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Thursday, December 23, 2021

| December 23, 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, “Shake Your Tree,” looks back at this past week of 12/20 – 12/24. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSJim Polito, talk show host, WXKS, Boston/WHJJ, Providence/WTAG, Worcester/WHYN, Springfield; Richard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network /physician; Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV-Radio; 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.

Jared Merves Named SVP of Digital for Cumulus Media. Digital media pro Jared Merves joins Cumulus Media as senior vice president, digital, effective January 18, 2022. Merves was most recently chief revenue officer of Distributed Media Lab, which had acquired Wundervue, a company he founded to support media companies and advertising agencies in their digital transformation, operations, product development, and growth opportunities. In his new role with Cumulus, Merves will “lead and further shape the company’s digital strategy with a focus on generating revenue across multiple Cumulus Media platforms and channels.” Cumulus Media president and CEO Mary Berner says, “Jared has been at the forefront of digital media throughout his career and has helped many companies propel their businesses forward through innovation. Digital has been a critical and successful pillar of our business strategy, and Jared brings the experience, creativity and technical expertise to build on that foundation and catapult us to the next level.”

HC Holiday Extra: Guest Hosting a Show Next Week? – Consultant Holland Cooke offers some advice to talk hosts sitting in for full-timers on vacation – what he calls “Talk Radio Audition Week.” But if you’re guest-hosting, this tends to be a perennially slow news week. In this column, HC suggests four call-in topics. Read more here.

Connoisseur Media’s EVP/CFO Driscoll to Step Down; Price Named New CFO. The company’s co-founder and current executive vice president and chief financial officer, Michael O. Driscoll, will step down from his CFO role on December 31. Driscoll has been CFO of Connoisseur Media since July 2004 and has been working with CEO and co-founder Jeffrey D. Warshaw for more than 25 years. Driscoll has been with Connoisseur and Warshaw since he was hired as CFO of Connoisseur Communications in 1996. He has handled financing, acquisitions, human resources and operational issues and has worked hand-in-hand with Warshaw in building the current company over the last 17 years. He remains at Connoisseur as EVP but will be stepping back from day-to-day management duties. Warshaw says, “Mike and I have worked together for a long time. In the years working with him, we have occasionally had different opinions, but never harsh words or arguments. I am glad in this new role he will get a chance to take some more time for travel and things he had wanted to do, but I look forward to still working together. He will always be my partner.” Assuming the SVP/CFO role on January 1 will be Oliver G. Price. He joined Connoisseur in 2012 and was most recently vice president of finance and accounting.

WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Announces Three Inductees into Hall of Fame. Heritage Charlotte news/talk station WBT-AM/FM announces that it will induct three personalities into the WBT Hall of Fame on April 9, 2022. John Stokes (left), Bob Lacey (center), and Jim Szoke (right) will be inducted as part of the Urban One station’s 100th Anniversary ceremony. John Stokes joined WBT in September of 1987 as the station’s news director.  For over 30 years, Stokes anchored the news in morning drive on the station, covering everything from the PTL scandal to Hurricane Hugo to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The original announcement of Stokes’ induction into the WBT hall of Fame was made upon his retirement from the station in 2019, but the celebration was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bob Lacey began his career at WBT in 1972 as one of the youngest regular on-air personalities ever on the station. Soon after, he began hosting the groundbreaking nighttime talk show, “Lacey Listens.” Three years later, he was promoted to host mornings, where he and partner Harold Johnson brought an edgy, modern sound to start the station’s daily lineup.  His top-rated show continued until 1980 when he moved on to television. Lacey ultimately returned to radio as part of the nationally syndicated “Bob & Sheri Show.” Arriving at WBT in 1986, Jim Szoke later became the station’s sports director during a time of major growth for the region’s sports market, including the launches of Charlotte’s NBA and NFL franchises.  In 1993, he helped secure the flagship station broadcast rights for WBT and two years later, he was named to the first-ever Carolina Panthers Radio Network crew, a role he still holds today.  He has gone on to broadcast more games for the Panthers than any voice in the team’s history.

TALKERS News Notes. If you’re still looking for some holiday programming, CBS News Radio is offering a radio version of “It’s a Wonderful Life!” – produced by the National Press Club and American Heritage magazine. CBS manager, affiliate services Amy Bolton says there are no network spots. If you’re interested, reach out to her at: boltona@cbsnews.com…..The Independent Broadcasters Association elects four new members to its board of directors. Tom Burns, owner, Technicom & Sauk Valley Broadcasting; Gary Berkowitz, president, Berkowitz Broadcast Consulting; Steve Clendenin, owner & general manager, WHGM-AM/FM; and Jim Jacobs, president, Radio Richmond, LLC are joining the board and begin their three-year terms on January 1. Executive director Ron Stone says, “The IBA is committed to having a board that is representative of its members and elected by the members. Every year, one-third of the board turns over to keep fresh ideas flowing. No existing Board member may serve more than one three-year term. This is our first election since the IBA was formed in April 2020, and we had over a dozen candidates that accepted nomination to fill the four open seats.”

Salem Central Arkansas Listener Wins Mortgage Payments for a Year. The four Salem Media Group stations in central Arkansas, including news/talk KXDE-FM “The Answer,” partnered with Sax Homes to give one person the chance to have their mortgage payments made for all of 2022. Pictured above is winner Skylar Oswalt of Benton, Arkansas who was randomly chosen from more than 1 million entries.

Economy/Build Back Better Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 20-24. The state of the U.S. economy and Senator Joe Manchin’s thumbs down to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan combined as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At this week was the raging COVID-19 Omicron variant, vaccines and mandates at #2, followed by the January 6 investigation at #3. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during 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.