Tag: "Chris Oliviero"

Friday, March 5, 2021

| March 5, 2021

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the 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, “Shots in the Arm,” looks back at this past week of March 1-5, 2021.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical physician; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Andy Caldwell, talk show host, K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; Mark Belling, talk show host, WISN, Milwaukee; Dan Mandis, talk show host, WTN, Nashville; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; 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; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; WSAN, Allentown, PA;  KDSK, Albuquerque;  WLTM-FM, Erie, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast 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.

Salem Media Group Q4 2020 Net Revenue Flat; Full Year Revenue Declines 7.2%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2020 and the full year, Salem Media Group performs well compared to some of the other media companies that have released their financial data. Fourth quarter net revenue was $64.5 million – down just 0.2% over the same period in 2019. Full year net revenue was $236.2 million – a decline of 7.2% from 2019. Salem reports in segments and although the broadcast segment’s net revenue was down 4.8% on revenue of $48.1 million, its digital segment was up 13.5% on revenue of $11.2 million. For the full year of 2020, the broadcast segment’s net revenue was down 8.1% on revenue of $178.1 million and the digital segment’s net revenue was up 1% on revenue of $39.6 million. Salem reports a fourth quarter loss of $3.3 million compared to the $4.5 million loss it posted in 2019. For the full year the company’s reported loss was $54 million, up from the loss of $27.8 million it reported for 2019.

WFAN’s ‘Carton & Roberts’ to Be Simulcast on SNY. The WFAN, New York afternoon drive show “Carton & Roberts” – co-hosted by Craig Carton and Evan Roberts – will be simulcast on cable TV via SNY, beginning in May. The show airs on Entercom’s WFAN from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily and SNY will simulcast the show from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “‘Carton & Roberts’ has quickly connected with audiences by providing a unique daily sports conversation experience. WFAN has a long and storied history of bringing sports radio to life visually and we’re honored to join with SNY to expand Craig and Evan’s reach onto more screens, more devices and, of course, still in your car.” SNY president Steve Raab adds, “We are excited to partner with WFAN to bring ‘Carton and Roberts’ to SNY. Craig and Evan are engaging, insightful and know their New York sports. The addition of this simulcast not only enhances our daily television line up, but it elevates New York sports news and entertainment programming for a very passionate fan base.”

New Rich Eisen Podcast Launches Via Westwood One. Sports media personality Rich Eisen’s new podcast, “Just Getting Started with Rich Eisen,” is launching via Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Podcast Network. Eisen’s new podcast features interviews with the biggest names from news, entertainment, sports, and pop culture, who discuss their career origins and mines their stories on how they got started in a format where audiences can be inspired by their endeavors. The first guest is actor Matthew McConaughey, with Daymond John, Soledad O’Brien, and Gary Vaynerchuk sitting down with Eisen in upcoming weeks. “Just Getting Started” is Eisen’s first step into the world of personal fulfillment podcasting and the first original podcast produced in a partnership between Rich Eisen and Westwood One Podcast Network announced in December. In the partnership, Westwood One monetizes, markets, and distributes all Eisen’s existing and forthcoming podcasts.

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” is commemorating International Women’s Day on Monday (3/8) in a special showcase called, “Ladies That Make Us Laugh.” The program will feature the women of The BOB & TOM Show, in addition to some of the show’s favorite female guests. Kristi Lee, BOB & Tom Show news director, will be joined live by BOB & TOM “relationship expert,” comedienne Alli Breen and guest comedienne Nikki Glaser. Also joining the show Monday will be BOB & TOM regulars, correspondents Jessica Alsman and Jess Hooker. All morning, the program will feature past guest appearances from female comedians, including Maria Bamford, Rene Hicks, Miss Pat, and Amy Schumer. Show host Tom Griswold says, “Some of the funniest moments on our show have come from our many female guests. It’ll be fun hearing those highlights Monday morning. Also, we’ve been so fortunate to have Kristi Lee as a part of the show for over 35 years. Kristi is a savvy broadcaster who is open and honest about her life, and very funny. We will add to the mix, show staff members Jessica Alsman and Jess Hooker, along with comedienne Alli Breen… we feel the distaff portion of our show is well-represented.”…..To honor International Women’s Day the popular true crime podcast, “Forgotten: Women of Juáre‪z,” is being released simultaneously and globally in three new languages – believed to be a world first in the podcasting business. The translation into Spanish, German, and Danish allows “Forgotten” to shed more light on the hundreds of Mexican women who have been abducted in the world’s most dangerous city, and on the misogyny and systemic sexual femicide in Mexico and around the world. This is the first in a planned pipeline of locally adapted content initiated by iHeartMedia and Podimo to expand the reach of powerful stories to bigger and more relevant audiences…..GBH News in Boston is marking the one-year anniversary of the pandemic by presenting “A Year Apart: How COVID Changed Us,” featuring a full day of special programming across radio, television, digital and social media platforms on Wednesday, March 10. GBH general manager of news Pam Johnston says, “We’re inviting our audience to join our journalists in reflecting on what we’ve learned and experienced during this historic year. We aim to rise above the intensity of the daily news cycle and consider where we are now, what we have lived through, and what is yet to come as it relates to COVID-19.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Variants and Stats Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 1-5. The rollout of vaccines, concerns about variants, and the latest COVID stats combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the state of the U.S. economy tied with the nation’s education crisis. Coming in at #3 was a tie between the allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the #MeToo movement. 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.

Monday, February 1, 2021

| February 1, 2021

Mark Chernoff to Retire from WFAN, New York. An internal memo from Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero reveals that longtime WFAN program director Mark Chernoff will retire from his position with the station this year. Oliviero’s memo states: “After nearly 30 years of unmatched success, our colleague and industry programming icon, Mark Chernoff, will step down from day-to-day oversight of WFAN and CBS SPORTS RADIO later in 2021 after a worthy successor has been identified – which trust me will be no easy task. Since no one knows the job better, Mark will be a member of the search committee for the next sports content lead for both brands and, until that time, will remain fully responsible for all operations. Also, Mark will continue on as an advisor to WFAN after the search and transition is complete. I was lucky enough to first meet Mark in 1998 in his windowless sub-sub-basement office out at the Kaufman Astoria Studios in Queens. I was a college grad groveling for part-time board op shifts at WFAN. That began a relationship that has evolved into one of the most rewarding, important and genuine friendships of my entire life. One that I have and always will cherish. When people think of WFAN, names like Imus, ‘Mike & The Mad Dog’ or Boomer often come to mind, but no name has been more responsible for the consistent excellence of ‘The  Fan’ than ‘Chernoff.’”

Monday Memo: Cancel Culture Canceled! “Cooperstown controversy! Social media malpractice! First Amendment flap! COVID contagion! Giddy over GameStop!” Anxious alliteration aside, this week’s column from Holland Cooke forewarns fake news fabricators. Read it here.

COVID-19/Vaccine Rollout, Trump Impeachment, GOP Election Deniers/‘Country First’ Drive, GameStop Trading/Financial Markets Activity, Putin Protests, and Myanmar Military Coup Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll and the complications affecting the rollout of the vaccines; the impeachment case against Donald Trump; Republican members of congress still implying that Donald Trump won the 2020 election, led by Georgia’s MarjorieTaylor Greene, and the “Country First” drive to “save the GOP” being launched by U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger; the GameStop trading saga and the global financial markets activity; the protests in Russia over Vladimir Putin’s detention of critic Alexei Navalny; and the military detains Myanmar’s leaders were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: All Impressions Are Not Created Equal. Radio sellers are hawking impressions to potential buyers. But, as sales and management pro Steve Lapa says in today’s column, all impressions are not created equal. Just as your body uses the same amount of calories from an apple and a processed snack differently, the various “products” your station offers have different impression values. Read more here.

Holiday 2020 PPM Ratings Takeaways. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the first round of Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2020 PPM survey that covered the period of December 3 – January 6. The annual Holiday PPM survey is usually not kind to the all-news and news/talk formats due in part to holiday music listening and the changes in listeners’ daily lifestyles because of the holiday season. However, this year was a little different because of the historical aftermath of the November elections. In New York, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOR dipped only slightly from a 2.8 share in the December survey to a 2.4 share in the Holiday survey. In Los Angeles, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI adds one-tenth to finish with a 4.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. While Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM was flat at a 6.8 share and the #3 rank, Nexstar Media Group’s news/talk WGN-AM was up nine-tenths for a 3.7 share finish at the #7 rank. Meanwhile, Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta remained the #1 ranked station while dipping seven-tenths to a 9.0 share. Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle also stayed in the #1 position while flat with a 7.2 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Remembering the King. Pictured above are TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison (right) and media consultant and host of RT America’s “The Big Picture,” Holland Cooke, as they discuss the talk media career of Larry King, who died at age 87 last weekend. During Harrison’s appearance, they also talked about Rush Limbaugh and the nature of today’s media. See it here.

‘ESPN Charlotte’ Expands Local Afternoon Drive Show. “The Afternoon Rush” program on 2G Media’s sports talk WZGV-AM/W248CO, Charlotte expands as program director and co-host Bobby Rosinski (left) moves morning personality Molly Cotten (center) to the afternoon show alongside himself and co-host Mark Yarbro (right). Cotten had been co-hosting the morning program with Walker Mehl. The station begins airing ESPN Radio’s “Keyshawn, JWill, and Zubin” in morning drive with Mehl continuing to host the morning edition of “SportsCenter CLT” as well as an evening edition of the program airing at 6:00 pm.

Colin Cowherd and iHeartMedia to Launch New Podcast Network. A collaborative effort between Colin Cowherd and iHeartMedia is producing another podcast network, this one called “The Volume.” The two partners have already created “The Herd Podcast Network.” Colin Cowherd says, “There has never been a more exciting time to develop new sports content. Podcasts have totally changed the game, and the expanded use of sports gambling makes this the perfect moment to launch this endeavor. I’m thrilled to work with iHeartRadio and this dynamic group of talent to start building ‘The Volume.’” FanDuel has signed on as a primary sponsor. Five new podcasts will appear on the network that debuts today (2/1): A new “Colin Cowherd Podcast”; an NBA-themed show called “The Jenkins & Jonez Podcast” starring LaJethro Jenkins and Dragonfly Jonez; “Moneyline Monaco” hosted by comedian and sports gambling fanatic Alex Monaco; “Oral Sessions with Renée Paquette” focusing on combat sports; and “Catchin’ Fades With Aqib Talib,” an NFL show hosted by Aqib Talib.

