM Studios co-owner Dave Bethell says, “After looking at numerous companies to partner with, we are excited to be working with Greau. We’ve been fans of Jay Bailey’s work for some time now. He and his team are smart, passionate, understand our clients’ needs and daily challenges, and that badass attitude will help us get the message to our clients, partners and potential future clients.”

COVID-19 Delta Variant, Trump Social Media Lawsuits, House January 6 Investigation, Critical Race Theory, Economy/Labor Shortage, Haitian President Assassinated, Florida Condo Demolition, Tucker Carlson NSA Claims, and Tokyo Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/7). The spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the rate of vaccinations in the U.S.; former President Donald Trump files suits against Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube alleging violation of his First Amendment rights; the House panel to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack; criticism of the teaching of critical race theory in U.S. schools; the booming U.S. economy and employers’ staffing challenges; the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise; the recovery efforts at the Surfside condo in Florida; Tucker Carlson’s claim that the NSA hacked his email account and distributed some to reporters; and the Tokyo Olympics to be held under state of emergency among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

| December 16, 2020

Grace Curley Show Adds Three-Station News/Talk Network in New Hampshire. The new Grace Curley Show is adding the three-station news/talk network consisting of WTSN-AM, Dover; WEMJ-AM, Laconia; and WTPL-FM, Hillsboro in New Hampshire operated by Binnie Media. The Grace Curley Show is being rolled out in syndication by The Howie Carr Radio Network and the Binnie stations join iHeartMedia’s WRKO, Boston which also begins airing the program on January 4. Binnie Media director of programming & operations Dave Andreesen says, “We are thrilled to offer our listeners The Grace Curley Show across our three news/talk stations in New Hampshire. The Howie Carr Show has been a popular mainstay in our lineup for years and I think Grace’s show will be the perfect addition to round out our weekday lineup. Anyone who has listened to Howie can tell you what a fine broadcaster and commentator Grace has evolved into. I’m looking forward to her fresh perspective on the issues everyone is talking about.” The Grace Curley Show will air live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.

Beasley Media Group Promotes Five Programmers. In the programming department of Beasley Media Group, five current staffers have been promoted. WMMR-FM and WMGK-FM, Philadelphia program director Bill Weston is upped to vice president of talent development in which he’ll work directly with certain personalities to help improve their content as well as assist the company’s PDs with talent assessment and recruitment. Beasley Boston director of programming Cadillac Jack adds VP of strategy & analytics to his role with the company. Beasley Charlotte director of operations John Reynolds rises to VP of music & entertainment in which he’ll serve as the company’s record label liaison for multi-market artist opportunities and company events. Beasley Detroit director of programming Scott Jameson adds VP of national content to his duties. He’ll now also work to identify opportunities for content sharing and manage a national database of talent. Beasley Augusta and Fayetteville OM Tee Gentry adds VP of brand strategies to his responsibilities and he’s charged with working to seek out creative ideas for imaging, promotions, and sales integrations to share with stations across the company. Beasley Media Group Justin Chase comments, “It is such a pleasure to elevate these first-class programmers within our company. Each of them has already made a major positive impact to our company as well as the industry. It’s a privilege to have them on our team!”

TALKERS News Notes. Los Angeles news/talker KFI AM 640 announces that its 10th annual “KFI PastaThon” fundraiser that helps feed local children in need raised a record of more than $770,000 and 75,980 pounds of pasta and pasta sauce. The charitable organization Caterina’s Club – an organization that feeds more than 25,000 underprivileged children each week in over 30 cities throughout Southern California – was the beneficiary. Robin Bertolucci is program director for the iHeartMedia station, and she says, “We are in awe at the generosity of our listeners and so grateful for their support of this worthy cause. Over the past 10 years, they have helped us raise more than $3.5 million and over 586,000 pounds of pasta and pasta sauce in support of Chef Bruno Serato and his outstanding organization as they feed thousands of children in Southern California and help end the cycle of poverty.”…..Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas “News Talk 820AM” raised more than $225,000 (and counting!) for the Denton State Supported Living Center from its “42nd Annual Christmas Is for Caring Radiothon” that took place from December 7-11. Station PD Kevin Graham comments, “This is a testament to the giving nature of our listeners to find it in their hearts in such a difficult year to donate to those that are in desperate need of the holiday spirit. Big thank you to our passionate staff and those at the Denton State Supported Living Center for allowing us to be a part of such a wonderful mission.”…..Also at Cumulus Dallas, news/talker KLIF partnered with Ed Wallace from KLIF’s Saturday morning show, “Wheels with Ed Wallace,” and Kwik Kar Industries for the “32nd Annual KLIF Kids Toy Drive.” Sponsors contributed $44,600, which the station will use to purchase toys for more than 800 underprivileged children attending two different schools in the Dallas-Fort Worth area…..Among the numerous year-end features listeners will find on spoken-word radio stations across the country this time of year is the WNYC 2020 Time Capsule from the Brian Lehrer Show. WNYC says that the show “plans to end the year doing what public radio is uniquely able to do: to capture the oral history of this year through the voices of the people who lived through it all.” The WNYC 2020 Time Capsule “is a place for listeners to voice their grief – but also their hopes for the future. In mid-March, a year from when the pandemic took hold in the region – the Time Capsule will be stored atop the Empire State Building next to the WNYC transmitter, not to be opened until 2030.” It will contain the voices of New Yorkers; an Audio Timeline of 2020 that tells the story of the year stitched together from listener calls; a reading of the names of the over 1,900 New Yorkers that died from COVID-19; listener-submitted photographs that best capture the year; and select news stories from the WNYC and Gothamist newsrooms.

