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Salem Rises to Prominence in Conservative Media

| July 18, 2022

By Kevin Casey
TALKERS magazine
VP/Executive Editor

 

IRVING, Tex. — The last few years have brought enormous change to the media landscape and one of the bright lights in the sea of change is what’s been happening at Salem Media Group. Officials at the company say its rise to prominence in the conservative media arena has been building for more than 10 years. In fact, in April 2019, The Hollywood Reporter published an article titled, “How Salem has Quietly Become a Giant in Conservative Media.” In the three-plus years since, the Irving, Texas-based company has continued that trajectory and in many eyes verifies the claims in that piece. When it comes to conservative media, it’s impossible not to see Salem’s giant footprint.  

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Friday, April 1, 2022

| April 1, 2022

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, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Slappy Daze,” looks back at this past week of 3/28 to 4/1. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSHarry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Steve Weisman, founder, Scamicide.com/professor of law, Bentley University; Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company; Todd Feinburg, talk show host, WTIC, Hartford; Arthur Aidala, criminal trial lawyer/talk show host, AM 970 The Answer, New York. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas;  WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; 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 NetworkPodcast Radio UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS 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.

 

Beth Troutman Joins WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Morning Show. Media pro and former congressional candidate Beth Troutman is named co-host of the morning drive program on Radio One’s news/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. The veteran news anchor, multiple Emmy-winning documentarian, and television host joined “Good Morning BT with Bo Thompson & Beth Troutman” today (4/1). Radio One says that Bo Thompson called upon Troutman in 2016 to serve as a correspondent from the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Since then, she’s been a regular guest on WBT, bringing her media experience and personal insight to the conversation with the station’s listeners. Radio One regional VP and Charlotte market manager Marsha Landess says, “I was immediately impressed by Beth from our first meeting. Her contribution as a guest with Bo, and her infectious positivity, has only reinforced that impression. Together, they’re able to speak to the moms and dads and working professionals of Charlotte as generational peers, and we are incredibly excited to have Bo and Beth begin WBT’s second century as our morning team.” Troutman comments, “This is a fantastic opportunity to work alongside Bo Thompson. He is one of the best broadcasters in the business, and I know we’re going to create something really unique, fun, and informative together for the WBT audience!”

 

New York Festivals 2022 Radio Awards Shortlist Announced. The New York Festivals Radio Awards competition announces the 2022 Radio Awards shortlist across 14 category groups. NYFestivals says, “World-class audio entries created by storytellers from 24 countries around the globe were judged online by the 2022 New York Festivals Radio Awards Grand Jury. Shortlisted entries include audiobooks, dramas, documentaries, breaking news coverage, entertainment, and music specials from radio stations, networks, prominent production companies and independent producers. The United Kingdom led with 75 entries shortlisted followed by the United States with 57, Ireland with 56 and Canada saw 35 entries.” Shortlisted global broadcasters include BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, NBC News, RTÉ Ireland, Deutsche Welle (DW), Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and Mediacorp. Prominent companies making the shortlist include HarperCollins Publishers, TBI Media, Radio New Zealand, ABC Radio National, Bloomberg, Intelligence Squared U.S., Lockdown Productions, Fresh Air Productions, SiriusXM, Penguin Random House UK, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Swedish Radio, Unusual Productions, Colorado Public Radio, DCP Entertainment, FM Club, JAZZ.FM91, GoLoud, Magnum Opus Broadcasting, Media 24, Radio Free Asia, Radio-Canada, Religion of Sports, Sky News Radio, Sveriges Radio, USG Audio, Virgin Radio UK, and Wondery. New York Festivals Radio Awards honors storytellers from around the globe. The organization says that since 1957 it has celebrated excellence and innovation across all genres and platforms, keeping pace with industry-wide developments and global trends. The mission of the competition is to honor the achievements of the men and women who make up the global audio storytelling community. All entries in the 2022 competition were judged online by NYF’s Radio Awards Grand Jury of 200-plus producers, directors, writers, and other creative media professionals from around the globe and judged on the following set of criteria: production values, creativity, content presentation, direction, writing, achievement of purpose and audience suitability. Award-winning entries will be announced during the New York Festivals 2022 Storytellers Gala virtual event on April 26. All winners will be showcased on the Radio Awards winners gallery. You can see the shortlist here.

