Pending Business: Yellow Lights Ahead. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that predictions for this year’s holiday season are that consumers will be cautious and not spend as much as in recent seasons due to economic uncertainty. At the same time, retailers are less focused on creative marketing and are targeting consumers shopping based solely on the best price. With that in mind, Lapa offers some suggestions for radio sellers in this “yellow-light” economy. Read it here.
Monday Memo: Yes, Oldies. With many FMs already in all-Christmas mode, consultant Holland Cooke frets that “you’d think the Beach Boys only had one hit.” In this week’s column, HC notes how TV commercials and movies “continue to demonstrate the appeal of 60s and 70s music that AM/FM radio has relinquished to satellite radio and streams.” Read more here.
iHeartMedia Names Manny Munoz Midday Co-Host on News/Talk WIOD. Station personality Manny Munoz is named as co-host of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on iHeartMedia’s WIOD-AM, “NewsRadio 610 AM,” effective January 9, 2023. In this role, Munoz will be responsible for producing and hosting WIOD’s new program. iHeartMedia says, “The show will focus on day-to-day life in South Florida and discuss the biggest news stories of the day, politics, current events and pop culture in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. A nationwide search is underway for a part-time midday co-host for Munoz.” Munoz takes over for Brian Mudd, who will continue as morning host and program director at WJNO-AM, in West Palm Beach “NewsRadio 1290.” Munoz has been with “NewsRadio 610 WIOD” for over two decades. He has served as executive producer, fill-in host, sports reporter, and side kick for “South Florida’s First News with Jimmy Cefalo” for the past 14 years. Munoz also contributes to programming on WINZ-AM “FOX Sports 940.” iHeartMedia Miami vice president of news and AM programming Grace Blazer says, “I’m excited for Manny to excel with this new midday opportunity. The search is on for the perfect partner who will complement Manny and provide great live and local content with a digital finesse for our South Florida audience.” Munoz says, “Born in Hialeah, raised in Kendall and living in Southwest Broward for the last 27 years, I’m excited for the opportunity to have a show focused on the issues that affect South Floridians on a daily basis. I can’t wait to meet my new partner so we can inform, entertain, and bring a smile to WIOD’s loyal listeners and invite new ears to join the show, too.”
Leo Laporte to Retire from The Tech Guy Program; Rich DeMuro to Transition as New Program Host. The host of the Premiere Networks-syndicated show “The Tech Guy” – Leo Laporte – announced to his audience on Saturday (11/19), that he is retiring from radio at the end of the year. His last show will be January 1, 2023. As part of his announcement, Laporte introduced his replacement: Emmy Award-winning television personality and podcaster Rich DeMuro, host of the popular “Rich On Tech” segment on KTLA-TV Channel 5 in Los Angeles and the weekly podcast of the same name. DeMuro, who has guest hosted for Laporte on numerous occasions, will be integrated into “The Tech Guy” through the end of the year, which will lead into the launch of “Rich On Tech,” a new three-hour weekend radio program debuting Saturday, January 7, 2023. Laporte says, “After 46 years in radio, 19 of them as ‘The Tech Guy,’ I thought it would be nice to see what Sunday brunch is like. Fortunately, I won’t be leaving our audience in the lurch. Rich is the perfect guy to help people get the most out of technology. I’ll raise a mimosa in your honor, Rich.” Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott says, “Leo has been a trusted source of tech news and information for listeners across the country, and we’ve enjoyed a successful partnership with him for more than 15 years. We wish him all the best! We also look forward to this new and exciting chapter with Rich DeMuro, who has built a loyal following across TV, audio and social media. We’re confident audiences will enjoy his smart and fresh take on the world of technology.”
