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Thursday, May 19, 2022

| May 19, 2022

Dennis Green is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The COO of Key Networks, Dennis Green, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Green’s background in network and syndication radio is extensive. Prior to joining Key Networks, he served 22 years at Westwood One and Cumulus Media Networks where he held several VP positions in affiliate sales and broadcast operations. During this period, he was instrumental in the launch of big shows for a wide variety of major talent. Prior to that he served as head of multimedia syndication at Bloomberg in New York in addition to holding other radio industry positions in his early career. Green is also the chairman of the nominating committee for the Radio Hall of Fame. Harrison says, “I love talking with Dennis Green about radio. His clear insights illuminate how the medium works as a business and relates to popular culture. Radio enthusiasts on both sides of the speakers will enjoy this panoramic conversation.” Harrison and Green take a deep dive into the history and culture of the radio business – past, present and future. To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here.

 

Round Three of April PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April 2022 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s April 2022 sweep covered March 31 – April 27. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. In Portland, while Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM adds one-tenth to finish with an 8.2 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share), it slides from the #3 rank to #4. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KEX, Portland loses seven-tenths for a 2.6 share finish good for the #16 rank. In Salt Lake City, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-AM/FM adds nine-tenths to wrap the survey with a 10.8 share and takes the #1 rank, while Bonneville’s crosstown news/talk KSL-AM/FM rises 1.3 shares for a 7.6 share finish that puts it in the #2 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WLW, Cincinnati posts a 1.2 share increase that gives the station a 13.4 share – good for the #1 rank – while sister news/talk WKRC adds three-tenths for a 5.4 share finish ranking it #4. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well as the two previous groups) here.

 

Former WNKT-FM, Columbia Sports Talk Host Tim Hill Launches Online Sports Talk Show While Challenging Cumulus Vaccine Mandate. According to a story at Outkick by Armando Salguero, sports talk host Tim Hill is launching a daily, two-hour sports talk program he’s streaming online that stands to compete with former employer Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina “107.5 The Game.” TALKERS magazine reported last fall that Hill was let go from the station for refusing to get a COVID vaccine – a policy Cumulus was instituting to bring its talent and most staffers back into the office. Hill requested an exemption to be allowed to broadcast his program from home as he’d been doing since the 2020 lockdown. The company refused. According to the Outkick story, Hill is also challenging Cumulus’ actions. He’s filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which is current investigating.

 

15th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Scheduled for September 21-22. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces that the 15th annual Hold Their Feet to the Fire radio row broadcast in Washington will take place this year on Wednesday, September 21 and Thursday, September 22. This event brings talk hosts from across the nation to Washington to broadcast live both days debating immigration policy while interviewing members of Congress, law enforcement officials, experts, activists, administration officials, high-profile media personalities, and those who live and work along the southern border. FAIR executive director Bob Dane says, “F2F has now spanned four presidents and become America’s largest annual gathering of talk hosts, and the centerpiece of the immigration debate each year for the media. This September marks its 15th anniversary coinciding with the most consequential midterm election of our lives. Those outcomes will determine whether Biden’s Border Crisis continues and will also set the stage for 2024. This event is about harnessing the reach and influence of talk radio to properly inform voters on the immigration issue.” This year, “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” is being staged at its new location on the rooftop terrace of FOX News overlooking the Capitol at 400 North Capitol Street in Washington. D.C. The event accommodates 75 hosts in the broadcast center and fills up earlier each year. Reservations are required and hosts should call FAIR immediately to reserve a booth. As always, there is no cost to attend. Talk hosts interested in attending should contact Bob Dane at 202-742-1824 or bdane@fairus.org.

