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Thursday, December 16, 2021

| December 16, 2021

Cumulus to Flip R&B WNBM-FM, New York to Talk as ‘Talk FM 103.9.’ Beginning on January 3, 2022, Cumulus Media’s R&B WNBM-FM, New York will flip to news/talk as WFAS-FM “Talk FM 103.9.” The station is being billed by Cumulus as “the only all-talk FM station in the New York metropolitan area.” The station will simulcast the programming on WFAS-AM “AM1230Digital” the first all-digital AM station to broadcast in the New York metropolitan area. Programming will be Westwood One’s lineup, including: “The Dan Bongino Show,” “The Ben Shapiro Show,” “The Chris Plante Show,” “The Michael Knowles Show,” “The Rich Eisen Show,” and “The Jim Bohannon Show.” Also heard on the station will be “America in the Morning,” “First Light,” “Red Eye Radio,” “America this Week/Week in Review,” and “Real Estate Today.” Cumulus Media president of operations Dave Milner says, “Extending our marquee talk programming into New York City is a win-win for Cumulus. The addition of the WFAS-FM signal will allow us to reach even more listeners with the well-known talk shows they expect from us and also provide our advertising partners with premium opportunities in the number-one metro area.” Cumulus says that with the addition of WFAS-FM’s footprint, the signal will reach well beyond Westchester County, and into large portions of New York City (Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens, and Manhattan), the north shore of Long Island, and northern New Jersey.

WGN-AM, Chicago and Bob Sirott Sign Extension. WGN-AM, Chicago morning drive personality Bob Sirott and the Nexstar Media news/talk station have agreed to a two-year contract extension to keep Sirott in the morning drive daypart. WGN Radio VP and general manager Mary Boyle says, “We are delighted to announce that Chicago’s Very Own Bob Sirott and his uniquely entertaining morning show will continue to be heard on Chicago’s Very Own WGN Radio 720. Bob has been an iconic voice in Chicago since 1973 and we’re fortunate to have his voice and talent as we head into our 100th year and beyond.”  Sirott says, “The station calls it work. I call it fun. It’s a forgotten commodity at most radio and TV stations today. But [Nexstar president, networks] Sean Compton, a true fan of radio, gets it. And who knows, someday I may turn into a morning person.”  The one change is that the show will start an hour later, airing from 6:00 am to 10:00 am.

WaPo: ‘Sports Junkies’ Celebrate 25 Years. A piece by Scott Allen in the Washington Post’s D.C. Sports Blog column profiles “The Sports Junkies” radio show as it celebrates 25 years on the air. The WJFK-FM, Washington morning show starring J.P. Flaim, John “Cakes” Auville, Eric “E.B.” Bickel and Jason “Lurch” Bishop began life as a cable access show on Bowie Community Television in August 1995. A year later, after a positive review from the Washington TimesDick Heller, “The Sports Junkies” got picked up for a weekend show on WJFK-FM. From there they transitioned to AM drive after Howard Stern’s move to satellite radio. Flaim recently authored a chronicle of the program titled, Still Barking. Flaim tells the Post, “The book is about the radio show and friendship and brotherhood, but none of it would’ve happened but for having an amazing audience. We have been very lucky to have people that have followed us and supported us for 25 years. Without them, we’re nothing.”

FOX News Channel Tops Competitors for 2021 in Nielsen’s Primetime and Total Day. According to data from Nielsen Media Research, FOX News Channel was the highest rated cable news channel for 2021 (12/28/20-12/09/21) in both primetime and total day. In primetime, FOX News Channel averaged 2,365,000 viewers and 374,000 with A25-54 along with 233,000 in A18-49. Meanwhile, in total day, the network delivered 1,328,000 viewers and 223,000 in the younger 25-54 demo and 135,000 in A18-49. Also, according to data from Nielsen/MRI Fusion, this year, “more independents and democrats tuned into FNC than CNN while delivering the largest independent audience in cable news, making FNC’s audience the most politically diverse in cable news.” FNC holds 44% of the cable news audience in total day viewership and 41% of the audience with A25-54. In primetime, the network holds a 47% audience share in total viewers and 43% in the younger A25-54 demo. As a result, FNC increased its share of the cable news audience with A25-54 from 2020 to 2021. FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott says, “As we embark on our 20th year as the leader in cable news, the last six of which as number one in all of cable, I am incredibly proud of the unrivaled success we’ve had at FOX News Channel. Not only were we the only network to grow our audience share, but we did so while changing our lineup and transforming the entire late-night television landscape in the process, ensuring our continued momentum for many years to come.”

Newsmax Names Rich Grenell VP, Analyst. The former Acting Director of National Intelligence and U.S. Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, is joining Newsmax Media as a national security contributor and executive for international partnerships. Newsmax says that Grenell, a former FOX News contributor, “will play a key role in offering security and international analysis for the network.” He’ll also serve as vice president for international development, helping the company’s foreign branding and content expansion. Newsmax currently licenses its brand and content in eight European nations. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Ric Grenell is a master of politics, media and government and we believe our viewers will gain great insight from his broad experience and public service.”

