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Monday, September 27, 2021

| September 27, 2021

Monday Memo: Are We Flunking the Rorschach Test? The age-old psychoanalysis tool asks what we see when we look at an ink blot. Some see a butterfly, others see Satan. “We see what we want to see,” and on talk radio, consultant Holland Cooke observes that “we hear what we want to hear; what Michael Harrison calls ‘the daily dance of affirmation.’” In this week’s column, Cooke warns against telegraphing repetition, and he outlines sales tactics for political talk radio, and urges that we “make room for the possibility that people are willing to be happy, especially after all we’ve been through lately.” Read it here.

 

Pending Business: Where the Customer is Still King. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says that too often he finds himself in situations where inquiries to radio station sales departments either go unreturned or the reply takes far too long. He says it’s no wonder why radio sales is a single-digit growth business when “we just do the same thing over and over and expect different results.” He offers a three-part solution to radio sales customer service here.

Newsmax Syndicates Daily Rob Carson Show; WCBM, Baltimore First Affiliate Station. Multi-media personality Rob Carson’s new daily talk radio program is being syndicated nationally by Newsmax and the first affiliate station is WCBM, Baltimore. “The Rob Carson Show” airs from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET.  Carson’s weekend cable news show “Rob Carson’s What in the World?” airs on Newsmax TV. Newsmax says, “Rob cut his teeth writing the biggest political satire for Rush Limbaugh for over 20 years. Through five presidencies, Rob relentlessly dogged the Establishment with song parodies and commercial parodies that infused politics with comedy and pop culture. He plans on bringing that iconoclastic perspective to his new syndicated show.” Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy says, “Bringing Rob Carson to talk radio allows us to better reach viewers and listeners with information that matters. We have had tremendous demand from our TV viewers for more Newsmax on radio and Rob is our first response to that demand.” Steve Lapa, of Lapcom Communications, assisted in developing “The Rob Carson Show.”

Talent Shuffle at WCBM, Baltimore. With the arrival of Rob Carson’s show at Charm City news/talk outlet WCBM, the station moves Bruce Elliott to morning drive alongside Sean Casey for the newly titled, “The Morning Drive with Casey & Elliott” and “The Derek Hunter Show” returns to its previous slot airing from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon. Speaking about adding Rob Carson to the lineup, WCBM general manager Marc Beaven says, “In our continuous search to give the listeners of Maryland the very best in conservative radio, we are proud to announce the addition of Rob Carson to our lineup. Rob brings major market talk radio skills to the Baltimore market and his presence solidifies WCBM as the best place to receive conservative programming. Conservative talk needs real news with some entertainment. That’s what Rob did with Rush and what he’ll do for us.”

Beasley Flips WCTC-AM, New Brunswick to Sports Talk. Noting that all current, full-tine employees will remain with the station, Beasley Media Group announces that heritage New Jersey radio station WCTC-AM/W228DY, New Brunswick flips from news/talk to sports as “FOX Sports New Jersey.” The station is airing the complete FOX Sports Radio national lineup. It will continue to air Rutgers football and basketball games plus Somerset Patriots baseball games. Beasley Media Group SVP and regional market manager Dan Finn says, “1450 WCTC is a heritage radio station serving Central New Jersey for 75 years. In 1947, WCTC began airing Rutgers Football and this has continued to this day. In addition, 21 years ago, we started airing the Somerset Patriots baseball franchise which is now a AA New York Yankees affiliate. It really made sense to dedicate the rest of our programming to sports and FOX Sports Radio is the best sports programming out there. In addition, 1450 WCTC just began simulcasting on 93.5 FM expanding our coverage area. It’s a very exciting time for WCTC, especially during our 75th anniversary.”

WCCO, Minneapolis Brings the ‘Sports Huddle’ Show Back for Sunday Mornings. Twin Cities news/talk WCCO-AM is resurrecting the “Sports Huddle” show to air Sundays from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. The Audacy station says that the show that ran for over 40 years originally hosted by Sid Hartman with Dave Mona primarily as a co-host, will return on October 10 with new hosts Mike Max and Pete Najarian. WCCO brand manager Brad Lane says, “We’ve been discussing for a while a show that ‘reboots’ the heritage and equity of the old ‘Sports Huddle’ while exhibiting a new energy and more expansive template for Pete and Mike to talk about all the various topics they’re passionate about. We’re confident this new edition will help take this legacy brand to the next level, while offering a unique and fresh outlook on the most relevant topics each week.” Mike Max is a longtime sports voice on WCCO, hosting his weeknight show “Sports to the Max,” since 1998, as well as making daily appearances on “The WCCO Morning News.” The Gaylord, Minnesota native started his career as an intern at WCCO-TV, becoming a sports producer and reporter for WCCO-TV. Pete Najarian is a former Minnesota Gopher football star and NFL player with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings. Following football, he moved into the financial world, becoming co-founder of MarketRebellion.com, a financial media and education company, as well as best-selling author of both How We Trade Options and Follow the Smart Money. Najarian is also one of the “Fast Money Five” on CNBC’s “Fast Money and Halftime Report.”

