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Thursday, February 10, 2022

| February 10, 2022

WRVA, Richmond Talk Mainstay Jeff Katz is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the elite local hosts in talk radio, Jeff Katz – heard 3:00-6:00 pm daily on WRVA, Richmond – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Katz has been a radio talk show host since the early 1990s on major stations in Boston, Hartford, Charlotte, Philadelphia and currently in Richmond since 2013. He grew up in Philadelphia and was aiming for a career as an attorney until his father suffered a heart attack that set him on a different path so that he could help support his family. Katz graduated at the top of his police academy class and then served as a police officer in Philadelphia until he traded in his badge for a microphone and started his broadcasting odyssey. He’s a fan favorite in Richmond and his program has repeatedly been chosen as the best afternoon radio show by the readers of Richmond Magazine and STYLE Weekly. In 2020, the Richmond Times-Dispatch named Katz the “Best Afternoon Radio Show” in Central Virginia. Over the years, Jeff has volunteered thousands of hours to help members of the local community with a special focus on law enforcement officers and disabled children. He and his wife are parents of a disabled child and that experience has had a tremendous impact on their lives and on Katz’s work. Michael Harrison describes Katz as “one of talk radio’s true humanitarians and an inspirational role model for us all.” President Trump honored Katz by presenting him with the President’s Award for Volunteer Service. In addition, FBI Director Christopher Wray honored him as the recipient of The Director’s Community Leadership Award for 2019. Don’t miss this fascinating conversation in which Harrison and Katz discuss the state of the radio business, politics, parenting, law enforcement and the art of “keeping your feet planted firmly on the ground.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Ramsey Solutions Presents ‘Money & Marriage’ Livestream Event. Ahead of Valentine’s Day on Monday, Ramsey Solutions is presenting a livestream event called “Money & Marriage.” The press release says, “Marriage isn’t for the faint of heart. Whether it’s lack of communication, financial stress or a difference in parenting, marital strain is inevitable. But Ramsey Solutions wants to equip couples with the tools to build a stronger relationship.” The Friday 7:00 pm ET event will feature Rachel Cruze and mental health expert Dr. John Delony “for an evening of laughter and intentional conversation. Couples can enjoy this date night from home, all while covering topics ranging from fear avoidance to the importance of practicing connection.” Cruze says, “What you have to understand, first and foremost: it’s nearly impossible to win with money when you’re not on the same page as your spouse. Coming together practically and emotionally not only unifies you but gets you to your goals faster.” Tickets for the event can be had here.

Richardson and Gallant to Replace Charlie Pallilo at KFNC-FM, Houston. The Houston Chronicle’s Matt Young reports that Gow Media is naming Vanessa Richardson and Paul Gallant hosts of the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program on sports talk KFNC-FM. This comes a day after longtime market sports personality Charlie Pallilo announced he is no longer with the station. Richardson is a former KPRC-TV sports anchor and reporter and Gallant previously served as a host at iHeartMedia’s crosstown KILT-AM “SportsRadio 610.” Richardson will be the only woman working in sports radio in Houston. She says, “I’ve wanted to host a show for a long time and I’m SO excited to do that on ESPN radio in Houston.”

Tee Gentry and Beasley Announce Renewal Deal. Programming pro Tee Gentry and Beasley Media Group announce they have signed a multiyear renewal deal for Gentry to continue with the company. Gentry, who has been with the company for the past 26 years, currently serves as Beasley’s vice president of brand strategies and regional operations manager of its Augusta, Georgia and Fayetteville, North Carolina radio clusters. Beasley chief content officer Justin Chase says, “Tee is one of the most brilliant programmers that I’ve had the opportunity to work with. During his many years with the company in markets like Augusta, Fayetteville, and Tampa, he’s only had success. We’re lucky to lock Tee in for another multiyear deal!” Gentry says, “It’s an absolute privilege to work with [regional VP] Kent Dunn and the incredible people in Augusta and Fayetteville. They are what local radio is all about! I look forward to continuing to be a part of the Beasley Media Group family for years to come.”

Salem Radio Network’s Larry Elder Featured in Newsweek Feature Story. The February 18 issue of Newsweek features the cover story, “The Rise of Black Conservatives: Will the GOP’s Bet Pay Off?” that includes Salem Radio Network talk host Larry Elder, among other Black conservatives such as media figure Candace Owens, Virginia Lt. Governor Winsome Sears, and Georgia U.S. Senate candidate Herschel Walker. Elder, who was the highest vote-getter in the recent recall election of California Governor Gavin Newsom, is quoted in the piece saying, “Donald Trump, to a greater degree than any Republican presidential candidate that I’ve seen, went to the inner city and tried to get Black votes. The message is this: Don’t act as if Black people cannot be convinced. They can be. Don’t condescend. Tell the truth. Talk about the issues, talk about how these issues benefit you.” Elder is also quoted saying the GOP needs to continue to work to attract Black voters. “Do I think that the Republican Party has done a poor job of marketing itself to Black voters? I do. They have written off Black people or they’ve assumed they’re going to vote for the Democratic Party.”

