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Friday, November 12, 2021

| November 12, 2021

Legendary Radio Figure Al Herskovitz Dies at 90.  One of the radio industry’s most-liked and enduring figures, Al Herskovitz, has passed way in Bradenton, FL on November 11 at the age of 90 after suffering an episode of cardiac arrest. Herskovitz was an alumnus of many top American radio stations and broadcast companies including: WPRO, Providence; WIP, Philadelphia; and WPOL-AM/FM, Los Angeles, as well as CapCities Communications among others where he served in program director and station manager capacities for a number of years. In early 1986, Herskovitz and Michael Harrison formed H&H Broadcasting, Inc. and acquired WSPR, Springfield, MA which they transitioned from an adult contemporary music format to a seminal spoken word approach they dubbed “Supertalk” – a precursor to the modern style of talk radio that boomed onto the scene during the 1990s. H&H owned and operated WSPR until late-1988. When TALKERS was launched in 1990, Herskovitz joined the company and served as its senior director of marketing until his recent retirement in 2019 at the age of 88. In the 2000 presidential election he served as the Steve Forbes campaign’s media advisor. Herskovitz was an active member, right until his passing, of the Sarasota, FL-based Media Round Table – a group of working, retired and semi-retired media professionals from around the country who currently live full- or part-time in Florida. Harrison states, “Al was like a brother to me and a rock in my life. He was a friend, a partner, and a mentor, not to mention one of the most dependable and decent human beings I could ever have been blessed to have as a close associate over the decades. Even into his late-80s, Al was sharp and energetic. He knew as much about the radio business and stayed abreast of the ever-changing technology of the digital era as if he were a bright millennial on the leading edge. He was, indeed, remarkable!” Herskovitz was born and raised in Bridgeport, CT – the son of hard working Jewish Hungarian immigrants, the late Leo and Elsie Herskovitz. He’s a veteran of the United States Army where he served and saw action in the Korean War. He is pre-deceased by his beloved wife of 53 years, Eileen Herskovitz who passed away in 2012. Herskovitz’s colorful career, spanning almost seven decades, brought him into contact with some of the world’s most colorful individuals in politics, show business, sports and business. These experiences are documented in a memoir titled, The Tall, Skinny Jewish Kid with Eyeglasses from Bridgeport: A Radio Guy’s Chance Encounters with the Colorful and Famous (Talkers Books, 2018). A graveside service will be held at Skyway Memorial Gardens, 5200 US Hwy 19 N, Palmetto, FL 34221 https://www.skywaymemorial.com/ at a date and time to be announced.  Check the Skyway website or Talkers.com for further details.

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, “Inflation Nation,” looks back at this past week of 11/8 – 11/12. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSClaire Carter, commentator, Good For You Radio/founder, Good For You NetworkRichard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; Steve Weisman, professor of law, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite Radio; and Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel. 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 NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

WRKO, Boston Raises Almost $200K for Disabled American Veterans. Boston news/talk outlet WRKO-AM “The Voice of Boston” raised more than $192,000 during its sixth annual DAV Radiothon to benefit the Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts. The iHeartMedia station held the 13-hour radiothon yesterday (11/11) and with WRKO personalities Jeff Kuhner, Barry Armstrong, and Howie Carr encouraging listeners to donate. Funds are designated for the DAV of Massachusetts’ homeless shelter and transportation programs. iHeartMedia Boston VP of news, talk, sports Rob Sanchez says, “It’s an honor for AM 680 WRKO to dedicate Veterans Day to help the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our great country. Our generous listeners always amaze me and have once again shown their support to raise $192,082 for the DAV of Massachusetts.” Since 2016, DAV Radiothon has raised over $800,000 to benefit veterans in the community.