TALKERS News Notes. Boston all-news WBZ-AM announces a multi-year sponsorship agreement with Needham Bank to be the exclusive sponsor of the WBZ NewsRadio Traffic Copter. The iHeartMedia Boston market president Alan Chartrand says, “We at iHeartMedia Boston are excited to start a new partnership with Needham Bank as the exclusive sponsor of the WBZ NewsRadio Traffic Copter. Listeners consistently utilize this heritage brand as evidenced by WBZ’s continued success. People throughout New England lean into objective news sources to remain informed, and none has been more dependable over the past 100 years than WBZ NewsRadio. We greatly appreciate the support of our partners like Needham Bank.”…..iHeartMedia Pittsburgh announces a new broadcast agreement with Duquesne University to air football and men’s basketball games, effective immediately. Games will be broadcast on WBGG-AM, WPGB-HD, and the iHeartRadio app. iHeartMedia Pittsburgh president Tim McAleer comments, “We are thrilled and excited to begin this new partnership with Duquesne University. Duquesne is one of Pittsburgh’s most respected and prestigious schools and we are proud to provide these games for Dukes fans everywhere.”…..WBUR’s “Endless Thread” podcast is launching a new series focusing on the origin, manipulation and cultural impact of memes — pop culture’s amusing way of communicating both far-out and common ideas. Debuting Friday, October 1, Endless Thread’s meme series will cover everything from “Kilroy Was Here” and “Rick Rolling” to the impact of memes using images taken out of context. The podcast is hosted by WBUR executive producer Ben Brock Johnson and senior producer Amory Sivertson and returns for season five with a new “always on” format – producing an “endless thread” of continuous episodes, beginning with a deeply reported new series on the connection and blurred lines between online communities and real life. Johnson says, “The inspiration for our meme series was the realization that behind every piece of pop culture, there is a story. In the case of images with different captions used to express a variety of scenarios, we explore how memes have changed people’s lives and influence everything from politics to the clever ways we interact online.”…..The nationally syndicated “Motley Fool Money” show hosted by Chris Hill joins “South Florida’s Money Talk Radio Network” and is now airing on stations in Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale, and Pompano Beach.

COVID-19, Biden Spending Plans, Border Crisis/Haitian Migrants, Trump Georgia Rally, Germany Elections, Cargo Ship Logjam/Economy, Amtrak Train Derailment, and Gabby Petito Case Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., booster policy, and mask & vaccine mandates; the battle on Capitol Hill over President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion spending plan; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the status of Haitian migrants; former President Donald Trump’s appearance at a rally in Georgia and his ongoing claim of election fraud; Germany’s elections result in the Social Democrats taking the most seats; the huge logjam of ships in Los Angeles and Long Beach waiting to unload and the state of the U.S. economy; Sunday’s deadly Amtrak derailment in Joplin, Montana; and the Gabby Petito case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

| July 13, 2021

Larry Elder to Run in California Gubernatorial Recall Election. Nationally syndicated talk radio personality, author, newspaper columnist and documentary filmmaker Larry Elder announces he is stepping down from his Salem Radio Network program to run against Democrat Gavin Newsom in the California gubernatorial recall election that will take place on September 14. Elder says, “I’m running for governor because the decline of California isn’t the fault of its people. Our government is what’s ruining the Golden State. Our schools are closed to both students and their parents. Our streets aren’t safe from rising violent crime or the disaster of rising homelessness. And the scandals of Sacramento aren’t going to stop on their own. It’s time to tell the truth. We’ve got a state to save.” In a news story from Salem Radio News, Elder adds that “he decided to enter his first campaign after witnessing California’s out-of-control homeless crisis, spiking crime rates, looming water and power shortages, and whipsaw coronavirus lockdowns. ‘I have common sense. I have good judgment. I’m born and raised here. I think understand the state. I know it’s a long shot’ he added, referring to Newsom’s ability to raise unlimited funds. But he said he was driven by a ‘fire in the belly to see if I can do something… to move the needle in the right direction.’” Salem Radio Network says that WORL, Orlando “AM 950 The Answer” talk host Carl Jackson will host Elder’s 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET show during the campaign. In addition to hosting his own show on WORL, Jackson also serves as a regular substitute host for SRN’s Dennis Prager. Salem SVP spoken word formats Phil Boyce says, “Carl has a warm and engaging personality on the air, and because he had to fight his way out of hard circumstances, he is able to convince others of his correct lifestyle decisions.”

