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Friday, March 4, 2022

| March 4, 2022

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, is now posted. This new episode titled,“Predators,” looks back at this past week of 2/28 to 3/4. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSRonn Owens, talk show host (retired), KGO, San Francisco; Chris Hansen, investigative reporter/commentator, “Predators I Have Caught with Chris Hansen”; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City/FOX News Radio; and Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York.  The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas;  WTPL, Manchester, NH; WEMJ, Laconia, NH; WTSN, Dover-Portsmouth, NH; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; 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 NetworkPodcast 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.

 

RT Shuts Down American Operations. The management of RT, the international Russian government-funded television network, informed its staff of American and Russian broadcasters that it is shutting down operations of its Washington, DC-based U.S. operations, RT America, effective immediately due to the condemnation it is receiving in the United States as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The news was broken at an all-hands-on-deck staff meeting held at the network’s state-of-the-art headquarters in Washington, DC on Thursday (3/3) at 12:00 pm. Noted media consultant and TALKERS contributing columnist Holland Cooke has been hosting a weekly show on RT America titled, “The Big Picture,” since 2017. He tells his story in a TALKERS exclusive feature. Please click here.

 

Salem Media Group Reports 2021 Q4 Revenue Up 7.2%. Reporting its financial data for the fourth quarter of 2021, Salem Media Group reveals total revenue for the period was $69.1 million, an increase of 7.2% over the same period in 2020. Breaking the quarterly results down by segment, the company reports net broadcast revenue of $51 million, an increase of 6.1%, year-over-year. Salem’s digital media revenue was $11.6 million, up 2.9%, and publishing revenue was $6.5 million, an increase of 27.1% over Q4 of 2020. For the full year of 2021, consolidated revenue was $258.2 million, up 9.3% over the full year of 2020. Full-year net broadcast revenue was $191.4 million, a year-over-year increase of 7.5%; digital media revenue was $42.2 million, an increase of 6.5% over 2020; and publishing revenue was $24.6 million, a year-over-year increase of 33.1%. For the full year of 2021, Salem reports net income of $41.5 million compared to the net loss of $54.1 million reported for the full year of 2020.

 

The John Fredericks Media Network Launches ‘Liberty Radio’ Simulcast Serving Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware Region. Talk media personality and media operator John Fredericks announces the John Fredericks Media Network’s acquisition of the former WVCH-AM, Chester – now WJFP-AM – and translator W277DL, Malvern (103.3) in Pennsylvania and his operation of translator W237EH, Pennsauken, New Jersey (95.3) to simulcast as “Liberty Radio.” The company says the new radio signal additions to the John Fredericks Media Network will give the it enormous reach into Philadelphia, all surrounding suburbs, half of Delaware – south to Dover, all of Wilmington and most of South Jersey. Fredericks owns or operates four radio stations in Central Virginia – WJFN-AM, Chester; WJFN-FM, Goochland; and translators at 92.7 FM and 107.7 FM – as the simulcast “Newstalk WJFN.” He also owns WMLB-AM, Atlanta. “The John Fredericks Radio Show” is carried on both networks. He also hosts the television show “Outside the Beltway with John Fredericks” on Real America’s Voice News.  Fredericks comments, “The acquisition of iconic radio station WVCH in greater Philadelphia and its accompanying FM translator is an essential component of our growth strategy. We want to provide our growing audience with hard-hitting news and incisive analysis to cut through the cancel culture and the woke fake news networks that dominate the airwaves today. Our proprietary network of show hosts is leading the radio industry, and our vision of all live weekday coverage and weekend live sports has resonated with both our listeners and advertisers.”

 

MIW’s ‘Mildred Carter Mentoring Program’ Accepting Applications. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. charitable organization dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting, announces the opening of the application window for its 2022 Mildred Carter Mentoring Program today (3/4) through March 21, 2022. Established in 2002, MIW’s the annual mentoring initiative connects mentees with accomplished women recognized as leaders, mentors, and game-changers within all aspects of radio broadcasting. Four candidates from the radio broadcasting industry within the sales, marketing, programming, and digital disciplines will be selected for the 2022 program. MIW Board president Ruth Presslaff commented on the announcement, “We’re extremely appreciative of our sponsors, Entravision and Beasley Media Group. We look forward to welcoming our newest group of mentees, especially as we consider the data presented in our recent MIW Gender Analysis Study. There’s work to be done and we’re eager to continue our mission of mentoring!” See more about this program and apply here.

 

TALKERS News Notes. A deal between United Stations Radio Networks, Audacy, and AccuWeather, is extended and expanded. The new pact provides for the continuation of AccuWeather’s services on existing Audacy affiliates, and adds 14 new Audacy stations to the list of AccuWeather outlets, including FM stations in New York City, Detroit, St. Louis, Las Vegas, Memphis, and Buffalo…..Chicago radio personality and South Side native William J. Kelly is co-hosting a charity benefit called “Chicago Stands with Ukraine” on Friday, March 11 to benefit Nevada-based Revived Soldiers Ukraine. Kelly says, “‘The William J. Kelly Irish Hour’ on WPNA is proud to support Revived Soldiers of Ukraine and the courageous work they do. We are joining together here in the Land of Lincoln and beyond to support the brave men and women in Ukraine who are fighting and sacrificing their lives for freedom.”….. The board of trustees for Boston public media producer GBH elects Stacy L. Cowan, Susan G. Fentin, Susan X. Luo, and Lynn Perry Wooten as trustees. President and CEO Jonathan Abbott states, “GBH is fortunate to have a strong, committed group of community and business leaders dedicated to helping the organization achieve its mission. As the landscape for media evolves, we continue to rely on their expertise and leadership.”