 

WGN-AM, Chicago Celebrates 100 Years of Broadcasting. Today (5/19) Chicago’s WGN Radio celebrates its 100th anniversary as the 50,000-watt voice of “Chicago’s Very Own” and will continue the celebration during the entire month of May and throughout all of 2022. On May 19, 1922, two young Chicagoans and radio enthusiasts named Thorne Donnelley and Elliott Jenkins started broadcasting from the Wrigley Building with their experimental station named WDAP. In 1924, the station acquired the WGN call letters with the takeover by new owner Col. Robert McCormick, editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. Tonight at 7:00 pm CT, WGN-TV will debut the documentary “100 Years of WGN Radio: A Retrospective.” The 45-minute documentary, produced by WGN Radio, tells the story of the radio station and journeys from its beginnings in 1922 through 2022. Today, WGN-TV’s Emmy Award-winning entertainment reporter and critic Dean Richards will be reporting live from WGN Radio’s studios throughout the day. Also, Metropolitan Brewing, Conrad Seipp Brewing Company, and the Chicago Brewseum will launch Chicago’s Very Own, a golden lager canned exclusively to celebrate WGN Radio’s 100th birthday. Chicago’s Very Own golden lager will first be available for public sale at the official beer release at Metropolitan Brewing on Friday (5/20) and will be available on draft at select locations around Chicagoland starting the week of May 23.

 

TALKERS News Notes. Radio pros Pete Benedetti and Lori Olsen join Quu Inc. as EVP of revenue and administrative and contracts manager, respectively. They will report directly to Quu CEO Steve Newberry. Benedetti is a longtime radio executive with deep experience acquiring, owning, and integrating radio stations in all market sizes…..Audacy announces the launch of a new show from its sports podcast studio 2400Sports in partnership with Major League Baseball. “Unwritten: Behind Baseball’s Secret Rules,” premieres June 1, is hosted by MLB broadcasters and former players Ron Darling and Jimmy Rollins, and explores a different unwritten rule of the game each week – bat flips, no-hitter jinxes, retribution and more…..SiriusXM is offering subscribers coverage of the Preakness Stakes, the second jewel of thoroughbred racing’s 2022 Triple Crown, from Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore this Saturday (5/21). SiriusXM will also air the Belmont Stakes as well as the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. The wire-to-wire race broadcast of the Preakness Stakes is provided by NBC Sports Audio Network.

 

Midterm Primaries/Trump & the GOP, the Economy, COVID-19, Buffalo Shooting/Great Replacement Theory, and Disinformation Board Demise Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/18). The primary races for November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the selloff on Wall Street, inflation, the baby formula shortage and concerns about a recession; the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the debate over returning to mask mandates; the aftermath of the Buffalo shooting and the controversy over the Great Replacement Theory; and the shuttering of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Board were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, January 7, 2022

| January 7, 2022

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “The New Abnormal,” looks back at this past week of 1/3 to 1/7. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSHarry Hurley, talk show host WPG, Atlantic City; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Scott Sands, talk show host, WSPD, Toledo; Danny Lipford, host “Today’s Homeowner” Radio & TV; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each weekend 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; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY; WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, 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 NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPodcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Bill Bartholomew Joins WPRO, Providence as APD/Executive Producer. Rhode Island multimedia journalist Bill Bartholomew joins Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM “NewsTalk 99.7 FM & AM 630” as assistant program director and executive producer. Bartholomew is creator and host of “The Bartholomewtown Podcast,” a popular local political podcast that features in-depth interviews with local and national figures. He holds a degree in political science from University of Rhode Island and is also a regular contributor to Rhode Island PBS. WPRO program director Doug MacGunnigle comments, “I’m excited to welcome Bill to the team. His experience in the digital realm, standing in the community, and political savvy will add greatly to the success of WPRO and be a tremendous asset as we move into new and exciting frontiers, both on the air and beyond.” Bartholomew states, “Joining the team at legendary platform WPRO on a daily basis is a tremendous opportunity for me, and one that I take extremely seriously. For nearly a century, WPRO has been a trusted source for southern New Englanders, and I look forward to collaborating with the station to expand the reach of my perspective and insight into the issues that are important to the region, introducing radio to a new audience, and expanding WPRO’s reach in the rapidly expanding digital space.”