New Talk Station to Launch in St. Louis. According to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, former Audacy programmer Jeff Allen and longtime St. Louis radio sales pro Joe Rusch have partnered to launch a new conservative talk station in the market using the handle “NewsTallkSTL” and airing on Gateway Creative Broadcasting’s KLJY-HD3/K270BW at 99.1 FM and 101.9 FM, respectively. The station will debut on Monday (7/19) and feature local and network talent. Allen programmed KFTK-FM for years but was let go as PD after Audacy acquired the station in 2018. Former KFTK host Tim Jones will host afternoon drive. Vic Porcelli is the 9:00 am to 11:00 am personality. Former “Dave Glover Show” co-host Tony Columbo will host the 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm hour and Katie Fitzpatrick will co-host with Porceli and Columbo. Chris Arps will co-host Jones’ PM drive program. Morning drive will be handled by Mike Ferguson, who also hosts the afternoon drive show on KSSZ-FM, Columbia, Missouri. Also, the station will air Westwood One’s “Dan Bongino Show” in middays. Jeff Allen tells the paper, “When people tune in they’ll hear voices that they know and trust talking about the issues that impact their city.”

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “Attracting Younger Demos and Broadening the Base.” The ninth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the panel discussion, “Attracting Younger Demos and Broadening the Base.” Moderated by John T. Mullen, operations director, WRHU, Hofstra University and sponsored by Broadcasters General Store, the panel featured (in alphabetical order): Dr. Asa Andrew, talk show host, Asa Rx; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, morning co-host, “Rock 102” WAQY-FM, Springfield, MA; Derek Hunter, talk show host, WCBM, Baltimore; Sid Rosenberg, talk show host, WABC, New York; Brett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; and Martha Zoller, talk show host, WDUN, Gainesville GA. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Kevin LeGrett Named President of iHeartMedia Sports. Radio executive Kevin LeGrett is taking on the role of president of iHeartMedia Sports. LeGrett will leave his president of iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles Region role – to be filled by Alexis Ginas, see story below – but will continue as division president for the iHeartMedia Markets Group. In this new role, LeGrett will “work closely with all groups within the company to coordinate its sports assets across all iHeart audio platforms to maximize the impact for its listeners, partners and clients.” The portfolio includes the iHeartSports Network, the FOX Sports Network, and 80 dedicated sports stations nationwide. Additionally, it features the iHeartPodcast Network that contains more than 40 national and 100 local sports podcasts. iHeartMedia Multi-Platform Group CEO Greg Ashlock comments, “We have assembled a one-of-a-kind, cross-platform sports portfolio that is best-in-class. We have scale. We have targetability. We have first party data. We have the best on-air talent in the business, and we have the right leader. Kevin’s experience in broadcast, digital, experiential, podcast and sports in both national and local roles have prepared him to excel in this position and build on the momentum and unique scale and assets of iHeart.”

Alexis Ginas Assumes President of iHeartMedia Los Angeles Post. Taking over the president role for iHeartMedia’s Los Angeles Region is Alexis Ginas. She assumes the role Kevin LeGrett is leaving and will report to him. Ginas joins iHeartMedia from Madison Valley, the media and technology consulting practice that she founded. Her background also includes serving as SVP of cross platform solutions at FOX Sports, VP and head of global brand solutions at The Match Group, and SVP of global brand partnerships at SFX Entertainment. iHeartMedia Markets Group president Hartley Adkins says, “Alexis is a fantastic new leader for our Los Angeles team and our entire company. The breadth of experience she brings from different sectors will be ideal as iHeartMedia, the multiple platform audio leader, continues to evolve to meet the needs of our listeners, clients and the LA community.” Ginas comments, “I am thrilled to join iHeartMedia’s respected Los Angeles team. iHeartMedia Los Angeles is home to some of the most influential brands, talent and events in music, news and entertainment, but what really drives its success are the talented people who work there. I am proud to now be one of them.”

Kevin Graham Appointed PD at Sports Talk KNBR, San Francisco. Programming pro Kevin Graham joins Cumulus Media as program director for KNBR, San Francisco “104.5FM / 680AM The Sports Leader.” Graham was most recently serving the company as program director news/talk outlets WBAP-AM and KLIF-AM in Dallas. Graham previously served as brand manager for Audacy’s WEEI-FM, Boston and was PD and afternoon sports talk host at Cumulus’ KFNZ-AM, Salt Lake City. Cumulus San Francisco VP and market manager Larry Blumhagen says, “Kevin brings extensive experience and a history of successes in spoken word formats, from news to sports. I’m confident that his proven track record in programming along with his collaborative approach will be a winning combination for the San Francisco market.”

David Adams Rises to Operations Manager for NRG Media Omaha. Programmer David Adams is promoted to operations manager for NRG Media Omaha. Adams has been with NRG Media Omaha since November 2020, serving as program pirector for KQKQ-FM, KOPW-FM and KOOO-FM. In his new role, Adams will oversee the seven-station cluster while continuing the day-to-day programming of the FM stations as well as sports talk duo KOZN-AM and KZOT-AM. NRG Omaha general manager Mark Shecterle comments, “Since joining NRG Media in November of 2020, David has proven to be a strong leader who has been able to come in and gain the respect and trust of everyone in the building very quickly. He’s does a great job with our FMs, and I know he will do the same with all our AMs.”

