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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

| August 3, 2022

Testimony in Damages Phase of Alex Jones Sandy Hook Case in Texas Wraps. Plaintiffs in the Texas suit against InfoWars chief Alex Jones had won their defamation case and yesterday testimony in the damages phase of the trial wrapped up. They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages of $150 million for Jones’ false claims that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a staged event and their children were “crisis actors.” Plaintiffs testified that they have been threatened and harassed for years by Jones’ followers. The case, reported here by CNN, is being complicated by Jones’ attempt to file for bankruptcy for his Free Speech Systems (parent of InfoWars) which plaintiff attorneys claim is an attempt to hide his money from the courts. Plaintiff attorneys also say that Jones has drawn $62 million in assets from Free Speech Systems over the past two years in an attempt to hide assets from the courts. Jones was also found liable for damages in a Connecticut court and jury selection for the damages phase of that trial began yesterday.

Wayne Allyn Root Expands Television Presence. Las Vegas-based talk host Wayne Allyn Root, host of the “Wayne Allyn Root: Raw & Unfiltered” program syndicated by USA Radio, announces he’s launching a new, daily video program on the Mike Lindell TV platform. The program is to broadcast at 7:00 pm ET and is tentatively set to start on August 15. Root also promises another new show – a video and audio podcast – to be announced in the near future. He comments, “Why is my brand exploding? The American people have woken up. They want real news and raw truth. I hold nothing back. I just give my opinions and tell raw truth. I don’t sugar coat it or worry about who I offend. Truth is truth. That’s the only way we’re going to save the greatest nation in world history, ever blessed by God. With truth, action and courage.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Newsmax-syndicated “Rob Carson Show” adds new affiliates as WJFN-AM, Norfolk, Virginia (part of the John Fredericks Radio Network) puts the program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. Also, Lotus Communications KVI, Seattle adds “The Rob Carson Show Weekend” program to its Sunday schedule. Newsmax launched the program into syndication 10 months ago and it is now heard in 19 markets across the country…..Milwaukee talk radio host Dr. Ken Harris is of three radio personalities among the numerous journalists and broadcasters who will serve as a members of the broadcast team for the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association’s debates for the state’s gubernatorial and senate races. The organization has been producing the debates for the past 32 years. Dr. Harris is the afternoon host at Good Karma Brands’ talk WGKB-AM/W269DL, Milwaukee. Also on the team is Brad Williams, anchor/reporter at Mid-West Family’s news/talk WIZM-AM, La Crosse and Jonathan Krause, director of multimedia journalism at Woodward Radio Group in Appleton.

INTERESTING – A Talk Radio Listener Wrote to TALKERS on Facebook: “Can I give your industry a clue? Lots of people still listen to the radio every day at work. You think because nobody calls the station anymore that you have no listeners. Businesses nowadays have all their employees under video surveillance and if they see you on the phone you are subject to disciplinary action. We still hear you, but we can no longer interact with you.”

RIP Vin Scully. In recognizing the passing of the legendary Dodgers play-by-play man, consultant Holland Cooke writes: “He was the voice of the Dodgers, from Jackie Robinson to Clayton Kershaw. Though LA listeners knew him best, fans everywhere remember his historic World Series calls. 1988 Game 1 was one for the ages. Working solo for decades as two- or three-voice broadcast teams became the norm, Vin Scully sounded like he was watching the game sitting next to you. The Athletic called him ‘the solitary voice emanating over the airwaves. He was renowned for his spellbinding monologues, his folksy wisdom and his sense of the moment — some of Scully’s most famous calls revolved around silence, his usage of the crowd to tell a story that words could not justify.’”

Public Radio Syndication Pioneer Larry Josephson Dies at 83. The Washington Post has the obituary here for longtime public radio personality, producer and syndicator Larry Josephson, who passed away on July 27 at age 83. A computer engineer by trade, he joined the volunteer staff at fledgling public radio outlet WBAI, New York in the mid-1960s. He quickly transitioned to the morning drive host. As the Post notes, Josephson “went on to create five decades of public radio programs, reviving the popular and influential “Bob & Ray” comedy team for a new generation of fans, hosting a nationally syndicated series of discussions between conservative thinkers and an argumentative but charming liberal (himself), and producing marathon readings of James Joyce’s Ulysses and a documentary history of the Jews.” He built a radio studio in a bedroom of his Upper West Side apartment from which he would produce his own shows and a number of other public radio programs.