NPR and Edison Research Spoken Word Audio Report Indicates Young, Multicultural Listeners Drive Consumption While Mobile Listening and Podcasts Add to Increases. The results of the NPR and Edison Research 2021 Spoken Word Audio Report – based on a national online survey of 1,000 adults 18 and over who listened to spoken word audio in the last month – reveals “the continued increased consumption of spoken word audio in the U.S. and the drivers behind the growth.” The report finds 75% of those in the U.S 13+ (212 million people) are monthly spoken word audio listeners, and 45% (127 million people) are daily spoken word audio listeners. Spoken word audio listening is up 40% in the past seven years, and up 8% year over year, with the share of time spent listening to spoken word audio reaching 28% of time spent with all audio. A look at a seven-year trend shows dramatic increases among young and multicultural listeners. The study shows 26% of 13-34-year-olds’ audio time is spent with spoken word audio, an increase of 116% over 2014. Similar increases are noted among multicultural listeners: Black listeners spend 22% of their audio time with spoken word (an 83% increase over 2014); Hispanic/Latino listeners spend 27% of their audio time with spoken word (an 80% increase over 2014); and White listeners now spend 29% of their audio time with spoken word, a 26% increase over 2014. Digital listening is also changing the spoken-word audio landscape. Mobile listening has increased 278% over the past seven years, with one-third (34%) of all time spent listening to spoken word audio being done on a mobile device. The increase in consumption on a mobile device holds for all ages, not just younger demos. Of all spoken word audio consumed by those 13+, 22% of it is to podcasts, a 176% increase over seven years ago (8%). You can find out more about the study here.

Season Two of ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast’ to Debut on November 22. The podcast docuseries “We Interrupt This Broadcast” is back for season two with episodes beginning streaming on November 22. Together, season one’s “JFK Assassination” episode and season two’s “The Killing of Lee Harvey Oswald” episode commemorate the November 22 and 24 anniversaries of these historic events, revealing never-before-heard audio and revelations from broadcasters and journalists who were covering these events in real time. Listeners are enlightened with impactful details that did not previously make the airwaves or subsequent historical accounts. The series is hosted by legendary broadcaster Bill Kurtis and narrated by Brian Williams and is “a celebration of the art of journalism and the heroism of journalists who broke the news and reported the captivating details from the front lines of these iconic moments.” Season Two episodes include interviews and thrilling new details by broadcasters, TV journalists and historians who were entrenched in these notable moments: Oswald Assassination; Watergate: Nixon Resigns; Challenger Explosion; Rescue of Baby Jessica; The OJ Simpson Slow Speed Chase; The Oklahoma City Bombing; Y2K; Hurricane Katrina Slams New Orleans; Election Night 2016; and War of the Worlds – The Original ‘Deep Fake’, which recently began streaming on its historic anniversary. Brian Williams says, “Podcasting allows us to get it right – we get to tell the story calmly and accurately. If we do it right, it will bring people as close as possible to the feeling of being as fortunate as we are to have this job. It’s been a tremendous privilege and honor to live through breaking stories as they are happening, right alongside our viewers. Listening to ‘We Interrupt This Broadcast,’ you’re going to feel that same tension, excitement, mystery, and urgency that we felt in the moment as we broadcasted.” The docuseries is produced by i4 Media Ventures, LLC and is repped for ad and sponsorship sales by New York and Los Angeles-based Crossover Media Group Sales.

TALKERS News Notes. A three-hour special Thanksgiving program from CBS Audio hosted by Gil Gross is available for air Wednesday November 24 – Sunday November 28. The show consists of three hours of bright and informative conversation about America’s most beloved holiday, including: culinary “horror” stories of Thanksgiving dinners gone wrong; the harrowing story of Squanto, the Native American credited with saving the Pilgrims and inaugurating the American Thanksgiving; how a train with 260 tons of frozen turkeys brought about the creation of the frozen TV dinner; bringing back vintage Thanksgiving recipes and creating innovations in the traditional Thanksgiving meal; and how Thanksgiving and football became married family traditions…..Boston public media outlet GBH names Paris Alston and Jeremy Siegel the new co-hosts of “Morning Edition” at GBH News. Alston rejoins GBH from WBUR, where she is a host of the NPR podcast, “Consider This,” produced in conjunction with GBH. Siegel is currently the host and producer of the Washington, DC-based daily news podcast “POLITICO Dispatch.” GBH general manager of news Pam Johnston says, “Our audiences have told us that mornings matter most when it comes to news. They look to us to get the information they need and set the tone for the day ahead. With Paris and Jeremy as co-hosts of ‘Morning Edition’ at GBH News, our audiences will get local stories from different perspectives. They’ll engage with a pair of dynamic, smart and accomplished journalists who possess a real knack for understanding and dissecting the complex stories of our time.”