 

Salem Promotes Jonathan Garthwaite to SVP and Publisher of Townhall Media. Longtime Townhall Media staffer Jonathan Garthwaite is promoted to SVP and publisher, Townhall Media by parent company Salem Media Group. Townhall Media properties include Townhall, RedState, PJ Media, Hot Air, Twitchy, and Bearing Arms. Salem Media Group COO David Evans says, “Jonathan has earned this promotion with his relentless dedication to the success of Townhall Media and his passion for fair politics, together with his strong leadership of the tremendous Townhall Media team. I am sure Townhall Media operations will continue to excel under Jonathan’s leadership; he is a true asset to both his team in D.C. and to Salem Media Group as a whole.” Garthwaite was most recently VP and general manager. He comments, “From the early years incubating Townhall at the Heritage Foundation to the last 16 years of explosive growth at Salem Media Group, it has been the honor of a lifetime to work with all my colleagues. They are simply the best in the political news and analysis business over the past 27 years. There is nothing more satisfying than working hard each day on a mission-driven business with a team of talented writers, marketing pros and digital strategists to fight for America’s future with fairness and truth in political news. Without the executive team and everyone at Salem during the last 16 years of expansion, innovation and business success could not have been possible. Everyone at Townhall Media is grateful.”

 

FOX News Media Names Caitlyn Jenner a Contributor. Media figure Caitlyn Jenner joins FOX News Media as a contributor. Company CEO Suzanne Scott says that Jenner, a television personality, Olympic gold medalist, motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and former California gubernatorial candidate, will offer commentary and analysis across FOX News Channel programming and various FOX News Media platforms. Scott adds, “Caitlyn’s story is an inspiration to us all. She is a trailblazer in the LGBTQ+ community and her illustrious career spans a variety of fields that will be a tremendous asset for our audience.” Jenner states, “I am humbled by this unique opportunity to speak directly to FOX News Media’s millions of viewers about a range of issues that are important to the American people.”

 

KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City Announces 100th Anniversary Documentary. Heritage Salt Lake City signal KSL-AM will celebrate its 100th year of service to the Salt Lake City region on May 6, 2022. In celebration of the station’s achievements over the past 100 years, Bonneville International’s KSL-TV and KSL NewsRadio are partnering to simultaneously air a special documentary, hosted by TV’s Deanie Wimmer, on the history and legacy of KSL. The program airs tomorrow (4/2) at 4:00 pm. You can see the trailer on Twitter here.

 

TALKERS News Notes. This weekend’s 2022 NCAA Men’s Final Four in New Orleans will be broadcast by Westwood One, beginning at 3:30 pm ET with “The Final Four Show.” Coverage of the first national semifinal between Villanova Wildcats and Kansas Jayhawks will start at 4:30 pm ET, live from Caesars Superdome, followed by the second national semifinal, featuring basketball’s most legendary rivalry, as the North Carolina Tarheels take on the Duke Blue Devils. On Monday, April 4, coverage will commence at 6:30 pm ET with the pregame show, “Championship Monday,” followed by the NCAA Men’s Championship Game broadcast at 7:30 pm ET. Westwood One will also broadcast all three games in Spanish. In addition, Westwood One will provide complete play-by-play coverage of the NCAA Women’s Final Four and Championship Game from Minneapolis…..SiriusXM, the exclusive audio broadcaster of the Masters Tournament, announces expanded broadcast plans for Masters week, April 2-10. SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein says, “The Masters is always such a special event, and we are excited to deliver an exceptional level of coverage to our listeners again this year. We’ve added several distinguished voices to our play-by-play team, expanded our coverage to include the Augusta National Women’s Amateur and Par 3 Contest, and will present multiple shows hosted by players competing this year and those who have won in years past. Our subscribers will get an unparalleled perspective on the Masters before, during and after the Tournament.”…..Shining City Audio, a history-focused podcast studio joint venture between Audacy’s C13Originals and Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and New York Times bestselling author Jon Meacham, announce “Reflections of History,” a short-form daily podcast series in which Meacham reflects on critical moments in global history and how they continue to impact the world today. Every weekday, Meacham will guide listeners on a brief historical journey through an event  which occurred on that date, offering a glimpse into the past as well as a guide for the present. “Reflections of History” will launch on April 4 with the first episode marking the anniversary of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)’s creation on April 4, 1949…..The Alliance of Maryland Podcasts announces the 2nd Annual Maryland Podcast Awards! These Awards will recognize the best in podcasts from across Maryland. There are three phases to the contest: April 1-14: Public Nomination Phase; April 18-May 1: Public Voting Process; and May 11: Announcement of Winners. To be eligible, a podcast must be produced in the state of Maryland or by residents of the state of Maryland. The eligibility period runs from April 1, 2021-March 31, 2022 and the categories are: Podcast of the Year, Podcast Host of the Year, Best News Podcast, Best Sports Podcast, Best Lifestyle Podcast, Best Entertainment Podcast, Best Interview Podcast, Best New Podcast, Best Produced Podcast, Best Video Podcast, Best Fiction Podcast, Best Politics Podcast, Best Podcast Social Media Feed, Best Podcast Twitter Feed, Best Podcast Instagram Feed, Best Podcast Facebook Page, and Best Podcast TikTok Page.