FOX News Digital Tops Competition in Multiplatform Minutes and Views for October. Based on data from Comscore’s October ratings, FOX News Digital finished the month as the top-performing news organization in the competitive set in both multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views. FOX News Digital says that this marks 20 straight months as the number one news brand with multiplatform minutes. Looking at its performance versus CNN.com and NYTimes.com, FOX News Digital achieved more than 2.5 billion total multiplatform minutes compared to CNN.com’s 2.27 billion multiplatform minutes and NYTimes.com’s 1.3 billion multiplatform minutes. Looking at multiplatform views, FOX News Digital earned 1.5 billion compared to CNN.com’s 1.3 billion and NYTimes.com’s 1.28 billion. However, when it comes to multiplatform unique visitors (digital’s version of cume), CNN.com was the leader by a long shot with 111.8 million compared to NYTimes.com’s 80.8 million and FOX News Digital’s 80.1 million.
TALKERS News Notes. Columbus sports talk outlet WBNS-AM/FM recently celebrated its 100th year of service to the market. The stations – which are the flagship for Ohio State Buckeyes sports – are owned by Tegna. WBNS-AM was put on the air by the Wolfe family in 1922 and the calls stand for “Wolfe Banks News and Shoes” to promote the family’s various businesses. The Columbus Dispatch has a big piece on the anniversary and the stations’ history here…..FOX News Audio debuts season three of its FOX News Rewind series beginning today (11/21) with a six-part series focused on the financial crisis of 2008. Titled, “FOX News Rewind: Financial Crisis ‘08,” the podcast features financial experts who worked through the crisis, looking back on what transpired including Lehman Brothers bankruptcy examiner Anton Valukas, former governor of the Federal Reserve Randall Krozner, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Sheila Bair, among others. FOX Business Network host Charles Payne will front the podcast, while FOX News Media personalities including chief political anchor Bret Baier, SVP, anchor and managing editor of business news Neil Cavuto, “The Claman Countdown” anchor Liz Claman, “America Reports” co-anchor Sandra Smith and senior Congressional correspondent Chad Pergram will detail the ways the financial collapse was handled…..Boston public media firm GBH announces that Susan Goldberg is being named the next president and CEO of GBH. She is the first woman to hold this role since GBH was founded in 1951. From 2014 to 2022, Goldberg was editor-in-chief at National Geographic, taking on the additional role of editorial director in 2015. GBH board of trustees chair Ann Fudge says, “At a time when the media industry is changing at a rapid pace, Susan is a direct, focused, empathetic, and visionary leader who has the operational and editorial savvy to understand what resonates with our audiences, along with deep experience in executing a multi-platform transformation. She shares the core values of our organization – passionate about trusted journalism and its role in a free society, committed to building a diverse, people-driven organization, and an understanding of GBH’s role in the community. We are thrilled to welcome Susan to GBH.”
Trump in ’24, Special Counsel Appointed, Twitter, Midterms Aftermath, Deadly Colorado Shooting, Russia-Ukraine War, and the World Cup Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. Former President Donald Trump’s announcement that he’s running for president in 2024; Attorney General Merrick Garland appoints Jack Smith special counsel to handle investigation of Donald Trump; Elon Musk opens the way for Trump to return to Twitter combined with the social media platform’s rapidly changing structure under Musk’s ownership; the politics surrounding the results of the midterm elections; the shooting at an LGBTQ club in Colorado Springs that left four dead and many more wounded; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; and the World Cup begins in Qatar were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Streaming Has Saved Talk Radio. Longtime radio sales professional Kathy Carr, president of the Howie Carr Radio Network, writes today in an exclusive piece for TALKERS magazine about the ways in which digital audio – streaming and podcasts – has “given talk radio life beyond what could have been imagined years ago.” She adds, “When a buyer asks me to send him a ranker, I have a pretty good idea of his age. Shouldn’t the question be: Tell me about your top five clients and how long they have been with you? Doesn’t that more accurately show the client your success rate?” And the reason that’s a better question is because of the different ways people are accessing talk radio these days. Read her column here.
