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Friday, May 21, 2021

| May 21, 2021

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,“Rebranding the Unidentifiable,” looks back at this past week of May 17-21, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / founder, Scamicide.com; Dr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist / commentator, MDedge Psychcast; Alan Stock, talk show host / commentator, KXNT, Las Vegas; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Round Four of April PPM Survey Released. The fourth and final round of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s April 2021 sweep covered April 1 – 28. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. Waterloo Media’s news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin adds six-tenths to finish the April survey with a 5.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and remains ranked #4 in the market. In Indianapolis, Emmis’ WIBC-FM falls from #3 to #4 after dropping six-tenths and posting a 6.6 share. The start of the baseball season helps Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ-AM (Milwaukee Brewers flagship) add 4.1 shares for a 9.7 share finish that rockets the station from #5 to #1 while iHeartMedia’s crosstown WISN-AM sheds six-tenths and falls from #2 to #4. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville stays ranked #3 after dropping just one-tenth to a 7.8 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (and the three previous market groups) here.

45 Joins the Joe Pags Show. Pictured above is Compass Media Networks nationally syndicated talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo (left) in a video still from his radio program in which he interviewed former President Donald Trump. Pags conducted the interview and spread it out over two days of his program. He’s also made it available at his joepags.com site.

FEATURE STORY: Creesh, We Hardly Knew Ye… Longtime radio personality and talk show host Mark Wainwright – most recently morning host at WSYR, Syracuse – authors this fascinating tale of a late-night television show that might have put the name Don “Creesh” Hornsby into the same ranks as American entertainers Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, and Johnny Carson, yet it didn’t. Wainwright was inspired to research and write this story by the CNN series “The Story of Late Night” that he says, “overlooked both ‘Broadway Open House’ and the brilliant young comedian/host who was stricken by tragedy on the eve of his network television debut.” Hornsby was that California-based comic tapped by NBC in 1950 to host a new late-night variety show that never took off as planned. Read Wainwright’s feature story about what went wrong here.

Westwood One’s Dan Bongino Show to Launch on Monday. On Monday (5/24), Cumulus Media’s Westwood One launches the nationally syndicated “Dan Bongino Show” in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart. The former Secret Service agent has risen to the status of conservative media star based on the success of his eponymous podcast and his appearances on FOX News Channel. The new show is being carried on most of Cumulus Media’s news/talk stations that used to carry “The Rush Limbaugh Show.” Some of the 115 affiliate stations at the launch will include: KABC-AM, Los Angeles; WLS-AM, Chicago; WBAP-AM, Dallas; KSFO-AM, San Francisco; KSEV-AM, Houston; WMAL-FM, Washington, DC; KTTH-AM, Seattle; and WJR-AM, Detroit. During the second hour of this show on Monday, Bongino will interview former President Donald Trump

Westwood One Wins Deadline Club Award for ‘New York City Protests’ Report. The news report “New York City Protests” by correspondent Steve Kastenbaum has won a Deadline Club Award in the Radio or Audio Spot News Reporting category for Cumulus Media’s Westwood One. The story aired as part of America in the Morning’s extensive reporting on the unrest in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd. The Deadline Club is the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The Deadline Club’s journalism competition began in 1957. In announcing the award to Westwood One, the judges noted, “Steve Kastenbaum’s reporting on the civil rights protests in New York City over this past summer demonstrated strong, as well as balanced, reporting. The ‘day-of’ reporting was comprehensive and superb, but the follow-up reporting on peaceful protesters diffusing tensions with police was equally crucial, painting a fuller picture and therefore rendering the story in all the complexity it entailed.”

COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy and Mask Controversy Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 17-21. The hesitancy among some Americans to get the COVID vaccine and the confusion surrounding the CDC’s mask guidelines combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, followed by the January 6 Commission debate and the criminal investigation into the Trump Organization tied 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.

Friday, May 14, 2021

| May 14, 2021

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, “Vulnerability,” looks back at this past week of May 10-14, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Michael Riedel, talk show host, WOR, New York; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston / founder, Scamicide.com; Joey Hudson, talk show host, 94.5 The Answer, WGTK-FM, Greenville, SC; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network / physician; Wayne Avrashow, attorney / commentator, RealClear PoliticsVictoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Radio One’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and Morning Host Bo Thompson Renew. WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte morning drive host Bo Thompson and Radio One reach a multi-year agreement for Thompson to continue hosting the morning show on the heritage news/talk station. The Charlotte native began his career at WBT in 1990 at age 16. He worked at the station while still attending Myers Park High School and continued through his years at Davidson College. Thompson’s entire three-decade broadcast career has been in Charlotte, mostly dedicated to WBT. Radio One regional vice president Marsha Landess says, “Bo has done an amazing job of keeping Charlotte listeners engaged and informed during mornings on WBT. He has proven to be a compelling broadcaster keeping Charlotte informed on local, regional and national issues and we are thrilled he will be taking WBT into the future.” Thompson adds, “I’m very proud to continue working for the station that has been my broadcast life. It’s an honor for me that I’ll be here both for WBT’s 100th anniversary and to celebrate a decade hosting mornings next year.”

Bill O’Reilly’s Killing the Mob Hits #1 on NYT Best Sellers List. The latest book by conservative media personality, author, and broadcast journalist Bill O’Reilly has reached #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List. Sales of KILLING THE MOB: The Fight Against Organized Crime in America (St. Martin’s Publishing Group) have soared since its release on May 4 to push it into the top spot and it’s the 16th time one of O’Reilly’s books has accomplished this feat. O’Reilly is also host of the Key Networks-syndicated programs “The O’Reilly Update” and “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition,” heard on more than 240 stations across the country. In his new book, O’Reilly traces the brutal history of 20th century organized crime in the United States and plumbs the history of this nation’s most notorious serial robbers, conmen, and especially, mob family bosses.

