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Friday, December 4, 2020

| December 4, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Hazy Shade of Winter, looks back at this past week of November 30 – December 4, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneHeidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Stephanie Miller, talk show host, WYD Media ManagementAmy Hao, talk show host, KSCO, Santa Cruz; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey (October 8 – November 4), today focusing on the news/talk format. This survey leading up to the November 3 presidential election was, in general, a boon to the news/talk format. In fact, 78% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase from the November of 2019 survey to this November 2020 survey. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November survey, 68% of news/talk stations’ ratings were up, with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+2.3), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.9), KFYI, Phoenix (+1.7), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7). Returning to year-over-year numbers, big gainers here included iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+7.6), KFYI-AM, Phoenix (+5.0) and WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+4.5). In what is a first, the top 10 news/talk stations by market rank were all #1 in their respective markets during the November 2020 survey. See which stations those were and a whole lot more in Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Dan Le Batard and ESPN Agree to Part Company. This is one of those separations that might have been termed a “shocker” simply because of the successful nature of the relationship between ESPN and Dan Le Batard. But as industry watchers are aware, the relationship has been contentious recently and Le Batard made no secret about his displeasure with ESPN’s directive during the summer to steer clear of politics. He was also not pleased that ESPN laid off his radio producer Chris Cote as part of its staff cutbacks (Le Batard brought Cote back by paying his salary out of his own pocket). Pile on top of that the fact that ESPN recently moved the video simulcast of his show from cable’s ESPNews to the subscription ESPN+ platform and reduced his radio show from three to two hours. Le Batard’s final programs will be on January 4. In a statement, ESPN EVP and executive editor Norby Williamson says, “It was mutually agreed that it was best for both sides to move on to new opportunities and we worked together closely to make that possible. We thank Dan for his many years and contributions to ESPN and wish him all the best going forward.” Le Batard’s official statement is as follows: “Gracias to ESPN for unleashing Papi and Stugotz upon an unsuspecting America, and for lending its substantive credibility to our careening clown car. Can’t believe Stugotz finally achieved his dream of becoming a high-priced free agent. I’m forever indebted to Erik Rydholm, Matt Kelliher and their vibrant team for providing a creative oasis across a decade, and for expanding the Le Batard family to include so many brilliant colleagues who have become forever friends, bonded eternally by laughter and love. Want to also extend my gratitude to Chuck Salituro, Jimmy Pitaro, Traug Keller, Marcia Keegan, Connor Schell, Juan Diaz, Mike Foss, Amanda Gifford, Liam Chapman, Megan Judge, Elizabeth Fierman, the Hialeah-soaked crew at Imagina …and when did this become a droning acceptance speech instead of a quick goodbye? In short, thank you, Disney and ESPN, for a quarter century of absurd blessings. To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one. And that you’ll be hearing our laughter again soon enough.”

New ESPN Radio Schedule to Launch on January 5. With the departure of Dan Le Batard from the ESPN Radio and ESPN television schedules, ESPN announces the broadcast schedule for the radio network that begins effective on January 5. ESPN moves “Greeny,” with Mike Greenberg from the early afternoon slot to Le Batard’s current 10:00 am to 12:00 noon air time. It inserts the WEPN-FM, New York duo “Bart & Hahn” – Bart Scott and Alan Hahn – into the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart. As for the television program “Highly Questionable,” it will continue with a “contributing team” consisting of Elle Duncan, Domonique Foxworth, Israel Gutierrez, Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes, Katie Nolan, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre, and Clinton Yates.

Joe Madison to Be Honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame. Talk radio pro Joe Madison is being honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame as a 2021 inductee for the “National Satellite Talk Radio Award.” Organization president Bernard Hayes says, “We as a board decided that it would be only fitting to continue the honoring of our leaders in Black Radio despite the current climate in our country and have thereby decided to continue honoring the legacy of those who have done so much to support our communities at large. We will fulfill this task by using the services of the Zoom application.” The National Black Radio Hall of Fame, whose main facility is located at Harris Stowe State University, will have its program hosted by its National Board Members and the local Atlanta Chapter on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm ET.

WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Recovering from Health Issue. Georgia talk radio host Martha Zoller is off of her regular talk show on Jacobs Media’s news/talk WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia after having emergency surgery on a burst abscess on a lung that sent her to the hospital on November 21. She tells TALKERS magazine that she is recovering at home and will be away from her radio show for a couple of weeks and then expects to be hosting her program from home until she’s cleared to return to WDUN’s studios.

WAMU Staff Joins SAG-AFTRA. The content creation staff at American University’s public radio outlet WAMU-FM, Washington voted unanimously to recognize SAG-AFTRA as its union. The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for all areas of the station, including DCist.com, “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” “1A,” “The Big Broadcast,” “Hot Jazz Saturday Night,” and the podcasts “Dish City,” “What’s With Washington,” and “Diane Rehm: On My Mind.” The newly formed bargaining unit will be made up of 80 employees, including hosts, reporters, producers, editors, and engineers who create content for the news, programming and digital units. WAMU “Morning Edition” host Esther Ciammachilli says, “WAMU’s content creators, as a collective bargaining unit represented by SAG-AFTRA, are thrilled to advance our shared beliefs in transparency, accountability, fairness and most importantly, the truth.”

Longtime Chicago Cubs TV Personality Len Kasper Joining WMVP Radio for White Sox Broadcasts. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, 16-year Chicago Cubs television play-by-play man Len Kasper is joining Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk outlet WMVP-AM as announcer for Chicago White Sox broadcasts. Feder says that Kasper – who replaces Andy Masur in the play-by-play role – will work alongside analyst Darrin Jackson.

COVID-19 Spike, Vaccines, and Prevention Tie for Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the anticipated rollout of vaccines, and prescriptions for prevention of the disease tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30 to December 4, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing to claim election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the pardons granted by President Trump and the possibility he’ll grant pardons to his children and himself, followed by the Georgia Senate runoff elections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Las Vegas adult contemporary outlet KSNE-FM “Sunny 106.5” and KLAS-TV “8 News Now” is presenting a special broadcast titled “A Very Sunny Christmas” to benefit Opportunity Village in Southern Nevada – a nonprofit organization serving adults in the Southern Nevada community with intellectual and related disabilities. Airing on the iHeartMedia radio station and KLAS-TV on December 18 and 25, it will feature Sunny 106.5 morning hosts AJ and Joanna plus performances by Nevada-based entertainers including Wayne Newton, Little Big Town, Debbie Gibson, Darius Rucker, Mat Franco, Brian Newman, Russell Dickerson, Shin Lim, Daniel Emmet, Piff The Magic Dragon, Xavier Mortimer, and many more. AJ says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges to Opportunity Village and the people they serve, particularly with the upcoming event season as their normal holiday events like Magical Forest have been cancelled for the 2020 season.”

Thursday, September 24, 2020

| September 24, 2020

Chris Stigall and Salem Agree to Two More Years. Talk radio host Chris Stigall and Salem Media Group’s WNTP, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer” agree to a contract extension for Stigall to continue hosting the morning program through October 1, 2022. Station general manager Lorenzo Caldara says, “Chris has become must-listen-to radio in Philadelphia during these difficult times. His wit and talent have been incredibly valuable in his first year on the air with us. We’re excited that our audience will be waking up to Chris Stigall for years to come.” Stigall joined WNTP in November of 2019. He’d been hosting his own daily podcast after parting with Entercom’s WPHT in March of 2019. He says, “I’ve never been more proud of what our new team at Philadelphia’s ‘AM 990 The Answer’ has built in our first year. The smartest audience in radio has been with me in Philly for over a decade and I’m excited to continue spending my mornings with them for years to come.” This announcement comes on the heels of the news of Stigall’s also joining Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM, Kansas City to host a late morning talk program.

‘The Aggressive Progressive’ Chris Hahn Joins WABC for Weekends. New York City news/talk outlet “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” is adding KMG Networks’ “The Chris Hahn Show” to its weekend program schedule.  It will air Sundays from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm on the Red Apple Media station. Hahn, who goes by the moniker “The Aggressive Progressive,” is a regular contributor to FOX News, a lawyer, author, and public speaker. He says, “I am excited to bring my Sunday show to WABC, the nation’s leading talk radio station. My show is part of the national conversation on the issues of our day and it thrills me to engage the WABC audience with a strong progressive voice.” WABC SVP of programming Dave LaBrozzi comments, “Having Chris as a part of the weekend lineup helps us deliver on our goal of presenting both sides of the story. Chris’s background, insight, and compelling conversation are now an integral part of our weekend programming.”

