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Friday, June 10, 2020

| July 10, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the vibrant, 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 on the website of its flagship station, WONK-FM in Washington, DC.  This new episode titled, “Statues, Statutes, Face Masks and Facebook!” looks back at this past week of July 6 – July 10, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneJennifer Horn, talk show host, Salem Media Group / VP, CRN Digital TalkJamie Metzl, consultant, World Health Organization; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; 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; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Westwood One News to Cease Operations on August 30. TALKERS magazine has learned that Westwood One News affiliates have been notified that the company will cease operations of the Westwood One News service after the 11:30 pm newscast on Sunday, August 30 due to “extraordinary circumstances in the current marketplace.” In the memo, Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes states, “As you can imagine, this was an extraordinarily difficult decision not only given the strength and quality of our award-winning news product, but also the depth and experience of the impeccable Westwood One News team.” Westwood One EVP Bart Tessler adds, “Thank you to our 962 stations and the Westwood One affiliate sales team. It has been a pleasure leading this division of great broadcast journalists. In just 5 and ½ years, Westwood One News went from launch to winners of leading industry honors, including Edward R Murrow, Sigma Del Chi, National Headliner, New York Radio Festivals, and Golden Mike awards. We are very proud of the coverage and programming we provided, as well as your support and participation in our success.” The memo further adds that “Westwood One remains enthusiastically committed to our strong portfolio of talk personalities including Mark Levin, Ben Shapiro, Michael Savage, Jim Bohannon, Chris Plante, Dan Bongino, Clark Howard, and Red Eye Radio.”

Outer Banks Rocker WZPR-FM Flips to Talk. WZPR-FM, Nags Head, North Carolina will flip from classic rock to news/talk, effective July 13. Station owner Jam Media Solutions says the station will feature a live and local morning drive show called “The OBX Today” hosted by Sam Walker. He says, “I’m excited to be able to bring to the Outer Banks a news-oriented radio show every morning that will be able to expand on our coverage at OBXToday.com of what’s happening not only locally, but across all of North Carolina.” The rest of the lineup includes: FOX News Radio’s Brian Kilmeade, Westwood One’s Chris Plante and Ben Shapiro, The Dave Ramsey Show, Ramsey SolutionsKen Coleman, and WWO’s “Red Eye Radio.” Jam Media Solutions owner Jonathan Mason adds, “We are very excited to introduce the all-new, news/talk WZPR to the Outer Banks. We believe it is exactly what the market needs. Our on air lineup will be informative and engaging from the time you get up to the time you go to bed.”

Midway Broadcasting Announces Launch of VON-tv. The acquisition of an OTT digital streaming platform by Midway Broadcasting Corporation gives the company a video component when it launches VON-tv in August. Midway says VON-tv “will deliver culturally relevant content to its new television audience. With the launch of VON-tv, the company will conduct a nationwide search for a new morning host. The newly designed live morning show will originate from Chicago and will be simulcast on VON-tv and WVON Radio.” Midway chair and CEO Melody Spann Cooper comments, “We are excited to be in the digital space, originating from our hometown of Chicago. Having earned a reputation for cultivating nationally recognized programs and talent, Midway Broadcasting Company will continue to use its expanding platforms to showcase the many voices throughout Black America.”

Round Three of June PPM Data Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s June 2020 survey period covered May 21 – June 17. You can see all the 6+ ratings info from subscribing stations here. Additionally, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this batch of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM inches up four-tenths to finish ranked #3 with a 6.4 share. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte sheds three-tenths to finish with a 6.0 share and the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s WOAI, San Antonio loses six-tenths to wrap June with a 6.5 share and the #2 rank in the market. Although dropping a half share for an 8.9 share finish, iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento remains ranked #1 in the market. As the result of Bonneville news/talk KSL-AM/FM’s half-share dip to a 5.5 share and #6 rank, there’s a close race between it and iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM (5.3 share, #7 rank). See Mike Kinosian’s complete “Ratings Takeaways” here.

Talk Host Jay Severin Dead at 69. TheBlaze reports that longtime conservative talk radio personality and Republican operative Jay Severin has died at age 69 after a battle with cancer. After years of working as a Republican political consultant, Severin began his talk radio career in the mid-1990s filling in for Gene Burns on the WOR Radio Network, eventually becoming the afternoon drive host, calling himself the “rock ‘n’ roll Republican.” He briefly hosted evenings at WRKO, Boston before joining crosstown news/talk WTKK-FM, where he would work hosting afternoons until 2011. In 2012, he joined Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network where he would host a program until 2016.

TALKERS News Notes. After a 14-hour fundraiser for the families of a fallen officer and a second injured officer Cox Media Group Tulsa, the Tulsa Police Department, and the Tulsa Police Department Foundation announce they raised more than $515,000 dollars for the Johnson-Zarkeshan Family Fund. Cox Tulsa’s news/talk KRMG, its four music-formatted sister radio stations and sister TV station KOKI-TV “FOX23” broadcast live from LaFortune Park on Wednesday to encourage donations…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting Company has hired former KADN-TV, Lafayette, Louisiana reporter Hannah Neely as the new morning news anchor for news/talk WVON, Chicago. Neely is a Chicago native who is taking over for Annette Flournoy, who resigned from the position…..ABC Audio announces that in the aftermath of the arrest and charges against Ghislaine Maxwell for her alleged role in facilitating Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse, it is releasing a bonus episode of the podcast “Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein,” featuring details about Maxwell’s arrest and charges. The podcast is hosted by ABC News’ Mark Remillard.