Pelosi Taiwan Visit, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Abortion Laws, The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, and Vin Scully Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/2). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and China’s reaction; the primary races for the November midterm elections and speculation over the nominees for president in the 2024 race; the abortion laws being enacted in various states in the aftermath of the overturning of Roe v Wade; the high price of gasoline and food and the ManchinSchumer authored Inflation Reduction Act; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the global economic impact; and legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  

Thursday, April 7, 2022

| April 7, 2022

‘The Jimmy Malone Show’ to Debut on WTAM, Cleveland. Morning drive radio host Jimmy Malone – whose eponymous program airs on iHeartMedia’s sports talk WARF-AM “FOX Sports 1350 AM The Gambler” from 6:00 am to 9:00 am begins hosting a daily one-hour show on sister news/talk WTAM “The Big One” that will air from 9:00 am to 10:00 am on April 12. The show takes the place of the one-hour “Geraldo in Cleveland” program that had been airing in the slot for the past four years. iHeartMedia says Malone will host conversations with politicians, community and business leaders, journalists and more, all with the goal of making a difference in Northeast Ohio. In addition, Malone will feature fun and entertaining segments including his signature feature, “Knuckleheads In The News.” The program will feature veteran producer Rob Rozycki and contributor Cache Roberts. iHeartMedia Cleveland SVP of programming Keith Kennedy says, “We’re thrilled to launch ‘The Jimmy Malone Show’ on WTAM. Jimmy is a passionate talk show host, a generous philanthropist, and lover of all things Cleveland. We are thrilled to add yet another powerful local voice to a station that means so much to the community.” Malone was a co-host on WMJI-FM, Cleveland’s morning show from 1991 through 2021 when he left that show to launch his WARF program. He says, “I’m thrilled with the opportunity to connect with the WTAM audience. WTAM is the news and information leader in the market, and it’s humbling to have the opportunity to join such a legendary radio station. I simply can’t wait to get started.”

 

Bruce St. James Exits WLS-AM, Chicago. According to a story by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Cumulus Media news/talk WLS-AM and morning drive host Bruce St. James have parted company after 16 months. St. James, who’s worked much of his career in Arizona, took over the morning program from Erich Mancow Muller. St. James posted the following to Facebook: “Arizona, I’m coming home. Chicago is an amazing city and I truly enjoy it here (even with the snow!), but for a variety of reasons I need to be back in the Valley.” For now, Ramblin’ Ray Stevens will host mornings along with contributor Judy Pielach until the company names a permanent morning program for the station.

 

Alex Jones Sits for Deposition in Sandy Hook Suit. Several days after Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled that talk media figure Alex Jones was in contempt of court for failing to sit for depositions in the complaints against him by several families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook School shooting, Jones sat for depositions on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, according to a report by NBC News. The story indicates that Jones, who was being fined $25,000 per day for each day not sitting, paid a fine of $75,000 prior to the deposition. Jones’ attorney said that Jones didn’t sit because he was under doctor’s orders to stay home and avoid stress, but the attorney also admitted that Jones left his home to record his programs. This week’s depositions were for a looming trial that will determine how much Jones pays the eight families of victims suing him. Last year, Jones was found guilty of defamation when the families of the victims were harassed and threatened after Jones’ broadcasts accused them of being “crisis actors” even though he knew the 2012 massacre was real.