 

The Russia-Ukraine War Top News/Talk Story for Week of March 28 – April 1. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its effects on the rest of the world was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the economy – including high gas prices, inflation, supply chain breakdowns and labor shortages, followed by the BA.2 Omicron subvariant causing COVID-19 and the relaxing of mask and gathering policies around the country 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.

 

 

 

‘SuperTalk 99.7 WTN’ Has News Anchor Opening. Nashville news/talk outlet WWTN-FM “SuperTalk 99.7 WTN” is seeking a live and local full-time news anchor. The Cumulus Media station says, “We’re looking for a great sounding news anchor that is ready to hit the ground running! Creative writing, use of audio, strong delivery, and the ability to cover breaking news are critical. Key responsibilities for this position include: news anchoring, street reporting, interviews, assisting in booking guests for talk shows, collecting audio from multiple sources, working news studio board, cover breaking news and weather, regular meetings with program director and news director, Must be able to thrive under deadlines every half hour. See more about this position and apply here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

| December 21, 2021

Salem Media Group’s Ed Atsinger Transitions to Executive Chairman; David Santrella Rises to CEO. Current Salem Media Group CEO Edward G. Atsinger III will transition to the newly created role of executive chairman of the board of directors, effective January 1, 2022 and David Santrella – currently president of broadcast media – will become chief executive officer. At the same time, David Evans – president of digital media and publishing – is promoted to chief operating officer. Salem Media Group’s current chairman, Stuart W. Epperson, will resign from Salem’s board of directors, transitioning to the position of chairman emeritus and Stuart W. Epperson, Jr. will join the board of directors, filling the vacancy created by Mr. Epperson Senior’s resignation. In the executive chairman role, Atsinger will be chairman of the board, assuming leadership of the board of directors while providing oversight and guidance to both the CEO and COO. Atsinger will continue to be engaged full-time and focus more of his attention on macro strategy and planning, M&A, external relationships, government affairs and leadership development. He comments, “I am pleased to serve as executive chairman and to oversee the succession to the next generation of leadership of our company. I am looking forward to working with the executive team to continue Salem’s vitally important mission of serving the media needs of the audiences interested in Christian content and public policy programming with a traditional conservative focus. With Salem well-positioned for continued growth into the future, now is the right time to take the next step in implementing our long-term leadership transition. We have a tremendously talented, deep and dedicated leadership team at Salem. David Santrella and David Evans each have played a critical role in developing and executing the strategy in place today, and I am confident they have the vision, skills, experience and capabilities necessary to provide continued leadership of Salem well into the future.” Speaking about his new role, David Santrella states, “I am deeply honored to have been appointed as Salem’s next CEO. I look forward to working in close partnership with David Evans to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities that exist in today’s media landscape, to further the mission of our company and to grow our business. I am blessed that I will have Ed alongside me in my new role.”

WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago Names Cisco Cotto Morning Drive Anchor. Chicago all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM appoints Cisco Cotto the morning drive news anchor, taking over for Pat Cassidy, who recently announced his retirement. Audacy Chicago regional president and market manager Rachel Williamson comments, “We are excited to welcome Cisco into morning drive. He has proven to be a true professional and teammate for the last seven years both reporting and anchoring on WBBM. Not only does he bring a bright energy but is a great communicator and strong journalist – the perfect combination as Chicagoans wake up each morning.” About his new role, Cotto says, “Pat and Felicia [Middlebrooks] spent many years as voices Chicagoans trusted to wake them up with all of the most important stories to start their day. I’ll work hard to maintain what they built. Thanks to Ron Gleason, Greg Solk, and Rachel Williamson for trusting me with such an important show on this great station. I look forward to continuing to be a small part of the award-winning news team on WBBM for many years to come.” Assuming the midday and noon business hour anchoring position is Rob Hart, who has been with WBBM since 2016.

WGAC, Augusta and Talk Host Austin Rhodes Sued for Defamation. A suit has been filed in Gwinnett Superior Court in Georgia by James Faller II who says in the complaint that WGAC, Augusta talk host Austin Rhodes defamed him through “false, malicious and defamatory” statements. Faller appears to be representing himself as the complaint is not signed by an attorney representing him. Faller alleges that Rhodes called him a “fraud,” “weirdo,” and “felon” and says Rhodes spoke with local politicians and warned them about associating with Faller. A story in the Augusta Press indicates that Faller admits to having served two years in federal prison on a felony conviction but says that he’s actually a whistleblower and he went to prison due to a government conspiracy against him. Faller also alleges that Rhodes’ refusal to allow him to appear on his radio show violates his First Amendment rights. Beasey Media Group is also named in the suit and it’s expected the company will seek to have the suit dismissed.

KHTK-AM, Sacramento Announces On-Air Changes for the New Year. A series of talent moves at Bonneville’s Sacramento sports talk KHTK-AM will take place beginning January 4, 2022. Current afternoon drive host Jason Ross will move to mornings to join Carmichael Dave. At the same time, Justin Marshall will move away from the on-air portion of his role to solely focus on his duties as assistant program director and morning show producer. The afternoon drive show will be hosted by program director Nick Cattles who will be joined by a rotating cast of co-hosts each day from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

BIA Advisory Predicts Radio Ad Spend Will Rise 5.5% to $13.54 Billion in 2022. Looking ahead to 2022, BIA Advisory Services reveals it has increased its U.S. Local Advertising Forecast for the year to $173.3 billion from its earlier estimate of $161.5 billion issued in the late summer. The 2022 forecast indicates an 11.4% increase over 2021 due to faster than anticipated growth in digital advertising and a strong political year. Traditional media ad revenue still maintains a slight advantage over digital at 50.8% of the ad spend ($88 billion), while digital media will get 49.2% of the ad spend at $85 billion. Looking at the radio industry, BIA predicts that radio ad spend will be $13.54 billion, a 5.5% increase over 2021’s $12.79 billion. For 2021, radio’s ad spend on over-the-air will be $10.91 billion with $1.88 billion coming from digital (website, streaming and mobile apps). Next year, radio ad spend is forecast to be $11.37 billion for over-the-air and $2.17 billion for digital. BIA SVP and chief economist Mark Fratrik says, “2021 has been a year of fluctuations. The first two quarters of the year saw strong growth, with some stalling in Q3 once the Delta variant appeared late summer. We’ve taken pandemic concerns plus inflation and supply chain issues into account to prepare our local media estimates and, overall, we are bullish on ad revenue for 2022.”

