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Wednesday, September 29, 2021

| September 29, 2021

Lotus Communications Closes on Seattle Stations Acquisition. The only radio stations that Sinclair Broadcast Group owned are now part of the Lotus Communications portfolio as Lotus closes on the $18 million purchase of all-news KOMO-AM/FM, talk KVI-AM, and hot AC KPLZ-FM in Seattle that was announced in June. Lotus president Jim Kalmenson says in a statement, “Today begins an exciting era as we begin working with the amazing staff at these heritage radio stations KOMO, KPLZ, and KVI. These are legendary stations which share Lotus’s vision of producing local programming to serve the community and support our hometown businesses. Seattle is home to several excellent broadcasting companies who have made this a great radio market.” Sinclair Broadcast Group – a broadcast television company – picked up the radio stations as part of its acquisition of Fisher Communications’ TV assets in 2013.

WTKS-FM, Orlando’s Russ Rollins Hospitalized with COVID. The “Real Radio 104.1” website has the story of “Monsters in the Morning” host Russ Rollins’ battle with COVID-19. Rollins – who is fully vaccinated and has been an advocate for vaccinations and masks – was on an RV trip with his wife when he fell ill. They cut their trip short and returned home but on Monday (9/27), “things went from bad to worse” and “he was told by his doctor to go to the local emergency room.” Rollins texted that “fluid was filling up” and “this is not good,” adding this “is the worst I have ever felt.” For now, longtime member of “The Monsters in the Morning” Carlos Navarro is leading the show from his home with Angel Rivera and Ryan Holmes in separate rooms at the iHeartMedia studios in Orlando.

iHeartMedia’s Black Information Network Partners with Real Times Media. The deal between iHeartMedia’s BIN: Black Information Network and Detroit-based multi-media firm Real Times Media is described as “a strategic partnership to share and distribute news that is most important to the Black community.” BIN: Black Information Network is the company’s “national audio news network dedicated to providing an objective, accurate and trusted source of continual news coverage with a Black voice and perspective” and Real Times Media publishes Black-targeted newspapers The Atlanta Daily World, Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine, The Chicago Defender, The Michigan Chronicle, and The New Pittsburgh Courier. iHeartMedia says this new partnership expands upon the recent announcement that beginning in January 2022, BIN will expand their local news coverage in all 32 affiliate markets. Under this deal, iHeartMedia will source and distribute news stories from RTM publications across BIN radio stations and sites, and RTM will source and distribute BIN news, entertainment and sports stories and place BIN’s audio widget, a source of 24/7 audio coverage, on their digital properties. iHeartMedia will distribute RTM news on BINnews.com, BINnews.com/Atlanta and BINnews.com/Detroit. The deal also includes opportunities for iHeartMedia to convert RTM stories into audio reporting. BIN president Tony Coles says, “From the start, our goal at BIN has been to celebrate and invest in the Black community and shine a light on our most important stories. This exciting new partnership allows us to extend our commitment to expanding local journalism, benefitting Black communities all across the country.”

Elvin Fluellen Named VP and Market Manager for Cumulus Macon. Radio sales pro Elvin Fluellen is named vice president and market manager for Cumulus Media’s Macon, Georgia station group that includes news/talk WMAC-AM and four music brands. Fluellen rejoins Cumulus Macon from Cox Media Group Jacksonville where he was an account executive. Fluellen was previously general sales manager/digital sales manager for Cumulus Macon from 2016-2019. Fluellen has also held programming leadership and on-air positions during his 23-year radio career, including 13 years as operations manager/program director for iHeartMedia in Albany, Georgia. Cumulus regional vice president Mark Sullivan says, “It’s exciting to have Elvin rejoining the team in Macon as he did a wonderful job for us and made a lasting impact with the staff, advertisers and community. I’m very pleased to work alongside him again and look forward to many more successes together.”

Premiere Networks Launches Weekend Cryptocurrency Show Hosted by Mark Moss. This weekend Premiere Networks is debuting “The Mark Moss Show,” hosted by investor, entrepreneur, cryptocurrency expert, and host of the popular “Market Disruptors” podcast/YouTube series Mark Moss. The new three-hour weekend program is available for stations to air between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight local time. It will also be available as a podcast. Premiere says, “Each week on ‘The Mark Moss Show,’ Moss will help audiences understand and navigate Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, as well as why they’re important, including the business, politics, financial markets, and more. He’ll share his knowledge for why this isn’t just a new technology, but a technological revolution with the biggest opportunity and potential ever seen.” He says, “We’re witnessing the most important technological revolution right now – it’s the greatest ‘asymmetric opportunity’ of our lifetime. But to take advantage of this opportunity, you need to have asymmetric information and you need to know what most others do not. That’s what I’m excited to share with listeners each and every week, so they can participate in this revolution today!” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott comments, “Mark is uniquely qualified to inform and educate audiences on how to make smart investments, grow their money, understand the financial markets and prepare for the future. He doesn’t just talk the talk; he walks the walk. We look forward to sharing Mark’s knowledge and expertise with listeners every weekend!”