The ‘Coast to Coast AM Paranormal Podcast Network’ Launches. “Coast to Coast AM” host George Noory and Premiere Networks are partnering for the launch of the Coast to Coast AM Paranormal Podcast Network.  This new project will focus on producing a slate of podcasts focused on the paranormal, supernatural, and unexplained. Co-produced by Noory and his long-time “Coast to Coast AM” senior producer Tom Danheiser, the network debuts with three new podcasts: “Shades of the Afterlife with Sandra Champlain,” “Strange Things with Joshua P. Warren,” and “Dark Becomes Light with Heidi Hollis.” Noory comments, “With these new programs, and more to come, we’re focused on producing the best content for paranormal fans. There’s so many facets of this entertaining and intriguing format, and we’re excited to kick off the network with three fan favorite guests from ‘Coast to Coast AM’ who are experts in their fields – Sandra Champlain, Joshua P. Warren and Heidi Hollis.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott adds, “We’re excited to partner with George to expand the ‘Coast to Coast AM’ brand with this new podcast network, creating a platform for new programing focused on the fascinating world of the paranormal. This new network will provide us with the opportunity to further engage and entertain George’s broad-reaching, worldwide audience.”

KBOI, Boise and USMC Collect Toys and Cash in 10-Day Drive. Pictured above is an unidentified staff member of Cumulus Media’s news/talk KBOI, Boise at the fifth “Idaho’s Largest Toy Drive” done in conjunction with the U.S. Marine Corps. Held November 26 through December 6, this was the longest toy drive of the past five years, collecting 38,822 toys and $36,213. KBOI program director Nate Shelman says, “With supply chain concerns and inflation being possible negative factors, we decided to extend this year’s efforts. The Treasure Valley residents came through in fine fashion to support the USMC and kids in the area.”

COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Economy/Supply Chain, Software Flaw, Build Back Better Negotiations, S.F. Mayor Actions/Urban Crime, and Extreme Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/15). The spread of the Omicron variant, vaccines, and mandates; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack, the release of media personalities’ texts, and the contempt of Congress charge against former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows; the high rate of inflation, the Fed’s plan to raise interest rates, and the supply chain breakdown; a pervasive software flaw that’s giving foreign hackers an entrance into crucial systems; the negotiations between the Biden administration and Senator Joe Manchin over the Build Back Better plan; San Francisco Mayor London Breed’s promise of strong actions to combat crime issues and urban crime spikes in other cities; and the aftermath of the Kentucky and Illinois tornadoes and the threat of more violent weather were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

| May 26, 2021

KFI, Los Angeles Suspends Tim Conway, Jr and Sheron Bellio for Racist Bit. According to a report in Deadline, iHeartMedia and KFI, Los Angeles have suspended evening talk host Tim Conway Jr. and executive producer Sheron Bellio after the two performed a bit in which Conway pretended to interview Yuko Sakamoto – the wife of sports talk personality Vic “The Brick” Jacobs and Bellio spoke in a stereotypical Japanese accent. The pair have issued on-air apologies and will serve a week’s unpaid suspension. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci issued the following statement to Deadline: “We of course take matters of this nature very seriously. Their failed attempt to what they thought would be a humorous shtick was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to anyone who was offended. They both have since apologized on air and I can assure you the situation is being handled appropriately internally. That said, we wanted to make things right with a plan that was not only deeply apologetic, but also educational, and focused on the community – taking further action to help combat racism against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.” Part of the station’s plan includes running PSAs addressing anti-Asian and Pacific Islander hate. The KFI news team is also set to produce a two-hour special designed to raise awareness of anti-Asian hate crimes in Southern California. That special will air on May 30 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Cumulus Media Launches New Talker in Buffalo. Sports talk WHLD-AM, Niagara Falls, New York flipped to news/talk on Monday (5/24). Cumulus Media is branding the station “Talk 1270/WHLD-AM.” Vice president and market manager Jim Riley says, “We’re very excited to launch ‘Talk 1270’ this week in Buffalo as Dan Bongino launches his national radio show. Western New Yorkers can now enjoy daily radio shows on ‘Talk 1270’ from two of the most listened-to podcasters in America, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino, as well as other marquee talk radio favorites.” In addition to Bongino and Shapiro, the station is airing the “First Light” and “America In The Moring” shows from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Chris Plante in late mornings, plus Michael Knowles from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Lars Larson in early evenings and Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon in late nights.

Greg Alexander Named Market President for iHeartMedia Minneapolis. Sales pro Greg Alexander is promoted from SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s Western Great Lakes Region to market president for Minneapolis. Alexander will report to Scott Hopeck, division president for iHeartMedia. Hopeck says, “Greg’s extensive experience qualified him for this role, but more importantly his team lifted him into it, which is a testament to his leadership. I’m confident that Greg and his team will lead our Minneapolis operation to new heights.” The Minneapolis market includes news/talk KTLK, sports talk KFXN “K-FAN,” and four music brands. Alexander says, “This is an incredible opportunity to work with some of the country’s best brands and the industry’s brightest minds. I look forward to collaborating with the programming, advertising, and operations teams while helping elevate the Minneapolis market.”

