Don Martin Elevated to Executive Vice President of Programming for iHeartMedia Sports. Programmer Don Martin is named executive vice president of programming for iHeartMedia Sports. Martin, who’s been with iHeartMedia for the past 26 years, previously served the company as senior vice president of programming for FOX Sports Radio and SVP of sports talk KLAC-AM, Los Angeles. In his new role, Martin will lead sports radio operations and oversee recruiting for on-air talent, program directors, and board operators for the iHeartMedia Markets Group and Premiere Networks. In addition, Martin will identify opportunities to expand iHeartMedia Sports partnerships – including leagues, teams, podcasting and broadcast. He will continue to oversee the programming, promotions, operations and sales for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Kings, Los Angeles Chargers, UCLA and others. Martin will also continue his operational, programming and sales responsibilities for KLAC-AM, Los Angeles. Kevin LeGrett, president of iHeartMedia Sports and iHeartMedia Los Angeles, says, “The iHeartMedia Sports Network would not be what it is today without Don’s years of experience and innovation. He is the perfect choice to lead our ever-expanding network, bringing us the most exciting new partnerships and team members.” Martin comments, “In life, you are only as good as the family around you. I have had the privilege of working with three of the most incredible families in the business – from KOA in Denver to AM 570 and FOX Sports Radio in LA, and now the family just gets bigger! Thank you, Greg Ashlock, Kevin LeGrett, Julie Talbott, and Tom Poleman for your belief and trust in me. I am a blessed man!”
Markley, van Camp & Robbins Takes Over Late Mornings on KDWN, Las Vegas. The nationally syndicated “Markely, van Camp & Robbins” show – hosted by Jamie Markley, David van Camp, and Scott Robbins – is now heard in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart on Beasley Media Group’s KDWN-AM/K268CS, Las Vegas. The Compass Media Networks program is currently heard on 120 affiliate stations. KDWN program director Steve Hoffman says, “‘Markley, van Camp & Robbins’ feels like the next generation of talk radio with the right combination of political talk, attitude and fun for KDWN.” Markley, van Camp and Robbins comment, “Thanks to Steve and the whole team at KDWN! It’s a blessing to connect with people throughout the country who not only want to know what’s going on but love common sense and to laugh at the absurd. That’s our goal every day.”
Cumulus News/Talk KMAJ-AM, Topeka Adds FM Translator. Topeka, Kansas news/talk KMAJ-AM adds an FM translator to its signal. The Cumulus Media station is now heard on K228FW at 93.5 FM in addition to its 1440 AM signal. Cumulus says the FM signal will cover all of Topeka, as well as all of Shawnee County. With the addition of the translator, the station rebrands as “The Big Talker KMAJ-AM/FM” and unveils its new logo. Cumulus Topeka VP and market manager Nic Merenda says, “KMAJ has been a part of the Topeka radio landscape for over 30 years. To be able to offer our stellar lineup of news, talk, and sports on a stronger, crystal-clear FM signal is an exciting new chapter in this station’s legendary history.” Cumulus Topeka operations manager Amber Lee adds, “Expanding the reach of ‘The Big Talker’ is a great benefit – especially to the listeners of our high school sports coverage. Mike Manns and his sports broadcast team are the voices of an entire community!”
Stapleford Promoted to Vice President at Magnum and Intrepid Broadcasting. Radio management pro Diana Stapleford is promoted from her general manager role to vice president of corporate operations for Magnum Broadcasting and Intrepid Broadcasting. For 16 years, Stapleford led the State College, Pennsylvania station group that includes news/talk WBLF and three music brands which was recently sold to Schlesinger Communications. The company says, “Sixteen years ago, Magnum Broadcasting entered the State College, PA market with the purchase of WUBZ-FM and WPHB-AM. We were continually told at that time that the key to our success was to bring Diana aboard as general manager and that proved to be true. We were fortunate to have Diana join the company then and her incredible talents, skills and dedication will ensure that Magnum Broadcasting realizes great success with her directing our operations and personnel across our five radio stations and two companies. The recognition this promotion brings and the appreciation it shows is thoroughly deserved by Diana. Meanwhile, Magnum Broadcasting and Intrepid Broadcasting have aligned themselves with top broadcast professionals as we position ourselves to excel in a very challenging and ever-changing industry and environment.” Magnum Broadcasting owns and operates WEEO-FM, Chambersburg, PA/Hagerstown, MD “Newstalk 103.7,” news/talk duo WKEZ-FM, Tavernier, Florida and WPIK-FM Summerland Key, Florida “Keystalk,” and several music brands in Florida and New York.