Kim Komando to Be Named to ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business Alumni of Fame. Digital technology expert and media pro Kim Komando is being inducted into Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business Alumni of Fame for 2021. This prestigious honor is awarded to select business school alumni who have demonstrated exceptional achievement and leadership in their profession along with a deep commitment for giving back to their communities. Established in 1977, Komando joins a long line of accomplished Hall of Fame inductees, which includes Chris Cookson, former president of Sony Pictures and Craig Weatherup, former CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America. Komando graduated from ASU with a B.S. in Computer Information Systems in 1985. She says, “So much of what I have used to build and grow my business I learned at ASU. My father was the one who told me to go to ASU. I wish he were still alive to see me accept this prestigious honor.” The Hall of Fame induction event will take place on the ASU Tempe campus on October 28, 2021.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Names Two to Board of Directors. The Broadcasters Foundation of America elects Patrick Butler, president and CEO of America’s Public Television Stations (APTS), and Hilton Howell, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Gray Television and Atlantic American Corporation, to its board of directors. The new directors were voted in during the recent Foundation’s Board of Directors’ meeting, which was held virtually. BFoA chairman Scott Herman says, “We are delighted to welcome Patrick and Hilton to our Board. They each bring a wealth of broadcast experience to our board, and their perspective will be valuable as we continue to advance our mission of helping broadcasters in acute need.”

COVID-19 Vaccinations and Delta Variant, Texas Voting Bill/Harris Rural American Comments, Cuban Protests, Haiti Assassination Aftermath, U.S.-China Tensions, Denver Hotel Arrests, Newsom Recall, and Western Drought/Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/12). Concerns about the falling rate of vaccinations in the U.S., outbreaks in five U.S. states, and the Delta variant; Democrats flee Texas to avoid a vote on what they term a “voter suppression bill,” and Vice President Kamala Harris’ comments on rural Americans’ access to photocopy machines; the crackdown on protests in Cuba and the Biden administration’s response; the investigation into the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moise; the tensions between the U.S. and China over the latter’s military control of the South China Sea; the arrest of four people in Denver that authorities believe may have been planning a gun attack at the MLB All-Star Game; the recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom; and the drought and wildfires affecting the U.S. West were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, April 2, 2021

| April 2, 2021

The Michael Harrison Wrap Reaches 100 Installment Milestone.  This weekend’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” marks the program’s 100th episode.  It is heard weekends on stations and regional networks coast to coast in the US and across the UK and is available on a market exclusive basis to stations in syndication by Talk Media Network (TMN).  For affiliate information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

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, “Trillions and Trillions,” looks back at this past week of March 29 – April 2. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkDerek Hunter, talk show host, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupRichard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  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; 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; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeartPodcast 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.

Supreme Court Unanimously Overturns 3rd Circuit Court’s Vacating of FCC’s Ownership Regulations. As most media watchers are aware, in 2017 – after what many radio operators say was a long time coming – the FCC concluded that three of its ownership rules no longer served the public interest and it repealed the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule and the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule and it modified the Local Television Ownership Rule. Shortly thereafter, a collection of public interest and advocacy groups known as the Prometheus Radio Project appealed the FCC’s ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals which vacated the FCC’s reconsideration order holding that the record did not support the agency’s conclusion that the rule changes would have minimal effect on minority and female ownership. The FCC petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case and yesterday (4/1), it ruled that the FCC’s rule change was not “arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).” The unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court said, in part, “In challenging the FCC’s order, Prometheus argues that the Commission’s assessment of the likely impact of the rule changes on minority and female ownership rested on flawed data. But the FCC acknowledged the gaps in the data sets it relied on, and noted that, despite its repeated requests for additional data, it had received no countervailing evidence suggesting that changing the three ownership rules was likely to harm minority and female ownership. Prometheus also asserts that the FCC ignored two studies submitted by a commenter that purported to show that past relaxations of the ownership rules had led to decreases in minority and female ownership levels. But the record demonstrates that the FCC considered those studies and simply interpreted them differently. In assessing the effects of the rule changes on minority and female ownership, the FCC did not have perfect empirical or statistical data. But that is not unusual in day-to-day agency decision making within the Executive Branch. The APA imposes no general obligation on agencies to conduct or commission their own empirical or statistical studies. And nothing in the Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to conduct such studies before exercising its discretion under Section 202(h). In light of the sparse record on minority and female ownership and the FCC’s findings with respect to competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity, the Court cannot say that the agency’s decision to repeal or modify the ownership rules fell outside the zone of reasonableness for purposes of the APA.”

