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MIW Reveals Gender Analysis Study Results. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization reveals the results of the 22nd MIW Gender Analysis Study that tracks the progress of female professionals holding general manager, sales manager, and program director/brand manager titles. MIW says the study reflects data from the calendar year 2021 and was accounted for by PrecisionTrak. In the general manager category, women hold the position at 20.79% of U.S. radio stations. This is an increase of almost a full percentage point from 2020, which was 19.9%. Notably, this number continues to show consistent growth from 2004, when the percentage of female general managers was only 14.9%. Looking at sales managers, 33.59% of stations had a woman in the position last year. MIW says the management position that poses the greatest challenge for women is program director/brand manager. Only 12.09% of U.S. stations had women in the position in 2021, versus 12.2% in 2020. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “If the glass is half full we should celebrate any upward movement, even if it’s incremental, as jobs continue to be eliminated in the continuing pandemic. However, it’s disappointing that the glass isn’t filling faster for those in programming and MIW is paying close attention to this issue. We encourage you to register at radiomiw.com to learn about our multiple opportunities for mentoring and career development!”
iHeartMedia to Celebrate WOR, New York’s 100th Anniversary. WOR-AM, New York owner iHeartMedia is preparing to celebrate the news/talk station’s 100th anniversary of its first broadcast on February 22, 1922. Next Tuesday (2/22), “Len Berman and Michael Riedel in the Morning” will kick off the tribute by interviewing on-air hosts from WOR’s history to share memories of their time at the station. WOR will also air audio of historic moments and invite listeners to call in with their favorite WOR recollections. On February 23, the Empire State Building will light up in the colors of the station’s logo beginning at 5:40 pm. WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “A station broadcasting for over a century is truly incredible. 710 WOR has a strong connection with the communities we serve, and as the media landscape continues to evolve, it’s exciting to see our reach has continued to grow as WOR listeners adopt streaming on smart devices and the iHeartRadio app.” WOR was initially launched to sell radios and other merchandise at Bamberger’s department store in Newark, New Jersey.
Talk Host Mark Kaye Announces 15-Year-Old Sickle Cell Patient as New Voice of the Program. WOKV-FM, Jacksonville-based, syndicated radio talk show host Mark Kaye (left) names 15-year-old Quincy Chapman (right) the new voice of “The Mark Kaye Show.” Kaye met Chapman during his “Kaye’s Kids” charity event called “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Kaye says, “Every Christmas we surprise local children who are battling life-threatening illnesses with dream gifts. This past December, Quincy was one of those kids.” Chapman suffers from the painful Sickle Cell Disease that’s required several blood transfusions, spleen removal, and a recent hip transplant. “Quincy lives in constant pain,” says Kaye. “But you would never know it if you met him. He has an incredible personality, an amazing smile, and as soon as he spoke on the air we were blown away by the power of his voice. He sounds incredible!” After being at the station, Chapman posted a message on Instagram describing how much fun he had on the show and how he was “hooked” on radio. Kaye saw the post and came up with the idea of bringing him back into the studio to record elements for his show. Kaye says, “As soon as he walked in the studio you could tell by the look on his face how happy it made him. We asked him to record some liners and promos for us. Dude was a natural.”
Alpha Media’s Chris Schmidt Named NSMA’s Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year. Lincoln, Nebraska radio personality Chris Schmidt is named the National Sports Media Association’s 2021 Nebraska Sportscaster of the Year. Schmidt serves with Alpha Media’s news/talk KFOR-AM and sports talk KLMS-AM as play-by-play announcer, host of the “Hail Varsity” program, and cast member of the “KFOR Morning Show.” Alpha Media Lincoln market manager Katie Philipi says, “Chris is an exceptional broadcaster and his passion cannot be rivaled. He is so deserving of this award. The entire Alpha Lincoln family celebrates his achievement.” Schmidt comments, “I’m humbled and honored by this award. Thank you to the many folks I have worked with over the years and get to work with today. I have fun going to ‘work’ every day, talking about news and sports.”
Edison Research to Host Black Podcast Listener Report Networking Event. On February 28, Edison Research is hosting an online “networking” event to further the discussion of the results of the Black Podcast Listener Report it, SXM Media, and Mindshare released in October of 2021. Edison says the virtual event will give podcasters and other interested parties a chance to network and discuss various relevant podcast topics, such as key findings from the Black Podcast Listener Report, feedback for the next report, and other topics helpful to creators in the space. The study participants consisted of over 2,500 Black Americans age 18+. It concluded that 36% of Black Americans now listen to podcasts monthly. Black listeners are closing the gap with the general market. In 2020, 17% of Black Americans were listening to podcasts weekly, compared with 24% of all Americans. Just a year later, the number of weekly Black listeners jumped to 26% (while the general market grew slightly to 28%). Also, 42% of Black monthly podcast listeners say they’ve been streaming shows for one year or less. You can read the report here and you can register for the networking event here.
Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Durham Probe, S.F. School Board Recall, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Palin-NYTimes Case, Alec Baldwin Suit, and Beijing Winter Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/15). The threat of war over Russia’s military buildup at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the planned relaxing of mask mandates in numerous states, and the truckers’ protests; special counsel John Durham’s investigation into allegations of Hillary Clinton’s digital spying on Donald Trump; the successful recall of three liberal San Francisco School Board members; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; a judge tosses Sarah Palin’s defamation suit against The New York Times; Alec Baldwin is sued in connection with the shooting death on the Rust set; and the politics behind the Beijing Winter Olympics were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Darren Moore Named Vice President/General Manager for Cox Media Group Ohio. Television sales executive Darren Moore is named vice president and general manager for Cox Media Group Ohio that includes heritage news/talk WHIO-AM/FM, two music formatted stations and WHIO-TV. Moore will oversee all operations at the outlets including news, programming, sales, digital, engineering, production and community affairs. Moore joined CMG 26 years ago as an intern for WPXI-TV, Pittsburgh. He served with WAXN-TV, Charlotte before returning to CMG Pittsburgh where he served in various sales management roles. CMG EVP of Television Paul Curran says, “Darren’s passion for people, the broadcasting industry and CMG is infectious and inspiring. His strong track record of forging internal and external relationships will make a positive impact on our Dayton operations and in the Dayton community. I look forward to watching him excel in this new role as our approach to broadcasting in Dayton continues to evolve.” Moore comments, “I am honored to join the outstanding broadcasters at CMG Ohio, home to some of the most iconic TV and radio brands in the entire industry. I can’t wait to start working with the Dayton team, further enhancing our award-winning brands, serving our customers and viewers, and partnering with the local Miami Valley community.”
Steve Moore Promoted to OM for Audacy St. Louis. Programming pro Steve Moore is promoted to operations manager for Audacy St. Louis. In this role, Moore will oversee the markets’ six brands, including heritage news/talk KMOX-AM and news/talk KFTK-FM and its four music formatted sister stations. Audacy St. Louis VP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “I am beyond delighted to have Steve ascend into this new role. He has been so instrumental in building operational alignment, collaboration, and synergy across our St. Louis footprint. I am looking forward to Steve helping us continue to grow our incredible brands.” Moore comments, “I couldn’t be more excited for this new opportunity. I appreciate the trust that Becky Domyan and Audacy have shown me and I’m looking forward to working more closely with Derrick, Leo and the talented broadcasters on these incredible music stations.”
FOXNews.com Tops in Multiplatform Minutes in 2021. According to data from Comscore, FOX News Media’s FOXNews.com finished 2021 as “the top-performing news brand in the competitive set, delivering 38 billion total multiplatform minutes… FOXNews.com also toppled nearly every news organization in the competitive set, outpacing NYTimes.com and WashingtonPost.com in all categories for the entire year.” In its head-to-head battle with CNN.com, FOXNews.com had 37.8 billion multiplatform total minutes compared to CNN.com’s 35.5 billion. CNN.com topped FOXNews.com in the multiplatform total views metric (20.3 billion versus 18.4 billion) and in the average monthly multiplatform unique visitors metric (139 million versus 86 million). FOX News says 2021 marked its highest non-election year on record in social engagement. The digital network hit a new high in Instagram interactions, reaching over 286 million, its best year to date. 2021 also was a record year for the highest amount of video views ever for FOX News, driving nearly 4 billion video views across YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. The network saw increases of nearly 10% in YouTube Video Views versus the prior year, driving slightly over 3 billion views.
Round One of Holiday PPMs Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s Holiday 2021 sweep covered December 9 – January 5. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Nielsen’s annual Holiday PPM survey is traditionally not good to spoken word radio stations as so much listening is attributed to music outlets playing Christmas music. Bucking the trend, both of Audacy’s New York all-news stations were up compared to the December survey. WINS added six-tenths to finish with a 4.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rose to the #5 rank while WCBS-AM added four-tenths for a 2.6 share finish good for the #13 rank. In Dallas, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WBAP-AM tacked on two-tenths for a 3.0 share but remained in the #14 rank. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta dipped eight-tenths to a 5.8 share and sliding to the #5 rank. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets here.
Wendy Bell Gets Weekend Show on Newsmax. Longtime Pittsburgh television and radio personality Wendy Bell is joining Newsmax for a weekend program titled “Wendy Bell Common Sense.” The program will debut this Saturday (1/29) at 4:30 pm ET and “will examine the news of the day with a lively approach to national issues.” (It will air again on Sundays at 3:30 PM ET.) Bell says, “People are hungry for common sense in this country, and that’s what this new program is about. Telling the truth, having great conversations, talking about what really matters. It’s going to be outstanding.” Bell also hosts a syndicated talk radio program that airs live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET. Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy comments, “Wendy Bell has had a remarkable career as a television journalist and radio host, and throughout it all has been an advocate of common sense and American values. We are glad to have her on the Newsmax team.”