Inflation, Supply Chain and Economic Politics Top News/Talk Story for Week of 11/8-12. Soaring consumer goods and fuel prices, the supply chain breakdown, labor woes, and economic politics combined as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was COVID-19 vaccines and mandates, the Aaron Rodgers controversy, and school board battles, followed by the January 6 investigation tied with social media & journalism at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Broadcasting’s Free Speech Responsibility

| December 2, 2020

By Ron Hartenbaum
WYD Media Management
Crossover Media Group Sales
President

 

NEW YORK — It is unfortunate that during these worst of times that we are all living through, we need to stop and spend time reviewing broadcasting’s free speech responsibility.

This week’s urgent need to review is based on Joe diGenova advocating violence against a former government official while a guest on “The Howie Carr Show.”

Read More

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

| September 22, 2020

Interesting News from 77WABC on Both the Political and Musical Fronts.  New York City-based businessman and radio broadcaster John Catsimatidis, whose Red Apple Media acquired news/talk station WABC late last year, tells TALKERS that he is thinking about running for mayor of the Big Apple next year and that the heritage outlet is considering adding more musical programming to its weekend lineup to accompany the recent hiring of legendary disc jockey “Cousin” Bruce Morrow as host of a three-hour Saturday night program.  In an exclusive interview with both men conducted by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison this morning (9/22), Catsimatidis and Morrow were in agreement that weekends are a good time to take a break from the stress and negativity of politics in favor of enjoying the fun and escape of music and non-combative entertainment. Catsimatidis, who also hosts his own weekend political talk show, stated, “Saturday nights, Sunday nights and Friday nights are for relaxing – not for headaches. Politics has gotten too serious and everyone is at each other’s throats. That’s wrong! We’re going to be bringing in more people, subject to Cousin Brucie’s approval, to do more music on WABC – especially on weekends.” Catsimatidis, who ran for mayor of New York in 2013 as a moderate Republican, was the runner-up in that year’s GOP primary. He tells Harrison, “On my radio show I have liberals and I have conservative guests. I have Republicans and I have Democrats. Some of my best friends are Democrats and consider me a Democrat. If I decide to run for mayor next year, I will try to do it on the ‘fusion’ ticket and not necessarily on any party line.” The entire conversation between Harrison, Morrow, and Catsimatidis will be posted on next week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview” podcast and portions of it will appear on this coming weekend’s edition of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” radio show.

Talker Chris Stigall Returns KCMO-AM, Kansas City to Host Late Morning Show. After being away from the Kansas City talk radio audience for 10 years, talk radio host Chris Stigall is returning to the air in the market on Cumulus Media’s KCMO-AM for the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot, beginning today (9/22). Stigall hosted the morning show on KCMO from 2006 through 2010, prior to joining WPHT, Philadelphia. Stigall has been the morning drive personality on Salem Media Group’s WNTP, Philadelphia “AM 990 The Answer” since last fall and he’ll continue in the role. Cumulus Kansas City regional vice president and market manager Donna Baker says, “[Program director and morning host] Pete Mundo has established ‘KCMO Mornings’ as the trusted local talk radio destination for daily issues that affect our Kansas City community. His idea to welcome Chris Stigall back to continue the local dialogue with KCMO listeners from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon is a brilliant addition to this iconic station.” Stigall comments, “You can move away from Kansas City, but anyone who’s born and raised here knows Kansas City is always in your heart. Most of my family and closest friends still call it home. It’s been a while, but like any good friend, the audience of KCMO Talk Radio and I go way back, and we’ll pick up right where we left off.”