SCOTUS Justice Battle, Breonna Taylor Grand Jury/Protests, the Presidential Race, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccine, School Openings/College Outbreaks, Bolton Book Release Controversy, Senate Committee’s Hunter Biden Report, and Western Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/23). Senate president Mitch McConnell’s plan to vote on President Trump’s nominee to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Supreme Court seat before the election; a Louisville grand jury declines to charge officers in the death of Breonna Taylor and the protests that ensued; the November presidential election; the U.S. surpasses 200,000 deaths from COVID-19, projections for future cases, and progress on a vaccine; the challenges facing students, parents, and teachers as schools open and the outbreaks of COVID-19 on college campuses; the controversy over an NSA reviewer’s claim that the White House intervened in the process for John Bolton’s book; a Senate subcommittee’s report on Hunter Biden’s sitting on the board of a Ukrainian energy firm; and the wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. More from the coming HBO documentary “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth” about the demise of former WFAN, New York morning host Craig Carton from the New York Post. Andrew Marchand reports that Carton teases he almost committed suicide a month before he was arrested on fraud charges that eventually got him 3 and ½ years (although he served less than a year in prison, the rest is to be served under house arrest). The film is to debut on October 7…..FOX News Radio announces that it welcomes 56 former Westwood One News affiliate stations to a growing affiliate base of more than 1,000 stations nationwide. New affiliates include Red Apple Media’s WABC-AM, New York and Cumulus Media’s WMAL-AM, Washington, DC and WBAP-AM, Dallas…..Former FOX News Channel personality Rob Schmitt begins hosting a nightly show on Newsmax TV this fall. Schmitt was an anchor for “FOX & Friends First” and “FOX Nation.” He says, “I’m extremely excited to join Newsmax, an independent news network on a strong growth trajectory, at this incredibly important time. News has never mattered more. This coming election will certainly be the most important in my lifetime.” Schmitt joins the lineup of evening shows on Newsmax TV that includes Sean Spicer and Lyndsay Keith, Greg Kelly, and Grant Stinchfield.

A STROLL DOWN COVID LANE: Two Talk Show Hosts Who’ve Survived COVID-19 Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. There’s nothing like first-hand experience to give cred to a commentator in discussing a contemporary issue. Two TALKERS Heavy Hundred radio talk show hosts, Jennifer Horn and Heidi Harris, who’ve contracted and survived COVID-19 this past summer, are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Jennifer Horn is the morning show co-host on the Salem Media Group’s two Southern California “The Answer” outlets – KRLA, Los Angeles and KTIE, San Bernardino – in addition to being the co-host of the nationally syndicated “DJV Show.”  She is also VP/general manager of the CRN Digital Talk Radio Network, a company started years ago by her father, the legendary Mike Horn. Heidi Harris is a veteran Las Vegas radio talk show host, podcaster and author who currently helms the morning show on KMZQ. Both women, who are conservative and supporters of President Trump, engage in back-to-back candid conversations with Harrison about their experiences contracting, battling, and surviving the coronavirus. They discuss their symptoms, whom they spread it to, and how they now approach the topic on the air. Don’t miss this! 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. WKYC-TV, Cleveland reports that the internet station oWOW radio will cease operations after this month due to pandemic-related financial problems. The station was launched in 2015 by former longtime WMMS programmer John Gorman. The station’s press statement says, “After much consideration and weighing several factors in our industry, we recognized that continued operation of oWOW radio is no longer viable in this negative business environment. Since we are not in a situation to influence the uncertainty of the future, we are unable to ride out the storm. Though this past summer’s online streaming ratings on oWOW were 20% above last summer’s numbers, the numerous business closures prevented us from converting those numbers in a stagnant advertising market. In previous years, the summer months accounted for over 50% of oWOW’s annual revenue.”…..Alternative WEQX, Manchester, Vermont program director and morning drive host Jeff Morad is being promoted to operations manager for the station. Mimi Brown is general manager for the Northfield Communications station. She says, “It is with great pleasure to announce that Mr. Morad has accepted the position of operations manager. Jeff is the hardest working human I have ever met and has been my right hand since he accepted the PD position.”

