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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

| July 20, 2021

iHeartMedia Voluntarily Prepays $250 Million Loan. The company announces that its indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary, iHeartCommunications, Inc., has successfully completed the previously announced voluntary prepayment of a portion of both its $2,070 million Term Loan and its $446 million Incremental Term Loan, utilizing cash on hand, while concurrently repricing the Incremental Term Loan at a new rate of LIBOR + 3.25%. The prepayment was applied to the Term Loan and the Incremental Term Loan on a pro-rata basis, resulting in $206 million being used to prepay the Term Loan and $44 million to prepay the Incremental Term Loan. The interest rate on the remaining $402 million balance of the Incremental Term Loan was lowered by 100 basis points, including the impact of a 25-basis points LIBOR floor reduction. The prepayment and the new rate are expected to save iHeartMedia approximately $13 million in interest expense on an annualized basis.

Emmis to Cease Broadcasting on WFNI-AM After Agreeing to Transmitter Site Deal. According to a report by Alex Brown at Inside Indiana Business, Emmis Communications will shut down the 1070 AM signal of sports talk WFNI, Indianapolis “The Fan” after August 1 because it has sold a part of the transmitter site. The company will continue to broadcast “The Fan” on WIBC-HD2 and FM translators W228CX at 93.5 and W298BB at 107.5. Emmis founder and chairman Jeff Smulyan says, “As long-time owners of 1070, we are working diligently on finding the next great use for the signal. We were offered a wonderful opportunity to monetize the property and felt it was our obligation to explore that. Ultimately, it made the most sense.” Emmis tells IIB that “it had the tower site rezoned for mixed-use commercial, office, and residential developments more than a year ago. The entire site covers 70 acres on Perry Worth Road near I-65 in Whitestown and additional parcels are currently listed for sale.”

Music Radio Royalty Update: Are Labels Hastening ‘The Day The (free) Music Died?’ — Battle lines are drawn over performance payments FMs fear. And dueling congressional actions demonstrate Washington-speak 101: “Fairness” vs. “Freedom.” On his TV show “The Big Picture,” consultant and TALKERS columnist Holland Cooke (above, center) discusses with Talkers Radio GM David Bernstein (left) and Texas station owner Paul Gleiser (right). And for Talk stations, how’s Life-after-Limbaugh? Panelists react to a clip from Michael Harrison’s Fireside Chat with Bill O’Reilly at the June 11 TALKERS 2021 Conference at Hofstra University. Watch it here.

SRN’s Eric Metaxas Interviews Mike Pompeo at Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit. Pictured above is Salem Radio Network host Eric Metaxas (left) with former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during their live broadcast interview from Turning Point USA’s Student Action Summit in Tampa yesterday (7/19). This year’s event attracted more than 3,000 high school and college activists and included speakers such as Pompeo, Congressman Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Salem Radio Network host Dr. Sebastian Gorka, and Turning Point USA founder and SRN talk host Charlie Kirk.

TALKERS News Notes. Denver talk radio host Steffan Tubbs was interviewed recently by KCNC-TV, Denver about his bout with COVID-19. Tubbs is afternoon drive personality on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KNUS, Denver and he told KCNC-TV that he was not vaccinated, spent a week in the hospital and missed 51 days of work. While he says he’ll not tell others to get vaccinated, he did say, “To those who think COVID is a hoax, you’re crazy”…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Aisha Jefferson is promoted from her part-time digital content producer role at Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM to full-time producer. She joined the station in 2019. WBBM brand manager Ron Gleason writes in a memo to staffers, “Aisha has been with us for a couple years and has patiently awaited this well-deserved opportunity.”…..SiriusXM announces a week-long tribute to legendary comedienne Joan Rivers. The SiriusXM Comedy Greats channel will play exclusive, never-before-released recordings from the final 20 years of Rivers’ career. SiriusXM says that now, for the first time ever, each day throughout the week fans will get to hear some of Rivers’ best stand-up moments. The special will include material from Rivers’ performances in London, Boston, West Palm Beach and more…..The “Motley Fool Money” show starring host Chris Hill adds Midwest Communications‘ WHTC-AM/W259CO, Holland, Michigan as its newest affiliate station.

PodcastOne to Launch New Show ‘Cheating: When Love Lies.’ The new podcast from PodcastOne is called “Cheating: When Love Lies” and his hosted by Jillian Hamilton. PodcastOne says it’s a “deep dive into the complex emotions surrounding these secret unions.” Creator and host Hamilton delves into the taboo topic of cheating and asks the hard questions about affairs: how common are they, who’s having them, and why? These questions illicit unexpected answers that reveal both men and women as people actively seeking something – validation, escape, understanding, vengeance, thrill, love, sex, and romance – outside of committed partnerships. “Cheating: When Love Lies” resists the condemnation of affairs as uniquely wrong or bad and instead considers their usefulness in learning as much about relationships as we learn about ourselves.

Audacy Debuts New Podcast Starring Carmelo Anthony. Top-10 all-time NBA scorer, 10-time NBA All-Star, and three-time Olympic gold medalist Carmelo Anthony today announced that he and his multi-platform content company Creative 7 are partnering with Audacy’s Cadence13 to launch his viral, wine-focused YouTube series, “What’s In Your Glass?” On the podcast, Anthony invites listeners to sit in on intimate chats with leading guests from the worlds of sports, wine, business, entertainment, music, politics, and more over a glass (or two) of wine. Notable guests include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, songstress Andra Day, Oscar-winning filmmaker Shaka King, rapper T-Pain, NBA star JJ Redick, and more.