Crossover Media Group Adds ‘Just Ask the Question’ to Podcast Portfolio. The podcast featuring White House reporter Brian Karem, “Just Ask the Question,” joins the growing podcast portfolio of cross-platform content-production and advertising-sales representation firm Crossover Media Group Sales. As you may recall, Karem – who writes for Playboy and has frequently appeared on CNN – rose to greater prominence recently when the Trump Administration attempted, unsuccessfully, to pull his White House press pass. Crossover Media Group will drive advertising sales and promote and increase distribution for the podcast, that features interviews with guests in the news and offers special insights to the news, with guests such as author Mary Trump; biotech executive and vaccine expert Dr. Stephen Hoffman; retired former Montgomery County, Maryland, police chief Tom Manger; intelligence analyst Naveed Jamali; various senators and representatives; and even comedians Kathy Griffin and Carl Reiner. Crossover Media Group Sales managing member Sue Freund says, “The idea of the podcast is to engage people about real issues on a substantive level. At the same time, we want to engage listeners and blow your mind. Brian is famously fearless in pushing for answers and facts and holding elected officials accountable. Adding ‘Just Ask the Question’ rounds out our growing roster of content in the news and political and issues talk arena which now includes ‘CBS News on the Hour,’ John Solomon’s ‘Just the News,’ David Shuster’s ‘Quick Hits’ and shows hosted by popular talk personalities Stephanie Miller and Thom Hartmann.

Hillary Clinton Podcast Series Announced by iHeartMedia. The former First Lady, Secretary of State, and U.S. Senator is hosting a 24-episode podcast series on the iHeartPodcast Network titled, “You and Me Both with Hillary Clinton,” that debuts on September 29. The program will feature candid interviews with guests from a wide range of backgrounds including: Sarah Cooper, Gloria Steinem, Stacey Abrams, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, Samin Nosrat, Patton Oswald, Tan France, and more. Clinton says, “I’m excited to bring these eye-opening, powerful, sometimes hilarious conversations to the forefront and open up new avenues of discussion with some of the people I find most fascinating. This podcast is a chance to talk about subjects that are too often overlooked and share the inspiration and education I’ve gotten from my guests.”

WFNZ, Charlotte Producer and APD Mark Seidel Passes at 37. News of the death of WFNZ, Charlotte producer and assistant program director Mark Seidel at age 37 from an apparent heart attack was shared by WFNZ staffer Travis Hancock who tweeted, “With much sadness I say RIP to our WFNZ brother Mark Seidel. I’m heartbroken. We were HS classmates. We crossed paths again when he got into radio in 07. He was a gentle soul who I have never heard a person say a bad word about. He deserved a long and happy life. We are crushed.”

