Tag: "Chris Ruddy"
This Massachusetts “Marathon” Is Forced To Run Elsewhere. In what TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison describes as “one of the most knuckle-headed public relations mis-steps” he’s ever witnessed in a local situation, the Springfield, MA-based Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has kicked up a dust-storm of bad will for itself. (Note: TALKERS headquarters are also based in Springfield, MA.) For over two decades, a charitable Thanksgiving initiative known as the Mayflower Marathon has held its November charity event to raise money for the Open Pantry at the famed hoops museum in the Western Massachusetts city where basketball was invented. A consistent partner and main engine for the event over the years has been Saga Communications’ WAQY “Rock 102 – Springfield’s Classic Rock,” which does its own “marathon” by broadcasting from the venue for 52 consecutive hours. The long-running goodwill synergy though seems to have hit a speedbump. Citing “capacity issues,” the Basketball Hall of Fame says the event will no longer be held at its location. Declaring he’s in “shock” by the HOF’s decision, “Rock 102” morning talk show co-host and local radio legend Mike Baxendale (“Bax”) points out that – for 28 years- the station has helped the Mayflower Marathon raise several million dollars for the Open Pantry. Mirroring Baxendale’s astonished sentiment is Open Pantry executive director Terry Maxey who elaborates, “We are the largest food pantry in Western Massachusetts.” Not having the Mayflower Marathon in Springfield, he laments “would be truly disappointing.” Replying in a prepared statement to Western Mass News, Basketball Hall of Fame president/chief executive officer John Doleva notes, “The Hall of Fame has been pleased to offer this space at no charge for over 20 years for the Mayflower Marathon. As a ‘landlord,’ the Hall of Fame’s first obligation is to make certain that [the needs of our tenants], including adequate and convenient parking, are met. The growth in our tenant base and the very positive organic growth of existing tenants has made this change necessary.” Things further escalated in the last several days when Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno sent a letter to the Basketball HOF, asking Doleva to reconsider. Part of Sarno’s letter reads, “This event has been held for over 25 years and has caused no prior disruptions and/or complaints from your establishments.” It’s Doleva’s contention that the choice to pull the plug on housing the event was actually made nine months ago. To show support for the event as it establishes a new home, Doleva responded on behalf of Hall of Fame board chair Jerry Colangelo and Colebrook Realty’s Jack Dill by writing that the HOF is “happy to commit a gift of $5,000 to the Marathon. Our property management group, Colebrook, has committed an additional $2,500 for a total of $7,500 to the event.” Meanwhile, Baxendale maintains to Western Mass News that the Mayflower Marathon “is going to happen one way or another. We are looking at alternative sites [and] have a lot of suggestions. [Unfortunately], this shows that there’s a disconnect between the Hall of Fame and the community.”
GCN Vindicated in Sandy Hook Case. A defendant in Alex Jones’ Connecticut defamation case – Ted Anderson-owned Genesis Communications Network – was vindicated when the plaintiffs unilaterally withdrew all legal claims against GCN. The action was taken one month prior to jury selection and effectuated without settlement, release, or other consideration by GCN. According to Anderson, “This means we can continue to serve the hundreds of radio programs as we have over the years, programs from a wide array of political viewpoints. Including us in the suit was an attack on talk radio as an institution. It was totally unjustified. My heart breaks for those families – but yes – I feel this was the right result.” GCN attorney Mario Cerame states, “We are, of course, pleased with the recognition that GCN was not a proper defendant. Genesis does not monitor the content of the radio shows it works with. These are the sound engineers, ensuring professional sound quality, balance, and the like. They make space in the recording for commercials. They do not factcheck the words any more than your phone company does, or the people who sell you a keyboard check to see what you type. They just deliver the sound, like a radio version of the United States postal worker. We had to vigorously litigate the case up to the eve of jury selection but, the plaintiffs ultimately acknowledged this and walked away on their own, without a dime from GCN. We were caught in a battle between two Goliaths [but] after a lot of hard work, we managed to come out unscathed.”
Ippolito In As iHeartMedia San Diego Market President. Concurrent with iHeartMedia San Diego market president Melissa Forrest transitioning to a consultant role on August 1, senior vice president of sales Noreen Ippolito becomes her successor. Ippolito will report to division president Tom McConnell who comments, “Noreen is an incredible talent with an outstanding track record. She has strong business acumen and understands how to build and cultivate high performing teams. She is the perfect choice to lead our San Diego and Riverside markets.” In addition to San Diego news/talk outlets KOGO “News Radio 600” and KGB-AM “AM 760”; sports talk KLSD “Fox 1360”; and Riverside Black Information Network news outlet KFOO “BIN 1440”, Ippolito will oversee San Diego classic rock KGB-FM; rock KIOZ; CHR KHTS; hot AC KMYI; and rhythmic CHR KSSX.
