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Wednesday, January 6, 2021

| January 6, 2021

Radio Programming Legend Tom Bigby Dies at 77. The programming mind that helped build some of the most successful radio stations in modern history has died at the age of 77 after several years of heart issues. Tom Bigby programmed a number of stations with heritage calls – WIFI, WNEW, KOST, and WXYT – but he’s best known for being the PD behind Philadelphia sports talker WIP. In noting his passing, a piece on the WIP website says, “Known for his at times contentious relationship with talent and his radio-ready voice, Bigby is the most well-known, well-respected, and most iconic PD in the history of WIP. His legacy will include many things, but from a WIP perspective, his belief that the Eagles were the biggest thing in town, and that the fans should be heard will be two of the most lasting for WIP. His ‘two-minute rule’ and ‘once during the week, and once on the weekends rule’ for callers will not be far behind.” TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison says, “Tom was a program director in the true sense of the title as it existed in radio’s most recent golden age. He understood just about every aspect of radio and applied that knowledge and experience to the well-balanced intersection of programming, sales, promotion, and technology that marked the great stations of that era and inspired them to value their air product above all else. He was also a quirky friend, formidable negotiator, and larger-than-life individual the likes of which make him a true industry legend.” At WIP, Bigby worked with Philadelphia talent that included Howard Eskin, Rhea Hughes, Angelo Cataldi, Glen Macnow, Tony Bruno, Jody MacDonald, and Mike Missanelli, to name a few. A number of these posted their thoughts about working for Tom Bigby at the WIP website. You can read them here. Bigby leaves behind his wife Phyllis, two children and four grandchildren.

Salem Media Group Unveils Podcast Platform. With the new year comes a new venture from Salem Media Group as it announces the formation of the Salem Podcast Network – what the company calls “a new entity focused on bringing conservative content to more listeners and viewers.” The network’s first podcast partner is author and documentarian Dinesh D’Souza, whose new podcast “Pardon Me!” will debut on January 11 across all podcast platforms, as well as SalemNow.com, YouTube, and Rumble. Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “This is a natural extension of the Salem brand, which is already considered one of the strongest in conservative media. Salem will be producing more content with meaningful names on the conservative side, so look for more big announcements soon. The future for podcasting is unlimited, and our efforts will tightly focus on hosts who will contribute to our brand and to the message.” The company announces that WIND-AM, Chicago “AM 560 The Answer” program director Marcus Brown is taking on the additional role of director of content strategy for the Salem Podcast Network. Salem Broadcast Division president David Santrella adds, “Salem’s brand of podcasting will remain consistent with what Salem is best known for — content that approaches the issues through a biblical worldview and a politically conservative lens. Podcast listeners will know that when they come to the Salem Podcast Network, they’ll find content that addresses the issues they care most about.”

WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence to Drop Andy Gresh Show. GoLocalProv.com tips us that Cumulus Media’s news/talk WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence and evening sports talk host Andy Gresh are unable to come to terms and Gresh will exit the station after his Friday evening program (1/8). Gresh tells the news site, “Basically, we have a business disagreement.” GoLocalProv.com reports that former Providence Journal sports reporter Kevin McNamara will host a one-hour program from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm and the 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm slot will be filled a by a syndicated program.

WNYM, New York Adds Ben Shapiro for Afternoons. New York news/talk WNYM “AM 970 The Answer” announces it is adding the Westwood One syndicated “Ben Shapiro Show” to its daily lineup. Salem Media Group says the program will air at 5:00 pm (except on Wednesdays when it airs at 9:00 pm). Shapiro’s podcast will air evenings at 9:00 pm. To make room, the station moves the Kevin McCullough program to a 7:00 pm start. Additionally, WNYM is adding “Real Estate Today,” the official radio program of the National Association of Realtors hosted by Stephen Gasque, to its program schedule. It will follow “Eye on Real Estate” hosted by New York City real estate expert Dottie Herman. Salem Media Group vice president and general manager Jerry Crowley says, “We’re always looking for ways to make our lineup stronger, and these changes will do just that. Shapiro is a rising young superstar on talk radio. The real estate show will give our listeners great information and content. Kevin McCullough will continue to do the great show we know and love.”

TALKERS News Notes. Former WJFK-FM, Washington afternoon drive host Chad Dukes teases a new sports talk program that’s set to debut on Monday (1/11). Dukes was fired by Entercom in October for what the company called “racist comments” on the “Big O and Dukes” podcast. The new program appears to be a digital streaming venture. His website says of the new program, “The Chad Dukes Show is going to be exactly what you’re looking for if you’re a looking for a radio show from Chad Dukes. Discussion of movies, video games, food, booze, music, football, fighting and copious amounts of ball busting. You want politics? You want COVID discussion? You want middle relief pitching analysis? Look somewhere else.”…..WOBT-AM/W267AF, Rhinelander, Wisconsin flips from country to sports talk. The NRG Media station is airing the complete weekday lineup from iHeartMedia’s sports WRNW-FM, Milwaukee “The Game” – Steve Czaban, John Kuhn & Brian Butch, The Crossover, Drew & K.B. – as well as FOX Sports Radio content in evenings and on weekends…..iHeartMedia Cleveland is launching two initiatives that it believes will improve the bottom lines of local businesses in 2021. All this month, local Cleveland area small businesses are encouraged to register online for the opportunity to be featured in a $25,000 iHeartMedia marketing plan. iHeartMedia Cleveland president Keith Hotchkiss says, “Last year was brutal for small businesses in our community. We believe the significant reach of our media assets, combined with this meaningful marketing campaign, will be the difference maker for a local company here in Cleveland. There are 36% fewer local businesses operating in the area than this time last year, according to Crain’s Cleveland.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of on-air pro Connie Kellie of the “Connie & Fish Morning Show” on Townsquare Media’s hot AC WLHT, Grand Rapids “Mix 95.7.” Kellie died on January 4 after a brief battle with liver cancer. Her radio partner Fish Calloway says, “Over 25 years ago, this incredible, smart and strong woman allowed me the opportunity to be a part of her radio career. Our journey will not only be with those who were touched by her immense talent but engraved in my heart. Thank you, Connie, for this adventure. I look forward to the day we meet again.”

