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Thursday, September 2, 2021

| September 2, 2021

Scott James Matheson – Mayor and Radio Broadcaster – is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. It is not uncommon for longtime AM drive local radio personalities to be dubbed the “morning mayor” of the cities in which they broadcast. Scott James Matheson, the morning host at Talk 92.1 WDDQ, Valdosta, GA, actually is the mayor of the South Georgia city in which he is heard daily! In addition, he is the owner of WDDQ and its parent company, Smalltown Broadcasting, LLC.  He is also this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Wrap.” Matheson was inaugurated mayor of the Deep South city of 60,000-plus residents in early 2020 and has a very interesting story to tell juggling both demanding jobs. Harrison and Matheson discuss small town America politics and the view of today’s national conversation from Valdosta’s key geographic perspective located right near the Florida-Georgia line. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

KFAQ-AM, Tulsa’s Flip to Sports Talk Happens Tuesday. Tulsa news/talk outlet KFAQ-AM will flip to sports talk on Tuesday (9/7), according to owner Griffin Communications. The company says it “is excited to announce ‘The Blitz 1170 AM’ – Tulsa’s new sports talk station covering Oklahoma and national sports by the folks who know sports best, the experts from Oklahoma’s Own.” Griffin VP of content Todd Spessard says, “We are so excited to bring the best local sports radio to Tulsa. From high school to college to professional – Tulsa has so many great sports stories to tell, and we can’t wait to bring them to Green Country. We’re putting together a local lineup of some of the best and well-known Tulsa voices and are ready to start talking sports!” The station will be live and local from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm. Its lineup is as follows: University of Tulsa hoops play-by-play announcer Rick Couri from 6:00 am to 9:00 am; Dan Hawk from 9:00 am to 11:00 am; Big Al & Friends from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm; Jeremie “Pop” Poplin from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm; Colby Daniels from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; and Barstool Sports from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Griffin says the station will also feature content from the KOTV-DT “News On 6 Sports” team led by veteran sports director John Holcomb and appearances by KWTV-TV “News 9” sportscaster Dean Blevins covering all things OU, OKC Thunder reporter Steve McGehee, and college football analyst Dusty Dvoracek. KFAQ director of programming Jeremie Poplin adds, “I am incredibly excited for this opportunity with The Blitz. A lot of hard work has gone into all the stages of planning for a station that will reach a variety of different fan bases. We will strive to present a product everyone can be proud of and help fill the local sports void in Tulsa.”

WOKY-AM, Milwaukee Pulls Bill Michaels Show After Audacy Cries Foul. According to a story in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Madison, Wisconsin-based sports talk host Bill Michaels’ program has been removed from the program schedule at iHeartMedia’s WOKY-AM after two days because Michaels’ former employer Audacy is claiming his being on WOKY violates his non-compete. Michaels’ show aired on Audacy’s crosstown WSSP-AM until January of this year when he was let go. His program is currently based at Mid-West Family Communications’ WOZN-AM/W244DR, Madison and it launched on WOKY on Monday (8/30) in the 11:00 am to 3:00 pm daypart. Michaels tells the paper, “Audacy sent a cease-and-desist to iHeart. What they’re claiming is that no station in Milwaukee can carry me.” He says the question is whether his contractual obligation to Audacy allows him to appear on a Milwaukee station as a syndicated talent versus as an employee. It’s not clear when the non-compete period expires.

El Dorado Broadcasters Unveils Hyperlocal News Platform in Yuma. The owner of news/talk KBLU-AM, Yuma, Arizona and two music outlets – El Dorado Broadcasters – announces the debut of a hyperlocal news website for Greater Yuma called Yumadailynews.com. The company is calling it a “new newsroom focused on the local happenings in southwest Arizona.” It will distribute its content via Yumadailynews.com, its radio stations, social media platforms and daily e-news headlines. El Dorado executive president Chris Fleming says, “We serve our local market with our broadcast stations, but this is a logical expansion of services for the market. It seems like an opportunity for our company to step into this space and make an immediate impact for the community we serve.” The newsroom is being managed by news director Andrew Caravella.