Steele To Receive MIW’s Annual Airblazer Award. Five-year cancer survivor/Audacy New York classic hits-oldies WCBS-FM morning drive co-host Patty Steele is the recipient of the eighth annual Mentoring and Inspiring Women’s Airblazer award. Steele will be honored during next month’s (8/18) Morning Show Boot Camp in Chicago. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff comments, “It’s such a privilege to be the conduit for this very special award recognizing top on-air talent. Congratulations to Patty Steele, a wonderful talent and an even better human.” As is tradition, the “Airblazer” is carefully selected by the prior year’s honoree. The recipient is recognized for her dedication/contributions to the broadcast industry and to the communities she serves. Syndicated “DeDe in the Morning” host/2021 MIW “Airblazer” DeDe McGuire remarks, “It is my honor to select Patty Steele as the next recipient of the MIW Airblazer award. Patty has worked on some of the most successful radio shows alongside some of the biggest names in our industry. Her voice, humor, and insights were key to the successes of these shows on some of the country’s most legendary stations. So many of us in the industry admire her ability to always be the best and work through difficult times, both personally and professionally. She always comes out on top.” Steele adds, “I can’t tell you how proud and delighted I am to be chosen as this year’s recipient of the Airblazer award. My passion for radio and for the young women coming up in this business make this a truly special honor. Being chosen by DeDe is icing on the cake – she’s a survivor and [thrives] in our ever-changing business.” At WCBS-FM, Steele is reunited with Scott Shannon. She has also worked with Elvis Duran, Danny Bonaduce, and John Lander at a number of other well-known New York City stations, including news/talk WOR, news WCBS-AM, WHTZ, and WPLJ. In April, Steele was one of thirteen podcasters to receive a 2022 Gracie award for her “Deep Six” series. The two-part episode featured Steele’s interview with her 26-year-old son, Jake, about his heroin addiction and his journey to recovery. Three other Audacy-owned stations aired the show. Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio (MIW) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting. In addition to DeDe McGuire, previous “Airblazers” include: Angela Yee (2020); Kellie Rasberry (2019); Mercedes Martinez (2018); Roula Christie (2017); Angie Martinez (2016); and class of 2022 Radio Hall of Fame inductee Ellen K (2015).
iHM Portland Boosts Burgess To Market President. The promotion of iHeartMedia Portland senior vice president of sales Marshal Burgess to market president for the company’s eight-station Oregon cluster is effective immediately. He will report to iHM Multiplatform Group division president/Black Information Network president Tony Coles, who states, “It has been incredible to witness Marshal’s growth and success over the years. Few leaders [have] the kind of experience, integrity, and vision that Marshal brings to the table. We look forward to Marshal building upon our history of success in Portland.” University of Oregon alum Burgess notes, “I’ve spent my entire life in Portland and grew up listening to [several stations in this iHM cluster]. The support and positive energy I’ve received from Tony Coles and the entire team here in Portland have been unbelievable. I’m very excited for the future and am truly humbled by the opportunity.” Burgess began his career at CBS Radio in 1996. He joined iHeartMedia the following year and has been with the company (then known as Clear Channel) ever since. In that time, he has progressed from being an account executive; local sales manager; general sales manager; and vice president of sales. In addition to news/talk KEX “News Radio 1190” and sports talk KPOJ “Rip City Sports Radio 620,” iHeartMedia Portland consists of adult contemporary KKCW; classic hits-oldies KLTH; classic rock KFBW; CHR KKRZ; alternative KKRZ-HD2; and rhythmic CHR KXJM.
Cannabis Advertising Legislation Introduced. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Advertising Act, would clarify that local radio and television broadcasters can air cannabis ads without the threat of FCC administrative action in states where pot is legal. SAFE was introduced by Senator Ben Ray Luján (Democrat-New Mexico) and follows the House passage of FY 2023 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. Language in that bill would prevent the FCC from taking administrative action against broadcasters that accept cannabis commercials. In a prepared statement, NAB president/chief executive officer Curtis LeGeyt notes, “Due to outdated government regulations, only local radio and television broadcasters face legal exposure for advertising cannabis products permitted under state law. The SAFE Advertising Act would finally level the playing field and create necessary regulatory certainty for broadcasters. We thank Senator Luján for his leadership on this issue and we will continue working with policymakers to ensure there is a permanent resolution to this competitive disparity.” New Mexico Broadcasters Association president/chief executive officer Paula Maes comments, “The members of the NMBA appreciate the efforts of Senator Luján and his staff. Their work on this bill which would allow cannabis advertising to air on New Mexico broadcasting is in step with state law and [is] long overdue. The Senator’s legislation helps remedy this unfair situation by recognizing the importance of state law in addressing cannabis issues.” New York State Broadcasters Association president/Safe Advertising Coalition member David Donovan adds, “We applaud Senator Luján’s efforts to allow local radio and television broadcasters to accept cannabis advertisements consistent with the law of the state in which they are licensed. We look forward to working with the Senator’s office to move this important legislation forward.”
Horowitz Headed To Raiders P-B-P Booth. The search to find a successor for the iconic Brent Musberger as radio play-by-play announcer for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders concludes: Jason Horowitz is the choice. Horowitz, who will be this year’s game-caller with returning analyst Lincoln Kennedy, reflects that, “As a kid, I used to pretend I was the voice for a team calling an epic interception, or the game-winning touchdown. I want to thank [Raiders controlling owner/managing general partner] Mark Davis and the Raiders organization for making that dream become a reality. I am humbled to join an historic franchise, following in the footsteps of the legends who have called games of the ‘silver and black’ to the sport’s greatest fanbase.” Horowitz most recently has been Westwood One’s NCAA football and basketball studio host and CBS Sports Network’s announcer of Army football games. Musberger signed a contract four years ago (July 2018), making him the radio voice of the Oakland Raiders and the inaugural season (2020) when the franchise relocated to Las Vegas. He continued those duties through the 2021 season. Compass Media Networks syndicates Raiders games which air on Las Vegas sports talk flagship, Lotus Communications-owned KRLV “Raider Nation Radio 920 AM.”