Hartmann: Democrats Can’t Win If They Don’t Play. In a piece published in The Nation, progressive talk radio host Thom Hartmann writes about the success Republicans have enjoyed winning political races with the help of the “roughly 1,500 right-wing talk-radio stations that saturate every corner, no matter how remote or rural, of America.” Hartmann says the takeaway from this is: Radio works. He adds, “Good talk show hosts know their job isn’t to find or interview ‘good guests’; it’s to build a trust relationship with their audience, cemented over years, caller after caller, day after day. Truly effective hosts like Limbaugh and Michael Savage talk to their listeners as if they’re close and trusted friends.” He notes that – aside from Bernie Sanders – most Democrats have avoided talk radio. And that, he says, needs to change. “If Democrats want to effectively counter the relentless spread of hard-right ideology in America, talk radio has to be part of that strategy.”

Ashok Sinha Joins Entercom as Head of Corporate Communications. Corporate communications pro Ashok Sinha is named SVP, head of corporate communications and PR for Entercom Communications. In this role, Sinha will lead the communications strategy and execution across Entercom’s entire portfolio of assets. He’ll have direct oversight of internal and external communications, media and press relations, corporate messaging, crisis communications and issues management, and executive thought leadership management. He will serve as a member of Entercom’s executive leadership team, reporting to Paul Suchman, chief marketing officer. Sinha says, “As a lifelong consumer of music and the spoken word, I believe in the power of audio and its ability to engage, entertain and inform the world. I’m delighted for this opportunity to join Entercom and its award-winning corporate communications team, and lead the charge as we tell the story of audio in this dynamic time for media.” Sinha was most recently VP, communications lead, technology at WarnerMedia.

iHeartMedia Names Gabe Fleet EVP of Business Affairs and Chief Music Licensing Counsel. Attorney Gabe Fleet joins iHeartMedia as EVP of business affairs and chief music licensing counsel, effective January 11. Fleet transitions to iHeartMedia from his role as a partner at Greenberg Traurig law firm. In his new role, Fleet will lead iHeartMedia’s business affairs team and focus on strategic deals and relationships with the company’s music and entertainment partners and be responsible for business and legal affairs across the company’s divisions, multiplatform assets and tentpole events. Fleet will also spearhead the company’s music licensing strategy, including maintaining and renewing all music industry licenses for iHeartRadio’s digital services and performance licenses through PRO agencies.

COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Vaccines, Economy & Shutdowns, Biden Transition/Nominations, Georgia Runoff Elections, Stimulus Negotiations, and U.S. Government Hack Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for post-holidays cases; the beginning of the distribution of COVID vaccines in the U.S.; the state of the U.S. economy, job losses, and mandated business shutdowns; the Joe Biden administration’s transition and cabinet nominations; January’s Georgia U.S. Senate runoff elections; the ongoing stimulus negotiations; and the Russian hack of U.S. government computer systems were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Details are few but WMC-TV, Memphis is reporting that Chris Jarman, morning drive co-host at Cumulus Media’s rock WXMX, Memphis “98.1 The Max” has died after a “tragic accident” at age 50. Jarman co-hosted theDanni & The Jar” morning show. The report cites Cumulus VP Morgan Bohannon saying that Jarman was transported to a hospital in Batesville, Arkansas because no ICU beds were available in Memphis…..AL.com reports that triple A WZEW-FM, Mobile air personality Lee Ann Camp has died after a short battle with cancer. Camp, who along with her husband Tim Camp, hosted radio shows on the .Com+ LLC-owned stations, was first diagnosed earlier this fall after experiencing back pain and subsequent tests revealed she had advanced cancer. The couple have two children, ages 12 and 15…..Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX, Chicago “101.9fm THE MIX” announces that morning show cast member Melissa McGurren is declining a contract renewal with the station and will leave after a 22 years. Hubbard Chicago VP and market manager Jeff England says, “Our plans for the future of ‘Eric in the Morning’ definitely included Melissa. We were disappointed by her decision not to renew her contract, but also know that this year has led all of us to assess our lives in different ways. When she informed me of her decision, she described her time at the station as ‘a privilege’ and that feeling is completely mutual. We wish her the best.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Tish Boden to vice president and market manager for its six-station Shreveport, Louisiana cluster. She was previously director of sales…..Sun Broadcast Group is now exclusively representing the syndicated urban AC afternoon drive program “The Jeff Foxx Show with Keke Brown and Nina” for network sales. The program was formerly syndicated on Superadio.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

| April 2, 2020

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE: Mike Bendixen of Canada’s Bell Media Checks in with Covid-19 Input for U.S. Radio Broadcasters.  The program director of CFRB, Toronto “Newstalk 1010” and national news/talk format director of Canada’s Bell Media has checked in with TALKERS this morning (4/2) to discuss how his station and broadcasting company has been handling the coronavirus crisis.  Mike Bendixen and Michael Harrison discuss remote broadcasting, upgrading technology, accurate messaging, and politics as well as the short and long term impact this crisis will have on radio listening in general.  Bendixen offers sound advice based on his experience.  Warning: the following dialogue contains some raw language.  To listen to this morning’s conversation between Mike Bendixen and Michael Harrison, please click here.

Entercom Notifies Employees of Pay Reductions, Furloughs, and Eliminated Positions. In a memo to employees this morning (4/2), Entercom CEO David Field announced the company is taking the painful steps of eliminating or furloughing a “significant” number of positions.  Here’s his memo to staffers: “Thank you for your resilience, dedication and fortitude as we manage through the extraordinarily challenging and disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  We are all doing our best to ensure that our loved ones remain safe and healthy while working tirelessly to serve our listeners, customers, and communities. I am deeply appreciative of everything you are doing to keep us moving forward under these difficult conditions. We are fortunate to work in an industry that plays such an important role in our country at a time of crisis, providing a critically important and trusted local voice for news and information as well as entertainment, companionship and respite during these uncertain times.  Unfortunately, the severity of the situation necessitates us making significant cost reductions in order to cope with the realities at hand. Our nation is facing unprecedented disruption that has shut down countless businesses and entire industries, including many of our customers.  This is having a very large impact on advertising revenues.  We must take hard but necessary actions to ensure that we endure the crisis and emerge as a strong, healthy and competitive company.  I am deeply saddened that we need to make these painful moves at this time, but they are necessary under the circumstances. We are doing everything in our power to minimize the number of layoffs through shared sacrifice across the organization, but we will still need to eliminate or furlough a significant number of positions. In order to make the transition less painful for our colleagues, we will be providing up to an extra month of additional severance for those individuals for whom their normal severance and the recently announced enhanced federal unemployment benefits provide less support. In addition, we will be providing enhanced employee benefits for furloughed team members.  We will also be taking other cost reduction actions at this time, including the temporary suspension of our dividend and our 401(k) Company match, the elimination of Q1 and Q2 bonuses, and temporary salary reductions of between 10% and 20% for anyone earning a salary in excess of $50,000 per year.  I will be taking a 30% salary reduction.  We hope to restore regular salaries, bonus eligibility and our 401(k) plan match at the start of the third quarter.  I very much appreciate the sacrifice that people will be making in these difficult times.  We will get through this crisis and put this all behind us. Better days lie ahead. With the tough but necessary actions we are now taking, we are doing what is required for us to preserve the health of the company and ensure that we are strong when we get to the other side. Our future is further protected by our strong financial position with substantial cash reserves and virtually no debt due before 2024. And when the crisis abates, we look forward to resuming our growth and building on our strong strategic position as a leader in the audio business, including the best lineup of local radio stations in the United States.  I deeply appreciate your dedication and commitment and look forward to better times ahead. We will be following up with additional information shortly. Yours, David.”