Salem Media Group Names Ron DeSantis ‘Culture Warrior of the Year.’ Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is named “2021 Salem Culture Warrior of the Year” by Salem Media Group. The honor is the result of voting by Salem listeners and DeSantis received 52% of the vote among the six finalists. Salem listeners were given the chance to nominate anyone who fits the category. Salem SVP of spoken word Phil Boyce says, “Governor DeSantis is well deserving of this honor, and it proves how strong he is not only in Florida, but also across the country. Last year this award was given to Candace Owens, so both honorees are well deserving of the respect and admiration of the Salem audience across the country.”
MIW Offers ‘Understanding Broadcast Law’ Program. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio organization – dedicated to the advancement of female leadership in radio broadcasting – announces a new career enhancing program titled, “Understanding Broadcast Law,” sponsored by Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth Law, PLC. The “Understanding Broadcast Law” program is built to clarify the numerous legal issues inherent to the radio business. In addition to underwriting the program, which runs throughout 2022, Fletcher, Heald & Hildreth partners Frank Montero and Kathleen Victory and their team will host a series of free and on-demand videos dedicated to answering questions and providing practical and applicable information as it pertains to radio law. From EEO to FCC license renewals and contracts, to conversations with corporate lawyers, each unique and informative video will be easily accessible on a variety of platforms. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “Knowledge is power, and the opportunity to empower more women by demystifying legal issues is huge. We are beyond grateful for Fletcher, Heald and Hildreth’s sponsorship of this important series. Frank and his team are providing an invaluable opportunity to the MIW community and the industry.” To ensure that these instructive videos focus on areas of highest need and priority, MIW is asking for feedback from interested participants. They have created a survey that you can take here.
WhyHunger ‘Hungerthon’ Raises $920,000 from Holiday Campaign. The 36th annual Hungerthon campaign raised more than $920,000 “to support true solutions to hunger and build social justice for all.” The organization WhyHunger partnered with Audacy New York, iHeartMedia New York and SiriusXM to engage listeners and raise funds. Celebrity supporters like vitafusion Gummy Vitamins ambassador Tiffany Haddish, Yoko Ono Lennon and Bruce Springsteen lent their voices to the issue. The radio partners hosted live broadcasts featuring exclusive interviews on topics such as hunger and health, the root causes of hunger, women in food justice and COVID-19’s impact on hunger, while raising funds through auction items, donation drives and social media engagement. The Audacy New York stations – including sports talk WFAN, all-newsers WINS and WCBS-AM – hosted a radiothon on November 23 raising more than $400,000. Items donated for auction included a Bruce Springsteen autographed guitar, a Bob Weir autographed guitar, a chance to sit in on WFAN’s “Boomer & Gio” show, and more.
Broadcasters Foundation of America Receives Top Score from Charity Navigator. The Broadcasters Foundation of America proudly announces it has achieved a rating of 100 from Charity Navigator, the world’s largest and most trusted nonprofit evaluator. The evaluation process takes place over a seven-year period and uses Charity Navigator’s Encompass Rating System. The Broadcasters Foundation received a score of 100 in finance & accountability, reflecting its solid financial health (stability, efficiency, and sustainability) and commitment to governance practices and policies. In addition, the Broadcasters Foundation also received full credit at 72% for its Program Expense Ratio, which measures the percent of total expenses spent on the programs and services it exists to deliver. BFoA co-president Jim Thompson says, “We are very proud to receive this high level of accreditation from Charity Navigator. We have worked diligently to maximize our budget to provide the aid that so many in our industry desperately need. Life-altering illness or accident can devastate a family’s financial situation, and the Broadcasters Foundation is committed to easing that strain for our colleagues who qualify.” For more information, visit www.broadcastersfoundation.org.
Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Financial Markets/Inflation/Crypto Plunge, Urban Violent Crime Spike, Midterms/Trump & GOP, Boris Johnson Troubles, the Beijing Olympics, and Baseball Hall of Fame Snubs Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/25). The global tensions over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad plus legal battles over mask & vaccine mandates; the skittish world financial markets, high retail and oil prices & the plunge in cryptocurrency; the spike in violent crime in America’s large cities; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the ropes for violating his own COVID regulations; the drama surrounding the Beijing Olympics; and the Baseball Hall of Fame doesn’t admit Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds on their final ballots were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WNDB, Daytona Beach Host Marc Bernier Hospitalized with COVID-19. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier is in the hospital being treated for COVID-19. Like some other conservative talk radio hosts, Bernier has been a vocal critic of the vaccines, although station officials tell the paper they do not know Bernier’s vaccination status for certain. The report indicates that Bernier missed last week’s programs while home sick. He was diagnosed on Friday and was hospitalized on Saturday (8/7). WNDB operations manager Mark McKinney tells the paper, “I don’t have an update on him at this point, other than he has been hospitalized.” McKinney later added, “We will be airing announcements several times an hour (during Bernier’s program) that he is recovering from COVID-induced pneumonia and that we hope to have him back on the air soon.”