BIN Listeners Offered Free Career Coaching. A “100,000 Careers” service from CareerBuilder will provide Black Information Network (BIN) listeners with a gratis 45-minute session. BIN and CareerBuilder have joined forces to launch the platform created to connect 100,000 BIN listeners looking to advance their careers. As part of the initiative, jobseekers have access to personalized career guidance through a complimentary coaching session. BIN listeners will have the opportunity to meet with an expert within their industry and receive individually tailored advice and actionable feedback to help promote their career growth. According to iHeartMedia Multiplatform group division president Tony Coles, “The Black Information Network and CareerBuilder are committed to giving jobseekers the tools and resources they need to stand out from the crowd. These sessions help match jobseekers and experts to help [them] prepare for [their] interview. We are excited to offer this service to get one step closer to helping 100,000 listeners find the career of their dreams.” CareerBuilder chief marketing officer Kristin Kelley comments, “We are thrilled to offer this hyper-customized experience in hopes that the community will receive practical feedback relevant to their industry to help them either find a job filled with purpose, or grow into their current role. Careers start with mentors and support, which is why expert coaching is one of the many ways that the 100,000 Careers initiative can transform the way job seekers find a role.” Through the use of AI technology and responses from an initial questionnaire, jobseekers will be matched with more than 5,000 available coaches. During the one-on-one session, jobseekers can ask questions, identify strengths, and work to define a career path that fits their needs. Participants will receive an individualized report that includes actionable advice and a video recording following the online session.
Newsmax Signs Multiple International Programming Distribution Deals. Through one of the agreements, Zee Entertainment’s Zee5 will carry Newsmax’s news feed 24/7, as well as VOD content. Zee will also post content from Newsmax.com in its news section. Zee5’s initial distribution of Newsmax content will be in India, with eventual expansion to the Middle East and North Africa. Earlier this month, Newsmax signed a distribution pact with Canal+-owned European satellite, cable, and OTT provider M7 and is now available in The Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic, Austria, Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. Rounding out Newsmax’s recent global expansion efforts is its July 19 deal in Australia with Foxtel-owned streaming platform Flash News. Newsmax chief executive officer Chris Ruddy states, “The demand for high-quality journalism is growing worldwide as citizens everywhere look for real news to help understand a complex world. We are delighted to be working with Zee, M7, and Foxtel to deliver our content to the world’s largest democracies and we are looking forward to continuing to expand our global reach.” M7 group vice president/platform content services Bill Wijdeveld remarks, “We are welcoming Newsmax on board of our TV platforms, allowing the channel to launch into multiple European markets in ‘one go.’ We thank Newsmax for its trust in our service provisioning and look forward to a fruitful cooperation over the coming years.”
TALKERS News Notes. Former Baltimore Ravens defensive back Rod Woodson will join play-by-play voice Gerry Sandusky this season on the NFL team’s broadcasts on Hearst Baltimore news/talk WBAL. According to Sandusky, “Rod brings the unique perspective of someone who has both played and coached at the highest level of the game. He does it in a down-to-earth way that is approachable, likable and just plain fun. It’s a privilege to work with a broadcast partner like Rod.” Woodson states that, “Being a part of the Ravens’ gameday broadcast team is a blessing. To be back with the team that I won my only Super Bowl with will be fun.”
Greta Van Susteren Joins Newsmax for Nightly Show. Talk media personality and news anchor Greta Van Susteren is joining Newsmax as host of her own daily signature show, “The Record with Greta Van Susteren.” The program will be based in Washington, D.C. and will premiere on Tuesday, June 14. Newsmax says it will “lead the network’s evening lineup with a solid hour of factual, fair, and independent perspective on the news.” Van Susteren comments, “With all that is going on in the world, I am getting back to my roots — a daily live news show with real reporting from the places where things are happening. I have been friends with [Newsmax CEO] Chris Ruddy for years, and he is giving me this great opportunity to return, giving me the complete freedom to cover the news that really matters to people. I have been impressed by Newsmax’s team and their success and would love to be part of a news network that is really growing.” Van Susteren’s career includes high-profile positions at CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC, as well as her recent work with the Gray television network and as a contributor to Voice of America. Ruddy states, “No one in journalism better exemplifies Newsmax’s mission to provide fact-based news and fact-based opinion than Greta Van Susteren. We are so pleased and honored to have Greta lead our nightly news lineup of programs.”