SCOTUS Nominee Battle, the Presidential Race/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/CDC Flip Flop, Back to School Woes, Western Wildfires, and Tropical Storm Beta Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/21). Republicans’ vow to move ahead with a Supreme Court nominee in the aftermath of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg; the November presidential election and the debate over the veracity of mail-in voting; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., projections for future cases, and the controversy over the CDC’s flip-flopping on posting that transmission via aerosol is likely; the struggles families are facing returning to school and the related college outbreaks; the wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington; and Tropical Storm Beta flood threats were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. Dallas sports talk outlet KTCK-AM/FM “Sportsradio 96.7 and 1310 The Ticket” announces it helped raise more than $122,000 for Dallas-area children during its 2nd annual “Donnie’s DFW Domino Classic” held over the Labor Day weekend. The Cumulus Media station says all proceeds go to Dallas charitable organization, AT LAST! Boarding, which helps underprivileged children get a quality education. This year’s event was hosted by Donovan Lewis, co-host of The Ticket’s “The Norm and D Invasion” and included an online car raffle and virtual dominoes tournament…..Cadence13 and Entercom are partnering with Pulitzer Prize-winning and New York Times bestselling author Tim Weiner, Jigsaw Productions and Prologue Projects for “Whirlwind” – a 10-part original documentary podcast franchise that tells the story of the 75-year battle between the US and Russia. The series builds off Weiner’s book, The Folly and the Glory: America, Russia, and Political Warfare: 1945-2020 (Henry Holt, 2020) and offers a deep-dive into a world of secrets, brought to life through focused, intimate interviews with people who have operated inside of it…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Imperative Entertainment today premiere the first English and Spanish language podcasts, “The Red Note” and “La Nota Roja,” that is also to become a documentary feature film. The 10-episode podcast series are hosted by investigative journalist Lydia Cacho and examine the Juarez femicides that have taken the lives of thousands of women over the past 25 years…..KQED announces a new, five-part limited podcast series on the California housing crisis that will be hosted by KQED’s housing affordability reporters Molly Solomon and Erin Baldassari. “SOLD OUT: Rethinking Housing in America” reimagines what housing can be by examining California, the epicenter of the nation’s housing affordability crisis. KQED says, “Solomon and Baldassari introduce us to people experiencing homelessness and the activists pushing city leaders to de-commodify housing. They talk with builders hacking traditional construction methods to build more homes faster and policy experts who believe housing can be a form of reparations that gives Black Americans the same opportunity that white Americans have always had in this country.”…..SiriusXM extends its collaboration with superstar Kevin Hart and Laugh Out Loud. Under the new deal, Hart will host new regular and live programs on his SiriusXM channel, Laugh Out Loud Radio, while expanding SiriusXM’s relationship with LOL to include a slate of additional comedic programming spanning radio shows, podcasts, and on-demand video that will be distributed across the SiriusXM ecosystem…..Pictured below is new Salem Radio Network talk host Charlie Kirk (right) in the KRLA, Los Angeles studios with SRN videographer Ethan Tradup (left) as he records a series of marketing videos for his new SRN talk program “The Charlie Kirk Show.” Kirk is the founder of the conservative student group Turning Point USA. His program premieres on October 5. See a video here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Tulsa, programming pro Abby Jessen is named the new director of branding and programming for Cox Media Group’s hot AC KRAV-FM “Mix 96.5.” She comes to Tulsa from CMG’s Athens, Georgia operations where she held a similar position. CMG Tulsa market vice president Cathy Gunther says, “At CMG, we’ve always said that we win with our people and it’s led to the creation and longevity of our market-leading products. Bringing Abby onto our team will continue to give us an advantage over our competitors and help us further elevate our award-winning content.”…..iHeartMedia announces that the 2020 iHeartCountry Festival Presented by Capital One, originally scheduled for May 2 at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, will now be a virtual streaming and on-air radio special on October 23. The seventh annual event will feature performances from Dierks Bentley, Lady A, Sam Hunt, Kane Brown, Kelsea Ballerini, Dustin Lynch, Jon Pardi, Riley Green, Morgan Evans and Gabby Barrett and a guest appearance by Bobby Bones. The program is being  recorded live on one stage in Nashville and will stream exclusively on LiveXLive and be broadcast live across iHeartMedia’s country music radio stations in local markets and at iHeartRadio.com on October 23 at 7:00 pm CT…..Beasley Media Group’s classic rock WCSX, Detroit is producing a special, 12-week program titled, “Seger Saturdays” that will air Saturdays at 9:00 am beginning October 3. WCSX says the new program – hosted by morning show personality Big Jim O’Brien – will highlight the incredible legacy of Detroit’s iconic rocker, Bob Seger and will feature a full hour of music, interviews, special guests, and storytelling relating to Bob’s Hall of Fame career. Beasley Media Detroit director of programming Scott Jameson says, “Bob Seger is revered in Detroit, so we’re taking our listeners beyond the music, sharing stories about the people and events that shaped his legendary career. Listeners can expect to hear all the great Seger classics along with a behind-the-scenes view of Bob’s inner circle.”…..After six years of live concerts at Tysons Corner Center, the “WGTS 91.9 Summer Concert Series” from Atlantic Gateway Communications’ Christian contemporary WGTS moved to a virtual format.  The band Unspoken was to have performed from the mall but instead, WGTS morning show hosts Jerry Woods and Blanca Vega tossed it to Unspoken at the Sound Kitchen studios in Franklin, Tennessee for the show. Afternoon show hosts Johnny and Stacey Stone picked things up from the WGTS video studios interviewing Unspoken and taking live questions from listeners. Jerry Woods says, “This definitely was the next best thing to having them in person. Using the Streamyard video platform we were able to put live listener comments up on the screen and the band immediately reacted to listeners. This added a whole new dimension to the live broadcast.” More than 10,000 listeners from coast to coast and countries around the world viewed the webcast.

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.

