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Wednesday, August 18, 2021

| August 18, 2021

RTDNA Announces Winners of 2021 National Edward R. Murrow Awards. The Radio Television Digital News Association announces the national winners of the 2021 Edward R. Murrow Awards that recognize more than 100 outlets for outstanding work in digital, radio and television journalism in technical and editorial categories. RTDNA executive director Dan Shelley states, “A core pillar of RTDNA is celebrating the best in journalism, and one of the ways we do that is through the Edward R. Murrow Awards. This year especially, we are honored to recognize outstanding achievements in broadcast and digital journalism. The past 18 months have been some of the most challenging in the history of our profession, and these recipients — among thousands of other journalists — clearly fulfilled their obligations to serve the public.” There were more than 5,200 entries this year. In May, RTDNA recognized more than 750 winners of the Regional Murrow Awards, which automatically advanced to the national competition. Eight organizations received national awards for Overall Excellence in their categories, including ABC News in the Radio Network category. ABC News was also honored with wins for: Breaking News – COVID-19: President Trump Tests Positive, for its overnight coverage of President Trump’s positive COVID test; Continuing Coverage – A Nation Divided, for its reporting on the murder of George Floyd and the protests and anger that swept the nation; News Series – Pandemic: A Nation Divided, which covered the pandemic’s significantly worse impact on communities of color and working class America; and Investigative Reporting – Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein, for the ABC News Investigative Unit’s podcast on the investigation into Epstein. Two Audacy radio stations were winners with KRLD “Newsradio 1080” recognized for its coverage of the protests against the death of George Floyd and police brutality in the award’s Breaking News Coverage in Large Market Radio category and KMOX, St. Louis “News Radio 1120” receiving top honors in the award’s Newscast in Large Market Radio category for its “Total Information AM 7:00 a.m.” newscast on March 18, 2020. You can see the complete national winner list here.

iHeartMedia Flips KBRU-FM, Oklahoma City to Sports Talk as ’94.7 The Ref.’ In a deal with SportsTalk Media’s KREF-AM, Norman, Oklahoma, iHeartMedia flips its KBRU-FM, Oklahoma City from rock to sports talk and is simulcasting KREF’s 6:00 am to 6:00 pm schedule on KBRU and re-brands it “94.7 FM The Ref.” From 6:00 pm to 6:00 am, KBRU will air FOX Sports Radio programming including: Chris Broussard, Rob Parker, Jason Smith, Mike Harmon and Ben Maller. iHeartMedia area president for Oklahoma Jon Phillips states, “We are thrilled to enter the sports talk arena with such an outstanding lineup. This talent base is very aligned with Oklahoma University sports and we feel this will give us a unique advantage in creating content that is focused on the biggest sports entity in the state. Hats off to SportsTalk Media in Norman for collecting and producing such compelling radio. We feel this partnership will greatly benefit both parties and ensure that Sooner fans can get reliable, accurate and timely coverage.” The station’s lineup is: Toby Rowland and TJ Perry in AM drive, Chris Plank and Josh Helmer from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon, Mike Steely and Parker Thune from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm, Teddy Lehman and Tyler McComas from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm, followed by FOX Sports Radio shows “The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard & Rob Parker,” “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon,” The Ben Maller Show,” “Outkick The Coverage.”

Cumulus Media Dallas Announces Sales Promotions. There are a number of promotions and appointments to report from the Cumulus Media Dallas station group. With the retirement of the cluster’s director of sales Alec Drake at the end of this month, new positions effective September 1 include Dawn Girocco rising from her director of sales post for three of the cluster’s music outlets to VP of sales for the entire six-station group. Filling her role with the three music outlets is Dean Canter, who becomes general sales manager. On the spoken word side, RJ Lane rises from general sales manager for sports talk KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket,” news/talk WBAP-AM, and news/talk KLIF-AM to director of sales for the stations. Also, Steve Holm is promoted from sales manager for the spoken word stations to general sales manager and Janet Dupree, digital sales manager, remains in charge of the station cluster’s digital sales efforts. Cumulus Dallas/Houston regional VP Dan Bennett says, “Dawn Girocco’s vast experience as a DOS and market manager made her a great choice to lead our Dallas sales operation as our new VP of sales. Dawn is an around-the-clock engaged manager who is accessible to our sellers 24/7. She has earned this opportunity and our sales team will benefit greatly from her leadership. I cannot begin to thank Alec Drake enough for his huge contributions over the years to our organization. He has been an incredible leader – especially through the Covid pandemic. Keeping Cumulus Dallas as the company’s top revenue market has always been our goal and Alec pushed the limits every day to ensure we kept that position. Thank you, Alec, from our entire team!”

Gracie Awards Gala Moves to Virtual Celebration. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the 46th annual Gracie Awards Gala, originally scheduled for Monday, September 27, is being moved to a fully virtual celebration. Details of the air date and streaming are being finalized to ensure the best experience to recognize all winners in an important year as AWM’s 70th anniversary. AWMF president Becky Brooks says, “Gracie winners are responsible for creating and telling the important stories of the most compelling content in our history. We were informed, enlightened, and entertained by women in media across all platforms. Our focus remains celebrating this incredible group of women who have demonstrated their commitment to sharing emotionally charged, timely, and compelling content. While our goal was to be in person in September, we are thrilled to bring our winners to the world.”

TALKERS News Notes. KIVA-AM, Albuquerque station owner and talk host Eddy Aragon is running for mayor of the city. According to KOAT-TV, Aragon has gathered enough signatures to run in this November’s election though he’s still waiting for certification from the county clerk. Aragon is challenging incumbent Mayor Tim Keller. Sheriff Manny Gonzales is also running as a Republican. If none of the three candidates get 50% of the vote, the two with the most votes face a run-off election. Aragon tells the station, “I just want to live in a better place. And, when there wasn’t anybody there that was speaking up for the conservatives, the Republicans and the independents out there, that’s when I immediately jumped on board.”…..Virtual News Center adds Legend Communications of Wyoming, LLC radio stations KLGT, KBBT, KZZS, and KHRW in Sheridan, Wyoming to its roster of affiliate stations. Virtual News Center will provide newscasts for all four stations anchored daily by Lisa Rodman and Jim Taylor. Virtual News Center CEO Joel Dearing says, “We are excited to expand with Legend Communications. We currently do news for their station in Gillette and have now added their stations that serve the Sheridan market. Brady Sasfranek has a strong cluster and we are thrilled to be a part of it.”…..Audacy and the NFL’s Washington Football Team have announced a new radio broadcast partnership in which Spanish hits WLZL, Washington “El Zol 107.9” will air the Spanish broadcast for all of the team’s regular and postseason games. Spanish broadcasts had previously aired on sister station WJFK-AM, “El Zol Deportes” for the past three seasons

Taliban Takes Afghanistan, COVID-19 Stats & Mandates, COVID Booster, Western Drought & Wildfires, and Gavin Newsom Recall Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/17). The Taliban takes control of Afghanistan and former President Donald Trump’s media appearances blaming President Joe Biden; the rise of COVID-19 cases in numerous U.S. states and the controversy over mask and vaccine mandates; the expectation the U.S. will recommend COVID booster shots after eight months; the drought and wildfires plaguing the U.S. West; and the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.