WBAL-AM, Baltimore Pairs Torrey Snow and Dan Joseph for Afternoon Drive. Charm City radio personalities Torrey Snow (left) and Dan Joseph (right) have been working together at Hearst Television’s news/talk WBAL-AM in a limited fashion but now are officially the afternoon drive team. Effective yesterday (5/23), “Torrey and Dan” is the permanent 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Torrey helmed “The Torrey Snow Program” on WBAL since August of 2020. Joseph had hosted his own program on the station before being partnered with Snow. WBAL president and general manager Dan Joerres says, “‘The Torrey and Dan Show’ is a terrific opportunity for two top-notch hosts to join forces and offer our listeners a dynamic show that touches on a wide range of topics every day. Our responsibility is to our listeners and this show further amplifies that commitment as the leading news/talk station in Baltimore and beyond.”
KMOX, St. Louis Announces New Midday Show. St. Louis news/talk KMOX announces that with the retirement of longtime talk host Charlie Brennan, it will debut its new midday program on May 31. Audacy announces that it is expanding the “Total Information AM” program to 10:00 am, “bolstered by co-anchors Carol Daniel, who returns to the newsroom and Megan Lynch, investigative reporter. Together with Debbie Monterrey and Tom Ackerman, they will deliver the news, traffic and weather listeners depend on, including analysis, in-depth interviews and open conversation.” The new midday program will consist of Amy Marxkors, Kevin Wheeler and Chris Rongey, and air weekdays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Wheeler transitions from host of “Sports Open Line” and Cardinals baseball pregame and postgame host, while Rongey expands his part-time role. The station will immediately begin a search for a new host of “Sports Open Line” and Cardinals pregame and postgame programming. As a result of the changes, midday personality Ryan Wrecker exits the station. He says via Twitter, “Yesterday was my last day at KMOX. I would like to think we created some great moments in the last five years in St. Louis. At this point, I have no idea what will happen next, but I trust it’s set up to move in the right direction. Again, thank you all.” Audacy St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan states, “This series of updates underscores our overarching commitment to delivering news and balanced talk shows to the people of St. Louis, while accentuating the strength of our top-level hosts. From our award-winning morning show to our unrivaled coverage of the Cardinals, we want to elevate the conversation.”
KFI, Los Angeles Takes Eight Honors at 72nd Golden Mike Awards. Los Angeles news/talk KFI-AM took home eight awards at this past Saturday’s 72nd Annual Golden Mike Awards at Universal City. The press release says the Golden Mike Awards is Southern California’s most prestigious, and most coveted, broadcast journalism prize and one of America’s longest running broadcast news award programs. Robin Bertolucci, program director for the iHeartMedia station, says, “The content being produced by the KFI news department is exceptional and I am so proud of the KFI news team and the talented people who have produced these award-winning broadcasts and podcasts. And it’s exciting to note that KFI won twice as many awards as any other station in our division.” KFI won the following: Best Radio Documentary: “The Death and Life of Kobe Bryant,” produced by Steve Gregory, Jacob Gonzalez with associate producer Eric Sklar; Best Public Affairs Program: “After the Verdict, A Path Forward,” produced by Steve Gregory, Jacob Gonzalez with associate producers Kayla Austin and Clay Roe; Best Digital News Reporting: “Unhoused, A look at Homelessness in LA and OC,” produced by Steve Gregory, Jacob Gonzalez with associate producers Mark Mennie and Lt. Geoff Deedrick; Best Podcast – News: “9/11, Two Decades Later,” produced by Steve Gregory, Jacob Gonzalez, with associate producers Nico Melendez and Sheron Bellio; Best Podcast – Feature: “The Death and Life of Kobe Bryant,” produced by Steve Gregory and Jacob Gonzalez; Best Serious Feature Reporting: “Illegal Street Racing in the SFV,” produced by Steve Gregory; Best Government and Political Reporting: “2020 Voter Fraud Fear,” produced by Corbin Carson; and Best Newscast Under 15 Minutes: “KFI News with Michael Crozier,” produced by Michael Crozier.
WTAM, Cleveland and Bloomdaddy Raise $460k for Mike Trivisonno Fund. Yesterday’s radiothon on iHeartMedia Cleveland’s news/talk WTAM launched the “The Mike Trivisonno Fund” to benefit Coats for Kids and the special, seven-hour broadcast brought in $460,000 to the fledgling charity bearing the name of the station’s late PM drive personality. Current afternoon personality Bloomdaddy announced the $400,000 commitment to the charity from The Figgie Foundation. The broadcast included a visit from Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. Bloomdaddy says, “Triv always said it’s not the kids’ fault and I could not agree more. There is one thing I’m also passionate about and that is doing anything I can to help kids both on and off the air. I’m honored to carry the Coats for Kids torch and make sure Triv’s legacy lives on.” Pictured above are (from l-r): “Bloomdaddy Show” executive producer Carmen Angelo, iHeartMedia Cleveland Area metro president Keith Hotchkiss, DeWine, and Bloomdaddy. Photo by Mike Picha/iHeartMedia
SportsMap Launches New Daily Show with Jeff Michael. A new, daily program is launching on June 6 on SportsMap Radio called “The Rundown with Jeff Michael.” The 11:00 am to 1:00 pm show “will be an energetic and fast-paced program featuring the biggest guests and hottest takes in sports talk radio.” Jeff Michael has been a part-time host on the network since 2020 and has created numerous successful podcasts. He says, “Sports talk radio always meant the world to me. Having an opportunity to reach such a large national audience is something I do not take lightly. While I’m so grateful for the opportunity, my focus will always be on creating captivating and informative content.”