Markley, van Camp & Robbins Show Adds 10 New Affiliate Stations; Surpasses 100 Station Mark. The Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley, van Camp & Robbins Show” has recently added 10 new stations to its roster of affiliates and now enjoys distribution across a growing platform of 105 metro markets. Compass Media Networks says the show – airing live from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daily – “represents perspectives from every generation. David van Camp is a millennial, Jamie Markley represents Gen X, and Scott Robbins is the Baby Boomer. The witty and downright funny conversations between the hosts about the news topics of the day make this show truly unique.” Jamie Markley comments, “I’m humbled. We feel like we have such a real connection with all the great people that listen to the show. Something I seem to hear a lot is something to the extent of ‘when I listen to you guys, I feel like I’m hanging out with friends, talking about what’s going on in the world and having some laughs.’ That’s one of the greatest compliments you can get in my opinion.  Thanks to Compass Media Networks for taking a shot on us and connecting us to so many good people across America!”

Cherri Gregg Exiting KYW, Philadelphia to Join Public Radio WHYY. The Philadelphia Business Journal reports that Cherri Gregg will leave her community affairs reporter position with Audacy’s all-news KYW, Philadelphia to join crosstown public radio outlet WHYY-FM, effective June 14. In her new role with WHYY, she’ll be afternoon host in which she’ll anchor local top-of-the-hour news and other breaks in the national programming plus take on interview and news assignments. In a statement, Gregg says, “I truly respect the grassroots, in-depth approach to storytelling at WHYY. I am excited about the opportunity to help engage the community in the many important conversations of our time.” Gregg has been with KYW since December of 2010. Her role with KYW has included serving as host and executive producer of the weekly public affairs show “Flashpoint.”

BIA Advisory: Radio Revenue Fell 23.6% in 2020; Digital Continues to Be Strong. The first quarter edition of BIA Advisory Services’ 2021 Investing In Radio Market Report is out and BIA says, “As anticipated, the radio industry took a very big hit in 2020 due to the pandemic and subsequent cutbacks in overall spending activity. According to the report, over-the-air advertising revenues dropped to $9.7 billion, a 23.6 % decline from $12.8 billion in 2019. Digital ad revenues at stations demonstrated their continued strength, though, posting only a slight decline to $939 million in revenues in 2020 versus $1 billion in 2019.” BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “Local radio stations have been feeling the impact of new competition for the past few years; unfortunately, the pandemic just exacerbated the problem and it will take some time to recover. The shining star continues to be radio’s online digital advertising revenues, which will outpace over-the-air growth this year and moving forward. Those broadcasting groups that have invested in and oriented their companies toward digital will benefit faster from that foresight.” Fratrik forecasts 2021 total local radio revenues to reach $11.7 billion, with $1 billion coming directly from online revenues; a 9.7 % increase over 2020. Find out more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. A new multi-year agreement between Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” and the NHL’s Boston Bruins is signed, extending the partnership for the station to serve as flagship for the Boston Bruins Radio Network. In addition to broadcasting all Bruins games, “98.5 The Sports Hub” will continue to air 30-minute pre- and post-game shows along with the two-hour weekly program, “The Hockey Show” which airs Saturdays from 9:00 am to 11:00 am during season. Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna comments, “We are thrilled to continue our longstanding partnership with the Boston Bruins and to be able to share our passion for the Bruins with our loyal New England fans. We are so excited to be back in the TD Garden cheering the Bruins on to the playoffs.”…..At the 2021 IAB Podcast Upfront, Audacy’s Cadence13 announces some new podcasts it is launching. First, Grammy-nominated bassist Este Haim and Primetime Emmy Award-winning actor Darren Criss are co-hosting their first-ever podcast, “That Thing I Do.” Launching this summer, the close friends will share their mutual love of music, pop culture, and more with special guests on the weekly show that focuses on the “things that people do” that wider audiences may not be as familiar with. Second, Cadence13 is partnering with award-winning actress Ellen Pompeo — the star of ABC’s long-running hit series “Grey’s Anatomy” — for her first-ever podcast, “Tell Me with Ellen Pompeo,” set to launch this fall. On the program Pompeo will sit down for in-depth, candid conversations with a wide range of guests— celebrity and otherwise — who inspire her, extraordinary people who do extraordinary things, to find out what makes them great. Pompeo will use the weekly show to shine a light on people and highlight issues important to her and the world at large…..iHeartMedia is launching a new, standalone podcast venture – My Cultura, dedicated to elevating Latinx voices and creators, and sharing the Latinx experience with millions of listeners. In partnership with Enrique Santos, the company’s top-rated on-air personality and president and chief ceative officer of iHeartLatino, My Cultura will offer creators a platform to share stories and perspectives relevant to Latinx listeners and all audiences. The network will roll out six new shows at launch in Summer 2021, and 30 shows throughout its first year, across a variety of genres including pop culture, music, comedy, mental health, finance, news and more.

COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy, Variants and Stats Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 10-14. The number of Americans who are hesitant about the COVID-19 vaccine, concerns about variants, and the number of cases in the U.S. and abroad combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney’s ouster from her leadership role and the influence of former President Donald Trump on the Republican party. Following at #3 was the Colonial Pipeline hack and the resulting gas shortage in the Southeast. 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.

Barry Farber Memorial Tribute Now Posted on YouTube. The Industry Memorial Tribute to talk radio legend Barry Farber presented by the Farber Family and TALKERS has been posted to YouTube. Several dozen family members, colleagues, and friends of late talk radio icon Barry Farber gathered via Zoom on Wednesday, May 5 to pay tribute to the uniquely talented broadcaster who passed away a year earlier, one day after his 90th birthday. The informal presentation was moderated by Michael Harrison and featured, among its many speakers, members of Barry Farber’s immediate family including his daughters Bibi Farber and Celia Farber, industry colleagues Sean Hannity of Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel, Mike Horn of CRN Digital Talk Radio Network, and Frank Morano of WABC, New York. To view the event on YouTube, click here or visit the memorial website Barry Farber Radio here.