Former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell Joins Newsmax TV. Joining Newsmax TV as a contributor is former Virginian Governor Bob McDonnell.  Newsmax says that McDonnell “brings a wealth of experience, having served 14 years in the Virginia General Assembly, as Virginia’s Attorney General, and as the commonwealth’s 71st governor from 2010-2014.”  He’ll serve as a political and legal analyst for the 24/7 cable news network, covering the Trump administration, the 2020 presidential race, and the significant issues of the day.  Newsmax TV chief content officer and EVP of programming Elliott Jacobson says, “Bob has had a long and distinguished career in public service and intimately knows the ins and outs of government and politics.  He’s a very valuable addition to our growing roster of distinguished commentators on Newsmax TV.”

Entercom Files Motion to Dismiss Discrimination Suit by Former WIP-AM, Philadelphia Account Executive. Back in mid-January, former WIP-AM, Philadelphia account executive Maria McBride filed a sex-based discrimination and breach of contract suit against Entercom Communications.  In the suit, she alleges she was touched inappropriately, and stared at by her superior; claims she was overworked tending to promotions because of failure on the promotions department to staff events; she developed health issues as a result of her working conditions and alleges the company did nothing to help.  She also claims she was denied a bonus in violation of her contract and eventually fired.  Yesterday (4/1), Entercom filed a 30-page Motion to Dismiss in New Jersey federal court, arguing McBride didn’t sufficiently demonstrate her claims of a hostile work environment, of retaliation, of breach of contract, nor the other claims.  Entercom also argues that if the Court allows the case to go forward, it be transferred to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

TALKERS News Notes. Self-described financial expert William Neil “Doc” Gallagher (he didn’t have a state investment advisers license in Texas), who brokered time for his “The Money Doctor” show on Dallas market stations KAAM-AM, KSKY-AM, KLTY-FM, and KWRD-FM, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for defrauding some 60 investors of more than $20 million.  The Dallas News reports that Gallagher targeted elderly Christians with his rhetoric on the radio and even published a book titled, Jesus Christ, Money Master.  The 79-year-old Gallagher pleaded guilty and must pay more than $10 million in restitution…..Talk host Jon Patch celebrates 30 years on the radio hosting the syndicated “Talkin’ Pets” program.  The three-hour, weekly show is syndicated by GAB Network.  Patch says, “If you live life with a pet or just have a love for animals, then ‘Talkin’ Pets’ is the show for you.  We have many listeners who don’t even have pets since the show is always riveting, passionate, fun, and overall pure entertainment like no other pet show in the country.  This formula has worked for 30 years and we look forward to many more years to come.  Thanks to all of our affiliate stations coast to coast for their dedication to ‘Talkin’ Pets.’”…..NPR announces that Michael Smith joins the organization as chief marketing officer.  Smith was most recently SVP and general manager of digital channels for Scripps Network.  NPR president and CEO John Lansing says, “Michael is a strategic thinker and an extremely creative media executive who has spent his career finding new ways people consume content across an increasingly diverse audience population.  He is joining NPR at a time when we must extend the reach of our content beyond our traditional audiences to fully serve the American public and he is uniquely qualified to help us do so.”…..Pictured below is Genesis Communications Network-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs giving blood in her home town of Las Vegas.  She says, “As you are aware, blood banks are in dire need of blood and they are asking whomever can brave it to donate without getting exposed.  Vitalant here ran a great ship today, keeping everyone at a distance as Nevada received today a ‘stay at home order.’”