TALKERS News Notes. This Thursday (5/26) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” presents the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts. “The Summer of ’22 – Back to the Beach” kicks off summer in the Garden State and the station’s Eric Scott will lead a panel of tourism officials, local mayors, law enforcement and travel experts. Tourism came roaring back after pandemic restrictions were lifted in 2021, but the surge in visitors has also caused disruptions and chaos in many shore towns, as was seen in Long Branch over the weekend when thousands of partygoers showed up at Pier Village for a pop-up party, leading to a curfew and over a dozen arrests. This year, there is also concern about the impact legal marijuana sales will have on tourism and law enforcement. Scott says, “From wild pop-up parties, groups of rowdy teens taking over the boardwalks and changes in policing laws, towns are trying to avoid a repeat, and provide the best possible experience for vacationing families.”…..The RTDNA is announcing the winners of Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and iHeartMedia Boston’s all-news WBZ-AM wins three awards in the categories of Breaking News Coverage, Best Newscast, and Continuing Coverage. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk & sports Rob Sanchez says, “These awards speak to the professionalism and bravery of our news team, who strive to deliver vital news coverage to those who rely on WBZ NewsRadio each day.”…..D’Annette Roy joins C-SPAN as the network’s new director of legal affairs and business risk management. She will provide legal advice, risk mitigation strategies, and project management acumen while also serving as a value-added partner aligned in achieving C-SPAN’s strategic goals. Roy joins C-SPAN from Black News Channel, where she was the manager of standards and practices.
Biden Asia Tour, Russia-Ukraine War, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Inflation-Recession Fears, Title 42, COVID-19/Monkeypox, and Kellyanne Conway Book Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/23). President Joe Biden’s tour of Asia in which he met with prime ministers from India, Australia and Japan; the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and its effects on the global economy; the primary elections for the November midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the high price of gas & food and fears of a recession; the Biden administrations challenge to Title 42 that prevents migrants from entering the U.S.; the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in parts of the U.S. and the spike in monkeypox cases around the world; and former Trump counselor Kellyanne Conway’s new memoir were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Joe Gallagher to Return to WGY, Albany for Weekend Shows. The Albany Times-Union reports that talk host Joe Gallagher is returning to iHeartMedia’s news/talk WGY-AM/FM, Albany to host a one-hour program at 9:00 am on Saturday and Sunday mornings. Gallagher was let go from the station in 2020. He’d served as the station’s afternoon drive host for years and was hosting weekends when he departed in pandemic-related staff reductions. WGY news and program director Jeff Wolf says, “He’s been gone about two years, and pretty much on a weekly basis I get listener feedback saying ‘Bring Joe back.'” Gallagher hosted a few special programs earlier this year and that started the ball rolling in getting him back on a scheduled show. Wolf adds, “We were thrilled. He was all about it and, obviously, we are too.”
Wilson Named Operations Manager for Cumulus Media Mobile. Radio programming pro Vincent “Mojo” Wilson joins Cumulus Media’s Mobile, Alabama station group that consists of news/talk WXQW-AM and four music brands as operations manager. He’ll also serve as PD for WXQW-AM and CHR WABD-FM. Wilson was most recently director of operations for Southern Broadcasting in Florence/Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Cumulus Mobile VP and market manager Don Boyd says, “‘Mojo’ is a talented programmer and on-air personality with a strong track record leading urban, CHR, Gospel and news/talk stations. He will be an excellent addition to our top performing team in Mobile as operations manager of our five-station group.”
Greta Van Susteren to Moderate Newsmax’s Pennsylvania Senate Primary Debate. News/talk television personality Greta Van Susteren is moderating tomorrow’s Newsmax debate between the top contenders for the GOP nomination for Pennsylvania’s open U.S. Senate seat that’s being vacated by retiring Senator Pat Toomey. The debate will take place on the campus of Grove City College in Western Pennsylvania in which Van Susteren will moderate candidates Dr. Mehmet Oz, David McCormick, Ambassador Carla Sands, Kathy Barnette, and Jeff Bartos. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “Pennsylvania is one of the most important states on the national map. And this race will have national implications, so we’ll be hosting this Newsmax debate live for all Americans to watch.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that former Chicago Bears great Olin Kreutz has been let go from his contributor role at the new digital sports venture CHGO Sports after he physically attacked a fellow staffer on Monday (5/2). Kreutz is also a contributor to Audacy’s sports talk WSCR “The Score” and NBC Sports Chicago. Kreutz is apparently not disputing the incident. He tweeted a picture of Mike Tyson with the text: “Social media made y’all way too comfortable with disrespecting people and not getting punched in the face for it.”…..The National Association of Broadcasters announces that Alex Siciliano is joining the organization as senior communications strategist. Siciliano reports to NAB chief of staff and EVP of public affairs Michelle Lehman. In this newly created position, Siciliano will lead NAB’s public relations efforts on key advocacy issues, developing and implementing media relations strategies to advance broadcasters’ policy agenda before Congress and the Federal Communications Commission. Siciliano was most recently VP of communications at The Petrizzo Group. NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt says, “Alex has years of experience in shaping and executing effective messaging campaigns on policy issues. Broadcasters will benefit from his deep advocacy background as he shapes NAB’s communications on the most important issues facing our industry. We are thrilled to welcome him to NAB.”…..The Freakonomics Radio Network names Neal Carruth as EVP and general manager. Carruth most recently led NPR’s news podcasting strategy, and his responsibilities at Freakonomics Radio Network will include helping to set the strategic and editorial direction of the organization. His hiring follows the March appointment of Gabriel Roth from Slate as editorial director. Carruth says, “For years now, I’ve been a serious fan of the work that Stephen Dubner and the team have done on the Freakonomics Radio podcast. I love the podcast’s combination of curiosity, rigor, and delight. I can’t wait to work with the team to grow the audience for the current slate of shows and to help them develop new properties. I’m so excited about this opportunity to help increase the reach and the impact of the Freakonomics Radio Network.”…..SiriusXM announces that entrepreneur, investor, best-selling author, and founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media, Randi Zuckerberg, will host a new SiriusXM original podcast titled, “Crypto Café With Randi Zuckerberg.” SiriusXM says, “With cryptocurrency being a hotly debated topic, Zuckerberg’s new podcast will feature both casual and educational conversations with metaverse experts, tech futurists, and top business executives who will share industry tips and explain the skills and foundational knowledge necessary to navigate the crypto ecosystem safely and successfully.”