Monday, May 4, 2020

| May 4, 2020

Monday Memo: “3 Big Things” Feeling cooped up by coronavirus confinement?  You’re not alone!  But, in this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke notes some “silver linings” in this crisis (an opportune call-in topic).  Read it here.

Coronavirus Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening States, Pressure on China, Presidential Race/Joe Biden Allegations, Financial Markets Activity, and Korean DMZ Incident/Kim Jong Un Status Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and predictions about future deaths; the various states that began re-opening their economies; accusations the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan laboratory, China’s response, and pressure on the country to open up to investigation into the origins of the virus; the presidential race and Tara Reade’s accusation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; and shots fired between North and South Korea across the DMZ and Kim Jong Un’s resurfacing were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: Don’t Fight Santa. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that it doesn’t matter if radio reaches 92% of adults each week if there are no cars parked at retail stores in your market.  To help a client in this climate, you have to “see what your advertisers see.”  Read his column here.

Hubbard Radio Announces Cuts Across Its Radio Properties. On Friday, Hubbard Radio chairman and CEO Ginny Morris announced in a memo to the company’s staffers that the disruption in the advertising business due to the coronavirus pandemic was forcing the company to take the unfortunate step of reducing payroll via layoffs at its radio stations in Chicago, Seattle, Phoenix, Washington, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, and St. Louis.  The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports that six staffers at sports talk KSTP-AM “SKOR North” were let go including Minneapolis Twins reporter Derek Wetmore and Minnesota Vikings reporter Matthew Coller.  The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that longtime WXOS-FM sports talk host Bernie Miklasz was one of 20 staffers in St. Louis to be let go.  Post-Dispatch reporter Dan Caesar adds that the lineup at WXOS changes with Miklasz’s exit.  Randy Karraker moves from afternoons to Miklasz’s former 7:00 am to 10:00 am show.  Midday host Anthony Stalter moves to the afternoon show with Brad Thompson and Chris Rongey.  Cardinals play-by-play voice Dan McLaughlin will host an hour-long show at 10:00 am while Jamie Rivers and Brandon Kiley will host the 11:00 am to 2:00 pm program.

Key Networks Celebrates a Year in Syndication for Bill O’Reilly. It’s been a year since Key Networks brought conservative media icon Bill O’Reilly back to radio in national syndication via his daily radio feature “The O’Reilly Update.”  That show, along with the morning drive feature “The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition,” are currently airing on 208 radio stations from coast-to-coast. The O’Reilly Update – Morning Edition launched in January. O’Reilly says, “It is simply imperative that Americans get the truth in this very dangerous time. Many news agencies spin it. ‘The O’Reilly Update’ never does that. We deliver honest news and commentary every day in a concise, lively format. It’s gratifying to see the great response.”  Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “Over 200 stations carrying programming in a year’s time is an amazing feat! It speaks to the quality of the content. During these challenging times, listeners want to hear news and commentary from a trusted voice and Bill O’Reilly delivers with ‘The O’Reilly Update.’”

‘Marilyn: Behind the Icon’ Podcast Series Debuts. A new podcast series from the alliance of Crossover Media Group Sales, LifeBites, and “Behind the Icon” producers looks at the life of Marilyn Monroe via a dramatic narrative based on Gary Vitacco-Robles’ bestselling books, ICON: The Life, Times and Films of Marilyn Monroe Volumes I and II (BearManor Media, 2015). The series is called “Marilyn: Behind the Icon” and “portrays Monroe up close and personal with a dramatic storyline featuring narration, actor dramatization, and commentary by a mental health expert. Marilyn Monroe is played by the talented Erin Gavin, who portrayed the legend on stage. Erin captures the essence of Marilyn that will captivate the podcast audience. In addition, the series features award-winning voice-over talent, Brad Hyland (Santa from Elf on the Shelf, Victoria’s Secret and many commercials) as the sultry, warm-voiced narrator.”  Producer Nina Boski says, “Fans around the world have an unending fascination with Marilyn Monroe. But underneath the glamour, there was a real person who struggled tremendously with mental health and addiction issues, which are truly an American epidemic. ‘Marilyn: Behind the Icon’ will reveal a dramatic narrative that will help Marilyn become more real and even more relatable to millions of fans and for people who are suffering from some of the same issues as the icon.”  Crossover Media Group Sales managing partner Sue Freund adds, “‘Marilyn: Behind the Icon’ is such a dynamic story for millions of Marilyn fans. We wanted to take on a project that was different and could tell the icon’s story to the world in a unique and groundbreaking way.  The producers of ‘Marilyn: Behind the Icon’ knock it out the park with their ability to share the Monroe story. They made it come to life – to entertain, but also to educate the audience at the same time about mental illness and addiction. The podcast gives a voice to Marilyn’s struggles in a way that can help others potentially seek the help she herself so desperately needed. We are excited to get behind such a compelling project!”