TALKERS News Notes. PhillyVoice.com reports that longtime Philadelphia sports talk personality Marc Farzetta is starting his own streaming sports talk show via YouTube called, “The Farzy Show with Marc Farzetta.” Farzetta was let go by Beasley Media’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in early December. Prior to his two years with WPEN, he served with Entercom’s crosstown WIP for 13 years. The new program streams from 6:00 am to 7:00 am daily. Former Philadelphia Eagles star Hugh Douglas (a former co-host of Farzetta’s) will be a recurring guest on the program…..Nationally syndicated talk host Thom Hartmann publishes his latest book this week. The Hidden History of American Oligarchy — Reclaiming our Democracy from The Ruling Class (2021, Berrett-Koehler Publishers). The publisher says that in this book Hartmann “lays out the ways in which inequality in America has shifted over the last 50 years and identifies a handful of sensical, powerful solutions that address these issues at different levels, such as getting money out of politics, addressing social despair and economic inequality, strengthening democratic institutions of governance, and fighting fear.”…..Radio One’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte helped raise $255,000 for three charities in the Charlotte area. In partnership with Moments of Hope Church, WBT was able to donate $85,000 each to The Charlotte Rescue Mission, Kings Kitchen, and Camino Community Center. The awarding of the funds took place on “The Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson,” along with Moments of Hope Church pastor David Chadwick (who hosts a Sunday morning show on WBT) present. The live broadcast resulted in an additional $5,000 being donated, which was matched by Moments of Hope and rounded up so that the final total was $270,000, with each charity receiving $90,000…..GCN nationally syndicated talk host Dr. Daliah Wachs is pictured at left getting her first COVID-19 shot from Pfizer. She says, “It was painless going in, but the next day or two I had some muscle aches, fatigue, and nausea. Thirty hours later, however, I felt great. I know the vaccine scares a lot of people and new variants keep popping up, but I feel we need to protect and plan for the here and now, with expectations that booster shots will be required for the newer strains. The vaccination is not without its risks but COVID illness is much riskier.”

Monday, January 25, 2021

| January 25, 2021

INDUSTRY AND NATION MOURN: Talk Media Pioneer Larry King Dead at 87. According to a report on Facebook posted by the producers of his current syndicated television show, Ora Media, legendary star of talk radio and television, Larry King died this weekend at the age of 87. The statement says: “With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.” The statement continues, “For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.” The cause of death was not indicated, however King had been reportedly hospitalized with COVID-19 earlier this month. King was a major player in the talk media world who ushered in the modern era of syndication in radio on the Mutual Broadcasting System and the cable news/talk show format on television at CNN. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison issued the following statement: “Larry King was not the greatest talk show host on radio or television in terms of skills, outrageous personality or direct and profound influence on public policy. He was, however, the most important pioneer who paved the way for today’s robust talk media presence on both radio and television. If there ever was a case of the right person at the right time, Larry King fit the bill and that’s all it took for him to be a mighty force. He was the modern era of talk radio’s first national celebrity born solely as a result of his work in the medium. And his contribution to today’s institutional cable news/talk TV format is undeniably fundamental to the medium’s current presence as America’s political and sociological meeting place. We have lost one of the greatest broadcasting presences of the first century of radio and television history as well as one of the quirkiest and most colorful individuals to ever sit behind a microphone.” Read TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s “Remembering Larry King” feature here.

Tributes to Larry King Pouring in from All Over the Industry.  TALKERS has received dozens of tributes, anecdotes, and comments from readers in all sectors of the broadcasting industry in reaction to the passing of Larry King on Saturday (1/23).  The following statements from people who knew him and worked with him reflect the basic sentiments expressed across the board. Westwood One legend Jim Bohannon rose to national prominence as Larry King’s fill-in host back in the early days of King’s career as the late-night “king of talk radio” on the Mutual Broadcasting System. Bohannon tells TALKERS, “Larry King was the first certified big shot for whom I’d ever worked, and I was all set for some screaming prima donna jerk. What I found was a funny, savvy, decent human being who was always very supportive of me. His best advice: Be yourself. My 11 years backing him up on the radio were always based on being a first-rate Jim rather than a second rate Larry.” This Friday (1/29) marks Bohannon’s 28th anniversary of hosting that very same show fulltime. Norm Pattiz, chairman of PodcastOne and founder of Westwood One, was instrumental in Larry King’s fabulous radio career. He tells TALKERS, “Larry King was a superstar on radio well before he became a talk show icon on television and his contribution in those media will never be duplicated. I first met Larry in 1985 when Westwood One Radio bought the Mutual Radio Network. Some said at the time that I bought the network just to get the ‘Larry King Show’ and I never corrected them. When CNN came calling, I was thrilled to share Larry with them and when his show became one of the most influential nightly talk shows in history it only confirmed what I had known all along. No one will ever match the style, compassion, and genuine love for a great interview that Larry had and the worlds of television, radio, and podcasting are worse today for his loss.” Tom Tradup, VP/news and talk programming, Salem Radio Network, tells TALKERS, “My favorite memory of Larry was when I was president/GM of WLS in Chicago and was meeting with Larry for lunch in the now-closed Cape Cod Room restaurant of Chicago’s Drake Hotel. Always upbeat and gregarious, Larry seemed just a little down. He revealed he was speaking to a business group that night and his hotel had lost his trademark suspenders. After lunch I ran over the Marshall Field’s on State Street and bought him a pair. Big smile from a broadcast legend whose talent endured for decades.” And media consultant, TALKERS columnist, and host of “The Big Picture” on RT America (which also carried Larry King’s syndicated TV show at the time of his death), Holland Cooke adds, “One year ago this week, Larry was my guest on the very first show produced at RT’s new Los Angeles studio. Larry’s gift was his curiosity; and his legacy to fellow talkers is the art of the short question. I remember him asking Bob Hope, ‘Who do YOU think is funny?’ And he asked David Duke, ‘Don’t you ever get tired of hating?’ Often, guests on book tours or who are otherwise timely are prepped with ‘safe’ answers, regardless of the questions asked. And they get away with it, because hosts ask verbose questions and don’t listen closely to responses. Larry’s short question would catch the guest off-guard – enough to yield an answer you wouldn’t hear elsewhere along the tour.

King and I: An Excerpt from Bernadette Duncan’s Landmark Book Yappy Days: Behind the Scenes with Newsers, Schmoozers, Boozers and Losers (Talkers Books, 2016).  I landed a part-time job with the Larry King Radio Show in 1986 because I was in the right place at the right time. My late shift at NBC Radio Networks where I produced the Neil Myers Show ended at 1:00 am and no other talk producer was on the premises. All that was required? Meet Mr. King in the lobby, escort him to the elevator, guide him down the hall to the nearest empty studio, check mics and audio, and then be prepared to do the same with the on-coming, big-name parade of guests scheduled for the night. Basically, I was a “handler” for an extra 75 bucks a shift. At the time, this pre-suspenders-wearing Larry King was one of the most successful radio talk show hosts in the industry who at the height of his show’s prominence had nearly 500 affiliate stations around the country. Just the year before, in 1985, he began hosting a nightly TV program on the new cable network called CNN (for Cable News Network) and “Larry King Live” was getting some buzz. In addition to television at 9:00 pm… then radio after midnight… he was in contract to write a book. Larry King’s career was hot. And it was this book deal with a New York-based publisher that brought him to the Big Apple four or five days a month to meet with his editor face-to-face. I became his New York producer/handler, working in coordination with his crew in Washington, DC. Little did I realize when I signed up with “the King of Talk,” I would dive into a world as quirky as what you’d find down Alice’s rabbit hole. To read the entire excerpt please click here.

Alpha Media Announces Pre-Arranged Chapter 11 Reorganization. The company says in a statement on its website that it has entered into a “restructuring agreement with certain of its lenders to reduce its debt, as well as raise incremental capital” to allow it “to successfully navigate current market conditions and pursue growth opportunities. The company expects no disruption to its broadcast operations, customers or employees. Management will remain in place and continue to maintain the company’s day-to-day operations.” Alpha Media says it has filed “a pre-arranged plan of re-organization, disclosure statement and voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of Virginia. Certain of the company’s existing lenders have agreed to provide new capital in the form of committed debtor-in-possession and exit financing. These lenders, together with management, are expected to collectively own 100% of the equity of the re-organized company, subject to regulatory approvals from the Federal Communications Commission. The restructuring of the company’s balance sheet will require receipt of bankruptcy court approval and certain regulatory, including FCC, approvals and satisfaction of other customary conditions. The company expects to conclude the restructuring process in the first half of 2021.” Alpha chairman and CEO Bob Proffitt comments, “We have made significant progress in aggressively deleveraging our business in recent years. As we proceed with our financial restructuring to improve our capital structure and manage through the ongoing downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the agreement we reached today will leave Alpha Media well positioned for a market recovery as a stronger and even more competitive company. Broadcast radio is the leading reach medium in the United States, with attractive ROIs for advertisers, and radio continues to be an indispensable communications platform nationwide. We believe the balance sheet restructuring will provide greater financial resources and flexibility to Alpha Media, enabling the Company to strengthen its position as a leading mid-market broadcaster in the United States, and invest in new digital capabilities to better serve our advertisers and communities. Our core business continues to perform well despite current market challenges. We will continue to invest in our talented teams to foster the unique culture that has been key to Alpha Media’s success in delivering dynamic, diverse and exciting content to our communities.”

Monday Memo: Time Management 2021. “Short version? Time will not be managed.” But in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke explains how “tasks can,” and that’s gotten trickier in pandemic shutdown mode. He outlines solutions for recurring distractions. Read it here.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccine Rollout Troubles, Trump Impeachment, Capitol Attack Investigation, Trump Third Party Launch, Tacoma Protest/Deadly Indianapolis Shooting, and NFL Conference Championships Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the strategic troubles affecting the rollout of the vaccines; the Article of Impeachment against Donald Trump; the arrests being made during the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol; the rumors that Donald Trump intends to launch a third political party; the Tacoma protest in which a police officer drove into a crowd and the shooting in Indianapolis in which five adults and an unborn child were killed; and Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Value. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says, “Presenting the value proposition is a never-ending challenge, especially for the broadcast seller. I’ve seen too many sellers get hung up on product features that are station-centric – important to management, talent, and the seller. The truth is the advertiser doesn’t see it the same way.” The past year has taught us that the value perception of your station’s product has changed. For more on this, read Lapa’s column here.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Program Director John Hanson Exits. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that Entercom’s news/talk WCCO-AM, Minneapolis has let program director John Hanson go. Hanson had been serving as the station’s PD since the fall of 2018. Hanson is a native of the Twin Cities who worked on air as co-host of KSTP-TV’s “Twin Cities Live” afternoon talk show that launched in 2008. He joined Entercom in 2013 to program sports talk KCSP-AM, Kansas City. The reason for Hanson’s departure is not clear but the staff was alerted in a memo from market SVP Shannon Knoepke, who wrote on January 21, “Reaching out this afternoon to notify the staff that John Hanson is no longer with the company, effective today. More to come as we move forward and work to fill this position.”