The Ramsey Show Celebrates 30th Anniversary On Air. The nationally syndicated program “The Ramsey Show” is celebrating its 30th anniversary on the radio. The program was founded by Dave Ramsey whose core message of living life debt free has “helped millions of listeners by giving practical answers to callers’ questions about money, careers, relationships and mental wellness.” Dave Ramsey, CEO of Ramsey Solutions, says, “I always want listeners to come away with a sense of power over their situation. Over three decades of taking calls, I’ve watched millions of people get out of debt, find jobs they love, have healthier marriages, become millionaires, and ultimately live better, more peaceful lives. That’s what the show is about — providing REAL hope.” See the show’s YouTube channel trailer here.
FOX News Digital Continues to Lead Multiplatform Minutes and Views. According to the most recent data from Comscore, FOX News Digital finished the August 2022 period as the top-performing news organization in the competitive set in both multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views. FOX News Digital says that this marks 18 consecutive months as the number one news brand with multiplatform minutes and three consecutive months as the leading news brand with multiplatform views. FOX News Digital closed out August reaching over 2.9 billion total multiplatform minutes – compared to CNN.com with 2.3 billion and NYTimes.com with 1.3 billion. FOX News Digital also wins in multiplatform views with 1.5 billion, compared to CNN.com’s 1.36 billion and NYTimes.com’s 1.32 billion. In the category of multiplatform unique visitors – the digital version of radio’s cume – FOX News Digital comes in third place with 77.5 billion. CNN.com wins that measurement with 116 billion followed by NYTimes.com with 83.5 billion.
Cumulus Announces Programming Promotions in Syracuse. At the Syracuse cluster, Cumulus Media announces the promotion of programming staffers to expanded roles within its four-station group. On the spoken-word side, Joe DeTomaso – program director, content production manager and midday host for alternative rock WAQX-FM “95X” – takes on programming duties for sports talk WSKO-AM “The Score 1260.” He says, “I’m excited to add ‘The Score 1260’ to my programming duties here in Syracuse. We will continue to expand our audiences on both ‘The Score 1260’ and WAQX in the digital footprint thru outstanding relevant local content.”
Tyler Polumbus Exits KKFN-FM, Denver. According to a report by KUSA-TV, Denver, Tyler Polumbus exits Bonneville’s sports talk KKFN-FM “104.3 The Fan” as his contract was not renewed. Polumbus was co-host of “The Drive” alongside with Darren “Dmac” McKee. He tweeted, “My contract at The Fan has come to an end. Thank you to all of the listeners that made the last three years a joy. We laughed and created memories, we consoled each other through the Broncos rough years, and together we did so much good through Pedal with Polumbus to beat Ovarian Cancer. I won’t name all my colleagues that will forever be a part of my life but you guys know who you are. I love you guys.” This comes a week after evening co-host Sandy Clough retired from his full-time gig with the station after a 25-year career with “The Fan.” Clough co-hosted with Shawn Drotar, who will remain with KKFN-FM in a yet-to-be-announced capacity.
G Audio Networks Enters into Deal to Rep SPARC Media Hub. This new deal between G Audio Networks, a Gen Media Partners company, and SPARC Media Hub means G Audio Networks will offer radio stations the ability to use the SPARC Media Hub radio station workflow system on a barter basis. G Audio Networks chief development officer Rich O’Brien states, “Every day, SPARC Media Hub continues to develop its product to be the best workflow system available. Using customer feedback, researching the latest trends in media, and always thinking ‘what’s next?’ are just some of the pillars that make SPARC a leading-edge product in the industry. We’re very excited about bringing this superior product to radio stations.”
TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated, Atlanta-based talk host Erick Erickson hosted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on his program yesterday (9/19) in what was the governor’s first national radio interview in the aftermath of the transportation of migrants to Martha’s Vineyard…..Benztown + McVay Media Podcast Networks announce the release of two special episodes of the “Sound, Sobriety & Success” podcast hosted by rock journalist and former MTV host Matt Pinfield in recognition of Sobriety Awareness Month in September. The first of the two new episodes features AJ McLean, actor, dancer, and Grammy-winning singer of the Backstreet Boys. McLean shares his journey from addiction to recovery, the highlights of performing, and how getting sober has improved his music and changed his perspective. In the second new episode, Pinfield talks to Chrissy Metz, the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated actress and singer known for her portrayal of Kate Pierce on NBC’s award-winning TV series “This is Us.”…..AdLarge announces it has entered into an ad sales partnership with Eeriecast, The Horror Podcast Network. AdLarge will oversee the management, sales, and fulfillment of the audio ad sales for the Eeriecast network dedicated to horror-themed content.