Dan Kripke Named DOS for El Dorado Broadcasters. At El Dorado Broadcasters in Yuma, Arizona, Dan Kripke is named director of sales for the group that includes news/talk KBLU-AM, two music brands, plus Yumadailynews.com and its digital sales operations in the marketplace. Kripke was most recently director of sales for Curtis Media in Jacksonville, North Carolina. El Dorado Broadcasters executive president Chris Fleming says, “Dan Kripke is someone we identified as a match for our team as his style and approach are both complementary and unique. When we look for people to join our team, we actively search for people who have a passion for this business and the curiosity and enthusiasm to be innovative. In our conversations with Dan this year, we knew he is someone we want on our team.” Kripke comments, “I can see the potential for growth in the Yuma market and I am thrilled to be part of it. I knew this was a team I wanted to join when had my first conversation with El Dorado Broadcasters. I can’t wait to get started.”

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow evening (9/30) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents a Town Hall broadcast addressing the alarming rise in youth suicide in New Jersey. Station senior political director Eric Scott says, “The most alarming statistic is the sharp increase in suicide among children as young as 10. Our goal is to remove the stigma surrounding those struggling with thoughts of suicide and connect them with the help they need.” The program’s on-air panel will feature: Meredith Masin Blount, executive director of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness; Susan Tellone, clinical director of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide; anti-bullying expert Stuart Green; and Roselin Duenas, a youth suicide survivor and advocate for New Jersey’s LGBTQ+ community…..Cumulus Media’s KMJ-AM/FM, Fresno “NewsTalk 580/105.9” recently teamed with local agriculture company Gar Bennett to raise money for the Central California Food Bank through its 2021 “Feeding Families Fund Drive,” and listeners responded generously donating more than $250,000 to help their neighbors struggling with food insecurity and hunger. The annual one-day event was held on September 17 and has raised more than $3.5 million dollars and provided 18 million meals over the eight years the station has been presenting the fund drive…..Monticello Media’s WCHV-AM/FM, Charlottesville, Virginia  recently picked up awards from the Virginia Association of Broadcasters for newscast (“Local News First”), sports coverage (Mac McDonald “Covid 19 and HS Sports”) and community events (“Save the C’ville Fireworks”)…..iHeartMedia announces that Charlamagne Tha God’s The Black Effect Podcast Network will celebrate its one-year anniversary of “uplifting and amplifying Black voices in the podcast space” with a live event on October 7 at Variety Playhouse in Atlanta. The hybrid event (in-person and live-streamed) will highlight some of the network’s comedy podcasts and will be hosted by Flame Monroe, co-host of “Laugh and Learn.” The event will feature live recordings from “Whoreible Decisions” with Mandii B and WeezyWTF and “The 85 South Show” with DC Young FlyKarlous Miller, and Chico Bean…..Audacy’s C13Originals drops the second season of its documentary series written and created by Vanity Fair’s Lili Anolik titled, “Once Upon a Time… at Bennington College.” This season explores the Bennington College Class of ‘86 and the cultural impact of three of its members, authors Bret Easton Ellis, Jonathan Lethem, and Donna Tartt.

Debt Ceiling Standoff, Biden Infrastructure-Spending Plans, Senate Afghanistan Testimony, COVID-19, Stephanie Grisham Book, and UK Fuel Shortage Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28). The congressional stalemate over raising the U.S.’s debt ceiling to avoid default; the debate in congress over President Joe Biden’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion spending plan; Tuesday’s senate testimony from top generals indicating they counseled Biden not to exit Afghanistan and Gen. Mark Milley’s doubling down on his calls to Chinese military; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; fallout from former Donald Trump press secretary Stephanie Grisham’s tell-all book; and the fuel crisis affecting Great Britain were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, July 9, 2020

| July 9, 2020

Round Two of June PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this second round of ratings. The intense spike in ratings for news/talk stations that happened during the April survey has halted and many of those stations are seeing weekly, 6+ AQH shares falling off. In Washington, although Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM lost 1.1 shares from the May survey to the June survey, it still ranks #1 in the market with an 8.2 share. Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington dips four-tenths to a 7.6 share but remains ranked #2. In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO dips one-half share to a 4.3 share and the #7 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM rises seven-tenths to a 6.6 share and the #3 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle loses just one-tenth from May to June and remains ranked #1 with a 7.1 share. Entercom all-news WWJ, Detroit drops three-tenths to finish the June survey with a 5.4 share and the #3 rank. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” report here.