Peter Rothfuss to Lead Audacy’s Gainesville/Ocala Market. Sales and management pro Peter Rothfuss is promoted from his general sales manager role to SVP and market manager for Audacy’s Gainesville/Ocala, Florida operations that includes news/talk WSKY, sports talk WRUF-AM/W237EJ, and two music brands. Rothfuss takes over for Dick O’Neil who is retiring from the company on May 31. Audacy regional president Claudia Menegus says, “Peter’s experience in this market, coupled with his proven track record of success leading sales efforts, will allow him to seamlessly expand his role and continue the momentum we have achieved. I look forward to watching our market reach new heights under his leadership.” Rothfuss served as general sales manager for Audacy Gainesville/Ocala since 2016. Prior to that, he had two stints with Audacy Wilkes-Barre in which he served as an integrated marketing specialist from 2014 to 2016 and director of sales from 2010 to 2013.

TALKERS News Notes. GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter, and music producer T-Pain signs a deal with PodcastOne for an exclusive podcast and vodcast production and distribution deal. T-Pain will host the upcoming podcast and vodcast “Nappy Boy Radio with T-Pain, set to launch June 3. Upcoming guests on the podcast include Peyton List, Xolo Maridueña, Jacob Bertrand, and Joe Seo from Cobra Kai, Mike Tyson, Lil Jon, Steve-O, Jazzy Pha and Slim Jxmmi. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “At PodcastOne, we seek hosts who are charismatic and engaging with something to say that audiences want to hear. T-Pain is all that and more. His innate curiosity and interest in the world around him and the people who live in it offers up endless possibilities for show content  and we cannot wait to launch ‘Nappy Boy Radio with T-Pain.’”…..Audacy’s C13Originals reveals thatt the third season of “Gangster Capitalism” – the documentary podcast franchise that focuses on white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream – will chart the rise and fall of Jerry Falwell Jr., and the damage left in his wake at Liberty University. The sex scandal that engulfed the largest evangelical Christian university in the world and Jerry and Becki Falwell is just the beginning. For the eight-episode new season, the Gangster Capitalism team spoke with more than eighty people — insiders, former and current Liberty students, faculty, staff, high-ranking administrators, and those with intimate knowledge of Falwell Jr., many going on the record to reveal their explosive stories for the first time, as well as authors, historians, journalists, and theologians.

COVID-19/China Lashes Out at Fauci, George Floyd Anniversary/Portland Riot, Inflation Fears, Gaza Cease-Fire/Anti-Semitic Violence, NYC Grand Jury Convened in Trump Org Investigation, Election Audits, Border Crisis, and Biden-Putin Meeting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25). The fast-falling rate of COVID cases in the U.S, vaccine hesitancy, and China’s state media criticizes Dr. Tony Fauci for admitting lab origin possibility; the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd and Portland breaks out in riots; skyrocketing consumer prices spark fears of inflation; the cease-fire in Gaza and the uptick in violent attacks on Jews; Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jrconvenes a grand jury to hear indictment arguments in the Trump Organization case; the election audits taking place in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Georgia; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border; and the planned meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

| September 29, 2020

Good Karma Brands to Launch ‘101.7 The Truth’ Targeting Milwaukee’s Black Listeners. A new radio station dedicated to serving the Black community in Milwaukee is being launched by Good Karma Brands. The company says “101.7 The Truth” will debut this year and “will feature local shows with authentic conversations about news and current events, a celebration of Black culture, and information created by and for the Black community with an emphasis on empowerment, family, faith and community. Translator W269DL (at 101.7 FM) is licensed to New WRRD LLC and currently relays that company’s progressive talk outlet WRRD-AM. Good Karma tells TALKERS that it will operate WRRD-AM/W269DL under an LMA and will file to purchase the signals. Milwaukee market sales pro Cherie Harris is joining Good Karma to serve as general manager for the station and Kyle Wallace signs on as operations manager. Harris, who’s served with iHeartMedia as an AE at urban contemporary WKKV “V-100” and WITI-TV, says, “I am thrilled to join Good Karma Brands and build a new home for Milwaukee that has been sorely missing. We are going to put together a meeting place – a place for honest and real debate, as well as welcoming conversation, and a place for celebration and connection within the Black community.” Kyle Wallace adds, “We have already started the search for the voices that will make ‘101.7 The Truth’ a destination for the stories and experiences that are relevant to the Black community. We have the resources to make sure that our new station really is a local marketplace for ideas and commerce. This isn’t a nationally syndicated project, it’s home-grown.” Good Karma Brands CEO Craig Karmazin comments, “At Good Karma Brands, we believe every voice matters. But as the events of this past year unfolded we realized there were underrepresented voices that had so much to say and needed to be heard. We believe there is a unique opportunity for us in Milwaukee to launch a station that can make a real impact across the city, and within our company. I’m excited to see how the station grows and evolves and look forward to meeting the strong demand for compelling and targeted content for Milwaukee’s Black community.” The station is actively seeking staff for several positions, including talk hosts, producers, news reporters, as well as sales and marketing coordinators. See more about those positions here.