 

iHeartMedia and KFI, Los Angeles Launch Season 2 of ‘Unsolved with Steve Gregory.’ The second season of the weekly, true crime podcast “Unsolved with Steve Gregory” launches on iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles and on the iHeartRadio platform. The series – hosted by KFI national correspondent Steve Gregory (pictured here) – features cold cases, challenging cases, missing persons, and high-profile criminals. iHeartMedia says it is one of the most successful in Los Angeles Radio, with more 59,000 podcast downloads in the first month. It also airs on KFI Saturdays from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm. It is produced by Gregory, Jacob Gonzalez and digital producer Andro Mammo. In season one, Gregory explored cases like the unsolved murder of Mark Leonard, the father of NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard. In addition, Gregory also observed the 75th Anniversary of the Black Dahlia, the most notorious unsolved case in the history of the LAPD. In season two, Gregory will focus on the case of a missing man who owned his own video music production company and was known for working with members of both the Crips and the Bloods – two of the most well-known gangs in the United States. The man also grew up in Compton with childhood friends and hip-hop artists Kendrick Lamar and Jayceon Taylor, a.k.a. The Game. Season two will also explore the science of forensics, including a medical examiner, a cybercrimes detective, and a drone pilot who searches for mass graves.

 

SportsMap Radio Network to Launch ‘Journey Through Life and Sports.’ A new program is launching on April 22 at 7:00 pm ET on the SportsMap Radio Network titled, “Journey Through Life and Sports.” SportsMap says the show is a roundtable interview show, “taking listeners on journeys through the lives of sports and entertainment professionals. The program will focus on the role that sports has had in building the legacies and the opportunities to inspire future generations.” The show is hosted by multi Emmy award-winning sports anchor and broadcast journalist Scott Murray; award-winning sportswriter (and the first female Dallas Cowboys beat writer) Marjorie Herrera Lewis; and CEO, inspirational speaker, author, and philanthropist Marnie Schneider. The three say, “We’re looking forward to sitting at the table with our well-known guests, sharing their wisdom with our listeners, as we engage in conversation that takes us back in time with sports favorites. Why did a Hall of Famer take up football? Why did a tennis player defect from her country to build a career and life in the U.S.? We anticipate listening to the unforgettable stories of iconic athletes as they share their great legacies with moments our listeners have likely never heard before.” Pictured here is the program’s first guest, Cowboys great Drew Pearson (left) with (from l-r) Lewis, Schneider, and Murray.

 

CORRECTION: In the April 5 edition of TALKERS, we published a story about The Spectator Washington editor Amber Athey being fired from WMAL-FM, Washington for a tweet critical of Vice President Kalama Harris that Cumulus said violated its social media policy. In our story, we wrote that Athey said Harris’ brown pant suit worn during the State of the Union Address made her look like a Hershey chocolate bar. In truth, Athey wrote that others made the comparison. Athey wrote that Harris “looks like a UPS employee.” TALKERS regrets the error.

 

TALKERS News Notes. The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, are proclaiming April 10, 2022, as WBT Day in recognition of News Talk 1110 & 99.3 WBT’s 100th anniversary. Also, various Charlotte organizations will light the Charlotte skyline that night in the station’s colors of red, white and “WBT Blue.” As the third radio station officially licensed by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the first in the Southeast, WBT has served the city of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, and listeners “From Canada to Cuba” since April 10, 1922. WBT program director Mike Schaefer says, “Quite simply, we are humbled and honored. Recognition by the city and county of this unique milestone, and their proclamations of WBT Day means everything to the 25 team members of WBT, and to the over 100 hard-working members of our extended Radio One Charlotte family.”…..FOX Nation is debuting a new series hosted by award-winning actor, producer and director Kelsey Grammer titled, “Kelsey Grammer’s Historic Battles for America” on May 1. The series will take viewers on an inside look at eight key battles that left an indelible mark on this nation, spanning the American Revolution, the Texas Revolution, the Civil War, and the American Indian Wars. FOX Nation president Jason Klarman says, “Kelsey is a legend in the entertainment industry, and we are proud to bring his talents to our platform with ‘Kelsey Grammer’s Historic Battles for America.’ His affinity for our nation’s history and charismatic delivery will provide FOX Nation subscribers with an entertaining yet educational viewing experience they can’t get anywhere else.”…..Paul Martin is named chief of development for Hope Media Group. Currently serving as senior partner at DickersonBakker, Martin brings decades of experience in donor development and business development in both radio and digital media. WAY Media and Hope Media Group announced earlier this year their intent to merge into one media organization. Company CEO Joe Paulo says, “Paul possesses the perfect mix of leadership, experience, and knowledge we’ve been looking for to lead the revenue-generating strategies for the newly merged Hope Media Group. His heart for God and passion for why we exist is obvious, and contagious. Our bright future just got even brighter with Paul joining our leadership team, and I could not be more excited.”

