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Wednesday, September 16, 2020

| September 16, 2020

Entercom’s WSCR, Chicago Fires Dan McNeil After Sexist Tweet. Chicago sports talk personality Dan McNeil has been let go by Entercom after his Monday evening tweet criticizing the wardrobe of ESPN sideline reporter Maria Taylor. His tweet suggested that Taylor’s outfit made her appear as if she were hosting a porn awards show. McNeil co-hosted the afternoon drive show with Danny Parkins. Entercom regional president Rachel Williamson issued the following in a memo to staff: “Dan McNeil is no longer an employee at ‘The Score.’ For each one of us our words have power. For our brands and on-air personalities that is amplified and brings increased responsibility how we choose to use our voices. Last night’s tweet, and its degrading and humiliating tone to a fellow female broadcaster, was unacceptable. We have the best teams in Chicago, and we must continue to hold ourselves to high expectations to continue to be leaders in our organization, our industry and our community. We apologize to all who were offended by Dan’s words, especially Maria.” Danny Parkins continues to host the afternoon show solo for now.

Salem Radio Network Distributing Christian Networks Special Broadcast. The title of this Saturday’s program is “Where Is America Headed? Finding Faith in a Time of Fear” and airs live from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm ET (9/19). Salem Radio Network tells TALKERS magazine that a nationwide coalition of Christian radio networks are joining forces to present the program. “The title of the broadcast was prompted by uncertainty and unrest in our country, and the need for all Americans to hear how they can have faith and hope in a time of fear by following 2 Chronicles 7:14.” Guests will include Vice President Mike Pence and Joel C. Rosenberg, New York Times bestselling author of Implosion, Can America Recover from Its Economic, and Spiritual Challenges In Time?, both of whom will be interviewed by David Brody of CBN.

‘Our American Stories’ Passes 260 Affiliate Mark.  The two-hour daily talk show “Our American Stories” continues to show steady growth on news/talk stations across America.  The show is a highly produced, storytelling narrative hosted by Lee Habeeb that breaks the mold of most shows programmed on commercial talk radio. Habeeb who is also CEO of the program’s distributor, American Private Radio, tells TALKERS, “‘Our American Stories’ is a celebration of our rich heritage through the power of storytelling. On each broadcast we profile Americans from all walks of life, past and present, who have made a positive impact in American culture. ‘Our American Stories’ tells the stories of innovators in the arts, sports, business and music world, along with technology, science, and the military. Listeners hear stories of business leaders big and small, of what people of faith do in the public square, of leadership in sports and in your family, and the celebration of hard work and risk-taking, all presented in a non-partisan manner.” The show has proven to be a successful ratings-getter as evidenced by the impressive numbers it is gathering at heritage station WHO, Des Moines.  According to iHeartMedia, Des Moines VP/programming Mike Dorwart, “In the last four quarters, ‘Our American Stories’ has averaged just over a 13-share in Persons 12+ in their timeslot on NewsRadio 1040 WHO.”  For more information about the show, please click here.

MPR Parts Ways with KCMP, Minneapolis Jock Eric Malmberg. Public media firm Minnesota Public Radio has let triple A KCMP-FM, Minneapolis air personality Eric Malmberg go in the aftermath of the unexpected resignation of MPR reporter Marianne Combs, who left because editors did not approve her story that investigated alleged inappropriate behavior toward eight women by Malmberg. When this story broke earlier this week, Malmberg was not named by Combs. But MPR said in a piece on its own website, “Our hosts have to be able to attract an audience that wants to listen to them and trusts them and over the last 36 hours those conditions have changed for Malmberg.” Initially, Combs’ public resignation seemed to imply that the story had been spiked, but in a subsequent tweet she stated, “While the editors have not gone so far as to cancel the story, they have shown such a complete lack of leadership that I no longer have any confidence they will handle the story appropriately.”

Skyview Networks to Handle Ad Sales for AP’s Radio News. Effective January 1, 2021, Skyview Networks will begin exclusively representing The Associated Press’ network audio sales. In this multi-year deal, Skyview will rep AP’s 15-second advertising units that radio affiliates run adjacent to their program content. AP vice president and general manager for Americas media Michael Fabiano says, “As a longtime supporter of the broadcast radio industry, The Associated Press is pleased to supply our premium radio station inventory to support the best media mix advertisers seek. We are excited about working with Skyview and the potential to increase our brand presence across radio stations and advertisers.”