IBA Says It Will Be Active Within Two Weeks. Broadcasters spearheading the foundation of Independent Broadcasters Association say they will officially form the organization within the next two weeks. Adams Radio Group president Ron Stone has been leading the movement to form the IBA. He says that there will be a conference call scheduled for all members in the next few weeks with him and the initial board to discuss the mission and goals. Issues that have already been broached are revenue generation, digital services, shared resources, proprietary systems and services, and group employee benefits. Stone says, “We have 496 owners/operators representing just under 3,000 stations that have signed up supporting the idea of the organization. The next step is the actual formation of the IBA into a legal entity, forming an initial board and getting to work on all the elements we have been discussing that will benefit independent operators choosing to be members of the IBA.” Cromwell Group president Bud Walters says, “Independent broadcasters outside the major markets have a lot in common as we seem to be in a different business than large market broadcasters. There is good reason to explore this idea of working more closely together.” Interested owners/operators can sign up here.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections Top News/Talk Story for Week of July 6-10. The spiking cases of COVID-19 in many states and projections for future infections remained the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was health care, the mask debate and the search for COVID-19 meds. Coming in at #3 was President Trump’s school opening order and the CDC’s guidelines, followed by the economy and the re-opening of America at #4. 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.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes experts on the Chinese Communist Party, police abuse, race relations, psychology, doing business during the COVID-19 pandemic and much more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

| May 7, 2020

Talk Radio Legend Barry Farber Dead at 90. One of the founding fathers of the talk radio format, Barry Farber, died Wednesday evening (5/6). His daughter Celia Ingrid Farber announced via Twitter, “My father Barry Farber, beloved, died this evening, at 6:25 pm. He was home, in bed, and we were all with him. He turned 90 just yesterday. He told me recently that his concept of death was ‘going somewhere I’ve never been before, like Finland or Estonia.’ May God rest his soul.” Barry Farber began his talk radio career in 1960 on WINS, New York with his “Barry Farber’s WINS Open Mike” show, the only talk show on a rock ‘n’ roll station. He left for WOR, New York in 1962 to do the evening show, which eventually led to his becoming the all-night host in 1967. He left WOR in 1977 to delve into politics as the conservative party candidate for New York City mayor and when that didn’t pan out, he joined WMCA, New York and did afternoon drive for the next decade. Farber, with the help of Michael Castello and the late Alan Colmes, formed an independent network called Daynet. That proved to be one of the forerunners of today’s independent talk syndication scene. Since 2009, Farber had been hosting a nightly talk show on CRN Digital Talk – something he did until his last live program last week. In 2012, Farber was honored with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from TALKERS magazine. Radio Pro Michelle Jerson interviewed Farber at the TALKERS conference in New York City that year.  You can see it hereNewsmax founder Christopher Ruddy tells TALKERS he met Farber when he was 16 years old and they’ve been friends for 40 years. “I grew up listening to Barry Farber, a favorite of my mother who made his WMCA, WOR and WABC shows a staple of our kitchen radio. He was a thinking conservative, not a bomb thrower, who loved America, his Jewish faith, and Israel, as well as the 26 languages he spoke, many in dialect.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison comments, “Barry Farber was one of the founding fathers of talk radio whose influential career spanned both the modern and pre-modern eras of the format. He described his longevity in the business as ‘being big in the old days and old in the big days.’ He was among the finest public speakers of his time and a true wordsmith who served as an inspiration for generations of broadcasters who strived to be artists as well as communicators.”

iHeartMedia Adopts Shareholder Rights Plan. Also known in the financial business as the “poison pill,” the shareholder rights plan is designed to prevent a hostile takeover bid. iHeartMedia states that its board of directors is approving “the adoption of a short-term stockholder rights plan in order to protect the best interests of all iHeartMedia stockholders during the current period of high equity-market volatility and price disruption. The board adopted the rights plan at this time due to the unprecedented impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on equity market valuations; the complex nature of the company’s capital structure; to enable all of iHeartMedia’s stockholders to realize the full potential of their investment in the company in light of the inherent resilience of the company’s cash flow model and patient capital structure; and to protect the interests of iHeartMedia and its stockholders by deterring any entity, person or group from attempting opportunistically to gain undue influence over or control of iHeartMedia through open market accumulation or other tactics without paying an appropriate control premium.” Specifically, under this plan “the board has declared a dividend distribution of one right on each outstanding share of iHeartMedia’s Class A common stock, share of Class B common stock and warrant issued in connection with the Company’s plan of reorganization. The record date for such dividend distribution is May 18, 2020.”

Crossover Media Group Sales to Rep Quick Hits Media. The recently launched Quick Hits Media and Crossover Media Group Sales have struck a deal for the latter to provide ad sales for Quick Hits. Quick Hits was recently launched by veteran television journalist David Shuster and partners to “bring compelling conversations and expertise to news consumers via succinct, informative, 10-minute exchanges, covering the day’s top stories, that are polished, highly watchable and digestible on all screens.” Quick Hits says its team “boasts global journalism experience developed at news organizations including, among others, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, i24 News, NowThis News, Associated Press, and Investigative Journal, and informed by assignments and postings throughout the U.S., U.K., Germany, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and East Africa among other locales.” Crossover Media Group Sales managing member Sue Freund states, “It’s a new world in which news consumption has skyrocketed and consumers more than ever are seeking information and insights that are presented clearly, comprehensibly and succinctly by globally experienced, big-picture journalists. David and his colleagues bring decades of experience and complementary backgrounds to the task of keeping viewers informed of the critical issues of the day from a worldwide perspective.”

iHeartMedia Unveils SmartAudio COVID Recovery Program. The “SmartAudio COVID Recovery Program” is a suite of three new SmartAudio products that iHeartMedia says enable businesses to utilize its “unparalleled data and scale to re-engage with their loyal customers, and find new ones, as the nation’s economy begins to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.” The company says businesses will also be able to use the new products to deliver tailored advertising messages based on local market data to ensure businesses are reaching their customers with messaging that fits their circumstances. The three new products in the suite are: SmartAudio COVID Community Recovery Index, SmartAudio Brand Loyalists, and SmartAudio Unlimited.  iHeartMedia president of revenue and data operations Brian Kaminsky says, “The massive disruption created by the pandemic has caused brand loyalties to shift as consumers adapted to limited supplies and financial constraints – making them rethink what is essential. The SmartAudio data platform uses iHeartMedia’s best-in-class audience data and real-time inputs to give brands the power to reconnect with their loyal customers and find switchers as they enter the market in a post COVID-19 world.”