COVID-19, Twitter Suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene, U.S. Blames China for Microsoft Hack, Voting Legislation/Texas Dems Case, Biden Infrastructure Bill, Urban Crime Wave, January 6 Investigation, Western Heat and Wildfires, Bezos Space Trip Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/19). The rising rate of COVID-19 cases in all 50 states and the stalled rate of vaccinations; Twitter temporarily suspends Georgia Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene for spreading COVID misinformation; the Joe Biden administration publicly blames China for the recent hack of Microsoft’s exchange email server; the numerous state laws toughening voting requirements and the Texas Democrats who fled the station to avoid voting on that state’s bill; this week’s debate on the $1 trillion Biden infrastructure bill; the soaring rate of violent crime in many of America’s big cities; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and the sentencing of the first to be prosecuted; the heatwave and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and billionaire Jeff Bezos’ trip into space were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Salem Media Group Seeks Talk Host for Christian Talk KKLA-FM, Los Angeles. Salem Media Los Angeles is looking for the next host for its live daily talk show on Christian formatted 99.5 KKLA. The company says: “This is talk radio with a difference. It’s a Christian perspective on news of the day. The average length of time hosts have held this position is eight-plus years, and our current host is moving on to other ministry work. Affinity for and understanding of the target audience of Christians, or spiritual ‘seekers’ is necessary. Impacting the culture and lives can be deeply satisfying, so much more so than many typical ‘shows.’ If you are still reading this posting, tired of less meaningful hosting, if you are ready for a change, if you are intrigued by this opportunity, pray about it and don’t hesitate to get in touch for more details. This show can tend to be off the radar of ‘general market’ talk radio, so in case you are wondering, this is a legit afternoon drive talk show, topics, guests, listener calls. Salem is a public company, we are not a church, we are a commercial radio station. Most of us here have a background in competitive ‘general market’ radio. And we have been attracted to working for Salem because of the difference it makes in our own lives, and the lives of our audience base and communities. The show is heard in both Los Angeles and San Diego during afternoon drive each weekday. It’s a huge opportunity for the right person. We would enjoy speaking with you if you have any questions.” Contact KKLA program director Rodney Miller at: Rodney.miller@salemla.com.

KNBR, San Francisco Seeking Full-Time Writer/Web Producer. San Francisco sports talker KNBR is seeking a full-time writer and web producer. The station says: “As a member of the San Francisco Cumulus digital team, the writer and web producer will be responsible for covering Bay Area sports as a writer, reporter and content creator, while also supporting the KNBR digital team’s efforts in creating digital content related to the KNBR radio station. The job will include but is not limited to writing, on-site reporting, interviewing, editing, headline writing, social media skills, going on-air or on-camera, collaborating on digital content both within the department and with other departments such as programing, sales and promotions.” See more information about the position and apply here.

Monday, June 28, 2021

| June 28, 2021

Monday Memo: Quoting Sgt. Hulka. Are you the soundtrack of The American Comeback? Or what consultant Holland Cooke calls “relentless negativity, even as polls demonstrate widespread optimism? The phrase ‘talk radio’ conjures a caricature. That seems not to be a problem for station owners and managers focused on FMs losing music consumers to streaming. Down the hall, legacy stations with once-proud call letters – now sadly referred to as ‘the AM’ – dispense daily discouragement. To the suits, that’s ‘talk radio.’” Get more of Cooke’s take on this by reading his column here.

Pending Business: Hunters and Farmers. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes today about a major university-based seminar he attended that identified two basic categories of sellers: “hunters” and “farmers.” The “hunter” personality enjoys the prospecting, contact, engagement, in essence the outright pursuit and negotiation of the deal. The “farmer” personality will be stronger at keeping current relationships fluid. Servicing current advertisers and easier legacy renewals are the farmer’s number one priority. Is you approach balanced or does it lean too much in one direction? Read his column here.

Video of First Session from TALKERS 2021 Conference Posted. The video of the first session from the TALKERS 2021 Conference held at Hofstra University on June 11 is posted above. In this opening session, TALKERS 2021 master of ceremonies and TALKERS general manager of broadcasting operations David Bernstein welcomes the attendees to the conference and introduces FOX News Radio talk host Jimmy Failla who provides opening remarks and performs his trademark stand-up comedy. Also, in this session is a greeting from Premiere Networks and FOX News Channel superstar Sean Hannity, followed by the presentation by WPG, Atlantic City morning show host Harry Hurley of $5,000 from his charity to the Broadcasters Foundation of America. Also included: San Antonio-based, nationally syndicated talk show host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo kicks off the event with his saxophone rendition of the “National Anthem.” TALKERS magazine will continue posting videos of the panels and presentations from TALKERS 2021 this week and next at the rate of one session per day.