MIW Group Announces Applications Now Being Accepted for ‘Mildred Carter Mentoring Program.’ The Mentoring & Inspiring Women in Radio Group announces that the application window for the 2021 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program is open. MIW says its heritage annual mentoring initiative “connects mentees with accomplished women recognized as leaders, mentors, and game-changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting.” The program is being sponsored by vCreative for the second consecutive year. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines will be selected for the 2021 program. The deadline to apply is January 29. See mentee criteria and instructions on how to apply here.

Georgia Runoff Elections, Electoral Vote Count/DC Protests, Trump GA Secretary of State Call, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Jacob Blake Case, and China Blocks WHO Scientists Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/5). Tuesday’s runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; today’s Electoral College vote count in the Senate and the protests taking place in Washington, DC; the aftermath of Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking a reversal of his loss in that state; the spiking number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of the vaccines; prosecutors in Wisconsin reveal no charges will be filed against officer in shooting of Jacob Blake; and China blocks two WHO scientists investigating the origin of the coronavirus from entering the country were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, December 10, 2020

| December 10, 2020

Longtime KFGO, Fargo Personality Bob Harris in Coma Battling COVID-19. According to a story posted on KFGO, Fargo’s website, station personality Bob Harris is in a coma suffering from the effects of COVID-19 at a Fargo hospital where he’s been since Thanksgiving. The piece notes that Harris – who hosts the “Nighttime Live” show and the “Harris Happenings” podcast – went to the hospital after experiencing shortness of breath. Harris’ sister Jeanie Smith says Harris has suffered two cardiac arrest events, but doctors say the pneumonia he’d been suffering has improved and there’s no indication that he’s suffered a stroke or brain damage. She says if he does not regain consciousness soon, he will undergo an MRI.

Christmas Special Available from ‘Our American Stories.’ For news/talk stations seeking quality holiday programming, Lee Habeeb’s American Private Radio is offering a multiple-hour “Our American Stories Christmas Holiday Radio Special,” featuring “behind-the-stories of our most cherished traditions, plus some extra special stories designed to warm the hearts and spirits of listeners everywhere.” APR says that in addition to the Friday, December 25 two-hour special edition of “Our American Stories,” several extra hours will also be made available to stations looking to expand their holiday programming (via FTP download). No contracts required. If you’d like more information, email Affiliates@Oanetwork.org
or call 855-276-8020.

Salem Names David Cruz VP of New Latino-Targeted Salem Si. Broadcasting pro David Cruz is joining Salem Media Group as vice president of Salem Si – a new digital streaming platform scheduled to launch in January that’s focused on the nation’s Latino market. Cruz began his career with Spanish International Network, the predecessor to Univision. He worked in various news capacities with ABCCBS, and NBC television network stations and became anchor of the nation’s first syndicated, bilingual news talk program for CNN Spanish Radio and Radio Centro in Latin America. Most recently, Cruz served with iHeartMedia in Los Angeles hosting a talk show on news/talk KFI and KEIB and as director of corporate and community partnerships in emerging markets. Salem broadcast media president David Santrella says, “We are very excited that David and Salem have entered into this collaboration that promises to reach and serve the youngest and fastest growing audience demographic in the United States. The challenges presented by COVID-19 have only accelerated the shift in listening patterns by Latinos who are seeking timely, relevant, and accurate information live and on-demand. David’s extensive background as one of the country’s established and well-known Latino broadcast network journalists makes him the ideal person to lead this new digital initiative with Salem Media Group.”

Heritage Foundation Honors Rush Limbaugh with Award; Names Studio After Him. Conservative Washington, DC think tank The Heritage Foundation presented Premiere Networks nationally syndicated talk radio superstar Rush Limbaugh with its inaugural “Titan of Conservatism Award” during the organization’s annual President’s Club Meeting. In addition, the Heritage Foundation will honor Limbaugh by naming its new, state-of-the-art studios the Rush Limbaugh Radio Studios “to ensure his legacy continues to shape future generations.” Heritage Foundation president Kay C. James states, “If there was a ‘Conservative Hall of Fame,’ Rush would no doubt be a first-ballot entry. From behind the golden EIB microphone, he inspired millions of Americans to cherish our God-given rights and freedoms and the country and Constitution that serve to protect them. Rush helped bring the conservative movement together three hours a day for a family meeting, he helped everyday Americans realize they were conservative, and he brought millions of new people into the conservative movement. The extraordinary reach of his #1-rated radio talk show has allowed him to attract listeners with his common sense, everyday-language explanations of why conservatism works and how every American benefits because of it. The conservative movement simply wouldn’t be where it is today without the venerable Rush Limbaugh.