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

| December 4, 2019

Krantz Media Group Offers Chris Hahn Show in National Syndication. The national launch of “The Chris Hahn Radio Show” is announced by Krantz Media Group Networks.  The former aid to U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and FOX News contributor has been hosting a weekly program on JVC Media’s WRCN, Long Island “103.9 FM LI News Radio” since 2010.   Hahn says, “I’m excited to be bringing my show to new communities across the nation.  America will be making truly consequential choices in 2020 and I look forward to engaging in a national conversation with my listeners.”  KMG CEO Gary Krantz states, “Chris is intelligent, entertaining, and one of the highest profile commentators in the political media space.  We have been watching and listening to him for some time and the world is now ready for the next big important voice on talk radio.”

‘New Jersey 101.5’ to Hold Town Hall on Cyber Predators. At 7:00 pm on December 11, WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting a special Town Hall broadcast addressing the crisis of online child predators and how New Jersey children and parents are affected.  “New Jersey 101.5” special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments at the Townsquare Media station in bringing listeners the most up-to-date information about the ever-changing ways predatory behavior manifests itself on the internet and connected devices.  Station brand manager Anne Gress says, “Sadly, the holidays are an opportune time for cyber child predators.  Our award-winning news department has assembled timely and important strategies to protect kids whether on social media sites, online apps, or video game platforms.  Keeping children safe is a top priority of ‘New Jersey 101.5,’ and this information is must-hear (and must-see on Facebook Live) before buying kids any digital holiday gifts.”  The program’s on-air guest panel is comprised of New Jersey State Police Lt. John Pizzuro, commander of the NJSP’s Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force; Monmouth County prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni; and Dr. Steven Tobias, director of the Center for Child & Family Development in Morristown.  Under the direction of “New Jersey 101.5” digital managing editor Louis C. Hochman, the Town Hall will be streamed via Facebook Live, with New Jersey State Police Troopers available to answer questions and provide resources for persons in need.  The station’s news department, under the direction of Annette Petriccione, will also air a series of special news segments from investigative reporter David Matthau in the days leading up to the Town Hall broadcast.

Cerulli to Lead Entercom San Diego. Sales and management pro Karyn Cerulli is promoted to SVP and market manager for Entercom’s San Diego station group that includes sports talk KWFN-FM “97.3 The Fan” and five music-formatted outlets.  Cerulli is currently director of sales and will continue in that role.  She takes over for Bob Bolinger, who is leaving the position at the end of the year to pursue new opportunities.  She says “I’m excited to take this next step in my career and would like to thank [COO] Weezie Kramer, [regional president] Jeff [Federman],  and Bob [Bolinger] for the opportunity.  I have great shoes to fill and am looking forward to leading the team to even greater success.”  Cerulli joined Entercom San Diego as director of sales in 2016 after serving in the same position for Cox Media San Diego.

Impeachment Report, 2020 Presidential Race, Trump and Macron at NATO, French Tariffs, U.S.-China Trade Negotiations, North Korea’s ‘Holiday Message,’ and Jeffrey Epstein-Prince Andrew Controversy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/3). The release of the House Intelligence Committee report that accuses President Trump of committing a political crime; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in 2020 and Kamala Harris’ exit from the race; the clash between Donald Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron at the NATO summit; President Trump’s threat to place tariffs on French goods; the ongoing trade negotiations between the U.S. and China; North Korea’s mysterious “Christmas gift” message to the U.S.; and the controversy over the relationship between Prince Andrew and Jeffrey Epstein were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Gen Media Partners Spotlights Power of Independent Local Radio. This advocacy campaign from Gen Media Partners is intended to draw attention to “the power of independent radio to connect national brands with local listeners.”  Gen Media says the campaign was inspired by AMEX’s Small Business Saturday, a program that encourages consumers to ‘shop local’ after Black Friday.  GMP says its station roster is exceptional in the way it parallels the theme and spirit of AMEX’s ‘shop local’ and, this morning, sent an email blast to national and regional advertising agencies across the country spotlighting the influence that independent broadcasters have in their communities.  Gen Media Partners Kevin Garrity says, “Advertising on independent radio gives national advertising brands credibility and acceptance from local consumers.  Many of the stations we represent are run by people who live in the neighborhoods they serve.  These radio stations are the heart of their local communities and hyper-connected to their audiences.  The local radio station is often a community mainstay and voice, and advertisers will always benefit from that association.  Our message is clear, independent local radio works for national brands.”