FOX News Digital Finishes Tops in Several Metrics in November 2021. According to data from Comscore for the November 2021 period among news brands in the news competitive set, FOX News Digital’s FOXNews.com was first in multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views, reaching close to 1.6 billion multiplatform views and over 2.9 billion multiplatform minutes. FOXNews.com surpassed CNN’s CNN.com in multiplatform minutes for the ninth consecutive month. FOXNews.com also marks five straight months as number one in multiplatform views. It should be noted that both FOXNews.com and CNN.com both saw reduced Total Minutes, Total Views, and Unique Visitors this year compared to the election month of November 2020. Also, CNN.com handily topped FOXNews.com in the multiplatform unique visitors metric by a margin of 140.27 million to 90.23 million.
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder has the update on former WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago managing editor Julie Mann, who exited the Audacy all-news station last week. Mann is now the public information officer for Kane County, Illinois. She tells Feder, “I saw it as an opportunity to continue working in the field of communications but in a whole new way.”…..Podcast publisher PodcastOne announces that it has signed deals to keep top performing and fan favorite podcasts “LADYGANG,” “Gals on the Go,” and “Rob Has a Podcast” with PodcastOne for the foreseeable future. LADYGANG’s Keltie Knight, Jac Vanek, and Becca Tobin comment, “The team at PodcastOne understands ‘LADYGANG’ exponentially and continues to bring us exciting partnerships with the brands that we love. Our relationship isn’t just about impressions, downloads and contracts – it is about their dedicated team of producers and salespeople working hand-in-hand with us on every single episode so that we can overdeliver on our promises to our brand partners, while remaining authentic, honest and vulnerable with our listeners. We had incredibly successful and lucrative specialty projects with brands like European Wax Center, Obe Fitness, and Hyundai – and all three were so happy with the outcome that they are all hanging with the gang again in 2022. Our listeners are happy. Our brands are happy. We are happy and so excited for the future.”…..Saga Communications announces that its board of directors is declaring a quarterly cash dividend of $0.16 per share and a special cash dividend of $0.50 per share. The dividend will be paid on January 14, 2022, to shareholders of record on December 27, 2021. The aggregate amount of the payment to be made in connection with the quarterly and special dividends will be approximately $4 million. The quarterly and special cash dividends will be funded by cash on the company’s balance sheet. Including this dividend, the company will have paid over $77 million in dividends to shareholders since the first special dividend was paid in 2012.
Hilton Howell to Be Honored with BFoA’s Golden Mike Award. The Broadcasters Foundation of America announces that Hilton H. Howell, Jr., chairman of the board and CEO of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation, is the recipient of the 2022 Golden Mike Award. The award will be presented during a black-tie gala on Monday, March 14, 2022, at the Plaza Hotel in New York City. This year’s event marks the return of the Foundation’s biggest fundraiser, which did not take place in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Broadcasters Foundation chairman Scott Herman says, “It’s been a challenging year-and-a-half, and we are thrilled to honor Hilton and once again present the Golden Mike Award live and in-person. Looking ahead, our goal remains to provide financial aid for every broadcaster who qualifies.” The Broadcasters Foundation of America Golden Mike Award dinner attracts a who’s who of broadcast media executives and celebrities. The presenters and performers for this year’s event will be announced shortly. Previous recipients include Dave Lougee, Perry Sook, Emily Barr, David Barrett, Michael Bloomberg, Bob Pittman, Gordon Smith, Jeff Smulyan, and more. For information, or to reserve a seat or table, please contact the Broadcasters Foundation at 212-373-8250 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
COVID-19, January 6 Investigation, Biden Polls/Build Back Better Plan, Debt Limit, China and Russia vs the West, and Fed to Raise Interest Rates Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The fast spread of the Omicron variant, vaccine mandates, and Pfizer’s COVID pill; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the Capitol, Donald Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows held in contempt of Congress, texts of Trump staffers and media figures released; Congress passes legislation to raise the debt limit; Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping meeting and their warning against “Western aggression”; and the Fed’s plans to gradually raise interest rates were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled “Biden Passed Gas” looks back at this past week of 11/15 – 11/19. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Dave Ramsey, talk show host/CEO, Ramsey Solutions; Lars Larson, talk show host, Compass Media Networks; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; and Sean Spicer, talk show host, NewsmaxTV. 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; 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 Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer 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.
Salem Los Angeles Re-Ups Horn In AM Drive. A new contract agreement between Jennifer Horn and Salem Media Group will keep Horn as co-host of “The Morning Answer” on Los Angeles news/talk KRLA “AM 870 The Answer.” Horn and Grant Stinchfield co-host the 6:00 am – 9:00 am show, which is simulcast in the Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario) on Salem’s KTIE “AM 590 The Answer.” Salem vice president of spoken word Phil Boyce remarks, “Waking up Los Angeles is one of the most important jobs in radio – Jen and Grant have figured out the formula. They always have a smile, but can deliver the day’s top news with a dose of reality. Salem is very proud to showcase these hosts.” KRLA & KTIE program director Chuck Tyler notes, “Jen and Grant are the most talented team I have ever had the privilege of working with. They have the rare ability to cover and comment on serious issues, while having some fun at the same time.” Horn adds, “Once in a career you get a golden opportunity and this is it. It has been the ultimate honor working with Salem and our local team to develop a morning show that is making incredible strides in the Los Angeles market. Grant Stinchfield is the ultimate professional. He brings a background in journalism, a unique perspective, and sense of humor. It’s been so much fun to partner and build chemistry with him.” Newsmax host Stinchfield came aboard to join Horn on KRLA & KTIE six months ago (5/18).