Armstrong & Getty Add Affiliates in Alaska and Nebraska. The KSTE-AM, Sacramento-based talk radio show “Armstrong & Getty” – co-hosted by Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty – adds two new affiliate stations as Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR, Lincoln, Nebraska and KFQD, Anchorage, Alaska agree to add the program to their lineups. KFQD content director Joe Campbell says, “Too much of the dial is dedicated to hardline opinion and ‘picking a side.’ We’re chopping the audience up into too many camps. It shouldn’t be about left or right, but rather entertaining the listener. Joe and Jack are a couple of guys you just want to hang out and have a drink with. They’re capable of serious political discussion, but it’s always entertaining and genuine. Armstrong & Getty just get it. I’m excited to have them on-board at KFQD.” Armstrong & Getty comment, “We’re really grateful that Alpha has invited us to join the team. We’re not beltway pundits. We’re Middle-American guys with families who are just trying to bring a little perspective, honesty, and humor to the day’s events. We’re patriots more than we’re partisans.”

Cherry Creek Media and CreativeReady Announce Deal. The audio creative firm CreativeReady and Cherry Creek Media announce a new partnership that will allow all 50 Cherry Creek radio stations to use CreativeReady’s on-demand creative assets. Cherry Creek CEO Jonathan Brewster says, “CCM is always working to provide our markets with the tools needed to help clients thrive. The CreativeReady platform will really help us deliver outstanding creative strategies for clients and improve efficiencies within our stations.” CreativeReady founder and CEO Jamie Alpin comments, “We believe the key to a successful seller/client relationship is in developing longterm creative ad strategies. It’s about giving the client our very best and the Cherry Creek culture aligns with that mindset perfectly. They have an outstanding reputation for going above and beyond for their clients and we couldn’t be happier with this partnership.”

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Holiday Travel/Family Get-Togethers, Trump’s Fraud Claims, Feds & States Sue Facebook, Biden Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections, and Hunter Biden Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/9). The sharply rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S, the death toll, and the timetable for distributing vaccines; the warning from the CDC about traveling during the holidays and having large family get-togethers; Donald Trump’s continuing insistence on election fraud; the federal government and 48 states file anti-trust charges against Facebook; Joe Biden’s transition process; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; and the federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s tax reporting from his overseas business endeavors were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Grace Curley Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Rising millennial talk radio star, Grace Curley is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” At 28, this multi-media conservative commentator is already known to thousands of New England radio listeners, newspaper readers, and podcast fans for her solid presence and longtime media accomplishments in the six-state region. She has successfully served as executive producer and on-air co-host for the regionally syndicated “Howie Carr Show” since 2014. She is a weekly columnist for the Boston Herald writing about media, politics, and popular culture. She is also the producer for “Dirty Rats” – a highly successful true crime podcast hosted by Howie Carr. And now she’s ready to become a major news/talk radio host in her own right as the Howie Carr Radio Network will be launching her into regional and potentially national syndication beginning January 4, 2021 and they’ve already gained an important clearance on the legendary WRKO, Boston in the daily 12:15 pm to 3:00 pm timeslot which serves as lead-in to the mega-popular Howie Carr show. Having followed her growth as an evolving media figure over the years, Michael Harrison states, “This outstanding young woman dazzles with millennial energy and across-the-board charm!” Harrison and Curley discuss the strong and productive relationship that has developed between her and her mentor, Howie Carr. They also talk about what it’s like being a young, female conservative commentator in liberal Massachusetts as well as Curley’s observations about the nature of today’s rapidly maturing millennial demographic. Check it out and be prepared to meet a fresh, exciting new talk radio voice. 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. For classic rock stations seeking Christmas programming, Compass Media Networks is presenting the 25th annual “Uncle Joe’s Rockin’ Christmas Show.” The program is a four-hour show full of classic rock Christmas songs, exclusive artist interviews and stories. Contact Doug Ingold 310-242-8746 or at dingold@compassmedianetworks.com…..iHeartRadio Canada announces the first live international launch of “The Bobby Bones Show” on CIMX-FM, Windsor, Ontario “PURE COUNTRY 89” that also serves the Detroit market, effective December 14.

Monday, October 26, 2020

| October 26, 2020

Monday Memo: Listeners’ Mindset, Advertisers’ Message. Notwithstanding the president’s hope that “pandemic fatigue” will buoy his message that “we’ve turned the corner,” survey data presented at the NAB/New York virtual convention – now underway and available on-demand – describes how Americans really feel, and how our advertisers can relate. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke’s conference notes, and specific tips for improving results from endorsement spots. Read it here.