Monday, May 10, 2021

| May 10, 2021

Monday Memo: Was Rush the Format? As the American comeback unfolds, polls demonstrate widespread optimism. “Yet,” consultant Holland Cooke reckons, there’s “a day-after-day negativity, a wearying sameness, among the half-dozen hosts vying for the Rush Limbaugh hours” on his affiliate stations. And in this week’s column, Cooke warns against typecasting the format as political talk: “If we learned one thing during the pandemic shutdown, it’s people’s appetite for ‘survival information.’” Read his column here.

Pending Business: Why Buy? Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says that if you ask yourself the question: Why buy advertising on your station, you know the answers to this in your sleep. “Yet why do three different sellers give three different answers? It sounds silly, but even at the best run stations, large market or small, my experience is the answers vary a little too much.” He offers eight questions to ask yourself that will help you formulate the answers to that question: Why buy? Read it here.

Townsquare Media Q1 Net Revenue Down 5.1%; Digital Revenue Up 13%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Townsquare Media reveals total net revenue was $88.8 million, a decline of 5.1% from the same period in 2020. The company’s net loss shrinks dramatically from $59.5 million in the first quarter of 2020 to $6.1 million in Q1 of 2021. Operating income also did an about-face, shrinking from a loss of $72.1 million in Q1 of 2020 to income of $8.8 million this year. Townsquare Media CEO Bill Wilson says, “We are extremely proud to report that Townsquare’s first quarter 2021 results approached, and in some cases exceeded, levels achieved in the pre-COVID first quarter of 2019, which surpassed our expectations and previously stated guidance. In the first quarter of 2021, net revenue declined -5% year over year, and -1.6% excluding political and Live Events net revenue. When excluding Live Events net revenue, first quarter net revenue increased +0.3% as compared to the first quarter of 2019. Total digital revenue growth accelerated to +13% year over year (+32% vs. Q1 2019), contributing nearly 49% of Townsquare’s total first quarter net revenue. Our digital revenue growth was fueled by Townsquare Interactive, our digital marketing solutions subscription business, Townsquare Ignite, our digital programming advertising platform, and Townsquare Amped, digital advertising on our owned and operated brands, which increased revenue year over year by +15%, +12%, and +11%, respectively. Impressively, TSI, Ignite, and Amped’s first quarter net revenue exceeded Q1 2019 revenue levels by +34%, +45%, and +15%, respectively. Over the next three years, we expect to grow our digital net revenue from $167 million (on a trailing twelve-month basis as of March 31, 2021) to $250 million. The strong growth of our digital revenue, together with our strong expense management, led to Adjusted EBITDA increasing nearly +30% over the prior year. I am especially proud to share that first quarter Adjusted EBITDA of $20.1 million is +$1.3 million, or +7%, higher than Q1 2019’s pro forma Adjusted EBITDA, and +$2.1 million, or +12%, higher when excluding profit from Live Events.”

The Mayor and the Mobster. Nationally syndicated Compass Media Networks talk star Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo scored an amazing one-hour double interview with former NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former high-profile mobster Michael Franzese last week which he ran on Tuesday through Friday (5/4-7) as a four-part special series on his radio show titled, “The Mayor and the Mobster.” Giuliani prosecuted Franzese 40 years ago at a time when the two men were arch enemies. Much has changed since then in terms of their relationship. In a fascinating conversation about the nature of crime fighting, prosecution, and redemption, the two men have more than reconciled their differences as indicated in a wonderful interview conducted brilliantly by Pags. You can watch the entire 56-minute conversation captured on video by clicking here.

Missouri House Passes Bill to Make January 12 ‘Rush Limbaugh Day.’ The Missouri House of Representatives passed a bill last Thursday (5/6) that would make January 12 “Rush Limbaugh Day” in honor of the Cape Girardeau, Missouri native who died in February at age 70. The bill met with opposition from Democratic House members, including Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove who criticized Limbaugh for “constant attacks on Black people and other people of color,” according to a report by the AP. Republican Rep. Sara Walsh, a supporter of the bill, said, “Rush demonstrated courage to speak boldly and encouraged his listeners and viewers to reach for their dreams and to push onward beyond the naysayers and discouragers that we all encounter in life.” The bill must pass the Missouri Senate before it moves on to the governor’s office.

AdLarge and Sounds Profitable Partner for ‘Up Next – A Podcast UpFront.’ Audio ad sales network AdLarge Media partners with podcast ad tech publication Sounds Profitable to launch Up Next – A Podcast UpFront. The companies say that “embracing a ‘never-been-done-before’ concept, Up Next utilizes the podcast format to promote podcasting with two acclaimed industry leaders hosting the series, FRQNCY founder/CEO Michelle Khouri and Edison Research SVP, Tom Webster. The idea originated from a brainstorming session between the leadership team at AdLarge and Sounds Profitable and is NOT an event but rather a podcast series specifically designed to showcase the multiple facets of the podcast industry including publishers, networks, content producers, and more. No special invitation required to listen to the podcasts, they are available to everyone.” In the first season of the Up Next series, AdLarge’s premiere episode focuses on the power of podcast advertising in addition to exploring the intriguing and valuable aspects of the podcasting world. The AdLarge season consists of six episodes, which also includes sample episodes from some of the most favored podcasts in the space today such as: “Crime Junkie,” “Swindled,” “The Hey Girl Podcast,” “The Trip,” and “Kill Me Now with Judy Gold.” AdLarge SVP, head of revenue operations & digital sales Ilwira Marciszek says, “It’s crazy that no one thought of this earlier. We know podcasts get results. This is the perfect way to get in front of people on their own time. I’m beyond thrilled to use the medium we’re selling to showcase the power of podcasting.” You can learn more here.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Seeks Donations to Counter Lost Fundraising Events. The Broadcasters Foundation of America is in need of donations to counter the loss of funds from major fundraising events that were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. A 501(c)3 charity, the BFoA is the only organization dedicated exclusively to providing financial aid to broadcasters and their families whose lives have been upended by debilitating illness, accident, or catastrophe. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “In its more than 70 years of existence, the Broadcasters Foundation has provided financial assistance to every broadcaster who qualified, and we want to continue that track record. These men and women are our colleagues, and unthinkable tragedy has left them unable to work. We cannot turn our backs on them.” Cancelled fundraisers for the Broadcasters Foundation include the Celebrity Golf Tournament, the Golden Mike Award, and the Philip J. Lombardo Charity Golf Tournament. Personal and corporate donations can be made here.