Lieberman Lands In The IE as iHM’s Senior VP/Sales. Three-year Townsquare Media Tri-Cities, Washington market president Ryan Lieberman is named senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s five-station cluster in Southern California’s Inland Empire (Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario). Lieberman – whose appointment is effective immediately – spent almost two decades with CBS Radio (now Audacy) in both Los Angeles and Chicago. iHeartMedia San Diego, Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario president Melissa Forrest states, “We look forward to having Ryan on board. His knowledge, leadership, and passion will be a tremendous addition to the region and to our team.” Lieberman adds, “I am thrilled to return to Southern California as part of the iHeartMedia family by joining the Riverside team. Having spent the better part of my career competing against iHeartMedia, and being envious of how their teams execute marketing solutions for their clients, I’m excited to lend my expertise to an already high-functioning team.” News/talk KFOO “1440 AM Black Information Network” and sports talk KPWK “AM 1350 Fox Sports” are among iHeartMedia’s Inland Empire outlets, as are rhythmic CHR KGGI; rock KTMQ; and alternative KMYT.
iHeart Pledges To Create 180 Jobs in Downtown Nashville. The iHeartMedia commitment would generate 180 jobs in downtown Nashville over the next five years. While the company’s “Music City” radio stations (news/talk WLAC “Talk Radio 98.3 & 1510”; Black Information Network affiliate WNRQ-HD2; classic rock WNRQ-FM; CHR WRVW; urban contemporary WUBT; and country WSIX) are housed in a separate Music Row facility, the new jobs will be based in the company’s 40,000 square-foot downtown facility, which opened last year. As first reported by the Nashville Business Journal, the Tennessee Funding Board, “unanimously approved a $1.25 million grant to iHeartMedia [yesterday, 11/18]. The company was finalizing a lease as the COVID-19 pandemic erupted in early-2020.” At the time, iHM was billing the downtown location as a “second headquarters” for its digital division. The state grant reportedly equals 44% of the $2.85 million that iHeartMedia is spending on its Nashville expansion. Per the NBJ article and state records, “The grant will be used for building retrofit, fixture improvements, lease payments, and tenant improvements. A headcount did not become public until Wednesday’s meeting of the Funding Board.” State records indicate that the 180 jobs will pay an average of $51.82 an hour.
Report: WarnerMedia Planning An Audience-Measurement Data Operation. While this would be for television, Variety reports that WarnerMedia is directly targeting Nielsen Holdings, which – of course – has had a stranglehold on the TV ratings business for decades. According to Variety, WarnerMedia is talking to as many as 15 different measurement vendors with expectations it can test possibilities in next year’s first quarter. WarnerMedia data/research chief Andrea Zapata opines to Variety, “There has got to be a better alternative in measurement solutions.” At the same time though, she comments, “Nielsen is definitely a part of our business as usual and can earn a place in our future.” As the James Aycock-written Variety article mentions, “Nielsen has taken a number of hits from its media partners, particularly complaints of mismeasurement during the COVID-19 pandemic that culminated in losing its MRC accreditation.”
Today’s Homeowner Media Acquires On The House Media. After a 35-year home improvement media career, James and Morris Carey (The Carey Brothers, pictured at the right) are retiring to focus on their family remodeling business, and have sold their On The House Media to Today’s Homeowner Media. The final installment of “On The House with the Carey Brothers,” will air on its 100+ affiliates Christmas Day (12/25). Then one week later (1/1/2022), Today’s Homeowner Media will take ownership of On The House Media’s website, digital content, and social channels. Today’s Homeowner Media president/host Danny Lipford comments, “I’m both happy and sad about James and Morris’ decision to hang up their headphones and step down from their 35-year home improvement media career. They are legends in the business and will be missed. I’m glad they’ve enjoyed such a successful run, and grateful that I’m able to carry on their media tradition and legacy. Today’s Homeowner looks forward to featuring their articles, videos, and, hopefully, airing on the many radio stations they’ve earned during their career.” James Carey notes, “Morris and I have been moved by the tremendous outpouring that we have received since announcing our retirement. The positive comments, and expression of gratitude and support have been overwhelming and heartening.” Morris Carey adds, “Danny [Lipford] is a warm, pleasant and knowledgeable guy. I can’t think of anyone to whom I would rather pass on the torch.” Currently in its 13th year, the weekly, two-hour “Today’s Homeowner” is hosted by Lipford and author Joe Truini; it has 320 affiliates.