Chris Fleming Named EVP at El Dorado Broadcasters. Broadcasting executive Chris Fleming joins El Dorado Broadcasters – operator of radio stations in the Victor Valley, California and Yuma, Arizona markets – as executive vice president for the company and general manager for the Victor Valley cluster. El Dorado operates news/talk KIXW, Victor Valley “Talk 960” and news/talk KBLU in Yuma in addition to seven music brands in the two markets. Fleming was most recently EVP for Neuhoff Media and based in Lafayette, Indiana. El Dorado president Jason Wolff says, “Chris Fleming has a long history of building products and growing revenues in markets of all sizes. I’ve watched from a distance as Chris built tremendous value for Brad Moran at Ramar. Now I’m excited to give Chris the reins and see him guide El Dorado into a successful integrated marketing company with strong radio brands at its core.”

Radio Hall of Fame Announces 2020 Nominees. The nominees for induction into the Radio Hall of Fame as members of the class of 2020 have been announced. At the same time, the RHoF says that this year’s induction ceremony will be a live radio broadcast from multiple locations this October. The exact date and additional details will be announced along with the inductees on August 17. Industry voting in four of the six categories begins Monday (7/13) and listener voting in the other two categories begins on July 20. RHoF chair Kraig Kitchin states, “2020 marks 100 years of radio and, while we regret that we cannot hold an in-person event this year, we’re looking forward to the excitement of a live, multi-location radio broadcast. I want to thank Dennis Green, chair of this year’s Nominating Committee, and all the radio professionals who are volunteering their time and expertise to the difficult task of selecting inductees from such an impressive list.” The first four categories below are voted on by the 600-member industry participant panel and the last two are voted on by listeners.

Longstanding Local/Regional (20 years or more)
Mark & Brian – KLOS-FM, Los Angeles
Bobby Rich-KFMB-FM, San Diego & KMXZ-FM, Tucson
Bob Rivers-KJR-FM, Seattle
Donnie Simpson-WMMJ-FM, Washington D.C.

Active Local/Regional (10 years or more)
Angie Martinez-WWPR-FM, New York City
Matt Siegel-WXKS-FM, Boston
Elliot Segal-WWDC-FM, Washington D.C.
Bob Stroud-WDRV-FM, Chicago

Longstanding Network/Syndication (20 years or more)
Sid Mark-host, “Sounds of Sinatra”
Joey Reynolds-host, WOR Radio Network
Cokie Roberts-political reporter, NPR
Suzyn Waldman-New York Yankees Radio Network

Active Network/Syndication (10 years or more)
“The Breakfast Club”-Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, DJ Envy, Premiere Networks
Larry ElderSalem Radio Network
Jaime Jarrin-Los Angeles Dodgers Network
Kim KomandoWestStar Radio Network

Music Format On-Air Personality
Whitney Allen-“The Big Time with Whitney Allen,” Westwood One
Bob & Sheri-“The Bob and Sheri Show,” Westwood One
Sway CallowaySirius XM Shade 45 Channel
John Boy & BillyPremiere Networks

Spoken Word On-Air Personality
Glenn BeckPremiere Networks
John & Ken-KFI-AM, Los Angeles
Stephanie MillerWYD Media
“Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me”-NPR

TALKERS News Notes. Talk media personality Michael Smerconish is the subject of a piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Writer Ellen Gray interviews Smerconish about his talk radio and talk TV career in advance of the one-hour special that will air on CNN this Saturday at 10:00 pm titled, “Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started Talking.” The show was supposed to be a 12-city tour featuring a two-hour, live stage event but the coronavirus pandemic nixed the tour. Instead, Smerconish filmed the program at the Bucks County Playhouse with a socially distanced crew. Smerconish’s thoughts on political polarization, talk media and more are part of the show and the interview. He hosts a weekend show on CNN and his daily talk show on SiriusXM…..Former FOX News Channel journalist Shepard Smith joins CNBC to anchor a new, one-hour evening news program titled. “The News with Shepard Smith,” airing nightly at 7:00 pm ET. CNBC says the program will debut in the fall and “will cover the most significant news stories of the day and will feature the well-respected, fact-based storytelling that has been the hallmark of his 30-year career.” Additionally, Smith will assume the new roles of CNBC’s chief general news anchor and chief breaking general news anchor as well as executive editor of “The News with Shepard Smith.” Smith says, “Gathering and reporting the news has been my life’s work. I am honored to continue to pursue the truth, both for CNBC’s loyal viewers and for those who have been following my reporting for decades in good times and in bad.” Smith served with FOX News Channel for 23 years before exiting last fall…..The New York TimesMichael Grynbaum reports that Joy Reid is being promoted to the 7:00 pm ET slot at cable news/talk channel MSNBC, effective July 20. Grynbaum writes that Reid “rose to television fame as a sharp critic of President Trump and commentator on liberal politics and race.”  Her new show, “The ReidOut,” takes the time slot long occupied by “Hardball” host Chris Matthews, who exited MSNBC earlier this year in the aftermath of accusations of “sexist behavior in the workplace.”…..Sports talk host Tony Bruno’s show is soon to be heard in Southern California as XEPRS, San Diego “THE MIGHTIER 1090am” adds the show to its lineup in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight slot. “The Tony Bruno Show” – with co-host Harry Mayes – is syndicated via a partnership between SB Nation Radio and JAKIB Media. XEPRS operator Bill Hagen says, “Adding Bruno to the relaunch of this historic radio station was a true no-brainer. Tony helped invent the entire sports radio genre and it is only fitting that an icon like Tony is on an icon like ‘THE MIGHTIER 1090am.’”