COVID-19, GOP vs Cheney, Rising Consumer Goods Prices, Weekend Gun Deaths in U.S., Gas Pipeline Hack, Biden’s Infrastructure Plan, Afghanistan Girls School Bombing, and Arabian Sea Arms Seizure Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine hesitancy, and the outbreak in India; U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney faces losing her GOP leadership role for not carrying the stolen election banner; concerns about the fast-rising prices of gas and consumer goods; the slaying of six at a Colorado Springs birthday party and numerous other gun deaths over the weekend; the hacking of a gas pipeline by Russia-based operatives; President Joe Biden to push his infrastructure plan this week; the bombing at a girls school in Afghanistan that killed 85 people; and the U.S. Navy seizes a large weapons cache in the Arabian Sea were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Animal Welfare Music Video Going Viral on YouTube. The animal welfare anthem “I Know You’re Real” that appears on the new Gunhill Road album What Year Is This! has been picking up an accelerating number of views this past week – approximately 1,400 per day – solely based thus far on radio interviews. The song’s lyrics, penned by Michael Harrison and recited by him on the recording and video, discuss the metaphysical nature of the relationship between humans and animals as well as the connectedness of all sentient life forms to the universe at large. The video, described by talk media host Thom Hartmann as “a masterpiece,” displays a fascinating array of photos and video clips depicting animals – domestic and wild – and cosmic images. Harrison recently became a regular working member of the legendary NYC-based band that has been around since the late 1960s. To book Harrison to appear as a guest talking about animal welfare, cosmic consciousness, and the golden days of FM rock radio, please contact him directly at michael@talkers.com or call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.  To view the video, please click here.

Friday, May 7, 2021

| May 7, 2021

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 Knock on the Door,” looks back at this past week of May 3-7.   The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo, talk show host, Compass Media NetworksSteve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston / founder, scamicide.com; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkTodd Starnes, talk show host / owner, KWAM, Memphis; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; and Brian Koonin, Broadway musician / member, Gunhill Road. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here.

iHeartMedia First Quarter 2021 Net Revenue Down 9.5%. The company reports net revenue for the first quarter of 2021 of $707 million, a dip of 9.5% compare to the $781 million reported in the first quarter of 2020. iHeartMedia also reports an operating loss of $76 million compared to 2020’s operating loss of $1.7 billion. The company reports financial data by segment and the positive aspects of the report are its digital and podcast segments which reported revenue of $119 million (up 55%) and $38.4 million (up 141.9%), respectively. Broadcast radio’s revenue was $358.5 million (down 22.3%); networks revenue was $115 million (down 14.5%); and sponsorship and events revenue was $22.4 million (down 23.7%). iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman states, “The first quarter outperformed our expectations on all financial metrics as the company continues its steady recovery from the COVID-19 downturn, which is not just a continuation of the positive trends we’ve seen across the business – we believe it’s a validation of our long-term multiplatform product and revenue strategy and the investments we have made in growth areas like podcasting, ad tech, and the continued expansion of broadcast radio on digital devices. As a company we continue to prioritize identifying new opportunities across the audio, advertising, and data analytics sectors to expand our Total Addressable Market from just the $15 billion of Radio TAM to include the $160 billion of Digital TAM, providing us with new revenue opportunities for meaningful and sustainable growth for all our operating segments.” Company president, COO and CFO Rich Bressler adds, “Our ability to adapt and innovate, as well as our strategic allocation of capital, during the COVID-19 pandemic have set the stage for strong growth in 2021. Our cost management, investments in key areas of growth, and focus on our core-competencies helped us to achieve Adjusted EBITDA of $102 million in the first quarter, and we remain confident that we will be back to 2019 Adjusted EBITDA levels by the end of 2021.”

Audacy Net Revenue for First Quarter of 2021 Declines 19%. Reporting its first quarterly financial report after rebranding from Entercom to Audacy, the company says net revenue for Q1 of 2021 was $240.8 million, a decrease of 19% over the same period in 2020. Audacy also reports a net loss of $21.6 million compared to the Q1 2020 net loss of $9.1 million. Breaking the company down by segments: local and national spot revenue was $154.3 million (down 27.5%); digital – including podcasting – revenue was $49.9 million (up 15.9%); and network revenue was $17.6 million (down 19.1%). Audacy president and CEO David Field says, “The year has gotten off to an active start as we successfully completed the rebranding of the company to Audacy, reflecting our transformational progress into a leading, multi-platform audio content and entertainment company with scaled audience reach and a leadership position in virtually every key segment of the dynamic and growing audio market. We are in the midst of a strong, albeit uneven, advertising recovery reflecting the nature of our business mix. First quarter digital revenues grew 17% and national revenues rebounded to prior year levels, but local ad revenues remained behind as many of our customers continue to be impacted by the pandemic. Because the local radio advertiser base is weighted toward later-stage recovery categories including restaurants, concerts and entertainment, movies, travel, and theme parks, we anticipate a strong recovery of local advertising across these businesses during the third and fourth quarters. Our second quarter pacings are up more than 60% over 2020 reflecting massive improvements across all segments of our business from the depressed levels of the prior year. In another strong sign of recovery, our average local customer spending levels are now exceeding their average 2019 spending levels. Total local ad spending is down because of a decline in the number of customers with a significant majority of those inactive accounts concentrated in later-stage recovery business categories. During the quarter, we announced and completed the acquisition of Podcorn, the country’s #1 podcast influencer marketplace hosting over 44,000 podcast creators, substantially bolstering our customer product offerings. We also announced a multi-year agreement with BetMGM making them a preferred sports betting partner of the company. We are emerging from the pandemic as a meaningfully stronger and better positioned company with significantly enhanced growth potential and are excited by the opportunities ahead as we continue to drive innovation and development of new products, content, and capabilities.”

