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Friday, October 22, 2021

| October 22, 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 “What, Me Work?” looks back at this past week of 10/18 – 10/22. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Joyce Kaufman, talk show host, WFTL, Fort Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beaches; Steve Weisman, law professor, Bentley University, Boston/founder, Scamicide.com; Howard Monroe, talk show host/station owner, WVLY, Wheeling; 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; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; 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.

Armstrong & Getty Podcast Hits 100 Million Download Mark. Podcasts from the syndicated news/talk morning duo of Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty have surpassed the 100 million mark, according to “The Armstrong & Getty Show.” They say tracking of Armstrong & Getty podcasts began in 2019, meaning the show reached this milestone in less than three years. The total includes Armstrong & Gettty’s “One More Thing,” “On Demand,” and “Extra Large” podcasts. The duo says they see podcasting as a natural extension of their show. “We love the podcasting era. Now our listeners can come back to the show after dealing with life. They don’t turn off the radio, they just hit pause.” The Armstrong & Getty podcasts average more than 3.4 million downloads each month.

Miller & Moulton Launches on Beasley’s Tampa and Ft. Myers Stations. Florida sports talk personalities Mark Miller (left) and David Moulton (right) are back together on Beasley Media Group stations as the company partners with the Florida Sports Network to bring the “Miller & Moulton” show to WBCN-AM/W251AL, Fort Myers “ESPN Southwest Florida” and business talk WHFS-AM, Tampa “Money Talk 1010” for morning drive. Beasley says Miller and Moulton have produced an entertaining and informative show with national guests since 2006 and have been consistently ranked among top rated sports shows in the history of Southwest Florida radio. Beasley Southwest Florida VP and market manager AJ Lurie says, “It’s great to have ‘Miller & Moulton’ back where they started. Our audience has missed them.” Florida Sports Network president Marty Booher comments, “We have a great relationship with Beasley in Detroit with the Michigan Sports Network and are thrilled to partner with them again in their hometown of Naples and across the state of Florida. We already know that sports fans love the ‘Miller & Moulton’ brand and we’re proud to put them back on the air as we expand their show across the state. Listening to the show is like being in your favorite Florida sports bar for four hours in the morning!”

iHeartMedia Execs Reveal New Workplace Plan. In a memo to all staffers, iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman and CFO/COO Rich Bressler explain their plans for the future of working from the office and from home. Saying that at the beginning of the pandemic lockdown, they believed all staffers would return to the office when it was safe to do so, they say now, however, “that construct fails to take into consideration everything we’ve learned in the last year and a half – from new skills and new ways of working to maximizing our technology to enable us to communicate, innovate and work together as a team. So, we will never ‘return to the office’ as we all knew it; instead, we’ll be returning to a ‘New Work Environment’… Although we’ll start as a hybrid of working from home and some use of the office, we know it will evolve as we learn together. We should all think about the office as a productivity tool, vs that more rigid ‘home base’ we’ve been used to – and the office will always be open for your use.” They go on to say that “overall we think most people will have a hybrid approach, one in which they’ll spend a period of time in the office every week, depending on what their team’s needs are. And even that schedule may vary week to week, or even month to month, depending on what you are working on… On a practical note, your individual schedule will be developed with your managers, built around the needs and timetables of each location and function, and hopefully tailored to everyone’s specific talents and jobs. In this process, the most important thing we can do is protect your well-being. To that end, we would encourage you to follow the latest recommendations for both vaccines and office protocols. We’ll remain committed to providing you support through all our office and company policies.”

WFAN, New York’s Steve Somers to Retire from Full-Time Show. According to Andrew Marchand’s story in the New York Post, WFAN, New York night host Steve Somers will retire from his full-time position sometime this fall. The 74-year-old sports talk host has been with the station for the entirety of its 34 years as a sports talk outlet. Somers told listeners to his show that he doesn’t want a farewell tour as some hosts who’ve left the station have done saying he would find it embarrassing. Audacy SVP Chris Oliviero tells the Post, “Yes, sadly it is true. Steve will be wrapping up his full-time run at WFAN sometime this fall. He is without a doubt one of the most important building blocks in the history of WFAN. Steve and the FAN became stars together in this town. The voice, the wit, the humor, the catchphrases all iconic. Now we have to convince him to give us all, especially the listeners, a chance to celebrate him because he is worthy of the accolades.”