Pending Business: A Secret of Success. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in his column today, “Every dominant business understands how important it is to set a standard, stick to it, improve it, own it and infuse it into the culture of the organization. Does your radio station strive to set industry-leading sales standards? You don’t need the highest-rated radio station to set a standard for sales performance and service. You don’t need the highest rates, or the most revenue. You need commitment, and the relentless pursuit of setting and improving standard-setting performance.” Read more here.

Nexstar Media Group’s Operational Realignment Ups Sean Compton to President, Networks. On Thursday (10/22), Nexstar Media Group announced a combination of its two primary subsidiaries – Nexstar Digital LLC and Nexstar Broadcasting into a new subsidiary called Nexstar Inc. In this new alignment, Karen Brophy becomes president, digital; Timothy Busch is now president, broadcasting; and Sean Compton rises from executive vice president to president, networks in which he’ll oversee WGN America, Antenna TV, and WGN Radio. All three will answer to Nexstar Media Group president, COO and CFO Thomas Carter. He says, “The operational realignment we are announcing today will accelerate Nexstar’s growth by leveraging our leading local content and positioning the company to become an even more nimble and competitive organization, thereby creating new value for shareholders… We completed the highly accretive acquisition of Tribune Media a year ago and quickly and efficiently integrated their assets, resulting in first year operating synergies exceeding $185 million. At the same time, we converted the Tribune enterprise to Nexstar’s operating, sales and other protocols and successfully and cost-effectively launched ‘News Nation’ on WGN America. As a result, we are leveraging our industry leading scale, diversified business model and solid operating execution to deliver record 2020 financial results as we dynamically manage the business to offset the impacts of the pandemic, reduce leverage and return capital to shareholders through quarterly cash dividends and share repurchases. Our decision to reorganize the business’ operating structure at this time reflects our view that there remains tremendous upside to be realized by maximizing the value of our assets, content and strong consumer engagement with our digital properties.”

iHeartMedia Birmingham Launches ‘BIN 92.7.’ The Birmingham, Alabama market joins the growing number of iHeartMedia markets airing the BIN: Black Information Network format as the company unveils “BIN 92.7” on FM translator WW224CK, Vestavia Hills. The company says “BIN 92.7” will broadcast 24/7 national and local news focused on serving the Black community and providing an information window for those outside the community to help foster communication, accountability and a deeper understanding. The station will feature top national on-air anchors and correspondents including award-winning broadcaster Ed Gordon and renowned journalist Roland Martin. Black Information Network president Tony Coles says, “BIN’s goal has always been to be the most trusted source for news in the Black community, and part of that strategy is, of course, to be available on both broadcast and digital stations across America. We’re thrilled to bring BIN, a full-time news service by and for the Black community, to Birmingham and provide listeners there with both the national and local news that impacts their lives.”

TALKERS News Notes. The FCC issues a Public Notice announcing the Access to Capital Working Group of its Advisory Committee on Diversity and Digital Empowerment and the FCC’s Media Bureau will co-host a virtual symposium titled “Path to Media Ownership and Sustainability” on November 6, 2020 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm ET.  The symposium will examine access to capital for small and diverse broadcasters.  The event will be convened virtually via WebEx and will be available to the public streaming via the Internet at www.fcc.gov/live. It will feature broadcasters and lenders discussing how to obtain financing for broadcast station transactions in today’s challenging financial circumstances, as well as experts discussing the history of the previous broadcast tax certificate policy and the potential for a new tax certificate policy to increase broadcast ownership diversity.  The symposium will also include presentations from Nielsen Global Media on ratings measurements for multi-ethnic broadcast stations, and a discussion of how small and diverse broadcasters can attract increased advertising revenue.  Finally, congressional staff members will provide updates on pending legislation intended to increase diverse media ownership…..Talk media personality Tom Donahue announces he has returned to Tom Donahue Reports to produce his program as a podcast in which he’ll no longer conform to a formatted show, thereby allowing him “greater versatility and creativity in producing audio content.” He continues to stream his show on Talk Stream Live. Also, Donahue is launching a commentaries service in the form of capsules made available to stations as one- or two-minute episodes. “America’s First News with Matt Ray” recently added the reports to his show twice weekly…..Pictured below is Salem Radio Network syndicated talk radio personality Sebastian Gorka (center) with SRN V.P./news & talk programming Tom Tradup (left) and Breitbart Washington political editor Matt Boyle (right) at a celebration of Gorka’s birthday in Alexandria, Virginia. Among the guests were: Salem executives David Santrella and Phil Boyce; former White House press secretary (and Newsmax TV personality) Sean Spicer; WMAL-FM, Washington talk host Larry O’Connor; and KABC, Los Angeles radio and political commentator Joseph DiGenova.

New Orleans Talk Radio Pioneer Keith Rush Dead at 89. WWL-TV, New Orleans reports that Keith Rush, a conservative talk radio icon who worked in the market for 60 years, died last Thursday (10/22) at age 89. According to WWL-TV, Rush was best known for his talk radio program on WSMB-AM that aired during the 1970s and 1980s. Local politician Lawrence E. Chehardy is quoted in the piece saying of Rush’s program, “It was a great forum because you could go on and discuss the issues with him and take phone calls from listeners. It was a way for elected officials to be able to converse with their constituents, long before the days of social media.” Rush began his radio career in the mid 1950s as a disc jockey. He transitioned to talk in the 1970s.