WJBC, Bloomington-Normal Adds Michael Koolidge Show. The independently syndicated Michael Koolidge show is added to the program schedule at Cumulus Media’s WJBC-AM, Bloomington-Normal, Illinois in the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm slot. Koolidge says, “We couldn’t be more excited to join WJBC. I’ve been trying to break into the Bloomington-Normal market for years and I’m thrilled that Cumulus’ WJBC decided to pick up the show!” WJBC operations manager Dan Westhoff says, “We are very excited to be adding ‘The Michael Koolidge Show’ to our lineup. Michael’s been very successful throughout Illinois and the Midwest and we can’t wait to have him on WJBC.”

Marc Bernier Show Celebrates 30th Anniversary. Pictured above is WNDB, Daytona Beach talk host Marc Benier broadcasting live from DB Pickles restaurant in Ormond Beach, Florida celebrating his 30th year on air as a talk host. The celebration was also a benefit for Halifax Urban Ministries. January 21 was declared “Marc Bernier Show Day” with a flag flown over the state capitol and declarations declared honoring Bernier in the cities and county of Volusia. A number of local and state officials attended the broadcast.

WRHU Radio Hofstra University will Receive World Radio Day Award 2021.  In conjunction with World Radio Day coming up on February 13, the Academy of Radio Arts and Sciences of America has selected WRHU Radio of Hofstra University to receive the 2021 World Radio Day Award. The honor commemorates World Radio Day, established by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) and is celebrated annually on February 13. World Radio Day is intended to raise greater awareness among the public and the media of the importance of radio. WRHU is the first student-run station to receive this honor.  WRHU Radio 88.7 FM is the campus radio station of Hofstra University, a private university located on Long Island in Hempstead, NY. The station has been the recipient of numerous regional, state, and national awards, including three prestigious Marconi Awards from the National Association of Broadcasters (2014, 2017, and 2019).  With studios housed in Hofstra’s Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, the station has been committed to training the next generation of radio professionals for more than 60 years in a wide variety of radio genres including news, sports, public affairs, community programming, and music. For the past decade, WRHU has exclusively produced and distributed radio broadcasts of New York Islanders hockey games, the first and only college radio station to have such an agreement with a professional major-league sports team.  “We are immensely honored to receive this award of recognition,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, dean of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication. “WRHU and its managers and staff deserve enormous credit for carrying on their work throughout the pandemic and providing vital information to the community.”  The annual World Radio Day Award honors a U.S. radio station that exemplifies the best attributes of the radio industry. Recipients may be large or small stations, commercial or noncommercial, located in any market, and broadcasting in any language. The award jury looks for stations that demonstrate ideals of localism, audience reach, community service, effective use of new digital platforms, diversity in program content and staffing, and financial and ratings success.  For this year’s award, the jury has highlighted the work done during the coronavirus pandemic, in light of UNESCO’s theme for the World Radio Day 2021 celebration, which is “New World, New Radio” in the sense that radio is a medium for resilience of our society. The jury of Academy is composed by eight highly qualified professionals of the broadcast industry (in alphabetical order): Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Michael Harrison, founder/publisher, TALKERSPaul McLane, editor in chief, Radio WorldMike McVay, president, McVay Media ConsultingFrancisco Montero, partner, Fletcher, Heald & HildrethChris Oliviero, SVP/MM, Entercom New York; Deborah Parenti, publisher, Radio Ink; and Paul Rotella, president of the New Jersey Broadcasters Association. WRHU was recognized for its efforts during the crisis, expanding its content as student and community staffers worked and broadcast from their homes during a New York state lockdown. Hofstra University has been cited on the Best College lists of U.S. News & World ReportThe Princeton ReviewFiskeWashington Monthly, Forbes, LinkedIn and Payscale.com. It is the only university chosen to host U.S. presidential debates in three consecutive election cycles (2008, 2012 and 2016). The World Radio Day Award was initially created by the Spanish Radio Academy to spread awareness of World Radio Day. The annual February 13 commemoration was endorsed by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly and accompanied by the creation of the International Radio Committee, which collaborates with UNESCO to promote World Radio Day each year. Last year, the award went to all-news station, WTOP, Washington DC.  The 2021 World Radio Day Award will be presented to WRHU at Hofstra University in early February. For more information, click here.

Townsquare Media to Repurchase 10 Million Shares. In a press release, Townsquare Media, Inc announces it has entered into an agreement to repurchase a minimum of 10 million of the 12.5 million shares of Class A common stock, shares of Class B common stock and warrants held by funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management L.P., for $6.40 per security, which reflects a 19% discount from the closing price of the Class A common stock on Friday, January 22, 2021. The repurchase was approved by the board of directors following the recommendation of a committee of independent and disinterested directors. The aggregate purchase price is expected to be at least $64 million, subject to the company’s ability to elect to purchase additional securities at closing of the repurchase. At closing, the repurchased securities will be retired and, subject to the company’s election to repurchase additional securities, the company’s outstanding securities will be reduced from approximately 28 million to approximately 18 million. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We appreciate the opportunity to facilitate this significant transaction with Oaktree and are excited about this repurchase, which secures the exit of a very long-term private equity majority shareholder that current and potential shareholders have described to me consistently as being an obstacle to investing more, or establishing a position, in Townsquare given the significant overhang Oaktree’s holding represented. This repurchase is immediately accretive to shareholders and we thank our board of directors for their vote of confidence in our medium and long-term business plan to grow revenue and profits.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM, Chicago afternoon news anchor Kim Gordon has resigned from the Nexstar Media Group station after 15 years. It’s rumored that Gordon will be joining Cumulus Media’s crosstown news/talk WLS-AM to serve as the afternoon news anchor on the Big John Howell program. Back at WGN, Feder reports that Lauren Lapka will be the news anchor on the Steve Bertrand afternoon program…..iHeartMedia flips sports talk WFXJ-AM, Jacksonville “The Game” to Gospel as “Hallelujah AM930/93.3 HD2.”…..News and sports radio pro Mike Smith is leaving his gig with iHeartMedia’s WBEX-AM, Chillicothe, Ohio to pursue other career opportunities, The 43-year radio pro says, “Thanks to all the great listeners, which many, many of them became life-long friends, and I can say the same about my colleagues being life-long friends and that means more to me than any nice thing that anybody ever said about the job that I did.”

Friday, January 8, 2021

| January 8, 2021

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, “Responsibility, Integrity, and Credibility,” looks back at this past week of January 4-8, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / talk show host, regional syndication; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioAnne Eller, talk show host / station owner, WCRS, Greenwood, SC; 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; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; 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.

KMJ, Fresno’s Ray Appleton Under Scrutiny for “Hanging” Comment. Fresno talk radio host Ray Appleton – heard daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Cumulus Media’s news/talk KMJ-AM/FM – is being taken to task, at least by the Fresno Bee, for saying on his program that “certain news editors should be hanged… maybe.” Appleton’s comment came during a monologue in which he complained about the media’s coverage of the attack on the U.S. Capitol compared to coverage of protests and riots in Portland and other cities, implying that reporting on those events was more sympathetic. He posted a clarification to his Facebook page that was later removed. In it, he says the comment was “clearly tongue in cheek.” On his program Thursday, he said, “So if you were upset by that, I didn’t mean it. I humbly apologize. I’m not talking about taking every news editor and hanging them. I mean, come on. Get with it.” The Bee reports that a call to KMJ for comment on Appleton’s comment was not returned.

Del Colliano: Cumulus Corporate Flips on Election Talk Mandate. According to InsideMusicMedia publisher Jerry Del Colliano, who cites an internal memo from Cumulus Media EVP of content Brian Philips, the company did an about-face on Wednesday as the assault on the Capitol building was taking place in Washington, DC. Del Colliano says that contrary to what many of the company’s talk hosts were saying up to that point about the legitimacy of the election results, Philips’ memo ordered all Cumulus and Westwood One personalities not to continue presenting any illegitimacy claim. He wrote, “We need to help induce national calm NOW. Cumulus and Westwood One will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable ‘paths.’” He adds, “If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.” Del Colliano writes, “Some employees felt the sudden change in direction was so onerous that it in effect dictated what air talent could not broach on the air even after many years of tolerating if not encouraging controversial political talk for the purpose of increasing ratings.”

WFAN, New York Debuts Craig Carton-Hosted Gambling Addiction Program. The program is titled, “Hello, My Name is Craig,” and will air on WFAN-AM/FM, New York on Saturday mornings at 9:30. The 30-minute program is being hosted by Craig Carton and is being presented by 1-800-GAMBLER. In the program, Carton will “drive candid conversations with listeners about different aspects of gambling and provide resources and outlets to those seeking help or looking for ways to help their loved ones.” Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie will be a regular contributor and the program will feature various guests to share stories of indulgence, falls from grace, and the fight to overcome gambling addiction. Guests will include medical and therapy experts, members of the 1-800-GAMBLER team, founders of rehabilitation treatment centers, and more. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Legalized gambling is a growing part of the modern sports experience and the everyday fans’ conversations. Our obligation and commitment are to serve not only the audience that can responsibly enjoy these gaming elements, but also in a meaningful way help those, like Craig, who have an addiction. With Craig’s voice and unique perspective, along with outstanding partners and the influence of the WFAN platform, we will do just that.” Carton adds, “Each week, we will tackle different aspects of what for some is a fun recreation but for others is an addiction that forever alters and sometimes ends lives. The show will be a raw and revealing look into the fastest-growing vice in the country and I look forward to providing my first-hand perspective for both those dealing with the grip of their gambling compulsions as well as the loved ones in their lives.” Carton, who hosted mornings on WFAN with Boomer Esiason from 2007 to 2017, was convicted of fraud he perpetrated in order to pay off gambling debts. He served a year of a three-year sentence in prison. He returned to WFAN this fall to host the WFAN afternoon show with Evan Roberts.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Talk Host Dave Lee Announces Retirement. WCCO-AM, Minneapolis morning drive personality Dave Lee announces he’ll retire from the Entercom news/talk station at the end of April. Lee joined the station in September of 1989 from KFGO, Fargo where he was program director and afternoon drive personality. He first joined the station as a weekend and fill-in host and gradually became part of the Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson morning show. Lee took over sole hosting duties of the morning show in 1997. During his career he’s also done play-by-play for the Minnesota Gophers and he filled in as a Minnesota Twins announcer from 1991 to 1996. He continues to do play-by-play for the television broadcasts of the Minnesota State High School Boys and Girls basketball tournaments, while serving as the radio voice of the University of St. Thomas football on WCCO. He’s been named Minnesota’s Sportscaster of the Year six times and has won three Emmys for his television work.