Pending Business: Your Next Sales Meeting. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about the important relationship between sales manager and seller, most specifically as it relates to what sellers take away from sales meetings. He says that is the responsibility of the manager to visualize the end – or what the seller will take away – and build the path to get there. Read his column here.

Profile: KFI, Los Angeles Keeping Listeners Engaged in Unusual Times. Los Angeles news/talk outlet KFI is the subject of today’s profile by TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian. Like most every radio station in the country, the iHeartMedia news/talker has had to do its job of informing and entertaining with most staffers working from home – a challenge for any station but an especially difficult one for a station dedicated to presenting a quality news product as well as an almost entirely live-and-local talk show lineup. And KFI has succeeded at this task under the guidance of program director Robin Bertolucci and assistant program director Neil Saavedra. KFI is the nation’s highest cuming news/talk station based on Nielsen Audio’s August PPM survey. Read more about how KFI is keeping Angelenos tuning in during this time of unprecedented disruption here.

Westwood One Renews ‘Chris Plante Show.’ The Washington, DC-based Chris Plante show and Cumulus Media’s Westwood One sign a new deal to continue their business relationship for several more years. The program airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon and is heard on 130 affiliate stations, including flagship WMAL-FM, Washington; WLS-AM, Chicago; KCMO-AM, Kansas City; and more. Cumulus Media EVP and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “WWO is excited to renew our partnership with Chris, as his unique perspective and strong journalistic background create an invaluable listening experience for his loyal fans. As we enter one of the most interesting and impactful elections of our time, it is more important than ever to provide the insights that inform a nation that is hungry for information.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new Pew Research Center study that looks at the news landscape on YouTube indicates that “about a quarter of all U.S. adults (26%) say they get news on YouTube.” PRC says it found “an ecosystem in which established news organizations and independent news creators thrive side by side – and, consequently, one where established news organizations no longer have full control over the news Americans watch.” About one-in-five YouTube news consumers (23%) say they often get news from YouTube channels affiliated with external news organizations, while an identical portion of consumers (23%) say they often get news from independent channels, defined in this study as “news channels that do not have a clear external affiliation.” See the study here…..Cumulus Media’s Dallas sports talker KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket” helped raise $105,972 for the Dallas non-profit organization Cornerstone Clothes Closet through its 7th annual “Drop Your Pants Clothing Drive.” Afternoon personality Bob Sturm, who spearheads the effort, says, “Absolutely floored that our listeners got behind this in such a big way and helped us manage a virtual Drop Your Pants this year. I could not believe we broke $100,000 in donations after our initial goal of about $30,000. The listeners of this radio station never cease to amaze me with their generosity in supporting incredible causes in our community.”…..In Fresno, Cumulus Media’s KMJ-AM/FM “NewsTalk 580/105.9” recently teamed with local agriculture company Gar Bennett to raise money for The Central California Food Bank, and listeners came through with amazing generosity, donating $361,000. Gar Bennett Inc. matched every donation with 50 cents on the dollar to the tune of $180,500 for a grand total of $541,500. The funds will help the Central Valley’s less fortunate residents by providing more than 3.6 million meals…..Virtual News Center has adds by Statesville Family Radio Corporation’s country WAME-AM/W255BD to its roster of affiliate radio stations…..DWCommunications, LLC announces today that the national sports talk show “From the Press Box to Press Row” with host Donal Ware begins airing on SiriusXM’s ESPNU Radio on Friday, October 2. The program focuses on Historically Black College and University sports and will air each Friday at 7:00 pm ET. Ware says, “There are so many untold stories within the HBCU sports world and more known stories that need to be reemphasized and that’s what we plan to bring to the ESPNU Radio listening audience each week.”

The Presidential Race/Tonight’s Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Trump Tax Story, Stimulus Negotiations, Amy Coney Barrett Nomination, BLM Movement/Protests, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/28). The November presidential election and tonight’s Donald TrumpJoe Biden debate in Cleveland; the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and concerns for the fall-winter seasons; the New York Times piece detailing Donald Trump’s tax history and personal financial situation; the negotiations between Nancy Pelosi and Steve Mnuchin over a new stimulus package; the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court; the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests in various U.S. cities; and the California wildfires 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. Programming pro Andy Winford is named program director for Cumulus Media’s KSKS-FM, Fresno “93.7 KISS Country.” He’s been serving as program director for KATM-FM, Stockton-Modesto “KAT Country 103” since 2016 and will continue in that role as well. Cumulus Fresno VP and market manager Patty Hixon says, “I am thrilled to have Andy join our team in Fresno. ‘KISS’ is a formidable brand in Central California and having Andy take on this new challenge along with programming ‘KAT Country’ in Modesto will provide a wonderful synergy never before seen in Central California. Two very historical brands will be super-serving our listeners during this most critical time in our lives. Andy has great knowledge of both markets and platforms. He’ll be a great asset to KISS!”…..The WHTZ, New York-based, Premiere Networks-syndicated “Elvis Duran and the Morning Show” is the new morning program on Evanov Communications’ CIRR-FM, Toronto “Proud-FM 103.9,” effective October 5. The addition marks the program’s first Canadian affiliate and is a result of Premiere’s partnership with Orbyt Media…..Cox Media Group Orlando today announces Spanish hits WOEX, Orlando brings Epi Colon and Bebo Adames aboard to host the “Epi & Bebo In The Morning on Exitos 96.5.”