WTOP-FM, Washington Was Top Radio Biller for 2020. As a sidebar to the previous story about BIA Advisory Services’ Local Advertising Forecast, the company has revealed the top radio billers for last year. The top-billing station for 2020 was Bonneville’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington with $62 million. Rounding out the top 10 were: iHeartMedia’s KIIS-FM, Los Angeles and WLTW-FM, New York with $38.9 and $30.8, respectively; Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta was #4 with $30 million; Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago was #5 with $29.7 million; Beasley Media Group’s sports talk WBZ-FM, Boston was #6 with $29.6 million; iHeartMedia’s KBIG, Los Angeles and WHTZ, New York were #7 and #8 with $29.35 million and $29.3 million, respectively; Audacy’s all-news WINS-AM was #9 with $28.1 million and Audacy’s sports talk WFAN, New York was #10 with $28 million.

COVID-19, Build Back Better, 2022 Midterm Elections, Trump Sues NY AG, January Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Potter/Maxwell Trials Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/20). The Omicron coronavirus variant sweeps across the U.S., the push for booster shots, and the pushback against mandates; Senator Joe Manchin’s blow to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; Republicans savoring early predictions of taking back Congress in the 2022 midterm elections; former President Donald Trump sues New York attorney general Letitia James to prevent investigation of his businesses; the investigation into the January attack on the Capitol; Russia’s ongoing military aggression at the Ukraine border; and the trials of former police officer Kim Potter in the shooting of Daunte Wright and Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

| October 12, 2021

Colorado Talk Host Jeff Crank Exits KVOR-AM Over Vaccine Mandate. Refusing to get a COVID-19 vaccine to comply with Cumulus Media’s company-wide mandate, KVOR-AM, Colorado Springs talk host Jeff Crank has been let go from the station for his stand. The Colorado Times Recorder reports that Crank calls the mandate “unethical and immoral.” He posted to his Facebook page: “Recently Cumulus Media – which owns KVOR – instituted a forced employee vaccination policy nationwide. While I am not anti-vaccination, I am anti-tyranny and I told them that I find their policy unethical and immoral. I’ve already had coronavirus. I discussed the vaccine with my doctor, and he recommended that I not take the vaccine at this time as there was very little risk to me contracting COVID and even less risk of having severe complications from COVID. I’m going to make my medical decisions after consultation with my doctor – and it won’t be forced onto me by the CEO of a company that I’ve never met or knows nothing about me. One day our country will look back on this time in our history with shame – that we live in a country where you can be forced to go against your doctor’s best medical judgment in order to feed your family.” Crank says he’ll launch a podcast to continue his program.

Columbia PD/Host Tim Hill Ousted from ‘107.5 The Game’ for Vaccine Refusal. Programming and sports talk pro Tim Hill was let go from his position as program director and co-host of “The Early Game” morning show on Cumulus Media’s WNKT-FM, Columbia, South Carolina after refusing the COVID-19 vaccine on religious grounds. As noted in the story above, Cumulus issued a company-wide mandate that staffers return to the offices and be vaccinated by October 11. The State reports that Hill said, “Various religious reasons and the lack of any long-term studies have led me to this decision. I don’t know what medical decisions are right for others. Others don’t know what medical decisions are right for me. I felt like I had to stand up for it. I have three boys and tell them to stand up for what they believe in. It is my job to teach them that. I felt like it was a test in some way. That is what I stuck with. So, that is why it wasn’t a difficult decision from my perspective.” Hill told the paper that as a Catholic, he looked to the Catholic Medical Association which said it “opposed mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations as a condition of employment without conscience or religious exemptions.” He said, “If you have a sincerely held religious belief, then it becomes a matter of reasonable accommodation. They said they couldn’t reasonably accommodate me. I offered to wear a mask or do the show from where our producer does it, or from home. They thought none of that was reasonable.”

Salem Addresses Larry Elder Recall Run During C-Suite Presentation. Executives from Salem Media Group recently sat down with Noble Capital Markets senior research analyst Michael Kupinski to talk about the state of the company’s business. Salem Media CEO Edward Atsinger, president – broadcast media Dave Santrella, president – interactive and publishing David Evans, and EVP & CFO Evan Masyr appeared during the interview and Santrella addressed how Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder’s run for governor in California’s recent recall election has affected his program. Santrella said, “First off, it provided us with the opportunity to give a platform to another new talent, Carl Jackson, who has a great story and a great testimony… so we’re excited we have him now and I would anticipate we’ll keep some sort of relationship with Carl.” Santrella said Elder is still on his 30-day leave after the election and will return at the end of this month. “There’s no doubt it’s risen his popularity and we think ultimately that will be good for us because it will probably increase the number of people that are anxious to have him on their radio station and increase our affiliate numbers.”