“Free Talk Live” to Migrate from GCN to Talk Media Network. “Free Talk Live” co-founder Ian Freeman announces that his New Hampshire-based, nationally syndicated program will move from current syndicator Genesis Communications Network to Talk Media Network, effective January 18. Freeman says that while GCN has been “a great radio syndication partner” since 2004, for a few reasons (some of them technical) he’s made the hard decision to sign up with TMN. He says, “Talk Media Network is, like GCN, an affiliate-focused network. They don’t have makegoods or cramdowns or other undesirable, unfriendly corporate syndication crap. TMN’s CEO Josh Leng came up through the industry and has himself been a successful talk radio programmer.  He knows what it’s like in the trenches and has built his company with the desires of radio stations and programmers in mind. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know Josh and I appreciate his passion for radio.” Freeman continues, “TMN’s also an interesting new take on a syndicate – they don’t have a network studio. Their shows feed directly to Westwood One’s uplink facility. That means that TMN’s overhead is reduced and the potential for failures is lower. It also means we had to start producing our show 100% from the FTL studio, which was no problem, since I’ve had that capability here for years but never used it until now. Since we’re now fully in charge of our program content, phones sound better and our feed on XDS should be a little higher quality as the audio won’t be re-encoded and re-processed at the network studio, since there isn’t one… We will stay on GCN for some time in order to give our stations plenty of time to make the jump. I’m grateful to the crew at GCN for their professionalism and support over the years and especially now. I don’t ever want to burn a bridge and I have nothing but respect and appreciation for Ted, George, Adam, and the rest of the crew there and wish them only the best.”

SportsGrid Content to Air on SiriusXM. There’s a new sports betting-oriented channel on SiriusXM as the satellite broadcaster inks a deal with SportsGrid. The new SportsGrid Radio channel will feature personalities including Scott Ferrall, Gabe Morency, Ariel Epstein, and Jared Smith plus expert contributors and guest analysts. The channel streams live from its production facilities adjacent to New York’s Madison Square Garden and at the Meadowlands inside the FanDuel Sportsbook. SportsGrid says its real-time reporting includes the daily odds, lines, matchups, injury reports, news and more across pro football, basketball, baseball, hockey, college sports, golf, tennis, and soccer.

iHeartMedia Completes Warrant Exchange for Stocks. The company announces that it has completed an exchange of iHeartMedia Warrants (financial instruments that give the holder the right to buy underlying shares at a specific price on or before a specified date) into shares of iHeartMedia Class A Common Stock, the Company’s publicly traded equity, or Class B Common Stock. The company reports that as of December 31, 2020, there were approximately 65 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 7 million shares of Class B Common Stock, and  75 million Warrants outstanding. Following the exchange, there will be approximately 110 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 29 million shares of Class B Common Stock, and 7 million Warrants outstanding. The exchange was authorized by a previously issued Declaratory Ruling from the Federal Communications Commission approving an increase in iHeartMedia’s authorized aggregate foreign ownership from 25% to 100%. Certain shares of Class B Common Stock and Warrants were not converted into Class A Common Stock due to current regulatory restrictions applicable to certain shareholders. iHeartMedia expects additional conversions of Class B Common Stock and Warrants into Class A Common Stock.

Attack on Capitol Building Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 4-8, 2021. Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol Building in Washington by hundreds of Donald Trump supporters was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing denial of the election results combined with his phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking to overturn his loss there. Coming in at #3 was Tuesday’s Georgia runoff election that saw both Democrats beat their Republican opponents. 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.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

| January 7, 2021

Radio News Organizations Spring into Action to Cover Capitol Riot. Numerous news organizations were already on hand in Washington, DC on Wednesday to cover the certification of the 2020 election results and they quickly shifted gears as hundreds of Donald Trump supporters turned from protesting to rioting as they stormed the U.S. Capitol, overwhelming the unprepared Capitol police. Salem Radio Network VP/news & talk programming Tom Tradup says that Salem Radio Network News and TOWNHALL News produced two extended, 15-minute special reports titled “Chaos At The Capitol” to provide their O&O stations and all affiliates the latest breaking news from Congress, even as the lockdown continued following security breaches earlier in the day. Tradup says White House correspondent Greg Clugston anchored the reports with updates from U.S. Senate correspondent Bob Agnew and U.S. House correspondent Bernie Bennett. Though both Agnew and Bennett were inside the Capitol when the breach happened, they were removed from their usual broadcast desks but were able to file their reports and update listeners using their cell phones. ABC News Radio offered breaking news coverage to affiliates as the invasion of the Capitol was taking place but also produced the special program “Chaos at the Capitol” that aired in the 7:00 pm ET hour anchored by Aaron Katersky with assistance from correspondents.

Townquare Media Completes $550 Million Senior Secured Note Offering. On Wednesday (1/6), Townsquare Media filed a report with the Securities Exchange Commission announcing that is has completed the sale of $550 million aggregate principal amount of its 6.875% senior secured notes due 2026 that it announced in December. Townsquare says that it used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay debt accrued under its term loan facility provided under the Existing Credit Agreement. The company also intends to use a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering, together with cash on hand, to redeem all of the Company’s outstanding 6.500% senior notes due 2023 on January 14, 2021, and to pay the premium, fees and related expenses. The New Notes bear interest at a rate of 6.875% and mature on February 1, 2026. Interest is payable on the New Notes semi-annually in cash in arrears on February 1 and August 1 of each year, commencing on August 1, 2021. Townsquare used a portion of the net proceeds from the New Notes Offering to repay borrowings under its term loan facility provided under the Company’s existing credit agreement, dated April 1, 2015. It also terminated its revolving credit facility under the Existing Credit Agreement and all other obligations thereunder were repaid effective January 6, 2021.

Save Time and Money in Public Affairs Programming. One of the requirements the FCC makes of radio stations is that they address “local issues and local problems” in order to serve the public. How stations do that is required to be part of their quarterly reports filed with the Commission. Shel Lustig, president of MediaTracks Communications, says that syndicated public affairs programming not only saves money but also saves time by including the quarterly reports the FCC requires. His company has been producing and syndicating award-winning public affairs radio programs for more than 30 years, with more than 1,200 affiliate radio stations across the country. He has more to say about the use of syndicated public affairs programs and you can read it here.

Radio’s Bob Lawrence Announces Retirement. Radio pro Bob Lawrence announces he is retiring from Revenue Development Resources after a 54-year career in the broadcasting industry. During that time, he’s been an air-talent, program director, and general manager. He served with the Radio Advertising Bureau for 14 years and spent the past six years with Revenue Development Resources. RDR president Mark Levy says, “I have had the great privilege of working with Bob Lawrence for 13 years, first at the RAB and then with RDR. During that time, he amazed me with his energy and the respect so many people in the industry had and continue to have for him. But even more than that, he never stopped learning, and he never was anything but nice to people. I know that last part is often brushed over, but it is truly something that made Bob stand out from so many others in this business. He’s been a cheerleader, a sounding board and a sage for so many people…the industry is certainly going to miss him!”

TALKERS News Notes. WGN-AM, Chicago is debuting “Blackhawks Live” on Monday (1/11). The hour-long program will air at 7:00 pm hosted by Chris Boden and Nick Gismondi. WGN sports director Dave Eanet says, “This is going to be a must-listen for Blackhawks fans. WGN listeners already know Chris and his knowledge of the Blackhawks, and we’re thrilled to welcome Nick and his Hawks expertise. Together they’ll deliver an insider perspective on everything from the players to the games.”…..Entercom announces that its campaign to raise funds for those without enough to eat raised more than $1.1 million – including a record-breaking one-day toll of $358,250 – as a part of the 35th annual Hungerthon campaign. Entercom’s New York stations – including sports talk WFAN and all-news WINS and WCBS-AM – partnered with WhyHunger for the campaign. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “This year has presented all of us with unprecedented adversity and forced us to reflect on what’s important. Like we’ve proven time and time again, our ability to support one another in times of struggle is one of our greatest attributes as New Yorkers, and we are proud of our colleagues and listeners for coming together for our neighbors in need. As we’ve done since its launch, we are once again honored to support WhyHunger’s annual Hungerthon and the selfless mission to end hunger.”…..SiriusXM announced today it has signed a new agreement to become the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament. For the 2021 Tournament, scheduled for April 5-11, SiriusXM will produce and present live play-by-play broadcasts all four days of Tournament play from Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia…..WNYC Studios’ podcast “Death, Sex & Money” announces the launch of “Getting Real About Getting Older,” a special episode and live radio program “to create space to talk about aging – because we don’t talk about it enough in our society, and when we do, we don’t often do it well.” WNYC Studios says, “The project was inspired by a listener’s feedback that DSM host Anna Sale (who is 40) didn’t seem to understand aging. It was a comment that came in last year, at a time during which the value of people of a certain age was being challenged and questioned at every turn – from callousness surrounding seniors dying from COVID, to questions about Joe Biden’s competency for the job of president based on his age.”…..Nashville Public Radio’s WPLN News hires Paige Pfleger as the newsroom’s first arts, culture & music reporter. WPLN news director Emily Siner says, “Having this beat in our newsroom will allow us to give Nashville and Middle Tennessee’s arts and music community the coverage it deserves. Paige has the reporting and storytelling chops to show how the arts are a lens to understand broader civic and cultural issues.”…..GCN-syndicated talk radio host Dr. Daliah Wachs picks up new affiliate stations KBFI, Bonners Ferry and KSPT, Sand Point – both in Idaho – plus iHeartMedia’s WONK-FM, Washington, DC as they add her show to their program schedules.

Trump Supporters Storm Capitol, Congress Certifies Biden Victory, Democrats Win Georgia Runoffs/Dems to Control Senate, and COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/6). Supporters of Donald Trump storm the U.S. Capitol disrupting the certification of Joe Biden’s victory; Congress reconvenes in the evening to certify Biden’s election victory; Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeat their Republican opponents in Georgia’s runoff elections, giving Democrats slim control of the U.S. Senate; and the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

| November 24, 2020

Takeaways from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from the first round of Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey that included the markets New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Some observations of note from this group of markets: iHeartMedia’s WOR, New York enters the top 10 in NYC (#9) on the strength of its weekly, 6+ AQH share of 3.6; Cumulus Media’s WBAP, Dallas rockets up to #4 after posting a 1.6 share jump to a 4.9 share; and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (11.5 share) maintains its hold on the #1 position for the 17th straight PPM survey. Check out Mike Kinosian’s complete ratings takeaways from this round of markets that look at the news/talk, all-news, sports talk, and public radio news/talk formats here.