 

Russia-Ukraine War, Gas Prices/Inflation, Hunter Biden Investigation, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Jackson Confirmation, January 6 Investigation, COVID-19, Elon Musk & Twitter, Severe Southeastern Weather Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/6). Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the allegations of war crimes by Russian soldiers in Bucha, and the new economic sanctions that include targeting Vladimir Putin’s daughters; high gas and food prices and Wednesday’s testimony before Congress by big oil executives about oil prices; the DOJ’s investigation of Hunter Biden’s international business dealings; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the confirmation vote for Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson; the first January 6 participant to be charged and found not guilty and Ivanka Trump’s testimony before the January 6 committee; the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions and concerns about the Omicron BA.2 variant; Elon Musk becomes the largest Twitter shareholder and gets a seat on the board; and the severe weather doing damage across the Southeastern U.S. were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

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, November 16, 2021

| November 16, 2021

Audacy Names Brand Managers for Pittsburgh’s News/Talk KDKA-AM and Sports Talk KDKA-FM. Programming pro Dave LaBrozzi leaves his position as vice president of programming for Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to join Audacy’s legendary Pittsburgh news/talk outlet KDKA-AM as brand manager. At the same same, Audacy announces it is promoting afternoon drive producer Kraig Riley to brand manager for sister sports talk station KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan.” Both begin their new positions on November 29. Audacy Pittsburth SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “As both KDKA and ‘The Fan’ continue to evolve into full multi-platform operations serving our listeners in new ways every day, it is clear that both stations need focused leadership. The addition of Dave and promotion of Kraig will help us continue that evolution. There is an expectation of excellence at both stations from the city of Pittsburgh that I have no doubt Dave and Kraig will continue to build on every day.” LaBrozzi says, “I am thrilled to be back in my favorite city and second home. I consider it an honor to lead KDKA, a true legend in the industry. Thank you to Michael Spacciapolli for the opportunity to return to the city I love and lead an amazing group of talent on such a legendary station.” Riley comments, “I’ve had a passion for ‘93.7 The Fan’ since joining the team as a producer on its first day on the air in 2010. Growing into a role that now gives me an opportunity to influence the station and move it into the future is something I’m equally excited about and proud of.”

Alex Jones Loses Connecticut Defamation Cases by Default. This story is being reported by a number of consumer news outlets, including this story by The New York Times. In this suit, the families of eight victims of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut sued media personality Alex Jones and his Infowars organization for defamation after they were cruelly harassed by Jones’ fans who believed Jones’ consistent claims that the mass shooting was a “false flag” to assist the government in taking away citizens’ guns. The victims’ families claimed in their suit that Jones’ business profited from his conspiracy theory – something that Jones denied but didn’t back up after failing every time to comply with the rules of discovery by not turning over requested documents. For that reason, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled in favor of the plaintiffs based on default. Jones also lost a similar case in Texas. Juries in both cases will decide how much Jones will pay the families in damages. Jones said through his attorneys that he will appeal and that this is a First Amendment case. Attorney Chris Mattei, lawyer for the Connecticut families, is quoted in the Times piece saying that Jones had every opportunity to argue his First Amendment strategy but chose to be defaulted. “He deliberately chose to prevent us from collecting evidence that would prove how his business works and why he engaged in this extended campaign against the families, and the relationship between that and his profitability.”