iHeartMedia Washington, DC Names Jen Richer APD. Programming pro Jen Richer is named assistant program director for iHeartMedia’s Washington DC cluster that includes news/talk “104.7 WONK-FM,” WUST-AM “DMV BIN 1120,” and six music brands. Richer was most recently executive producer for WMAL-FM, Washington’s “Vince Coglianese Show.” In the past she’s also served as executive producer for 104.7 WONK- FM’s “Reaction Zone,” news director for iHeartMedia Washington D.C., co-host and executive producer of “The Tommy Show” on WIAD-FM, and host and executive producer of “The Fresh Perspective Show” on WIAD-FM. She says, “I am so excited to rejoin the team at iHeartMedia Washington, DC for this incredible new opportunity to work with such a talented team of programmers and talent. There couldn’t be a more important time for radio to connect with our listeners as we start transitioning into the ‘new normal,’ and I am looking forward to helping deliver an awesome experience for the Washington DC community through these landmark stations.”

Former KHTK, Sacramento Sports Personality Grant Napear Sues Bonneville for Wrongful Termination. KOVR-TV, Sacramento is reporting that former Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer and sports talk personality Grant Napear is filing a suit against station owner Bonneville International for firing him in June of 2020. Bonneville fired Napear after he tweeted a response to former Kings player DeMarcus Cousins who asked him for his take on the Black Lives Matter movement in the aftermath of the George Floyd killing. Napear replied, “All Lives Matter… every single one.” At the time, Napear said, “I had no idea that when I said ‘All Lives Matter’ that it was counter to what BLM is trying to get across.” Now, he says he’s filing the lawsuit because he believes he’s been wronged, and he wants to be “vindicated.” Bonneville has not commented on the lawsuit.

Triton Digital Releases September 2021 Podcast Report. This report for the period of August 30 to October 3 from Triton Digital ranks the top 20 podcast networks in the U.S. based on average weekly downloads and the top 100 podcasts, also based on average weekly downloads. SiriusXM’s Stitcher ranks as the #1 network for September with 38.4 million AWD. Some broadcast companies whose podcast networks ranked in the top 20 include: NPR at #2 (32 million), Audacy Podcast Network at #3 (29.1 million), Cumulus Podcast Network at #4 (17.7 million), FOX News Podcasts at #10 (3.6 million), and Salem Podcast Network at #12 (3.2 million). The top podcast on Triton’s chart is NPR’s “NPR News Now.” Other podcasts of note on this chart include: Cumulus Podcast Network’s “Ben Shapiro Show” at #4, Cumulus’ “Dan Bongino Show” at #8, Salem’s “Charlie Kirk Show” at #12, and FOX News’ “FOX News Radio Newscast” at #13. See the complete charts here.

77 WABC Radio Backs the Blue. Pictured above are a number of New York City police officers with Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis and his wife Margo. Red Apple’s news/talk 77 WABC dedicated yesterday (10/21) to the men and women in blue with an all-day, on-air salute that included current and past police dignitaries. Photo: Jillian Nelson jillpics.com

TALKERS News Notes. The broadcast team for iHeartMedia Seattle’s coverage of the NHL’s Seattle Kraken is complete. Sports talk KJR-AM serves as the official flagship station for the Kraken Audio Network and will debut its broadcast team tomorrow (10/23) when the Vancouver Canucks come to town. The broadcast team includes: Everett Fitzhugh as the network’s play-by-play voice, retired NHL player Dave Tomlinson as broadcast analyst, and former voice of the Everett Silvertips, Mike Benton, as the network’s studio host…..Audacy’s C13Features releases a video trailer for its new, scripted audio movie, “Treat.” C13Features partnered with Babak Anvari and Lucan Toh of Two & Two Pictures, and Best Case Studios, to co-produce the story written by Nathan Ballingrud. “Treat” tells the story of a seemingly perfect American town that makes a deal with a mysterious outsider possessing supernatural powers to help it recover from social turmoil. When the town falls behind on its payments, a trio of teenagers must unlock the secret of his powers. Actress Kiernan Shipka plays protagonist and narrator Allie West…..CNN Audio debuts its first episode of “Tug of War” – a new limited-series podcast hosted by CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward. In this series, Ward travels to some of the most volatile corners of the world to document the greatest power struggles of our time. The first episode has her taking listeners onto the streets of Afghanistan and into the homes of its citizens as they watch the balance of power start to tip — and the Taliban tries to keep order with truncheons and whips. She shares firsthand accounts from Afghan citizens who witness the United States military withdrawal – after two decades of war – escalate into the Taliban swiftly toppling the Afghan government watching their 20 years of hard-earned freedoms crumble…..Chick Pallotta, creator, executive producer, and host of the nationally syndicated radio series titled, “The Inside Stories Behind the Christmas Songs,” signs a two-year agreement with Orbyt Media, a division of Bell Media Inc. of Canada, to syndicate his series to Canadian radio stations. Programs feature many legendary songwriters who explain how their holiday hits originated. The series comes in two forms: the original short-forms (structured where all the verses of the song are wrapped around the songwriter’s narrative) and the two-minute versions. The series now totals 39 programs. They have aired on SiriusXM and hundreds of radio stations across the U.S., including WCBS-FM, New York City and news/talk KXEL-AM, Waterloo, Iowa. Some 15 different radio formats have aired the holiday series that’s now in its 11th year of syndication.