WLS-AM, Chicago Officially Names Bruce St. James Morning Host. The story of talk radio pro Bruce St. James being named the new morning drive host at Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago was broken last week by Chicago media writer Robert Feder. Now, the company officially announces that St. James will take over for Erich “Mancow” Muller on December 14. WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “WLS 890 AM has served our Chicagoland audiences for 96 years. From John Landecker to Roe Conn to Mancow, every host has left his mark on the Big ’89 and none more so than Rush Limbaugh. In 2021, we will bring the focus back to those who matter most – our listeners. Bruce St. James is here to have a conversation with our listeners, not a lecture. He is not here to change formats. He is here to continue what 890 already does best – inform and entertain our listeners. We are thrilled to welcome Bruce to mornings on the New ’89. Bruce knows radio. And, now Chicago will know Bruce.” St. James comments, “‘Thrilled’ doesn’t begin to describe my feelings. It is an honor and privilege to host a show on the legendary WLS, and I accept the responsibility of living up to the standard set by those before me. Now, more than ever, people need to connect, as well as be informed in an entertaining way. That is our goal every morning and I look forward to getting to know the amazing city of Chicago. Now, about the weather…” St. James has worked almost exclusively in the Southwest, most recently as co-host of the late morning program on Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix.

TALKERS News Notes. Today and tomorrow (11/24-25), sports media personality Jason Whitlock – who writes for Outkick.com – is filling in for Premiere NetworksGlenn Beck on his nationally syndicated late morning talk radio show…..Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman has been named to the 40 Under 40 list for 2020 by the Sacramento Business Journal. As part of the feature, the SBJ asked Kauffmann what in the industry she sees changing as a result of COVID-19. She says, “COVID-19 is accelerating rising trends of increased in-home listening via smart speakers and streaming that we were seeing pre-pandemic. I believe that will continue to increase, as more companies lean into a remote workforce and time-shifted scheduling.”…..AdLarge Media’s podcast network cabana adds three AccuWeather podcasts to its library. Joining cabana’s offerings are: “Everything Under The Sun,” “Weather Insider” with Bernie Rayno, and “This Date in Weather Industry” with AccuWeather senior meteorologist Evan Myers…..iHeartMedia’s nationally syndicated “Armstrong & Getty Show” – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – announces it raised approximately $1.2 million for the Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station through the show’s annual “Warrior Foundation Freedom Station Give-A-Thon.” The Warrior Foundation-Freedom Station is a 501(c)3 volunteer-based organization that helps wounded vets recover both physically and mentally from service injuries. The funds raised will be used to purchase plane tickets for injured warriors so they can spend the holidays at home and with their families…..Streaming audio and on-demand service TuneIn announces that Richard Stern is named the new chief executive officer. He joins TuneIn from his most recent position as chief product officer for Audible. At the same time, the company announces that a new investment in the company led by Innovation Endeavors will serve to fund the acceleration of TuneIn’s technology innovation and market share as “one of the most widely used streaming audio platforms in the world with an unparalleled offering that brings together live sports, news, music, podcasts and radio.” Stern says, “Over 75 million listeners have come to depend on TuneIn to stay connected and informed in our fast-moving world. It’s my privilege to lead the TuneIn team on our mission to reinvent radio as a digital medium and continue to drive the live audio streaming revolution well into the future.”…..SportsGrid Radio and SiriusXM announce a deal to launch the SportsGrid Radio Channel on SiriusXM, effective January 7, 2021. SportsGrid Radio is replacing the VSiN channel, which will air on SiriusXM until December 31. SportsGrid Radio will feature the team of on-air personalities including Scott Ferrall, Gabe Morency, Ariel Epstein, and Jared Smith along with expert contributors and guest analysts.

RAB and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One to Host Presentation Focusing on Client Spot Loads. The RAB announces that as part of its Business Unusual initiative, its upcoming Open for Business live-video series episode is titled, “How Many Spots Should a Client Run in a Weekly Schedule?” The presentation features findings and takeaways from a joint spot load study conducted by the RAB and CUMULUS MEDIA | Westwood One. The presentation will unveil the survey results and provide sellers with a framework of guidelines to help them determine weekly spot schedules that are best suited to meet advertising clients’ campaign goals. It takes place on December 10 at 1:00 pm ET and features Cumulus Media | Westwood One chief insights officer Pierre Bouvard and Cumulus Media | Westwood One director, content marketing Lauren Vetrano. The presentation is free for RAB members.

Transition Process Approved/Trump Doesn’t Concede, Biden Administration Appointments, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Holiday Travel, Israel-Saudi Arabia Relations, China’s Moon Shot, and David Dinkins Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/23). The General Services Administration begins the transition process while Donald Trump announces he’s continuing to challenge the election results; Joe Biden announces members of his administration, including John Kerry to the National Security Council; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, predictions for future cases, and warnings about traveling during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend; the reports that Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman held a private meeting; China announces it is sending a rocket to the moon to collect samples; and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins dies 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 annual Mayflower Marathon to benefit the Springfield Open Pantry is going virtual this year due to COVID-19. The charity event produced by Saga Communications’ WAQY, Springfield, Massachusetts “Rock 102” usually features market morning legends “Bax & O’Brien” – Mike Baxendale and John O’Brien – camped out in the parking lot of the Basketball Hall of Fame for three days straight collecting food stuffs and cash. Bax tells TALKERS magazine, “Because of COVID we had to be creative and avoid violating curfews and protocols. Rather than have listeners donate non-perishables at the Hall of Fame, we are doing a 52-hour long fundraiser.  We’re encouraging listeners to donate online and over the phone for Open Pantry instead, and so far, so good. In fact, we’re actually ahead of last year, which had been our best year to date.”…..In Philadelphia, Beasley Media Group’s rock WMMR-FM morning show hosts Preston Elliot and Steve Morrison held their annual “Preston & Steve Camp Out For Hunger” event that raised over 2.5 million pounds of food and $1.4 million dollars in cash to benefit Philabundance, which offers hunger relief to needy individuals and families in the greater Philadelphia area…..iHeartMedia Boston’s country WBWL “101.7 The Bull” and WBTS-TV, “NBC10 Boston” raised more than $38,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital during last Saturday evening’s “One Night Only” broadcast special. The show was broadcast on NBC10 and hosted by “101.7 The Bull” personalities Colton Bradford, Amanda Jo, and Jess. It featured performances by country artists Kane Brown, Old Dominion, Kelsea Ballerini, Jon Pardi, Maren Morris, Lauren Alaina, and Jimmie Allen…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX-FM, Detroit is presenting the “6th Annual People Helping People” campaign to assist families in Metro Detroit who are facing challenges during the holidays. Now through December 11, listeners are nominating families in need on the air and at WCSX.com. The “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” is sharing requests they receive on behalf of needy families and is connecting them with the appropriate business donors…..WUNC Music – the music discovery streaming radio station produced by WUNC-FM in Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina adds two new hosts to its schedule. Alan Thompson, a.k.a. DJ Who4thecru, comes to the station from WNCU in Durham where he hosts the “Morning Jazz” show. Susan Castle joins the WUNC Music team to host the 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm show. She is the long-time morning host at KUTX, Austin.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

| October 29, 2020

Carton and Roberts Show to Launch on WFAN on November 9. One day after WFAN, New York personality Joe Benigno announced he’s retiring from the afternoon drive show after his November 6 program (see story below), Entercom unveils the new Craig Carton and Evan Roberts program to launch on November 9, confirming months of speculation about the return of Carton after his conviction and one-year prison sentence on fraud charges. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says in a statement, “Craig Carton was part of the fabric of WFAN for a decade, both on and off the air, engaging and entertaining audiences with his one-of-a-kind personality and talent. We all hope that this next step on his road back will not only be beneficial to Craig, but also for his audience as he shares his story and looks to make an impact through the power of his voice. WFAN welcomes him back and is excited to have him join Evan Roberts in afternoon drive.” Carton says, “I am grateful to Entercom for the chance to return home to WFAN. I have dreamt about this moment every minute of every day for the last three years. I know I have work to do to regain the trust of my colleagues, listeners, and advertisers and am committed to doing just that. I can’t wait to get started with Evan Roberts on November 9th.”

WFAN, New York Officially Announces Joe Benigno’s Retirement. A week from tomorrow will be the final regular broadcast for New York sports talk host Joe Benigno. As has been speculated in the New York media and media trade publications, Benigno is leaving the station after a 26-year career. Entercom says that Benigno will continue to be heard on the station “in select roles beginning in 2021.” Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Joe Benigno is the quintessential New York sports fan, broadcasting his trademark straight-from-the-heart perspective on the city’s sports scene every day for nearly three decades. Though Joe first came to prominence as ‘Joe from Saddle River,’ he departs as one of the most successful and enduring hosts in the long and iconic history of WFAN. It is comforting to know that he remains a part of the ‘FAN’ family and will still be keeping a close eye on his beloved Jets, Mets, Knicks and Rangers.” Benigno joined WFAN in 1995 after winning the station’s Fan Appreciation Day contest, where the prize was to host on WFAN. After a stint at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting and a small New Jersey radio station, Benigno was hired as the overnight host at WFAN in 2004. He served as the station’s midday show co-host from 2003 to 2019 before moving to afternoons in 2020.

Round Three of October PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s October PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s October 2020 survey period covered September 10 – October 7. You can see all the 6+, weekly AQH share data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from these markets. Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM, Portland adds a full share and finishes the survey with a 7.0 share to remain ranked #3. In Charlotte, Entercom’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM tacks on nine-tenths for a 6.9 share and rises from #4 to #3. iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City adds three-tenths – completing a four-survey spike of 2.3 shares – to finish with a 7.6 share and jumps to the #1 spot for the first time in the PPM era. Across town at Bonneville’s KSL-FM, it rockets up 1.3 shares for a 7.4 share and finishes the October survey at #2. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets – as well as the first two rounds – here.

Entercom and FanDuel Announce Strategic Partnership. The six-year partnership designating FanDuel as the official sportsbook partner of Entercom across its sports broadcast stations and RADIO.COM will give listeners unique access to FanDuel odds, insight, and promotion via Entercom on-air stations and personalities. Entercom and FanDuel will also “collaborate on in-depth integrations and co-produce content that will pioneer the industry with all-new formats.” Under the agreement, FanDuel will be the official sportsbook of Entercom, and receive preferred and increased category access to all Entercom talent in every market where Entercom and FanDuel both operate. Entercom president and CEO David Field says, “We believe this is the largest advertising commitment ever made within the radio industry. We are focused on delivering the best sports betting experience for our audiences in markets where legalized sports betting will be pervasive. The marketplace is growing exponentially and FanDuel is an ideal partner to take full advantage of the influence and reach of Entercom’s robust sports platforms to deliver an even better, audio sports experience to our listeners.”