Alpha Media Names Brian Foster and Les Tuttle to Regional VP Posts. Radio executives Brian Foster and Les Tuttle are being named to regional vice president positions with Alpha Media. In their new roles, Foster will oversee Alpha markets in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, while Tuttle will handle Missouri, Minnesota, and select markets in Iowa. Both will report to chief operating officer Larry Bastida. (Alpha recently announced that Zoe Burdine-Fly has joined the company as a regional president.) Bastida – who has served in the Chicago market as a GSM and market manager for the past 20 years – says, “We are excited to have Brian and Les join Zoe as we continue to evolve the senior leadership team. Throughout our extensive search to fill the regional president position, it became clear that Brian and Les could play crucial roles. In recent weeks, the added collaboration from these three has enhanced the discussion as the company gains momentum going into 2022.” Foster comments, “Years ago, I discovered my passion, not for radio or digital, but for telling our clients’ stories. This message-first approach has led to sustainable growth inside my market, and I am thrilled to continue this endeavor with my new role.” Tuttle has been market manager for Alpha’s Moberly-Farmington-Festus, Missouri market for the past 11 years. He states, “Having worked for many companies during my 45 years in this business, I enjoy the style of the Alpha leadership team. Their commitment to people sets them apart from other companies, and I look forward to being part of the senior management group.”

Gonsales Appointed SVP and Market Manager for Audacy Twin Cities. Radio sales and management pro Jeff Gonsales joins Audacy as senior vice president and market manager for the Minneapolis market. He’ll oversee the station group that includes news/talk WCCO-AM and two music brands, beginning December 6. Prior to joining Aduacy, Gonsales served with Hubbard Radio’s Twin Cities cluster as director of sales. Audacy regional president Rachel Williamson says, “We are thrilled to welcome Jeff Gonsales to oversee our Minneapolis market and the operations of our three stations. Throughout his tenure in the Twin Cities, Jeff has built a strong reputation as a leader with integrity who cares about his people and his business partners. We trust that invaluable quality coupled with his rich experience in this area will set Audacy Minneapolis up for continued growth and success under his leadership.” Gonsales comments, “I am excited to join the Audacy team in Minneapolis. After starting my radio career at 830 WCCO, I look forward to returning to move this group of local favorites forward in the digital audio world.”

Nadia Cowart Rejoins Cumulus Media as Digital Sales Manager. Media sales pro Nadia Cowart is back with Cumulus Media as digital sales manager for the company’s Beaumont, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana clusters. She served as promotion manager for the clusters from 2002 through 2008 and was most recently marketing director for KBMT-TV, Beaumont. The Beaumont cluster includes sports talk duo KIKR-AM/KBED-AM and the Lake Charles group includes news/talk KAOK-AM “Super Talk 1400” and sports talk KXZZ-AM. Cumulus Beaumont/Lake Charles VP and market manager Elizabeth Blackstock says, “Nadia is an experienced marketing and sales professional in both of our markets, and we are excited that she is returning to Cumulus to help lead our digital sales department. She understands what our communities need to grow and has worked with area businesses and non-profit organizations to achieve their objectives through effective digital strategies.”

SportsMap Radio Network Launches ‘Fred Nation’ Program. A new midday sports talk program from SportsMap Radio launches titled “Fred Nation” starring Fred Davis (right) and Fred Faour (left). The program is scheduled to debut on November 29 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Faour says, “I’m excited to bring our unique style to SportsMap Radio. It will be a combination of great sports talk with a big gambling slant. Our irreverent approach will create something very special for the network.” Faour was a co-host on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM “ESPN Houston” until August of 2021 and served as the editor of SportsMap Houston. Former KILT-AM Houston personality Fred Davis says, “The show will be fun, informative, and fast-paced. And what’s better than one Fred? Two Freds.” Gow Media CEO David Gow adds, “These two have amazing chemistry. Locally, they each have a huge following and I expect similar success all throughout the Fred Nation.”