WSPD, Todelo’s Scott Sands Dealing with Breakthrough COVID-19 Case. Toledo talk host Scott Sands tells his story of contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19 to WTOL-TV. Sands – who hosts the afternoon drive daypart on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WSPD-AM – says that he was vaccinated in April and is well enough to broadcast from home for the next two weeks. Sands tells WTOL-TV that he believes if he had not been vaccinated his symptoms would have been worse and he is encouraging his listeners to get vaccinated. “Even if it doesn’t protect you from getting COVID-19 at some point, I truly believe at some point it will mitigate the symptoms and help you recover much faster and if nothing else help slow the spread.”
Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s July 2021 sweep covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. In New York, Audacy’s all-news WINS picks up one-tenth for a 2.7 share (weekly 6+ AQH share) good for the #12 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles sheds four-tenths to finish the survey with a 4.0 share and falls to the #6 rank. In Chicago, Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM takes back the #1 rank from urban AC WVAZ after adding seven-tenths for a 6.7 share finish. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta remains ranked #1 in the market after adding two-tenths and wrapping the survey with an 8.3 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets here.
1010 WINS Launches Spanish Audio Companion. The New York all-news outlet announces the launch of 1010 WINS Noticias.com, “a multiplatform, Spanish digital audio offering for 1010 WINS (WINS-AM), the most listened-to news station in the country.” Audacy says Audacy.com/1010WINSNoticias “will deliver the same energy, resources, and trusted content for news as 1010 WINS, providing original content, audio and video podcasts and a daily newscast for download – all in Spanish. Podcasts at launch include a rare sit-down conversation with Venezuela’s acting president Juan Guaido.” WINS brand manager Ben Mevorach adds, “We could not be more excited about this new venture. No news brand is more respected or more New York than 1010 WINS. To be able to now share what we do with the Spanish-speaking news consumer represents an extraordinary opportunity for them, for us, and for advertisers.” Audacy says that 1010 WINS Noticias will also aim to create a unique value proposition for advertisers through multiple opportunities to reach consumers, included co-branded targeted social media posts, mobile app display ads and custom email newsletters, as well as homepage takeovers.
Gow Media’s ‘ESPN Houston’ Announces New Program Lineup. Houston sports talk outlet KFNC-FM/K223CW “ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM” unveils its new lineup. Gow Media says the new program schedule will take effect on August 16 and will “showcase a new direction, featuring new voices, and new shows with an emphasis on covering the teams and storylines that Houston sports fans care about. The all-local weekday lineup will continue to boast veteran hosts John Granato, Lance Zierlein, Charlie Pallilo and Joel Blank. New additions to the roster include Jeremy Branham, Jake Asman, Cody Stoots and Brad Kellner.” The lineup is as follows: 7:00 am to 10:00 am – “The Bench with John Granato & Lance Zierlein”; 10:00 am to 12:00 noon – “The Charlie Pallilo Show”; 12:noon to 3:00 pm – “The Killer B’s with Joel Blank & Jeremy Branham”; and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm – “The Wheelhouse with Jake Asman, Cody Stoots & Brad Kellner.” Additionally, longtime station host Fred Faour will continue to be part of the on-air team, joining shows throughout the week in a new role as the station’s sports betting analyst. CEO David Gow says, “Fred has a deep connection with our listeners, and will continue to be an important part of our on-air team. He will also lead the development of a new online offering that we’ll be launching soon.”
Libby Nolan Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia St. Louis. Radio sales pro Libby Nolan is named SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis market. The company’s St. Louis outlets include BIN: Black Information Network’s BIN103.7 plus four music brands. Nolan joins iHeartMedia St. Louis from Zimmer Radio in Springfield, Missouri, where she served as vice president and director of sales. Prior to that, Nolan acted as market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Quincy-Hannibal radio cluster. She spent almost 10 years of her career at Emmis St. Louis serving in several leadership positions. She also held leadership positions at Audacy-owned news/talk KFTK-FM. iHeartMedia St. Louis president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “I am very excited to have Libby on our team. Her diverse background and leadership skills are a perfect match for the amazing things we have to look forward to at iHeart St. Louis.”
Brenda Franco Named GM for JVC Media’s Fort Walton Beach Cluster. Radio sales and management pro Brenda Franco is named general manager for JVC Media of Florida’s Fort Walton Beach station group that includes WZLB-FM “Florida Man Radio 103.1” and three music brands. Franco was most recently key account manager and senior marketing consultant for Cumulus Media in the Fort Walton Beach/Destin market. JVC executive Shane Reeve comments, “JVC’s commitment to the Emerald Coast and all of our markets is to grow our culture of great LOCAL radio for our listeners and clients. The addition of Brenda as our general manager for JVC Fort Walton Beach is a win for everyone in the market. Brenda’s success in sales management up and down the Emerald Coast is due to her incredible knowledge and passion for her clients, listeners, and the industry. I was always so impressed with Brenda during my earlier tenure in Fort Walton Beach and I am thrilled to have someone of her caliber on board with the JVC family.”
TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by The Count, KFI, Los Angeles morning host Bill Handel is to undergo heart surgery. The Count says Handel called into the station last Thursday while hospitalized, saying he is to undergo heart valve replacement surgery, telling his fill-in, “Now they have to crack my chest. The valve is definitely infected.” Handel underwent surgery to replace the same aortic valve in 2011…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and the NCAA agree to a multi-year renewal, maintaining Westwood One’s place as the official network audio broadcast partner of the NCAA for many years to come. Westwood One has broadcast the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 1982 and every game of NCAA March Madness on multiple platforms since 2005. Under the terms of the deal, Westwood One retains exclusive broadcast radio, digital audio, distribution, and licensing rights for all 90 NCAA Championships, including the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments and the Final Fours…..WGN, Chicago reports that the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks released a medical update on Blackhawks radio color analyst Troy Murray, who says, “I want to let everyone know of the challenge that I’m currently facing. I have been diagnosed with cancer. With the love and support of my family, friends, the Wirtz family, the Chicago Blackhawks organization and WGN Radio I’m confident that together, we will beat this.” WGN vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “Troy is beloved by all our listeners and is a significant member of the WGN Radio family. It goes without saying that Troy and his family have our love and support as he begins his treatments. We are cheering for him and wish him well. Along with the Blackhawks, we ask that you respect his privacy during this time.”…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, announces that former NFLquarterback Shaun King is joining the network as co-host of “The Night Cap” in which he’ll co-host with Tim Murray to cover sports betting markets around the country each weeknight from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. VSiN CEO Brian Musberger comments, “Shaun is an incredible talent, and we’re thrilled to add his unique perspective as a player to our sports betting content as we continue to expand VSiN’s programming and reach. His experience as an NFL quarterback coupled with the skills he honed as a former ESPN and NBC Sports analyst will be an incredibly valuable addition to our evening lineup.”…..Pictured below is Westwood One late night talk radio star Jim Bohannon (right) being inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual gathering in Branson, Missouri.
COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Debate, Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Infrastructure Bill, Climate Change/Wildfires, Prince Andrew Sexual Abuse Suit, Capitol Riot Investigation, and Obama Party Backlash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/9). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask mandates for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo digs in as sexual harassment allegations put pressure on him to resign; the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; the UN’s IPCC-authored climate report and the wildfires devastating California and Greece; American Virginia Giuffre sues Prince Andrew for sexual abuse; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot; and criticism of former President Barack Obama’s birthday bash for flouting COVID-19 guidelines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
Monday Memo: #Rush4ever. Consultant Holland Cooke reckons that “there’s dang little we can do to keep someone sitting in a parked car with the key on Accessories. But Rush did that, often. And these carefully chosen archival clips they’re playing are even more captivating.” In this week’s column, HC suggests longer-term options to succeed a talent “who can never be replaced.” Read his column here.
Pending Business: Rush Changed How We Sell. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa says Rush Limbaugh changed not only what people talked about on AM radio, but how we sell the talk radio format. Limbaugh’s so-called controversial content often caused the “no-buy” tag to be applied to his program. “Big ratings were no longer an automatic revenue generator. Rush stood steadfast. His audience grew to become the biggest and arguably the most responsive of any network radio talent. A new chapter had to be written in the ad sales playbook. Sellers knew if Rush got behind an ad campaign, phones would ring, orders would come in, and sponsors could experience the powerful results that only talk radio can deliver.” Read Lapa’s column here.
Belling: Appleton Jock Should Not Be Fired. WISN-AM, Milwaukee afternoon drive personality Mark Belling pens a piece posted to his own website that addresses the suspension of rock WAPL-FM, Appleton, Wisconsin jock Len Nelson by Woodward Communications for comments critical of Rush Limbaugh after his death last week that culminated with the sentiment, “The world is a better place without Rush Limbaugh in it.” Belling, who was a frequent fill-in host for Limbaugh for more than 20 years, says, “Obnoxious as Nelson’s comments are, he should not have been suspended and he should certainly not be fired. If his audience sees him for the doofus he is, fine. But this pandemic of firing people for saying things others don’t like is un-American. And it’s childish. Nelson’s comments are not, to use a word the left loves, hurtful. Rush has been very important to my life and my career and I’m not hurt by Nelson’s comments one bit. I am able to consider the source and move on.” Read Belling’s entire commentary here.