2020 Radio Mercury Finalists Announced. The Radio Advertising Bureau announces that the finalists for the 2020 Radio Mercury Awards have been announced and 94 radio spots made the cut, covering 12 awards in nine categories created by advertising agencies, production companies, radio stations, streaming companies and students. Finalists range from regional to large advertising agencies and radio stations, as well as national and local advertisers. The spots cover categories including automotive, consumer packaged goods, entertainment, government services, healthcare, insurance, quick-serve restaurants, telecommunications, travel and hospitality. This year’s entries were judged on their creativity, originality, execution and effective communication of a brand’s message. RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “We felt strongly that the Radio Mercury Awards must go on this year. This year’s finalists prove that creativity does and can flourish no matter what, and we are so excited to celebrate this year’s work at the virtual awards presentation.” You can see (and hear!) all of the finalists here. The winners will be announced virtually on October 6.

TALKERS News Notes. A new election-themed podcast is being co-produced by CNN Audio and iHeartRadio. The show, “Election 101,” demystifies the American political system while offering a unique perspective on the inner workings of the electoral process. It’s hosted by CNN correspondent Kristen Holmes and “answers questions that are weighing heavy on the minds of Americans as we approach this unprecedented presidential election. Each episode of this 10-part series serves as an explainer for listeners who may be overwhelmed by our current political environment, while offering a ‘back-to-basics’ narrative that explains the stakes and consequences of our long-standing institutions and how they play into American elections, including: the two-party system, mail-in voting, voter security, gerrymandering, the Electoral College, political conventions, and campaign finance.”…..AdLarge Media’s digital audio division, cabana, is exclusively representing the fictional fantasy podcast “Carcerem” for ad sales. AdLarge says, “‘Carcerem’ is an original audio fantasy series from Shane Salk Productions that features a star-studded cast, original music, and immersive sound design. More like a movie than an audio play, the captivating series puts listeners in the middle of the action. Featuring sword fights, monster attacks, giant battles, heartbreak, and humor, the first season of ‘Carcerem’ launches September 22 with 32 episodes and more than 120 characters.”…..UNINTERRUPTED, the all-digital sports programming network founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, and SiriusXM are launching season two of the weekly football podcast series, “17 Weeks.” This year the show features Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, New Orleans Saints receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron. The series will again be narrated by former NFL receiver Nate Burleson, with new episodes made available on the SiriusXM and Pandora apps starting September 17…..The Talk Shows USA-syndicated “Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk” program adds three new affiliate stations. Now airing the weekend program are: East Arkansas Broadcasters’ KBTM-AM/K267AS, Jonesboro, Arkansas; Townsquare Media’s KFYO-AM/K236CP, Lubbock, Texas; and iHeartMedia’s KCOL-AM, Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Presidential Election/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats/Schools and Colleges Outbreaks, Western Wildfires, Hurricane Sally, Attacks on Police, Breonna Taylor Settlement/BLM Movement, New COVID Stimulus Deal, and Google Senate Anti-Trust Hearing Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/15). The November presidential election and the controversy over mail-in voting procedures; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the outbreaks at schools and on college campuses; the deaths and destruction from the numerous wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington; Hurricane Sally’s impending landfall in the Gulf Coast; the spate of attacks on police officers; the city of Louisville settles with the family of Breonna Taylor for $12 million; the congressional battle over a new COVID stimulus deal; and Tuesday’s Google anti-trust hearing before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. WEZN-FM, Bridgeport, Connecticut “Star 99.9” morning team Anna Zap and Jay Raven (below) are being syndicated via a deal between Connoisseur Media and Compass Media Networks. Connoisseur airs “The Anna & Raven Morning Show” on both WEZN and its WALK-FM, Patchogue, New York (Long Island). Connoisseur CEO Jeffrey Warshaw says, “The response to Anna & Raven in Long Island really confirmed our belief that their sense of humor, benchmarks, and likability are universal. Anna & Raven have proven they can win in PPM markets, diary markets, and against the best local and national morning drive talent in the country.” Compass Media Networks CEO Peter Kosann adds, “The time is right for Anna & Raven to go national. Stations are hungry for a proven morning show with universal appeal from a marketing partner ready to help them win.”…..Premiere Networks extends its partnership with national radio host and R&B legend Keith Sweat. He’ll continue to host the evening R&B show “The Sweat Hotel,” currently heard on more than 60 affiliate stations. Premiere Networks president Julie Talbott says, “Keith Sweat’s name is synonymous with R&B. His unparalleled connection to the music, the artists and listeners has been the driving force behind our successful partnership for the last 13 years.  We couldn’t be happier to extend our relationship for years to come.”…..The three-hour, weekly classic R&B program “The Classics With Mr. & Mrs. R” (at left) joins Fishnet Syndication. As part of this deal, Fishnet will handle all marketing, advertising, and affiliate sales beginning immediately. Fishnet says, “‘The Classics With Mr. & Mrs. R’ brings radio stations the best of R&B from back in the day, like Michael Jackson, Prince, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Mary J, Janet Jackson, and of course Whitney along with the amazing Al Green.”…..Townsquare Media’s country WITL-FM, Lansing brings aboard Cadillac Jack and Erica Gray for morning show duties. Townsquare Media Lansing market president Zoe Burdine-Fly says, “We are beyond excited to have Caddy & Erica joining our team in Lansing as the morning show of our heritage WITL brand. Their experience and passion to deliver local content to our dedicated audience will be instrumental in the continued success of the station.”