 

The Russia-Ukraine Crisis Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 28-March 4. Russia’s continuing invasion of the Ukraine and the rest of the world’s response to the crisis was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, followed by the state of the U.S. economy and the soaring price of consumer goods and gasoline 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.

 

 

 

Bell Seeks Senior Manager, Affiliate Relations & Content. Canadian media giant Bell is looking for a senior manager, affiliate relations & content for its Orbyt Media. The company says, “We’re looking for innovative team players ready to take some of the most well-known entertainment brands in the country to the next level. Are you looking for a unique opportunity to play a critical role in content creation and syndication of programs and services across the broadcast industry? The Orbyt Media team is looking for someone who will foster and grow internal and external relationships and be bold in their idea generation and planning. Integrity and strong leadership are core attributes that are required in this role.” Find out more and apply here.

Monday, January 3, 2022

| January 3, 2022

Monday Memo: CES, Carefully. Like most conventions a year ago, CES2021 settled for virtual. But this week, it’s game-on in Las Vegas. And there – vax’d, boosted, tested, masked, and toting the jug-handle-size bottle of hand sanitizer – is Holland Cooke. Read more here.

 

Pending Business: A New Year’s Lesson. Radio sales pro Steve Lapa says a holiday chat with a former associate recalled a memorable case of a radio seller who transitioned from newspapers and the switch was not smooth sailing at first. But persistence and management support saved the day. Read more here.

Ratings Takeaways from Nielsen’s December PPM Survey. Last week, Nielsen Audio released December 2021 ratings data for all 48 PPM markets. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from those markets for the period that covered November 11 to December 8. Audacy’s all-news WINS-AM was the top spoken-word station in New York, adding two-tenths for a 3.8 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) good for the #8 rank. In Los Angeles, although it shed four-tenths, iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI posted a 3.1 share and rose to the #7 rank. Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago fell out of first place to the #2 rank though it remained steady with a 5.7 share, while Nexstar Media’s crosstown news/talk WGN-AM was flat with a 3.7 share but rose to the #8 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta lost 2.7 shares, finishing with a 6.6 share and falling from #1 to #4. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM added two-tenths for a 3.7 share and inched up to the #11 rank while Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM dipped nine-tenths for a 6.8 share good for the #4 rank. Even though Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM, Seattle added one-tenth, its 6.6 share was only good enough for the #2 rank. The news/talk battle in Salt Lake City flipped as iHeartMedia’s news/talk KNRS-AM/FM remained ranked #2 after slipping one-tenth to a 7.1 share while Bonneville’s crosstown KSL-AM/FM lost 1.5 shares for a 6.0 share finish causing it to fall from #1 to #5. The news/talk wars in Milwaukee showed some separation as iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM remained ranked #1,  posting its second consecutive 10.3 share while Good Karma Brands‘ crosstown WTMJ-AM fell five-tenths to a 7.1 share and finished ranked #4. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from all 48 PPM markets here.

Salem’s WIND-AM, Chicago Adds to News and Traffic Operations. Changes in the news and traffic departments are taking place at Salem Media Group’s Chicago news/talk WIND “AM 560 The Answer.” Long time morning news anchor Mike Scott – who has anchored newscasts on the station between 5:00 am and 12:00 noon each weekday for the past 17 years – will join Salem as full-time news director and continue anchoring news and traffic. Scott had appeared on the station through an agreement between Salem, Total Traffic and Weather Network, and NBC News Radio. That agreement is not being renewed.  Scott says, “I’m incredibly gratified to be able to continue in my role on the air with AM 560 and Salem Media. We have some of the best listeners in all of Chicago radio and some of the best on-air talent. I look forward to providing the first look at the day’s news for our audience.” Scott will also assume anchoring duties for the Salem Podcast Network’s “Daybreak Insider Podcast,” which launched in September of 2021. Additionally, JoAnn Genette will join WIND as an afternoon news anchor through an agreement with Remote News Service. She will anchor weekday afternoon newscasts through 6:30 pm. Also, longtime Chicago traffic reporter Jill Urchak will begin handling afternoon traffic reports for the station. Urchak has spent close to 25 years as a traffic reporter in Chicago, including at WGN-AM, WBBM-AM, WSCR-AM, and WLUP-FM, as well as WBBM-TV. Salem regional VP and WIND general manager Jeff Reisman says, “News and traffic are cornerstone elements for our format and for our radio station. Keeping Mike Scott on our team while also adding JoAnn and Jill solidifies our commitment to serve our audience. We have a team of veteran broadcasters with experience and insight that our listeners can trust.”