TALKERS News Notes. Recent Comscore data details continued growth of Newsmax’s online properties, including Newsmax.com. According to Comscore, Newsmax is now the #2 conservative news brand online, behind Fox News. Newsmax reports that its online increase mirrors “tremendous audience growth.” Meanwhile – per Nielsen – Newsmax TV is the fourth-highest-rated cable news channel … Syndicated host Erick Erickson’s annual three-hour “Erick Erickson Christmas Show” combines Erickson’s theological background; conversations about Christmas; and Christmas music. “Christmas is the perfect time to focus on the big picture and not the daily news headlines,” he comments. “[Our] Christmas show is designed so everyone can come together, exhale after a crazy year, and focus on the holidays.” Cox Media Group news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM “Atlanta’s News & Talk” is the flagship for “The Erick Erickson Christmas Show,” which is available on a first come/first served basis. It can be broadcast anytime from 6:00 am -12:00 midnight on (Friday) December 24 and (Saturday) December 25 … The five-station Cox Media Group Tampa cluster – which includes news/talk WHPT “102.5 The Bone” – is teaming with Metropolitan Ministries today (Friday, 11/19) to host “Feed The Bay.” All five CMG Tampa outlets are encouraging listeners to donate food items to Metropolitan Ministries’ donation location. Cox Media Group Tampa vice president and market manager Keith Lawless notes, “This is the ninth consecutive year that Cox Media Group Tampa has been a partner with Metropolitan Ministries for the holidays. We are starting to get back to normal, but there is still a tremendous need to feed those in our community.”
U.S. Podcast Report. Top network reports are ranked by average weekly downloads and average weekly users in accordance with v2.1 of the IAB Podcast technical guidelines. They are measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics and cover the reporting period of October 4 – October 31 (2021). Stitcher Media remained first on the top networks report with 39.5 million average weekly downloads/10.7 million average weekly users. It was followed by NPR with 32.3 million average weekly downloads/7.2 million average weekly users. Coming in third was Audacy with 31.8 million average weekly downloads/10.2 million average weekly users. Among the top twenty networks, new podcast network ViacomCBS ranked ninth in average weekly downloads/tenth in average weekly users. New shows debuting this period include “The Daily Show With Trevor Noah: Ears Edition” (ViacomCBS); “Over My Dead Body” (Wondery); “Fantasy Football Today” (Viacom CBS); and “The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe” (Audioboom). Full results of the U.S. Podcast Report can be seen at https://www.tritondigital.com/resources/podcast-reports.
IBA, Vipology Sign Multiyear Extension. The pact with the Independent Broadcasters Association retains Vipology as IBA’s exclusive digital consultant and partner. In its first year, Vipology created the IBA’s member site; scheduled/moderated over 60 info-webinars; and handled IBA’s national contesting. Independent Broadcasters Association chief executive officer Ron Stone comments, “There would be no IBA without Vipology’s vision, technology, and execution. I’m thrilled to continue to have Vipology on-board to advise and provide the best digital products and services.” Vipology chief executive officer Chris Peaslee notes, “We are thrilled to continue to work with the IBA; dedicated to the digital success of the IBA and its members; and offering the latest digital solutions at the industry’s lowest prices. We’re proud to be standing side-by-side with Ron [Stone] and IBA members.” The IBA was established last year (July 2020) to serve the needs of independent radio stations and groups across the country; it represents a membership base of 1,500 stations.
California Combo Rebrands From VPR To KVPR. As of this past Wednesday (11/17), Valley Public Radio (NPR affiliate) news/talk-classical KVPR, Fresno and KPRX, Bakersfield rebrands from “VPR” to “KVPR” and has a new logo. A driving force for the switch was a conflict with Vermont Public Radio, which uses the “VPR” name, as well. KVPR president and general manager Joe Moore states that, “Over the years, we’ve gone by so many different names – ‘KVPR,’ ‘FM-89,’ ‘VPR,’ ‘KPRX,’ ‘Valley Public Radio,’ and ‘NPR.’ It has led to clutter, and at times confusion. As more and more users access our content online, ‘FM-89’ has proven to be less than adequate as a name for the station. There are multiple ‘FM-89s’ across the country, and the term isn’t really relevant for non-broadcast content.” The rebranding includes a renaming of its Audiophile Magazine to the KVPR Magazine.