iHeartMedia Renews ‘BOB & TOM Show’ on 17 Stations. The Westwood One nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” renews its agreement with iHeartMedia to continue airing on 17 of the company’s radio stations across the U.S., including: WFBQ-FM, Indianapolis; WKQQ-FM, Lexington, Kentucky; WIBA-FM, Madison; and WTUE-FM, Dayton. iHeartMedia national programming group COO Brad Hardin says, “It’s an honor to continue our great relationship with Tom Griswold and his team. How often do you get to say you’ve worked together for decades? Listeners across the country have become accustomed to starting their day laughing along with The BOB & TOM Show’s irreverent humor, and we’re excited that they are continuing to bring the laughs with this extended partnership.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report from FOX News Media that cites Comscore data, FOX News Digital notches the number one spot for the month of October in multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views, reaching over 1.8 billion multiplatform views and over 3.3 billion multiplatform minutes. FOX says its digital network surpassed CNN.com in multiplatform minutes for the eighth consecutive month and outperformed all other news brands in the news competitive set. Further, FOX says that for the 86th consecutive month, it continued as the most engaged news brand on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), driving 49 million total social interactions. FOX News was also the top performer in Facebook and Instagram interactions among news competitors, with more than 19 million Facebook interactions and over 27 million on Instagram, according to Socialbakers. FOX News also finished the month as number one among news competitors with YouTube video views, with over 319.8 million, up 37% year over year, delivering the network’s second highest month in history in YouTube video views…..Newsmax is reporting “tremendous growth” in its social media audience, viewership, and engagement for the month of October. Newsmax says it finished third on Twitter in overall monthly interactions (2.14M), behind only CNN (2.39M) and NY Times (2.34M). For 2021 so far, Newsmax is fifth in total Twitter interactions (17.6M), behind CNN (30.8M), NY Times (28.58M), MSNBC (20.53M) and ABC News (17.76M). Newsmax says it finished third in monthly Facebook impressions (10.58M), behind only FOX News (20.09M) and Breitbart (17.56M). For 2021 so far, Newsmax is third in total Facebook impressions (153.84M), behind only FOX News (331.8M) and Breitbart (194.16M). Newsmax says it set a new all-time monthly high in Instagram monthly interactions in October with 9.33 million. It finished third on Instagram in total Interactions (9.33M), behind only FOX News (27.2M) and CNN (18.9M)…..Public media organizations GBH and PRX announce the appointment of Dan Lothian as executive producer of “The World,” public radio’s daily global news program. Lothian assumes the role of executive editor after serving as interim editor since March 2021. GBH president and CEO Jon Abbott comments, “Dan brings a wealth of experience and leadership to ‘The World.’ Over the past eight months, he has demonstrated his exceptional journalistic skills and deep commitment to the mission of GBH and public media. We’re excited to support the continued development of ‘The World’ with Dan’s vision and dedication.”…..FEMA and Bonneville Seattle are hosting the unveiling of an all-hazards upgrade to the “Primary Entry Point” facility at the KIRO-AM PEP Transmitter site on Friday (11/19). The modernization to the emergency studio increases Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM 710 resiliency to continue broadcasting under all conditions, including natural disasters and acts of terrorism. This facility is one of 77 across the country that serve as a National Public Warning System Primary Entry Point (PEP) station, participating with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during and after incidents and disasters. KIRO-AM is the 14th station in the country to work with FEMA to complete the all-hazards upgrade, which includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events.

Funeral Services Set for Al Herskovitz on Thursday, November 18. The funeral for industry veteran Al Herskovitz who passed away last week (11/11) at the age of 90 will take place on Thursday, November 18 at 11:00 am at Skyway Memorial Gardens, 5200 US Hwy 19 N, Palmetto, FL 34221.  For more details about Al Herskovitz’s passing, please see the story below originally posted 11/12.

January 6 Investigation, Inflation/Supply Chain, COVID-19, Biden-Xi Summit, Infrastructure Bill, Russia’s Military Intentions, the Poland-Belarus migrant conflict, and Rittenhouse Case Goes to Jury Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/15). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Steve Bannon is formally charged with contempt of Congress; soaring retail, food, and fuel prices and the broken supply chain; the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in parts of the U.S. and the court battle over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate; Monday’s virtual meeting between Biden and China’s Xi Jinping; Biden’s trillion dollar Infrastructure bill and its implementation to be handled by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; concerns over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the migrant crisis at the Poland-Belarus border; and the jury gets the Kyle Rittenhouse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 1, 2021

| October 1, 2021

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 magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Spread Dem Wings,” looks back at this past week of 9/27 – 10/1. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Bill Brady, talk show host/station owner, KFNX, Phoenix; Thom Hartmann, talk show host, WYD Media; and Curtis Sliwa, talk show host (on leave) WABC, New York/GOP NYC mayoral nominee. The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; 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 Network; the iHeart Podcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Quick: Just What is Radio? Consultant Jon Quick answers that question in this piece published today in TALKERS magazine. He says, “I remember in Sunday school the minister asked us: ‘What is a church?’ All of us agreed that a church is a building with a bell and a steeple. Pastor Thorson said, ‘No, that is just a shell. A church is really a congregation of people, the spirit and all of the goodness we are taught to believe in.’ I find this analogous to radio.” Read his story here.