Zederman Named Director of Content for ‘ESPN 1000’ in Chicago. At Chicago sports talk outlet WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000,” Good Karma Brands names Danny Zederman director of content. Zederman joins the leadership team as a 15-year veteran of “ESPN 1000.” Zederman has been serving as executive producer of the “Kap & J.Hood” show. He says, “I’m grateful to Good Karma Brands for the opportunity and am excited to work alongside ESPN 1000’s market manager Keith Williams, to lead and collaborate with our talented teammates and partners. My goal is to continue entertaining our fans, grow the ESPN Chicago brand on all platforms and add value to the community.” Williams says, “We’re excited to announce Danny Zederman as ESPN Chicago’s director of content.  Danny’s strategy and vision for our team in the future will allow us to grow to serve our partners, fans and teammates.”

Jimmy Failla Featured on FOX News’ New Year’s Celebration. Pictured above in Times Square prior to Friday’s New Year’s celebration is FOX News Radio host Jimmy Failla (right). With him is FOX News Radio manager of affiliate sales & marketing Tamara Karcev (left) and KTTH, Seattle talk host Jason Rantz (center). Failla was featured as one of the FOX personalities on the “All American New Year Live from Nashville” special that aired on New Year’s Eve.

TALKERS News Notes. Over the New Year’s holiday weekend, Ric Edelman debuted his new, nationally syndicated radio program, “The Truth About Your Future with Ric Edelman,” on 26 affiliates around the country. Edelman hosted AgeWave founder Dr. Ken Dychtwald on the program. Edelman says, “If you’re alive in 2030, you will likely live to age 100 or beyond. We need to make sure that your money lasts as long as you do, and that’s why I’m focusing on the topics that matter to investors today. The investments of the past 40 years won’t deliver the results you need in the future, so I’ll be sharing the ideas and strategies you need to achieve success in the 21st century.”…..The Independent Broadcasters Association’s board of directors elects officers for the 2022-2023 term. Ron Stone was re-elected for a second term as president and executive director of the IBA. Two of the other officers were also re-elected, Darrell Calton, chairman and assistant secretary and Allen Dick, VP and treasurer. Tony Renda was elected as secretary and assistant treasurer, replacing Mike Flood. Stone says, “I am pleased that the board has re-elected three of the founding officers for an additional term. I am very excited to have Tony Renda as one of our leaders in the next term. Tony has been instrumental in helping the IBA with many of the initiatives we took on in our first two years.  The IBA has succeeded in its first 18 months delivering many new ways for its members to save on operational costs, create new revenues, and benefit from all the professionals in the industry that are working with us. We have said from the beginning that a large independent membership provides scale and with scale we can deliver many great things for independent broadcasters.  I am looking forward to working with our management team to establish new goals for the IBA for 2022 and 2023.”

COVID-19, New Year’s Holiday, Twitter Boots MTG, January 6 Investigation, Colorado Wildfires, NASCAR ‘Let’s Go Brandon’ Issue, Betty White Dies, Antonio Brown Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The exploding rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the Omicron variant, and vaccine mandates; the New Year’s holiday, 2021 retrospectives, and predictions for 2022; Twitter permanently cancels account of Marjorie Taylor Greene; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack; the wildfires that devastated the Boulder, Colorado area; criticism over NASCAR for “reviewing” Brandon Brown’s crypto sponsorship and the “Let’s Go, Brandon” slogan; entertainment icon Betty White dies at 99; and Antonio Brown’s bizarre exit from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the middle of Sunday’s game were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, December 17, 2021

| December 17, 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, “Whether the Weather, Whatever,” looks back at this past week of 12/13 – 12/17. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSBrett Winterble, talk show host, WBT, Charlotte; Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV-RadioDr. Renee Kohanski, forensic psychiatrist/medical podcaster; Dom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; 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 NetworkPodcast 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.

WJR, Detroit Finalizes New Lineup as Next Year’s 100th Anniversary Approaches. Detroit news/talk 760 WJR announces it has finalized its new on-air programming lineup, “just in time for its 100-year anniversary celebration in 2022.” This week, the Cumulus Media talk station launched the new “All Talk with Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz” program in the late morning daypart, capping “a year of evolutionary moves that position WJR for its next 100 years serving the Detroit area with the best news, information, opinion and analysis.” The company says the retooling of WJR was accelerated by the retirement last December of longtime news director, Dick Haefner, the February death of Rush Limbaugh, and the retirement of 50-year station veteran Frank Beckmann in March. Changes made this year include Ann Thomas being promoted from senior executive producer to assistant program director of WJR. Paul W. Smith, who recently celebrated his 25th anniversary as WJR morning host, is joined by co-host Sean Baligian, who has spent most of his career in Detroit sports, including as pre- and post-game host of WJR’s Detroit Lions coverage. Laura Hessen moves from the “Guy Gordon Show” to serve as executive producer of “All Talk with Tom Jordan and Kevin Dietz.” Nick Roddy, former Detroit Lions broadcast producer, takes the reins as executive producer of the 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm “Guy Gordon Show.” Blake Majchrzak joins WJR as studio & audio engineer for the “Mitch Albom Show.” Also, FOX News Radio has been added as the WJR network news provider and WJR news reporter/anchor Marie Osborne, WJR producer Chris Renwick and former WJR news reporter Lloyd Jackson sign on as the first WJR senior news analysts, covering, writing and producing stories and presenting them across the day within the local WJR talk shows. The senior news analysts present the story, add analysis and participate in discussions with the WJR talent and listeners. WJR is also announcing major upgrades on weekends by adding legendary Detroit morning show host Jim Harper with his “Great Michigan Weekend Show.” Weekday specialty programming additions also include four-time Stanley Cup champion Darren McCarty, WJR sports fan favorite Steve Courtney and popular local television personality Jamie Edmonds. Cumulus Detroit VP and market manager Steve Finateri says, “We are extremely proud of this team, their credentials, their integrity and their ability to represent WJR and Cumulus in the tradition expected by all Michiganders! The new talent we’ve added around our longtime superstars Paul W. Smith, Guy Gordon and Mitch Albom makes WJR one of the most powerful and trusted media outlets among all peers. Individually they each are ‘A’ players with big brands, and as a collective group of broadcasters, we feel we have the absolute strongest lineup in Michigan radio, maybe anywhere in the country.”