Audacy Names Brand Managers for Pittsburgh’s News/Talk KDKA-AM and Sports Talk KDKA-FM. Programming pro Dave LaBrozzi leaves his position as vice president of programming for Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to join Audacy’s legendary Pittsburgh news/talk outlet KDKA-AM as brand manager. At the same same, Audacy announces it is promoting afternoon drive producer Kraig Riley to brand manager for sister sports talk station KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan.” Both begin their new positions on November 29. Audacy Pittsburth SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “As both KDKA and ‘The Fan’ continue to evolve into full multi-platform operations serving our listeners in new ways every day, it is clear that both stations need focused leadership. The addition of Dave and promotion of Kraig will help us continue that evolution. There is an expectation of excellence at both stations from the city of Pittsburgh that I have no doubt Dave and Kraig will continue to build on every day.” LaBrozzi says, “I am thrilled to be back in my favorite city and second home. I consider it an honor to lead KDKA, a true legend in the industry. Thank you to Michael Spacciapolli for the opportunity to return to the city I love and lead an amazing group of talent on such a legendary station.” Riley comments, “I’ve had a passion for ‘93.7 The Fan’ since joining the team as a producer on its first day on the air in 2010. Growing into a role that now gives me an opportunity to influence the station and move it into the future is something I’m equally excited about and proud of.”
Alex Jones Loses Connecticut Defamation Cases by Default. This story is being reported by a number of consumer news outlets, including this story by The New York Times. In this suit, the families of eight victims of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut sued media personality Alex Jones and his Infowars organization for defamation after they were cruelly harassed by Jones’ fans who believed Jones’ consistent claims that the mass shooting was a “false flag” to assist the government in taking away citizens’ guns. The victims’ families claimed in their suit that Jones’ business profited from his conspiracy theory – something that Jones denied but didn’t back up after failing every time to comply with the rules of discovery by not turning over requested documents. For that reason, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled in favor of the plaintiffs based on default. Jones also lost a similar case in Texas. Juries in both cases will decide how much Jones will pay the families in damages. Jones said through his attorneys that he will appeal and that this is a First Amendment case. Attorney Chris Mattei, lawyer for the Connecticut families, is quoted in the Times piece saying that Jones had every opportunity to argue his First Amendment strategy but chose to be defaulted. “He deliberately chose to prevent us from collecting evidence that would prove how his business works and why he engaged in this extended campaign against the families, and the relationship between that and his profitability.”
Alpha Media Names Brian Foster and Les Tuttle to Regional VP Posts. Radio executives Brian Foster and Les Tuttle are being named to regional vice president positions with Alpha Media. In their new roles, Foster will oversee Alpha markets in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, while Tuttle will handle Missouri, Minnesota, and select markets in Iowa. Both will report to chief operating officer Larry Bastida. (Alpha recently announced that Zoe Burdine-Fly has joined the company as a regional president.) Bastida – who has served in the Chicago market as a GSM and market manager for the past 20 years – says, “We are excited to have Brian and Les join Zoe as we continue to evolve the senior leadership team. Throughout our extensive search to fill the regional president position, it became clear that Brian and Les could play crucial roles. In recent weeks, the added collaboration from these three has enhanced the discussion as the company gains momentum going into 2022.” Foster comments, “Years ago, I discovered my passion, not for radio or digital, but for telling our clients’ stories. This message-first approach has led to sustainable growth inside my market, and I am thrilled to continue this endeavor with my new role.” Tuttle has been market manager for Alpha’s Moberly-Farmington-Festus, Missouri market for the past 11 years. He states, “Having worked for many companies during my 45 years in this business, I enjoy the style of the Alpha leadership team. Their commitment to people sets them apart from other companies, and I look forward to being part of the senior management group.”
Gonsales Appointed SVP and Market Manager for Audacy Twin Cities. Radio sales and management pro Jeff Gonsales joins Audacy as senior vice president and market manager for the Minneapolis market. He’ll oversee the station group that includes news/talk WCCO-AM and two music brands, beginning December 6. Prior to joining Aduacy, Gonsales served with Hubbard Radio’s Twin Cities cluster as director of sales. Audacy regional president Rachel Williamson says, “We are thrilled to welcome Jeff Gonsales to oversee our Minneapolis market and the operations of our three stations. Throughout his tenure in the Twin Cities, Jeff has built a strong reputation as a leader with integrity who cares about his people and his business partners. We trust that invaluable quality coupled with his rich experience in this area will set Audacy Minneapolis up for continued growth and success under his leadership.” Gonsales comments, “I am excited to join the Audacy team in Minneapolis. After starting my radio career at 830 WCCO, I look forward to returning to move this group of local favorites forward in the digital audio world.”
Nadia Cowart Rejoins Cumulus Media as Digital Sales Manager. Media sales pro Nadia Cowart is back with Cumulus Media as digital sales manager for the company’s Beaumont, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana clusters. She served as promotion manager for the clusters from 2002 through 2008 and was most recently marketing director for KBMT-TV, Beaumont. The Beaumont cluster includes sports talk duo KIKR-AM/KBED-AM and the Lake Charles group includes news/talk KAOK-AM “Super Talk 1400” and sports talk KXZZ-AM. Cumulus Beaumont/Lake Charles VP and market manager Elizabeth Blackstock says, “Nadia is an experienced marketing and sales professional in both of our markets, and we are excited that she is returning to Cumulus to help lead our digital sales department. She understands what our communities need to grow and has worked with area businesses and non-profit organizations to achieve their objectives through effective digital strategies.”