The Economy, January 6 Conviction, Roe v Wade Leak, Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, Russia-Ukraine War, COVID-19, Musk & Twitter, and Western Drought Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/2). The state of the U.S. economy, including falling stock and bond prices, ongoing supply chain issues and employment; a retired New York cop is convicted of assaulting a police officer in the January 6 Capitol attack; the unprecedented leak of a draft decision indicating the Supreme Court will overturn Roe v Wade; the primary battles ahead of the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; concerns about the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in some parts of the U.S.; Elon Musk’s attempt to acquire Twitter; and the impact of the Western drought on cities in the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Staying Focused,” looks back at this past week of 4/25 to 4/29. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Matthew B. Harrison, media attorney/associate publisher, TALKERS; Gregg Stebben, correspondent, beamz.live; Bill Brady, talk show host/owner, KFNX, Phoenix; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; 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, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Podcast Radio UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS 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.
Bill Cameron to Host Weekly Show for WLS-AM, Chicago. Legendary Chicago political reporter Bill Cameron is returning to Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM to produce and host the Sunday radio program and podcast “Take 1 with Bill Cameron.” The program will debut from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm on May 1 featuring Cameron’s unedited interviews with Chicago newsmakers and discussions about local breaking news. His first guest is Senator Dick Durbin. Cameron, who retired from full-time reporting in August 2021 after more than 50 years of covering Chicago politics, says, “It’s impossible to walk away from Chicago. This is the city with politics that wouldn’t be believable in a movie script, architecture that architects worldwide come to study, Nobel Prize-winning intellectuals, nationally renowned restaurants, performing arts, and museums, eight professional sports teams that alternately thrill and confound diehard fans, and more than 200 diverse neighborhoods in 78 community areas. ‘Take 1 with Bill Cameron’ is the kind of program ideally suited to radio. Ask a question, get out of the way, don’t interrupt, and let interesting people tell their stories – no sound bites, no spin, no shouting, no editing.” WLS-AM program director Stephanie Tichenor says, “We are delighted to welcome back Bill Cameron to ‘the Big 89.’ The news doesn’t stop and neither does Bill.”
Good Karma Brands Unveils Apps for New York and Los Angeles Stations. The two newest sports talk stations in the Good Karma Brands stable – ESPN Los Angeles and ESPN New York – are getting their own apps. The company announces the new apps “offer fans the opportunity to listen to all shows and content with limited recorded commercials.” ESPN LA SVP and market manager Sam Pines says, “It is a priority to invest in our fans and partners, and by creating a one-tap-to-listen app, we are able to deliver shows and content for free to fans across the country. The easily accessible content will include all of fans’ favorite ESPN LA voices.” ESPN New York market manager Vinny DiMarco adds, “We are continuing to invest in our fans and deliver best-in-class content at their convenience. Whether it’s hearing your favorite 98.7 ESPN host or live games, you’ll be able to listen anytime and anywhere.” Earlier this year, sports media and marketing company Good Karma Brands acquired ESPN LA 710 AM and ESPN 1050 AM in New York, as well as the agreement to perform ESPN’s obligations under the Local Marketing Agreement for 98.7 ESPN in New York.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Presents Leadership Awards. On Wednesday morning (4/27), the Broadcasters Foundation of America closed the NAB Show in Las Vegas by honoring several industry leaders at its annual Leadership Awards breakfast. The Leadership Award is presented by the Broadcasters Foundation annually to industry leaders who have made an impact on the broadcast industry and in their local communities. This year’s honorees are: Byron Allen, founder, chairman, and CEO, Allen Media Group; Pierre Bouvard, chief insights officer, Cumulus Media; Ralph Oakley, retired, president and CEO, Quincy Media; Christine Travaglini, president, Katz Radio Group; and Dennis Wharton, retired, EVP, Media Relations, National Association of Broadcasters. Gordon Smith, former U.S. Senator and special advisor to the NAB, was honored with the Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award, which is presented annually to a broadcast luminary who has made an impact on the industry through innovation, entrepreneurship, issue advocacy, community service, and philanthropy. Pictured above are (from l-r): Tim McCarthy, co-president of the Broadcasters Foundation and Scott Herman, chairman of Broadcasters Foundation, Byron Allen, Pierre Bouvard, Christine Travaglini, Dennis Wharton, Ralph Oakley, and Gordon Smith.