The NAB Comments on the Supreme Court’s Ruling. The National Association of Broadcasters issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s overturning the 3rd Circuit Court’s vacating the FCC’s ownership rule changes. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “NAB commends today’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that the FCC’s recent and long-overdue modernization of its broadcast ownership regulations was lawful and appropriate. It is critical that the Commission continue to examine its media ownership rules to ensure that America’s broadcasters are able to compete and meet the needs of local communities across the nation in today’s media landscape. We look forward to working with the Commission on this effort given the essential role radio and television broadcasters play for all Americans.”

Meadowlark Media Secures $12.6 Million in Funding. According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter, Meadowlark Media – the company formed by former ESPN president John Skipper and former ESPN radio and cable personality Dan Le Batard – has raised $12.6 million in a “Series A funding round.” Investors include DAZN, DraftKings, Snap Inc. chairman Michael Lynton, EMJ Ventures, Verance Capital, Wasserman, and Carmen Busquets. The THR story says the money will be used for “key hires” and for the “first slate of projects.” Skipper says, “With the intense competition to retain audiences at established media and to attract customers to new streaming services, we and our investors see an exciting opportunity for Meadowlark to work with the industry’s best storytellers to add the highest quality sports-focused original programming to their existing entertainment offerings.”

Buffalo Association of Black Journalists Meets with Cumulus Buffalo in Aftermath of Rob Lederman Firing. According to a report by WKBW-TV, Buffalo, the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists has met with local management of Cumulus Media’s WGRF-FM “97 Rock” in the aftermath of the firing of morning host Rob Lederman and the suspension of morning show cast members Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein. Cumulus took the punitive actions after the three engaged in a bit about color of famous black women’s skin. BABJ issued a statement noting that Cumulus has implemented steps to “accelerate diversity training in Buffalo” and has scheduled meetings with members of Buffalo’s Black community. The statement also says BABJ is pleased with the “progress being made at ‘97 Rock’ and Cumulus Media” and is advocating for increased diversity at the cluster.

Westwood One Presents Coverage of Men’s and Women’s NCAA Final Four and Championships. This weekend’s NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four games as well as both championship games are being presented by NCAA exclusive national audio partner Westwood One. The broadcast of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Final Four begins on Saturday with The Final Four Show at 3:30 pm ET leading up to the first game between the Houston Cougars and Baylor Bears, followed by coverage of the semifinal between the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs and the UCLA Bruins. The NCAA Men’s Championship Game will tip off on Monday with the pre-game at 7:00 pm ET and the game following at 8:00 pm. Westwood One will also present coverage in Spanish, called by Rafael Hernández Brito, former Puerto Rican national team coach Carlos Morales, and Clemson Smith Muñiz. Westwood One’s presentation of the NCAA Women’s Final Four this afternoon at 5:45 pm ET, as South Carolina takes on Stanford, followed by Arizona versus Connecticut. Coverage of the Women’s National Championship Game will be on Sunday at 5:30 pm ET. The Westwood One broadcast crew for the Women’s Final Four will include Ryan Radtke on play-by-play and Debbie Antonelli as lead color analyst, her 18th time in that role and 25th year overall. Krista Blunk will serve as pregame, halftime, and postgame host.

TALKERS News Notes. The Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated program “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at KROS Broadcasting’s KROS-AM, Clinton, Iowa…..The podcast network Ramble announces the launch of “Crazy Stupid Fangirls,” a new weekly podcast hosted by YouTube star Elle Mills and creator Michelle Platti. Ramble – a studio division of Audacy’s Cadence13 – says the podcast features the longtime friends and fellow fangirls diving into pop culture spanning decades from all angles, debating and dissecting their favorite movies, music, streaming shows, television, artists, creators, iconic moments and more. In addition to sharing their own fangirl picks and stories on the show, Elle and Michelle will be joined by a wide range of guests who will share their favorites.

COVID-19, Vaccines, Variants and Origins Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The combination of COVID-19 stats, vaccines, concerns about variants, and questions about the origin of the coronavirus made up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 29 – April 2. At #2 this week was the Derek Chauvin trial tied with race relations, and police reform. Following at #3 was the Joe Biden infrastructure stimulus initiative and the related U.S. economy. 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.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