TALKERS News Notes. Sports talk legend Chris “Mad Dog” Russo – heard nationally on SiriusXM Radio – will again join ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith and Molly Qerim on the “First Take” program on Wednesday February 16. ESPN says Russo will then return for weekly appearances every Wednesday beginning March 2. In January, Russo and Smith debated Barry Bonds’ Hall of Fame campaign and the episode turned out to be the show’s most-watched episode ever. ESPN EVP and executive editor Norby Williamson says, “We couldn’t be more excited to add another marquee name in Chris “Mad Dog” Russo to our weekly rotating lineup and further build this momentum going forward, providing viewers with the best possible debates, topics and content.”…..Cumulus Media and DCP Entertainment announce that the new season of DCP’s podcast “democracy-ish” on the Cumulus Podcast Network will feature Wajahat “Waj” Ali  as the new co-host alongside veteran host Danielle Moodie. Cumulus says, “The podcast hosts aim to keep it real, blunt, and entertaining as they discuss how to achieve a multiracial democracy, cover all the ground left behind by mainstream media, and seek to make sense of the nonsense.”…..Award-winning reporter Nate Hegyi joins New Hampshire Public Radio as host and senior producer of “Outside/In,” the program that delves into the natural world and how we use it. Hegyi most recently worked as a reporter for the Mountain West News Bureau, a consortium of NPR member stations covering the region. NHPR president and CEO Jim Schachter says, “‘Outside/In’ is well on its way to becoming a leading national source of engaging, empowering environmental journalism. With Nate as host, the show can build a community of people across the United States and beyond who care deeply about the natural world and humankind’s responsibility for it.”…..WMFE and WMFV, the NPR affiliates serving the Orlando area and nine counties across Central Florida, name longtime public media journalist and consultant Judith Smelser president and general manager. Smelser has served as WMFE/WMFV’s interim president and general manager since September 2021 and has a long history with the station as an award-winning reporter from 2004-2007, and then news director until 2011, before she was recruited away by Colorado Public Radio in Denver.

COVID-19/Freedom Convoy, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Inflation, Cheney-Kinzinger Censure, Ukraine Tensions, Social Media & Cancel Culture, Beijing Olympics, and Super Bowl LVI Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/9). The rate of COVID-29 cases in the U.S., plans to pull back mask mandates in numerous states, and the Canadian truckers’ Freedom Convoy; the battle for control of Congress in November’s midterm elections and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the U.S. is set to record the highest rate of inflation in 40 years; the GOP’s internal squabble over the RNC’s intent to censure Senators Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for criticizing Trump’s January 6 actions; the diplomatic tensions between Russia and the West over the Russian military presence at the Ukraine border; the politics of social media platform rules and Spotify’s tightrope walk over Joe Rogan’s popular podcast and its critics; the controversies at the Beijing Winter Olympics; and the buildup to Sunday’s Super Bowl LVI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

| February 1, 2022

Start Your Own Business. Consultant Walter Sabo says, in a piece for TALKERS magazine, “‘Get fired from your corporate job and start your own business.’ That is the advice shared with air talent and radio executives when they are kicked out of corporations; start your own business. Working for yourself is a seductive thought. The challenge is that very few corporate employees know how to embrace the frame of mind and tools of self-employed entrepreneurs.” For those considering a move into self-employment, Sabo has some advice to share. “This article is not about ‘how to be successful working for yourself’ because success is never guaranteed. This article is about the ingredients needed to start any business.” Read it here.

‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ Joins SportsMap Radio Network. The sports business show from Bloomberg Radio and syndication company Key Networks titled, “Bloomberg Business of Sports” is expanding its reach with its addition to the SportsMap Radio Network. The one-hour radio show is airing on Saturdays at 12:00 noon ET and Sundays at 9:00 am ET on the network heard on 100 stations across the U.S. “Bloomberg Business of Sports” is hosted by Michael Barr, Scarlet Fu, and Mike Lynch, and “takes listeners inside the business end of the sports world and explains what it means to fans and their pocketbooks. The show follows the money in the world of sports and the decisions that power the multi-billion-dollar industry. From media and technology to finance and real estate, leagues and teams across the globe have matured into far more than just back-page entertainment. The show reports on sports trades, salaries, endorsements, contracts, collective bargaining and more – all from an insider’s perspective and explains the money behind the final score.” Key Networks COO Dennis Green says, “Sports business is as important as the games that take place between the lines. Working with our partners at SportsMap and having them add the one-hour version of the ‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ program on their network brings this important content to listeners every weekend.” Gow Media CEO David Gow adds, “We are thrilled to expand our collaboration with Bloomberg. The daily 60-second ‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ report has been well received by our audience. We know our affiliates and listeners will enjoy hearing the long-form ‘Bloomberg Business of Sports’ show. This move reflects our commitment to providing great content, whether our own or through partnerships.”