WLS-AM, Chicago Debuts Weekend Travel Show. A new travel show is launching on Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago. “Round Trip With Colleen Kelly” will air on Sunday (9/5) from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Kelly is a digital contributor to National Geographic and Travel + Leisure and is host, creator and executive producer of the Emmy-nominated PBS series, “Family Travel With Colleen Kelly.” She says, “I am thrilled to be working with the legendary WLS team and Cumulus Media, bringing audiences the latest in travel news, tips, and destinations on ‘Round Trip with Colleen Kelly.’ It is always an honor and a pleasure to work with and create work at the WLS-AM radio station. What a fantastic opportunity to connect with not only dedicated Chicago listeners but also listeners from across the U.S.”

New Lexington, Kentucky Sports Talker Launches. Flipping from country to sports talk, Clarity Communications’ WZNN-FM, Stamping Ground, Kentucky re-launches as “Sports 96.1 The Zone” using content from FOX Sports Radio. The station’s press release says, “The station will feature the only live and local afternoon drive show hosted by program director Terry Ford, Big Blue reports daily, extensive live pre- and post-game UK coverage before and after every Wildcat game, play-by-play of high school football and basketball, play-by-play of regional and national college football and basketball and play-by-play of the biggest NFL games every week. Clarity CEO Charlie Cohn says, “Clarity Communications is pleased to bring local sports talk to FM in Lexington. We will not only have the only local afternoon sports talk show in the market, but we plan to expand all our local coverage of the sports teams and topics that matter in Central Kentucky. Plus, we are pleased to bring Dan Patrick and Colin Cowherd back to Lexington. And our partnership with FOX Sports Radio means Lexington and the surrounding areas can expect the best sports coverage 24/7.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new program from ESPN Podcasts hosted by former NFL coach Rex Ryan and former NFL linebacker Bart Scott will debut on September 12. Titled, “Organized Chaos,” new episodes will drop each Monday and will “provide listeners with expert insight and analysis on everything happening around the league featuring trending stories from on and off the field.”…..SiriusXM is presenting a new 13-episode podcast series called, “9/11 & Sports: 20 Years Later.” It looks back at the impact of that day’s events on the world of sports and the reaction by leagues, players and fans in the hours, days, weeks and years that followed. SixiursXM SVP of sports programming & podcasts Steve Cohen says, “We’ve produced this series to tell the story of how the events of 9/11, one of the most tragic days in our history, reverberated through the world of sports through the days and months that followed the attacks, and in ways even now 20 years later. We remember lives heartbreakingly lost that day, the way our country responded, and the impact on citizens and public figures alike.”

KTBB-AM/FM, Tyler, Texas’ Paul Berry Dead at 52. Longtime KTBB-AM/FM, Tyler, Texas news and operations director Paul Berry died on Tuesday afternoon of an apparent heart attack at the age of 52. The station says, “Berry joined KTBB more than 20 years ago after having previously been the program director and morning air personality on KTBB’s then sister station, KDOK. In addition to overseeing the editorial operation of the KTBB newsroom, he also managed the day-to-day technical operations of KTBB 97.5 FM, 600 AM and 92.1 FM, The TEAM Sports Radio.” Station owner Paul Gleiser adds, “Paul and I really loved the radio business. We spent a lot of time talking about the work of the great broadcasters that we both admired, and we also spent a lot of time looking for just one more way to make this station better. Somewhere in all of that an employment relationship morphed into friendship. I’m going to miss him.”

Gen Media Partners Launches Multicultural Initiative. In an effort to “champion the power and influence of certified minority-owned and -targeted radio stations to advertisers and agencies,” Gen Media Partners announces the formation of a strategic task force that will “advocate on behalf of the largely overlooked multicultural-owned and -targeted radio stations across all market sizes, including non-metro, and demonstrate multicultural radio’s remarkable power to connect with audiences.” The company says that Ann-Marie Figueira, whose promotion to SVP of Hispanic platforms and multicultural initiatives was announced recently, will lead the initiative. Gen Media Partners CEO Kevin Garrity adds, “Our goal – our job – is to make sure advertisers and their agencies look beyond the large-scale companies and include independent, certified minority-owned and -targeted radio groups in their plans. We’re already seeing a receptiveness to learning more about these stations and their effectiveness at reaching multicultural audiences with content that is relevant to their specific lifestyles, tastes, and cultures.” The company says it represents 1,176 radio stations in 168 markets, either minority-owned or -targeted to Hispanic, African American, Asian, or Indigenous audiences and has one of the strongest multicultural platforms in radio, reaching  95% of the multicultural segment of the US population.