TALKERS News Notes. Today (5/7), Entercom’s Kansas City sports talker KCSP “610 Sports Radio” is hosting “The Tyrann Mathieu Foundation’s COVID-19 Relief Radiothon” to support children and families who are experiencing hardships from the global health pandemic. As part of the daylong event, KCSP will welcome celebrity guests at the top of each hour to help raise funds and awareness, including Chiefs safety and foundation founder Tyrann Mathieu, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, former Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy, and more…..iHeartMedia Denver’s KOA “NewsRadio 850 AM & 94.1 FM” is extending its broadcast agreement with the University of Colorado Athletics Department and its exclusive multimedia rightsholder, Buffalo Sports Properties, for a 77th season. The deal means listeners will continue to hear all Buffs sports, including football as well as men’s and women’s game broadcasts. Mark Johnson will return this fall as the “Voice of the Buffs” for his 17th season of play-by-play reporting for Buffs football and men’s basketball…..AdLarge Media announces that with the return of NASCAR on Sunday, May 17, at Darlington Raceway, Motor Racing Network and Performance Racing Network are delivering the races to radio stations across America. AdLarge Media chief revenue officer Don Wachsmith says, “NASCAR is back! It couldn’t be at a better time as the country is starved for sports. Long time NASCAR fans are going to be glued to the radio broadcasts of these races and new NASCAR fans are going to find out what the excitement is all about. One of the special aspects of NASCAR is the relationship between the fans and the sponsors who support the sport. I can’t wait for the radio broadcasts to get going and for our advertisers to make that connection with fans, new and old.”…..Cadence13 partners with Headspace to create a slate of new and original podcasts dedicated to mindful living. The first, Radio Headspace, will launch later this month and will feature a daily, short-form meditation podcast hosted by Headspace co-founder and former Buddhist monk Andy Puddicombe in an effort “to help listeners cope with the heightened stress of our changing world.” Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran states, “As our daily routines are changing and the world we live in has brought on an unprecedented uncertainty, Headspace continues to offer a more mindful experience. There’s never been a better time to bring the Headspace experience into podcasting, and we’re thrilled to be their partner in this important venture, and at this important time.”

Newsmax TV Inks Carriage Deal with Mediacom Communications. Cable operator Mediacom Communications operates primarily in the Midwest and Southeast, reaching approximately 1.4 million households and businesses.  This deal will put Newsmax TV in the company’s expanded basic package it calls Variety TV.  Newsmax SVP of content distribution Andrew Biggers says, “Mediacom is one of the most respected operators in the industry and we’re pleased to partner with them in delivering Newsmax TV across their heartland footprint.”  This pact means Newsmax now has distribution agreements with each of the top 10 pay TV operators in the U.S and Comscore reports Newsmax total household cume viewership is up over 200% from mid-2019, and viewership in the first quarter of 2020 outpaced the prior quarter by 74%.

COVID-19 Statistics and Projections, Unemployment Figures/The Economy, States Re-Opening, Black Jogger Slaying, and Presidential Race/Biden Allegations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/6). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future infections; the expected release of the latest unemployment figures and the state of the U.S. economy; the numerous states planning to re-open their economies; the viral video revealing the shooting death of jogger Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in Georgia; and the presidential race and the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Financial Advisor Ric Edelman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the preeminent financial advisors on radio in America today, Ric Edelman – founder of Edelman Financial Services and Edelman Financial Engines – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Edelman has been a major talk radio professional for nearly 30 years, currently airing on 80 stations coast-to-coast, as well as a longtime member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred. He’s also produced several award-winning specials for public television and is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with 10 books on personal finance, including a best-selling children’s book on money. Harrison engages Edelman in a remarkably candid discussion about the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the intricacies of the “lives versus livelihood” debate dominating the national conversation.  In the process, they take a deep dive into the psychology of America’s consumer culture and the nature of personal debt as it applies to the nation’s emotional profile. Don’t miss this extraordinarily timely and informative conversation!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio pro Dave Levora is back on the air in the Quad Cities after exiting iHeartMedia’s news/talk WOC-AM during the “employee dislocation” that took place back in January.  He’s co-hosting mornings on Regional Media’s KQCJ-FM as the station flips from adult hits to alternative as “Planet 93.9.” He tells Regional’s Illinois News Now that he was finished with radio until the company’s Fletcher Ford offered him the chance to build a radio station on his terms…..The Toledo Blade reports that country WKKO “K-100” weekend personality Craig Snyder is recovering from COVID-19 at Ann Arbor Veterans Administration Medical Center. He tells the Blade that the doctors say he is getting better.  He’s been in the ICU for two weeks and was in a different facility for a week and a half prior…..Entercom Boston helped raise funds to provide 156,684 meals for people in need through the Greater Boston Food Bank. The “Feed New England Radiothon” took place on Tuesday (5/5) and was presented by local grocery chains Shaw’s and Star Market. Helping in the cause were celebs including pop star Joe Jonas, singer and songwriter Charlie Puth, singer and songwriter Noah Cyrus, legendary Boston comedian and actor Lenny Clarke, and New England Patriots safety and three-time Super Bowl champion Devin McCourty.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

| July 16, 2015

cowherdcolinColin Cowherd to Exit ESPN; Destination FOX?  Today’s announcement by ESPN that personality Colin Cowherd is exiting the company’s ESPN Radio – where his show is a part of the nationally syndicated daily lineup – comes after recent rumors Cowherd is being wooed by Fox Sports.  Now we know that it’s true he’s leaving ESPN but there’s no word from Fox Sports, yet. At the same time, ESPN is not saying which personality will fill the gap in its daily lineup.  Much is being made of the recent exit of Bill Simmons and Keith Olbermann, suggesting a mass exodus of talent is taking place, but reports are that ESPN wanted Cowherd to stay but was ultimately outbid.  The hot bet is Cowherd will join FOX Sports for a show on its Fox Sports 1 cable channel with a probable simulcast on Fox Sports Radio Network.  ESPN issued the following statement today from president John Skipper: “We’ve enjoyed a mutually beneficial run with Colin for over a decade.  He came to national prominence on ESPN with his unique perspective on sports and society.  Endings also bring new beginnings, for ESPN and Colin, and we thank him and wish him the best.”