Doug Stephan’s ‘DJV Show’ Adds 10 Affiliates. The nationally syndicated radio program “The DJV Show,” anchored by Doug Stephan, adds 10 new stations to its roster of affiliates. Adding the program to their schedules are: KTLR, Oklahoma City; WCAP, Lowell, MA; KUJ-AM/FM, Walla Walla, WA; WKCT-AM/FM, Bowling Green, KY; KLID-AM, Poplar Bluff, KY; KDXU, St. George, UT; and WGVA and WAUB, Finger Lakes, NY. This bumps the program that airs live from 5:00 am to 9:00 am ET hosted by Stephan and co-hosts Jennifer Horn, Victoria Keelan, and Jai Kershner presenting the What’s Trending Report, to more than 325 affiliates nationwide. Stephan comments, “It’s exciting to see the show continuing to grow after all these years. We welcome these new stations to a new and different way to start their day.” Keelan adds, “Creating the show has been a labor of love and a dream come true! We’ve blended my background of pop culture, fashion, and beauty with Jennifer’s vast knowledge of politics, world events, and her incredible sense of humor under the guidance of our fearless leader Doug, one of the most highly-regarded and versatile radio personalities. Together we have created a totally unique listening experience.”

Mark Grote to Host Overnights on WSCR, Chicago. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, Mark Grote will host the overnight show on Audacy’s sports talk WSCR-AM “The Score.” After the recent passing of overnight host and legendary Chicago sports media personality Les Grobstein, the station is continuing to offer live and local sports talk in the daypart. Grote, who serves as Chicago Bears reporter, will host from 12:00 midnight to 5:00 am three nights per week with other WSCR staffers handling the other weeknights. In a memo to staff, station PD Mitch Rosen says, “There will never be another Grobber. Mark Grote was as close to Les as anyone on our team.”

RTDNF Names Recipients of 2022 First Amendment Awards. The Radio Television Digital News Foundation announces the recipients of the 31st annual First Amendment Awards, which “honor individuals and organizations that exemplify responsible journalism and who practice their constitutionally guaranteed duty to seek and report the truth.” This year, RTDNF honors 10 individuals and organizations, an expanded group that recognizes the 2021 and 2022 recipients of the First Amendment Awards. Honorees will be recognized at the First Amendment Awards Dinner on March 9 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, DC. This year’s recipient of the Leonard Zeidenberg First Amendment Award is NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly, co-host of “All Things Considered.” The 2021 recipient was Cesar Conde, chairman of NBCUniversal News Group. See all the winners here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Independent Broadcasters Association opens sign-up registration for its fourth bi-annual IBA National Cash Contest. IBA president Ron Stone says, “The IBA National Cash Contest has been one of the strongest benefits of being an IBA member. To be able to participate in a fully managed program like this, with up to three $1,000 winners daily, cannot be beat for the minimal investment of $300 per station. No other national program even comes close.” IBA member station volunteers will fully produce the contest. Vipology will serve as an independent source for all random drawings…..Public media outlet WNYC announces that news pro Phil Corso is joining the organization on February 14 as night editor for the Day-of News desk. WNYC says, “Phil’s arrival is a big step in the newsroom’s transformation and integration, giving us late-night support during the week and on Sunday nights for the first time. It’s a role that Phil is uniquely qualified to fill. He comes to WNYC from the New York Post, where he was a news editor for six years, overseeing that newsroom’s late-night operations and coverage decisions.”…..Veteran radio broadcasters Jim Harrington (WCBS-AM, New York; WBZ-AM, Boston; KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh) and Bill Knight (WUNI, Mobile; KWKH, Shreveport; WQDR Raleigh) are partnering to create a new information and entertainment podcast titled “It’s Another Day.” The “roughly” half-hour show is produced three days per week with the possibility of it becoming a daily program. Harrington says, “We figured we’d start the show and keep a low profile until we ironed out the rough spots. To our surprise, there were very few rough spots. Bill and I enjoy working together and it’s obvious to the listener. And what’s amazing is that the audience, even without that marketing, still found the program. We’ve had an amazing response.”…..iHeartMedia and Frolic Media announce the debut of “LoveStruck Daily,” a 20-minute daily podcast series hosted by romance experts that “dives into the addicting world of love, sharing a new real-life love story everyday guaranteed to give listeners all of the feels.” This is the first podcast from iHeartMedia and Frolic Media with plans to launch additional shows in the future…..Alec Baldwin and his company El Dorado Pictures, along with Cavalry Audioand iHeartMedia, announce a partnership on the new true crime podcast, “ART FRAUD.” The eight-episode series chronicles the fall of the one of the oldest and most revered galleries in New York City: The Knoedler. Narrated by Baldwin and containing never-before-heard interviews with the mastermind behind the years long con, “ART FRAUD” goes deep to paint the clearest picture yet about the greatest deception in the history of American art. It is written by Michael Shnayerson and is based on his Vanity Fair article…..Audacy adds “The BOB & TOM Show” to the weekday programming lineup on KFH-AM/FM, Wichita, beginning today (2/1). Tom Griswold says, “We’ve had a long and successful history in Wichita and we’re happy to be back. Let’s have a few laughs and have some fun again! Many thanks to Jackie Wise and Tony Duesing. What a great way to celebrate the 100th anniversary of KFH.”