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

| January 21, 2020

Beasley Ups Justin Chase to Chief Content Officer. Programming pro Justin Chase is promoted from his EVP of programming position to chief content officer for Beasley Media Group.  The company says that in his new role, Chase “will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of on-air content and digital on behalf of the company.”  Beasley CEO Caroline Beasley says, “Justin has done an incredible job overseeing our company’s on-air brands.  I look forward to him enhancing and expanding our content on all of our on-air and digital platforms across the company.”  Chase comments, “I am so grateful to the Beasley family and the entire corporate staff for their support and confidence in me taking on this new role within the company.  The programming and digital teams at Beasley are first class and I feel lucky to be surrounded by the best of the best every day.”

Lori Burgess Rises to Chief Operating Officer for Beasley Esports. Another executive promotion at Beasley Media Group has Lori Burgess moving from her chief digital content officer post to chief operating officer at Beasley Esports.  Prior to joining Beasley in her previous position, she consulted for the company on integrated marketing strategy.  Speaking about her new role leading Beasley Esports, Burgess says, “The esports industry is on the verge of going mainstream.  Our timing and expansion into this space will firmly poise Beasley Media Group to own and influence the next generation of consumers.  The company’s ability to provide compelling esports content, leverage strategic partnerships, and compete at the most elite levels will ensure our foundation as this sector begins to dominate the media and sports-market/entertainment conversation and commands more sponsorship partnerships.”  Burgess served for more than two decades in the publishing industry with brands including: The Hollywood Reporter, Prevention Magazine, Conde Nast’s Mademoiselle and House & Garden; Elle Magazine; Seventeen Magazine, and Niche Media.

Crossover Media Group to Partner with Just the News for Podcasts and Video.  In yesterday’s edition of TALKERS, we wrote about the coming launch of the news organization, Just the News – a multi-platform news operation founded by award-winning investigative journalist and commentator John Solomon.  Today, it’s being announced that Crossover Media Group – a cross-platform content-production and advertising-sales firm – is entering into a partnership with Just the News to produce, sell, and distribute its audio and video programming.  CMG will handle advertising sales and distribution of the video and audio content and assist in production of programming that will be found at JustTheNews.com.  Among the inaugural audio programs will be: “John Solomon Reports,” a twice-weekly podcast featuring the veteran investigative reporter and editor in chief of Just the News; “David Brody’s Pods Honest Truth,” hosted by longtime CBN correspondent and Just the News senior contributing editor David Brody; and “The Sharyl Attkisson Podcast,” featuring the Emmy-Award winning investigative television correspondent.  The first “John Solomon Reports” podcast drops today at 3:00 pm ET and offers listeners new information regarding the discussion around the Ukraine matter at the center of the presidential impeachment trial.  Crossover Media Group managing member Ron Hartenbaum says, “Over the course of more than three decades reporting from the nation’s capital, John’s award-winning work has propelled him to senior positions at The Associated Press, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, and the Center for Public Integrity, among other prominent organizations.  His gutsy, contrarian, enterprise journalism has unearthed insights that have helped drive the national conversation, stirred controversy, and withstood scrutiny.”  Solomon adds, “Ron and I have worked on projects for many years and his command of the audio/video marketplace, his relationships and his visionary insights are priceless.  We are excited by the extraordinary capabilities of Crossover Media Group and can’t wait to get started.  There’s an incredible opportunity to cut through the noise in Washington with exclusive reporting and analysis.”