nitenikkiEntercom Elevates Nite to Austin’s VP/Programming; Will Oversee News/Talk KJCE. In a move that will take her from California’s capital city to a return to Texas’ state capital, Nikki Nite is leaving the programming chair at Entercom Sacramento mainstream CHR KDND “The End” and hot AC KUDL “Star” to succeed Cat Thomas as the company’s vice president of programming and operations in Austin. Entercom Austin vice president and general manager Stephanie Callihan comments, “After [Nikki’s] incredibly successful run at Entercom Sacramento, we are thrilled to welcome [her] back to Texas. Nikki’s experience and leadership will help continue the momentum we have with our stations in the Austin market and help us grow deeper relationships with our listeners and fans.” Nite remarks, “I am honored to have the opportunity to continue to build upon the solid foundation Cat Thomas has put in place. Returning to Austin is not only professionallyEntercom Austin rewarding, but also personally rewarding. I will be doing what I love, closer to family. Entercom is a company full of talented, good people; I am blessed to be able to continue to grow my career with this team.” Prior to joining Entercom in 2009, Nite worked in Dallas (at KVIL and KMVK); Greenville, South Carolina (at WFBC-FM and WGCV); and in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (at WWXM). In just over two weeks (8/3), she begins her new duties overseeing programming and operations of Entercom Austin adult contemporary KKMJ “Majic 95.5”; hot AC KAMX “Mix 94.7”; KKMJ-HD3 “96.3 RnB,” and talk KJCE. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio‘s June PPM ratings sweep, “Magic” ranks #7 (4.8); “Mix” #8 (4.4); KKMJ-HD3 #12 (3.6); and KJCE is #26 (.2).

wls-am logoPlay-By-Play Coup for Cumulus in Chicago.  The company officially announces that its news/talk WLS-AM, Chicago is acquiring the play-by-play rights for both the MLB’s White Sox and the NBA’s Bulls.  Both deals begin in 2016 – the White Sox in April and the Bulls in November – and run through 2021.  White Sox games have been heard on CBS RADIO’s sports talk WSCR for the past nine seasons and ESPN O&O WMVP has been the Bulls flagship since the 1996-97 season.  Cumulus Media Chicago VP and market manager Peter Bowen says in a statement, “Cumulus Media and WLS AM 890 are honored to become the radio home of the Bulls and White Sox, two of Chicago’s very best sports brands.  Adding both teams to our programming schedule allows us to continue to capitalize on the strong growth and success Cumulus is enjoying in the Chicago market. We cannot wait to bring year-round sports to some of the world’s greatest fans.”

wabc logoWABC, New York Presents Special Program ‘Garner: One Year Later.’  The program is airing on Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York this week in the 5:00 am and 5:00 pm hours.  “Garner: One Year Later” is a three-part program that presents views one year after 43-year-old Eric Garner died after a police officer subdued him with an alleged chokehold.  His death sparked “discussion, outrage and protest about police brutality in New York City.  It eventually evolved into the proverbial epicenter of debate for the entire nation.”  WABC says news staffer Ken Duffy spoke with Erica Garner, Garner’s eldest daughter; Ed Mullins, head of the NYPD’s Sergeants Benevolent Association; and Alex Vitale, sociology professor from Brooklyn College.  The special series seeks to answer pressing questions: What’s the impact on Garner’s family?  How are police officers viewed in the eyes of the public?  And what else can be done to improve police-community relations?  In addition to airing on WABC, the program is available at wabcradio.com.

wilhoitdaveyWilhoit Joins Cumulus Pensacola as VP of Sales.  Advertising executive Davey Wilhoit joins Cumulus Media as vice president of sales for the five-station Pensacola cluster.  Wilhoit is a Pensacola native who most recently was multimedia advertising manager for the Pensacola News Journal.  Cumulus SVP Gary Pizzati says, “We’re thrilled to have Davey at the sales helm of our Pensacola group of stations.  He has years of experience managing a team of business-to-business sales professionals driving high levels of solution-based sales activity each day.  Davey will bring that same pace of business inside the walls of Cumulus in Pensacola. His deep knowledge of digital, newspaper and yellow page sales will bring a new and fresh perspective to radio in this market.”  Cumulus operates news/talk WCOA, classic hits WJTQ, AC WMEZ, urban AC WRRX, and country WXBM “NASH FM.”

elderlarryNEW1-15Larry Elder Show to Air on KRLA, Los Angeles. Beginning August 3, the Larry Elder show will air on Salem Media’s news/talk KRLA, Los Angeles from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm nightly.  Elder’s program is being distributed by CRN Digital Talk Radio.  A press release states that Elder will “celebrate the announcement later today at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley when he hosts an event with activist and author Ann Coulter.”  Elder’s program is streamed live on his website and at CRNTalk.com.

abcPurdyESPYsABC News Radio at the ESPYs.  Pictured here interviewing Paralympic snowboarder Amy Purdy (right) at Wednesday night’s ESPY Awards in Los Angeles is ABC Radio correspondent Jason Nathanson (left).

Iran Nukes Deal, Illegal Immigration-Steinle Slaying, Planned Parenthood Abortion Remains Story, 2016 Presidential Candidates, Caitlyn Jenner at ESPYs, Bill Cosby Rape Allegations, Confederate Flag-Stone Mountain Issues, ‘El Chapo’ Escape-Mexican Corruption, NASA’s Pluto Images Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/15).  Analysis of the nuclear deal between Iran and the U.S.; ongoing debate over the illegal immigration policy in the U.S. and the slaying of Kate Steinle, allegedly by an illegal with a criminal past; the furor over a videoed discussion with a Planned Parenthood doctor about which body parts are desired by researchers; the activities of the candidates for president in 2016; Caitlyn Jenner’s appearance at the ESPYs and her receiving the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage; the evolving story of allegations Bill Cosby gave drugs to women to have sex with them; the controversy over the flying of the Confederate flag and the push to remove the Confederate generals carving from Stone Mountain in Georgia; the escape from prison of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and Mexican corruption; and the images from NASA’s New Horizons craft from Pluto were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.