TALKERS News Notes. New York City morning radio personality Jim Kerr signs a new deal with iHeartMedia’s classic rock WAXQ-FM “Q104.3” to continue in his role with the station through 2026. Kerr co-hosts the program with Shelli Sonstein. Station PD Eric Wellman says, “Getting to work every day with one of the true legends like Jim is a joy and a privilege. Knowing he will be with ‘Q104.3’ entertaining our audience every morning along with Shelli lets me sleep better at night. Here’s to another five years with Jim Kerr!” Active for decades in civic and charitable affairs, Kerr is a 35-year board member of HeartShare Human Services of New York and a member of the SAG-AFTRA Foundation board. He’s also a vice president of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists…..Former longtime WAAF-FM, Boston air personality Mike Hsu is named morning drive host at Cumulus Media’s classic rock WWFX-FM, Worcester, Massachusetts “The Pike 100 FM.” Hsu lost his ig with WAAF when the station was sold by Entercom to Educational Media Foundation a year ago. He joined “The Pike” last August as a part-timer. Cumulus regional VP and market manager Bob Goodell says, “‘Pike’ program director Chuck Perks and I are both very excited to have Mike hosting The Pike’s morning show. He’s a part of the rock fabric of Central Massachusetts and one of the most well-known personalities from his time served at WAAF.”…..Hubbard Radio‘s WTOP, Washington announces the launch of season two of its “American Nightmare Podcast Series: Murder in a Safe Place.” This season focuses on a cold case that has haunted the D.C. region for over 23 years – the brutal rape and murder of a 50-year-old nurse inside the Maryland hospital where she worked. Throughout the podcast, veteran D.C. crime reporter and podcast host Paul Wagner searches for answers and clues to Sherry Crandell’s death. He says, “When I started working on this podcast a year ago, I thought I already knew everything there was to know about this case. I couldn’t have been more wrong. What I’ve learned as I’ve investigated this case has genuinely shocked me. I’m excited to share this new information with listeners as they come on this podcast journey with me.”…..SiriusXM announces two new talk programs. First, “Jamila’s Jams” is a new, one-hour show hosted by MTV and BET personality Jamila Mustafa, that airs on the Volume channel. On the program, Mustafa breaks down everything going on in pop culture right now – from the biggest moments in music to the biggest influencers of our time – “Jamila’s Jams” features lively conversations about hip hop and its relevance in today’s world. Second, the live, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon ET “Lurie Daniel Favors Show” focusing on the interconnectedness of race, class, gender, politics, and the law debuts on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel. Lurie Daniel Favors, Esq., is an activist, attorney and author with a long-standing commitment to racial and social justice. She is a weekly contributor to “The Karen Hunter Show” and co-hosts “Sunday Civics” on Urban View.
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Philadelphia Radio Pro Cody Anderson Dies at 78. The Philadelphia Inquirer has the obit for William “Cody” Anderson, the Black radio personality and executive who was the first GM of urban talker WURD-AM/W240CH, Philadelphia. He died on Saturday (2/20) from complications from COVID-19. Prior to his death he was host of the Saturday morning “Electric Magazine” program on WURD. Prior to his work with WURD, he served as general manager for urban contemporary WDAS-FM and was a former owner of WHAT-AM, where he created a Black talk format. WURD president and CEO Sara Lomax-Reese tells the Inquirer, “Cody was instrumental in breathing life into WURD and shepherding it over our almost 20 years, first as general manager and most recently as a beloved host, mentor and friend. Like his biological family, the WURD family will miss him deeply. But we are grateful for his tireless and generous support of independent Black media, which he championed every day of his life, especially through his advocacy of WURD Radio.”
COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, State of GOP-Trump at CPAC, Biden’s Stimulus Plan-PPP Changes, Cuomo Investigation, Newsom Recall, Texas Winter Weather Woes, Denver 777 Incident Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The falling number of positive COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the state of the Republican Party in the aftermath of the Trump impeachment acquittal and Donald Trump’s scheduled appearance at CPAC next Sunday; President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan and the new PPP protocol designed to help small businesses; the investigation into New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s handling of COVID in nursing homes; the move to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom; Texas’ energy providers criticized for grid breakdown during cold snap; and a Boeing 777 engine fails on takeoff from Denver were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
NYTimes Piece Pins Capitol Attack on Talk Radio. The piece in The New York Times titled, “How Right-Wing Radio Stoked Anger Before the Capitol Siege,” comes on the heels of a story published by the Washington Post several days prior that attempts to assess the state of talk radio and where its future lies in the 21st century American media landscape. The two stories are at the forefront of an effort by the mainstream media to determine why U.S. citizens aligned with Donald Trump were willing to break into the U.S. Capitol on January 6 to disrupt the certification of the 2020 presidential election. In the Times story, the writers quote statements by leading talk hosts, some of which show sympathy for the “stolen election” allegation, others that directly claim it to be true, and still others that use language that advocates protest but falls short of encouraging law breaking. TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison is quoted saying, “We always had shock jocks. But then we had a shock president.” Harrison, one of the most vocal proponents of the First Amendment in radio over the past half century, elaborates by stating, “Democracy and free speech as reflected and discussed on political news/talk radio constitute the major hardball league in the marketplace of ideas. Neither democracy nor free speech are tidy processes and can get real mean, loud, and even dirty – but both are vital to the very foundation of liberty as we understand it as being the American way. It takes courage to stake out a controversial opinion in the media and willingness to face the negative blowback of critics and political opponents from other platforms – even to the point of economic boycotts – keeping in mind that negative reaction comes with the territory of a healthy First Amendment in action under which they are all fair game. From this perspective, media practitioners such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin are among the most important commentators in America today and they should be cut some slack from being demonized for performing their jobs. That being said, we should never confuse the difference between being a pre-meditated liar for personal gain and simply being wrong in our interpretation of the evidence and news at hand in a swirling, ever-changing political environment. We should also not forget that there is a HUGE difference between being a non-elected media pundit and being the President of the United States. The fact that these talk show hosts are being compared to the President of the United States as being responsible for his statements and their real-world consequences either shows how incredibly important this profession has become or just how low Donald Trump – the first ‘shock president’ – has sunk the presidency and is pulling his loyal media followers with him down the rabbit hole. These hosts will have to decide for themselves if they want to stay on the Trump train or get off at the station being offered by the Senate trial. History WILL eventually be the judge of the wisdom of their decisions going forward.”