Mueller Named Program Director at Cumulus Media’s ‘Sports Animal’ in OK City. After last month’s retirement of program director Chris Baker, Cumulus Media brings Robert “Cisco” Mueller aboard as PD of WWLS-FM, Oklahoma City “The Sports Animal” to lead the station. Mueller says, “What an amazing opportunity to follow in the footsteps of Chris Baker who I’ve known for over 21 years. My wife and I are thrilled to be back home in OKC, close to our son… and it’s so fun to be working in familiar places with familiar faces. Truly humbled to work with the best sports talent on WWLS. I want to thank Jay Davis and Bruce Gilbert for this opportunity!” Chris Baker comments, “I am exceedingly excited that Robert “Cisco” Mueller will be my successor. I have known Cisco over two decades. His knowledge of the OKC metro, the Oklahoma sports landscape, and his prowess with new media makes him the perfect pick.”

CES2022: Cars, Cash, COVID. As the scaled-down yet still-enormous Las Vegas tech expo wraps – a day early, out of caution – Holland Cooke reports how tech trends that accelerated during the shutdown emerge as the New Normal. Read it all here.

Triton Digital Releases U.S. Streaming Rankers for November 2021. This data is a listing of the top performing digital audio publishers as measured by Triton Digital’s Streaming Metrics measurement services and is ranked based on Average Active Sessions (AAS is calculated by dividing Total Listening Hours by the number of hours within the reported time period) and includes only Triton clients. For the November 2021 period (Mon-Sun 6A-12M), iHeartRadio ranks #1 with 296,880 AAS. At #2 is NPR Member Stations (76,918 AAS), followed by Audacy at #3 (66,543 AAS), and Cumulus Streaming Network at #4 (41,370 AAS). Other companies of note in the top 25 include: Beasley Broadcasting Corporate at #7 (18,053 AAS), Hubbard Broadcasting at #8 (13,831 AAS), Salem Communications at #11 (9,007 AAS), and Bonneville International at #13 (7,116 AAS). You can see the complete top 25 here.

New NAB Chief Curtis LeGeyt Pledges to Fight for Local Journalism. In a blog piece published on Thursday (1/6), NAB president and CEO Curtis LeGeyt says he intends to “strongly advocate on behalf of America’s broadcasters and help fulfill their mission of providing trusted local journalism that keeps our communities safe, informed and connected.” LeGeyt writes, “Today marks the one-year anniversary of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Among the many lessons learned that day, the public was undoubtedly reminded of broadcasters’ critical role in bringing information to the public, especially during times of crisis. As misinformation runs rampant on social media, local radio and TV stations continue to bring the most trusted news to communities across the country. Millions of Americans have relied on broadcasters to be their eyes and ears during our nation’s most pivotal events.” Read the entire piece here.

Harrison Sings Hannity’s Praises on Radio ShowTALKERS founder Michael Harrison sang praises for Premiere Networks/FOX News Channel star Sean Hannity while guesting on the Scott Sands afternoon drive program on iHeartMedia’s WSPD, Toledo yesterday (1/6). Harrison was invited to discuss the anniversary of January 6 and the impact talk radio has had in covering the story. When asked about Hannity’s high-profile role in the story, Harrison responded with emphatic support of the talk show host’s involvement in it and his First Amendment rights as well as the value his connection to President Trump has played in illustrating the importance of talk radio in contemporary society. Harrison, known for his political neutrality but zealous support of the First Amendment and talk media industry, stated, “Sean Hannity is one of the most influential radio personalities of the medium’s 100-year history.” To listen to an excerpt of the conversation, please click here.  Scott Sands is also the PD of WSPD as well as area SVP of programming, Ohio/West Virginia iHeartMedia Communities Division.

The COVID-19 Omicron Surge, Vaccines, Boosters & Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 3-7. The soaring rate of COVID cases in the U.S. and abroad, the debate over vaccine mandates, the effectiveness of boosters and the politics that surround it combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol attack and the ongoing investigation into the Trump administration’s role in it, followed by the economy, inflation, the supply chain, and the labor shortage 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.

Monday, November 29, 2021

| November 29, 2021

Monday Memo: We’re Late. “Like the bookstores and stockbrokers and travel agents that were early casualties,” consultant Holland Cooke sees radio and TV stations as “middlemen the Internet is squeezing-out.” In this week’s column, HC warns that “we-who-power-the-towers are late, if we still regard digital content as an adjunct” and he urges that “we should only do what only we can do.” Read more here.