Afghanistan Withdrawal, COVID-19, Ida Devastation/Caldor Wildfire, Texas Abortion Law, Social Security Insolvency, January 6 Investigation, and Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/1). Criticism of President Joe Biden and Pentagon leaders over the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the stress on ICUs in several states, and the controversy over mask & vaccine mandates; the devastation in Louisiana from Hurricane Ida and the flooding in the Northeast & the battle to keep the Caldor wildfire from Lake Tahoe; the Supreme Court votes 5-4 not to block the restrictive Texas abortion law; the report that the U.S. social security system will be insolvent by 2034; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy threatens telecom companies that might comply with the January 6 committee’s investigation for phone records; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

| January 30, 2020

Air Personalities Out at Tyler Media’s Oklahoma City News/Talk and Sports Stations. A number of air personalities at Tyler Media’s Oklahoma City stations have been let go in what appears to be a major money-saving move.  News/talk KOKC-AM/K237GE morning drive host Jack Elliott posted the news on his Facebook page that he and the “entire air staff” have been let go.  The station’s website now indicates an all-syndicated lineup.  Afternoon host and program director Mac Mullings, PM drive personality Chad Alexander, and sister sports talk KRXO “107.7 The Franchise” morning host Andrew Gilman and afternoon sports talk host Colby Daniels also have been let go.  KOKC has replaced the local morning show with “America in the Morning” and Radio America’s “The Dana Show” with Dana Loesch occupies the afternoon drive daypart.

Report: Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton to Host Mornings on WTZA-AM, Atlanta. According to Rodney Ho at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, talk personalities Shannon Burke and Kara Stockton are joining the new talk station being launched on WTZA-AM/ W271CV, Atlanta on Monday (2/3).  Station co-operators Will Regan and Jamie Chapman are leasing the signals from K&Z Broadcasting.  Atlanta talk personalities Kim “The Kimmer” Peterson and Mike Brooks are also joining the station’s lineup.  Burke and Stockton worked together at Cumulus Media‘s talk WYAY-FM, Atlanta prior to the company selling that signal to Educational Media Foundation.  Burke also hosts afternoons at JVC Media‘s WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando “Florida Man Radio.”  He’ll work both shows, hosting the WZTA program from Orlando.  Ho’s story also indicates that the station is holding two-week tryouts for the 10:00 am to 1:00 pm daypart and former Phoenix talk host (and Arizona congressman) J.D. Hayworth will give it a go as will radio personality Rich Sullivan.

Theisen Promoted to VP of Sales and Marketing for Leighton Broadcasting. Sales pro Stephanie Theisen is named vice president of sales and marketing for Leighton Broadcasting.  She currently serves the company as general sales manager for the company’s St. Cloud, Minnesota market and will continue in that role through 2020.  Leighton operates 26 radio stations in seven markets and also produces events and is an interactive design and marketing company.  Leighton Enterprises CEO Bob Leighton says, “The addition of Theisen as VP of sales and marketing will support the structure of our company as we continue to grow and expand.  Stephanie has a successful track record in sales, team building, and hiring.  We are looking forward to her focus in those areas in markets outside of our corporate headquarters, in 2020 and beyond.”  Theisen adds, “In the coming months I will focus on amplifying the impact Leighton Broadcasting has in the communities we serve.  Leighton is a robust company with talented employees throughout our locations and divisions.  I am thrilled to serve as the VP of sales and marketing for this incredible company.”