Friday, August 15, 2014

| August 15, 2014

rabRAB Reports Q2 Sales Down 3%.  It’s not surprising that the quarterly report from the Radio Advertising Bureau indicates pretty much what the Q2 data from the industry’s publicly traded companies showed.  Again the culprit was spot sales which dipped 5% while network ad sales were flat.  The positive was the digital and off-air categories which were up 9% and 15% respectively.  (All comparisons are Q2 2014 vs. Q2 2013).  Advertiser categories that saw notable increases during the quarter included: home improvement (+ 4%); charitable/religious/non-profit/government agencies (+11%); specialty retail (+14%); auto parts/service (+14%); and amusement/theme parks/museums (+ 9%).  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber states, “Based on pacing and industry insights, we anticipated a relatively flat-to-down Q2.  While we don’t forecast, a greater percentage of radio’s total annual revenue historically comes through in the second half, and we’re anticipating that we’ll see better results by the end of this year.”  See the whole report here.

bradybillBrady: Radio’s Precarious Tipping Point.  The somber financial state of radio as an advertising medium is the subject of almost-daily articles both in the consumer media and the media trades.  It’s not unusual to read the opinion that radio has an “image problem,” but as Futures & Options, Inc. president and CEO Bill Brady writes, “Fifteen years of post-consolidation chickens are finally coming home to roost.  Homogenized programming, time-spent listening declines and the decimation of sales departments are now taking their toll.”  Brady also argues against the notion that the current state of things is the “new normal.”  A lot is written about what’s wrong with radio programming, but in this piece, read what media management pro Brady says is problematic about the business end of the business.  Check it out here.

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harrisonmichaelMichael Harrison Comments on Disney Plans to Sell off 23 of its 24 Stations:  Talkers  publisher Michael Harrison,when asked his take on the much-discussed Walt Disney Company decision to sell 23 of its 24 Disney Radio outlets, says, “The loss of 200 more industry jobs is, indeed, tragic – an ongoing plague that is nothing short of heart-breaking on the human level of our beloved industry.  However, those who are running around like Chicken Little, squawking that this move is indicative of the radio industry’s sky falling, are missing the real implications of this development.  Group owners and consolidators such as Disney, who don’t think this medium matches their unbending programming or, worse, believe radiodisney logothere is no way to keep old listeners and attract new listeners via creative programing, SHOULD get out and give new, enthusiastic operators the chance to get in at a reasonable investment.”  Harrison points out, “That is not to say that all consolidators should exit the business – companies such as Cumulus Media, Emmis, Alpha Media, Saga Communications and others are showing that, although the answers aren’t necessarily coming easily, they intend to find and implement them in the belief that the ‘stick’ still has years of life and the potential for pertinence in it.”  Harrison continues, “Disney’s bailing out on the idea that AM radio can no longer attract young listeners indicates it does not have the will nor financial incentive to create programming that will draw listeners of all ages to our medium.”  Harrison concludes, “The primary answer to radio’s growing lack of confidence and eroding status is to make massive improvements and reinventions in its on-air attractions.”

mcneildanDan McNeil Officially Gone from WSCR.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Dan McNeil is not returning to the air at CBS RADIO’s sports talker WSCR, Chicago “The Score.”  He’d been off the air since June when his contract expired and he and the station had been in negotiations, but the two sides apparently could not come together.  It’s been widely reported that McNeil wanted to move from middays to afternoon drive and receive a pay hike from a reported $300,000 per year to $500,000.  Former partner Matt Spiegel notified listeners of the station’s inability to bring McNeil back and said he’s looking forward to getting a new partner and forging ahead.  Read Feder’s column here.

westcottpaulPaul Westcott Exits WTAG, Worcester.  Leaving the full-time radio business at Clear Channel’s news/talk WTAG, Worcester for a position in Washington outside of the radio business is morning drive personality Paul Westcott.  Today (8/15) is Wescott’s final day hosting the morning show but it will not be the end of his talk show career.  Westcott reports that he’s going to stay in the media business posting and podcasting via former “America Now” host Andy Dean‘s new ConnectPal platform.  This means there’s a morning drive position open at WTAG, Worcester and interested radio talent can apply by emailing:  KEVINJOHNSON@clearchannel.com

selexaheidiHeidi Selexa Show Debuts on CRN Digital Talk.  Radio personality and actress Heidi Selexa is bringing her show “Out of the Friend Zone” to CRN Digital Talk Radio where it premieres today at 10:00 pm ET.  CRN Digital Talk says, “The one-hour program is a fun yet serious, authentic show examining interpersonal relationships.  It unlocks the secrets of what is really going on in other people’s minds – and also serves as an open platform to expose and explain misunderstood signals, signs and messages between the sexes.”  CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn adds, “’Out of the Friend Zone’ accomplishes something special.  Many shows help people with relationship and communication issues – but Heidi accomplishes it in an exceptionally fun way.  She talks with listeners – not at them.”  In addition to Selexa’s AM/FM radio career, she was a personality on SiriusXM’s “80s on 8” channel.

MaerCBSVineyardOdds & Sods.  A new hockey season means the return of “Chicago Blackhawks Live” to WGN Radio.  Two September editions are already announced as Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw will be featured on September 3 and head coach Joel Quenneville will be featured on September 10.  Both broadcasts will be live from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm from the Old Town Pour House in Chicago and will air on sports talk WGWG-LP and replays of the programs on news/talk WGN following the Cubs games…..Talk media pro Jerry Klein will do some substitute work at WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte over the coming Labor Day weekend.  He’ll fill in for John Hancock on Friday 8/29 and for Keith Larson on Monday 9/1.  Klein was a full-time personality on the station back in 1994…..CBS News White House correspondent Peter Maer (pictured here) is said by CBS to be the only network radio news reporter traveling with President Obama on his vacation to Martha’s Vineyard where he anchored coverage of the president’s press statement about the Ferguson, Missouri situation.  Maer also did two-ways with affiliate stations about the president’s statements as well as about the Hillary Clinton-President Obama foreign policy rift.