Keith Abrams Joins Alpha Media Portland as Content Director. Programming pro Keith Abrams joins Alpha Media Portland’s leadership team as content director, effective January 3, 2022. Abrams will oversee programming for KXL “FM News 101,” KUFO “Freedom 970,” and sports talk KXTG-AM “750 The Game.” Abrams was most recently SVP of programming and brand coordinator for iHeartMedia Cleveland. Alpha Media Portland operations manager Gene Sandbloom comments, “Celebrating its 95th year, KXL is one of the best performing local news radio stations in the country, with one of the smartest and highly motivated news teams anywhere. After an exhaustive search, we are very happy to welcome Keith Abrams to lead our Alpha Media news/talk stations in Portland. His knowledge and lifelong commitment to great news is most welcome, as is his extensive format experience and love for sports which will be a great addition to our team at ‘750 The Game.’”

SuperTalk Mississippi Names J.T. Mitchell News Director. News pro and freelance journalist J.T. Mitchell returns to SuperTalk Mississippi Media as news director for SuperTalk Mississippi News. Mitchell served as a journalist and digital specialist at SuperTalk Mississippi Media from 2019-2021. Most recently, Mitchell was the managing editor of Our Mississippi Home while pursuing various freelance journalism stories around the world. Mitchell says, “When [president and CEO] Kim [Dillon] and [founder and chairman] Steve [Davenport] reached out to me about this position, I was blown away—honored actually. SuperTalk already has a great news team, and I look forward to working together to bring Mississippians timely, hard-hitting, and exclusive news from across the state.” Dillon says, “We are excited to have J.T. return to the team here at SuperTalk. His energy, hard work ethic, and attention to detail will move our company and news department forward as we welcome in a new year.” In this role, Mitchell will oversee news programming on 48 SuperTalk and affiliate radio stations and on SuperTalk Mississippi News’ digital media platforms.

WVON, Chicago’s Todd Ronczkowski Retires from Broadcasting. After a 35-year radio career, Todd Ronczkowski is leaving the business, and his role as program manager at Midway Broadcasting’s talk WVON, Chicago, to take a position with the Cook County Sheriff’s Department assisting with community outreach efforts. Ronczkowski has been serving with WVON for the past 13 years. Prior to that, he served with Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM as a producer. Midway Broadcasting’s Melody Spann Cooper comments, “I will miss Todd tremendously because he became a jack-of-all-trades for the company. He gave a lot and learned a lot which will be a tremendous asset to him in his new role at the Sheriff’s Department. Most importantly, it will allow him to spend more time with his family.” WVON has named Delvin Randall interim program manager.

FOX Sports’ LaVar Arrington Launches ‘Up On Game Presents’ Podcast. Former NFL great and current sports talk personality LaVar Arrington – co-host of FOX Sports Radio’s “Two Pros and a Cup of Joe with Brady Quinn and Jonas Knox” and co-host of the nationally syndicated weekend program/podcast “Up On Game with TJ Houshmandzadeh and Plaxico Burress” – announces today the launch of the “Up On Game Presents” podcast. Produced in partnership with FOX Sports Radio, the podcast is an extension of the network’s “Up On Game” program. Arrington says, “I’m super excited to kick off ‘Up On Game Presents’ with this entertaining and engaging lineup of wide-ranging personalities and shows. I’m so proud of what we’re accomplishing with the FOX Sports Radio and iHeartRadio team, and I’m confident listeners will love what they hear!” Featured within the “Up On Game Presents” podcast feed will be: “Conversations with a Legend,” hosted by Arrington; “Pritty Left Hook,” hosted by Rhett Butler; “Straight Facts,” hosted by James Jackson, Jake Galli, “Stat” Matt Robinson and Kyle Syrek;  and “What Are Those?” with producer, writer and filmmaker Adam Butler.

Triton Digital Releases U.S. Podcast Report for November 2021. Global technology and services provider Triton Digital announces the release of the latest U.S. Podcast Report for the November 2021 reporting period (November 1 – November 28, 2021), as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The Top Network Reports are ranked by Average Weekly Downloads and Average Weekly Users, in accordance with v2.1 of the IAB Podcast Technical Measurement Guidelines. The Top 20 Podcast Networks for the period are: Stitcher at #1, NPR at #2, Audacy Podcast Network at #3, and Cumulus Podcast Network at #4. Among The Top 100 Podcasts are: “NPR News Now” at #1, “The Ben Shapiro Show” at #2, and audiochuck’s “Crime Junkie” at #3. You can see all 20 of the top networks and all 100 of the top podcasts here.