Beasley and Bonneville Officers Co-Chair Media Financial Management Summit. The 2020 CFO Summit takes place March 5-6 at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort in Ft. Lauderdale presented by The Media Financial Management AssociationBeasley Media Group CFO Marie Tedesco and Bonneville International CFO Kent Nate – along with E.W. Scripps SVP, controller and treasurer Doug Lyons – will serve as co-chairs for the conference.  This 14th edition of the annual summit “provides an exclusive forum with real solutions to the challenges that CFOs face every day.”  Topics include an update from the Federal Reserve; an equity analyst’s look at cybersecurity concerns for media businesses; the future of media; local advertising; podcasting; political advertising issues and outlook; leadership; and a CFO roundtable.

Impeachment, Presidential Race, Putin Power Grab, Honduran Migrant Caravan, Chinese Coronavirus, Virginia Gun Rally, and NFL Championship Games Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The process for handling the articles of impeachment against President Trump; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in November; Vladimir Putin’s push for constitutional changes in Russia that would extend his rule; a migrant caravan headed from Honduras to the U.S. is stopped at the Guatemala-Mexico border; fears of a global pandemic as China deals with the fast-spreading Coronavirus; the gun rights rally in Richmond, Virginia; and Sunday’s NFL Conference Championship Games were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. At Hubbard Radio’s Chicago hot AC WTMX “The Mix,” afternoon drive co-host Jennifer Roberts, a.k.a. Jennifer Ashrafi, is leaving her role with the station to take a new corporate communications position.  Roberts, who co-hosted the show with Koz, a.k.a. Kevin Koske, announced the move in a social media post: “A lot of people get prematurely put ‘on the beach’ in this business and I’m thrilled that I’m making my exit completely on my terms.  There was no threat on the horizon, just a calling in my soul for something better.”…..In West Palm Beach, Hubbard Radio announces that programming pro Randi West joins the cluster as the new program director of hot AC WRMF and CHR WMBX-HD2/W242CI “Party 96.3.”  West was previously program director for iHeartMedia’s hot AC WMTX, Tampa.  Hubbard West Palm Beach operations manager Bruce Logan says, “WRMF is a one-of-a-kind radio station – huge heritage call letters, remarkably successful in ratings, and revenue with one of the best morning shows in the entire industry in ‘KVJ.’  We knew we needed a one-of-a-kind program director to match.  Randi’s passion and vision for the future as well as her energy made her the right fit.  I am thrilled to welcome Randi to the team and cannot wait to get out of her way and let her make WRMF even better.”

Monday, January 20, 2020

| January 20, 2020

When You Walk Through a Storm:  Cox Media Group Expresses Empathy and Interest in Talk Radio Pros Upended by iHM Layoffs.  The news/talk format coordinator of Cox Media Group, who also serves as the company’s senior operations & program manager for WSB and Cox Media Group Atlanta, has informed TALKERS that there could be employment opportunities available at Cox for displaced broadcasters down the road.  Drew Anderssen tells TALKERS, “With the depth of recent layoffs, a lot of incredibly talented people are finding themselves in a new position – out of work.  Please just know that we’re thinking about each of you and are always interested in speaking about future opportunities within CMG, especially in spoken-word formats.”  Anderssen invites people who lost their jobs to contact him at either Drew.Anderssen@cmg.com or 404-897-6233.

Monday Memo: He Saw This Coming on Stilts. In the aftermath of – and fearing aftershocks from – last lweek’s iHeart talent cull, consultant Holland Cooke warns “you will get CHILLS” when you read how specifically this was predicted…in 1995.  And Cooke explains why times remain opportune for stations and their ex-employees.  Read it here.