TALKERS News Notes. Cablefax publishes its Top 100 Power Players of the cable industry and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy is honored with inclusion on the list. Cablefax says its chart represents “exceptional leaders [who] have grown their organizations through a pandemic, rising inflation, M&A, an influx of streaming services and general uncertainty without ever dropping the ball.”…..Talk radio host Simon Conway is adding another gig to his already busy spring work schedule. Conway – heard in afternoon drive on iHeartMedia’s WHO, Des Moines; WMT, Cedar Rapids; and WOC, Davenport, Iowa – has been filling in on Bud Hedinger’s morning show on WFLF, Orlando since March 24. This weekend, he’ll be hosting the Premiere Networks-syndicated talk show, “The Weekend.”…..iHeartRadio and 23andMe are debuting season three of the podcast “Spit,” that features a different guest podcast creator on each program diving into genetics, DNA, health and how it all ties together. Each host shows how knowledge of our DNA is a powerful tool in living our healthiest lives. Season three explores how specific information about our DNA can change our lives.
The Economy Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 25-29. The economy, including the sinking value of tech stocks, the high price of food and gasoline, and predictions of a major recession came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Elon Musk’s acquisition of Twitter and the reactions on Wall Street and by the public, followed by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War and U.S. foreign policy at #3. 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.
Vaccine Mandates Causing Strife Among Staffers in Broadcasting Industry. The mandate by several radio companies that workers return to the office and get vaccinated against COVID-19 before they do is causing angst for some in the industry. Already, a handful of radio personalities have chosen to be terminated from their positions rather than get a vaccine. TALKERS reported on the dismissal of sports talk host Tim Hill from Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina and Jeff Crank’s exit from Cumulus Media’s KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs for refusing the vaccine. Also, country jock Roxanne Steele exited Cumulus’ WDRQ-FM, Detroit for the same reason. Cumulus is not the only radio company with a mandate. Beasley Media Group also has instituted a vaccine requirement. But the threat by talk host Dan Bongino to leave his program syndicated by Cumulus Media’s Westwood One if the company doesn’t retreat on the mandate has pushed the issue into mainstream news outlets. It has also put WWO in a difficult situation with Bongino as the company has replaced Bongino’s live show with best-of editions so far this week, ostensibly so the company can sort out this matter. Bongino – who is vaccinated but says he’s taking this stand for his fellow employees – has only been syndicated by WWO since May but the company has invested a lot of time and money in his show. His popular podcast was the #8-ranked podcast in terms of average weekly downloads in September, according to Triton Digital’s rankings so this makes Cumulus’ handling of Bongino’s threat very tricky. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison comments, “We haven’t seen this kind of dramatic brinksmanship since the Cuban Missile Crisis… well perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration… but Bongino has clearly drawn a red line in the sand and both parties have boldly stepped over it. Now it’s a matter of image and pride for each. Unless this is defused by a masterful display of diplomacy in which both sides can save face and move the issue forward to the benefit of all involved – including society at large – [Cumulus CEO] Mary Berner has no choice but to let Bongino go. He made his choice… and Dan must now make good on his threat and live with the consequences, whatever they might be. One thing’s for sure… we’ve come a long way from the old ‘morals clause’ that was a standard part of media talent contracts. We’ll now be seeing the ‘political clause’ become part of the deal in talk media management/talent legal agreements.”
Audacy Rebrands WQAM, Miami; Unveils Tweaked Lineups for South Florida Sports Talkers. A number of changes talk place at Audacy’s South Florida sports talk stations, including the rebranding of WQAM, Miami. The station is leaving the “560 The Joe” moniker behind and the station is now “AM 560 Sports WQAM.” While sister sports talker WAXY-AM remains branded “AM 790 The Ticket,” some programming changes also take place, including the move of personality Jonathan Zaslow to middays (10:00 am to 2:00 pm) on WQAM from his previous role in middays on WAXY. Meanwhile, “AM 790 The Ticket” adds “BetQL Daily” for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm.
Hubbard Radio’s Talk KTMY-FM, Minneapolis Launches Marketing Campaign. Twin Cities talk outlet KTMY-FM “myTalk 107.1” is beginning a four-and-a-half month marketing campaign that sets out to differentiate itself from its pure news/talk cousins with the slogan: “Where Talk is Fun.” The first billboard (top) was a teaser that was followed by the next in the series (bottom) featuring morning duo Jason Matheson and Alexis Thompson that reveals the station’s brand. Hubbard Radio VP and region manager Dan Seeman says the next four months will see the campaign expand with bulletins, poster billboards, indoor advertising (women’s bathrooms), OTT, and digital display.