Root: I Was ‘Disappeared’ by Twitter. Las Vegas-based, nationally syndicated talk radio host Wayne Allyn Root writes an opinion piece for TALKERS magazine today in which he decries his Twitter account being shut down. Root is one of a number of conservative media personalities who’ve lost their Twitter accounts, many of which were suspended or shut down for supporting election fraud theories, and liberal media figure Robert F. Kennedy Jr. just lost his Instagram account for his anti-vaxxer posts. Of course, not everyone in conservative talk radio takes Root’s position that private social media platforms are obligated to carry materials or opinions with which they disagree or believe to be harmful. After all, if the Fairness Doctrine was repressive to talk radio, isn’t imposing a similar obligation on Twitter equally repressive to the First Amendment? The First Amendment protects private platform owners from being obligated to run content with which they disagree and only protects free speech from government censorship. You can read Root’s piece here.
NAB Comes Out Against Geo-Targeting Using FM Boosters. The National Association of Broadcasters is filing comments with the FCC on its inquiry into whether to amend its rules to allow FM booster stations to originate programming. As TALKERS reported earlier this week, GeoBroadcast Solutions received permission for its fourth test of its technology that enables FM radio broadcasters to use boosters to air geo-targeted content, independent of a broadcaster’s primary signal, within different portions of a station’s market – what the company calls ZoneCasting. But the NAB says that after a careful and thorough review of the Notice, it is strongly opposing revising the booster rule that forbids them from airing unique content, a requirement for ZoneCasting. The NAB says, “A close review of the Notice suggests that rather than bolster the industry’s economic outlook, GBS’s proposal would instead undermine the industry’s fundamental business model. The vast majority of broadcasters – from a wide array of perspectives – agree that permitting program origination on boosters will almost certainly drive both advertising rates and revenues down even further as advertisers push to purchase geo-targeted ads. The outcome is unavoidable, given the obvious business incentives for advertisers to purchase spots that cherry-pick what they view to be their most desirable customers and at a lower cost. Further inspection also leads to the inevitable conclusion that broadcasters will not be able to recoup such losses through sales of any additional spot inventory that is created on boosters. Based on their considerable advertising expertise, most station owners predict that existing advertising customers will likely substitute, rather than supplement, market-wide ads with cheaper, geo-targeted ads. They also agree that potential sales of geo-targeted ads to new customers are purely speculative. Broadcasters do not by and large see pent-up demand by small businesses in their local markets that have not previously purchased advertising time, and even if such demand exists, it would not be economical to undertake the substantial investment to capture the additional business.” The NAB goes on to say, “Amending the booster rule could very well produce a race to the bottom of ad rates and revenues and NAB is concerned that ZoneCasting will only increase the leverage of larger broadcasters and consolidated groups at the expense of smaller stations. Minority- and women-owned stations could be hardest hit if they cannot afford the expense of selling geo- targeted ads or absorb lower advertising rates and new competition for ad dollars from the boosters of larger stations.” It also questions the effect the technology could have on listeners. “Broadcasters are extremely concerned that the interference caused by geo-targeting where the boundary of a primary station meets a booster airing different programming will spur listeners to change to an alternative platform and reflect poorly on the reputation of FM radio service. Even if an individual station is willing to risk that loss, listeners may not limit their disdain to one station or group; rather, they may become so disenchanted with the reliability of terrestrial radio that they seek out a plethora of other options.” You can see the NAB’s complete comments submitted to the FCC here.