TALKERS News Notes. New to the iHeartPodcast Network platform this week is “The Baller Alert Show” – a pop culture news and hot gossip show – hosted by Kenny Burns Su Solo and Ferrari Simmons, along with a new iHeartRadio Original tech industry podcast called “First Contact.”  The latter is hosted by former CNN senior tech correspondent Laurie Segall who explores how people and technology are changing what it means to be a human…..ESPN Audio says that after a sold-out debut in Chicago, Ariel Helwani’s “MMA Show Live” podcast will return with a live taping from Jimmy Kimmel’s Comedy Club at The LINQ Promenade in Las Vegas on December 13.  Fans can experience the live taping in which four UFC fighters will go head-to-head in a trivia challenge for the second Helwani Nose Order Trivia belt.  The live podcast taping will be part of ESPN’s onsite coverage of UFC 245: Usman vs. Covington at T-Mobile Arena…..SiriusXM reveals the debut of the new “Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Show” on its Comedy Greats Channel today (12/3) at 9:00 pm ET.  On the weekly show, comedian Gilbert Gottfried and co-host Frank Santopadre talk with actors, directors, musicians, and more about their experiences in Hollywood’s golden era and beyond. The first episode features an interview with comedian Artie Lange.….Pictured below is GCN-syndicated talk show host Dr. Daliah Wachs doing her part and donating blood on Giving Tuesday.  Dr. Daliah says blood banks are asking for help with the blood shortage this winter and it’s an easy way to give for people who don’t have a budget for cash donations this year.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Seeks News Anchor. Charlotte news/talk WBT-AM/FM has an immediate opening for a full-time news anchor.  The Entercom station says, “You’re an engaging, experienced on-air personality.  You’re a great storyteller.  You know how to get to the heart of a story and make it relatable to the listener.  You’re never satisfied with knowing just the “Who?, What?, Where?, and When?” of a story; you always seek to know “Why?”  If this sounds like you, News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT/Entercom Charlotte would like to hear from you.  We are seeking a full-time news anchor for our programming team.  Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to: Writing and on-air delivery of news reports based on programming clock; editing and preparation of news audio; filing of two to three recorded reports per day to be aired outside the live daypart of the shift; on-air interaction with the talk show host and personnel; and coverage and reporting of breaking news events in real-time.  Interested candidates should visit the Entercom site here.  EOE.

Four Major Radio Talk Show Hosts Set to Participate in Second “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations.”  Four major radio talk show hosts will participate in the forthcoming second “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” set for Washington, DC on Tuesday December 10.  They include (in alphabetical order): John Fredericks of the John Fredericks Radio NetworkSebastian Gorka of the Salem Radio NetworkLarry O’ Connor of WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC; and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia and the nationally syndicated “DJV Show.”   For full details, please see the story below.