KPRC-AM, Houston Announces New Evening Programming. Houston news/talk KPRC-AM “AM 950, Real Texas, Real Talk” unveils new evening programming that begins today. Airing from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm is Sean Salisbury, who is venturing into the news/talk world in addition to his morning drive sports talk program that’s heard on iHeartMedia’s sister sports talker KBME, “Sportstalk 790 AM.” Also, KPRC is adding Premiere Networks’ “Jesse Kelly Show” in the 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm daypart. iHeartMedia Houston director of programming Bryan Erickson says, “Kelly, a U.S. Marine combat veteran, brings an exciting new perspective on the day’s events. He’s a unique and fresh voice in the talk radio landscape and one of the most entertaining guys I’ve ever heard.” Regarding Salisbury’s new show, Erickson adds, “The self-proclaimed ‘news junkie’ is anxious to talk about events outside the realm of sports. If he could, Salisbury would be on the air 24 hours a day. He loves what he does, and his passion is off the charts.”

WGFX-FM, Nashville ‘104.5 The Zone’ Unveils ‘3 The Pro Way’ Podcast. Nashville sports talk outlet WGFX-FM, “104.5 The Zone” announces the launch of a new podcast titled, “3 The Pro Way,” hosted by Nashville sports figures Kevin Dyson, a former Titans wide receiver; Joey Kent, a Vol For Life and former Titans wide receiver; and Todd Campbell, a former who Western Kentucky University football player. The podcast is the newest addition to the “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.” The debut episode features guest former Tennessee Titans great  and Heisman Trophy winner Eddie George, who currently serves as head coach of the Tennessee State Tigers. The Cumulus Media sports talk station says, “‘3 The Pro Way’ shares the stories of the three African American athletes and business professionals, who have each transformed their respective athletic careers into different careers, allowing them to learn, grow and become successful through those unique paths. Kent, Dyson, and Campbell will give advice and discuss concepts for how to successfully transition from one career to another. They will also welcome guests who have gone through similar career journeys to share their personal and professional perspectives and provide podcast listeners with helpful takeaways on how to transition from one career to an entirely new one.” WGFX program director Paul Mason says, “When Kevin, Joey, and Todd first shared their ‘3 The Pro Way’ podcast idea, I knew the 104.5 The Zone Podcast Network would be the perfect partner. I look forward to hearing a weekly conversation with different athletes and professionals on their career transitions. I am also excited to work with Todd, Joey, and Kevin in growing ‘3 The Pro Way’ within the ‘104.5 The Zone Podcast Network.’” The “104.5 The Zone Podcast Network” was launched in April, when the Nashville sports station announced that it had entered into a content partnership agreement with popular online sports information and entertainment destination, A to Z Sports.

PodcastOne Inks Deals to Distribute Podcasts. The five podcasts that PodcastOne has just acquired the sales and distribution rights to are: “Killer Genes,” “@lexie,” “Trust Me,” “Underworld,” and “Walk-Ins Welcome” – all of which will appear in the True Crime, Society & Culture and Documentary category. Podcast One president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne actively seeks unique and compelling content for our network and being able to add these shows: “Killer Genes,” “@lexie,” “Trust Me,” “Underworld” and “Walk-Ins Welcome” to our network is something we consider a real coup as we increase the varied genre content we make available to listeners, potential listeners and to advertisers.”

Dartmouth Puts Radio Station Up for Sale. The Valley News reports that Dartmouth College is putting its commercial radio station for up sale. A spokesperson for the school says that WFRD-FM “has not met revenue expectations and has been operating ‘in the red.’” The station has just one paid staffer Chris Fazio, a.k.a. Chris Garrett, who handles morning show duties as well as ad sales. The Class A FM is a 6,000-watt signal that serves the Hanover and Lebanon, New Hampshire towns.

Florida Condo Collapse, COVID-19, Infrastructure Deal, Trump Ohio Rally, U.S. Iran Strikes, Election Fraud Claims/Giuliani’s NY Law License Suspended, Big City Gun Violence, Kim Jong Un Weight Loss, and Northwest Heatwave Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The search for survivors of Florida’s condo collapse and early reports of inspections and repair delays; concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the slowing rate of vaccinations; the compromise infrastructure deal; Donald Trump holds a rally in Ohio and continues claims of election fraud; Joe Biden orders strikes on Iran-backed militants on Syrian border; the issue of 2020 election fraud claims and Rudy Giuliani’s New York law license is suspended; the soaring rate of gun violence in America’s big cities; North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s weight loss; and the record-setting heat wave affecting the Pacific Northwest were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 9, 2020

| October 9, 2020

Radio Show 2020: Noon Is ‘the new Morning Drive.’ In today’s report from the virtual 2020 NAB/RAB Radio Show, consultant Holland Cooke recalls how, “in olden times, when the boss asked what the station got for its money when you got home from the convention, THIS is what you’d show-off.” In the virtual Radio Show session “Radio Listening During Covid-19: What’s Changed,” Nielsen Audio senior VP/client services John Snyder draws the road map to radio’s New Normal, “and you didn’t have to spend a dime on airfare or hotel!” Read it here.

NYTimes: Talk Radio Is Turning Millions of Americans Into Conservatives. A piece in The New York Times by author Paul Matzko (The Radio Right: How a Band of Broadcasters Took on the Federal Government and Built the Modern Conservative Movement, Oxford University Press 2020) credits talk radio with, as the headline states, “turning millions of Americans into conservatives.” In the piece, Matzko writes, “Talk radio may face an aging audience, a decline in ad revenue and competition from new mass media forms like podcasts, but there are still millions of Americans whose politics are shaped by what they listen to on talk radio all day, every day. FOX News gets more of the attention for shaping conservative opinion and for its influence on the Trump administration, but we shouldn’t overlook the power of conservative talk radio.” Citing such show hosts as Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, Matzko suggests that “[t]alk radio’s power is rooted in the sheer volume of content being produced each week. The typical major talk radio show is produced every weekday and runs three hours, so just the top 15 shows are putting out around 45 hours of content every day. Even setting aside hundreds of additional local shows, the dedicated fan can listen to nothing but conservative talk radio all day, every day of the week, and never catch up.”