Salem Media Group Reports Q1 Revenue Growth of 1.9%. Reporting its financial data for the first quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group, delivers positive numbers as total revenue for the company was $59.4 million, an increase of 1.9% over the same period in 2020. The company reports that total operating expenses decreased 27.9% to $55 million from $76.3 million and operating expenses – excluding gains or losses on the disposition of assets, stock- based compensation expense, changes in the estimated fair value of contingent earn-out consideration, impairments, depreciation expense and amortization expense – decreased 6.2% to $51.4 million from $54.8 million. Salem also reveals operating income of $4.4 million compared to the operating loss of $18 million it posted in the first quarter of 2020. Salem Media Group reports its business segments and says net broadcast revenue was $44 million, a decline of 2.5% compared to the first quarter of 2020; same station net broadcast revenue was $43.9 million, a dip of 1.9%; digital media revenue was $9.6 million, an increase of 5.7%; digital media operating income rose 21.6% to $0.9 million from $0.8 million; and publishing revenue increased 43.4% to $5.7 million from $4.0 million.

‘1010XL’ in Jacksonville Celebrates Alumni Week. Jacksonville sports talk WJXL-AM/FM “1010XL” is taking a look in the rearview mirror next week as it celebrates Alumni Week beginning on Monday (5/10). The Seven Bridges Radio LLC-owned station is bringing back popular hosts of the past, is “re-pairing” hosts who formerly worked together and is taking a journey back through the memories of the station’s first 15 years. Frank Frangie, the station’s afternoon drive host, and Rick Ballou will reunite in afternoon drive for the entire week. The duo handled afternoon drive together for more than seven years beginning in 2009. They also will be joined periodically throughout the week by Jessica Blaylock, a mainstay on the show during much of the time Frangie and Ballou were together. Mike Dempsey, the host of “Jaguars Today,” will be reunited for the entire week with his former co-host, former Jags’ linebacker Tom McManus. Guest during the week include Jeff Lageman, David Garrard, Jason Godbee and Ryan O’halloran. “Helmets and Heels,” the station’s weekly show featuring all-female hosts, will air every night during the week from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Current hosts Lauren Brooks and Donna Murphy, who have been on the show since its inception, will be joined by show regular Taylor Doll as well as former cast members Jessica Blaylock, Blythe Brumleve, Amanda Borges and others. “The Drill,” the station’s morning show, will have interview segments with former co-hosts Jordan DeArmon, Mackenzie Thirkill, as well as Tony Boselli and some surprise guests. Hays Carlyon, currently an afternoon drive co-host, will sit in on “XL Prime Time” with Joe Cowart, Matt Hayes, and Leon Searcy. “XL Prime Time” guests include Chad Scott, Terry Norvelle, Scott Manze and more. While Frangie and Ballou will have segments with Joe Block, Pat Dooley, Amanda Borges, former program director Jason Dixon, and others.

RTDNA Presents Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards. The RTDNA announces the regional winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards and bestows more than 750 awards in recognizing more than 350 local radio and television stations. RTDNA chair Andrea Stahlman says, “The regional RTDNA Edward R. Murrow Award recipients we announce today produced extraordinary journalism that brought clarity and context to 2020’s biggest news stories. The winning work demonstrates dedication, determination, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards enshrined in RTDNA’s Code of Ethics.” In a new category for 2021, more than 40 news outlets earned regional Murrow Awards for Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, including examples of bilingual reporting, contextual coverage of inequality and discrimination, and newsroom-convened community discussions. RTDNA executive director and COO Dan Shelley comments, “Local journalists across the country guided Americans through a pandemic, ongoing racial reckoning and a fraught election cycle, despite facing unprecedented operational challenges and an astonishing number of physical attacks during 2020. The persistence of the regional Murrow Award winners we recognize today is a testament to these journalists’ commitment to their First Amendment duty.” See the complete list of winners here.

Edison Research Releases ‘Moms and Media 2021’ Study Results. The results of Edison Research’s “Moms and Media 2021” study have been released and the company says some of the highlights include that 46% of U.S. moms own a smart speaker, up from 33% last year. Sixty-three percent of U.S. moms now use voice-operated personal assistants of any kind, including smart speakers, smart phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. Of those moms who own a smart speaker, they own an average of 2.7 of the devices. Edison Research vice president Melissa DeCesare says, “The past year during COVID has been about adjustment, especially for moms. The pandemic uprooted everything we knew and were familiar with and it forced a new at-home lifestyle for the entire family. Moms are tasked with keeping it all on track and they do it with help from modern technology. Our 2021 report shows that moms have not only maintained their commitment to devices and mobile tendencies, but they’ve actually adjusted their habits to better suit their needs during the pandemic.” Other noteworthy data include: More moms are consuming online audio with 82% of U.S. moms being monthly online audio listeners compared with 76% in 2020, and 76% of U.S. moms being weekly online audio listeners compared with 70% in 2020; and more moms are listening to podcasts with 64% of U.S. moms having ever listened to a podcast (up from 57% in 2020) – 40% having listened in the last month and 28% having listened in the last week. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. After nearly three years of hosting and producing “Bagels and Broadway with Valerie Smaldone” on WNYM, New York “AM 970 The Answer,” Smaldone says she’s ending the radio edition of the food and theatre-themed program but will continue the show as a podcast this fall when Broadway reopens. Smaldone recently began a new position as executive vice president and producer at multiplatform content company Audio Drama Initiative…..PodcastOne announces a multi-year first look deal with Picture Perfect Federation, the joint venture between Picture Perfect Entertainment and Federation Entertainment led by Patrick Wachsberger, for the development of scripted serial podcast content. Under the development deal, Wachsberger and his team will introduce scripted content across multiple genres with an eye to package the resulting audio IP for television, film, and streaming platforms. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “Patrick and his team are true professionals with unparalleled success in the movie, television and scripted world. The partnership with PodcastOne will complement their expertise with over 10 years of experience in the audio space developing weekly interview styles and successful scripted programming. Together, we are going to supercharge our story telling and fan development capabilities to create a slate of programs that will be exciting for audiences, advertisers and production houses looking to be involved with our amazing IP.”…..Advertising mogul and veteran TV personality, Donny Deutsch is teaming up with Kast Media to launch his first-ever podcast titled, “On Brand with Donny Deutsch,” on May 13. Deutsch has hosted television shows such as CNBC’s long running series, “The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch” and MSNBC’s “Saturday Night Politics.”…..Alpha Media Canton announces that news/talk WHBC-AM is the new home of “Tangled Up In Blues with Cornel Bogdan.” Bogdan’s show first aired in September 2000 in Youngstown. He says, “When I started ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ over 20 years ago, I had no idea it would be so greatly accepted. It’s very humbling. My listeners are passionate about this music like no other. WHBC is a cornerstone in Canton. I wanted to be part of that heritage. ‘Tangled Up In Blues’ on WHBC is really good mojo!”…..“The Motley Fool” radio show host Chris Hill is the narrator of the audio book edition of Morgan Housel’s The Psychology of Money (2021 Harriman House) that is enjoying having just hit the milestone of 100,000 audiobook sales.

COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 3-7. The COVID-19-related issues including vaccines, variants, politics, the soaring death toll in India, and statistics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Facebook’s Oversight Board keeping Donald Trump’s page suspended and the broader issue of censorship, followed by party politics and Liz Cheney’s battle for her status in the GOP 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.

Friday, April 23, 2021

| April 23, 2021

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 Air That We Breathe,” looks back at this past week of April 19-23. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Larry Elder, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkJoe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioJoan Michelson, talk show host / producer, Green Connections Radio; and Holland Cooke, media consultant / talk show host, RT America.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

KMOX, St. Louis Unveils New Live and Local Midday Show. Legendary St. Louis news/talk outlet KMOX-AM/K254CR goes local in the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm daypart. Audacy’s “News Radio 1120AM / 98.7FM” will debut “St. Louis Talks” featuring KMOX personalities Carol Daniel, evening talk show host Ryan Wrecker, and longtime St. Louis radio personality Bo Matthews on May 3. Audacy St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan comments, “Now is the time to expand our local content offering for the people of St. Louis, and we are thrilled to have three established, well known and trusted St. Louis voices to help usher in this new era for our station. We look forward to Carol, Ryan, and Bo working in tandem with the KMOX newsroom to report and react on local, regional and national topics that affect our community as we continue building on our position as the voice of St. Louis.” Daniel says, “This is a dream come true for me to host a show on a historic radio station with talented, funny, and curious people like Bo and Ryan. My goal is to bring listeners stories about the people, places and things in the region we all love but want so much more out of.” Wrecker states, “This is our chance to do something new and exciting through one of the most significant radio stations in America. I can’t wait to work alongside Carol and Bo.” Matthews, who’s been serving with the station part-time since 2019, adds, “Getting the opportunity to share the stories of St. Louis and hear about the people that make it the special place that it is will be an honor. To get to do that with Carol and Ryan makes it even better. This is proof that you can dream big, but God dreams even bigger and makes them come true.”

Round Four of March PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s March 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s March 2021 sweep covered March 4 – 31. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Although it drops 1.1 shares, Waterloo Media’s KLBJ-AM, Austin remains ranked #4 in the market with a 5.1 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share). Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis is steady at #3 losing a full share and posting a 7.2 share. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM declines 1.4 shares to finish the March survey with an 8.4 share and falls from #1 to #2 while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown WTMJ-AM sheds four-tenths and wraps the survey with a 5.6 share and stays in the #5 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets – along with his Takeaways from the first three rounds – here.

Midwest Communications’ WMBD, Peoria Makes Programming Changes. Peoria, Illinois news/talk WMBD-AM/W262BY is making changes to its program schedule. Effective May 3, the Peoria-based, Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley, Van Camp and Robbins” show – hosted by Jamie Markley, David Van Camp, and Scott Robbins – moves to the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm slot formerly occupied by Premiere NetworksRush Limbaugh and former “Markley, Van Camp and Robbins” producer Craig Collins returns to the station to host the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm show. Additionally, WMBD is adding Radio America’s “The Dana Show” starring Dana Loesch in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart. About the changes, Midwest Communications Peoria VP and market manager Mike Wild says, “Trying to replace Rush Limbaugh with a similar type program is a really tall order. The approach of ‘Markley, Van Camp and Robbins’ is differentiated from Rush and we can clearly point to their very successful ratings track record.” He also addresses Collins’ new role in afternoons. “Craig was the natural choice for us there. Craig is passionate, he’s already a part of the community, and because he was part of our group in the past, we know how he can contribute to the culture and success of our entire operation.”

Salem and Charlie Kirk Renew Podcast Deal. The deal between Salem Radio Network and Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk in which SRN distributes and handles ad sales for “The Charlie Kirk Show” podcast is extended for multiple years. SRN says “The Charlie Kirk Show” podcast has become one of the top 10 news podcasts in the country on the Apple Podcast rankings amongst nearly 1.7 million podcasts on the platform. Salem first began selling ‘The Charlie Kirk Show’ podcast in November and now will sell and manage the program through the Salem Podcast Network for years to come. Kirk says, “I am thrilled and excited to extend our relationship with Salem. Salem has become a giant in conservative media and is the perfect partner for our team.” Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce adds, “Charlie’s radio show is already doing a great job filling the void in the 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm ET daypart. This podcast already delivered over 100,000,000 downloads in the last 12 months, and is valiantly fighting the culture war that we face in conservatism.”

WKNR-AM, Cleveland Welcomes Back Danny Cunningham. Sports media pro Danny Cunningham is rejoining Good Karma Brands’ WKNR-AM, Cleveland “850 ESPN” as a content teammate in which he’ll handle producing, writing, hosting, reporting and social media duties. Cunningham comes to WKNR from his most recent position as Minnesota Timberwolves reporter and “Vikings Vent Line” co-host at Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM, Minneapolis “SKOR North.” After launching his career at WKNR in 2015, he served with Mid-West Family’s sports talk WOZN, Madison, Wisconsin. ESPN Cleveland director of content Matt Fishman says, “We’re thrilled to add someone of his skill and experience to the team.”