TALKERS News Notes. A reminder that this evening (10/29) is the 2020 Radio Hall of Fame induction ceremony taking place from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET on both the iHeartRadio app and via SiriusXM’s Triumph Channel. Being inducted are: Mark & Brian, Donnie Simpson, Angie Martinez, Cokie Roberts, Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee, & DJ Envy, Sway Calloway, and Glenn Beck. You can listen here…..ABC News Radio is presenting live anchored coverage on election night beginning at 7:00 pm ET, running through at least 2:00 am ET. Correspondents Aaron Katersky and Karen Travers will anchor coverage. It will also feature reporting from correspondents on-location with the candidates and in crucial swing states. ABC News Radio will offer four one-minute Status Reports each hour throughout the evening. ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will have special coverage throughout the week, including special editions on Election Day, November 4, and as news warrants…..Sun Broadcast Group announces two new hires in marketing. Lindsay Carr joins as director of marketing and Megan Hermensky is named assistant marketing manager. SBG vice president of business operations Laura Orkin says, “As we expand our ad sales team to meet the growing needs of our advertisers and partners, we are building our marketing support to develop new promotions, social media extensions, and more. Lindsay and Megan have the marketing expertise to bring new concepts and fresh designs to Sun. I’m delighted to welcome them both to our team.”

The Presidential Election, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Financial Markets Activity, Philadelphia Racial Tensions, Hunter Biden Emails, Big Tech Before Congress, France Terror Attack, and Tropical Storm Zeta Hits Gulf Coast Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/28). Next Tuesday’s presidential election and the last-minute campaigning by Donald Trump and Joe Biden; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and projections for the fall and winter seasons; the world’s financial markets sink on fears of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic; racial tensions in Philadelphia in the aftermath of the police shooting death of Walter Wallace Jr; the allegations that Hunter Biden’s emails indicate he improperly benefitted from Joe Biden’s vice presidency; CEO’s of Facebook, Twitter, and Google appear before a Senate Commerce Subcommittee to answer questions about censorship; a terrorist kills three in a church in Nice, France; and Tropical Storm Zeta dumps more rain on Louisiana were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Presents 2020 Election Preview Featuring Bill O’Reilly. Pictured above are WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte talk show host Bo Thompson (top left), North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (top right) with special guest, Key Networks nationally syndicated talk show host Bill O’Reilly (bottom). The production was dubbed “WBT’s TALKTOBERFEST 2020” and you can see it here. Station brand manager Mike Schaefer tells TALKERS magazine that O’Reilly appeared during the first talk hour of the program. Also on the program were WBT-AM/FM personalities Vince Coakley, Brett Winterble, Mark Garrison, Brett Jensen, and Joe Gillespie. It was broadcast Tuesday evening (10/27) live on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm.

Former Westwood One News Radio White House Correspondent Bob Costantini Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Journalism in America is going through a challenging transition. The technology, sociology, and economics of the times have conspired to shrink newsrooms, shut down news organizations, and put a critically large number of journalists out of work. This pinch is certainly being experienced in radio as most recently evidenced in the discontinuation of a news department by syndication giant Westwood One. Former Westwood One White House correspondent and veteran radio/TV journalist Bob Costantini is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Costantini was a high-profile casualty of the Westwood One news shutdown, but he wasn’t a victim, having wasted no time before launching his own boutique news agency, Ear on the White House, specializing in providing radio stations across America with customized reports and coverage of the White House and ongoing presidential developments. The fact that Costantini has already signed up several client stations out of the gate is a strong indication he’s off and running in the right direction with this new venture. With the presidential election dominating the national conversation, the White House has become the central focus of the nation and its concerns and promises to remain so in the months and years ahead. Costantini, a 30-plus year veteran of the field, has covered the White House for such news organizations as FOX News Channel, CNN and CNN Radio, NBC News Radio and most recently Westwood One. He’s a graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science. Harrison and Costantini talk about what it’s like inside the White House press corps, how the White House Correspondents’ Association operates, differences between the administrations he’s covered from George H.W. Bush to Donald Trump, and the current election, as well as the state and future of journalism. Don’t miss this illuminating deep-dive conversation about the nuts and bolts of covering the executive branch on radio. 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. Rock radio pro Wade Linder is promoted to vice president, classic rock for Cumulus Media. The company says that in this new role, Linder will serve on Cumulus’ content leadership team as a key resource for the company’s 34 classic rock radio stations and will report to Troy Hanson, VP/corporate programming, rock formats. Linder will continue in his current role as PD for WLS-FM, Chicago. Linder says, “I’m grateful to be entrusted with this new appointment from Brian Philips and Troy Hanson. It’s a privilege to work with the programming brains and pure personalities in classic rock at Cumulus, with so much brand knowledge already present. Add to that the daily grounding and inspiration I receive from my closest radio family here at 94.7 WLS-FM in Chicago, where Marv Nyren shows us how to win and be kind at the same time. I want to also thank Dave Milner, John Dimick, and Doug Hamand.”…..Premiere Networks and Bobby Bones, VP/creative director of iHeartCountry, announce the launch of a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast, “Talk to Chuck” with Chuck Wicks, distributed by Bones’ Nashville Podcast Network. “Talk to Chuck” features the singer and songwriter as he shares his unique perspective on what’s happening in the world of country music. With behind-the-scenes access to the biggest stars, he’ll welcome music artists, celebrities, athletes, and others who share a love for country music. Listeners and country fans will also join the conversation as Wicks and his guests discuss the hottest topics of the week…..Beasley Media Group announces classic rock outlet WCSX-FM, Detroit, in conjunction with the Mayor of Royal Oak, Michigan, will proclaim Friday, November 6, 2020 as ‘Glenn Frey Day’ in honor of the late Eagles co-founder and Michigan native. Station morning show personality Jim O’Brien from “Big Jim’s House Morning Show” will broadcast live on Glenn Frey Drive in commemoration of the late singer/songwriter’s birthday. In addition, O’Brien will join Mayor Mike Fournier in officially proclaiming “Glenn Frey Day” as well as share stories about the late Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee from Detroit legends Bob Seger, Alice Cooper and others.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

| October 20, 2020

Rush Limbaugh Updates Listeners on Cancer Battle; ‘Under a Death Sentence.’ Talk radio legend Rush Limbaugh gave listeners an update on his battle with cancer at the outset of his Premiere Networks nationally syndicated program on Monday (10/19) and said that after a long period of keeping the cancer from spreading via treatment, recent tests show “some progression of cancer.” He told listeners, “I hate the way I feel every day. It’s tough to realize that the days where I do not think I’m under a death sentence are over. Now, we all are, is the point. We all know that we’re going to die at some point, but when you have a terminal disease diagnosis that has a time frame to it, then that puts a different psychological and even physical awareness to it.” But he went on to say that he still looks forward to going on the air every day. “I feel very blessed to be here speaking with you today. Some days are harder than others. I do get fatigued now. I do get very, very tired now. I’m not gonna mislead you about that. But I am extremely grateful to be able to come here to the studio and to maintain as much normalcy as possible – and it’s still true.” You know, I wake up every day and thank God that I did. I go to bed every night praying I’m gonna wake up.” Limbaugh first announced he’d been diagnosed with advanced lung cancer on February 3.

Industry Shocked by Savage’s Criticism of Limbaugh Cancer Update. Numerous talk radio industry pros – from executives to staffers working “in the trenches” – have told TALKERS magazine today that they are “disgusted” by Michael Savage’s Twitter post in the aftermath of Rush Limbaugh’s on-air update about the progression of his Stage 4 lung cancer and how he’s handling his terminal diagnosis. The tweet came yesterday immediately after Limbaugh’s first segment and read: “Limbaugh’s crying about his cancer on air! Worst 15 minutes in radio history! Spilled a large coffee all over counter and floor. I PROMISE MY AUDIENCE THIS – I WILL NOT DRAG YOU DOWN WITH ME! Best wishes RUSH, but stop and leave the stage with dignity.”  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison even threw his two cents into the discussion stating, “Savage got it all wrong.  Rush tapped the deepest level of the ties that bind talk show hosts to their listeners – the sharing of personal life experiences and feelings – yes, feelings. What Rush bravely did in sharing his first-hand perspective on his circumstances was a gift to his listeners and to the rest of us in radio.  It’s what makes our business a true community and elevates our place as a public forum to an enormously special level in a world awash in superficiality and hype.  Rush shared his heart with us.”

New Deal with CBS Sports for ‘Boomer & Gio.’ A new, multiyear extension is inked between Entercom and CBS Sports to continue simulcasting WFAN-AM/FM, New York’s “Boomer & Gio” morning drive show on the CBS Sports Network. The show co-hosted by Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti airs live from 6:00 am to 10:00 am ET. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Boomer and Gio have become a must-listen for New York sports fans to start their day with their unique perspectives, humor and a bit of the unexpected sprinkled in. WFAN is happy to extend our long partnership with CBS Sports Network to let fans nationwide take a peek into their world and join in on the fun each morning.” CBS Sports Network available through all major cable, satellite and telco distributors as well as via OTT streaming service providers YouTube TV, fuboTV, DirecTV and Hulu. Additionally, a live CBS Sports Network stream is available through CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App by authenticating with select providers.

The Presidential Race/Voting Begins, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, the Economy/Stimulus Talks, Hunter Biden Laptop Case, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ Limbaugh Cancer Update, Russian Cyberattack Charges, and Jeffrey Toobin Zoom Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/19). The November presidential election, the final debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden as well as the early and mail-in voting procedures; the rise in COVID-19 cases across most of the U.S. and Europe and projections for a fall/winter second wave; the state of the U.S. economy and negotiations in congress over a new stimulus package; chatter about the legitimacy of the Hunter Biden laptop matter; complaints by conservative media figures about “censorship” of posts that have locked their accounts; Rush Limbaugh delivers somber update on his battle with cancer; six Russian military officers are charged with cyberattacks by the U.S.’ and New Yorker writer and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is suspended after exposing himself during a Zoom meeting were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a story by Neil Best at Newsday, Entercom’s WFAN, New York “The Fan” will – “barring a contractual glitch” – hire former morning drive star Craig Carton within the next few weeks and put him in the afternoon drive slot by January, if not sooner. The New York and Philadelphia media have been watching the sports talk radio scene intensely since Carton was let out of prison early after his fraud conviction in 2018. Most reports have cited sources indicating Carton will be with WFAN before long, but Beasley Media Group’s WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” in Philadelphia has reportedly been courting Carton…..Salem Radio Network is presenting coverage of this Thursday’s final presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, moderated by Kristen Welker of MSNBC. SRN’s coverage begins at 8:06 pm ET with a special “SRN Debate Preview” hosted by nationally syndicated SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt with special guests including HotAir.com’s Ed Morrissey and an update from SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston, who is credentialed and will report from the debate venue at the Belmont University campus in Nashville. Hewitt will also host a 60-minute “Debate Wrap-Up” show immediately following the 90-minute debate…..The Radio Advertising Bureau approved a new slate of officers at its recent Fall Board of Directors meeting. Neuhoff Media chief operating officer Mike Hulvey is the new board chair; Bill Hendrich, EVP, Cox Media Group is vice chair; Jeff Warshaw, CEO, Connoisseur Media, LLC joins as finance chair; Sabina Widmann, VP, general manager/director of sales, Univision Radio is secretary; and Susan Larkin, COO, Entercom Communications is immediate past chair. Hulvey says, “It’s an honor to serve the RAB and radio industry in this capacity. Radio is building a great success story not only of recovery, but revival. Thanks in part to the hard work of the RAB team, radio will accelerate from a new normal to a new better.”