SportsMap Radio Network Launches ‘Fred Nation’ Program. A new midday sports talk program from SportsMap Radio launches titled “Fred Nation” starring Fred Davis (right) and Fred Faour (left). The program is scheduled to debut on November 29 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Faour says, “I’m excited to bring our unique style to SportsMap Radio. It will be a combination of great sports talk with a big gambling slant. Our irreverent approach will create something very special for the network.” Faour was a co-host on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM “ESPN Houston” until August of 2021 and served as the editor of SportsMap Houston. Former KILT-AM Houston personality Fred Davis says, “The show will be fun, informative, and fast-paced. And what’s better than one Fred? Two Freds.” Gow Media CEO David Gow adds, “These two have amazing chemistry. Locally, they each have a huge following and I expect similar success all throughout the Fred Nation.”
iHeartMedia Renews ‘BOB & TOM Show’ on 17 Stations. The Westwood One nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” renews its agreement with iHeartMedia to continue airing on 17 of the company’s radio stations across the U.S., including: WFBQ-FM, Indianapolis; WKQQ-FM, Lexington, Kentucky; WIBA-FM, Madison; and WTUE-FM, Dayton. iHeartMedia national programming group COO Brad Hardin says, “It’s an honor to continue our great relationship with Tom Griswold and his team. How often do you get to say you’ve worked together for decades? Listeners across the country have become accustomed to starting their day laughing along with The BOB & TOM Show’s irreverent humor, and we’re excited that they are continuing to bring the laughs with this extended partnership.”
TALKERS News Notes. According to a report from FOX News Media that cites Comscore data, FOX News Digital notches the number one spot for the month of October in multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views, reaching over 1.8 billion multiplatform views and over 3.3 billion multiplatform minutes. FOX says its digital network surpassed CNN.com in multiplatform minutes for the eighth consecutive month and outperformed all other news brands in the news competitive set. Further, FOX says that for the 86th consecutive month, it continued as the most engaged news brand on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), driving 49 million total social interactions. FOX News was also the top performer in Facebook and Instagram interactions among news competitors, with more than 19 million Facebook interactions and over 27 million on Instagram, according to Socialbakers. FOX News also finished the month as number one among news competitors with YouTube video views, with over 319.8 million, up 37% year over year, delivering the network’s second highest month in history in YouTube video views…..Newsmax is reporting “tremendous growth” in its social media audience, viewership, and engagement for the month of October. Newsmax says it finished third on Twitter in overall monthly interactions (2.14M), behind only CNN (2.39M) and NY Times (2.34M). For 2021 so far, Newsmax is fifth in total Twitter interactions (17.6M), behind CNN (30.8M), NY Times (28.58M), MSNBC (20.53M) and ABC News (17.76M). Newsmax says it finished third in monthly Facebook impressions (10.58M), behind only FOX News (20.09M) and Breitbart (17.56M). For 2021 so far, Newsmax is third in total Facebook impressions (153.84M), behind only FOX News (331.8M) and Breitbart (194.16M). Newsmax says it set a new all-time monthly high in Instagram monthly interactions in October with 9.33 million. It finished third on Instagram in total Interactions (9.33M), behind only FOX News (27.2M) and CNN (18.9M)…..Public media organizations GBH and PRX announce the appointment of Dan Lothian as executive producer of “The World,” public radio’s daily global news program. Lothian assumes the role of executive editor after serving as interim editor since March 2021. GBH president and CEO Jon Abbott comments, “Dan brings a wealth of experience and leadership to ‘The World.’ Over the past eight months, he has demonstrated his exceptional journalistic skills and deep commitment to the mission of GBH and public media. We’re excited to support the continued development of ‘The World’ with Dan’s vision and dedication.”…..FEMA and Bonneville Seattle are hosting the unveiling of an all-hazards upgrade to the “Primary Entry Point” facility at the KIRO-AM PEP Transmitter site on Friday (11/19). The modernization to the emergency studio increases Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM 710 resiliency to continue broadcasting under all conditions, including natural disasters and acts of terrorism. This facility is one of 77 across the country that serve as a National Public Warning System Primary Entry Point (PEP) station, participating with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during and after incidents and disasters. KIRO-AM is the 14th station in the country to work with FEMA to complete the all-hazards upgrade, which includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events.
Funeral Services Set for Al Herskovitz on Thursday, November 18. The funeral for industry veteran Al Herskovitz who passed away last week (11/11) at the age of 90 will take place on Thursday, November 18 at 11:00 am at Skyway Memorial Gardens, 5200 US Hwy 19 N, Palmetto, FL 34221. For more details about Al Herskovitz’s passing, please see the story below originally posted 11/12.