Ukraine Tensions, COVID-19, Spotify & Joe Rogan, January 6 Investigation, Supreme Court, Midterms/Trump & the GOP, Beijing Olympics, and Super Bowl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/31). The diplomatic tensions between the U.S. and Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad and mask & vaccine mandates; Spotify’s challenges over controversy from Joe Rogan’s podcast and music artists leaving the streaming platform; the January 6 investigation and reports of Mike Pence chief of staff Marc Short’s cooperation with the House Select Committee; President Joe Biden’s promise to nominate a Black woman for the U.S. Supreme Court; the battle for control of Congress in the November midterms and Donald Trump’s influence over the GOP; the political and COVID aspects of the Beijing Winter Olympics; and the Cincinnati Bengals’ and Los Angeles Rams’ Sunday victories that put them in Super Bowl XVI were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

| November 16, 2021

Audacy Names Brand Managers for Pittsburgh’s News/Talk KDKA-AM and Sports Talk KDKA-FM. Programming pro Dave LaBrozzi leaves his position as vice president of programming for Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to join Audacy’s legendary Pittsburgh news/talk outlet KDKA-AM as brand manager. At the same same, Audacy announces it is promoting afternoon drive producer Kraig Riley to brand manager for sister sports talk station KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan.” Both begin their new positions on November 29. Audacy Pittsburth SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “As both KDKA and ‘The Fan’ continue to evolve into full multi-platform operations serving our listeners in new ways every day, it is clear that both stations need focused leadership. The addition of Dave and promotion of Kraig will help us continue that evolution. There is an expectation of excellence at both stations from the city of Pittsburgh that I have no doubt Dave and Kraig will continue to build on every day.” LaBrozzi says, “I am thrilled to be back in my favorite city and second home. I consider it an honor to lead KDKA, a true legend in the industry. Thank you to Michael Spacciapolli for the opportunity to return to the city I love and lead an amazing group of talent on such a legendary station.” Riley comments, “I’ve had a passion for ‘93.7 The Fan’ since joining the team as a producer on its first day on the air in 2010. Growing into a role that now gives me an opportunity to influence the station and move it into the future is something I’m equally excited about and proud of.”

Alex Jones Loses Connecticut Defamation Cases by Default. This story is being reported by a number of consumer news outlets, including this story by The New York Times. In this suit, the families of eight victims of the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut sued media personality Alex Jones and his Infowars organization for defamation after they were cruelly harassed by Jones’ fans who believed Jones’ consistent claims that the mass shooting was a “false flag” to assist the government in taking away citizens’ guns. The victims’ families claimed in their suit that Jones’ business profited from his conspiracy theory – something that Jones denied but didn’t back up after failing every time to comply with the rules of discovery by not turning over requested documents. For that reason, Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis ruled in favor of the plaintiffs based on default. Jones also lost a similar case in Texas. Juries in both cases will decide how much Jones will pay the families in damages. Jones said through his attorneys that he will appeal and that this is a First Amendment case. Attorney Chris Mattei, lawyer for the Connecticut families, is quoted in the Times piece saying that Jones had every opportunity to argue his First Amendment strategy but chose to be defaulted. “He deliberately chose to prevent us from collecting evidence that would prove how his business works and why he engaged in this extended campaign against the families, and the relationship between that and his profitability.”