Radio Cares Radiothon Raises More than $500,000 for ‘Feeding America.’ The “Radio Cares Feeding America Emergency Radiothon” that began on Thursday (4/30) and ran through the weekend has raised more than $500,000 for hunger relief organization Feeding America. The radiothon closed with a $20,000 donation from Scott and Sandi Borchetta and Big Machine Label Group. The funds raised will provide 5 million meals for Americans living with hunger. The charitable initiative was developed and led by Ron Stone, president & CEO, Adams Radio Group, and Brian Philips, EVP, content & audience, Cumulus Media/Westwood One. Philips says, “Listeners answered the call from their favorite stations, large and small, unified by the cause of American hunger. Our listeners represent the most generous cross-section of America. There exists a bond among them that no crisis can break. Cumulus is always proud when what we do moves people.”

TALKERS News Notes. A new, weekly podcast from ABC News’ FiveThirtyEight titled, “PODCAST-19: FiveThirtyEight on the Coronavirus” debuted on May 1. The program features host Anna Rothschild, with the support of FiveThirtyEight team, investigating COVID-19 mysteries, debating when it’s safe to reopen the economy, and keeping track of the latest scientific developments on vaccines and treatments. ABC News says Rothschild has over a decade of experience reporting on science, health, and the environment. She has won multiple awards for her science communication, including from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Institute of Physics…..The John Fredericks Radio Network is broadcasting live this week – Monday through Wednesday – from Clarksdale, Mississippi, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta.  Fredericks says the show is investigating how the systemic poverty in the Delta region is affecting how residents are coping with the coronavirus pandemic.  He adds, “We’ll be discussing what the next steps are for small business owners, residents, and students, many of whom do not have high-speed broadband. Some have no Internet whatsoever, which may lead them to fall further behind the learning curve.”…..iHeartMedia Orlando is presenting an online “Education Fair, Education Summit” on Thursday, May 14 and Friday, May 15 from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm at EducationSummitFL.com. Designed to serve colleges, universities, tech schools, trade schools and more, the custom web page will allow education recruiters to conduct video interviews and review transcripts in real time. Students can log on and click on the education institute profile they wish to chat with. iHeartMedia Orlando partnerships manager Chianna Ray says, “This virtual event is exactly what our community needs right now. Many students have not had the chance to visits schools, meet with recruiters and are feeling unsure of their future. Recruiters have missed valuable face time with future students since events are not taking place at this time. We look forward to making that connection through our event.”…..Beasley Media Group stations in Fayetteville, Augusta, and Charlotte are hosting a complimentary 30-minute webinar designed to help struggling restaurant owners and managers directly impacted by the pandemic. The webinar will take place on Thursday, May 7, at 2:30 pm. Beasley says the session will feature actionable insights, timely advice, and relevant information that local restaurants can use immediately to help increase business during these challenging economic times. Participants can learn from Steve DaPolito, co-owner of Charlotte-based Bisonte Pizza Co., who helped to increase sales for his business at the onset of COVID-19. They can also learn about resources available to local restaurant owners provided by representatives from both the North Carolina and the South Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association…..Beasley Media Group and broadcast television firm TEGNA are partnering on a broadcast TV series focusing on the esports rivalry between the Overwatch League’s Houston Outlaws and Dallas Fuel.  