January 6 Investigation, Inflation/Supply Chain, COVID-19, Biden-Xi Summit, Infrastructure Bill, Russia’s Military Intentions, the Poland-Belarus migrant conflict, and Rittenhouse Case Goes to Jury Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/15). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Steve Bannon is formally charged with contempt of Congress; soaring retail, food, and fuel prices and the broken supply chain; the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in parts of the U.S. and the court battle over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate; Monday’s virtual meeting between Biden and China’s Xi Jinping; Biden’s trillion dollar Infrastructure bill and its implementation to be handled by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; concerns over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the migrant crisis at the Poland-Belarus border; and the jury gets the Kyle Rittenhouse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
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, “East Side, West Side,” looks back at this past week of 9/13 – 9/17. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta; Jimmy Failla, talk show host, FOX News Radio; Rudy Giuliani, talk show host, WABC, New York/former Mayor of New York City; 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; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; 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 Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast Network; Pioneer 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.
Be the Best Talent Coach: Maximize Potential. Radio consultant Jon Quick says that many programmers just don’t do it, “though it’s the most important part of their role, or at least it used to be. Coaching talent for great preparation, powerful execution, compelling communication, audience retention, and better relating to the listener is something many PDs say they just don’t have the time for. Programmers are often so caught up in corporate matters or minutiae that they really don’t have the time by the end of the day.” He adds that “surprisingly, many programmers and personalities believe coaching is beneath them or they don’t know how to coach, because many PDs never actually learned how to do it.” Read his advice here.
WBZ-AM, Boston Celebrates Centennial on Sunday (9/19). Boston all-news outlet WBZ-AM “NewsRadio” is celebrating its 100th anniversary on Sunday (9/19). The iHeartMedia station says it will cap its celebration with a day of vignettes spanning memorable moments from its first 100 years. iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “For a station to broadcast for 100 years is nothing short of amazing. Listeners and advertisers consistently utilize this heritage brand as evidenced by WBZ’s continued ratings and revenue success. People lean into objective news sources to remain informed and none has been more dependable than WBZ NewsRadio.” iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk & sports Rob Sanchez says, “‘WBZ NewsRadio’ is defined by our strong, unmistakable presence in the communities we serve. As the media landscape continues to evolve, our reach has only increased as WBZ listeners have adopted streaming on smart devices and the iHeartRadio app.” The station also received an official commemoration letter from President Joe Biden, who wrote, “I send my warmest greetings to ‘WBZ NewsRadio’ as you celebrate your 100th anniversary. As one of America’s oldest radio stations, ‘WBZ NewsRadio’ has kept generations of listeners informed with the latest stories and breaking news. Radio has long been an important aspect of American life – narrating the triumphs and tragedies that have defined America – as well as the day-to-day news that keeps listeners engaged with their communities. Over the decades, radio stations like ‘WBZ NewsRadio’ have been on the forefront of journalism, providing entertainment and valuable information to the people who tune in throughout the day.”
‘NPR News Now,’ ‘Crime Junkie,’ and ‘Ben Shapiro Show’ Top Podcasts for August According to Triton Digital. The August 2021 U.S. Podcast Report from Triton Digital ranks the top 100 podcasts based on average weekly downloads and NPR’s “NPR News Now,” AdLarge/cabana’s “Crime Junkie,” and Cumulus Podcast Network’s “The Ben Shapiro Show” were the top three U.S. podcasts, respectively. Other programs from radio-affiliated podcast divisions that made the chart include: “The Dan Bongino Show” (#8, Cumulus Podcast Network), “Pod Save America” (#12, Audacy Podcast Network), “FOX News Radio Newscast” (#13, FOX News Podcasts), and “The Charlie Kirk Show” (#15, Salem Podcast Network). See more, including the report’s ranking of the top 15 podcast networks (based on average weekly downloads) here.
iHeartMedia’s Panama City News/Talker Announces New Frequencies. Panama City, Florida news/talk outlet WFLA has new dial positions. iHeartMedia says that “FOX Sports NewsRadio WFLA” changes dial positions and rebrands to the new “96.3-102.5 WFLA Panama City’s Talk Radio,” effective immediately. The station’s signal emanates from WPAP-HD2 and is heard on translators W242BF at 96.3 FM and W273DU at 102.5 FM. The station’s lineup includes: “The Morning Show with Preston Scott,” “The Glenn Beck Program”, “The Schnitt Show”, “The Joe Pags Show,” “The Jesse Kelly Show,” and “The Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show.” iHeartMedia SVP of programming John Lund comments, “We are excited to continue providing Panama City with the quality news and information that they have come to expect from the WFLA brand. Now it’s available on two broadcast signals and in HD, rather than just one.”