Alpha Media Names Brian Foster and Les Tuttle to Regional VP Posts. Radio executives Brian Foster and Les Tuttle are being named to regional vice president positions with Alpha Media. In their new roles, Foster will oversee Alpha markets in Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, while Tuttle will handle Missouri, Minnesota, and select markets in Iowa. Both will report to chief operating officer Larry Bastida. (Alpha recently announced that Zoe Burdine-Fly has joined the company as a regional president.) Bastida – who has served in the Chicago market as a GSM and market manager for the past 20 years – says, “We are excited to have Brian and Les join Zoe as we continue to evolve the senior leadership team. Throughout our extensive search to fill the regional president position, it became clear that Brian and Les could play crucial roles. In recent weeks, the added collaboration from these three has enhanced the discussion as the company gains momentum going into 2022.” Foster comments, “Years ago, I discovered my passion, not for radio or digital, but for telling our clients’ stories. This message-first approach has led to sustainable growth inside my market, and I am thrilled to continue this endeavor with my new role.” Tuttle has been market manager for Alpha’s Moberly-Farmington-Festus, Missouri market for the past 11 years. He states, “Having worked for many companies during my 45 years in this business, I enjoy the style of the Alpha leadership team. Their commitment to people sets them apart from other companies, and I look forward to being part of the senior management group.”

Gonsales Appointed SVP and Market Manager for Audacy Twin Cities. Radio sales and management pro Jeff Gonsales joins Audacy as senior vice president and market manager for the Minneapolis market. He’ll oversee the station group that includes news/talk WCCO-AM and two music brands, beginning December 6. Prior to joining Aduacy, Gonsales served with Hubbard Radio’s Twin Cities cluster as director of sales. Audacy regional president Rachel Williamson says, “We are thrilled to welcome Jeff Gonsales to oversee our Minneapolis market and the operations of our three stations. Throughout his tenure in the Twin Cities, Jeff has built a strong reputation as a leader with integrity who cares about his people and his business partners. We trust that invaluable quality coupled with his rich experience in this area will set Audacy Minneapolis up for continued growth and success under his leadership.” Gonsales comments, “I am excited to join the Audacy team in Minneapolis. After starting my radio career at 830 WCCO, I look forward to returning to move this group of local favorites forward in the digital audio world.”

Nadia Cowart Rejoins Cumulus Media as Digital Sales Manager. Media sales pro Nadia Cowart is back with Cumulus Media as digital sales manager for the company’s Beaumont, Texas and Lake Charles, Louisiana clusters. She served as promotion manager for the clusters from 2002 through 2008 and was most recently marketing director for KBMT-TV, Beaumont. The Beaumont cluster includes sports talk duo KIKR-AM/KBED-AM and the Lake Charles group includes news/talk KAOK-AM “Super Talk 1400” and sports talk KXZZ-AM. Cumulus Beaumont/Lake Charles VP and market manager Elizabeth Blackstock says, “Nadia is an experienced marketing and sales professional in both of our markets, and we are excited that she is returning to Cumulus to help lead our digital sales department. She understands what our communities need to grow and has worked with area businesses and non-profit organizations to achieve their objectives through effective digital strategies.”

SportsMap Radio Network Launches ‘Fred Nation’ Program. A new midday sports talk program from SportsMap Radio launches titled “Fred Nation” starring Fred Davis (right) and Fred Faour (left). The program is scheduled to debut on November 29 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Faour says, “I’m excited to bring our unique style to SportsMap Radio. It will be a combination of great sports talk with a big gambling slant. Our irreverent approach will create something very special for the network.” Faour was a co-host on Gow Media’s KFNC-FM “ESPN Houston” until August of 2021 and served as the editor of SportsMap Houston. Former KILT-AM Houston personality Fred Davis says, “The show will be fun, informative, and fast-paced. And what’s better than one Fred? Two Freds.” Gow Media CEO David Gow adds, “These two have amazing chemistry. Locally, they each have a huge following and I expect similar success all throughout the Fred Nation.”