TALKERS News Notes. With the end of 2021 around the corner, ABC Audio is offering end-of-year special programming in both long-form and short-form versions. Long-form programming includes: “Playback 2021,” a one-hour special anchored by ABC News correspondents Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky that delves into the biggest news reports of 2021; “2021: The Year in Review,” a three-hour look back at the year’s top stories, told utilizing sound from ABC News Radio’s special programming and breaking news reports; and “World News This Year,” a special edition of the regular show, “World News This Week”…..SiriusXM is presenting post-season college football, including the Division I FBS bowl games and highlighted by the College Football Playoff Semifinals and National Championship. On New Year’s Eve, subscribers hear both College Football Playoff Semifinal games – the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic featuring #4 Cincinnati vs. #1 Alabama (3:30 pm ET), followed by #3 Georgia vs. #2 Michigan in the Capital One Orange Bowl (7:30 pm ET). Two weeks later, on January 10, listeners will get live play-by-play as the winners of those two games face off in the College Football Playoff National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Inflation, Build Back Better, the Supply Chain and Labor Force Combine as Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 13-17. The high consumer prices, negotiations over President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan, the effects of the damaged supply chain, and the U.S. labor force came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio during the week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the COVID-19 Omicron variant, vaccines, the winter resurgence, and stats, followed by the January 6 investigation, Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP and predictions about the 2022 mid-term and 2024 presidential elections 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.

 

 

FOX News Media Has Radio Reporter Position Open. This Washington, DC-based position is for an experienced full-time reporter. FOX News Media says, “You will cover a wide range of political, government, and Congressional stories for FOX News Audio (FOX News Headlines 24/7 and FOX News Terrestrial Radio). You possess strong journalism skills and thrive in a fast pace, deadline driven environment.  Most importantly, you have great editorial judgement and the ability to break important news stories.” Learn more and apply here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

| December 14, 2021

Good Karma Brands to Acquire ESPN Stations in New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The three sports talk radio stations owned by Disney/ESPN are being acquired by Good Karma Brands, LLC under a deal that is expected to close during the first quarter of 2022. The stations are WEPN-AM, New York; KSPN-AM, Los Angeles; and WMVP-AM, Chicago. The deal will also have Good Karma Brands perform ESPN’s obligations under the current Local Marketing Agreement for WEPN-FM, New York “98.7 ESPN.” As part of a long-term affiliation agreement, all three stations will remain as ESPN Radio affiliates and continue broadcasting ESPN Network Radio content as well as locally produced programming. There is no price revealed in the press release from GKB. The company has been operating WMVP-AM “ESPN 1000” under an LMA since October 2019. Good Karma founder and CEO Craig Karmazin says, “We are thrilled to add ESPN New York and ESPN Los Angeles to GKB. These stations and teammates give us an expanded footprint and increased resources to help meet our mission of serving our teammates, fans and advertising partners at a best-in-class level.” ESPN Audio vice president Scott McCarthy comments, “At ESPN, we are focused on evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of our business, providing the outstanding content that our fans expect, and growing our audience in critical, leading markets. We have a strong, 20-plus year relationship with Good Karma Brands and know they will further contribute to the success of these great local audio operations.” In addition, the companies have agreed to extend their ESPN Digital sales agreement, which began in 2015, in which GKB represents display and video inventory on ESPN.com and the ESPN App to local and regional advertisers in 14 select markets.

Porth Joins WSCR, Chicago as Assistant Brand Manager. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Ryan Porth is leaving his program director position at Cromwell Media’s sports talk WPRT, Nashville “102.5 The Game” to joins Audacy’s sports talk WSCR-AM, Chicago “The Score” as assistant brand manager, effective January 3. WSCR operations director and brand manager Mitch Rosen is quoted saying, “He will assist us in multiple facets — from organization, digital ideation and assisting all of us moving ‘The Score’ brand forward into the future.” Porth has served as PD of WPRT since 2016 and also served as executive producer for the Nashville Predators Radio Network.

Bonilla Rises to PD at KXNT, Las Vegas. TALKERS magazine hears that Audacy has promoted Mark Bonilla from his assistant program director position at news/talk KXNT-AM, Las Vegas to program director for the station. He assumes the role previously held by Paul Ihander.

Audacy and Voicify Partner for Voice Capabilities Across Digital Platform. A new multiyear partnership is struck between Audacy and Voicify, a company described in a press release as “the market leader in conversation experience management software that combines voice optimized content management, cross-platform deployment, and voice-specific customer insights.” As part of this deal, Audacy will leverage Voicify’s services to drive interactive voice capabilities across the Audacy platform and make station-branded skills more easily accessible for listeners via any voice assistant-enabled device. Audacy will also license Voicify’s patented platform – The Voicify Conversation Experience Platform – to create and deliver innovative, interactive voice ads and voice commerce experiences through digital audio content for advertisers. The Voicify Conversation Experience Platform enables marketers to connect with their customers by creating highly engaging and personalized voice experiences that are automatically deployed to a broad array of voice platforms, including smart speakers. Audacy chief digital officer J.D. Crowley comments, “As we continue to expand and enhance the Audacy direct-to-consumer platform, adding new interactive voice capabilities and enabling voice commerce experiences across a wide range of devices is an important area of future growth, especially in an age where flexibility and speed to market are a must have for our advertising partners. We are excited to partner with Voicify to provide next generation interactive advertising solutions to our clients to help make their advertising more actionable.”