14th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Wraps Up in Washington. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event, produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform, took place on Wednesday and Thursday (9/29-30) based at the Phoenix Park Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The actual radio row was produced under a tent on the rooftop of the adjacent office building to provide outdoor COVID-19 protection. More than 75 talk hosts attended the event and discussed issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts. Pictured here at the event is talk media personality Heidi Harris (left) with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (right).

Todd Schnitt Celebrates 20 Years of ‘The Schnitt Show.’ Twenty years ago today (10/1), “The Schnitt Show” entered syndication from radio pro Todd Schnitt’s home market of Tampa. Compass Media Networks says that as the syndicated show celebrates its 20th anniversary, Schnitt is back at home in Tampa on Beasley Media Group’s WHFS-AM “Money Talk 1010 AM” from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and is currently heard in more than 50 markets nationwide. Schnitt is also heard in Tampa as alter ego morning jock personality MJ, host of “MJ in the Morning” on Beasley’s classic hits WRBQ-FM. Schnitt comments, “It’s been a very eventful 20-year ride and never a dull moment. I am proud of my team and feel we’re doing our most compelling programs ever. I am grateful for my special relationship with the Compass team.” Compass Media Networks CEO/founder Peter Kosann adds, “Climbing the mountain is hard. Staying on top is truly an awesome accomplishment. Kudos to Todd and his team. We look forward to a great future together. Congratulations Todd.”

Alex Jones Found Liable in Sandy Hook Suits in Default Judgement. As reported by the Huffington Post, talk media personality and InfoWars founder Alex Jones has been found liable in a rare default judgement after two parents of children who died in the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012 – Leonard Pozner and Veronique De La Rosa – sued Jones and InfoWars for defamation. In the piece, Sebastian Murdock writes, “In the years since, the parents have dealt with continued harassment from those who followed Jones’ lead and claimed the shooting was faked. They’re not the only ones. In total, nine families who lost loved ones in the Sandy Hook shooting have leveled lawsuits against Jones and Infowars for the damage he and his outlet caused. Since then, Jones has lost multiple legal battles in his many lawsuits and was ordered to pay nearly $150,000 in legal fees in 2020 for failing to provide discovery documents for the plaintiffs.” The default judgement rulings came after Jones repeatedly refused to hand over documents during the discovery phase of the trial. In the next phase of the case, a jury will decide how much Jones will have to pay the plaintiffs.

Lisa DiMartini Named VP of Sales for iHeartMedia Allentown. Radio sales pro Lisa DiMartini is promoted to vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Allentown, Pennsylvania station group that includes news/talk WAEB-AM “Newsradio 790” and WSAN-AM “iHeartPodcast AM 1470,” plus three music brands. iHeartMedia area president Brit Goldstein states, “I could not be more thrilled to have Lisa as a partner in maximizing the untapped potential we see in Allentown and the surrounding areas. Lisa is incredibly focused and driven and will thrive in this role.” DiMartini most recently served the iHeartMedia Allentown cluster as a senior account executive. She says, “I am excited for this new opportunity to lead the Allentown team and focus on growing revenue, increasing market share, and increasing team collaboration. Thank you, iHeartMedia, for this amazing opportunity.”