RAB’s ‘Open for Business with Purpose’ Presentation Set for July 22. The RAB announces that as part of its Business Unusual initiative, the next presentation in its Open for Business live video series takes place on July 22 at 1:00 pm ET and is titled “Open for Business with Purpose.” RAB says, “This live video presentation features a panel representing an example of a partnership built for the greater good including a nonprofit organization, brand marketers, and broadcasters who lead by example and unite audiences.” Panelists (pictured above, l-r) include: Maureen Carlson, chief program officer, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; Whitney McChane, vice president, marketing communications, International Dairy Queen; Quinton Martin, chief of staff, office of the president, vice president community marketing, Coca Cola, North AmericaRoxanne Marati, vice president of sales, Entercom Denver; Sean Shannon, vice president and market manager, Cumulus Media Atlanta. The presentation will include a Q&A moderated by RAB president and CEO Erica Farber. Registration is free for RAB members.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Trump Schools Order/Foreign Students Ban, SCOTUS Birth Control Ruling, Presidential Race, Summer Heatwave, and Sports Leagues Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/8). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases and deaths; President Trump orders U.S. schools to open in the fall under threat of withholding funds and orders a ban on foreign college students on campus this year; the Supreme Court rules that employers do not have to provide birth control as part of health care plans if they object on religious or moral grounds; the November presidential election; the heatwave affecting much of the U.S.; and the controversy over sports leagues reopening as athletes test positive for COVID-19 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Jennifer Horn is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the hardest working, rising stars in news/talk radio, Jennifer Horn, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Horn is heard on the air every day on several high-profile venues and serves as the general manager of another. She co-hosts “The Morning Answer” with Brian Whitman on two Salem Media Group Southern California “The Answer” stations – KRLA-AM 870, Los Angeles and KTIE-AM 590, San Bernardino (the Inland Empire) where she also hosts the “Jen and Don” show. In addition, she is co-host of the nationally syndicated “DJV Show” with Doug Stephan. On top of that, this dynamo is the VP/GM of ground-breaking network/content producer, CRN Digital Talk Radio, launched in the early 1980s by her father, Mike Horn. In a fast-paced conversation that covers a lot of bases, Harrison taps into Horn’s conservative perspective on many of today’s hottest issues in addition to exploring the details of her colorful history as a second-generation broadcaster. 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. South Florida hot AC WMIA flips to an all-90s format as “Totally 93.9 All 90s All the Time.” iHeartMedia Miami SVP of programming Rob Miller says, “‘Totally 93.9’ is South Florida’s first all 90s station. In these anything-but-normal times, we believe our audience is craving a familiar and nostalgic listening experience that brings back fun memories of their high school and college years, and we think ‘Totally 93.9’ is ‘da’ bomb.’”…..Beginning next week, Westwood One Nashville’s “Nights with Elaina” – hosted by Elaina Smith – will showcase a week of special nights with guest hosts  Trisha Yearwood, Danielle Bradbery, Chrissy Metz (from NBC’s “This Is Us”), Brett Eldridge, Justin Moore, and Rascal FlattsJay Demarcus with his wife Allison. Each night, one artist will host from home and share a night of country music fun with fans. Smith says, “There are few things more comforting than hearing familiar voices every day. Which is one of the reasons radio has been so helpful through this pandemic. I am beyond grateful to all the country stars that have stepped in to hang with our listeners while I can’t be there. This time around we’ve got a really fun mix of artists that I know will keep the positive vibe of the show going as we continue to navigate 2020 together.”…..Sun Broadcast Group announces that the MeTV-FM format picks up a new affiliate station as Langford Broadcasting’s WGTO-AM/W256DV begins airing the format. Owner Larry Langford says, “WGTO AM910 and FM97.1 has been a classic hits station for many years, but we found ourselves competing with higher power stations playing the same tight playlist and voice tracked DJ’s. We needed to try something different. MeTV-FM pulls it off in a way that allows you to enjoy the music flow with creative and entertaining drop ins about the times and the music. We are looking forward to a long relationship in the South Bend, Indiana market!”