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. This new episode titled, “The Other Side is Lying!” looks back at this past week of October 5 – October 9, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Robyn Walensky, talk show host, KWAM, Memphis; Charlie Kirk, talk show host, Salem Radio Network/president, Turning Point USADr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; and David Bernstein, professor, Caldwell University, New Jersey/general manager, TalkersRadio. 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 WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network;Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here  or call 616-884-8616.

WABC, New York Debuts ‘The Other Side of Midnight’ Overnight Program. New York City’s TALKRADIO 77 WABC launches the live and local overnight program “The Other Side of Midnight” hosted by Frank Morano. Red Apple Media says that the 1:00 am to 5:00 am program airs Monday through Friday and “features newsmakers, insightful commentary, expert guests, lively exchanges with callers, and a healthy dose of satire. Just this week, Morano welcomed former Trump adviser Roger Stone, subway vigilante Bernard Goetz, former radio talker Doug McIntyre, and radio legend John Gambling. There are also regular discussions exploring the world of the paranormal, including UFOs and conspiracy theories.” In addition to this new program, Morano will continue to host his daily 10:00 am to 11:00 am program on “Talk Radio 107.1” (WLIR-FM, Hampton Bays, Long Island). Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez says, “Frank has already proven to be one of the most entertaining young voices in talk radio today. We’re thrilled to add Frank to our ranks as we continue to cement our place as New York’s premiere news and talk station. This is the city that never sleeps, and New Yorkers deserve a live and local overnight show.” Morano comments, “I grew up listening to overnight radio. To me, there’s nothing more intimate and more fun. There’s no daypart where you can combine longform interviews, wacky topics, off-the-wall guests, and a bit of irreverence. When I’d fall asleep, or wake up early, listening to the likes of Alan Colmes, Brian Whitman, Art Bell, Jay Diamond and Doug McIntyre, I’d quickly find those voices becoming the soundtrack of my dreams. I was absolutely hooked. I’m hoping to give insomniacs one more reason to stay awake.”

Townsquare Media to Investors: 2020 Continues to Improve. In a presentation to investors, Townsquare Media says that its status as a “small market presence” has “greatly benefitted the company” because its markets reopened sooner than many of the big cities. Townsquare says its digital products and services were more resilient than its over-the-air services and those helped offset overall revenue decline. It adds that digital products Townsquare Ignite and AMPED (advertising on its O&O websites) returned to positive revenue growth in July. Finally, Townsquare tells investors that it has “prudently managed cash and generated positive cash flow from operations through the first six months of 2020,” pointing out that its cash balance on June 30 was $70 million, down just $15 million from its $85 million balance on December 31, 2019.

Calgaro Named OM for Entercom’s Sacramento Operations. Programming pro Joe Calgaro moves from Entercom’s Boston station group to the company’s Sacramento cluster to serve as operations manager for sports talk KIFM-AM “ESPN 1320,” hip hop KSFM, CHR KUDL-FM “106.5 The End,” classic rock KSEG “96.9 The Eagle,” KRXQ “98 Rock,” and alternative KKDO “ALT 94-7,” effective November 1. Calgaro has been serving as operations manager for the company’s sports talk WEEI-FM, adult hits WBGB “Big 103,” and rock WAAF-FM (prior to that signal’s being sold to religious broadcaster EMF). Entercom Sacramento SVP and market manager Stacey Kauffman says, “Joe has a long track record of working with rock, sports and high-profile talent, which lends to the Sacramento portfolio in working with the biggest radio brands and engaging personalities in the market. His experience leading three very different brands in Boston will allow him to strategically position our stations to collectively represent our audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. On today’s Premiere Networks nationally syndicated Rush Limbaugh program, President Donald Trump will appear for what Limbaugh is calling the “largest virtual rally in radio history.” The program is also giving listeners the chance to submit their questions to the president…..An article by Matt Perez in Forbes explores how Americans perceive the coronavirus pandemic based on political affiliation and their consumption of conservative media. The piece analyzes data from a recent Pew Research poll and says, “Nearly 40% of all U.S. adults believe the outbreak has been ‘made a bigger deal than it really is,’ but only 15% Democrats think it’s been exaggerated compared to 66% of Republicans. That number jumps to 78% among Republicans who only consume FOX News or talk radio like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh.”…..SiriusXM’s The Beatles Channel is honoring John Lennon’s 80th birthday today (10/9) with exclusive programming featuring special guests Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, Sean Ono Lennon, and more. The weekend-long programming will feature McCartney in conversation with Alec Baldwin in which he reflects on his songwriting partner, bandmate, and friend. It will air multiple times on The Beatles Channel throughout the weekend…..PodcastOne, a subsidiary of LiveXLive Media, Inc., launches the new podcast/vodcast from Grammy Award-winning artist Pitbull. The first episode of “From Negative to Positive” features Flo Rida, followed by intimate and in-depth interviews with Lil Jon in episode two, and noted producer Uncle Luke, a.k.a., Luther Campbell from 2 Live Crew in episode three.