Budget Debate/Infrastructure/Inflation/Supply Chain/Labor Issues Combine at Top News/Talk Story for Week of October 18-22. The negotiation among Democrats over President Joe Biden’s social spending and infrastructure bills, the world’s supply chain woes and labor shortages came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the January 6 investigation tied with the House voting to hold Stephen Bannon in criminal contempt and former President Donald Trump’s ongoing claims of election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the debate over boosters, mask & vaccine mandates and SRN talk host Dennis Prager’s intentional COVID case. 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.

Program Director/News Director. iHeartMedia is seeking a program director/news director to oversee news/talk WHAM, Rochester; news/talk WSYR, Syracuse and “FM Talk” WAIO-FM, Rochester. This person will “lead all aspects of the radio stations’ on-air experience in a leadership and operations role, responsible for talent, content, news operations, programming, and online presence.” This is a Rochester-based position. To find out more about this role and to apply, click here.

Morning News Reporter. News/talk WSYR, Syracuse seeks a morning news reporter. This role is based in Syracuse and the position requires the news reporter gather and verify factual information through interviews, observation and research; Monitor sources for breaking news, e.g., wires and social media; Plan, write, edit, and voice news broadcasts; Finalize content using digital audio editing software; Maintain crucial deadlines in order to provide news stories in a timely fashion; and more. Find out more about this position and apply here.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

| June 1, 2021

Audacy and Radio America Reach Deal to Syndicate ‘The Dana Show’ to 11 Stations in Multi-Platform Deal. As had been rumored a couple of weeks ago, Audacy and Radio America have agreed to a new, multi-platform deal that will put “The Dana Show,” starring Dana Loesch, on 11 Audacy news/talk stations. In addition to the affiliate clearances, Audacy will become the exclusive audio streaming provider for “The Dana Show” and Loesch will collaborate with Audacy on the development and production of her first-ever, original on-demand podcast. “The Dana Show” will fill the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET daypart previously held by the late Rush Limbaugh on: KMBZ-AM, Kansas City; KXNT-AM, Las Vegas; WRVA-AM/WTVR-HD2, Richmond; KNSS-AM/FM, Wichita, WSKY-FM, Gainesville, Florida; and WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg. The show will also re-air during various times on WPHT-AM, Philadelphia; KJCE-AM, Austin; WBEN-AM, Buffalo; KFTK-FM, St. Louis; and WTIC-AM, Hartford. Audacy EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano says, “We’re thrilled to partner with Radio America and welcome Dana Loesch to our broadcast and digital platform. Dana is a leading conservative voice and influencer and both her daily live show and future original podcast are terrific additions to our best-in-class news and talk offerings.” Radio America COO Mike Paradiso adds, “During this pivotal moment in talk radio, the partnership with Audacy and Dana’s show is exciting because it represents our shared vision on radio’s future for the news/talk format. Audacy’s leading digital platform is also the perfect fit for Dana’s growing digital audience. We look forward to working closely with Audacy’s content team, led by Jeff Sottolano, to make ‘The Dana Show’ a key element on each of their hugely successful Audacy news/talk stations.” Dana Loesch says of the new deal, “I look forward to working with the great team at Audacy. Their digital platform is a great fit for my streaming and podcast audience and their top-rated radio stations are a phenomenal addition to my loyal radio fan base.”