Talk Host John Hancock Honored with Induction into NC Association of Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The North Carolina Broadcasters Association held its annual business meeting virtually this year and presented its annual broadcast awards. Longtime WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte personality John Hancock was inducted into the organization’s Hall of Fame. Hancock’s bio says: “John recently retired after 50 years of on-air service with the past 30 years in Charlotte. John arrived in Charlotte and at WBT in December of 1990 and has helped shape the conversation in the Queen City ever since by musing on the issues of the day with his unique perspective. For nearly three decades, John’s daily show provided a mix of information and opinion, peppered with humor and just the right dose of sarcasm, enabling him to become a cherished and trusted voice for the community, known universally as ‘Charlotte’s Most Beloved.’ As an integral part of the community, he showed how much he cared including his 27 year, unconditional commitment to the Kids First of the Carolina’s annual holiday drive, raising millions in dollars, toys, bikes (over 20,000) and services. Additionally, John’s annual ‘Father’s Day’ show on the anniversary of his own father’s death, March 16 and the annual ‘Peanut Butter N July’ benefitting the Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, became Charlotte traditions. John Hancock aired his final daily show on WBT 1110 AM on October 17, 2019. But, even in retirement, he remains active in radio and at WBT in the form of two commentaries a week and joining Bo Thompson on the WBT morning show for an hour every Friday.
Sean Spicer Celebrates Release of New Book. Pictured above at the launch party for former White House press secretary and current Newsmax personality Sean Spicer’s new book are (from l-r): U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), Spicer and Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy. Newsmax says, “The top movers and shakers in Washington came out for the launch of Sean Spicer’s new book, Radical Nation: Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ Dangerous Plan for America (Humanix, 2021). The book launch party, hosted by Chris Ruddy, drew approximately 40 members of Congress, including many from the top leadership, former Trump administration cabinet members, media personalities, and major policy experts.”
TALKERS News Notes. Finance and investment expert and best-selling author Jared Dillian is launching a podcast titled, “Be Smart: How Not to Be an Idiot with Your Money.” This is an all-new take on an existing podcast. Dillian says, “I’m on a mission to help people live a richer stress-free life, not by renting or borrowing it. I help discover how to conquer money troubles, escape the scarcity mentality trap, and ignite earning power. Yes, people can do it while still enjoying material possessions. You don’t have to live in a van down by the river.” Dillian is a 20-year veteran of the financial industry. He worked at Lehman Brothers from 2001 to 2008 —first as an index arbitrage trader and then as head of the ETF trading desk. He left Lehman to start his own newsletter, “The Daily Dirtnap,” where he shares trade ideas and market commentary for finance professionals and sophisticated investors. He also edits of “Street Freak,” “ETF 20/20,” and the “10th Man.”…..There’s a nice piece in The Southern Illinoisan recognizing 45 years on the radio for River Radio’s WJPF-AM, Herrin, Illinois morning host Tom Miller. The self-described “rock ‘n’ roll guy” has been hosting “The Morning News Watch” for 20 years and he says that during his rock radio days it was all about his image as “off-the-hook crazy, a wild card, loose cannon.” Now, unlike the majority of his talk radio colleagues, Miller says it’s not about him. “I had to remake myself completely. I didn’t use my name; I focused solely on content. I didn’t want anybody to think about any of the other stuff I had done before, because in this format it is about what you say and how you say it. It became about credibility.”…..TeshMedia signs an extension with Compass Media Networks to continue in its role as the exclusive advertising sales representative for its portfolio of radio assets including the daily “John Tesh Radio Show,” a/k/a Intelligence for Your Life, “The Best of the John Tesh Radio Show,” “Intelligence for Your Health with Connie Sellecca,” “The Weekend Show with John Tesh and Gib Gerard” and “Intelligence for Your Life Minute,” as well as “Intelligence For Your Life: The Podcast.”…..Cumulus Media, Imperative Entertainment and Vespucci dropped “Bonaparte,” a true crime podcast series revealing the remarkable journey of one woman’s resolve to help piece together events surrounding the mysterious and unsolved death of her childhood friend 25 years prior. The new, 10-part podcast series, hosted by Jason Stavers, reports on attorney Anne Champion’s endeavor to solve the death of her childhood friend of Laura Van Wyhe. Champion says, “Laura’s death has always stayed with me. There are too many things that don’t add up. A few years ago, I decided to start pushing for answers. I’m working with Laura’s family to see if we can get people to come forward and share new details. Based on my review of the files, it’s clear that there are many inconsistencies and many open issues begging for further investigation. I believe this is a cold case that can be solved, and solving it is long overdue for Laura’s family and friends.”
January 6 Investigation/Executive Privilege, COVID-19, Biden Infrastructure-Social Spending Bills/Unrealized Gains Tax, Virginia Governor’s Race, Bolsonaro Charges, and Rust Movie Set Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/26). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and President Joe Biden’s rejection of former President Donald Trump’s claim of executive privilege, the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine approval for kids, and protests over Biden’s looming vaccine mandate; the Biden infrastructure and social spending bills and the pushback against his taxing of the wealthy on unrealized gains; the too-close-to-call race for Virginia Governor between incumbent Terry McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin; Brazil’s senate recommends criminal charges against President Jair Bolsonaro for his response to the coronavirus pandemic; and the investigation into the death of assistant producer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.