WVON, Chicago Adds Buchanan to Afternoon Show. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Midway Broadcasting is bringing host, podcaster, and political analyst Atiba Buchanan aboard to co-host the afternoon drive show with Kimberley Egonmwan. Buchanan takes over for Matt McGill who is expected to launch a new program on the station in the near future. Buchanan previously served with the station as a producer for Cliff Kelley. Buchanan says, “I could not be more honored or humbled to join such a storied tradition that is so vital to the well-being of the city of Chicago in general and to the Black community specifically.”

WABC, New York Broadcasts from Columbus Day Parade. Pictured above broadcasting from the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan are (from l-r): John Catsimatidis, owner of WABC and Red Apple Media; Edward Salzano, business consultant to WABC; and Frank Morano, host of “The Other Side of Midnight” and co-host of the “77 WABC Early News.” The station launched yesterday’s coverage of the parade with a press conference on Friday (10/8) from the Chazz Palminteri Italian Restaurant in midtown Manhattan. A video stream of the entire broadcast was presented in television style online via a platform dubbed WABCRadio.TV.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says, “I was knocked out by the professional set and execution of a ‘television show’ mounted by the WABC staff during the parade that was very similar to how these things are historically handled by local TV stations.  John Catsimatidis and company are to be congratulated for providing the industry with a superb demonstration of the emerging concept of the ‘media station’ that will change the game over the next few years, for sure.”

ABC Audio Names Liz Alesse Director and Executive Producer of Podcast Programming. After leading ABC Audio’s podcast team for the past 11 months, Liz Alesse is named to the permanent position of director and executive producer of podcast programming. ABC Audio VP and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku tells fellow staffers in a memo: “Liz has already been able to leverage her understanding of the news division and relationships across the platforms on behalf of ABC Audio, working on recent podcasts including ‘In Plain Sight: Lady Bird Johnson’ and ‘Life Out Loud with LZ Granderson.’ She has big plans for the unit, including adding new titles and seasons to our existing podcast library. Liz is a skilled producer in the control room, edit bay and in the field. She most recently served as a supervising producer with the Pennsylvania Avenue unit. While in that role, Liz took on special assignments that included leading site production of the spin room at the 2020 New Hampshire Democratic primary debate and the two presidential town halls in Philadelphia. Liz began her career at ABC News in 2015. At ‘This Week with George Stephanopoulos,’ she managed the team and oversaw production and operations for the show, and even served as interim executive producer.”

Sports Betting Station Launches in St. Louis on WGNU-AM. In  deal with DraftKings-owned VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, WGNU-AM/K283CI, St. Louis flips from Gospel to a sports betting format. “The Game” will air content from VSiN and feature morning talk personalities Mitch Moss and Pauly Howard, sports betting analytics expert Gill Alexander, former pro football executive Michael Lombardi and sportscasting legend Brent Musburger. WGNU consultant Bill Moir comments, “We’re thrilled to introduce the St. Louis metro area to this informative and entertaining brand of sports talk. Sports betting education as a 24/7 format, and specifically the expert analysis from VSiN, is a perfect choice for WGNU. We’re excited to be the St. Louis home of VSiN.”

COVID-19, Inflation/Gas Prices/Supply Chain Woes, Border Crisis, Biden Infrastructure and Reconciliation Bills, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Gruden Resigns from Raiders Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/11). The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., mask & vaccine mandates, and Texas Governor Gregg Abbott’s edict outlawing mandates; the soaring price of gasoline, inflation, and the dearth of goods as a result of the global supply chain troubles; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Biden administration’s handling of the problem; the status of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill; China’s ongoing military aggression toward Taiwan; and Jon Gruden resigns from the Las Vegas Raiders after racist emails are made public were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.