U.S. Coronavirus Numbers and Death Toll, Financial Markets Activity, Recession Fears, Dr. Fauci Threatened, Churches Defying Anti-Gathering Policies, Russia Sends Supplies to U.S., and the Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/1). The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the death toll; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus; economists express fears of a prolonged recession in the wake of the pandemic; director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci gets security because of threats; some churches in the South refusing to honor the non-gathering policy; Russia sends military plane with medical supplies to the U.S.; and Joe Biden calls for the postponement of the Democratic National Convention were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Salem Radio Network Talk Star Mike Gallagher and Former BS&T Lead Singer David Clayton-Thomas Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. In a rare “double feature,” two guests share the bill on this week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The podcast features conversations with two colorful communicators – each isolating at home during the coronavirus crisis. Each with a different political view of today’s world. First is Salem Radio Network conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher from his condo in Tampa, Florida where he broadcasts his daily show from a remote set up in his kitchen. That’s followed by well-known singer/songwriter, David Clayton-Thomas, former lead vocalist for Blood, Sweat & Tears, from his condo in Toronto, Canada. Clayton-Thomas has just released a powerfully, opinionated solo album of “protest songs” addressing a variety of today’s hottest issues from a liberal perspective. According to Harrison, “Both of these fine men, whom I’ve known over the decades, have a lot to say about the world and having them both appear on this installment of the program while isolating during the crisis creates a marvelous kind of symmetry.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Talkers Convention Postponed Until Friday, October 16. The 23rd annual presentation of the talk media industry’s longest running and most important annual gathering originally scheduled for Friday June 5 has been officially postponed until Friday, October 16 due to the coronavirus crisis. This year, the event – held in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of TALKERS – is titled, Talkers 2020: The Rise of the Media Station, and will still take place at the ultra-modern Helen Mills Event Space and Theater located in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. In announcing the change of date, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “We are hopeful and optimistic that the circumstances going forward will be conducive for an event of this nature to be feasible slightly more than a half year from now. We will do our best to hold together the agenda that we’ve already established, but are cognizant that, to a certain extent, we will be rebuilding it to conform to the specifics of the times and events that take place between now and then. If circumstances are such that this crisis continues through the second half of 2020, we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. All paid registrations and sponsorships already accepted will be honored for the new date. However, we will cease all promotion and recruitment for new and additional speakers, sponsors and registrants until at least the first week of May out of respect for the urgency and priority this crisis presents to our industry’s dedicated, hard-pressed professionals.” For more information please call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413 or email info@talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New York City, Alex Roman is promoted to the newly created chief technology officer position for Mediaco’s hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban AC WBLS.  He rises from the director of integrated technology post in which he’s been serving since 2011.  Mediaco president and COO Patrick Walsh says, “Alex’s experience and insights are invaluable as we continue to build multichannel digital platforms for WBLS and ‘Hot 97.’  There simply is not anyone like him in our industry and I’m pleased that with this move to CTO we can count on Alex being an important part of our leadership team in the coming years.”…..Quibi announces that iHeartMedia becomes a partner of the new “Pop5” daily, music news show.  The program, produced by Mission Control Media, is hosted by Tim Kash.  It’s described as “a colorful collage of must-know information about pop music today.”  Launching April 6, “Pop5 by iHeartRadio” will premiere a new episode every weekday, as part of Quibi’s Daily Essentials programming…..iHeartMedia is hosting its first ever virtual book club in partnership with social retail platform talkshoplive as it celebrates the release of Alicia Keys’ book, More Myself: A Journey (2020, Flatiron Books), on April 10 at 5:00 pm ET.  The virtual book club will feature an intimate conversation between Alicia Keys and iHeartRadio on-air personality Angie Martinez.

Monday, March 18, 2019

| March 18, 2019

Atlanta’s ‘92.9 The Game’ Ousts Midday Hosts Rick Kamla and John Michaels. First reported by Atlanta Journal Constitution writer Rodney Ho, the midday team of Rick Kamla and John Michaels – together on the air since 2016 – has been let go by Entercom sports talker WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 The Game.”  Kamla was part of the station’s morning show when WZGC launched as a sports talk station in 2012, but later moved to middays.  He was joined by Michaels in 2016.  Michaels confirmed his exit via Twitter saying they were given a number of reasons why they were being let go, including “not connecting with the audience.”  WZGC has made no public comments about the changes, including its plans for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm slot.

Kridel Reduces Air Time at WBBM, Chicago.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, news anchor Kris Kridel is scaling back her time on the air at Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago to part-time status.  The 34-year station veteran will now be heard from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.  She had been on the air for six straight hours.  Feder reports that Lisa Fielding will be on the 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm program with co-anchor Keith Johnson most weekdays.

Monday Memo: The Boys Are Back. Consultant Holland Cooke delivers this week’s Monday Memo from the heart of Red Sox Nation with advice about the return of baseball to radio’s airwaves: “Mathematically, baseball may be affiliates’ best friend for the next several months, when play-by-play invites new cume, and tune-in to fringe hours; and is full of suspense and commercial inventory that sells without numbers.” In this week’s Monday Memo, Cooke – ALREADY wearing his Red Sox jersey – offers three tips for boosting awareness and recycling and impressing advertisers.  Read it here.