 

Pending Business: A New Exercise. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that “the radio business can learn a lot about the core changes facing 21st century commercial media in general by watching how the outdoor advertising industry is adjusting to the drastically new conditions of the modern era. Next time you’re moving through traffic take notice of the variety of messages on the out-of-home media around you. Billboards of all sizes, and all kinds – poster boards, vinyls, newer digital, stationary, mobile, building signage, airport boards, bus stop enclosures – all are blatant reminders that the medium is the message and the creative is changing.” Read more here.

Terry Ford to Program Cumulus Media’s ‘107.5 The Game’ in Columbia, South Carolina. Sports talk radio pro Terry Ford joins Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina “107.5 The Game” as program director. In this role, Ford will also oversee the cluster’s sister sports talk station WISW-AM “ESPN 1320.” Ford was most recently with Clarity Communications’ sports talk WZNN-FM, Lexington, Kentucky “Sports 96.1” as host and program director. During his career he’s served as late night host at Audacy’s WJZ-FM “105.7 The Fan” and as a host on the Yahoo Sports Radio network. Ford says, “I am truly excited to become the next program director of such a quality sports brand as ‘107.5 The Game’ in Columbia. ‘The Game’ has sharp upper management support, a rock-solid infrastructure, and a talented staff, so this was an easy decision for me. I want to thank Cumulus Columbia market manager Tammy O’Dell for offering me this fabulous opportunity. In my many conversations with Tammy, you could hear her love and passion for ‘107.5 The Game.’ I also want to thank Cumulus SVP of sports, programming and audience Bruce Gilbert. It was Bruce who put me on Tammy’s radar. I can’t wait to land in Columbia and get started!”

MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell Says No More Advertising for Salem. Numerous consumer publications, including Business Insider, are reporting that MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell has pulled ads for his MyPillow products from the air at Salem Radio Network after complaining on his 96-hour livestream “Thanks-a-Thon” over the holiday weekend that the broadcast network has not had him on any of the talk shows in a “long, long time.” The Business Insider piece says Lindell “expressed annoyance that Salem apparently never took the time to explain why, in his opinion, the mainstream media had shunned him. He said that ‘woke’ retailers had also ‘canceled’ him and described their actions as ‘a joke.’” The story notes that retailers including Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s stopped selling his products after Lindell began his campaign spouting voter fraud theories. Salem has not publicly commented on the matter.

Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation 6th Annual Event Features Churchill Author Interview. The Bold Gold Broadcast & Media Foundation, which supports efforts to defend free speech and help young people enter the news and talk radio formats, held its 6th annual event on November 19 in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. The sold-out program was themed “Celebrating the Leadership of Winston Churchill – Defender of Free Speech & Western Civilization” and featured keynote remarks by professor Andrew Roberts (pictured at right being interviewed by broadcaster James Rosen), author of the 2018 international best-seller, Churchill: Walking With Destiny. Roberts spoke about how Churchill used the power of oratory and the medium of radio to rally the free world to confront a variety of tyrannical ideologies and threats to freedom. Vince Benedetto, president of the Bold Gold Foundation and Bold Gold Media Group, addressed the rising importance of the Foundation’s work in an age of increased censorship and cancel culture.   The event also honored local business leader and entrepreneur, Rob Grimm, with the 2021 Atlas Award for Citizenship.

Good Karma’s ‘101.7 The Truth’ Announces Black-Owned Business Giveback. The Milwaukee talk station owned by Good Karma Brands announces a partnership with Associated Bank called Black-Owned Business Giveback, a promotion to help support Black-owned businesses by awarding them a free radio advertising campaign on WGKB-AM/W269DL “101.7 The Truth.” Each month, the first 10 businesses to register at BlackBusinessGiveback.com wins a campaign that includes one 30-second commercial that airs 50 times over the month. The promotion will run through the end of 2022. Station general manager Cherie Harris comments, “We are thankful for our partnership with Associated Bank for the Black-Owned Business Giveback Promotion. Our Black-owned businesses are a vital part of the community’s growth and economic development, and we want to be sure they are given every opportunity to succeed.” The 10 chosen businesses will be invited to work with ‘The Truth’ team to write and produce their customized radio spots. At the conclusion of the campaign in November 2022, over 100 businesses will be awarded a free advertising campaign valued at $2,000.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Asks for Help on Giving Tuesday. Tomorrow – November 30 – is Giving Tuesday, the international day of giving, and the Broadcasters Foundation of America asks that you think of them on this day of philanthropy. For over 70 years, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided medical aid and disaster relief to broadcasters and their families across the United States. This year, the Foundation will give away more than $1.8 million in monthly and emergency grants. Your gift will help them reach every broadcaster in need. One broadcaster says, “We would be lost without the generosity of the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Because of your support, chronic illness has not taken everything from me. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you!” On behalf of everyone at the Broadcasters Foundation of America, thank you and have a safe and happy holiday season. Donate here.