iHeartMedia Renews ‘BOB & TOM Show’ on 17 Stations. The Westwood One nationally syndicated “BOB & TOM Show” renews its agreement with iHeartMedia to continue airing on 17 of the company’s radio stations across the U.S., including: WFBQ-FM, Indianapolis; WKQQ-FM, Lexington, Kentucky; WIBA-FM, Madison; and WTUE-FM, Dayton. iHeartMedia national programming group COO Brad Hardin says, “It’s an honor to continue our great relationship with Tom Griswold and his team. How often do you get to say you’ve worked together for decades? Listeners across the country have become accustomed to starting their day laughing along with The BOB & TOM Show’s irreverent humor, and we’re excited that they are continuing to bring the laughs with this extended partnership.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report from FOX News Media that cites Comscore data, FOX News Digital notches the number one spot for the month of October in multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views, reaching over 1.8 billion multiplatform views and over 3.3 billion multiplatform minutes. FOX says its digital network surpassed CNN.com in multiplatform minutes for the eighth consecutive month and outperformed all other news brands in the news competitive set. Further, FOX says that for the 86th consecutive month, it continued as the most engaged news brand on social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), driving 49 million total social interactions. FOX News was also the top performer in Facebook and Instagram interactions among news competitors, with more than 19 million Facebook interactions and over 27 million on Instagram, according to Socialbakers. FOX News also finished the month as number one among news competitors with YouTube video views, with over 319.8 million, up 37% year over year, delivering the network’s second highest month in history in YouTube video views…..Newsmax is reporting “tremendous growth” in its social media audience, viewership, and engagement for the month of October. Newsmax says it finished third on Twitter in overall monthly interactions (2.14M), behind only CNN (2.39M) and NY Times (2.34M). For 2021 so far, Newsmax is fifth in total Twitter interactions (17.6M), behind CNN (30.8M), NY Times (28.58M), MSNBC (20.53M) and ABC News (17.76M). Newsmax says it finished third in monthly Facebook impressions (10.58M), behind only FOX News (20.09M) and Breitbart (17.56M). For 2021 so far, Newsmax is third in total Facebook impressions (153.84M), behind only FOX News (331.8M) and Breitbart (194.16M). Newsmax says it set a new all-time monthly high in Instagram monthly interactions in October with 9.33 million. It finished third on Instagram in total Interactions (9.33M), behind only FOX News (27.2M) and CNN (18.9M)…..Public media organizations GBH and PRX announce the appointment of Dan Lothian as executive producer of “The World,” public radio’s daily global news program. Lothian assumes the role of executive editor after serving as interim editor since March 2021. GBH president and CEO Jon Abbott comments, “Dan brings a wealth of experience and leadership to ‘The World.’ Over the past eight months, he has demonstrated his exceptional journalistic skills and deep commitment to the mission of GBH and public media. We’re excited to support the continued development of ‘The World’ with Dan’s vision and dedication.”…..FEMA and Bonneville Seattle are hosting the unveiling of an all-hazards upgrade to the “Primary Entry Point” facility at the KIRO-AM PEP Transmitter site on Friday (11/19). The modernization to the emergency studio increases Bonneville Seattle’s KIRO-AM 710 resiliency to continue broadcasting under all conditions, including natural disasters and acts of terrorism. This facility is one of 77 across the country that serve as a National Public Warning System Primary Entry Point (PEP) station, participating with FEMA to provide emergency alert and warning information to the public before, during and after incidents and disasters. KIRO-AM is the 14th station in the country to work with FEMA to complete the all-hazards upgrade, which includes increased sheltering capabilities, expanded broadcast capacity, and sustainable power generation for all types of hazardous events.

Funeral Services Set for Al Herskovitz on Thursday, November 18. The funeral for industry veteran Al Herskovitz who passed away last week (11/11) at the age of 90 will take place on Thursday, November 18 at 11:00 am at Skyway Memorial Gardens, 5200 US Hwy 19 N, Palmetto, FL 34221.  For more details about Al Herskovitz’s passing, please see the story below originally posted 11/12.

January 6 Investigation, Inflation/Supply Chain, COVID-19, Biden-Xi Summit, Infrastructure Bill, Russia’s Military Intentions, the Poland-Belarus migrant conflict, and Rittenhouse Case Goes to Jury Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/15). The investigation into the January 6 Capitol attack and Steve Bannon is formally charged with contempt of Congress; soaring retail, food, and fuel prices and the broken supply chain; the rising rate of COVID-19 cases in parts of the U.S. and the court battle over President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate; Monday’s virtual meeting between Biden and China’s Xi Jinping; Biden’s trillion dollar Infrastructure bill and its implementation to be handled by former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; concerns over Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the migrant crisis at the Poland-Belarus border; and the jury gets the Kyle Rittenhouse case were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