Westwood One Promotes Stuart Greenblatt to SVP. Serving in his 20th year with Westwood One, Stuart Greenblatt is promoted to senior vice president, affiliate sales.  In his previous VP, affiliate sales post, he was in charge of station services for the network’s talk show properties.  In his new role, Greenblatt will oversee the distribution and marketing of all Westwood One programs and affiliate services for radio stations around the country, as well as supervise the national affiliate sales team and manage station client relationships.  Greenblatt says, “After working in affiliate sales for almost 20 years, I am honored to be leading the affiliate sales team here at Westwood One, truly the best in the business.  I look forward to working together with our station partners and our outstanding sales team to grow and promote our first-rate programming across the board.”

Nielsen’s National Media Impact Added to Westwood One’s Audio Insights Platform. This deal between Nielsen and Westwood One allows the latter to license the national version of Nielsen Media Impact (NMI) powered by Nielsen’s Total Media Fusion.  NMI is a cross-platform media planning and optimization solution that helps clients understand total campaign reach, frequency, and duplication using advanced audience segments.  It will enable Westwood One to demonstrate the value that its unique audiences bring to an advertiser’s media plan and illustrate radio’s substantial incremental reach.  Cumulus Media EVP of marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “With Nielsen Media Impact, we can show our advertising partners the effect on overall campaign reach and frequency when money is moved between media.  Advertisers will be able to access this tool through the groundbreaking Westwood One ROI Guarantee audio insights platform.  It’s a new dimension in making media investments work smarter for marketers using radio, podcasting, and streaming to drive ROI.  We welcome the opportunity to demonstrate the power of adding audio to a media plan, giving agencies and brands the information they need to understand the true value of our medium in driving sales.” Nielsen says that in 2018, it enhanced NMI to include national radio.  Nielsen’s national radio data within Nielsen Media Impact allows buyers and sellers to understand the value of radio as a medium at the national level, as well as the incremental reach achieved by including national radio in the media mix. With the national version of Nielsen Media Impact clients can plan and optimize media allocation and compare total radio, radio formats, and radio owner groups with other national media (including TV, digital, print, cinema and digital place-based media) in advanced audience segments.

Randi P’Pool Joins Aptivada as Chief Marketing Officer. Leaving her role with Alpha Media as vice president of marketing is Randi P’Pool, who joins Aptivada, a provider of promotions contesting and audience engagement tools as chief marketing officer.  In her role with Alpha Media (which, along with iHeartMedia and Bonneville,is a client of Aptivada) P’Pool led national promotions, corporate partnerships, digital contesting, company communications and PR, events and cross-platform brand marketing.   In her new role, she’ll join Aptivada’s leadership team focusing on the strategic evolution and growth of Aptivada.  P’Pool says, “Not only does Aptivada offer the optimum digital marketing platform but it also provides extremely innovative solutions to generate new digital revenue for broadcasters.  The opportunity to support, foster and endorse a company as innovative and remarkable as Aptivada is the utmost honor and privilege for me!”

TALKERS News Notes. As long as the court schedule doesn’t change, former WFAN, New York morning drive personality Craig Carton will learn his fate on April 5 at his sentencing on conspiracy and fraud charges.  According to sentencing guidelines, Carton could get as much as 45 years in prison, although it’s likely he’ll serve far less than that. Two of his convicted co-conspirators have already been sentenced.  Michael Wright is serving a sentence of almost two years and Joseph Meli is doing six and-a-half years.  The three were involved in a Ponzi scheme that took money from investors in a VIP concert ticket re-sale business.  Prosecutors convinced jurors Carton spent some of the money paying off gambling debts and for personal expenses…..The Buffalo News reports that Entercom has sold its radio tower on Grand Island – one that carries the signal for CHR WKSE-FM “Kiss 98.5” to Vertical Bridge for almost $1.5 million.  WKSE’s signal will continue to emanate from the tower under a leaseback deal…..Condolences to the family and friends of Dave Sandler – a former longtime traffic reporter for Hearst’s WBAL-AM, Baltimore – who passed away last Thursday evening at age 58 after a long illness.  Sandler was known as “Detour Dave Sandler” to WBAL and rock WIYY-FM. He exited WBAL in 2017 after 31 years there.