Bonneville Assumes Operation of KZNS-AM/FM, Salt Lake City; Several Staffers Let Go. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Bonneville International, in a deal with Smith Entertainment Group, is taking over operations of sports talk outlet KZNS-AM/FM “The Zone.” The Qualtrics co-founder Ryan Smith bought the Utah Jazz from Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment in 2020 and although KZNS-AM/FM was owned by Miller as well, the station was sold to Smith in a separate deal. It remains the radio flagship for the NBA club’s games. Bonneville has made some changes to the station and that includes the ouster of station personality and Salt Lake Tribune sports columnist Gordon Monson as well as other radio producers. In a statement, Bonneville president Darrell Brown said, “Bonneville is proud to partner with the Utah Jazz, and we are grateful for the trust the Jazz have placed in us with their radio assets. Our two companies are uniquely aligned, sharing deep roots in Utah and a focus on serving local audiences with a commitment to high quality content and operations.”

PodcastOne Announces Winner of ‘Self Made Podcast Edition’ Contest. The winner of this year’s first-ever “Self Made Podcast Edition” audio competition from PodcastOne is “Knock Knock,” created and hosted by Jason B. Jones. The competition was hosted on PodcastOne’s independent podcasting platform LaunchpadOne. In addition to being crowned the inaugural winner, Jones is awarded a PodcastOne podcasting contract and a total prize package worth over $100,000 including promotion across PodcastOne’s network. “Knock Knock” featuries real stories of families and communities that have lived through the horror of an unsolved murder. Season 1 tells the story of host Jones’ own step-grandmother, Betty Jones, who was murdered alongside her friend Kathryn Crigler on Labor Day in 1990 after answering a knock on the door at Crigler’s Starkville, Mississippi home. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “We had an overwhelming response to the competition and the content for the submissions ranged from true crime and sports to pop culture and gossip. The quality and excitement around the ‘Self Made Podcast Edition’ competition exemplifies that independent podcasting is thriving. We are thrilled to be able to offer up an opportunity to become part of the PodcastOne network and plan to continue enabling up and coming podcasters to succeed through our LaunchpadOne platform. A very special thank you to our judges who took the time to listen to each podcast and tell us what they think. We can’t wait for ‘Self Made Podcast 2nd Edition.’”

Tavis Smiley’s KBLA-AM, Los Angeles Announces New Weekend Programming. Los Angeles talk radio outlet KBLA-AM – launched this summer by media personality and entrepreneur Tavis Smiley – adds some new shows to its weekend program schedule. “Café Mocha,” hosted by Los Angeles hip hop icon YoYo, comedienne and talk show host Loni Love, and voice actress Angelique Perrin airs Saturdays from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm. “Areva Martin Out Loud,” hosted by civil rights attorney Areva Martin airs from 10:00 am to 11:00 am and follows “This Is Not a Drill,” hosted by BLM/LA co-founder Dr. Melina Abdullah.

COVID-19 Top News/Talk Story for Week of September 27 – October 1. COVID-19 infection rates, vaccines, booster shots, masks, mandates & politics combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the Joe Biden budget and infrastructure bill debate, followed by the debt ceiling-government shutdown battle in congress tied with the larger issue of the U.S. economy 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.

 

 

Pensacola News/Talk Outlet NewsRadio 92.3/ AM1620 WNRP Seeks Program Director. Pensacola, Florida news/talk outlet WNRP “NewsRadio 92.3/AM1620” has an immediate opening for a program director. ADX Communications says, “Enjoy life working in a beach paradise on the pristine Gulf Coast of Florida’s NW panhandle. Lead our award-winning, full-service news/talker “NewsRadio 92.3/ AM1620” WNRP in Pensacola, Florida to the next level. We have an immediate opening for a forward-thinking program director. We’ve won seven Murrow Awards, nine Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists awards, and this year we’re nominated for a Marconi. We’re ready to take our experienced talk and news pros to the next level and grow our presence on-air, promotionally and on our social media platforms. News-based talk hosting/producing, creative production and technical trouble shooting are plusses. Must be organized, detail-oriented and with good staff communication skills. Our locally owned, independent owners are committed to live, local news and talk programming, and community-oriented promotions. The ADX Communications group also includes CatCountry98.7, 1330 ESPN Pensacola and Playlist 94.5. 401k/health/dental/vision plans available. Send audio or audio link with resume to aschiller@newsradio1620.com. EOE.