Immigration/Migrant Flights, Inflation/Financial Markets, Trump Documents Case, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Russia-Ukraine War, Hurricane Fiona, and COVID-19 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/19). The immigration problems at the U.S.-Mexico border and the transporting of migrants to Democrat-leaning cities & investigations into the legality of the moves; the stubborn rate of inflation and Wall Street’s nervousness over the looming Fed interest rate hike decision; the investigation into former President Donald Trump’s keeping classified documents at Mar-a-Lago; the November midterm elections and speculation about the nominees for the 2024 presidential race; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine; the destruction in Puerto Rico by Hurricane Fiona; and the conflicting opinions about COVID-19 by President Joe Biden and Dr. Tony Fauci were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Audacy Names Brand Managers for Pittsburgh’s News/Talk KDKA-AM and Sports Talk KDKA-FM. Programming pro Dave LaBrozzi leaves his position as vice president of programming for Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to join Audacy’s legendary Pittsburgh news/talk outlet KDKA-AM as brand manager. At the same same, Audacy announces it is promoting afternoon drive producer Kraig Riley to brand manager for sister sports talk station KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan.” Both begin their new positions on November 29. Audacy Pittsburth SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “As both KDKA and ‘The Fan’ continue to evolve into full multi-platform operations serving our listeners in new ways every day, it is clear that both stations need focused leadership. The addition of Dave and promotion of Kraig will help us continue that evolution. There is an expectation of excellence at both stations from the city of Pittsburgh that I have no doubt Dave and Kraig will continue to build on every day.” LaBrozzi says, “I am thrilled to be back in my favorite city and second home. I consider it an honor to lead KDKA, a true legend in the industry. Thank you to Michael Spacciapolli for the opportunity to return to the city I love and lead an amazing group of talent on such a legendary station.” Riley comments, “I’ve had a passion for ‘93.7 The Fan’ since joining the team as a producer on its first day on the air in 2010. Growing into a role that now gives me an opportunity to influence the station and move it into the future is something I’m equally excited about and proud of.”
Alex Jones Loses Connecticut Defamation Cases by Default. This story is being reported by a number of consumer news outlets, including this story by The New York Times. In this suit, the families of eight victims of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut sued media personality Alex Jones and his Infowars organization for defamation after they were cruelly harassed by Jones’ fans who believed Jones’ consistent claims that the mass shooting was a “false flag” to assist the government in taking away citizens’ guns. The victims’ families claimed in their suit that Jones’ business profited from his conspiracy theory – something that Jones denied but didn’t back up after failing every time to comply with the rules of discovery by not turning over requested documents. For that reason, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled in favor of the plaintiffs based on default. Jones also lost a similar case in Texas. Juries in both cases will decide how much Jones will pay the families in damages. Jones said through his attorneys that he will appeal and that this is a First Amendment case. Attorney Chris Mattei, lawyer for the Connecticut families, is quoted in the Times piece saying that Jones had every opportunity to argue his First Amendment strategy but chose to be defaulted. “He deliberately chose to prevent us from collecting evidence that would prove how his business works and why he engaged in this extended campaign against the families, and the relationship between that and his profitability.”