Independent Broadcasters Association Commissions Financial Report. The newly formed Independent Broadcasters Association announces it is partnering with media specialty accounting firm dk east associates to conduct a financial analysis of independent broadcaster operations. Stations can be participants in the financial report at no charge, but they must be members of the IBA by October 31. The IBA says the financial report is the first independent-only analysis of its type. IBA founder and executive director Ron Stone says, “Finally, there will be intelligence that independent broadcasters can use to properly measure performance. We see a lot of information about the industry, but typically it only speaks to larger public companies and it is difficult to use it in a meaningful way for local operations. The IBA was formed to bring shared resources like this to independent broadcasters, along with revenue-generation and cost-saving opportunities.” The completed report will allow participating IBA members to compare and contrast their operations to others of similar size. It also will provide data against 2019 by quarter to allow members to gauge their own performance against similar operations during the COVID-19 crisis. Headcount figures will reflect changes from 2019 to reveal how independent operators are weathering the storm from a human resource perspective. In addition, intelligence on Q4 and 2021 will be gathered to determine how independents are feeling about the immediate future.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Laura G is promoted to program director at Cumulus Media’s country WSJR-FM “NASH 93.7.” She’s been serving as midday personality and will continue in that role. Cumulus Scranton/Wilkes-Barre vice president and market manager Chris Kenney says, “Laura has shown strong leadership and work ethic throughout her career with Cumulus and we are elated to promote her to PD of ‘NASH FM 93.7.’”…..Hubbard Radio names Kelsey Danca promotions director for hot AC WRMF, West Palm Beach. She joins the station from her most recent position as integrated marketing manager for AEG Presents in West Palm Beach.  WRMF program director Randi West comments, “Kelsey’s background in radio, events and digital made her the perfect fit for WRMF and ‘Party 96.3!’ Excited to have her on board to grow these heritage brands to all new levels.”.….Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville is offering a special broadcast to honor American veterans hosted by “American Country Countdown” host Kix Brooks. The annual two-hour holiday music special, “A Salute to Our Military Veterans with Kix Brooks,” includes friends and fellow artists Florida Georgia Line, Chris Janson, Kane Brown, Dustin Lynch, Jon Pardi, and Brantley Gilbert talking about their appreciation for the nation’s military. It’s available for stations to air beginning Saturday, November 7 through Wednesday, November 11 between 6:00 am and 12:00 midnight.

Friday, July 24, 2020

| July 24, 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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled “BLM and MLB!” looks back at this past week of July 20-24, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville, GA; Lars Larson, talk show host KXL, Portland/Compass Media NetworksThom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD MediaSteve Trevelise, talk show host, New Jersey 101.5/WIP, Philadelphia; and Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/commentator, “MD Edge Psychcast.” 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Mike Francesa Announces Retirement from WFAN and RADIO.COM. New York City sports talk legend Mike Francesa announced on Thursday’s program that this afternoon’s program (Friday, July 24) would be his last regularly scheduled show on “The Fan.” He told his listeners, “Tomorrow night will be my last regularly scheduled broadcast on ‘The Fan.’ I have been discussing this with the company for a while. We agreed I would stay until sports came back. The reason – I have cut back dramatically. This has been a very strange year. It has made me think about different things and do different things.” Francesa has been at Entercom’s WFAN for 33 years. He left the station at the end of 2017 when his contract ran out and WFAN replaced him with Chris Carlin, Bart Scott, and Maggie Gray, but Francesa returned four months later and resumed his afternoon show, bumping the trio to middays. At the end of 2019, Francesa’s schedule was dramatically changed as he began hosting a half-hour program on WFAN and a full hour on the company’s digital platform RADIO.COM. Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts moved from middays into the afternoon drive slot. Senior vice president and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Mike has been the heart of WFAN for over 30 years, and though his day in and day out presence has come to an end, that bond happily will continue. The future of WFAN as the premiere sports platform in New York is bright, and that is in large part to the foundation that Mike has helped build.”

WHUB-AM, Cookeville, Tennessee Celebrates 80th Anniversary. Pictured above (from l-r) are Cookeville Mayor Ricky Shelton, WHUB program director and morning drive host Brent Fleshman, and Putnam County Mayor Randy Porter recognizing the 80th anniversary of the Zimmer Broadcasting station. It went on the air on July 20, 1940. Fleshman – a 2016 NAB Marconi winner for Small Market Personality of the Year – tells TALKERS magazine that the company recently built a brand-new studio specifically for the news/talk station to accommodate more guests.

iHeartMedia Adds Sports Talker to Eau Claire, Wisconsin Market. There’s a new sports talk outlet in the Eau Claire, Wisconsin market as iHeartMedia drops the classic hits simulcast on WBIZ-AM/W254CN and launches “98-7 The Fan” on the two signals The station cherry-picks sports talk shows heard in other Wisconsin and Minnesota markets for its programming. Morning drive “The Power Trip” and 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show “The Common Man” emanate from the company’s KFXN, Minneapolis “KFAN” and late morning “Nine to Noon with John Kuhn” and afternoon drive “Drew & KB” are based at WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “97.3 The Game.” iHeartMedia SVP of programming Dave DeVille says, “The Chippewa Valley is often a house divided when it comes to Wisconsin and Minnesota sports teams. We’ve curated a home base station for all sports fans to enjoy.” The station will air Chippewa Valley area high school sports and professional sports including Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Wild, Minnesota Vikings and Milwaukee Bucks.

TALKERS News Notes. WGMD-FM, Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is celebrating its 40th anniversary on the air. Walt Palmer is director of broadcast operations, engineering, and programming for the Resort Broadcasting Co station. He tells TALKERS magazine, “‘Sunny 92.7’ music morphed to ‘The TALK of Delmarva,’ providing 20 hours of live programming, 10 of which are live and local. Resort Broadcasting has assured listeners it is committed to serving the local communities with news, talk, sports, and information.” The station features local hosts Mike Bradley in AM drive, Jake Smith in late mornings, and Duke Brooks in afternoon drive…..SmartTalk Radio Network and WCGO, Chicago talk radio personality Blanquita Cullum – host of “The Hard Question” – is the moderator of the Voices Against Trafficking international human rights forum that will stream via Facebook Live on July 29 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm ET. Cullum tells TALKERS magazine, “Human trafficking is the world’s fastest-growing, multibillion-dollar criminal industry exploiting men, women, and children across the globe. This program will feature leading national and international human rights activists sharing details on many aspects of the current state of human trafficking.” Guest speakers include: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao, numerous U.S. members of congress, internet safety leaders, law enforcement experts, and survivors who are forging a new path for human rights…..Entercom’s St. Louis news/talk KMOX “News Radio 1120” renews to serve as an outlet for Kansas City Chiefs football play-by-play and will simulcast broadcasts from sister station WDAF-FM, Kansas City “106.5 The Wolf,” the team’s flagship station.

Birach Broadcasting Flips WCXI, Detroit to News/Talk. Detroit outlet WCXI-AM flips from oldies to conservative talk using a lineup of conservative talk shows from Premiere Networks and FOX News Radio. Branded “Freedom 1160 WCXI” by owner Birach Broadcasting Corporation, the station’s lineup consists of: “FOX News Rundown” from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Glenn Beck from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, “FOX Across America with Jimmy Failla” from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Guy Benson from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Buck Sexton from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Dan Bongino from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight, and “Coast to Coast AM with George Noory” in overnights.

Schools Opening Debate Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 20-24. The debate over how to safely open schools this fall was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the spike in COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was talk about health care, vaccine development, and the $1.95 billion deal for Pfizer to develop a vaccine, followed by the state of the U.S. economy and the GOP-crafted stimulus package 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.

Independent Broadcasters Association Organizes. The new Independent Broadcasters Association announces that it has filed articles of incorporation in the State of Minnesota and is “officially in business.” Founding organizer Ron Stone of Adams Radio Group says, “We filed the articles last Friday, on a day where we were 96% of our 3,000-station goal. 2,877 stations had signed up, represented by just under 600 owners / operators. We continue to have additional owners signing up every day.” He adds that the initial board of directors has been selected and includes: Deborah Barrera, R Communications; Kristin Cantrell, Seven Mountains Media and Cap City Communications; Darrell Calton, Iliad Media Group; Allen Dick, Dick Broadcasting; Mike Flood, Flood Communications; Kenneth Forte, R&F Communications; Charles Johnson, Northstar Broadcast; Kimberly Martinez, All Pro Broadcasting; Gregory Pretko, Southern Stone Communications; Kelly Radandt, Woodward Radio Group; Tony Renda, Renda Broadcasting; David Stephens, Stephens Media Group; Ron Stone, Adams Radio Group; Tony Richards, Kensington Digital; Cindy Taylor, Ohio Midland Newsgroup; Rebecca White, Salem Media (of Indiana); and Sandra Woodruff, Northwest Indy Radio. Stone adds, “Our first board meeting will be scheduled for next week, to decide mostly organizational matters and to approve our business plan. We will have a conference call with everyone that has signed up on www.radioiba.org schedule shortly after the board meeting to review the business plan and goals of the IBA.” New members are still being accepted.