Trump Impeachment, Presidential Race, Iran Tensions, Virginia Gun Rights Rally, Putin Power Grab, and SAG Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The impeachment process and the selection of President Trump’s legal team; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in November; the protests that have rocked Iran in the aftermath of the down of a passenger jet and the Islamic state’s nuclear ambitions; the gun rights rally taking place today in Richmond, Virginia; Vladimir Putin’s move to change Russia’s constitution to extend his rule; and Sunday evening’s Screen Actors Guild Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Journalist John Solomon Launches New Digital News Outlet.  Award-winning journalist John Solomon announces he’s creating a new media outlet called Just the News, that he says will “address the growing need for fact-based, impartial news and compelling digital content.”  Solomon, who has served as a journalist and executive at such new organizations as The Hill, The Washington Times, The Associated Press, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and The Daily Beast, says, Just the News will “deliver exclusive news, podcasts, books, polling, and video content showcasing some of the most respected and trusted journalists and editors in news media today.”  Longtime Washington Times senior editor Daniel Wattenberg is the news outlet’s managing editor.  Senior contributing writers include David Brody, the long-time correspondent from the Christian Broadcast Network; former CNN political director Christine Dolan; and Lee Smith, author of the best-selling book The Plot Against The President.  Solomon says more hires and partnerships are expected to be announced in the next few weeks and the JusttheNews.com website is slated to launch within the next month.  He adds, “True journalism has been on the decline for years as major media companies have built business models that push agenda-driven news, click-bait content and opinion masquerading as fact, fueling mistrust and contempt from the American people.  As the fallout from the recent Russia collusion narrative exposed, journalists today too often rush to get their stories first and then are left to hope they are right.”  Just the News will be headquartered in Washington D.C. and consist of four divisions dedicated to web-based reporting, video journalism, podcasting, and long-form nonfiction book publishing.

Second Annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards Celebrated. On Friday night (1/17), iHeartMedia produced the second annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards live at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles.  The program was also streamed live via LiveXLive.  Winners this year included “The Dropout” from ABC News taking Podcast of the Year honors, The New York Times winning Best News Podcast for “The Daily,” and Crooked Media’s “Pod Save the People” taking home the Best Political Podcast honors.  Pictured above is Conan O’Brien celebrating his winning the Best Comedy Podcast for “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend.”  See all the winners here.  Photo: Getty Images for iHeartRadio

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk radio pro Scott Ferrall exits his late-night show with CBS Sports Radio to join SportsGrid to host two new video streaming programs.  “Scott Ferrall: Coast to Coast” streams from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET, followed by “In-Game LIVE” streaming from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  Both shows emanate from SportsGrid’s Meadowlands Studio and debut on January 29.  SportsGrid says, “‘Scott Ferrall: Coast to Coast’ and ‘In-Game LIVE’ will serve the obsessed frenetic sports fan with live pregame and in-game wagering odds, moneylines, statistics, strategies, and insights with expert gaming analysis from Scott and his many guests.”…..Today (1/20), “First Take, Your Take with Jason Fitz” debuts in the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET daypart on ESPN Radio and simulcast on ESPNEWS.  ESPN says, “The show will further the most-timely conversations from that morning’s edition of ESPN’s marquee debate show, “First Take,” with Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman, and host Molly Qerim Rose.  Smith will regularly join Fitz on the show to provide his unique brand of commentary. A powerful lineup of sport-specific experts, as well as callers, will also add their reactions to propel the discussion.”…..Entercom names the new radio broadcast team for Boston Red Sox baseball on flagship WEEI-FM, Boston.  Handling play-by-play will be 37-year Red Sox announcer Joe Castiglione along with Will Flemming, Sean McDonough, and Lou Merloni…..iHeartMedia Delaware air talent Scott Klatzkin is named 2019 Delaware Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sports Media Association.  Klatzkin is the voice of the University of Delaware Blue Hens.  This is the fourth time he has won the honor, having previously been selected in 2016, 2012, and 2009.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In St. Louis, Hubbard Radio does a talent shuffle on heritage rock outlet KSHE.  Twenty-nine-year station personality Guy “Favazz” Favazza moves from afternoons to morning drive with current morning personality John “U-Man” Ulett (who joins the show from 7:00 am to 10:00 am).  Lauren “Lern” Elwell heads from mornings to the afternoon drive daypart, and Mark Klose – who hosted mornings at KSHE from 1977 to 1983 – takes over the midday show.  Station brand and content director Marty Linck comments, “These moves pair The U-Man and Favazz (both KSHE’s longest-running talent) together in morning drive, and gives Lern a great platform to connect with our fans as a standalone on-air personality.  In addition, having Mark Klose re-join the staff during the work day and bring back ‘Klose’s Cut Above’ at noon will really help further cement our position as the rock music authority in St. Louis.”…..Pictured below is Coldplay performing at RADIO.COM’s brand new, state-of-the-art HD Radio Sound Space in Los Angeles Friday night.  The inaugural RADIO.COM Live event featured the band playing some of its classic hits, as well as some songs from the new album, Everyday Life.  The special performance was attended by a small audience of Entercom’s KROQ, Los Angeles listeners and was streamed nationwide on RADIO.COM.  Photo: Tim Norris/Getty Images for RADIO.COM