Roy Masters Dies at 93. According to a Facebook post from his son Alan Taylor, Roy Masters a pioneer in the self-help talk radio genre died yesterday (4/22) at the age of 93. Alan Taylor posted, in part: “It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of my father Roy Masters, author, teacher and radio counselor to millions worldwide for nearly six decades. Following a storied American tradition, Roy was an immigrant who fell in love with this country from afar. Looking across the ocean from war-torn Britain, he was determined to make the ‘land of liberty’ his home. Since 1963 Roy Masters has been a radio counselor and for more than 50 years, the foundation he created has served and has continued to serve seekers worldwide on their journey to the eternal Truth that seeks us all.” Roy Masters was also the founder, along with now-retired radio executive Alan Corbeth, of Talk Radio Network which syndicated Roy Masters’ radio show for a period, and launched the syndication of Art Bell’s “Coast to Coast AM” as well as Michael Savage’s “Savage Nation. ” Masters’ son Mark Masters served as CEO of the company for many years.

Derek Chauvin Verdict and Race Relations Top News/Talk Story for Week of April 19-23. The trial and verdict in the case of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between police reform and the Columbus, Ohio police shooting death of knife wielding teen Ma’Khia Bryant and Lebron James’ threatening tweet, followed by mass shootings in America and gun control 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.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

| April 21, 2021

Round Two of March PPMs Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s March 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s March 2021 survey period covered March 4 – 31. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets and he reports that in the Washington, DC market Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM loses 2.1 shares from the February to March surveys and finishes with a 3.9 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) dropping from the #4 rank to #9, while Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM remains ranked #2, although it shed nine-tenths for a 9.0 share finish. In Boston, iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO stays in the #8 rank while posting a 4.4 share, a decline of eight-tenths while sister all-news WBZ-AM slips 1.1 shares to a 6.4 share and slides from the #1 rank to #4. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle remains ranked #1 even though it lost nine-tenths and wrapped the survey with a 6.4 share. And Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle lost just two-tenths and stayed in the #5 spot with a 5.0 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways report for this group of markets (and yesterday’s group of 12) here.

Tweet by KFAB, Omaha Talk Host Chris Baker Draws Criticism; Station ‘Reviewing it Internally.’ According to a story published by the Omaha World-Herald, KFAB-AM afternoon drive talk host Chris Baker is being criticized for posting an image of a small group of Black natives in loincloths and brandishing spears with the caption, “Guilty!” immediately following the verdict against Derek Chauvin. Although the tweet was removed, it was screen captured and iHeartMedia management was made aware of it. iHeartMedia area president C. Taylor Walet III, told the paper the situation is under review by the company. He stated, “We are aware of the completely inappropriate tweet that was posted late Tuesday afternoon. Please know that this does not represent our viewpoint or our values. We take this situation very seriously and are reviewing it internally in order to take appropriate action.”

Markley, Van Camp & Robbins Approach 100 Affiliate Stations Threshold. The Compass Media Networks-syndicated “Markley, Van Camp & Robbins” talk radio program is rapidly approaching the 100-affiliate station mark after adding some two dozen new affiliates including 17 live clears. The program – co-hosted by Jamie Markley, David Van Camp, and Scott Robbins – was recently added to stations in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET slot at stations such as: WLAD-AM, Danbury, Connecticut; KPNW-AM, Eugene, Oregon; KJNO-AM, Juneau, Alaska; KMED-AM, Medford, Oregon; WMBD-AM, Peoria, Illinois; WSGW-AM/FM, Saginaw, Michigan; and more. WSGW-AM/FM operations manager Dave Maurer comments, “The live ‘Markley, Van Camp and Robbins’ show is making a positive contribution to the programming of 100.5 & 790 Newsradio WSGW! The guys get on the hot topics of the day, but they also know when to take the off ramp and add some entertaining elements to the show. I’m confident they are bringing us a broader audience including younger listeners and more women.” Alpha Media EVP of content Phil Becker adds, “‘Markley, van Camp and Robbins’ have achieved the perfect blend of chemistry and humor. This is the show news/talk stations have been looking for.”

WFAS-AM to Broadcast with All-Digital Signal. White Plains, New York talk station WFAS-AM receives permission from the FCC to broadcasting its signal in a digital format and eliminate the analog broadcast format. The Cumulus Media station posted the following on its website: “In October 2020, the Federal Communications Commission adopted a new rule allowing AM radio stations to operate using all-digital broadcast signals. 1230 WFAS-AM, licensed to White Plains, New York, has notified the FCC of its intention to switch from its current analog operation to all digital beginning on May 24th, 2021. Once WFAS has switched to an all-digital operation, only radios equipped with HD radio technology will be able to receive and play the station programming. WFAS will no longer be available on analog-only AM radios. Broadcasting in digital will eliminate annoying static and interference, improve the sound quality to equal FM radio and streaming and extend the range for clear reception.”

Political Voices Network and Counterpoint Partner to Provide Multi-Platform Home for Political Humor. A new partnership between Political Voices Network – an audio-and-video destination for political talk from popular hosts such as Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmannand Counterpoint – a source for the latest political humor from top opinion cartoonists such as Pulitzer recipients Nick Anderson, Darrin Bell, Michael Ramirez as well as the Washington Post’s Michael de Adder – are joining forces to provide news junkies a twice-weekly side order of cartoon humor alongside their political-talk diets. Cartoons will be presented every Tuesday and Thursday with text-based commentary from the artists. New York- and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales handles advertising and sponsorship sales for Political Voices Network. Political Voices Network co-founder Ron Hartenbaum says, “One of the most enduring and popular aspects of political opinion and commentary has been that great and especially American tradition of the political cartoon. The combined objective for Counterpoint and Political Voices Network is to expand both the audience for this top-flight creative content and fan sponsorship and support of this format. Thanks to this alliance we’ll be able to entertain fans with a service that blends seamlessly with our existing multiplatform offerings in a convenient destination for multi-format viewpoints on the day’s news.”