| March 10, 2020

More on Talk Radio Covering the Coronavirus Challenge. On Monday (3/9) TALKERS magazine reported on how radio stations and media companies are addressing the coronavirus epidemic.  As TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison wrote, “Fears and near panic have infiltrated the beleaguered heath care systems of our communities, the stock market, and a number of inter-connected industries and public events.  Add to that discourse about the problem in our politically oriented media have included the ‘weaponization’ of issues per the troubling practice of each side tending to seek victory at the expense of truth.  Most talk media broadcasters tell TALKERS that this crisis provides radio both the mission and calling to provide a significant degree of comfort and helpful information to the public – thus showcasing its pertinence as a vital medium in the 21st century.”  On Thursday of this week (3/12), Townsquare Media’s WKXW, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” will present a special Town Hall broadcast to confront the worldwide novel coronavirus crisis and how it affects New Jersey residents.  “New Jersey 101.5” special projects director and morning news anchor Eric Scott says, “As a corridor state and international arrival hub, the challenges of dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak are unique in New Jersey.  Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation being disseminated to the public. Our Town Hall broadcast will help New Jersey residents separate fact from fiction and allow them to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”  The program’s on-air expert panel will feature Dr. Lincoln Miller, infectious disease specialist with RWJBarnabas Health; Ken Kamen, president of Princeton-based Mercadien Asset Management; and a representative from the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.  Scott and guests will answer live, call-in questions from listeners throughout the hour.  At the national level, ABC Audio today begins producing the daily program, “COVID-19: What You Need to Know,” as a podcast.  It’s being hosted by anchor and correspondent Aaron Katersky and features the latest headlines and updates on the coronavirus outbreak as well as chief medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton answering questions from social media.  Back at the local level, KSCO, Santa Cruz, California general manager Michael Olson says the epidemic is affecting listeners’ lives.  “The situation in our broadcast area (South San Francisco and Monterey Bay areas) is rapidly evolving.  Santa Clara County is now a community spread hotspot, Stanford University has closed its classrooms, and Santa Cruz County now has three confirmed cases.  One of the area’s big fears is the possible consequence of when and if the virus hits the homeless community, which is extensive and vulnerable.”  Olson says from a station operations standpoint, they have taken the following steps to protect the staff so KSCO can continue to serve the public.  “To protect ourselves, we have established a to-the-extent-possible ‘no touch’ policy throughout the station and set up cleaning stations at each broadcast station so hosts can clean their surfaces before use.  We are also reducing the number of people who actually come into the studios – 89 voices at last count – and are employing a remote studio adjacent to the main broadcast facility.  To continue broadcasting should the virus take hold and we are quarantined, we have agreed to establish an ad-hoc KSCO broadcast staff of those able to stay at the station and continue broadcasting.”

Lee Abrams Re-Launches Consultancy. Consultant and media executive Lee Abrams announces he’s relaunching his consulting business under the name MediaVisions.  Abrams has been consulting and working as an executive in the media industry for more than 40 years.  During that time, he’s worked with hundreds of radio stations, major networks, and leading corporate clients.  Abrams says the focus of the firm will be: a new radio format; complete reimagination of video content, news and information; creative driven 40+ music innovation for entertainment and media leaders; innovative podcasting; and working with companies looking for creative direction and new ways to prosper.  MediaVisions’ goal is to generate revenue for what’s on the horizon for media and entertainment entities.  Abrams says, “Not data driven, very creative driven.  I don’t do research, I interpret it…news and information is what is steering our 21st century world – the equivalent of what rock ‘n’ roll was 40 years ago.  MediaVisions will merge this passion for information, knowledge, and insight with the revolution in technology.  We are positioned to help companies navigate and prosper in traditional media, today’s digital landscape, and evolving disruptive technologies.”

Bill O’Reilly Visits Affiliate WCBM, Baltimore. Pictured above is Bill O’Reilly, host of the Key Networks-syndicated program “The O’Reilly Update” (left) along with some of the staff of affiliate station WCBM, Baltimore as they enjoy a private dinner at the Turf Valley Resort and Conference Center in Ellicott City, Maryland.  Seated with O’Reilly are (from l-r):  WCBM morning co-host Bruce Elliott, his wife Vivian Elliott, WCBM midday host Derek Hunter, Robyn Casey, and her husband WCBM morning co-host (and station PD) Sean Casey.