TEGNA, owner of stations in 12 Texas markets, is broadcasting a weekly docuseries of original episodes chronicling the competition. Beasley Esports COO Lori Burgess comments, “We are thrilled to be partnering with the Dallas Fuel and TEGNA’s Texas stations to bring fresh sports competition and entertainment back to our fans and TV viewers. Video gaming is hotter than ever and professional esports is taking center stage this month in Texas with the inaugural Lone Star Showdown presented by Samsung. New fans can expect a battle worthy of champions.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves.  As a result of Hubbard Radio’s decision to trim payroll because of the COVID-19 business climate, here are some of the air personalities reported to have been affected: In Chicago, media writer Robert Feder reports classic rock WDRV “97.1 The Drive” night host Phil Manicki and overnight host Greg Easterling, along with AC WSHE-FM “SHE 100.3” morning producer Robb Rose and night jock Brian Middleton, WDRV-FM promotion manager Heather Torrey, and hot AC WTMX-FM “101.9 The Mix” morning producer Cynthia Denicolo and social media staffer Melissa “Mel D” Dever all exit. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that country WIL-FM “New Country 92.3” morning hosts Bud Ford and Jerry Broadway are gone. Today (5/4), Hubbard announces that WSHE program director Cat Thomas is leaving that station to move to Seattle to become brand and content director at CHR KQMV “MOViN 92.5” and adult contemporary KRWM “Warm 106.9.”  Vice president of brand and content at WTMX and WSHE Jimmy Steal is assuming WSHE PD duties…..After the company put the wraps on the nationally syndicated country radio morning program “The Ty Bentli Show” on Friday with the exit of hosts Chuck Wicks and Tricia “TJ” Jenkins (Bentli exited the show earlier this year), Cumulus Media’s Westwood One launched the new “Morning Koffy” syndicated program hosted by Paul Koffy and co-host Jasmine Sadry. Cumulus EVP marketing and Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Well known in the radio industry and well-liked by country artists, Paul is the ideal host for this new show. Paul has spent his entire career in country music and, surprisingly, has never before hosted a program from Nashville – we can’t wait to see what he does from Music City. With Jasmine on the other mic, this show is one good morning brew.”…..Tampa Bay CHR WFLZ-FM “93.3 FLZ” replaces “The Kane Show” with new morning drive program, “THEjoeSHOW.”  Moving from the company’s Detroit CHR WKQI “Channel 955” where he was afternoon drive personality and APD, host Joe Carballo is joined by Ashley Nics and producer Jed Shilling. iHeartMedia Tampa Bay VP or programming Tommy Chuck says, “‘93.3 FLZ’ has a long history of incredible morning personalities. I’m excited to announce the next great show that is poised to take over Tampa Bay. Joe, Ashley, and Jed have done a great job preparing for this opportunity.” In Detroit Ashley Nics served as a producer for “The Mojo in the Morning Show” and hosted middays. Jed Schilling worked in the programming and digital department. Together, the three also hosted the “Heavily Anxious” podcast…..In Baltimore, morning drive personality Stash, a.k.a. Steve Ash, exits Shamrock Communications’ classic rock WZBA “100.7 The Bay.”  Stash announced the move via a Facebook post…..Alpha Media Bakersfield announces Erik Fox is promoted to program director for KLLY-FM “Energy 95.3.”  He’s been serving as music director and afternoon drive host for the station. Alpha Media Bakersfield general manager Jeremy Price says, “Erik Fox has shown himself to be one of the hardest working individuals in this industry that I have ever worked with. His love for the music marks a huge step up for the station. And in the year that he has been MD for ‘Energy,’ our ratings have risen to levels not seen on that station for over half a decade. Individuals committed to local radio like Erik are rare and we are blessed to have him on our team and, in this new capacity, are excited to see him continue to dominate in the ratings.”…..iHeartMedia moves Atlanta hip hop “The Beat” from WRDG-FM at 96.7 to WBZY-FM at 105.3.  The move bumps the Spanish hits format that had been airing on WBZY-FM.  Station program director Dan Hunt says, “We’re excited for the opportunity to rebuild ‘The Beat’ from the ground up and continue to represent the urban music culture with a sound unique to Atlanta.  Atlanta’s music lovers will get to listen to the most prolific voices in hip hop radio today, including “The Breakfast Club” and DJ Scream.”