Hartford Courant Shows Connecticut Radio People Some Love.  Although a number of America’s great newspapers/local news bureaus employ media writers who cover the radio business as part of their beats, often, local media give radio stations and talent the cold shoulder due to the competitive nature between the two.  For this reason, it’s nice to see the Hartford Courant’s recent pictorial on the radio personalities of Connecticut.  Check out the piece here.

TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup.  Saying that it’s hit the 500-affiliate mark, Yahoo! Sports Radio announces the addition of WWCS, Pittsburgh; WCAR, Detroit: KTXX, Austin: WCLT, Columbus, and KSGG, Reno to its affiliate roster.

Michael Brown Slaying Aftermath/Militarized Missouri Cops Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 11-15.  The death of black teen Michael Brown at the hands of a police officer, the subsequent riots and looting, and the militarized status of the Missouri police tied for the top stories of the week and landed atop the Talkers TenTM.  At #2 was the ISIS threat and the U.S.’s Iraq policy.  Following at #3 was the Hillary ClintonBarack Obama foreign policy tussle and at #4 was the suicide of actor and comic Robin Williams.  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.  It is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  View this week’s chart here.

Friday, March 29, 2013

| March 29, 2013

harrisheidiHeidi Harris Exits KRLA, Los Angeles.  After almost a year co-hosting the morning show on Salem Communications’ KRLA/KTIE in Southern California “AM 870 The Answer,” Las Vegas-based talk show host Heidi Harris has left the program.  It appears co-hosts Brian Whitman and Ben Shapiro will be joined by another female co-host but who that is has not yet been announced by Salem.  Harris doesn’t say what her plans are but posts this on her Facebook page, “I have some news that is GREAT news for me, and bad news for those of you who like me.  After a very interesting year, filled with changes I could never have anticipated, I have left Salem LA.  This has been in the works for months, and my recent “absences” were intentional, so management could audition someone to replace me.  They have finally decided on someone, so my last day was yesterday. I could tell you who she is, but I’ll leave that to management to announce.  She’s a darling girl, and I wish her the very best.”  Harris has worked at KXNT and KDWN in Las Vegas.

raytomVerizon to Cease Taking orders for ISDN in the Northeast Starting May 18.  The fact that ISDN is on the way out is no surprise to anyone in the radio industry who has gone through the headache of trying to order it over the past five or more years.  Simply put: The phone companies are not thrilled to install it.  It doesn’t make money for them.  It was originally created for use as “high-speed” internet.  Now there are better and faster ways to increase internet speed.  Broadcasters (who make up a rather small percentage of the population) adopted ISDN as a standard way of getting remote audio from point A to point B with good quality.  For the most part, the phone companies could care less.  They didn’t create it for that purpose.  Now, the imminent demise of ISDN has taken a giant step closer to being a reality.  Verizon stated yesterday (3/28) that they will no longer take orders for the service, at least in the Northeast, beginning May 18.  What does this mean to radio broadcasters who have come to depend on ISDN for a majority percentage of their remote broadcasts?  Noted consultant and TALKERS technical editor Tom Ray provides the details and advice.  Read his exclusive column here.

cincyrock logoClear Channel Cincinnati Announces Winner of “Final Format Tournament” for Soon-to-Be WLW FM Signal.  On May 1, translator W233BG, Cincinnati will become the permanent FM simulcast signal for news/talk WLW (it’s been simulcasting CHR “Kiss 107”).  However, the company ran a contest giving the winner programming control of the signal for a month and WEBN OM and PD Chris Williams announces that Florence, Kentucky resident Josh Field won the contest with his “Cincy Rock 94.5” entry.  Following the Cincinnati Reds’ opening day broadcast on Monday, April 1, the signal becomes a rock outlet programmed by Field and dedicated to the “undiscovered rock of Cincinnati.”  Williams states, “Before turning 94.5 over to ‘The Big One, 700 WLW,’ we wanted to take the opportunity to make Cincinnati radio history.  Never before has a radio station been given away as a prize and placed in the control of a single fan.  We’re excited that the audience selected a format that will support the local music scene with ‘Cincy Rock 94.5.’”

lewisbobAmerican General Media Names Bob Lewis Regional PD.  Bob Lewis will be in charge of American General Media’s seven-station cluster in Albuquerque/Santa Fe and seven-station cluster in Bakersfield and as regional director of programming he’ll “be instrumental in the evolution of AGM’s established brands, as well as the launch of new stations, for both markets.”  AGM president Rogers Brandon states, “I am delighted to have Bob rejoin our company in this important new capacity.   We have a broad array of great radio stations in both Bakersfield and Albuquerque.  I look forward to working with Bob to grow our stations with great heritage and develop new and exciting product lines.”  Bob Lewis has worked as marketing and brand manager/program director for Trumper Communications‘ KMVA-FM in Phoenix and at Emmis Communications’ KDHT-FM and KBPA-FM in Austin.  Prior to joining Emmis, Lewis was director of FM operations/marketing & programming for AGM’s Bakersfield cluster.  He says, “I am beyond thrilled to be rejoining American General Media and look forward to learning and partnering with the exceptional PDs and staffs in Albuquerque and Bakersfield.”

hartmannProgressive Talk Show Host Thom Hartmann Provides Inspiring Model of Multi-Platform Delivery System — Exclusive Tour of DC Facility on TALKERS TV.  He is a progressive national and internationally syndicated talk show host (WYD Media) whose shows – because of a creative, multi-platform approach (and a huge, growing fan base to support it) — are now available in over a half-billion homes worldwide.  Thom Hartmann‘s radio show is distributed on for-profit radio stations nationwide by Dial Global, on non-profit and community stations nationwide by Pacifica, on cable systems nationwide by CRN, on its own YouTube channel, via Livestream on its own Livestream channel, via subscription podcasts, worldwide through the US Armed Forces Network, and through the Thom Hartmann App in the App Store.  The radio show is also simulcast as TV in real time into nearly 40 million US and Canadian homes by the Free Speech TV Network on Dish Network, DirectTV, and cable TV systems nationwide. (In addition, his evening TV program, “The Big Picture,” is wholly owned by his own production company, produced in the RT studios, and licensed to and carried by Free Speech TV in the US and into over 600 million homes in 104 countries by the RT TV network and distributed worldwide on Hulu.)  TALKERS TV caught up with this five-time Heavy Hundred member (currently ranked #8 in the nation) at his Washington, DC broadcast headquarters where he gives TALKERS readers an exclusive “tour” of the multi-media model facility.   To see it click on the TALKERS TV box in the upper right hand column on this page.