TALKERS and The Epoch Times to Co-Present a Second “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” – Set for Washington, DC on Tuesday, December 10. In response to the positive feedback being received about the recent “Talk Media Forum on US-China Relations” co-presented by TALKERS and The Epoch Times in New York City this past October 1 (see video here), a second installment of the event has been set for Tuesday, December 10 in Washington, DC. According to TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison, who will again moderate the discussion, “The numerous pressing issues that exist under the umbrella of US-China relations promise to be a major component of talk media conversation for years to come and it is important that the talk media industry stay on top of these complex concerns free of the spin and propaganda constantly manufactured by the Communist regime in Beijing.  Our colleagues at The Epoch Times are firmly situated on the leading edge of the Chinese resistance to the Communist grasp on their homeland and serve the culture’s diaspora in the United States and around the world with bold, truthful reporting of the facts.” The Epoch Times was formed in 2000 by Chinese Americans and is now published in multiple languages around the world. The conversation at the Washington, DC forum will again focus on the US-China trade war, the Hong Kong protests, China’s human rights abuses, Huawei and the worldwide battle for 5G dominance, the North Korea nuclear threat, China’s ongoing intellectual property theft, China’s military buildup, and the long term goals and methods of the Chinese Communist Party, plus more. The 90-minute event will feature a panel of three experts on the state of US-Chinese relations including Nan Su of NTDTVJoshua Philipp of The Epoch Times and Dr. Dana Cheng of The Epoch Times, plus four leading talk radio hosts John Fredericks of the John Fredericks Radio NetworkSebastian Gorka of the Salem Radio NetworkLarry O’ Connor of WMAL-AM/FM, Washington, DC; and Doug Stephan of Stephan Multimedia and the nationally syndicated “DJV Show.” The event will take place on Tuesday, December 10 between 9:00 am and 10:30 am at the National Press Club and is free of charge for TALKERS readers. Seating, however, is limited so reservations are necessary. Breakfast snacks and refreshments will be served. To make reservations, please call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS, 413-565-5413.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In a cooperative effort between Skyview Networks, Meruelo Media, and entertainment mogul Nick Cannon, the “Nick Cannon Radio” show is being developed for afternoon syndication starting January 27, 2020.  “Nick Cannon Weekends” will follow in February 2020.  Skyview Networks president and COO Steve Jones says, “Nick Cannon is one of the most accomplished, creative, and versatile entertainers in America and we are proud to be working with him and the team at Meruelo Media to launch Nick’s new syndicated shows.  Nick is an influencer, whose connection with audiences makes him extremely attractive to advertisers and radio programmers alike.”…..Programming pro Mark Zander is out of his role with Mid-West Family Broadcasting in which he was OM and program director for rock WXRX-FM “104.9 The X” and sports talk WNTA-AM “Sportsfan Radio 1330” in Rockford, Illinois and assistant PD for rock WQLZ, Springfield, Illinois.  Speaking about his budget-related exit, Zander says, “I spent 3.5 years assembling my team and rebuilding the image and reputation of ‘The X’ in the marketplace.  I am extremely proud of what we were able to do with WXRX heading into its 30th year of rocking Rockford.  Thanks to Tom Walker of Mid-West Family for the opportunity to revive this heritage rock station.  It was hard work, but tremendous fun.”…..Air personality Marc Jason exits the morning show at Beasley Media Group’s country WQYK-FM, Tampa where he worked alongside co-host Melanie Mineau, who remains on the show while the station searches for Jason’s replacement.  Jason joined the station almost three years ago, taking over after the August 2016 death of longtime station personality Dave McKay…..Pictured below is Premiere Networks-syndicated personality Delilah (right) with WLIT-FM, Chicago “Lite FM” program director and afternoon drive personality Mick Lee (left) as the station recently broadcast live from the “Friends” Pop-Up Experience at the AT&T Flagship Store on Michigan Ave.  Delilah also joined the entire “Lite FM” staff that night for a ride on the station float for the annual Magnificent Mile Lights Festival Parade.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

| September 25, 2019

Newsmax TV Announces Major Expansion and Seeks Talent and Staff. Chief executive officer Christopher Ruddy says Newsmax has spent the past several years building out the Newsmax TV network’s distribution and they are close to “mission accomplished.”  As a result, Newsmax TV is expanding and hiring dozens of producers, bookers, correspondents, anchors, and show hosts.  Newsmax tells TALKERS magazine that it has signed with all major cable carriers – including DirecTV, Xfinity, Dish, Fios, U-verse, Spectrum, Optimum, and dozens of others – putting Newsmax TV in more than 70 million U.S. cable homes.  Newsmax has been experiencing meteoric growth and Ruddy says he believes there’s room for more conservatives in American media.  He states, “I like FOX News Channel, but we believe the country needs more conservative voices, not less.  Imagine if there was just one conservative website or just one talk radio network.”  Ruddy says the network’s goals are to beef up news and programming shows as 2020 nears.  The TV operation is based in New York and interested parties sould send their resumes to jobs@newsmax.com.

FAIR Kicks Off 13th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row.  Some 60-plus radio talk show hosts from around the nation are gathered in Washington, DC for the 13th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row.  The event, presented by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), is taking place today and tomorrow (9/25-26) at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill.  As in years past, this gathering brings together talk hosts from across the nation to broadcast live while debating immigration policy, interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, administration officials, and those who live and work along the Southern border.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison is among the guests being interviewed at the event, personally appearing on more than 25 local and network programs during the two-day marathon.  Harrison is pictured below with Gordon Deal, host of the Compass Media Networks tremendously successful “This Morning – America’s First News” show at an opening reception presented by the company last night (9/24) at the world famous Irish pub, The Dubliner, located adjacent to the hotel.