Pending Business: New Talent, New Rules. Sales pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, writes in today’s column about the challenges sellers face when a longtime talk talent leaves your station and you are pitching a new program. “This round will be different as many stations try and replace a proven ratings winner with new talent, never before tested in the time period in your market. An audience that has been built up over years may start dial surfing with a newfound curiosity. What happens if audience levels wobble through the short term as your competitor pushes the emergency stop button?” Read his advice here.

Shelby Cassesse to Host Weekend Show on ‘98.7 The Fan’ in Pittsburgh. A piece by Joshua Axelrod in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette profiles KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh news anchor Shelby Cassesse who is launching a Sunday morning sports talk show on Audacy’s sister KDKA-FM “98.7 The Fan.” Cassesse will be the first (and only) woman to host a sports talk show on KDKA-FM who was not a contest winner. Her new show will air from 7:00 am to 9:00 am on Sundays on a scattered schedule that is expected to become an every-other-Sunday program. She tells the paper, “When the opportunity was presented to me, it was an instant, ‘Well, yeah, of course I’m going to do this!’ It’s one of the greatest professional opportunities I’ve been given. It’s something I never anticipated doing in my career because I always saw myself as a reporter. It’s truly incredible, and I’m beyond thrilled to be doing it. It’s definitely not lost on me that few women have had this opportunity, especially here in Pittsburgh. I don’t want that to be what people see me as. I’m happy to take on that title, and I’m glad to celebrate it, too, because it needs to be celebrated.”

Saga’s WTAX, Springfield, Illinois Getting New FM Frequency. According to a story in the State Journal-Register, Saga Communications’ news/talk WTAX-AM is getting a full market FM signal as the company will move the station’s programming from FM translator W228DL at 93.5 to the 93.9 frequency occupied by classic hits WQQL-FM. The company has requested a call letter change with the FCC and WQQL will become WTAX-FM. The classic hits format will continue on the 93.5 frequency as “Rewind 93.5” but the station feeding W228DL is not revealed in the story.

Sports Talk ‘ESPN Southwest Florida’ Moves to AM Band. As a result of the growing Hispanic population in Southwest Florida, Beasley Media Group moves the “Playa” adult Hispanic format from WRXK-HD2/W251AL to the 99.3 FM frequency. That bumps the sports format “ESPN Southwest Florida” from 99.3 to WBCN-AM and two FM translators at 101.5 and 104.3.

NPR Brings A Martinez Aboard “Morning Edition.” The NPR program “Morning Edition” is adding A Martínez to its talent on the AM drive news magazine, effective July 6. Martínez has been serving with KPCC-FM, Pasadena and he takes over for David Greene who left the program in 2020. Martínez – who will be based at NPR West in Culver City, California – will join Steve Inskeep, Noel King, and Rachel Martin on the syndicated program that airs on 835 stations. NPR VP of news programming Sarah Gilbert says, “He brings a remarkable record of journalism and empathy that allows him to truly connect with audiences and stories. He brings intelligence, a sense of humor and a deep curiosity that will fit right in with the show’s commitment to telling distinctive stories that make a difference to our understanding of the world.”

WYPR, Baltimore to Acquire WTMD, Towson. Public radio station WYPR, Baltimore “Your Public Radio” is acquiring WTMD, Towson, Maryland from Towson University. According to a report at The Current, WYPR is an “independent community licensee and a top-ranking news/talk station in the market airing local, national and international radio content. WYPR excels in local programming and journalism through outstanding shows like ‘Midday,’ ‘On the Record’ and ‘Out of the Blocks’ as well as its award-winning newsroom.” The station also feeds signals in Frederick, Maryland (WYFP-FM) and Ocean City, Maryland (WYPO-FM). WTMD has been a triple A-formatted station since 2002.

COVID-19/Wuhan Lab Theory, Memorial Day, Miami Concert Shooting, Tulsa Massacre Anniversary, Meat Company Hack, Infrastructure Plan, January 6 Commission, Osaka Withdraws from French Open Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The declining rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., concerns about vaccine hesitancy, and growing acceptance of the possibility the coronavirus came from the Wuhan Virology lab; the Memorial Day holiday and honoring those who made the “ultimate sacrifice”; the shooting at a Miami concert venue the killed 2 and wounded dozens of others; the 100th anniversary of Tulsa “Black Wall Street” massacre; the hack of JBS’ U.S. and Australian meat plants; the GOP’s counter-offer to President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan; Senate Republicans kill the January 6 Commission; and Naomi Osaka pulls out of the French Open after refusing to take part in press conferences were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.