Coronavirus Epidemic/Trump Chief of Staff Self-Quarantines, Financial Markets Sell-Off, Trump Payroll Tax Cut Proposal, Oil Price War, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/9). The status of the coronavirus epidemic and incoming chief of staff Mark Meadows self-quarantines; Monday’s stock market sell-off brings Dow down 7%; President Trump’s proposal of a payroll tax cut to help U.S. businesses; Saudi Arabia launches an oil price war putting oil stocks at the top of the sell-off; and the Democratic primary battle between Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. There are more primary elections taking place across the country today (3/10) and FOX News Radio is providing hourly updates in addition to a two hour “Democracy 2020” special tonight from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET anchored by FNR national correspondent Jared Halpern.  Joining him will be political analyst Josh Kraushaar and FNR correspondents around the country.  FOX News Podcasts is offering a special edition of the daily morning podcast, “The FOX News Rundown,” as well as new episodes of Brett Baier’s “The Campaign” and “I’ll Tell You What,” hosted by Dana Perino and FNC politics editor Chris Stirewalt…..Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that DuPage Radio’s WCKG-AM is dropping its FOX Sports Radio affiliation and will re-brand the station as “Sportsbook Radio,” although there’s no word yet on what programming will fill the airwaves.  WCKG station manager Matt Dubiel says, “We’re planning to develop long-form and short-form ‘Sportsbook Radio’ content on WCKG, with local casino and media partners to be announced.  That work is underway, but rather than have sports personalities cover gambling, we’d prefer to have gambling experts on air. Ultimately, we will see our studio inside a Chicago-area sportsbook to get as close to the action as possible.”  Also from Robert Feder, radio news pro John Dempsey is moving to afternoons on WLS-AM for the Big John Howell show.  As a result, anchor Lauren Cohn is moving to the midday slot…..The NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers are sticking with iHeartMedia for their radio play-by-play this season but games will air on alternative KYSR “ALT 98.7” instead of news/talk KFI, where they aired last season.  Some games will be simulcast on the company’s sports talk KLAC “AM 570 LA Sports.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new adult contemporary outlet debuts in the Shreveport, Louisiana market as Cumulus Media flips KRMD-AM and translator K264AS to “Lite Rock 100.7.”  Cumulus Shreveport VP and market manager Aaron Criswell says, “We’re excited to launch a fresh at-work listening station in the Shreveport metro.  Since he has arrived, operations manager Jay Michaels has done a great job increasing audience levels with our top 40 station KQHN-FM.  With this format flip from sports to the lite rock format, I am anticipating similar results.”…..Yesterday (3/9), TALKERS reported that Brian Zepp is returning to Cumulus Media’s rock KQRS, Minneapolis as a member of the “KQ Morning Show” with Tom Barnard.  Now, we learn that Zepp is filling the role that co-host Michele Tafoya held for the past four years.  Tafoya is exiting the show and tells the Star-Tribune she’s in talks with NBC about more work for the network in addition to her NFL sideline reporting…..On-air pro Kimmie Caruba joins Pacific Media Group to co-host mornings with Keola Lui-Kwan on CHR KDDB, Honolulu “102.7 Da Bomb.”  Caruba was most recently evening personality at Entercom’s country WUSN, Chicago “US99.”…..Programming pro Casey Daniels is named operations manager for Adams Radio’s Tallahassee station group and program director for country WWOF “103.1 The Wolf.”  Daniels was most recently on-air at WSBT-TV, South Bend, Indiana.

Monday, October 28, 2019

| October 28, 2019

WCBM, Baltimore Announces Programming Changes. Charm City news/talk outlet WCBM “Talk Radio 680” announces a number of coming programming changes.  Starting in morning drive, longtime newsman and co-host Frank Luber exits the show but will stay with the station to help with special projects and to continue to serve as a spokesman for some of its major advertisers.  WCBM says that Luber and Nicholas Mangione were “instrumental in establishing WCBM as a major news/talk presence in Baltimore.”  Beginning November 4, late morning talk host Bruce Elliott joins Sean Casey (who continues to serve as the station’s PD) for “The Morning Drive with Casey & Elliott.”  Stepping into the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon talk host role is Derek Hunter, who returns to Baltimore after having served in recent years with the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Tax Reform, and as managing editor at The Daily Caller.  The station also adds “The FOX News Rundown” for the 5:00 am to 6:00 am hour and Key Networks’ “The O’Reilly Update” with Bill O’Reilly to air from 11:45 am to 12:00 noon.

Monday Memo: Pronouncers for Announcers. How-you-say what-you-say makes a difference, and (obvious) former high school English teacher Holland Cooke explains in this week’s column.  Read it here.

ISIS Leader Dead, Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Scandal, 2020 Presidential Race, Rep. Katie Hill Resigns, California Wildfires/Power Blackouts, and Brexit Extension Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi is reported by President Trump; the impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related allegations of illegal actions against Trump, and Joe and Hunter Biden with regard to the Ukraine; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020, U.S. Rep. Katie Hill (D-CA) resigns her seat after being accused of improper relations with a campaign staffer; the wildfires in California and PG&E’s shutting off electricity to almost 1 million customers; and Boris Johnson gets an extension to January 31 for Britain’s exit from the EU were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Newsmax TV Presents Presidential Town Hall. In conjunction with the League of United Latin American CitizensNewsmax TV presented a two-hour Presidential Town Hall with top Democratic candidates last Thursday (10/24). Taking part in the Newsmax Town Hall at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines were candidates Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard, and Julian Castro.  The live Newsmax TV production reached 70 million cable homes.

FOX News Radio Makes ‘Rundown’ Available for Radio Stations. “The FOX News Rundown” launched in 2017 as a podcast hosted by Dave Anthony, Lisa Brady, and Jessica Rosenthal.  Now, FOX News Radio is making the program available as an early morning weekday news hour “perfect for setting the stage for your local morning show.”  FNR says, “‘The Rundown’ takes a deeper dive into the stories that are important to you and your listeners.  Hosted by the anchors of FOX News Radio, the ‘Rundown’ also features voices from FOX News Channel, FOX Business Channel and the world of politics and entertainment.”