The Presidential Election/‘60 Minutes’ Interviews, Early/Mail-In Voting, COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Pence Office Outbreak, Hunter Biden Emails Case, Social Media ‘Censorship,’ Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation, California Power Outages and Wildfire Threats Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The November 3 presidential election and Sunday night’s appearances by Donald Trump and Joe Biden on “60 Minutes”; reports of record numbers of early and mail-in votes; the rising number of positive cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. and around the world and projections for the fall/winter seasons, as well as the outbreak among the staff of Vice President Mike Pence; the leaked emails from Hunter Biden’s laptop; allegations by conservatives that Twitter and Facebook are censoring their political messages; the confirmation vote on Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett; and the power outages in California as high winds threaten more wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Phoenix, Entercom promotes Chris Hernandez to operations manager for the cluster. In this role, Hernandez will lead operations efforts for classic hits KOOL-FM, country KMLE-FM, and CHR KALV-FM “LIVE 101.5.” At the same time, the company ups Daniel Valentine to music director for “LIVE 101.5.” Entercom Phoenix SVP and market manager Dave Pugh says, “Chris Hernandez has consistently shown amazing drive that leads to substantial results and I’m confident in his ability to take our collection of stations to higher levels. Daniel Valentine has proven his extensive music expertise over the years and I’m looking forward to watching his career grow as he leads LIVE’s music operations. Both are veterans in our company, and I’m honored to elevate two hard working individuals.”…..The programming lineup for iHeartMedia’s “HBCU Homecoming Celebration on iHeartRadio” is taking place on November 12. It will include Angela Yee, co-host of the morning show “The Breakfast Club,” and special guests exploring female entrepreneurship and the art of brand building as the modern-day self-CEO as part of the iHeartRadio Beautiful Possibilities presented by Ulta Beauty.  During the discussion, the panel participants will share their personal stories of success and explore how they rise above challenges to define their careers. The panel aims to uplift, inspire and pave the way for the next generation of Black women leaders and will be followed by a performance by singer and songwriter H.E.R. “Breakfast Club” co-host DJ Envy will emcee the iHeartRadio HBCU Homecoming Party on the Yard, presented by McDonald’s. The virtual event will include celebrity guest and McDonald’s owner/operator interviews, legendary HBCU Homecoming highlights, and several special surprise moments. The event will culminate with a performance from global superstar Khalid across all iHeartMedia hip hop and R&B stations…..Legendary Chicago jock Ron Britain, a.k.a. Ron Magel, has died in his hometown of Louisville at the age of 86. Chicago media writer Robert Feder writes about the career of the man who was known as King B on the radio. During his more than 50 year radio career, Britain worked at some 21 stations but achieved the peak of his fame at former CHR outlet WCFL-AM which he joined in 1965.

Friday, June 12, 2020

| June 12, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   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.  The new episode titled “The Revolution is Being Televised!” looks back at this past week of June 8-12, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSCurtis Sliwa, talk show host, 77WABC, New York; Sean Spicer, talk show host, NewsmaxTVLee Habeeb, producer / host, Our American Stories; Colin Cowherd, talk show host, FOX Sports Radio-Television; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode,  please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Round Four of May PPMs Released. The fourth and final round of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s May 2020 survey period covered April 23 – May 20. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from this group of markets and notes that a number of the news/talk stations whose weekly, 6+ AQH shares had risen dramatically in March and April because of listeners’ desire for news and information about the coronavirus pandemic started to fall during the May survey. Waterloo Media Group’s KLBJ-AM, Austin lost nine-tenths to finish May with a 5.5 share and the #3 rank in the market. Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis “Indy’s Mobile News 93.1” relinquishes 1.4 shares to wrap the month with an 8.9 share and the #3 rank. In Milwaukee, iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM remains in the #1 spot even after dropping seven-tenths to finish with an 8.6 share. Cumulus Media’s WWTN-FM, Nashville loses only one-tenth but drops to the #7 rank on the strength of a 5.3 share. Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville loses three full shares but still finished the May sweep with a 10.4 share, good for the #2 rank in the market. See Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Kimberly & Beck Apologize for Racist Language. In a self-produced video, the former classic rock WAIO, Rochester morning show duo of Kimberly Ray and Barry Beck apologized for the language they used on their radio show that caused iHeartMedia to fire them on June 3. WROC-TV, Rochester has the story with a link to the video. You may recall that during a discussion about two local shop owners who were beaten by a group of black youths as they tried to protect their business during the violence and looting that evolved out of the George Floyd protests, Ray didn’t use the “N-word” but suggested the young men were acting “N-word-y.” In the video, the two offer their apology. Ray says, “We owe it to our listeners and to our amazing community to speak out. Both Beck and I have spent the last several days engaging in soulful reflection. We said hurtful, offensive things, but we are not racist. We do not have hate in our heart. We have only love for everyone.” Beck says, “We apologize, not to get our jobs back, but to say we are truly sorry and want to sincerely apologize. We will not attempt to make any excuses or explain what we said, because it was wrong, it was ignorant and inexcusable.” Ray adds, “We want our listeners and clients to know we are sorry. We let you down. We’re sorry we let Rochester down. Moving forward we want to grow, learn, and change from this experience. Our apology is sincere, and we wish we could turn back time.” Beck closes saying, “But we can’t. Once again, we have no hate in our heart, and we apologize. Thank you.”