Three Award-Winning Content Creators Join New York Festivals Radio Awards Advisory Board. The New York Festivals Radio Awards announces the appointment of award-winning global storytellers Jennie Caltaldo, Helen Shaw, and Carole Zimmer to the Radio Awards Advisory Board. The 13-member Advisory Council provides NYF’s Radio Awards competition with ongoing knowledge of emerging trends and critical industry insights. Jennie Cataldo is an award-winning radio and podcast producer who serves as vice president of programming at BMP Audio in San Francisco. Helen Shaw is an award-winning producer/director who runs digital and broadcast storytelling agency Athena Media in Ireland. Carole Zimmer, reporter-at-large, is the host of the podcast “Now What?” about big life decisions, transitions and how you navigate all those curves in the road. The three also serve on the 2021 Radio Awards Grand Jury. This year is the eleventh year of NYF’s strategic partnership with NAB Show and all convention attendees will have access to the multi-day NAB event which is the world’s largest media entertainment marketplace and takes place in October 2021. The deadline to enter the 2021 Radio Awards competition is May 20. Find information about entering the competition here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Independent Broadcasters Association, Feeding America, and 375 radio stations partnered to hold the 2nd annual “Radio Cares – Feeding America Radiothon” on April 14 that raised $40,000 to provide 400,000 meals for individuals and families facing hunger in America. IBA president and Adams Radio Group CEO Ron Stone comments, “Hunger in America escalated because of the pandemic and there are families still struggling to put food on the table. I’m very proud of the stations that participated again. The work that Benztown, McVay Media, and Vipology put into this effort is unmatched – they truly define the word volunteerism!”…..The impactful mentoring message of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America will be highlighted on more than 850 live broadcast radio stations as the result of  a new partnership between the organization and iHeartMedia. iHM selected BBBSA for its Communities Spotlight Media Grant Program, the goal of which is to provide a platform for organizations to inspire, educate, and empower listeners to take a stand against systemic racism and promote social justice. Yesterday (4/20), a series of PSAs featuring voices of current youth (called “Littles”) began airing on iHeartRadio stations and the iHeartRadio app focusing on the need for Big Brothers Big Sisters mentors, and most especially Black men. The campaign runs through the end of the year…..The USA Radio Network-syndicated “Dan Sileo Radio Show” sports talk program is added to the lineup at KXEG-AM, Phoenix.

Delmarva Radio Personality Wayne Cannon Dies at 72. Longtime Salisbury-Ocean City, Maryland music radio personality and talk show host Wayne Cannon died on Monday (4/19) at the age of 72 after a battle with Pulmonary Fibrosis. After a stint in the Army, Cannon got his start in the early 70s at WETT-Ocean City, Maryland. He moved to WWTR, Bethany Beach, Delaware, then WSEA-AM, Georgetown, Delaware before returning to WETT. He joined WGMD, Rehoboth Beach in 1993 and served there for 20 years but continued to make contributions for another seven years.

Chauvin Guilty Verdict, COVID-19, Border Crisis/Immigration Policy, and EU Climate Deal/U.S. Climate Summit Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/20). The guilty verdict against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd; the exploding rate of COVID cases in several countries and the rollout of vaccines in the U.S.; Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s deploying of National Guard troops to the Mexican border to respond to the migrant crisis and the Joe Biden administration’s immigration policy; and the EU agrees to a climate deal ahead of Biden’s Thursday climate summit that will include China’s Xi Jinping were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Michael Harrison Pens Lyrics to Animal Welfare Anthem – Appears on New Gunhill Road Album and Video. TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has been an outspoken supporter of the animal welfare movement for most of his adult life. Now he has the opportunity to express his views on the subject through his lyrics and performance of a song titled, “I Know You’re Real,” on the latest album by the historic group, Gunhill Road, that has roots going back to the golden age of album rock. The album is titled, What Year Is This! and it was produced by the band with remote technology during the pandemic year of 2020. In the process, Harrison has become an official member as a vocalist and songwriter of the long-lived band that has been in existence since 1969. Harrison tells TALKERS, “I go all the way back to 1971 with this great NYC-based ensemble when I played them every day on my morning show on WNEW-FM. They had two albums in that era that received critical praise and lots of airplay on FM album rock stations. They also had a hit single on top 40 radio – ‘Back When My Hair Was Short’ – in the early 70s. They had the reputation in those days as being the ‘best opening act’ in the NYC album rock club scene and appeared on the bill with some of the biggest names in music at such historic venues as the Bitter End.” Since then, the members of the group kept its spirit (and fan base) alive by continuing to record, release new material and play occasional concerts. Their longevity was the subject of a documentary feature film about the group that made a splash on the film festival circuit and was carried on Amazon Prime. Although the founding members eventually went in different directions (and successful careers) in their private lives, they kept the spirit of Gunhill Road alive through the decades by remaining very close friends and appearing sporadically at special events and charity concerts. The lyrics of the song “I Know You’re Real,” written by Harrison and performed by him in a spoken-word presentation on the new album and video, take an emotionally uplifting view of the connection between humans, animals, and the entire universe. There are two versions of the song on the album and video. The other features band member Brian Koonin singing the lyrics. Both versions have been posted to YouTube. The version spoken by Harrison can be viewed below

Harrison says, “The song is a spiritually uplifting tribute to animal welfare… which has long been one of my main interests and guiding themes of my life. If you have love and respect for all of Earth’s sentient creatures, please take a look and listen to the song and share the link with friends who might enjoy and appreciate them as well.” Harrison is available to appear as a guest on talk media shows to discuss the subject of animal welfare (not to be confused with animal rights) as well as what it was like to record with a band via Zoom during the pandemic. To book Michael Harrison on a talk show please call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS, 413-565-5413. To read a feature story about Gunhill Road and this experience written by Harrison, please click here.