Ben & Skin Exit ‘105.3 The Fan’ in Dallas. The midday duo Ben & Skin – Ben Rogers and Jeff “Skin” Wade – have resigned their positions with Entercom’s sports talk KRLD-FM, Dallas for an opportunity elsewhere.  They are being replaced in the station lineup by evening duo Kevin Hageland and Cory Mageors.  It’s not known if this is a permanent move or not.  Regardless, morning drive co-host Shan Shariff tweeted that the duo was not fired and was moving on to another opportunity.

TALKERS News Notes. Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will serve as the keynote speaker at the 2020 Todd Starnes Faith and Freedom Celebration to be held at Truett McConnell University in Cleveland, Georgia on April 18, 2020.  The annual event has raised more than $300,000 in scholarship money for students at the Christian school.  Starnes says, “I can’t say enough great things about Sarah.  Our media company is committed to super-serving the communities that broadcast my programs and bringing nationally known speakers to our event is a part of that effort.”…..WODS, Boston morning drive personality TJ Taormina has launched a podcast on Entercom’s RADIO.COM platform called, “Meet My Wife.”  Taormina tells TALKERS, “It was an opportunity for me to step up to a blank canvas and create something from scratch.  It starts in a music recording studio with a full band and travels from grocery store parking lots, to the middle of Boston Common, to my home living room.  I wanted to take a unique approach to the rapidly growing podcast arena and make it something that could complement my daily live radio show.”…..Entercom’s board of directors have approved a clawback policy for five of its highest-paid executives.  A clawback is a provision in an employment contract that states money paid to an employee may have to be returned.  It’s usually for highly compensated executives and is intended as a sign of goodwill toward investors.  In Entercom’s case, stock ownership guidelines were included with this move and require president and CEO David Field to hold Entercom shares equal to at least six times his base salary.  It requires CFO Rich Schmaeling, COO Weezie Kramer, chief revenue officer Robert Philips, and EVP/general counsel Andrew Sutor to hold shares of at least two times their base salaries…..Boston public radio news/talk WGBH-FM is adding the NPR-distributed program “1A” to its lineup, airing from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.  The program is hosted by Joshua Johnson and focuses on First Amendment issues “related to policy, politics, technology, pop culture, sports, and humor.”  The program’s goal is to “act as a national mirror — taking time to help America look at itself and to ask what it wants to be.”

WHAT IS REAL? Former WWE Champion Mick Foley Is Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most theatrical professional wrestlers of the modern era who blurred the line between reality and fiction as much as anyone who ever played the game, Mick Foley, guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Foley created several of wrestling’s most memorable characters, including Cactus Jack and Mankind, participating in physically damaging stunts that took his body past the limits of safety and protection. Although he played brutish, psychotic characters, Foley went on to become a best-selling author, public speaker, and articulate supporter of a variety of charities and social causes. In a fascinating one-on-one conversation, Harrison and Foley discuss the nature of reality TV and the role it plays in today’s political circus citing Donald Trump’s participation in the WWE prior to his presidency as an early example of the Commander in Chief’s penchant for mixing over-the-top theatrics with the semblance of real life storylines. Don’t miss this! 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 of the TALKERS email newsletter or on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Steve Hoffman is named program director for Beasley Media Group’s hot AC KVGS-FM and assistant program director for sister urban contemporary KOAS, effective October 14.  Hoffman has been consulting for the past few years.  He was previously on air at KSWD, Los Angeles and programmed KCAL, Riverside for 15 years.  Beasley Las Vegas VP and market manager Peter Burton states, “We have been interested in bringing Steve into the fold for quite some time.  I had the pleasure of working with him in Los Angeles for five years.  Hiring Steve allows us to continue to surround ourselves with the best in the industry.”…..At Entercom’s CHR KAMP, Los Angeles, Chris Booker shifts from the afternoon drive show to AM drive where he’ll work with co-host Chelsea Briggs and Krystal Bee.  The new show replaces Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo.  He’d been paired with Brian Moote and Briggs.  Briggs exited the station in August.  Taking over Booker’s afternoon drive show is midday personality Yesi Ortiz.  Moving to middays from weekends is Christen…..iHeartMedia names Adam Rivers program director for its four-station cluster in New Haven.  He’d been serving as APD and music director at CHRs WKCI “KC101” and WKSS “KISS 95-7.”  He’s now also programming news/talk WELI and sports talk WAVZ “ESPN 1300.”   iHeartMedia Hartford Region president Steve Honeycomb says, “Over the past several years, Adam has truly been the backbone here at ‘KC101’ and a staple in Connecticut radio.  Adam’s years of experience and the way he engages with his listeners go far beyond his afternoon drive show and we couldn’t be happier to see him evolve into this new role here in New Haven, Connecticut.”