MIW Presents Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence Webinar. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization, together with vCreative, are recognizing and celebrating women in radio “whose unsung efforts ensure efficiency, both operationally and financially, for their radio stations and groups.” The program’s inaugural free webinar, “Recognizing Women in Operational Excellence,” takes place Thursday (12/2) from 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm ET. It’s being hosted by vCreative CEO Susie Hedrick and MIW board member Valerie Blackburn and showcases three uniquely talented women who make a significant impact daily on their company’s Operations: Becky Degener, Townsquare Media, vice president of traffic operations; Mildred Sibley, Entravision, vice president of station traffic operations; and Melissa Mitchell, Bonneville, director of finance and corporate controller. Webinar participants will hear how these professionals strategically embrace emerging technologies; integrate new products into existing workflows; and hire and train teams. You can register for the webinar here.

COVID-19/Omicron Variant, Financial Markets/Inflation, Crime Spike/Mass Looting, January 6 Investigation, China Military Aggression, Thanksgiving/Football, and the Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Holiday Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and concerns about the new Omicron variant; the world’s financial markets react to the news of the Omicron variant and the high retail prices facing consumers; the rising crime statistics in major cities and the ongoing spate of smash-and-grab flash mobs; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the Committee’s seeking information from former Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows; China’s continuing aggressive posture toward Taiwan; the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend; and this week’s start of the trial of accused Jeffrey Epstein co-conspirator Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

| October 27, 2021

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.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

| October 12, 2021

Colorado Talk Host Jeff Crank Exits KVOR-AM Over Vaccine Mandate. Refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine to comply with Cumulus Media’s company-wide mandate, KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs talk host Jeff Crank has been let go from the station for his stand. The Colorado Times Recorder reports that Crank calls the mandate “unethical and immoral.” He posted to his Facebook page: “Recently Cumulus Media – which owns KVOR – instituted a forced employee vaccination policy nationwide. While I am not anti-vaccination, I am anti-tyranny and I told them that I find their policy unethical and immoral. I’ve already had coronavirus. I discussed the vaccine with my doctor, and he recommended that I not take the vaccine at this time as there was very little risk to me contracting COVID and even less risk of having severe complications from COVID. I’m going to make my medical decisions after consultation with my doctor – and it won’t be forced onto me by the CEO of a company that I’ve never met or knows nothing about me. One day our country will look back on this time in our history with shame – that we live in a country where you can be forced to go against your doctor’s best medical judgment in order to feed your family.” Crank says he’ll launch a podcast to continue his program.

Columbia PD/Host Tim Hill Ousted from ‘107.5 The Game’ for Vaccine Refusal. Programming and sports talk pro Tim Hill was let go from his position as program director and co-host of “The Early Game” morning show on Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds. As noted in the story above, Cumulus issued a company-wide mandate that staffers return to the offices and be vaccinated by October 11. The State reports that Hill said, “Various religious reasons and the lack of any long-term studies have led me to this decision. I don’t know what medical decisions are right for others. Others don’t know what medical decisions are right for me. I felt like I had to stand up for it. I have three boys and tell them to stand up for what they believe in. It is my job to teach them that. I felt like it was a test in some way. That is what I stuck with. So, that is why it wasn’t a difficult decision from my perspective.” Hill told the paper that as a Catholic, he looked to the Catholic Medical Association which said it “opposed mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscience or religious exemptions.” He said, “If you have a sincerely held religious belief, then it becomes a matter of reasonable accommodation. They said they couldn’t reasonably accommodate me. I offered to wear a mask or do the show from where our producer does it, or from home. They thought none of that was reasonable.”