MIW Group’s Gender Analysis Report Card Shows Improvement and Room for Growth. The annual MIW Gender Analysis Study for the year 2020 is released by the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group. Each year it compiles and analyzes the number of women in radio broadcasting who are rising to the ranks of management – specifically tracking the progress of female professionals holding general manager, sales manager, and program director positions. MIW says the figures and percentages in the study’s conclusion are reflective of 11,158 AM and FM radio stations across America, as accounted for by PrecisionTrak as of December 31, 2020. Looking at the general manager position, the study finds that in 2020 19.9% of stations had women in that role, up from 19.5% in 2019. MIW says this number continues to show consistent growth from 2004, when the percentage of female GMs was only 14.9%. Moving to sales managers, MIW says the best management opportunities for women in radio continue to be in sales management. 33% of stations had a woman sales manager in 2020, that figure was basically flat from 33.1% in 2019. MIW says that although there continues to be progress, the greatest challenge for women in radio management continues to be in the area of program director. Women currently program 12.2% of stations versus 11.6% last year. This is the second year in a row this number has increased, as it has remained stalled for fourteen years. MIW Group national spokeswoman Ruth Presslaff comments, “In a year as challenging as 2020, any growth should be celebrated. However, our mission is advocating for the advancement of women to senior radio positions in radio. If not flat, the 2020 numbers reflect only slight increases. This fuels our passion for mentoring and inspiring women in the industry and drives our dedication to seeing these numbers rise in 2021 and beyond.”
Two New Affiliates for Erick Erickson Show. The syndicated, midday “Erick Erickson Show” adds two new affiliates to its roster of stations. RadioJones LLC’s WVOP, Vidalia, Georgia (yes, the home of the Vidalia onion!), that covers a significant portion of the southeast part of Georgia, adds the program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm time slot. Also, QBS Broadcasting’s WBQO, Brunswick, Georgia, covering the Georgia coastal area, picks up the show, airing it live from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.
Doug Stephan’s DJV Show Adds Jai Kershner as Air Personality and Social Media Director. The nationally syndicated “DJV Show” – starring Doug Stephan, Jen Horn, and Victoria Keelan – announces the addition of Jai Kershner to the program as an air personality social media director. Kershner was most recently with Saga Communications’ country WVVR-FM, Clarksville, Tennessee “The Beaver 100.3” where she was air personality. Prior to that she was co-host of the nationally syndicated “Dawson McCallister Show.” Stephan says, “Jai brings a contemporary feel to the show and keeps the audience abreast of what’s trending. She fits in nicely with Jennifer, Victoria, and me.” Kershner comments, “It’s a great responsibility and challenge, which coupled with the great reach of the ‘DJV Show,’ presents an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”
Former ICE Acting Director Joins FAIR as Senior Fellow and Spokesperson. The Federation for American Immigration Reform announces that former Acting Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan joins the organization as a senior fellow and an additional spokesperson. FAIR says that Morgan “brings a wealth of knowledge and dedication to the immigration policy debate and, in his new capacity at FAIR, he will continue to be an important voice in the ongoing debate about immigration enforcement and border security.” FAIR executive director Bob Dane adds, “Mark’s experience and unwavering commitment to enforce our nation’s laws has made him one of America’s most respected experts on immigration. His expertise and ‘tell it like it really is’ approach are needed now more than ever as the Biden administration is whittling away interior and perimeter controls at breakneck speed. As Mark has done so many times during his decorated career, he once again answers the call to serve his nation as senior fellow at FAIR. Quite simply, Mark is the right guy, at the right time, in the right place.” Speaking about his new role, Morgan states, “I’m honored to serve as a senior fellow with FAIR, which is dedicated to engaging in meaningful dialogue to influence, formulate and promote responsible immigration policies for the 21st century and beyond. I am delighted to be part of the effort to seek out solutions to mitigate the tremendous burden and negative impact of uncontrolled immigration on our country’s national security and economic prosperity.”
Rachel Rollar Joins Newsmax TV’s Morning Show. The newest addition to the on-air staff at Newsmax TV is broadcast journalist Rachel Rollar, who is now part of the “Wake Up America” morning program hosted by Rob Finnerty. Newsmax says Rollar will deliver national and international news and social media updates. The program will include her feature, “Rachel’s Rapid Reactions,” in which she’ll “show what people are talking about in real time on social media in hope of bridging the gap between the audience and the newscast.” Speaking about her new position she says, “I’m excited to be joining the Newsmax TV team and its growing number of media professionals. This is a great opportunity to speak to viewers who are passionate about news.”
Hats Off to Radio Pioneers Edwin Armstrong and William Lear. The confluence of National Inventors Day (2/11) and World Radio Day (2/13) is a great time to remember the accomplishments of two of radio’s technology pioneers: Edwin Howard Armstrong, inventor of FM radio, and William Lear, inventor of the first practical car radio. Aaron Bennett of the National Inventors Hall of Fame writes a piece published today in TALKERS to help us remember these men – both inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame – whose inventions helped make radio the 20th century media powerhouse that it became. Read his piece here.
Trump Impeachment Case/Georgia Criminal Probe, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Social Media & Censorship, Robinhood Lawsuit, Springsteen OUI-Jeep Spot, and Larry Flynt Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/10). The impeachment case against Donald Trump and the state of Georgia’s probe into Trump’s call to its secretary of state seeking changes in the presidential vote totals; the number of positive COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; conservatives’ complaints about being censored by social media platforms and anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy, Jr is banned from Twitter; the family of college student Alex Kearns sues trading firm Robinhood over his suicide; Bruce Springsteen’s Jeep spot is pulled after his November OUI becomes public; and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt dies at 78 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.