The President’s Battle with COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 5-9. The positive COVID-19 tests for President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump and the president’s treatment at Walter Reed Hospital was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the presidential race and Wednesday night’s vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris. Coming in tied at #3 was the transfer of power question, the SCOTUS nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, court packing, and the abortion issue, followed by COVID-19 stats & projections, health care and medications all tied at #4. The Talkers TenTMis 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.

Washington, DC-Based News Pro Bob Costantini Launches ‘Ear on the White House’ News Service. Radio news pro Bob Costantini is launching a Washington, DC-based White House news service called Ear on the White House that serves client stations with regular debriefs with a White House reporter. The former Westwood One News correspondent says, “I provide market-exclusive facts and analysis – not significant leanings – from someone on-scene as we move through the election cycle and potential changes in the dynamic between the White House and Capitol Hill.” Bob Costantini has more than three decades of experience covering Washington, Congress, The White House, and major political issues. His tenure at Westwood One News included traveling with Presidents Trump and Obama. In addition to covering the news, he can also provide an inside perspective on what it’s like to cover the White House, including asking the last five presidents scores of questions. Costantini is available for clients Monday through Friday to do talk-backs with stations and if news warrants, weekends and travel to major event locations are part of the mix. Video debriefs are a possibility for stations that have streaming simulcasts and he’s available for podcasts upon request. Find out more by direct messaging him on Twitter to @costantiniWHear or call at 410-302-3855.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Vince Richards is promoted to brand manager for Entercom’s adult hits KJKK, Dallas “100.3 JACK FM,” effective November 1. Entercom Dallas regional president and market manager Brian Purdy says, “Since 2018, Vince has consistently led the operations efforts for six iconic brands in our Sacramento market, and we look forward to bringing him back to his roots to revamp ‘JACK FM.’ ‘JACK FM’ is a state of mind here in DFW, and Vince’s leadership qualities and rich experience will only fuel its growth.” Richards was most recently operations manager for Entercom Sacramento…..iHeartMedia Chicago is promoting its fourth annual “Sista Strut,” a 3K breast cancer charity walk that will go virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The “Sista Strut” is presented by Illinois Lottery and Xfinity, and will benefit the Chicago Chapter of the Sisters Network Inc., the nation’s largest Black breast cancer survivorship organization. iHeartMedia Chicago VP of programming Derrick Brown says, “2020 has brought many unforeseen challenges to our community, one being the ability to get together. Breast cancer remains a significant threat to Black women in our community and it is our responsibility to continue raising the much-needed funds to educate and inform our listeners about this devastating disease.”

Thursday, July 23, 2020

| July 23, 2020

TALKERS Marks 30th Anniversary Today. It was 30 years ago today – July 23, 1990 – that TALKERS was launched as “The Information-Radio Newspaper.”  It first appeared as a tabloid-style, 12-page newsprint publication distributed to radio stations around the country by mail and eventually grew into a full-color, glossy magazine and, eventually, a multi-platform communications organization. Over the decades, TALKERS has produced 22 annual national talk media conventions in New York City plus several “bonus” conferences in Los Angeles. At those conferences, a number of the publication’s annual awards were presented, including the coveted TALKERS magazine Freedom of Speech Award. TALKERS magazine was a pioneer in producing radio row events that began in the mid-1990s. The organization also presented numerous talk media forums in Washington, DC and New York featuring talk personalities discussing important issues of the day. Many of those were aired on C-SPAN. As digital media became inextricably intertwined with radio and television, TALKERS itself evolved into a multimedia platform presenting video elements via Talkers TV and launching Talkers Radio. Annual features, including the “100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America,” a.k.a. the Heavy Hundred (and later its sports talk radio sister list), have become highly anticipated presentations within the industry. Upon reaching this milestone, founder Michael Harrison stated, “TALKERS is a reflection of my lifelong fascination with and love of radio, as well as my core devotion to the tenets of the First Amendment. It has come very far during these three decades and most of the credit for its remarkable longevity and adherence to quality has been to the credit of its devoted core staff (in alphabetical order) – David BernsteinKevin CaseyMarcia DalyMatthew B. HarrisonAl HerskovitzMike KinosianBarbara Kurland, and Steve Weisman with a special salute to the late Sharon L. Harrison.  Add to that list our loyal advertisers and sponsors, our talented contributing writers, as well as our readers.  The radio and its related media industries have been extremely kind to us and, for that blessing, I am eternally grateful.”

‘98.5 The Sports Hub’ Host Fred Toucher Off the Air for Medical Help. The Boston Globe’s Chad Finn reports that WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub” morning drive co-host Fred Toucher is off the air for the time being as he deals with personal issues that were revealed during the July 21 program. Toucher posted to his Instagram account: “First of all thank you to the listeners that have my back. For some reason I want you guys to know I have never been drunk on the air [management has never accused me of such] I am going to a mental institution next week. I am sometimes too forthcoming on the air. I’m used to just being honest about my life but when you are a f*ckup that isn’t such a good idea.” Finn reports that Toucher confessed he’s going through a divorce on the Tuesday morning program discussion that he describes as “unsettling.” Co-host Rich Shertenlieb suggested he take some time off the air and offered to take a leave with him. However, on Wednesday’s program, Shertenlieb told listeners Toucher is taking some time off and they can’t wait for his return. Beasley Media Group issued the following statement to the paper: “As a responsible company committed to the Boston Community, we take this matter very seriously. Fred will be off the air while we continue to review the situation.”