Salem Addresses Larry Elder Recall Run During C-Suite Presentation. Executives from Salem Media Group recently sat down with Noble Capital Markets senior research analyst Michael Kupinski to talk about the state of the company’s business. Salem Media CEO Edward Atsinger, president – broadcast media Dave Santrella, president – interactive and publishing David Evans, and EVP & CFO Evan Masyr appeared during the interview and Santrella addressed how Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder’s run for governor in California’s recent recall election has affected his program. Santrella said, “First off, it provided us with the opportunity to give a platform to another new talent, Carl Jackson, who has a great story and a great testimony… so we’re excited we have him now and I would anticipate we’ll keep some sort of relationship with Carl.” Santrella said Elder is still on his 30-day leave after the election and will return at the end of this month. “There’s no doubt it’s risen his popularity and we think ultimately that will be good for us because it will probably increase the number of people that are anxious to have him on their radio station and increase our affiliate numbers.”

WVON, Chicago Adds Buchanan to Afternoon Show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting is bringing host, podcaster, and political analyst Atiba Buchanan aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Kimberley Egonmwan. Buchanan takes over for Matt McGill who is expected to launch a new program on the station in the near future. Buchanan previously served with the station as a producer for Cliff Kelley. Buchanan says, “I could not be more honored or humbled to join such a storied tradition that is so vital to the well-being of the city of Chicago in general and to the Black community specifically.”

WABC, New York Broadcasts from Columbus Day Parade. Pictured above broadcasting from the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis, owner of WABC and Red Apple Media; Edward Salzano, business consultant to WABC; and Frank Morano, host of “The Other Side of Midnight” and co-host of the “77 WABC Early News.” The station launched yesterday’s coverage of the parade with a press conference on Friday (10/8) from the Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. A video stream of the entire broadcast was presented in television style online via a platform dubbed WABCRadio.TV.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “I was knocked out by the professional set and execution of a ‘television show’ mounted by the WABC staff during the parade that was very similar to how these things are historically handled by local TV stations.  John Catsimatidis and company are to be congratulated for providing the industry with a superb demonstration of the emerging concept of the ‘media station’ that will change the game over the next few years, for sure.”

ABC Audio Names Liz Alesse Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming. After leading ABC Audio’s podcast team for the past 11 months, Liz Alesse is named to the permanent position of director and executive producer of podcast programming. ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku tells fellow staffers in a memo: “Liz has already been able to leverage her understanding of the news division and relationships across the platforms on behalf of ABC Audio, working on recent podcasts including ‘In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson’ and ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.’ She has big plans for the unit, including adding new titles and seasons to our existing podcast library. Liz is a skilled producer in the control room, edit bay and in the field. She most recently served as a supervising producer with the Pennsylvania Avenue unit. While in that role, Liz took on special assignments that included leading site production of the spin room at the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary debate and the two presidential town halls in Philadelphia. Liz began her career at ABC News in 2015. At ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos,’ she managed the team and oversaw production and operations for the show, and even served as interim executive producer.”

Sports Betting Station Launches in St. Louis on WGNU-AM. In  deal with DraftKings-owned VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, WGNU-AM/K283CI, St. Louis flips from Gospel to a sports betting format. “The Game” will air content from VSiN and feature morning talk personalities Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard, sports betting analytics expert Gill Alexander, former pro football executive Michael Lombardi and sportscasting legend Brent Musburger. WGNU consultant Bill Moir comments, “We’re thrilled to introduce the St. Louis metro area to this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk. Sports betting education as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN, is a perfect choice for WGNU. We’re excited to be the St. Louis home of VSiN.”

COVID-19, Inflation/Gas Prices/Supply Chain Woes, Border Crisis, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Gruden Resigns from Raiders Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s edict outlawing mandates; the soaring price of gasoline, inflation, and the dearth of goods as a result of the global supply chain troubles; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s handling of the problem; the status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; China’s ongoing military aggression toward Taiwan; and Jon Gruden resigns from the Las Vegas Raiders after racist emails are made public were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.