Former WLS-AM, Chicago Talk Host Stephanie Trussell to Run for Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. Former weekend talk host Stephanie Trussell is joining Illinois State Senator Darren Bailey on the Republican ticket for lieutenant governor and governor, respectively. Trussell had hosted the Saturday afternoon program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM, Chicago after winning the station’s “Next Talk Star” contest in 2012. She left the weekend gig in 2019 but continued to host a podcast for the station for a period.

Newsmax Names Duchardt Congressional Correspondent. Journalist Kilmeny Duchardt is joining Newsmax as congressional correspondent. A press release says that Kilmeny brings more than 15 years of media experience with the Associated Press, Reuters and most recently as an anchor with Turkish TV’s TRT World. Duchardt has spent the last three years anchoring “Turkish TV’s TRT World” U.S. primetime news bulletins out of Washington, covering the U.S. election, Congress, the White House and other major global news events. Newsmax news director Chris Wallace states, “Kilmeny is a well-regarded journalist known for getting the story right. She will be a great addition to our growing team.” Duchardt comments, “Trust isn’t given, it’s earned. I take great pride in earning the trust of my viewers. I look forward to gaining the respect of our diverse audience at Newsmax and being a source they can count on.”

TALKERS News Notes. Digital and tech services provider Triton Digital announces it is expanding its Podcast Reports to Canada. Triton says the Canadian Podcast Report will provide insight into the Top Podcasts and Networks in Canada each month, as measured by Triton’s Podcast Metrics measurement service. The inaugural Canadian Podcast report will be issued in late Q1 2022. Triton president of market development John Rosso states, “As podcast listening in Canada continues to rise, advertisers need reliable measurement to better understand the performance of on-demand and podcast content. Expanding our Podcast Reports to the Canadian market, where we already have a strong presence, highlights our commitment to eliminate inconsistent measurement practices and self-reported data, providing content marketers, media buyers, and the audio industry at large with access to validated and transparent podcast metrics in the Canadian market for the first time.”.….New Hampshire Public Radio promotes staffer Rebecca Lavoie to director of on-demand audio. Lavoie joined NHPR in 2010 to produce the daily magazine program “Word of Mouth” and most recently served as director of audience & engagement. NHPR president and CEO Jim Schachter says, “Rebecca has nurtured an explosion of excellent journalism and inspired creativity throughout NHPR. Her keen editorial ear is evident in all the material produced under her leadership. Her deep roots in the community and knowledge of the podcast industry make her an essential contributor to our senior management team.”…..Audacy announces that its Richmond stations – including news/talk WRVA – raised more than $670,000 to benefit Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU during the annual “36-Hours for Kids Radiothon.”…..The syndicated “Motley Fool Money” show hosted by Chris Hill is added to the weekend lineup on Bennett Radio Group’s news/talk duo “The Patriot” in WEZR-AM, Rumford and WPNO-AM, South Paris, Maine…..Pictured below is “Florida Man Radio” (WDYZ-AM/W288CJ, Orlando and WZLB-FM, Fort Walton Beach) personality Shannon Burke (left) with Key Networks syndicated radio star Bill O’Reilly (right) backstage at the Amway Center in Orlando on Sunday (12/12). Burke attended the “History Tour” event with O’Reilly and former President Donald Trump – a series of live conversations between Trump and O’Reilly about the four-year Trump administration.

FOX News Radio’s Jimmy Failla to Be Part of FNC’s New Year’s Eve Programming. This New Year’s Eve, FOX News Channel is presenting special programming from 10:00 pm to 1:30 am ET featuring “FOX & Friends Weekend” co-hosts Pete Hegseth, Rachel Campos-Duffy and Will Cain live from the Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville. Joining the trio in the holiday programming will be Jimmy Failla, host of FOX News Radio’s “FOX Across America” midday show, who will perform stand-up comedy from the Wildhorse Saloon. Also involved in the programming will be FOX Nation’s Lawrence Jones, “Outnumbered” co-host Emily Compagno and FOX News correspondent Griff Jenkins from Times Square, FOX News contributor Raymond Arroyo and FOX Nation host Abby Hornacek in New Orleans, and FOX News Congressional correspondent Aishah Hasnie from Folly Beach in Charleston, South Carolina and FOX Business correspondent Madison Alworth from Tampa Bay, Florida.