Radio America to Syndicate Tony Katz’s ‘Eat! Drink! Smoke!’ Indianapolis-based talk radio personality Tony Katz’s new weekend radio program “Eat! Drink! Smoke!” is going into national syndication via Radio America, beginning the weekend of June 27-28. Radio America will also distribute and sell the podcast. Radio America says, “The two-hour weekly program combines good times and good friends, stepping away from the madness of each week with reviews of fine cigars, excellent bourbon, and interesting food. Hosted by award-winning radio host, writer, and regular cable news presence Tony Katz with a wide array of guests sharing their thoughts with humor and expertise.” Katz says, “Being able to bring ‘Eat! Drink! Smoke!’ to cities across the country is just sensational. We’re not trying to be the final word on cigars and bourbon; we’re sharing the word. Distillers are artists, and so are the cigar rollers and master blenders in the US and around the world.” Katz hosts “Tony Katz and the Morning News” on Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis and the syndicated Tony Katz show that airs live from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm CT. Radio America COO Mike Paradiso says, “Tony is a phenomenal talent that knows how to connect with listeners and advertisers. Stations are going to love his knowledge of cigars and bourbon along with his conversational and humorous style.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a piece in the Los Angeles Times, some ViacomCBS employees are demanding that the company end its relationship with streaming channel aggregator Pluto TV because it partners with The First which streams the “Bill O’Reilly No Spin News” program and they say O’Reilly has “a well-documented history of making racist comments, denying the existence of systemic racism, undermining the efforts of Black protesters and insulting Black public figures.” ViacomCBS doesn’t plan to make any immediate changes, telling the Times, “Pluto TV, by design, is a service that makes available a wide variety of channels programmed by third parties, and we think it is critical to represent a diversity of viewpoints, even those we disagree with.”.…..The National Association of Broadcasters announces the results of its Executive Committee Board of Directors. David Santrella, president of broadcast media, Salem Media Group, was re-elected Radio Board chair and Emily Barr, president and chief executive officer, Graham Media Group, was re-elected as NAB Television Board chair. Bill Wilson, chief executive officer of Townsquare Media, Inc., was elected as Radio Board first vice chair and John Zimmer, president and owner of Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri, Inc., was elected second vice chair. Alfred Liggins, chief executive officer, Urban One, Inc., was elected to the Radio Board’s major group representative seat on the NAB Board’s Executive Committee. The board elections took place at the NAB Board of Directors meeting, held virtually on June 9…..In the Joplin, Missouri market, Michael Day Landis-owned sports talk outlet WMBH “FOX Sports Joplin” moves the “Mic’d Up” show from Saturdays to weekdays, airing from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm. KSNF-TV, Joplin reports the show, hosted by Matt Miller, Mello, and Austin Cunningham will cover everything from “Mizzou football to KU basketball… emphasize sports around the Four States while also providing coverage of the NFL and other professional leagues.”

Black Lives Matter Movement and Police De-Funding Top News/Talk Stories for Week of June 8-12. The protests organized by and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and calls from protestors to de-fund police departments in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was a tie between the state of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S., health care concerns, and coronavirus statistics and projections. Coming in at #3 was the state of the U.S. economy – now officially in a recession – and the stock market activity, followed by the opening of America, sports leagues news, and the status of public events at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s entire chart here.

NEED A GUEST? We’ve Got Some Good Ones for You at ‘Expert Guests.’ Talk media hosts, producers, and bookers are advised to check out the newly expanded “Expert Guests” section of TALKERS. It is updated on a regular basis with outstanding experts and personalities available by telephone, Skype, or Zoom for booking on radio, TV, and online talk shows. This week you’ll find a wide array of guests that includes widely acclaimed New York Times best-selling conservative author David Horowitz available to discuss his new book BLITZ: Trump Will Smash the Left and WIN (Humanix Books, 2020). There’s also an expert on how to generate lost revenue due to COVID-19 via online marketing, an author who writes about Islamic matters, and an expert on finance who puts the race-oriented protests, demonstrations, and riots into perspective from an economic standpoint – plus a whole lot more. To visit “Expert Guests,” please click here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The News-Gazette reports on the exit of morning personality Steve Holstein from Saga Communications’ country WIXY, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. He’d been host of the “Holstein and Company Morning Show” for 24 years and was recently let go for financial reasons. Holstein tells the paper, “These are tough economic times, and media is not an easy field to be in at all. The pandemic has certainly not helped anyone, especially media. That was their decision, and I accept it. I’m grateful for 24 years.”…..iHeartMedia Providence’s rock WHJY is celebrating the 30th anniversary of “The Paul and Al Morning Show” with a special broadcast on July 15. The station says, “On-air veterans Paul and Al joined 94 HJY in the summer of 1990 and have been familiar, trusted voices to listeners around the Providence area ever since. Thirty years after its debut, ‘The Paul and Al Morning Show’ remains a top-rated morning show and ranks second in Rhode Island radio history for all-time in longevity for a morning show on the same station, playing a considerable role in the success of the station. Throughout their career, Paul and Al have been recognized for their on-air presence and were inducted into the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame in 2008.” Station program director Doug Palmieri says, “I remember the day Paul and Al signed on as the new morning show hosts at 94 HJY, replacing iconic morning talent Carolyn Fox. They hit the ground running and never looked back, becoming a Southern New England institution. I’ve been lucky enough to work with them over much of their 30 years on 94 HJY and their humor, generosity, and dedication to listeners are truly inspiring. Thirty years in one place performing at the highest level in this industry ain’t no joke, and these guys are the best in the business.”…..Entercom’s adult contemporary KEZK-FM, St. Louis adds Premiere NetworksDelilah for evenings beginning on Monday (6/15)…..Police in Baltimore are investigating the death of jazz WEAA, Baltimore air personality Tyra Phillips, a.k.a. Tyra Phillips Womack, who was shot to death outside her home in northeast Baltimore on Wednesday evening (6/10). WJZ-TV, Baltimore reports the 57-year-old host of the Sunday afternoon show “Gospel Grace Afternoon” died after being shot several times during an argument. Police report having identified a person of interest.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