Alpha Media Names Brian Foster and Les Tuttle to Regional VP Posts. Radio executives Brian Foster and Les Tuttle are being named to regional vice president positions with Alpha Media. In their new roles, Foster will oversee Alpha markets in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, while Tuttle will handle Missouri, Minnesota, and select markets in Iowa. Both will report to chief operating officer Larry Bastida. (Alpha recently announced that Zoe Burdine-Fly has joined the company as a regional president.) Bastida – who has served in the Chicago market as a GSM and market manager for the past 20 years – says, “We are excited to have Brian and Les join Zoe as we continue to evolve the senior leadership team. Throughout our extensive search to fill the regional president position, it became clear that Brian and Les could play crucial roles. In recent weeks, the added collaboration from these three has enhanced the discussion as the company gains momentum going into 2022.” Foster comments, “Years ago, I discovered my passion, not for radio or digital, but for telling our clients’ stories. This message-first approach has led to sustainable growth inside my market, and I am thrilled to continue this endeavor with my new role.” Tuttle has been market manager for Alpha’s Moberly-Farmington-Festus, Missouri market for the past 11 years. He states, “Having worked for many companies during my 45 years in this business, I enjoy the style of the Alpha leadership team. Their commitment to people sets them apart from other companies, and I look forward to being part of the senior management group.”
Gonsales Appointed SVP and Market Manager for Audacy Twin Cities. Radio sales and management pro Jeff Gonsales joins Audacy as senior vice president and market manager for the Minneapolis market. He’ll oversee the station group that includes news/talk WCCO-AM and two music brands, beginning December 6. Prior to joining Aduacy, Gonsales served with Hubbard Radio’s Twin Cities cluster as director of sales. Audacy regional president Rachel Williamson says, “We are thrilled to welcome Jeff Gonsales to oversee our Minneapolis market and the operations of our three stations. Throughout his tenure in the Twin Cities, Jeff has built a strong reputation as a leader with integrity who cares about his people and his business partners. We trust that invaluable quality coupled with his rich experience in this area will set Audacy Minneapolis up for continued growth and success under his leadership.” Gonsales comments, “I am excited to join the Audacy team in Minneapolis. After starting my radio career at 830 WCCO, I look forward to returning to move this group of local favorites forward in the digital audio world.”
Nadia Cowart Rejoins Cumulus Media as Digital Sales Manager. Media sales pro Nadia Cowart is back with Cumulus Media as digital sales manager for the company’s Beaumont, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana clusters. She served as promotion manager for the clusters from 2002 through 2008 and was most recently marketing director for KBMT-TV, Beaumont. The Beaumont cluster includes sports talk duo KIKR-AM/KBED-AM and the Lake Charles group includes news/talk KAOK-AM “Super Talk 1400” and sports talk KXZZ-AM. Cumulus Beaumont/Lake Charles VP and market manager Elizabeth Blackstock says, “Nadia is an experienced marketing and sales professional in both of our markets, and we are excited that she is returning to Cumulus to help lead our digital sales department. She understands what our communities need to grow and has worked with area businesses and non-profit organizations to achieve their objectives through effective digital strategies.”
SportsMap Radio Network Launches ‘Fred Nation’ Program. A new midday sports talk program from SportsMap Radio launches titled “Fred Nation” starring Fred Davis (right) and Fred Faour (left). The program is scheduled to debut on November 29 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Faour says, “I’m excited to bring our unique style to SportsMap Radio. It will be a combination of great sports talk with a big gambling slant. Our irreverent approach will create something very special for the network.” Faour was a co-host on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM “ESPN Houston” until August of 2021 and served as the editor of SportsMap Houston. Former KILT-AM Houston personality Fred Davis says, “The show will be fun, informative, and fast-paced. And what’s better than one Fred? Two Freds.” Gow Media CEO David Gow adds, “These two have amazing chemistry. Locally, they each have a huge following and I expect similar success all throughout the Fred Nation.”
iHeartMedia Renews ‘BOB & TOM Show’ on 17 Stations. The Westwood One nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” renews its agreement with iHeartMedia to continue airing on 17 of the company’s radio stations across the U.S., including: WFBQ-FM, Indianapolis; WKQQ-FM, Lexington, Kentucky; WIBA-FM, Madison; and WTUE-FM, Dayton. iHeartMedia national programming group COO Brad Hardin says, “It’s an honor to continue our great relationship with Tom Griswold and his team. How often do you get to say you’ve worked together for decades? Listeners across the country have become accustomed to starting their day laughing along with The BOB & TOM Show’s irreverent humor, and we’re excited that they are continuing to bring the laughs with this extended partnership.”