COVID-19, Economy/Supply Chain/Inflation, Software Vulnerability, Build Back Better, January 6 Investigation, Russia’s Ukraine Aggression, and Tornadoes Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/13). The rate of COVID-19 cases around the world, the Omicron variant, Pfizer’s pill, and mandates; the state of the U.S. economy, the ongoing supply chain woes, and high consumer prices; criticism of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack, Mark Meadows’ refusal to cooperate with the House committee, and new email revelations; the G7 nations’ warning to Russia about military action in Ukraine; and the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes in Kentucky and Illinois were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, December 9, 2021

| December 9, 2021

Talk Show Host Michael Berry is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. KTRH, Houston/independently syndicated radio talk show host Michael Berry is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Berry is heard live twice daily on Houston’s talk radio powerhouse KTRH. The first show airs between 8:00 am and 11:00 am and then he comes back between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. But, wait, that’s not all. An additional 25 formidable stations carry one or the other or both of these shows on an independent network that has grown out of his recognition as a break-out talent with a growing following of fans. This network stretches from upstate New York to Portland to Louisiana to Pensacola to Baton Rouge, Nashville, New Orleans, New Mexico and Alabama, with eight stations in Texas. Berry, the son of a maintenance worker for a chemical plant, is an attorney with two law degrees and an interesting history in politics. He began his often-controversial talk radio career in 2005 while still Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Houston. He’s married to the former Secretary of State of Texas, who is from India (and also a lawyer). They are parents of two adopted sons from Ethiopia – now teenagers. TALKERS research places him at number 15 on its most-listened-to radio talk show hosts list with a weekly audience of some 5 million people. He’s also ranked number 9 on the 2021 TALKERS Heavy Hundred list of the 100 Most Important Radio Talk Show Hosts in America. Harrison and Berry engage in a fascinating conversation about a number of topics including the impact of the COVID era on the psyche of American workers, the application of the phrase “politics makes strange bedfellows” to today’s news/talk discussion, the differences between live radio and podcasting, Berry’s evolution from “yeller” to storyteller, and the syndrome of conservative talk show hosts often being unjustly accused of being proponents of racism and hate. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

iHeartMedia Faces Unionization of Podcast Network. After a majority of iHeartPodcast Network staffers signed union cards to organize with the Writers Guild of America, East, the Guild is calling on iHeartMedia to voluntarily recognize the union. According to a press release from the WGAE, “The approximately 125-member iHeartPodcast Network Bargaining Committee includes producers, editors, researchers, writers, and hosts based in Atlanta, Los Angeles and New York CIty. The iHeartPodcast Network includes hit series like ‘Stuff You Should Know,’ ‘Fake Doctors, Real Friends,’ ‘The Ron Burgundy Podcast,’ ‘Disgraceland,’ ‘Chelsea Handler: Life will be the Death of Me,’ ‘Noble Blood’ and ‘Committed,’ among many others.” In its “Why We’re Organizing” letter to iHM management, the organizing committee writes, in part: “We, the podcast producers, editors, researchers, writers, and hosts of iHeartMedia, are thrilled to announce that we are unionizing with the Writers Guild of America, East. Months of discussion with our colleagues have clarified some things: First, we love the community we have created at iHeart. We work shoulder to shoulder with some of the most creative minds in the business, who have come to feel more like family. We are devoted and passionate storytellers who take pride in our ability to provide our listeners with entertaining, thought-provoking audio content and, most importantly, companionship. However, during difficult times, we are reminded that while the iHeart Digital Audio Group prides itself on its relative autonomy and ability to adapt to the shifting needs of the marketplace—much like a start-up—we work under the capacity constraints of a legacy broadcast conglomerate. Essentially, we have been encouraged to embrace the dynamism of start-up culture without any of the associated benefits. Throughout the unprecedented challenges of the last two years, we managed to seamlessly transition to remote work; our adaptability helped the company not just sustain but thrive during a period of economic uncertainty and social unrest. During team calls, town halls, and official email communications from leadership, we are frequently reminded of the financial gains that we helped make possible. Bob Pittman, CEO and chairman of iHeartMedia, reported during last month’s quarterly earnings call that Digital Audio revenue increased by 77 % compared to 2020. Our division’s significant growth was “driven primarily by continuing increases in demand for digital advertising and the continued growth of podcasting,” where revenue is up 184 % compared to 2020. Unfortunately, those gains have not reached the creators working round-the-clock to keep our audience of more than 30 million monthly listeners actively engaged. With hundreds of shows across all categories and genres, many of us are doing the work of multiple employees, and the huge volume of content we are responsible for is not met with equitable compensation. Furthermore, we lack transparency in workplace decision making, meaningful initiatives toward diversity and inclusion, fairness in managerial relationships, and clarity in divisions of labor. While we are proud to be an essential part of iHeartMedia’s success over the past few years, we are keenly aware of significant internal pay disparities between similarly positioned individuals within the company. And across the board, iHeartMedia’s overall compensation and benefits standards are wholly insufficient when compared to the greater podcast and scripted audio market. Due to these working conditions, the creators of iHeart’s podcasts have banded together in order to help determine the best path forward so that iHeart can remain competitive, retain existing talent, and attract new voices to the network, all while creating a more equitable, transparent, and democratic workplace.” Staffers are seeking: Appropriate compensation and benefits, accountability mechanisms regarding diversity and inclusion efforts, manageable workloads and appropriate staffing for shows, clear paths for advancement and standardized job descriptions, and job security. There’s been no official word from iHeartMedia yet.