Friday, June 10, 2020

| July 10, 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, “Statues, Statutes, Face Masks and Facebook!” looks back at this past week of July 6 – July 10, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital TalkJamie Metzl, consultant, World Health Organization; 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 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.

Westwood One News to Cease Operations on August 30. TALKERS magazine has learned that Westwood One News affiliates have been notified that the company will cease operations of the Westwood One News service after the 11:30 pm newscast on Sunday, August 30 due to “extraordinary circumstances in the current marketplace.” In the memo, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “As you can imagine, this was an extraordinarily difficult decision not only given the strength and quality of our award-winning news product, but also the depth and experience of the impeccable Westwood One News team.” Westwood One EVP Bart Tessler adds, “Thank you to our 962 stations and the Westwood One affiliate sales team. It has been a pleasure leading this division of great broadcast journalists. In just 5 and ½ years, Westwood One News went from launch to winners of leading industry honors, including Edward R Murrow, Sigma Del Chi, National Headliner, New York Radio Festivals, and Golden Mike awards. We are very proud of the coverage and programming we provided, as well as your support and participation in our success.” The memo further adds that “Westwood One remains enthusiastically committed to our strong portfolio of talk personalities including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, Michael Savage, Jim Bohannon, Chris Plante, Dan Bongino, Clark Howard, and Red Eye Radio.”

Outer Banks Rocker WZPR-FM Flips to Talk. WZPR-FM, Nags Head, North Carolina will flip from classic rock to news/talk, effective July 13. Station owner Jam Media Solutions says the station will feature a live and local morning drive show called “The OBX Today” hosted by Sam Walker. He says, “I’m excited to be able to bring to the Outer Banks a news-oriented radio show every morning that will be able to expand on our coverage at OBXToday.com of what’s happening not only locally, but across all of North Carolina.” The rest of the lineup includes: FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Westwood One’s Chris Plante and Ben Shapiro, The Dave Ramsey Show, Ramsey SolutionsKen Coleman, and WWO’s “Red Eye Radio.” Jam Media Solutions owner Jonathan Mason adds, “We are very excited to introduce the all-new, news/talk WZPR to the Outer Banks. We believe it is exactly what the market needs. Our on air lineup will be informative and engaging from the time you get up to the time you go to bed.”

Midway Broadcasting Announces Launch of VON-tv. The acquisition of an OTT digital streaming platform by Midway Broadcasting Corporation gives the company a video component when it launches VON-tv in August. Midway says VON-tv “will deliver culturally relevant content to its new television audience. With the launch of VON-tv, the company will conduct a nationwide search for a new morning host. The newly designed live morning show will originate from Chicago and will be simulcast on VON-tv and WVON Radio.” Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper comments, “We are excited to be in the digital space, originating from our hometown of Chicago. Having earned a reputation for cultivating nationally recognized programs and talent, Midway Broadcasting Company will continue to use its expanding platforms to showcase the many voices throughout Black America.”

Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings info from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this batch of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM inches up four-tenths to finish ranked #3 with a 6.4 share. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds three-tenths to finish with a 6.0 share and the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio loses six-tenths to wrap June with a 6.5 share and the #2 rank in the market. Although dropping a half share for an 8.9 share finish, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento remains ranked #1 in the market. As the result of Bonneville news/talk KSL-AM/FM’s half-share dip to a 5.5 share and #6 rank, there’s a close race between it and iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM (5.3 share, #7 rank). See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

Talk Host Jay Severin Dead at 69. TheBlaze reports that longtime conservative talk radio personality and Republican operative Jay Severin has died at age 69 after a battle with cancer. After years of working as a Republican political consultant, Severin began his talk radio career in the mid-1990s filling in for Gene Burns on the WOR Radio Network, eventually becoming the afternoon drive host, calling himself the “rock ‘n’ roll Republican.” He briefly hosted evenings at WRKO, Boston before joining crosstown news/talk WTKK-FM, where he would work hosting afternoons until 2011. In 2012, he joined Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network where he would host a program until 2016.