TALKERS News Notes. According to a report from FOX News Media that cites Comscore data, FOX News Digital notches the number one spot for the month of October in multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views, reaching over 1.8 billion multiplatform views and over 3.3 billion multiplatform minutes. FOX says its digital network surpassed CNN.com in multiplatform minutes for the eighth consecutive month and outperformed all other news brands in the news competitive set. Further, FOX says that for the 86th consecutive month, it continued as the most engaged news brand on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), driving 49 million total social interactions. FOX News was also the top performer in Facebook and Instagram interactions among news competitors, with more than 19 million Facebook interactions and over 27 million on Instagram, according to Socialbakers. FOX News also finished the month as number one among news competitors with YouTube video views, with over 319.8 million, up 37% year over year, delivering the network’s second highest month in history in YouTube video views…..Newsmax is reporting “tremendous growth” in its social media audience, viewership, and engagement for the month of October. Newsmax says it finished third on Twitter in overall monthly interactions (2.14M), behind only CNN (2.39M) and NY Times (2.34M). For 2021 so far, Newsmax is fifth in total Twitter interactions (17.6M), behind CNN (30.8M), NY Times (28.58M), MSNBC (20.53M) and ABC News (17.76M). Newsmax says it finished third in monthly Facebook impressions (10.58M), behind only FOX News (20.09M) and Breitbart (17.56M). For 2021 so far, Newsmax is third in total Facebook impressions (153.84M), behind only FOX News (331.8M) and Breitbart (194.16M). Newsmax says it set a new all-time monthly high in Instagram monthly interactions in October with 9.33 million. It finished third on Instagram in total Interactions (9.33M), behind only FOX News (27.2M) and CNN (18.9M)…..Public media organizations GBH and PRX announce the appointment of Dan Lothian as executive producer of “The World,” public radio’s daily global news program. Lothian assumes the role of executive editor after serving as interim editor since March 2021. GBH president and CEO Jon Abbott comments, “Dan brings a wealth of experience and leadership to ‘The World.’ Over the past eight months, he has demonstrated his exceptional journalistic skills and deep commitment to the mission of GBH and public media. We’re excited to support the continued development of ‘The World’ with Dan’s vision and dedication.”…..FEMA and Bonneville Seattle are hosting the unveiling of an all-hazards upgrade to the “Primary Entry Point” facility at the KIRO-AM PEP Transmitter site on Friday (11/19). The modernization to the emergency studio increases Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM 710 resiliency to continue broadcasting under all conditions, including natural disasters and acts of terrorism. This facility is one of 77 across the country that serve as a National Public Warning System Primary Entry Point (PEP) station, participating with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during and after incidents and disasters. KIRO-AM is the 14th station in the country to work with FEMA to complete the all-hazards upgrade, which includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events.
Funeral Services Set for Al Herskovitz on Thursday, November 18. The funeral for industry veteran Al Herskovitz who passed away last week (11/11) at the age of 90 will take place on Thursday, November 18 at 11:00 am at Skyway Memorial Gardens, 5200 US Hwy 19 N, Palmetto, FL 34221. For more details about Al Herskovitz’s passing, please see the story below originally posted 11/12.
January 6 Investigation, Inflation/Supply Chain, COVID-19, Biden-Xi Summit, Infrastructure Bill, Russia’s Military Intentions, the Poland-Belarus migrant conflict, and Rittenhouse Case Goes to Jury Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/15). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Steve Bannon is formally charged with contempt of Congress; soaring retail, food, and fuel prices and the broken supply chain; the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in parts of the U.S. and the court battle over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate; Monday’s virtual meeting between Biden and China’s Xi Jinping; Biden’s trillion dollar Infrastructure bill and its implementation to be handled by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; concerns over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the migrant crisis at the Poland-Belarus border; and the jury gets the Kyle Rittenhouse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.