Mosques Massacre Aftermath, Trump’s Weekend Tweetstorm, College Admissions Scandal, Boeing’s 737 Woes, Trump-Russia Investigation Status, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls/Kirsten Gillibrand Announces, Midwest Flooding, NBA Action, and NCAA Tournament Seeding Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of the mosques attacks in New Zealand that left 50 people dead; President Trump’s weekend tweets that took aim at General Motors and a UAW boss, the late Senator John McCain, and NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”; the blowback from the college admissions cheating scandal; Boeing’s challenges with the 737 Max planes in the wake of the second crash in five months; the status of the investigation into possible Trump campaign connections with Russian agents; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020, including the entrance of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand; the devastating floods in Nebraska and Iowa; NBA hoops action; and the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament bracket were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Hexagon 2019: Romp in the Swamp. Nationally syndicated late-night talk show host Jim Bohannon (left) poses for a photo with former NBC anchor Jackie Nedell (right) on the set of the satirical musical comedy review, “Hexagon 2019: Romp in the Swamp,” in Washington on Friday (3/15).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Des Moines alternative rock KDXA “ALT 106.3,” Alex Mac is named assistant program director, adding the duties to his roles as afternoon drive personality and music director.  iHeartMedia Des Moines SVP of programming Greg Chance says, “Alex has a bright programming future and has displayed all the characteristics of a great programmer. We are excited to see him further develop his career.”  Prior to joining the iHeartMedia Des Moines market in October 2017, Mac served as evening host and promotions assistant for WRXL-FM, Richmond…..Entercom radio personality Ken Hicks is being recognized by the Georgia State Senate for his career in radio and community service.  Hicks hosts the morning show at WUSY-FM, Chattanooga “U.S. 101” that serves a large portion of Northwest Georgia.  Entercom Chattanooga SVP and market manager Nichole Hartman says, “In his nearly 35 years with ‘U.S. 101,’ Ken has raised millions of dollars for charities, assisted in relief efforts for dozens of disasters, and has served and continues to serve the Chattanooga and North Georgia community with his whole heart.  Ken epitomizes the distinct group of people deserving of this honor and I am proud that he is a part of our team.”…..In the Palm Springs market, Tommy Carrera, a.k.a. Tommy C, exits his PD roles with Alpha Media.  He’d been programming both country KDES “98.5 The Bull” and classic hits KDGL “106.9 The Eagle.”

Thursday, May 10, 2018

| May 10, 2018

Emmis Communications Fiscal Q4 Report: Pro Forma Net Revenue Down 1%. Because of the recent sales of its Los Angeles, St. Louis, and Terre Haute stations, the Emmis Communications fourth fiscal quarter report can be viewed two ways.  Fourth fiscal quarter revenue was $28.4 million – down 16%.  But, pro forma for the sale of Emmis’ Los Angeles and Terre Haute radio stations, revenue as reported to Miller Kaplan (which excludes barter revenue and syndication revenue) was down 1% in markets that were down 3%.  The company says the New York and St. Louis clusters both grew their revenue in the quarter and outperformed their markets.  Looking at the whole fiscal year (ended February 28, 2018), radio revenue was $142.9 million compared to $165.1 million in the prior year – a decrease of 13%.  For the full year, Emmis’ pro forma radio revenue was down 2%.  The report notes that on April 30, the company finalized the sale of its St. Louis radio stations, and after applying the net proceeds therefrom, has less than $20 million of net credit facility debt outstanding.  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “In the last 12 months, we have paid down over $120 million of senior debt, leaving us on firm financial footing and providing flexibility as opportunities present themselves.  Ratings for our New York radio stations remain strong and they are rebounding nicely in Indianapolis.  The NextRadio team has done a tremendous job rolling out Dial Report, an industry-wide data attribution platform, and we believe it is uniquely positioned to meet the growing demand for robust analytics and insights into the behaviors of radio listeners.”

Liberty Media Group Still Interested in iHeartMedia.  “At the right price” is the phrase Liberty Media Group president and CEO Greg Maffei used during yesterday’s investors conference call.  Maffei noted that Liberty owns “about $660 million” of iHeartMedia bonds.  Regarding Liberty’s interest in iHeartMedia, Maffei adds, “I think the process is evolving as they go through their Chapter 11 proceedings.  Creditors are gaining an understanding of what they are proposing to buy.  I think at some point they are going to re-engage with us, and if the price is attractive, as I said, we would be interested.  And the rationale for that is there are both – I think some opportunities around radio.  They’re still having interest toward radio and are so interested in some of the assets that we have, including serious investment in Pandora.  I think there are both synergies on the revenue side and on the cost side potentially.  And iHeart is an attractive free cash-flow generator.  The wide pricing in combination with that is those are the factors and it will be additive to our music holdings.”  Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the conference call transcript.  Members can read it all here.