TALKERS News Notes. After a 14-hour fundraiser for the families of a fallen officer and a second injured officer Cox Media Group Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department, and the Tulsa Police Department Foundation announce they raised more than $515,000 dollars for the Johnson-Zarkeshan Family Fund. Cox Tulsa’s news/talk KRMG, its four music-formatted sister radio stations and sister TV station KOKI-TV “FOX23” broadcast live from LaFortune Park on Wednesday to encourage donations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting Company has hired former KADN-TV, Lafayette, Louisiana reporter Hannah Neely as the new morning news anchor for news/talk WVON, Chicago. Neely is a Chicago native who is taking over for Annette Flournoy, who resigned from the position…..ABC Audio announces that in the aftermath of the arrest and charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse, it is releasing a bonus episode of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” featuring details about Maxwell’s arrest and charges. The podcast is hosted by ABC News’ Mark Remillard.

IBA Says It Will Be Active Within Two Weeks. Broadcasters spearheading the foundation of Independent Broadcasters Association say they will officially form the organization within the next two weeks. Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone has been leading the movement to form the IBA. He says that there will be a conference call scheduled for all members in the next few weeks with him and the initial board to discuss the mission and goals. Issues that have already been broached are revenue generation, digital services, shared resources, proprietary systems and services, and group employee benefits. Stone says, “We have 496 owners/operators representing just under 3,000 stations that have signed up supporting the idea of the organization. The next step is the actual formation of the IBA into a legal entity, forming an initial board and getting to work on all the elements we have been discussing that will benefit independent operators choosing to be members of the IBA.” Cromwell Group president Bud Walters says, “Independent broadcasters outside the major markets have a lot in common as we seem to be in a different business than large market broadcasters. There is good reason to explore this idea of working more closely together.” Interested owners/operators can sign up here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 6-10. The spiking cases of COVID-19 in many states and projections for future infections remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was health care, the mask debate and the search for COVID-19 meds. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s school opening order and the CDC’s guidelines, followed by the economy and the re-opening of America 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.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, police abuse, race relations, psychology, doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Monday, December 9, 2019

| December 9, 2019

Monday Memo: Start in the Middle?  If you’re a radio newscaster, consultant Holland Cooke warns that “this week’s column is like a solar eclipse.  Look away!”  But for DJs, hosts, and commercial copy writers, he has a curious suggestion.  Read it here.

More Than $500,000 Raised in WMAL Fisher House Radiothon. Commenting on Cumulus Media Washington DC’s just-concluded two-day radiothon for the Fisher House, WMAL PD/Cumulus Media vice president of news/talk, Bill Hess, remarks, “Wow, listeners once again have come through with their support for the wonderful work of the Fisher House Foundation, donating $523,866 to this year’s radiothon. I say ‘thank-you’ from the bottom of our hearts. The Fisher House is recognized as one of the premiere nonprofits working to support quality-of-life for our military and their families. Ever since its inception (30 years ago next month), it has saved military and veterans’ families an estimated $451 million in out-of-pocket costs for lodging and transportation; more than 32,000 families were served in 2018. Over the past 17 years, WMAL listeners have donated more than $7 million to the Fisher House Foundation. Pictured left to right are Hess, WMAL on-air talents Larry O’Connor, Chris Plante, and Vince Coglianese, and Fisher House president Dave Coker.

Cumulus Media Transfers Howell To Little Rock. Inbound from Oklahoma City where he was an on-air talent at Cumulus Media sports talk WWLS “98.1 The Sports Animal” and executive producer of the Oklahoma City Thunder’s radio broadcasts, Toby Howell arrives as program director at co-owned Little Rock news/talk KARN-FM “News Radio 102.9,” sports talk KARN-AM “920 The Sports Animal,” and the Arkansas News Network. He will also program religious KAAY. Cumulus Media Little Rock market manager Keith Liesman remarks, “We are very happy to get a guy like Toby with his radio background and look forward to watching him grow [our brands] across the Little Rock community.” Howell notes, “I’m very lucky to be able to work with the Cumulus Media group in Little Rock. To be in the news format at a time like this with 2020 on the horizon is very exciting.” He replaces Peter Thiele who exited roughly nine months ago.

Hubbard Radio Talent Institute Coming To Northern Arizona University. Along with support from the Arizona Broadcasters Association, the Hubbard Radio Talent Institute is set to launch next summer (July 13 – 22) at Northern Arizona University. Hubbard Radio chief executive officer Ginny Morris comments, “All of us at Hubbard are proud to partner with Dan Vallie and the Arizona Association of Broadcasters on bringing this proven program to Northern Arizona University. The program is a great asset for the industry and a wonderful and expansive experience for the students that participate.” Vallie founded the National Radio Talent System in 2013 so radio stations can recruit young talent from their own region or nationally. Arizona Broadcasters Association President/CEO Chris Kline states, “There’s nothing more important to the future of broadcasting than helping to build the next generation of media leaders. The Hubbard Radio Talent Institute is exactly what we need in Arizona to ensure that new ideas continue to flood into the radio industry from young broadcasters. We couldn’t be more excited to support this program, to meet the participants, and to build new relationships.” NAU Media Innovation Center director Brian Rackham remarks, “We are delighted to be part of this prestigious opportunity for our students. There are jobs out there waiting for our graduates and the Hubbard Talent Institute is a great pipeline to the industry. We look forward to partnering with a great radio group like Hubbard, and the experts at the National Radio Talent System.” Sessions during the ten-day talent institute include on-air, production, news, sports, social media, podcasting, promotions, videography, sales, engineering, and includes the RAB’s radio marketing professional course. Applications are being accepted from college students/young talent from all universities in the region. Final application deadline is March 6, 2020; only 25 students will be accepted.