‘Grant & Danny’ to Air on WRNL, Richmond. The WJFK-FM, Washington-based “Grant & Danny” Show featuring Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier is now being simulcast on Entercom’s Richmond, Virginia sports talk outlet WRNL-AM “Sports Radio 910 The Fan” from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm.  Paulsen and Rouhier both joined WJFK-FM in 2009 and have been partners on the midday show since 2014.  Entercom Virginia SVP and market manager Bennett Zier says, “I’m excited to welcome Grant and Danny to the Capital City.  They are a welcomed addition as we continue serving Richmond and the surrounding markets with premier sports content and coverage of local and regional teams.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports media personality Jorge Sedano’s Los Angeles radio show on ESPN-owned KSPN “ESPNLA” is moving to a new daypart effective Monday (2/3).  Sedano has been hosting the early evening show that’s often pre-empted by Lakers games.  He tweets that effective Monday the “Sedano Show” will air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon PT…..Entercom’s Philadelphia sports talker WIP-FM “SportsRadio 94WIP” is holding a daylong “Andy Reid Appreciation Day” today (1/30) to celebrate the career and accomplishments of former Eagles and current Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.  Reid took the Eagles to Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, losing to the New England Patriots 24-21.  The station says that today it will “break down Reid’s career through discussions with former NFL players and on-air hosts Ike Reese and Jon Ritchie, both of whom were on Reid’s Super Bowl team.”  Program director Spike Eskin says, “It’s finally time to give Andy credit where credit is due.  I look forward to celebrating his great career and reminiscing on old Eagles memories with our on-air staff as we root for ‘Big Red’ to win his first Super Bowl.”…..iHeartMedia and OZY Media have entered into a multi-year deal to co-produce and promote a slate of iHeartRadio Original Podcasts, with three shows set to be released this year and distributed through the iHeartPodcast Network.  The first co-produced podcast will be “Around the World,” a travel and culture podcast featuring stories of changemakers and renegades from around the world who are doing the unexpected in the face of adversity.  The content will originate from OZY’s groundbreaking year-long editorial project that saw them report three stories from every country on earth.  The two additional podcasts set to launch this year include a spin-off series from OZY’s “The Thread” and a scripted series.

Impeachment, Wuhan Coronavirus, Presidential Race, Trump Middle East Peace Plan, Kobe Bryant Death, and Weinstein Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/29). The impeachment trial of President Donald Trump; concerns about a global outbreak of the Wuhan coronavirus; the Democrats battling to face Donald Trump in November; reaction to the Trump Administration’s Middle East peace plan; the aftermath of the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant; and the rape trial of former movie mogul Harvey Weinstein were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WUHAN CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: Investigative Reporter Joshua Philipp Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most knowledgeable journalists covering U.S.-China relations, Joshua Philipp, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Philipp is the senior investigative reporter with the New York City-based international news organization, The Epoch Times – the multi-language, global newspaper launched in 2000 by freedom-seeking Chinese-Americans – that specializes, among its many beats, in fearlessly keeping tabs on China and the Chinese Communist Party. The podcast was recorded on January 27 and presents an up-to-date account of what is currently known about the still-unnamed “coronavirus” that burst on the scene in the past few weeks emanating from the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has begun to spread and cause illness at an alarming pace putting health officials all around the world on increasingly high alert. The crisis offers tremendous insight into the methodology of the Chinese Communist Party and will, undoubtedly have an impact on the superpower’s activities in world affairs in the coming months. This is a major news/talk media story with serious health, political, and economic implications. To listen to the entire podcast NOW, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. It’s in the immediate aftermath of two related tragedies that morning drive personality Gary Smith is retiring from Neversink Radio’s classic hits, WABT-FM, Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania “Pocono 96.7.”  On January 7, Smith’s co-host Elisa Chase died suddenly after a brief illness at the age of 38.  Then, the day after Chase’ memorial service, her husband died at their home.  The station says, “Smith took time off after his colleague’s death and went back on the air with his ‘Gary in the Morning Show’ last week to do a memorial.  It turned out it would be his last show.”  On its website, the station writes to its listeners, “As you likely have heard, we lost our beloved Elisa in early January.  Between this and the sudden death of her husband, our entire organization is in pain over these losses.  Gary has taken this quite hard as Elisa was his ‘radio wife.’”…..Colorado Public Radio’s triple A KVOQ-FM, Denver “Indie 102.3” hired on-air pro Jason Thomas to host the afternoon drive show, effective February 5.  Thomas hosted afternoons at Entercom’s triple A WXRT, Chicago for the past 12 years.  “Indie 102.3” program director Willobee Carlin says, “We are thrilled to have Jason join our ‘Indie 102.3’ team.  His background and success in the radio world will be incredible assets to both the station and Colorado’s music scene.  He has an obsession for music that is truly contagious, and I can’t wait to see how that translates onto our airwaves.” Thomas comments, “The team at ‘Indie 102.3’ has been incredibly welcoming, and it’s been eye-opening to see how committed everyone is to Colorado and its music scene.  I can’t think of a station/city combo that’s a better fit for me, and I’m excited to work and learn alongside a team that’s loaded with true music junkies that want to serve and connect with our listeners.”