Schulman Named CMO at Katz Media Group. Media executive Stacey Lynn Schulman is promoted to chief marketing officer for Katz Media Group.  The company says that in this new role, “Schulman will lead a team of marketing and insight professionals across both Katz Radio Group and Katz Television Group, driving overall marketing strategy and insights for Katz’s 14 regional offices that together serve as the trusted sales partner to more than 3,300 radio stations, 800 television stations and their digital platforms.”  The company says Schulman joined it in 2014 as EVP of strategy, analytics and research.  “She quadrupled Katz’s proprietary research efforts on behalf of clients.  Schulman also introduced new marketplace tools to showcase the power of local media, including Katz’s DJ Personality Index, which helps marketers easily identify on-air personalities who already engage with their brands, and The Local Vote project, which provides political marketers with a media compass based on recent voter sentiment in local markets. Her efforts have been instrumental in bringing additional revenue into the radio sector and expanding the target-ability of local broadcast television.”

TALKERS News Notes. A piece published at CNNMoney that states Salem Media Group execs have pressured their talk show hosts to be supportive of President Trump is getting a lot of attention.  Featured in the story is former KRLA, Los Angeles morning personality Elisha Krauss, who tells writers Hadas Gold and Oliver Darcy that although she understands Salem can hire or fire any talent it wants, “They shouldn’t do it with the facade that they’re delivering multi-level opinions and they’re not puppeteering those opinions.” Krauss currently works with Ben Shapiro on his podcast programs.  The two worked together on KRLA’s “The Morning Answer.” Currently, “The Morning Answer” is co-hosted by anti-Trumper Brian Whitman and pro-Trumper Jennifer Horn.  Read the piece here…..As election season gears up, the Larry Young morning program on Radio One’s WOLB, Baltimore will participate in presenting public forums featuring candidates for office.  The station will present a gubernatorial forum on Tuesday, June 5 and a state’s attorney forum on Wednesday, June 13 as part of the Larry Young morning program.

U.S. Exits Iran Nukes Deal, Israel Strikes Syria, North Korean Prisoners Released/Trump-Kim Jong Un Meeting, Haspel Confirmation Hearings, Stormy Daniels Case/Cohen Russian Money Allegations, Hawaiian Volcano Watch, MLB Action, and NBA Playoffs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/9). The reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear agreement; Israel’s strikes on Iranian targets inside of Syria; three American prisoners held in North Korea are released and the related planned meeting between North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and President Trump; the confirmation hearings for CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel; the Stormy Daniels payoff case and allegations Trump attorney Michael Cohen received money from a Russian oligarch after the 2016 election; Hawaii’s oozing volcano and fears it may transform into a full blown eruption; Major League Baseball action; and the NBA playoffs were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The evening program on iHeartMedia’s CHR WIHT, Washington “HOT 99.5” is getting a new voice as Emily Sklar takes over the daypart on Monday (5/14).  She comes to DC from her most recent gig as midday jock on the company’s CHR WKQI, Detroit “Channel 955.”…..Cumulus Media names radio personality Nikki Blades co-host of “The Morning Block Party” on rhythmic CHR KWIN, Stockton-Modesto.  Blades has been hosting the midday program since January.  Blades began her career as a professional model and was featured in Maxim magazine and earlier this year, appeared on MTV’s “Wild ‘N Out with Nick Cannon.”  Station program director Daniel “Jiggy” Diaz says “We are very excited for today.  It’s not very often you find someone who fits the mold of the brand so well and is also destined for greatness.  Nikki Blades is by far the next big talent on the West Coast and I’m so excited for her to take the next step here at KWIN!”…..Entercom appoints Sean “Sonic” Leckie host of the afternoon drive show on WBMX, Chicago “104.3 Jams.”  Entercom Chicago SVP and market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “Sonic brings a passion for music and drive to succeed to ‘104.3 Jams.’  We’re looking forward to having him take the helm of Chicago’s new afternoon drive show.”…..Cumulus Media promotes Josh “Bru” Brubaker to the local anchor position for “Ty, Kelly and Chuck” on WDRQ, Detroit “NASH FM 93.1.”  He joined WDRQ in 2017 as a weekend/swing talent and was elevated to production assistant shortly thereafter…..ACM-award winner and platinum-selling singer/songwriter Jake Owen is hosting Westwood One’s Annual “Summer Kick Off” Memorial Day special.  The four-hour program features music from Jake and his friends, including Kenny Chesney, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Kelsea Ballerini, Zac Brown Band, and more. The show will also remember the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.