| August 11, 2021

Phil Valentine Update: Doctors Focusing on Lungs. The latest update on the status of WWTN-FM, Nashville “SuperTalk 99.7” afternoon drive host Phil Valentine published by Newsweek indicates that doctors “are focusing on treating the lungs of conservative talk radio host Phil Valentine, in what his family has described as a ‘critical issue.’” Valentine contracted COVID-19 in mid-July and as the viral infection got worse, he was hospitalized and eventually put on a ventilator. Dan Mandis is the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm host on the station and has been communicating with Valentine’s listeners on behalf of his family. He wrote on Monday, “They are working on his lungs, that’s the critical issue right now. Other problems will come along but right now the focus is on his lungs. I’m hoping to have another update soon. #PrayForPhil.” The day before, Mandis posted, “Phil remains in critical condition this morning. There isn’t much new to report, but your continued prayers and support are appreciated. #PrayforPhil,” and later added that Valentine’s atrial fibrillation had improved, as well as his blood pressure. “The hope now is that his dependence on the vent will decrease and his lungs will improve.” The Newsweek piece also quotes Valentine’s longtime producer Johnny B saying, “I know I’d be emotional about this, but not to the point that I have. It’s been a very dark period, actually. I’ve really had to talk to myself, and my wife has helped me tremendously, my family’s helped me, and it’s not been easy. And my co-workers too have been very wonderful,” adding that Valentine is “just the nicest guy and loves to help people out.”

Round Two of July 2021 PPM Data Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Washington, Boston, Miami, Seattle, Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis, San Diego, Tampa, Denver, Baltimore, and St. Louis. Nielsen’s July 2021 survey period covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Washington, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM remains ranked #11 after tacking on one-tenth for a 3.7 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) finish. Meanwhile, Hubbard Radio’s crosstown all-news WTOP-FM rises to #1 on the strength of a 1.1 share uptick and an 8.8 share finish. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston stays in the #9 position after dropping two-tenths and wrapping the survey with a 3.5 share. Sister all-news WBZ-AM is also steady at #5 after adding two-tenths for a 5.9 share finish. In Seattle, Bonneville’s news/talk KIRO-FM takes over the #1 rank after climbing 1.9 shares to a 7.8 share while Sinclair Broadcast Group’s KOMO-AM/FM drops from #1 to #4 after falling two-tenths to a 6.3 share. See Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets (as well as the first round) here.

Nielsen’s Audio Today 2021 Study Says AM/FM Listening Hits Highest Level in Over a Year. The just released Audio Today 2021 study from Nielsen Audio – from June 2021 online survey data based on a weighted sample of 1,000 among persons 18-plus – indicates “nine in 10 now feel life is becoming more normal, and they’re resuming pre-pandemic activities, spending and listening.” The study also finds that, “among the employed, two thirds are now working outside the home, up more than 70% since the height of lock-down in the spring of 2020. As a result, the AM/FM radio audience just recorded its highest levels in over a year across Nielsen’s PPM markets.” Nielsen Audio managing director Brad Kelly adds, “Listening may have migrated into the home during the past year via smart speaker or mobile device, but now we’re tracking the audience shift back to pre-pandemic habits with in-car and out-of-home consumption increasing. All the while, radio’s value proposition for marketers hasn’t budged: it specializes in reaching consumers who are ready to spend right now, while they’re in the marketplace, and does so in a controlled environment which protects the advertiser’s reputation… Elsewhere in the audio universe, podcast usage — which flat-lined last year — is also growing again as millions of new listeners are engaging with the hottest new audio marketing opportunity. We’re approaching one million available podcasts, with something literally for everyone including radio broadcasters who are nimbly using on-demand audio as an extension of their on-air brands. The question now is how can advertisers reach the right audience in the right podcast?”

Gow Media’s SportsMap Radio Network Adds Three New Shows. The SportsMap Radio Network announces the launch of three new programs to its weekday lineup. They are: “Just Sayin It with Cole Thompson” (5:00 am to 7:00 am ET), “In My Opinion with Denton Day” (9:00 am to 11:00 am ET), and “High Frequency with Kevin Dziepak” (6:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET). Thompson, who covers the NFL and college football for Sports Illustrated’s Fan Nation, says, “This is the start of something special. I just can’t thank the staff here at SportsMap enough for giving me the chance. Not everyone is lucky enough for this opportunity, but I will certainly make the most of it.” Day states, “I’m extremely thankful for the chance to host a weekday show. I started at the company nearly three years ago doing one live hour on Sunday mornings. Craig Larson and David Gow allowed me the creative freedom to grow and it’s very rewarding to have all that hard work lead to this exciting opportunity.” Dziepak, who spent the last eight years with WSCR, Chicago “670 The Score,” comments, “My goal is really simple: just have fun and try to provide an entertaining and enjoyable product for those listening. I want to widen the scope of the show beyond sports as well, integrating pop culture, TV, music and whatever else can spark conversation; sort of a cosmic gumbo.” Gow Media CEO David Gow states, “We have a number of partners who produce fabulous content for our network. I’m very excited about each of these new shows. The opportunity to produce original, informative and entertaining programs will always be an indispensable part of our core business model.”