| June 20, 2019

PPM Analysis: Sports Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s May 2019 PPM survey, today focusing on sports talk. As the Major League Baseball season moved into its second month of the season and NBA Playoffs were in full swing, 41% of sports talk stations on our panel were up (weekly 6+ AQH share) from the April PPM survey, led by Entercom’s KGMZ, San Francisco (+1.4), while 39% were down.  Comparing May 2018 to May 2019, 47% of sports talk stations were up, but 44% were down.  Just one station ranked #1 in its market – Entercom’s WFAN, New York accomplished that in the Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island) market.  See Kinosian’s entire report here.

iHeartMedia Commissioned Ipsos Study: Audio Interest at All-Time High; AM/FM Radio Reaches 85% of Consumers. This new study – conducted by Ipsos and commissioned by iHeartMedia – concludes that “consumer interest in audio is now at an all-time high, with listeners enjoying more audio content across a vast array of platforms including broadcast radio, digital streaming, podcasts, and smart speakers.  The in-depth multi-platform study explores daily audio usage and habits of Americans ranging from 13 to 64 years old and captures when, where, and how these various generations are consuming their favorite audio.”  The press release goes on to say that the study finds broadcast radio reaches 85% of consumers, “surpassing all other audio channels including social media (68%) and live television (56%).  The research also showed that radio has two times the daily listening of streaming services, reaching 69% of consumers compared to streaming music’s 34%.”  iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman says, “Contrary to some misperceptions, it shows we are living in an audio-first world by drilling down a more granular overview of audio listenership and showing what a day-in-the-life of the average listener is like when it comes to media consumption.”  Regarding podcasting consumption, the study found that growth is strong among Millennials and Gen Z.  “iHeartMedia’s study further found that podcasts now represent almost 10% of audio listening among Millennials and that podcast listeners are also radio listeners, with 82% also listening to radio on a weekly basis.  The study, conducted in March 2019, surveyed a nationally representative sample of 6,016 consumers aged 13–64 who listen to more than one audio platform at least once a week.

Emmis Enters Podcast Space with Sound That BRANDS Backing. After a series of cash-raising downsizing moves (the recent sales of radio stations and much of its publishing assets), Emmis Communications is entering the podcasting space through funding for Los Angeles-based podcasting studio Sound That BRANDS. The firm specializes in branded audio content for national advertisers.  Sound That BRANDS CEO Dave Beasing says, “At Sound That BRANDS, our motto is ‘Be the content, not the interruption.’  With Emmis’ support, we’ll grow quickly, producing audio that is not only entertaining and informative, but builds brand loyalty.”  Emmis chairman and CEO Jeff Smulyan says, “We’ve monitored the early stages of global brands telling audio stories through branded podcasts that dramatically enhances loyalty and preference.  Sound that BRANDS has already become a leader in branded podcasting and is uniquely positioned to work with marquee brands to build episodes that make you laugh, feel and think in a way that reinforces the brand.  Dave is a great audio storyteller, and we look forward to helping him accelerate Sound that BRANDS growth.”  The press release announcing the relationship also notes that Sound That BRANDS is “seeking motivated talent for several key roles, including VP/revenue and brand partnerships.” Former KPWR-FM, Los Angeles SVP/GM Val Maki is heading the search and those interested can learn more and apply at: SoundThatBRANDS.com.

Stan Bennett Rises to VP of Programming for Binnie Media. At Binnie Media – operator of stations in Maine and New Hampshire – Stan Bennett is promoted to vice president of programming for the company. Bennett – a 25-year company veteran – has been serving as director of programming for the company’s Maine stations and as morning drive co-host at classic hits WFNK, Lewiston, Maine. Binnie Media president Massimo Rosati says, “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Stan the past few years.  His passion and commitment to our stations, team, audiences, and clients is unmatched.”

Salem Atlanta’s Moran to Retire. After 15 years with Salem Media Group – most recently as vice president and general manager for the company’s Atlanta operations – Mike Moran is retiring at the end of July.  Moran also served as regional VP for Salem’s Cleveland, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa markets.  SMG says Val Carolin will take over the Atlanta VP/GM position, moving in from the company’s Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina operations.  Salem’s president of radio David Santrella states, “Mike has been an important part of Salem’s leadership team and we wish him well as he moves into retirement.  We are pleased with the depth of leadership within our company, which allows us to quickly fill his role and provide the opportunity for others to advance within Salem Media Group.”