WLW, Cincinnati-Based “America’s Truckin’ Network” to Avoid Political Discussion. In a move that’s clearly a sign of the times, the overnight program “America’s Truckin’ Network” has been ordered by management to steer clear of political discussions. The show is nationally syndicated and available via SiriusXM but is produced at iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati and hosted by Steve Sommers (son of program founder Dale “Truckin’ Bozo” Sommers). Sommers tells the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jim Calhoun that after complaints to corporate headquarters in San Antonio about a caller’s comments that aired, he was held responsible for the comments that shouldn’t have aired and was given a warning. He’s also been told to refrain from politics and stick to issues relevant to the trucking audience. iHeartMedia Cincinnati SVP of programming Scott Reinhart issued the following statement to the Enquirer: “The ATN has been on the air for over 30 years. We regularly review all our shows to ensure they provide the best and most compelling programming, and we have always relied on comments and feedback from our listeners to help us make these decisions.”

Cume & Coronavirus (Part 3). TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian continues his analysis of ratings data for spoken-word radio stations based on information from Nielsen Audio’s June 2020 PPM survey. After looking at 6+ cume data for the all-news and sports talk formats in parts one and two, today Mike Kinosian turns to the news/talk format. When it comes to cume (versus AQH share), two news/talk stations stand above the rest based on June numbers – iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles (747,600) and Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (709,800). In this report, see comparisons of cume from the May 2020 survey to the June 2020 survey – which stations went up and which went down – as well as charts showing cume by market rank and more.  See it here.

Entercom Seeking Vice President of News Candidates. Posted on Entercom’s website in its career opportunities section is a notice seeking applicants for a new corporate position, VP, News. The post states, “The VP, News is responsible for overseeing all news content across Entercom’s best-in-class local news brands and via the RADIO.COM platform. The ideal candidate has experience managing both broadcast and digital news operations and is adept at leading through change and innovation.” Among the duties that are part of this position are managing “all broadcast and digital news content across 8 All News and 18 News/Talk stations in 23 markets working with brand managers and news directors across the country.” The post adds, “This role is for a hands-on leader and self-starter who is relentless in his/her quest for excellence in journalism. This role will require strong business acumen and the ability to drive results leading market-based teams across the country and in our corporate offices in Philadelphia and New York.” Read the post here.

iHeartMedia and Will Ferrell Partner for New Comedy Podcast Network. Comedian Will Ferrell and iHeartMedia are announcing their new deal that will bring the initial six co-produced podcasts to the Big Money Players Network of comedy podcasts that will be heard on the iHeartRadio platform later this year. The programs include “Las Culturistas with Matt Rogers and Bowen Yang”; “Michael Bolton’s Big Sexy Podcast” in collaboration with The Lonely Island and Comedy Bang Bang; “My Momma Told Me with Langston Kerman”; “POOG with Kate Berlant and Jacqueline Novak”; “Bald Talk” hosted by Brian Huskey and Charlie Sanders; and “True Romance with Carolina Barlow and Devin Leary.” Will Ferrell comments, “The iHeartPodcast Network really knows how to make a podcast. In addition to the creative minds working behind the scenes, the network has an unprecedented ability to reach millions of new podcast listeners. These first few shows for Big Money Players Network will set the standard for the type of high-quality comedy podcasts we’re striving to produce with this collaboration.”

TALKERS News Notes. The “Kim Komando Daily Tech Update” is expanding to seven-days-per-week delivery. Komando says, “As our country was forced to work from home, unemployment soared and parents became teachers, ‘The Kim Komando Show’ and programs became more popular than ever. We pivoted to focus on providing COVID-19 much-needed digital life advice and assistance to our listeners, offering inspiration and confidence to all.” As a result of demand, the “Daily Tech Update” goes from five days per week to seven with the Saturday and Sunday editions being delivered just like the weekday editions…..Today (7/23) on SiriusXM’s Business Radio channel, a special program titled “The Business of Sports Reopening During a Pandemic” which will air from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET.  Dan Loney, host of “Wharton Business Daily,” leads the discussion and speaks with high-ranking executives in the world of sports, including: Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes, San Francisco Giants CEO Larry Baer, agent Drew Rosenhaus, and more…..Chicago media reporter Robert Feder writes that Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM is eliminating the creative services manager position at the news/talk station and Chris Duffy exits after more than 10 years there. As Feder notes, Duffy was one of the staffers brought aboard when former Clear Channel Radio president Randy Michaels assumed the CEO role at Tribune, former owner of the station, in 2007. Duffy posted on Facebook, “After over 10 years, three Stanley Cups, one Cubs World Championship, working with some of the absolute best in the business, yesterday I closed the book on WGN Radio. It will always be the pinnacle of my radio career.”…..PodcastOne and Violet Benson come to terms on a deal to bring Benson’s podcast “Too Tired to Be Crazy” to the network. The podcast features Benson and a wide swath of friends, guests, and frequent co-hosts chatting about topics ranging from living and dating in Los Angeles, to millennial life, to pop culture news perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of today…..WAPT-TV, Jackson reports the death of civil rights activist and talk show host Charles Evers, who passed away on Wednesday (7/22) at the age of 97. Evers was the older brother of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers. In addition to his lifelong work on civil rights, Charles Evers owned and operated WMPR-FM, Jackson, Mississippi for many years. He hosted the “Let’s Talk” program on the station for decades.

COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Fall School Plans, U.S.-China Tensions/Hacking Allegations, Portland Protests/Chicago Violence, Federal Agents Controversy, GOP COVID Stimulus Plan, and MLB Season Opens Today Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/22). The soaring number of COVID-19 cases in numerous states and projections for future cases; debate over plans to return children to schools this fall; tensions between the U.S. and China as the latter’s consulate in Houston is ordered closed and feds seek a Chinese scientist believed to have lied on her visa application; the protests taking place in Portland and the violence on Chicago’s streets; the controversy over President Trump’s use of federal troops to combat protestors; the Republican plan for COVID-19 relief and stimulus; and Major League Baseball begins the 2020 season today were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Legendary Moody Blues Member John Lodge Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. The venerable British bass guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter for the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductees, the Moody Blues, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” John Lodge is the writer of Moody Blues hits that include “Ride My See-Saw,” “I’m Just A Singer (In A Rock and Roll Band),” “Isn’t Life Strange?” and many more. This musical legend has been performing and recording with the Moody Blues for more than five decades, selling in excess of 70 million albums. He’s been voted one of the “10 most influential bass players on the planet,” and has been the recipient of numerous prestigious music industry awards. Although he primarily lives in London, Harrison caught up with Lodge via phone at his condo in Naples, Florida where he’s been isolating from COVID-19 for the past four months and during which time he wrote and recorded a new song titled “In These Crazy Times (Isolation Mix).” Harrison (an album rock radio pioneer) and Lodge talk about a wide range of topics including the recording of the groundbreaking album “Days of Future Passed,” their personal encounters with Dr. Timothy Leary (“Legend of a Mind”) and the psychedelic era, changes in popular music over the years, and the impact COVID-19 is having on live music and theater. 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. Former “American Idol” contestant and current WKLB, Boston “Country 102.5” morning drive co-host Ayla Brown will be featured singing the National Anthem at a future NBA game in Orlando. Beasley Media Group says Brown has performed the Anthem for every major sport in Boston and was the Celtics’ “Lucky Anthem Singer” when the team won the 2008 National Championship. She says, “Growing up in Massachusetts and being a former basketball player for Boston College, my dream was always to step on the court at the Garden. While I never got to lace up the sneakers for a game, singing the National Anthem over the years for the team has always been the highest honor. Thank you to the Boston Celtics for this wonderful opportunity!”…..On-air pro Christy is exiting Pamal Broadcasting’s CHR WFLY-FM, Albany “FLY 92” because of her husband’s relocation to the Boston area. She was part of “The Fly Morning Rush With Jake & Christy.” As a result, program director Ally Reid is seeking a new morning drive co-host. Interested candidates should email her at ally@fly92.com.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

| January 29, 2019

Zellner Promoted to President of Programming Operations at iHeartMedia’s National Programming Group. The company says that Jon Zellner is moving up from his EVP of programming operations to president of programming operations for its national programming group.  In this new role he’ll continue to manage the division’s operations, “ensuring that iHeartMedia’s 850 local radio station brands in 150 markets are able to best utilize the company’s unparalleled national resources.  In addition to managing iHeartMedia custom programming, daily connection to the local markets, on-air partner integration and event broadcast operations, Zellner will also now partner with other divisions within the company to expand programming technology and provide key support to iHeartMedia’s national team of programmers at market-leading radio brands that serve more than a quarter of a billion listeners a month in the U.S.”  iHeartMedia chief programming officer Tom Poleman says, “Jon’s leadership in the growth of our custom programming and providing the delivery of our at scale national resources to our markets for their use at the local level has been invaluable to our company. We are excited that he’ll be taking on an even larger role in our company-wide programming initiatives.”

Tori Kahl Named Market Manager for iHeartMedia New Orleans. Radio sales pro Tori Kahl moves from iHeartMedia’s Mobile-Pensacola cluster where she was SVP of sales to New Orleans where she is the new market president for the station group that includes news/talk WRNO-FM sports talk WODT-AM plus six music radio outlets.   iHeartMedia area president for Baton Rouge and New Orleans Michael Hudson says, “iHeartMedia is big on promoting our super stars within the company.  Tori has done an incredible job growing our Mobile properties and its employees.  I have no doubt that Tori Kahl will do great things for the New Orleans market.”  Kahl comments, “As I join the iHeartMedia New Orleans team, I am humbled to have the opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented professionals in the industry, representing the power of iHeartMedia and the heritage of our brands in the market.  The city of New Orleans, its culture, and its people are unparalleled.  I am born and raised in Louisiana – it feels good to be home!”

News Anchor Kim Gordon Moves to PM Drive on WGN, Chicago. Twelve-year WGN news staffer Kim Gordon is named the new afternoon drive news anchor at Tribune’s WGN-AM, Chicago.  The station says, “Gordon will assume a role as both a leader in the WGN Radio news room and an essential voice on ‘The Roe Conn Show with Anna Davlantes.’”  WGN director of news and operations Stephanie Tichenor adds, “For more than a decade at WGN, Kim has been a key player in our newsroom and in our hallways. Her ability to gather and deliver news with a Chicago filter makes her the best voice for our afternoon drive team.”  Gordon started her career at legendary Louisville news/talk station WHAS.