lp imagePssst, Hey Buddy, Wanna Buy a Record Company?  TALKERS has gotten a line on an incredibly interesting and rare opportunity for the right person or company who would like to enter the music business or expand their present operation by acquiring a long-standing (decades) independent record company whose owners are retiring due to health issues and looking to liquidate some very interesting and valuable intellectual property.  This acquisition would include a veritable treasure trove of 701 original master tapes – 380 of which are full albums, 341 containing 2-5 tracks covering approximately 225 artists from the early rock ‘n’ roll and big band eras.  We are talking about many major names and hits as well as a number of almost-forgotten collector items.  The owners are looking for a quick sale and are willing to make a great deal with the right buyer willing to give these treasures a good home and proper presentation in the marketplace where there is significant niche demand for this era of music.  Interested parties should contact Barbara Kurland at TALKERS by calling 413-565-5413 or emailing Barbara@talkers.com for more details.

cookehollandIs Moss Growing on Your Website?  If so, radio consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke offers advice on how to maximize its impact as a numbers and revenue inducing ally to your on-air dial frequency.  In a nuts and bolts column posted today (3/29) Cooke responds to the often-asked question, “Should I move from Facebook to Twitter?”  His answer: “I sure would NOT: a) bother with MySpace, b) abandon Facebook, or c) under-utilize Twitter.”  He goes on to state, “Wisely, stations and personalities are prioritizing Twitter, a darn opportune tool which listeners have adopted as-fervently as they did Facebook…and MySpace, in its day.”  He goes on to say, “If you’re thinking that ‘The Next Shiny Object’ is your very own iPhone app, STOP.  Save the money, for reasons I will explain on June 6 in my Talkers New York 2013 presentation ‘Resourceful + Remarkable.'”  To read Holland Cooke’s entire column, click here.

bolduankateOdds & Sods. CNN announces a new morning show lineup in an effort to get out of the #3 spot behind Fox News Channel and MSNBC.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Chris Cuomo will be joined by CNN congressional correspondent and “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” co-anchor Kate Bolduan. New CNN president Jeff Zucker is charged with bringing CNN’s morning show out of the cellar and he’s also brought Michaela Pereira aboard as news anchor…..Entercom’s WEEI, Boston teams up with Miller Lite to sponsor a promotion that wraps up at tonight’s Boston Celtics game.  The station has already qualified four local listeners as contestants during lead-up events and between the first and second quarters of the game, each will get a shot at $50,000 if they can sink a half-court shot…..CRN Digital Talk brings legendary Los Angeles radio personality to its network for a Saturday program beginning tomorrow.  Dave Hull, who became a star on KRLA in the 1960s, returns to the air alongside Mandy Armstrong for the “Dave Hull & Mandy” show.   Hull was known for his close relationship with the Beatles during their rise to stardom.  He helped push the growth of rock music by helping plan the Beatles’ 1966 Hollywood Bowl concert as well as promoting clubs, other concerts and his own nightclub.  About his new program he states, “I took some time off a few years ago to write a book and do some other things, but now I’m excited about coming back to radio and working with CRN…We’re going to have a humorous look at today’s news topics in a way that you’ve never heard on talk radio before. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

cbslogoSNL Kagan Releases Rankings of Top 25 Media and Entertainment Companies.  Based on 2012 figures and broken into two bases – net income and operating revenue – the SNL Kagan rankings of the top-earning media and entertainment firms are dominated by companies with diversified interests.  That’s not surprising.  Based on net income, CBS Corp. ranks #6 (down from #5 last year); Liberty Media (owner of SiriusXM) ranks #7 (up from #10 last year); and News Corp. (Fox News, et al) came in at #8 (down from #2 in 2011) all made the grade.  When basing the rank on operating income, CC Media Holdings – parent of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment – ranked #10 (same as in 2011).  Interestingly, Nielsen Holdings N.V. – which may soon own Arbitron – ranked #17 in net income and #12 in operating revenue.

Gay Marriage Bumps Sequester from Top Spot on Talkers TenTM.  The gay marriage debate – spurred by this week’s arguments at the Supreme Court – became the most-talked-about topic on news/talk radio, overtaking the sequester effects which had been at the top for the past five weeks.  At #2 this week was North Korea’s military threats.  Coming in at #3 was gun legislation tied with the Jim Carrey song followed by the slow economic growth figures at #4.  The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio and is published every Friday at Talkers.com.  See this week’s entire chart here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

| July 10, 2012

Istook Enters Syndication Arena.  Former 14-year Oklahoma City congressman Ernest Istook will host a daily 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET news/talk show – “Istook Live!” beginning July 16 that, according to its producers, will “drill deep into the hottest issues facing Americans.”  A production of the media division of The Heritage Foundation’s sister organization Heritage Action for America, the show will emanate from Heritage’s Robert H. Bruce radio studios at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters.  Istook, well-regarded in talk radio circles as a sought-after guest and fill-in host, has been a Distinguished Fellow at the conservative think tank since 2007 and has represented and explained many of its positions on the issues on stations all across the country.  Sources at Heritage tell TALKERS that in addition to “getting the real deal about the issues from the most relevant Washington players, Istook will also field calls from listeners across the country.”  Istook tells TALKERS, “Amid the punditry and spin of the 24-hour news cycle, we intend to clarify the real threats to freedom and the American Dream, and talk about how American taxpayers can counter those threats.”  Heritage Action for America CEO Michael A. Needham states, “Heritage Action worked tirelessly to promote individual liberty and the free enterprise system.  Talk radio long has been a part of that effort.  Now, ‘Istook Live!’ will further discussion of the biggest issues facing our country and provide Americans with a better understanding of the battle of ideas that shapes the news.  We’ll give them virtual access to the halls of Congress and inner-workings of Washington.”  The launch, production, syndication and sales of “Istook Live!” will involve the coming together of a variety of formidable forces that TALKERS founder Michael Harrison described as “what appears to be talk radio’s version of the dream team.”  Ron Hartenbaum of WYD Media Management and Liz Laud of WYM Media Management will lead syndication and affiliate sales, Gary Shonfeld’s AdLarge Media will handle advertising sales and Gabe Hobbs of Gabe Hobbs Media will consult the project. The show initially will be broadcast via www.istook.com as affiliate stations are built out.