TALKERS News Notes. After an 11-year run on WTOP-FM “Washington’s Top News,” Chris Core will retire from the Hubbard Broadcasting DC all-news operation one week from Friday (12/20) following his “Core Values” commentary. He previously spent approximately 25 years at cross-town news/talk WMAL as a newscaster and sports anchor ….. This week, former Arizona congressman and Newsmax anchor JD Hayworth is doing his first live and local Phoenix news/talk show in approximately ten years. Guest-hosting today (Monday, 12/9) through Wednesday (12/11) for Seth Leibsohn in afternoon drive (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm) on Salem Media Group-owned KKNT “AM 960 The Patriot,” Hayworth was Mike Huckabee’s “designated guest-host” and has filled in for Michael Savage, Mark Levin, Mike Gallagher, and Laura Ingraham ….. Tomorrow’s (Tuesday, 12/10, 6:00 am – 7:00 pm) 12th annual Toy Field presented by Cumulus Media Nashville and Planet Fitness will benefit The Salvation Army’s “Forgotten Angels” program. Toys collected at Nissan Stadium will help fulfill the dreams of many “forgotten children” this holiday season. The Salvation Army will reach nearly 8,500 “angels” – less fortunate children and elderly. According to Salvation Army Nashville area commander Ethan Frizzell, “Thousands of toys have been donated throughout the years and we hope to see the same enthusiasm this year. We would not be able to provide for all these children, without the support of Cumulus Media and our community.” In addition to news/talk WWTN “Super Talk 99.7 WTN” and sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone,” Cumulus Media Nashville consists of country outlets WSM-FM “Nash Icon 95.5,” and  WKDF “103.3 Nash FM,” and urban AC WQQK “92-Q.” ….. According to The Des Moines Register, former Des Moines sports talk host Marty Tirrell (KBGG, KXLQ, KXNO) has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court. Indicted this past February, Tirrell accepted a plea deal Friday (12/6) and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced at a hearing April 7; nine other counts were dismissed. He was charged of scamming victims out of $1.5 million in a sports ticket reselling scheme …. The Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters is accepting entries for its annual “Excellence in Broadcasting Awards” competition, which recognizes outstanding performance among radio and television stations. All entries must be submitted electronically – the deadline is January 6 (2020). Winners will be showcased during the “Excellence in Broadcasting Awards” luncheon March 30 at The Hotel Hershey. Meanwhile, the Colorado Broadcasters Association is inviting radio and television stations in that state to compete in over 50 categories; entry deadline is (Friday) January 10 (2020). The “Awards of Excellence” celebration will take place (Friday) April 17th in downtown Denver at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.

iHM Charleston Fundraiser Brings in Over $176,000. The 12th annual iHeartMedia Charleston “Cares for Kids” radiothon raised over $176,000 to benefit Medical University of South Carolina Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital. According to iHeartMedia Charleston area president Alene Grevey, “We’ve anticipated broadcasting from the brand new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital for 12 years. Seeing this labor of love come to fruition thanks to the generosity of iHeartMedia Charleston’s listeners and advertisers is so inspiring.” This year’s two-day, fundraising “Cares for Kids” broadcast was held last Thursday (12/5) and Friday (12/6) from 6:00 am – 7:00 pm. The event featured iHeartMedia Charleston on-air talents Ric Rush, Brian Cleary, Kelly Golden, and Gary Goldman, as well as WCSC-TV personalities Justin Biegel, and Kaitlin Stansell. The radiothon featured more than 40 stories from MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital patients and their families. In addition to WSCC “94.3 The Lowcountry’s News Station,” iHeartMedia Charleston is comprised of adult contemporary WXLY-FM “Y-102.5 Better Music For A Better Workday,” and WEZL “103.5 Charleston’s #1 Station for New Country.”

PPM Analysis: Urban Contemporary. The music-intensive format in the spotlight this month is urban contemporary. Based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2019 PPM survey period, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian notes that approximately half the stations on his urban contemporary panel improve (49%) October 2019 – November 2019 (6+). Meanwhile, a virtually identical 51% of urban contemporary panelists show November 2018 – November 2019 growth. Five urban contemporary stations ranked second (6+) in November 2019; the typical format finish was #11.41 (6+). See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

Beasley Media Group Holiday Soiree Features Lady Antebellum. As part of the company’s third annual “Holiday Soiree” client party last Thursday (12/5) in New York City, Beasley Media Group welcomed performances by Lady Antebellum; Joe King and Issac Slade from The Fray; and actor/musician David Duchovny. Beasley Media Group chief executive officer Caroline Beasley, president Bruce Beasley, and chief operating officer/executive vice president Brian Beasley thanked guests for their ongoing support. Shown from left to right are Big Machine Label Group senior vice president of promotion Mathew Largis; Dave Haywood (Lady Antebellum); Beasley Media Group national country brand manager/country WKLB, Boston program director David Corey; Hillary Scott (Lady Antebellum); Beasley Media Group executive vice president of programming Justin Chase; and Charles Kelley (Lady Antebellum).