A.J. Hoffman Appointed KFNC-FM, Houston PD. At sports talk KFNC-FM, Houston “ESPN 97.5,” A.J. Hoffman is promoted to program director.  Hoffman currently co-hosts the Gow Media station’s afternoon drive program, “The Blitz,” with Fred Faour – a duty he will continue in addition to his new programming responsibilities.   WFNC general manager Todd Farquharson says, “We are excited to elevate AJ to the PD position.  He has demonstrated excellent programming instincts and we think his experiences and leadership abilities make him a natural for this opportunity.” Farquharson says “ESPN 97.5FM” has grown significantly over the past two years.  “In a competitive Houston landscape, the station has finished #1 for M25-54 nearly every month of 2018.  In the fall of 2017, we committed to a nearly all local lineup.  We were able to bring back Lance Zierlein, reuniting John [Granato]and Lance in the mornings, and insert Charlie Pallilo in middays.  With this talented group, our audience totals are up 50% year-over-year.”

Former WBAL-AM Morning Host Dave Durian Dies at 72.  Former longtime WBAL-AM, Baltimore news and morning drive personality Dave Durian died yesterday (1/28) at 72 after suffering complications from cancer and a stroke.  The Baltimore Sun’s obituary chronicles his career, especially his time at WBAL.  The Iowa native arrived in Baltimore in 1982 as an anchor at WBAL-TV.  After three years there, worked in public TV before returning to Hearst as morning talk show host for WBAL-AM.  WBAL morning news anchor John Patti is quoted saying, “He was the smoothest reader of the news I’ve ever met.  He could read it cold — you could give him a piece of news copy and he read it so effortlessly he made it sound like it had been news all morning.”

Border Wall Battle, Trump-Russia Investigation, Frigid Forecast for Midwest, 2020 Democratic Hopefuls-Schultz Considers Run, U.S.-China Trade War-Huawei Allegations, Brokaw ‘Hispanic Assimilation’ Controversy, Venezuela Unrest/Bolton Columbia Note, PG&E Files for Bankruptcy, SAG Awards, and Super Bowl LIII Build-Up Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/28). The political battle in congress over President Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall; the report that Robert Mueller is close to wrapping his Trump-Russia investigation and the indictment of Roger Stone; the record cold set to hit the Midwest; the 2020 Democratic hopefuls and a possible run by Starbucks founder Howard Schultz; the trade tensions between the U.S. and China and the charges against Huawei and CEO Meng Wanzhou; the controversy over newsman Tom Brokaw’s statement that Hispanics in the U.S. should try harder to assimilate; the Venezuelan political crisis and the flap over national security adviser John Bolton’s ‘5,000 troops to Columbia’ note; PG&E files for bankruptcy in the wake of charges filed against it over the recent California wildfires; Sunday night’s Screen Actors Guild awards; and the build-up to Super Bowl LIII were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartCountry Festival Acts Announced. The iHeartCountry Festival at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin, Texas on Saturday, May 4 will be the sixth edition of the concert event produced by iHeartMedia.  This year, the acts committed to performing include: Tim McGraw, Florida Georgia Line, Dan and Shay, Luke Combs, Little Big TownLauren Alaina, Old Dominion, Chris JansonBobby Bones & The Raging Idiots, and Tenille Townes.  Syndicated personality Bobby Bones will serve as host on the main stage.  He says, “I look forward to the iHeartCountry Festival every year.  It’s always special to have so much of the country music community together in one place, including some really talented new artists we have been supporting on Women of iHeartCountry.”

More Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programmer John E. Kage is named program director at iHeartMedia’s CHR KPTT “95.7 The Party.”  He moves across town from his most recent position as program director for Bonnville’s country KYGO.  Kage says, “I am excited to remain in my adopted home of Denver, Colorado where I have 20 years of deep roots and relationships.  iHeartMedia’s unparalleled platforms provide a tremendous opportunity for present and future growth in a rapidly changing environment.  I look forward to working with my team to help contribute to 95.7 The Party’s ongoing success.”…..The afternoon team of Matty Blake and Nick Stevens exits Entercom’s rock WAAF, Boston and are being replaced – at least on an interim basis – by Bob Hannah.  Blake and Stevens took over the afternoon drive slot in 2017…..Cumulus Media announces that country KHAY, Oxnard-Ventura OM/PD Chris Cox is retiring from the station and the business after a 45-year career.  He’s been with KHAY since 2012 and had worked in numerous markets during his career, including Los Angeles, Houston, Cincinnati, Louisville, and more. Cumulus regional VP Sommer Frisk says, “Oxnard-Ventura-Santa Barbara has been extremely fortunate to have benefited from Chris’s stewardship over the last seven years.  What we will miss about Chris is his dedication, hard work, professionalism and relentless commitment to the success of our cluster.  What we will miss MOST about Chris is his leadership, character and compassion.  We wish him well in his much-deserved retirement.”…..As reported by Chicago media writer Robert FederMelissa McGurren is leaving the traffic reporting department at Hubbard Radio’s hot AC WTMX to begin an expanded role on the “Eric in the Morning with Melissa & Whip” show.  As previously reported, Violeta Podrumedic is leaving WGN-AM to join WTMX as morning drive traffic reporter…..KJCK-FM, Manhattan, Kansas adds Westwood One’s Adam Bomb show to its programming lineup.