Hofstra University’s WRHU Interviews Talk Media Stars at TALKERS Convention.  TALKERS recruited a video team from Long Island-based Hofstra University’s multi-award-winning radio station WRHU-FM/WRHU.org to record select one-on-one conversations with a variety of the talk media stars from both sides of the microphone who were in attendance at the recent Talkers 2019: Telling the Story convention in New York City (6/7).  TALKERS founder (and Hofstra alumnus) Michael Harrison, a charter inductee in the Hofstra Radio Hall of Fame and member of the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication Dean’s Advisory Board, says, “I am so proud of the widely recognized accomplishments being made by Hofstra in the field of radio and communications.  It is one of the preeminent schools in the nation in this arena and the number of outstanding professionals that it continues to produce is nothing short of remarkable.”  The Hofstra videos will be posted to Talkers.com next week along with the beginning of daily, updated video overage of the convention’s key sessions and presentations recorded by the industry’s legendary videographer Art Vuolo.  Pictured above (l-r) are: Key Networks commentator Bill O’ Reilly being interviewed by WRHU’s Eliorah Finkelson and Jon Sanelli at the TALKERS convention.

PodcastOne and WTOP’s 22 Hours: An American Nightmare Tops 2.3 Million Downloads. Officials at PodcastOne and Hubbard Radio are thrilled to be promoting the fact that their new, true-crime podcast series, “22 Hours: An American Nightmare,” has accrued more than 2.3 million downloads since its June 10 debut. The series is being produced by WTOP-FM, Washington and investigates the murders of DC power couple Amy and Savvas Savopoulos, and their son and housekeeper in their DC mansion in 2015.  On the Apple podcast charts, the program has maintained its #3 ranking for all categories and #1 in-category ranking with episode two, as well.   PodcastOne executive chairman Norm Pattiz says, “We’re no strangers to the category, with successful podcasts like ‘Cold Case Files,’ ‘Murder Made Me Famous,’ ‘Serial Killer,’ ‘First Degree’ and ‘We’re Alive.’  But this is our initial foray into original, owned-and-distributed content, complete with derivative rights.  We’ve planned this move very carefully and will follow up with great content and second-to-none marketing resources.  This is just the beginning.  To my knowledge, we’re the only podcast network producer and distributor with programming representing every category on Apple Podcasts.  Congrats to our great production partners at WTOP and Hubbard Broadcasting.  Our four-year-old partnership continues to pay big dividends.”

WOR Examines the Changing Face of News Coverage. At the recent “WOR Live” event held yesterday afternoon (6/19) at The Cutting Room in New York City, WOR morning drive co-host Len Berman moderated a discussion about how news coverage is changing due to technology and socio-political forces.  Pictured above at the event are (from l-r): WOR assistant program director Scott Lakefield, Berman, WNYW-TV “FOX 5” anchors Rosanna Scotto and Ernie Anastos, and WOR program director Tom Cuddy.

ABC Radio Offers Affiliates 4th of July Programming. News/talk stations affiliated with ABC Radio can air the 4th of July special titled, “Cherished America,” hosted by ABC News Radio correspondent Aaron Katersky that takes listeners to national monuments, national parks, and places both familiar and obscure on the National Register of Historic Places.  The special examines why each place is important to the country and how each shapes and defines it.  ABC Radio is also offering “Red, White and Rock 2019,” hosted by rock legend George Thorogood to rock stations and “Homemade Hometown Salute,” hosted by country star Jake Owen, to country affiliates.  All shows are three hours in length.

Westwood One News Offers ‘The Lunar Conquest’ for 4th of July Special. Ahead of the July 20 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, Westwood One News is presenting a 4th of July weekend special titled, “The Lunar Conquest,” and hosted by correspondent Michael Toscano.  The program, available to affiliate stations, salutes this historic event with archived audio clips, news reports, and interviews.  WWO says, “The lunar landing was one of the most challenging endeavors ever launched. With millions of people glued to their tiny TVs, Neil Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin bounded across the eerie landscape for more than two hours.”

Trump Campaign Rally/2020 Presidential Race, Iran Downs U.S. Drone, Hicks Testimony, Reparations Hearing, Southern Border Crisis, and Nxivm Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/19). Tuesday’s Orlando rally to kick off President Trump’s 2020 campaign and the Democrats competing for their party’s nomination; Iran shoots down a U.S. drone over the Strait of Hormuz; former Trump aide Hope Hicks refuses to talk about her White House tenure in closed-door testimony; the slavery reparations hearing before a House Judiciary subcommittee; the illegal immigrant status at the Southern border and President Trump’s statement ICE will deport millions; and the conviction of Nxivm founder Keith Raniere on racketeering and sex trafficking charges 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. In Atlanta, programmer Ron Roberts announces he’s left his position as program director of Entercom’s hot AC WSTR “Star 94.1.”  Roberts has been with the station since last August and arrived there after serving with iHeartMedia at CHR WWXM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina “Mix 97.7.”