 More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Twenty-six year WMGK “Classic Rock 102.9” midday personality Debbi Calton officially retired from the Beasley Media Group Philadelphia outlet last Friday (12/6). Prior to joining WMGK in 1993, Calton spent 10 years at cross-town rocker WYSP ….. Per The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, morning host Courtney Landrum and evening talent Jill Devine have departed Entercom St. Louis hot AC KYKY “Y-98.” A member of the station’s morning show the past 20 years, Landrum was promoted to top billing (“Courtney & Company”) two years ago when Guy Phillips left the station after a 38-year run. Jen Myers, Kevin Berghoff, Lance Hildebrand, and Tim Convy remain at the retitled “Y-98 Morning Show.” Devine joined “Y-98” eight years ago. She previously worked in the market for CHR KSLZ “Z-107.7”; country KSD-FM “93.7 The Bull”; and hot AC WVRV “101.1 The River” ….. In celebration of their 20th year in radio syndication, “Big D & Bubba” were treated to a surprise party last Friday (12/6) at Silverfish Media’s Nashville studios where company president Patrick Thomas recalls that, “On December 6, 1999, The Big D & Bubba Morning Show first aired in Amarillo [Texas]. That marked the beginning of syndication for the show, which was based at WYNK, Baton Rouge. Syndicated mornings in the country format was widely known to be an impossible task.” According to Patrick, it is the country’s longest-running syndicated morning show and has more than 75 affiliates. Helping to note the occasion in person were Compass Media Network chief executive officer Peter Kosann, and fellow syndicated country talents Lorraine Crook & Charlie Chase (“Crook & Chase), Evan Paul, and Amber Atnip ….. Wrapping up last week’s (12/2 through 12/6) “Stuff-A-Bus” toy drive to benefit the Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” program, iHeartMedia Pittsburgh CHR WKST “96.1 Kiss FM” collected 70 school buses worth of new unwrapped toys. Senior vice president of programming David Edgar notes, “[This] is one of our biggest events throughout the year. The overwhelming response from ‘Kiss’ listeners and the Pittsburgh community will help many children have a great holiday this year.” ….. Through the Smiley morning show’s 23rd annual, 36-hour “Make-A-Wish Request-A-Thon,” Cumulus Media Indianapolis CHR WZPL “99.5 ZPL – Indy’s Number One Hit Music Station” raised $839,638 for central Indiana children with life-threatening illnesses. Listeners called in last Thursday (12/5) and Friday (12/6) to request their favorite songs in exchange for a Make-A-Wish Foundation donation. Throughout the broadcast, WZPL shared inspiring wish stories from local Make-A-Wish kids and their families. Cumulus Media Indianapolis vice president/market manager Chuck Fredrick comments, “What a great way to head into the holiday season helping so many kids’ wishes come true in our community.” Operations manager JR Ammons adds that, “Thanks to the generosity of listeners and sponsors, we were able to surpass last year’s record total of $736,298. As a result, Make-A-Wish will be able to grant 83 wishes for kids here in central Indiana with life-threatening illnesses.” Over the course of the last 23 years, WZPL has helped raise more than $7.5 million for Make-A-Wish ….. Rosemont, Illinois’ Allstate Arena was the site of this past Saturday’s (12/7) 20th annual “B-96 Pepsi Jingle Bash” presented by Entercom Chicago CHR WBBM-FM. Katy Perry headlined the event. Entercom Chicago senior vice president and market manager Jimmy de Castro comments, “The ‘B-96 Jingle Bash’ has been a must-see holiday event in Chicago for two decades and has become a highly anticipated night of pop music and a beloved holiday tradition.” ….. Concluding today (Monday, 12/9) is iHeartMedia Atlanta CHR WWPW’s fourth annual “House of Toys,” a six-day “Power 96.1” fundraising event to help collect toys for the “Toys For Tots” program. Morning drive personality PK notes, “We want to be sure every child has the best holiday they can. We are thrilled to team up with our listeners once again and help underprivileged children receive the joy of a new gift this holiday season.” WWPW’s fundraiser is presented by Delta Community Credit Union ….. Filling the midday spot at Adams Radio Group Fort Wayne, Indiana’s country WBTU “US-93.3” is Erica Gray, who most recently had the same responsibilities in Gainesville (Florida) at Gillen Broadcasting CHR WYKS “Kiss 105.3.” ….. The inaugural “Not So Silent Night” benefit concert featuring local artists will be held this Friday (12/13) at Panama City, Florida’s Salty Hobo. Proceeds from the event – sponsored by iHeartMedia Panama City’s WDIZ “96 Rock” – will benefit the Toys for Tots Program. Program director Paco notes, “We look forward to an evening filled with music and holiday giving.”