KMG Networks to Syndicate Chris Hahn Show in 2020. Currently, in addition to work as a contributor to FOX News, lawyer and author Chris Hahn hosts a weekly, two-hour talk show on JVC Media’s WRCN, Long Island “103.9 FM LI News Radio” that airs from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm on Thursday nights.  Now, Krantz Media Group Networks, announces a new partnership with Hahn to syndicate his show nationally.  Hahn says, “I’m excited to be partnering with [KMG CEO] Gary [Krantz] and KMG to bring my show to a broader national audience.  2020 is going to be the most consequential year in recent American political history and I’m looking forward to the national conversation we are about to have regarding the future of our nation.”  Krantz says, “For years, listeners, advertisers, and radio programmers, have asked me when we will see another powerful progressive radio voice on the radio.  Now we have it. Chris speaks to a new generation of listeners who now want to identify with an aggressive, intelligent, and entertaining point of view.  He is well respected on both sides of the aisle and appears regularly on conservative radio and TV programs well.”

Cox Media Group Names Katie Reid to Lead Jacksonville Radio Group. Sales and management pro Katie Reid is promoted to vice president and general manager for Cox Media Group’s Jacksonville radio stations that include news/talk WOKV-FM and sports talk WOKV-AM, as well as six music brands.   She has been serving CMG as executive director of revenue.  Current Jacksonville VP/GM Bob Longo remains in the market overseeing the company’s two TV stations, WFOX-TV and WJAX-TV.  CMG EVP Bill Hendrich states, “Katie is a dynamic leader who inspires her teams and everyone around her to reach their fullest potential.  Paired with her extensive background and strategic vision, I am confident Katie and her talented team will continue to grow and deliver the best news and entertainment in Jacksonville.”

Jason Meder to Manage Orlando Radio Assets for Cox Media Group. In the Orlando market, Cox Media Group separates its TV and radio management as in the Jacksonville story above.  Paul Briggs moves south from the company’s Atlanta offices where he was VP of content and broadcast operations to become VP/GM for Orlando television stations WFTV-TV and WRDQ-TV.  Meanwhile, Jason Meder continues his vice president and general manager position, leading the company’s radio outlets in Orlando that include news/talk WDBO-FM “News 96.5” and sports talk WDBO-AM “ESPN 580 Orlando.”  Meder says, “The CMG Orlando radio team is a talent-rich group that I am fortunate to get to work with every single day.  I am confident that our continued partnership with TV will yield even greater results as we forge ahead.”

MSN and Radio Ink Radio Sales Compensation Study Results Are In. The results of the 2019 Radio Sales Compensation Study from Media Staffing Network (MSN) and radio trade publication Radio Ink are in.  The press release says, “The study’s findings provide useful insights that help radio owners, operators, and managers develop competitive compensation packages and sharpen their budgeting process.”  Over a three-week period, the study surveyed 334 respondents, of which 72.5% were managers and 27.5% were sellers.  Representing a wide range of market sizes from across the country, 29.3% were from top 20 markets, 15.9% from markets 21-50, 6.3% from markets 51-70, and the largest amount, 48.5%, came from markets 75+.  Among the findings is that 27.5% of stations surveyed have sellers earning $150,000-plus while only 12.6% have their highest seller earning what is also the radio station average of $40,000 to $59,000.  MSN founder and CEO Laurie Kahn says, “Recruiting and hiring the best candidates is crucial to generating revenue success.  It all starts with the recruitment process and culminates in offering compensation packages that compete successfully in the current marketplace.  With relocation extremely difficult, stations need to recruit more in their markets, often out of radio.  We’re grateful to Radio Ink for their support in delivering this important study to radio.  I look forward to partnering again next year so we can track changes in the compensation of sellers going forward.”  See the results of the study here.