TALKERS Magazine Publishes the 2020 Heavy Hundred. The editors of TALKERS magazine announce the publication of the 2020 edition of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America – what has become known over the years as the Heavy Hundred. This year’s Heavy Hundred is compiled by the editors of TALKERS magazine using such factors as: ratings, revenue, courage, effort, impact, longevity, potential, recognition, service, talent, and uniqueness. We acknowledge that it is as much art as science and that the results are arguable. The editors would like to acknowledge that the publication of this year’s list was delayed by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the radio industry. However, it’s also important to note that it is times like these that talk radio personalities have the opportunity to become an even more important part of their listeners’ lives by delivering the information they need and providing the opportunity to hear debate about and take part in discussions concerning the events affecting their lives. Those who do that well are usually rewarded with success. We are proud to publish the 2020 Heavy Hundred in which we salute those hosts our editors believe are serving their listeners and advertisers in way that puts them among the “most important.” See this year’s Heavy Hundred here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Bringmethenews.com reports that Northern Lights Broadcasting has let go of alternative KQGO “Go 96.3” morning show “Ben and Dana” – Ben Holsen and Dana Wessel – in a budget-related move. Wessel tweeted to listeners: “Got some news to share. I was let go by ‘Go963.’ Covid is having a big impact on a lot of businesses and radio is no different. I wanna say thanks and send love to all my colleagues, especially Ben for putting up with me every morning. I have been at ‘Go’ since the day it launched and poured my heart and soul into it.”…..Cox Media Group Orlando moves CHR WPYO afternoon host Danie B and evening personality Kevin Kon to the morning drive daypart as “Danie & Kevin Mornings on Power 95.3.” WPYO brand manager Will Calder says, “I have been watching their chemistry for years and they truly are the best of friends and have the kind of relationship with each other – and our listeners – that make those deep memorable, emotional connections. Moving them to mornings felt like such a natural fit as they will definitely take over Central Florida.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Christopher Squire vice president of sales for its Philadelphia station group, effective immediately. Squire was most recently general sales manager for Townsquare Media’s Trenton-Princeton stations. Senior vice president of sales Jeff Moore states, “I am thrilled to add Chris to our team. He is someone that I’ve gotten to know over the past few years and have been impressed by his leadership qualities, his ability to build meaningful relationships with client partners and his dedication to helping the people he works with succeed. His positive outlook and enthusiasm are contagious and I can’t wait to continue to build on our team’s success with his help.”…..Sales and management pro Johnette Cochran has been director of sales for Adams Radio Group’s five station Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland operations consisting of five music brands since December of 2019. Now, she rises to vice president and general manager for the cluster. She says, “I’m delighted to grow into this position with Adams Radio Group. Becoming a general manager has always been my goal and I am blessed to have this opportunity on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware. I have been connecting to the community in a limited way during Covid, and now I’m free to truly get out and get to know the people in this great market.”

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

| June 16, 2020

Longtime St. Louis Radio Personality Guy Phillips to Retire from KTRS-AM. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Guy Phillips will retire from news/talk KTRS where he’s been afternoon drive host since February of 2018. Phillips joined KLSQ-FM in 1979. It changed calls to KYKY-FM and he left the Entercom hot AC in 2018 to join KTRS. He tells the paper, “I’d say I thought about (retiring). I’m going to be 68 and I have a granddaughter now, our first. So, it just seemed like the right time.” Phillips was originally co-hosting the show with Julie Buck but she left in early 2019 and Heidi Glaus has been his co-hosted since then.

Florida Air Personalities Test Positive for COVID-19. According to a piece in the Tampa Bay Times, WHPT, Tampa “102.5 FM The Bone” air personalities Mike Calta and Anthony “Spanish” Polichemi, as well as three DJs from Beasley Media Group’s hip hop WLLD “Wild 94.1” have tested positive for COVID-19. Calta and his cast members work for Cox Media Group and are broadcasting from home studios for now. Beasley closed its St. Petersburg offices to all but essential employees after a staffer there tested positive.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Tests Positive for COVID-19. Las Vegas morning drive talk host Heidi Harris told listeners via Facebook that she’s tested positive for COVID-19. Harris writes that she started with a cough last Thursday and, after getting worse that night, called in sick on Friday. She says she got considerably sicker over the weekend with intense body aches but did not suffer breathing troubles or nausea. She intends to do her radio show from home assuming she’s able to handle it.

TALKERS EXCLUSIVE:  A Conversation with Lee Habeeb of “Our American Stories.”  The two-hour, nightly syndicated storytelling radio show, “Our American Stories” produced by American Private Radio, continues to pick up major affiliates and receive stellar reviews. It is now making an impact in Texas having recently added KTRH, Houston and KRLD-AM, Dallas to its growing roster of what now totals more than 225 news/talk stations across the US.  TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison recently conducted a fascinating conversation with American Private Radio CEO and the host of “Our American Stories,” Lee Habeeb.  They discuss the program’s unique business model and non-partisan, storytelling approach to unifying the American public through positivity and a knowledge of history. To listen to the conversation in its entirety, please click 

      here
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BLM Protests/Rayshard Brooks Killing, Seattle CHOP, COVID-19 Statistics/Beijing Outbreak, U.S. Re-Opening, SCOTUS Gay-Transgender Ruling, John Bolton Book, and Russia Jails Accused U.S. Spy Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/15). Protests in New Mexico, Tennessee, and Oregon and the police killing of Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta; the status of the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest in Seattle; the COVID-19 statistics in the U.S. and the current outbreak in Beijing; the re-opening of states across the U.S.; the Supreme Court’s ruling against firing on the grounds of being gay or transgender; former Trump national security adviser John Bolton’s book prepares for release; and former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan is sentenced to 16 years hard labor by Russia for espionage were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WIND-AM, Chicago morning news anchor Amy Jacobson’s ban from Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has been rescinded. Jacobson – with the assistance of the Liberty Justice Center – sued Pritzker and his press secretary after they banned her from press briefings because she appeared at a rally to protest the governor’s stay-at-home orders. They argued she lost her journalistic cred for taking “an extreme position” on the issue and speaking out about it. The Illinois attorney general’s office did not explain its decision but simply stated Jacobson is allowed to participate in press briefings “to the same extent that any other media is allowed to participate.”…..At yesterday’s iHeartMedia Annual Meeting of Stockholders, Gary Barber and Brad Gerstner were elected to the company’s board of directors to serve as Class I directors, each for a three-year term ending at the 2023 annual meeting of stockholders. Barber is co-founder of Spyglass Entertainment and previously served as chairman and CEO of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Gerstner is founder and CEO of Altimeter Capital…..Newsday’s Neil Best writes that Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says he won’t rule out bringing former WFAN sports talk host Craig Carton back to the station after he completes his prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme to pay off gambling debts. Oliviero says it’s the question he gets asked the most. “I understand why people would ask that, especially based on our long history. But the answer is: Who knows? There are so many variables. That said, if a time in the future came where Craig had gotten his life back on track, fulfilled all that was asked of him and was in a position to resume his career, of course we’d talk and discuss.” Fifty-one-year-old Carton is one year into a three-and-a-half-year sentence in a minimum-security prison.

Cleveland Radio Stations to Present ‘Justice for All.’ Five radio groups operating in Cleveland are cooperating to present a 90-minute program titled, “Justice For All: A Conversation about Race, Equality and Inclusion,” that will air on 21 stations tomorrow (6/17) afternoon at 1:00 pm ET. The program will feature Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Police Chief Calvin Williams and other area civic leaders. The show is being anchored by former WOIO-TV news anchor Romona Robinson. Broadcasters Radio One, iHeartMedia, Entercom, Good Karma Brands, and Salem Communications issued the following joint statement: “A discussion as significant as this one requires all of us to come together and listen to each other. Together, our radio stations reach more than 95% of the people in Cleveland – people of all ages, races, and backgrounds. We all recognize this unique inflection point in the history of our city and our country. Now is the time to share in a meaningful dialogue that allows us to hear people on all sides, recognize our similar views and discuss how we can begin to work together toward meaningful progress, including justice and equity for all.”

New Format for 2020 Radio Mercury Awards Announced. The Radio Mercury Awards Advisory Council and the RAB executive committee are announcing “a shift to the 2020 awards competition, a new slate of award categories and a virtual event in lieu of the previously publicized NYC event.” Submissions to the 2020 Radio Mercury Awards are free and open to agencies, advertisers, radio stations/groups, production companies and students. There will be no prize monies or trophies given in 2020. Current Radio Mercury Awards entrants will have their work automatically moved into the 2021 competition. Additionally, 2020 winners will be automatically entered into the 2021 competition. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “The Radio Mercury Awards has a long-lasting heritage and reputation in recognizing outstanding radio creative. The advertising and radio industries have put a lot of heart and soul into serving their consumers during COVID-19, and we are looking forward to honoring the excellence of the creative community.” Honorees will be announced via a livestream event at 7:00 pm ET on October 6, 2020.

MIW Radio Group Announces Mentoring Program’s 2020 Class. The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group introduces the MIW Group Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’s Class of 2020. Each year, four candidates from the radio industry, representing the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines, are selected annually for the mentoring program. The 2020 class is comprised of the following professionals (pictured above from l-r): Nicki DellaPosta, general sales manager, Entercom, Chicago; Jill Masek, director of sales, NRG Media, Lincoln, Nebraska; Dana Schaeffer, producer, ABC News Radio, New York; and Alyson Sprague, senior director of research & analytics, iHeartMedia. Entercom VP national agency partnerships Lindsay Adams, chair of the 2020 MIW Group Mentoring Committee and a 2006 graduate of the program, says, “The quantity and quality of candidates desiring to develop their careers in radio is astounding. Given the challenges we have all faced this year, the program will prove to be even more valuable to our 2020 mentees who highly reflect the excellence we’re seeing in applications. Let the mentoring begin!”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In San Antonio, Alpha Media flips KTFM-HD/W277CX from classic hip hop to rhythmic CHR as “WE 103.3.” Alpha Media executive vice president of content/programming Phil Becker comments, “Hip hop is the most consumed music in the world and one that our company is passionate about and believes in. The addition of ‘WE 103.3’ to our San Antonio cluster gives us the ability to offer our advertisers a new demographic and puts us in a great position to continue to be one of the markets most listened to radio operators.” The brand will be programmed by current CHR KTFM-FM program director Ernie Martinez…..On June 25, iHeartMedia and sponsor P&G are presenting “Can’t Cancel Pride: A COVID-19 Relief Benefit for the LGBTQ+ Community, ” a virtual relief benefit designed to help raise visibility and funds for LGBTQ+ communities most impacted by COVID-19. Artists taking part in the event include: Adam Lambert, Big Freedia, Billy Porter, Katy Perry, Kim Petras, Melissa Etheridge, Sia, Ricky Martin, and more. iHeartMedia says the celebration will culminate in a one-hour special hosted by Elvis Duran and actress and LGBTQ+ advocate Laverne Cox. It will stream on iHeartRadio’s Facebook and Instagram pages, iHeartRadio’s PrideRadio.com and broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app June 25 at 9:00 pm local time…..WTHR-TV, Indianapolis reports the death of Radio One regional Mexican “La Grande 105.1” program director Grisel Barajas. The 31-year-old also was a TV personality on Telemundo Indy. She died on Sunday (6/14) after being in a motorcycle accident. Barajas was a passenger on the motorcycle driven by her boyfriend, who survived the crash. Radio One RVP Deon Levingston states, “The sudden passing of Grisel Barajas has deeply shocked and saddened us. As the program director for ‘La Grande 105.1,’ Grisel was a valued colleague and trusted friend. She was taken away from us too soon and will be missed by all of us at Radio One Indianapolis and the entire Urban One family. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Grisel’s family and friends.”

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