SiriusXM Enjoys Good Q2.  The second quarter of 2012 has been good to SiriusXM.  The satcaster reports adding 622,042 net subscribers during the period and more than 1 million in the first two quarters of this year.  CEO Mel Karmazin says he expects revenue to approach $3.4 billion in 2012.  “SiriusXM continues to demonstrate robust growth and strong operating execution despite a challenging economy.  Our second quarter subscriber gains mark a record quarter of net additions since the merger of SIRIUS and XM in July 2008.  While we continue to be conservative in the face of a weak U.S. economic outlook, customers continue to embrace our unparalleled programming lineup, allowing us to raise subscriber guidance for the second time this year.”

“Loveline” Gains Major Market Clear in Boston.  The late night sex and relationships show “Loveline,” featuring Dr. Drew Pinsky, Mike Catherwood and Simone Bienne, is added to the evening schedule at Entercom’s rock WAAF-FM, Boston.  The Courtside Entertainment-produced program show tackles listeners’ questions about love, relationships and sexuality with the help of its expert hosts and advice from a regular line up of popular guests. “Loveline” airs on WAAF-FM weeknights from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm.

CNN Enters Digital Audio News Realm with CNN Radio Soundwaves Destination.  The digital arm of news giant CNN unveils CNN Radio Soundwaves – “the network’s online destination for news content formatted in an original listening experience.”  CNN says this new audio beat will enhance the way users consume news by offering content in four forms: audio, text, photo and video.  CNN Radio president Tyler Moody says, “Soundwaves is a new frontier for CNN Radio.  Some stories are enhanced by an audio format, and we want to deliver a product that gives people that option.  Also, being able to socialize Soundwaves gives us the opportunity to engage in two-way communication with our audience – not just broadcast to fans.”  Powered by SoundCloud, users are able to embed sound clips across social networks.

Rusty Humphries Launches New Cigar Line.  Talk Radio Network and WGST, Atlanta PM drive talk host Rusty Humphries adds a new product to his line of official Rusty items – the Rusty Humphries El Presidente cigar line and its first product, The George Washington.  Humphries says the cigar line, only available in select cigar shops across the country and online via his website, has been met with immediate demand from cigar connoisseurs across the country.  U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (r), pictured here with Humphries (l) in Atlanta, is a big fan.  Humphries has marketed numerous products bearing his name in the past, including beef jerky, Bar-B-Q sauce, salsa and more.  He says the cigar venture just makes sense.  “One of the reasons I decided to make a cigar line was because after visiting several cigar lounges around the country, I realized that patrons of cigar shops were very loyal not only to their favorite cigar but to talk radio as well.  Why not combine the two together?”

Fox Sports Radio Network Talent Broadcast from London 2012 Olympic Games.  Fox Sports Radio talent will be front and center when the 2012 Olympic Games begin on July 27.  First, Dan Patrick, host of the DirecTV/FSRN sports talk show, and Pat O’Brien, co-host of the “Loose Cannons” show on FSRN, will serve as NBC anchors for the games.  “Fox Sports Tonight” co-host (and six-time Olympic gold medalist) Amy Van Dyken will join co-host Rob Dibble with daily updates and interviews from the London games.  Also, tennis star Andy Roddick – who co-hosts the “Roddick & Bones” weekend show on FSRN – will be competing in the games on the U.S. tennis team.

WCHV, Charlottesville-Based Joe Thomas to Broadcast from Freedom Fest 2012.  Virginia talk show host Joe Thomas – based at WCHV, Charlottesville and regionally syndicated – will take his show on the road to Las Vegas where he will broadcast both his WCHV morning drive show and his regionally syndicated PM drive show from “Freedom Fest 2012” at Bally’s Hotel.  Thomas states, “I’m looking forward to reinforcing my show’s theme of free markets, opportunity and liberty from this great annual event.”

CRN Digital Talk Host Larry Manetti Airs Ernest Borgnine Tribute Today.  Actor and nationally syndicated talk show host Larry Manetti will pay tribute to his good friend Ernest Borgnine – who passed away over the weekend at age 95 – on his CRN Digital Talk program today.  Manetti says, “We were close friends who shared a lot over the years so I’m happy to join with our other good friends and listeners in a tribute to Ernie’s life and work.”   Manetti and Borgnine worked together on the upcoming film, “The Man Who Shook the Hand of Vincente Fernandez,” which turned out to be Borgnine’s final film.  The film was directed by Elia Petredis, who will appear on today’s program along with actors Robert Wagner and Dennis Farina.  Manetti’s program airs live at 4:00 pm PT.

Talk Star Mark Levin to Emcee WABC and WPLJ-FM Promotion.  The promotion in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey is the 2nd Annual Bark in the Park being held Saturday, July 14 from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm and is designed to allow dog owners and their pets to enjoy a day in the park.  Dog lover, author and talk host Mark Levin will emcee the event that will include contests and activities for dogs, with various pet exhibitors, demonstrations and plenty of food and drink.  There will be many puppies available onsite for adoption through the North Shore Animal League America and the Bergen County Animal Shelter.  Mark Levin will be joined by Mark Simone of 77 WABC and Bill Evans, senior meteorologist for Channel 7 Eyewitness News and will also be broadcast on WPLJ-FM.

Obama Proposes Middle-Class Tax Cut Extension, Weak Jobs Creation Numbers, Affordable Care Law, and 2012 Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/9).  President Obama’s proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for Americans making more than $250,000 per year; the weak job creation numbers and their effect on the financial markets; the Affordable Care law and how it will impact employers and families; and the 2012 presidential race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.