Seen and Heard at the Radio ShowTALKERS magazine special features correspondent Jeff McKay reports from the 2019 NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas and says that a lot of the talk in the halls – not to mention in the panels and presentations themselves – revolves around podcasting.  NAB EVP of communications Dennis Wharton says, “We have a lot of sessions on podcasting this year.  People see the growth of listenership and the monetization of podcasting is now taking root.  The reason the NAB is doing so much this year here is it gives people more ways to learn, network ideas, create potential business relationships.  It’s clearly something that’s on everybody’s mind in the industry right now.”  Read Jeff McKay’s entire report here.

TALKERS News Notes. Comedian and former U.S. Senator Al Franken is getting back in the talk show game with a weekly talk show on SiriusXM’s Progress channel, beginning this Saturday (9/28).  The hourlong program will air at 10:00 am ET.  SiriusXM says the show “will feature the five-time Emmy winner hosting thought-provoking conversations with headliners and experts in the fields of politics, entertainment, media, technology, global affairs, and more.”  Franken says, “I’m excited to be back on SiriusXM, which carried my Air America show back in the day.  Listeners can expect a mix of guests from my comedian friends like Chris Rock, to my political pals like former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to policy experts on the issues in play in 2020.  When I’m interviewing Harry or former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, I’ll be the funny one.  When I interview Rock or Patton Oswalt, I’ll be the one who served eight-and-a-half years in the Senate.”…..With the new iOS13 update for the iPhone, Entercom announces a collaboration with Apple to integrate its portfolio of news, sports, and music stations into the iOS13 software so that they are available via Apple Music and Siri.  Entercom chairman, president and CEO David Field says, “Today marks an exciting new day in audio.  We are delighted to partner with Apple to provide listeners with enhanced access to our lineup of many of the country’s leading radio brands and personalities and other rich audio content.  By integrating radio directly into their latest technology, Apple sends a clear message about the importance of local radio, the country’s number one reach medium.”…..Also from Entercom, the company appoints Elizabeth Bramowski chief accounting officer and controller.  In this role, Bramowski will oversee corporate accounting functions including regulatory reporting, accounting policy and corporate tax.  She joined the company in June of 2018 as VP of business operations.  Prior to that, she served with PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP for 15 years…..Pictured below are Salem Radio Network v.p./News& Talk Programming Tom Tradup (left) and Westwood One late night talk radio legend Jim Bohannon (right) huddling under an image of Premiere Networks superstar Rush Limbaugh at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Dallas as they react to House Democrats launching a formal impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Trump Impeachment Inquiry, 2020 Presidential Race, Trump at UN, Climate Change, Brexit Chaos, Mass. Vaping Ban, and Joker Film Violence Criticism Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/24). The Democrats’ move to begin an impeachment inquiry into President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the president addresses the UN General Assembly; the UN climate change speech by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg; the political chaos in Britain over Boris Johnson’s Brexit tactics; Massachusetts puts a four-month ban on the sale of vaping products; and criticism of the violence in the soon-to-be-released film, The Joker, 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. In Kansas City, Cumulus Media brings programming pro Jowcol “Boogie D” Dolby aboard as PD for urban AC KMJK “Magic 107.3.”  Dolby was most recently with Radio One’s Detroit station group as OM/PD for WGPR, WPZR and WDMK.  Cumulus Kansas City RVP and market manager Donna Baker states, “Boogie D brings a wealth of knowledge and a passion to win to our outstanding ‘Magic 107.3’ team.  We are fortunate to have his creativity and leadership as we continue robust growth generating results for advertisers and even more focus serving our listeners in the KC community.”…..iHeartMedia Philadelphia names Matt Michaels digital program director for its six radio stations.  iHeartMedia Philadelphia RVP of programming Brian Check states, “Matt has already proven he is a leader and is well respected by both programming and sales.  Five years ago, he made an immediate mark as an intern and it has been incredibly rewarding to watch him grow and step into this new role.”…..Musician and “Tonight Show” musical director Questlove partners with iHeartMedia to bring new seasons of his podcast “Questlove Supreme” to the iHeartPodcast Network.  In addition, the famed Roots drummer will hand curate and produce a new slate of iHeartRadio Original content, that will go beyond just music, early next year.  Previous guests on “Questlove Supreme” have included Usher, Michelle Obama, Chris Rock, Maya Rudolph, Weird Al, Chaka Khan, and many more.