NAB Produces PSAs Promoting the Importance of Local Broadcast Journalism. The National Association of Broadcasters unveils new spots designed to underscore the importance of fact-based broadcast radio and television journalism “at a time when misinformation is running rampant on social media. The new spots highlight the work of broadcasters to deliver trusted, reliable coverage of the local, national and global events that affect our lives.” NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith adds, “At a time when misinformation and disinformation are all too common online, the local journalism broadcasters provide is more important than ever – we deliver the facts Americans need to know without fear or favor. We want to remind the public and our nation’s leaders about the indispensable role broadcasters play in our local communities every day as the most trusted source of news.” Stations can download the spots here. The NAB says, “The new spots were created in response to research showing the business practices of big tech companies prevent local stations from recouping their investment in local journalism, as these platforms exert enormous influence over what online content is eligible to be monetized. At the same time, the tech giants are contributing to the spread of misinformation as their algorithms favor controversial content over high-quality journalism, the study shows. The new ‘We Are Broadcasters’ spots seek to remind policymakers and the public that TV and radio stations invest significant resources in local journalism for their communities, whether they are shining a light on corruption or preparing the public for a weather emergency.”
October 5 Announced as Date for Virtual Gracie Awards. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation will hold the 46th Annual Gracie Awards program virtually on Tuesday, October 5, at 7:00 pm ET at @AllWomenInMedia on Facebook. Hosted by actress and comedian Lauren Ash, the annual gala will feature performances by GRAMMY-nominated singer-songwriter Jewel and GRAMMY award-winning American Gospel Singer CeCe Winans, honoring this year’s award winner’s whose work continues to influence and further the achievements of all women in media. This year’s awards coincide with AWM’s 70th anniversary, which includes the launch of a VOICES OF COURAGE digital tapestry, a commemorative logo and a social media campaign using #VoicesOfCourage and #70YearsOfCourage. Since its inception in 1951, AWM, originally known as American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT), has been committed to inspiring, educating, celebrating accomplishments and expanding networks of women across all segments of media. AWMF president Becky Brooks says, “Lauren’s comedic spirit and incredibly talented performers will create a Gracies to remember…and worthy of our 70th anniversary celebration. We will inspire and entertain our friends, fans, and followers with this year’s virtual event, and look forward to raising a glass together, in person next year to celebrate the accomplishments of women in media.”
TALKERS News Notes. Chicago news/talker WLS-AM is adding a travel show to its weekend program schedule. The Cumulus Media station debuts “Let’s Go with Catie Keogh” Sunday at 7:00 pm. Keogh is an Emmy Award-winning host and executive producer who is also a digital contributor for Travel + Leisure Magazine and National Geographic Magazine. Keogh says, “I am so excited to be back on WLS with my new show, ‘Let’s Go with Catie Keogh.’ My show is a place to escape, a place to learn and a place to dream about your next travel adventure around the globe and close to home. I am looking forward to sharing Chicago’s best-kept secrets again, too!”…..According to data from Comscore, FOX News Digital earned the top spot in both multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views in August, reaching nearly 1.8 billion multiplatform views and approximately 3.7 billion multiplatform minutes. FOX News says that breaking news coverage surrounding the fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban, led by FOX News Channel’s national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin and foreign correspondent Trey Yingst, helped drive FOX News Digital to its second-best month of the year, following January 2021…..Audacy’s C13Features announces that critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated actress Kate Mara and SAG Award-nominated actor Adam Scott have signed on to star in the psychological thriller, “Ghostwriter,” that is currently finalizing all production plans and will debut worldwide on Monday, December 6. C13Features partnered with Best Case Studios on the project and Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “Kate Mara and Adam Scott are incredible actors whose abilities and voices make them the perfect fit for this multi-layered thriller. C13Features is looking for the best material, with ambitious expectations and vision, with the high-quality content and production of this feature, and with Kate and Adam leading the way, we believe that ‘Ghostwriter’ will leave listeners on the edge of their seats.”
COVID-19 Boosters, Vaccines, Masks & Mandates Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 13-17. The rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., debate over COVID-19 boosters, and vaccine & mask mandates combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the California recall election that was won by Governor Gavin Newsom, followed by the January 6 Commission investigation into the attack on the Capitol tied with Saturday’s “Justice for J6” rally in Washington. 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.
95.5 WSB, Atlanta Seeks Assistant PD. Atlanta news/talk outlet WSB-AM/WSBB-FM “95.5 WSB” has an opportunity for an assistant program director. The station says, “95.5 WSB, one of the most successful and respected news & talk radio brands in the country, is looking for an assistant program director. This person assists the director of branding and programming in executing the 95.5 WSB programming and news strategy to include managing and developing news & talk talent, hosts, producers, the operations team, imaging producers, as well as coordinating strategic goals and input with the news director, manager of traffic operations, and digital content lead. This role requires a strong balance of strong people skills, initiative, creativity, and strategic and tactical command; it includes handling of assigned administrative duties, personnel management, coordination of schedules, and promotions (sales and marketing).” See more about this position and apply here.