Audacy Unveils Sports Betting Intensive ‘95.7 The Fan’ in Rochester. Rochester sports talk outlet WROC-AM adds FM translator W239BF to its broadcast and Audacy adjusts the programming to go sports betting intensive as “95.7 The Fan.” The station is using programming from the BetQL Network, CBS Sports Radio and keeps the local Buffalo Bills program “One Bills Live” in early afternoons as well as “The Sports Bar with Danger and Battaglia” (hosted by Mike Danger and Gene Battaglia) in PM drive. The station also continues to air as simulcasts of sister station WCMF’s flagship play-by-play coverage of the Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres. Audacy Rochester SVP and market manager Sue Munn says, “In line with our company’s expansive position as leaders in sports audio, we’re delighted to enhance our sports content offering through the launch of ‘The Fan Rochester.’ Powered by widely recognizable BetQL and CBS Sports Radio programming, this station will give our local listeners more premier content from some of our brightest talent.”

KFI, Los Angeles Announces Record-Breaking 11th Annual Pastathon. Some of the staff of iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI are pictured above at a remote broadcast for this year’s 11th annual KFI Pastathon that raised a record-breaking $933,502 and 115,324 pounds of pasta and sauce to benefit Caterina’s Club, the local charity that provides more than 25,000 nutritious meals every week to children in need in Southern California. With the help of listeners, local businesses and the continued partnership with Barilla, this year’s event set a new fundraising record. Since 2010, KFI listeners have raised more than $4.5 million and over 700,000 pounds of pasta and sauce for children in need in the community. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci comments, “The KFI PastaThon is a full-station effort, and the biggest heroes are our listeners and partners. Every year, we reach new highs and that means more meals to feed more kids in Southern California. On behalf of the entire KFI team we thank the community for the remarkable generosity.”

Fargo’s ‘What’s on Your Mind?’ Radio Show Visits FOX Square in NYC. Pictured above are listeners to the “What’s on Your Mind?” show that airs on North Dakota stations KFYR, Bismarck; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga; and KLTC, Dickinson as they watch show host Scott Hennen (right) and FOX News Radio star Jimmy Failla (left) do a weather hit with FOX NewsJanice Dean (center). The group also was able to meet “FOX & Friends” co-star and FOX News Radio personality Brian Kilmeade and see the remnants of the now-famous burned Christmas tree.

Podcast Download Fall 2021: Big Three Expand Their Share. The just-released Fall 2021 edition of the Cumulus Media and Signal Hill Insights Podcast Download report focuses on how consumers access podcasts, what they want from a listening app, and attitudes and usage of the “big three” podcast publishers: Apple Podcasts, YouTube, and Spotify. As part of the study, Advertiser Perceptions surveyed 300 media agencies and marketers and found: 71% say they have discussed the potential of advertising in podcasts; An all-time high of 53% are likely to consider advertising in the next six months, up from 46% last year and 18% in 2015; Another all-time high of 44% indicate they are likely to actually advertise in podcasts in the next six months, up from 37% last year and 10% in 2015; and 45% report they are currently advertising in podcasts, an increase of three times from 2015 and a nine-point growth over 2020. In another aspect of the report, MARU/Matchbox conducted an in-depth study of 600 weekly podcast listeners in October 2021. In the MARU study, weekly podcast listeners were provided a list of podcast listening platforms and asked how often they listened to each. Since 2019, frequent Spotify use jumped from 30% to 36%. With podcasts showcased right in their app, Spotify has helped lure more music streamers into podcasting. Versus two years ago, YouTube is stable (33% to 34%) while Apple Podcasts dropped (from 38% to 27%). Frequent use of Google’s apps (Google Play/Google Podcasts) dropped from 19% in 2019 to 16% in 2021. See more about the study here.

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated talk radio host Mike Gallagher used the torching of the FOX News Christmas tree in Midtown Manhattan to spur his Salem Radio Network listeners to action for the network’s annual Angel Tree campaign that helps children of prisoners through the non-profit Prison Fellowship. Gallagher told his listeners, “Let’s show everyone that there’s more good than evil in America.” As a result, yesterday (12/8) more than 1,000 children of prisoners were sponsored and will be blessed with personalized Christmas gifts plus a note from their incarcerated mom or dad. Gallagher added, “We proved that a positive message can overcome any negative news when we all pull together.”…..The Carey Brothers are ending their media efforts after 35 years. Morris and James Carey announce they will wrap their radio program after the December 25 edition and the final “Tip of the Day” feature will air nationally on December 31. The Carey Brothers did their first radio show on January 2, 1987 at KCBS-AM, San Francisco. The program went national in 1992 and at its peak aired on more than 300 affiliate stations.

COVID-19 Omicron Variant/Rising Case Numbers/Mandate Repeal, Russia Threatens Ukraine, Biden’s Summit for Democracy, Evergrande Defaults, Violent Crime Spike, January 6 Investigation, Social Media/Instagram Testimony, and Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/8). The Omicron coronavirus variant, the rising case numbers in numerous U.S. states, and the Senate’s passing a repeal of Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate; Russia’s continuing military build-up at the Ukraine border; Russia and China criticize Joe Biden’s virtual Summit for Democracy taking place today and tomorrow; Chinese real estate giant Evergrande defaults causing concern of global investors; the violent crime spike in numerous American cities; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Donald Trump loyalists’ refusal to cooperate; Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri testifies at a Senate hearing on social media and teen safety; and the prosecution rests its case in the trial of Jeffrey Epstein confidant Ghislaine Maxwell were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.