Paul Mason to Lead Titans Radio for Cumulus Nashville. Programming pro Paul Mason is appointed to lead programming operations for Titans Radio for Cumulus Media Nashville. The company says that Mason will continue to serve as program director for sports talk WGFX-FM “104.5 The Zone” and Middle Tennessee sports audio. The appointment comes after Cumulus and the NFL club extended their multi-year partnership for WGFX to serve as the official radio broadcasting home of the Tennessee Titans and Titans Radio. Longtime executive producer Rhett Bryan remains in his role with Titans Radio. Cumulus Nashville vice president and market manager Allison Warren comments, “From the beginning, we were seeking a creative visionary with a passion for sports entertainment to lead ‘104.5 The Zone,’ the dominant sports destination in Middle Tennessee. Clearly, Paul has stepped into that role and done exceptional work. Adding programming operations oversight to Titans Radio is a natural next step for Paul and we are confident he’ll continue to deliver the best live and local sports content to fans on both WGFX and Titans Radio.” Mason states, “I am excited to work with this amazing group of broadcasters. Mike Keith, coach Dave McGinnis, executive producer Rhett Bryan, and the entire Titans Radio team are among the best in sports, and I’m humbled to be a part of it. I also want to thank Allison Warren and [VP of programming operations] Charlie Cook for their confidence in me.”

TALKERS News Notes. Electronic voting firm Dominion Voting Systems is suing conservative video platforms OAN and Newsmax for defamation, alleging that they “manufactured, endorsed, repeated, and broadcast a series of verifiably false yet devastating lies” about the company, relative to the presidential election of 2020. The complaint says they did so despite knowing the claims were false. Newsmax has issued the following statement regarding the suit: “While Newsmax has not reviewed the Dominion filing, in its coverage of the 2020 presidential elections, Newsmax simply reported on allegations made by well-known public figures, including the president, his advisors and members of Congress — Dominion’s action today is a clear attempt to squelch such reporting and undermine a free press.”…..Focus360 announces that Forever Media is now a client as 29 Forever Media brands will be included in Focus360’s exclusive Jelli Plus networks including Jelli Male Plus, Jelli Female Plus and Jelli Music Plus. Focus360 CEO Phil Brown comments, “I’m elated to welcome such a storied media company to our Jelli Plus lineups. Forever Media covers some of the largest markets on the East Coast with incredible brands that super-serve their local audience. I’m honored that they have given us the opportunity to share that relationship with our advertising partners.”…..Edison Research unveils the results of its U.S. Top 50 Podcast chart for Q2 of 2021. The list ranks the 50 biggest podcasts by audience size, based on the Podcast Consumer Tracking Report (which Edison says is the only measurement based on actual listening, not downloads). The top three shows based on measurement from Q3 2020 – Q2 2021 are: “The Joe Rogan Experience,” “The Daily,” and “Crime Junkie.” You can see the rest of this Top 50 report here…..Public radio outlet WVXU, Cincinnati – operated by Cincinnati Public Radio – is dropping its music programming and will go all news/talk as of August 14, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. The organization says its goal is to “bring a wider diversity of voices to Cincinnati airwaves.” It will use NPR, American Public Media, and other programming to fill its schedule.

Longtime Public Radio Broadcaster Neal Conan Dies at 71. The NPR website has Neal Conan’s obituary here. Conan passed away in Hawaii after a battle with glioblastoma. He was host of NPR’s “Talk of the Nation” for 11 years, until NPR cancelled the show in 2013. During his lifelong public radio career, he served with WBAI, New York and with NPR in numerous capacities, including as executive producer of “All Things Considered” and as news director.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Controversy, Cuomo Resigns, Infrastructure Bill/Dems’ Budget Resolution, Senate GOP Blocks Voting Bill, Social Media Suspensions, Dominion Lawsuit, and Prince Andrew Sued Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/10). The rate of COVID-19 infections in the U.S. and the hotly debated mask policies for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigns yet maintains innocence; the U.S. Senate passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill and the Senate Democrats’ $3.5 trillion budget resolution; Republicans in the Senate block Democrats’ attempts to revive the For the People voting act; Twitter suspends Marjorie Taylor Greene and YouTube suspends Rand Paul for “pandemic misinformation”; electronic voting firm Dominion sues OAN and Newsmax over “stolen election” broadcasts; and Britain’s Prince Andrew is sued by Virginia Giuffre for sexual abuse were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

| August 10, 2021

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.