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Thursday, July 1, 2021

| July 1, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – “Programming News/Talk Radio in the ‘20s.” The fourth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment explores the main challenges facing spoken-word commercial radio’s largest and most influential format as we move into the highly unpredictable third decade of 21st century. Introduced and sponsored by Doug Stephan of the “DJV Show” and moderated by Mike McVay, CEO of McVay Media Consulting, the panel includes Phil Boyce, senior VP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group/Salem Radio Network and VP/operations New York region; Michael Czarnecki, PD, WONK-FM, Washington, DC/iHeart Podcast ChannelDave LaBrozzi, SVP/programming, Red Apple MediaJosh Leng, CEO, Talk Media NetworkGreg Stocker, executive producer, Rich Zeoli Show and APD, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Joe Thomas, morning show host/PD, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Honored with Studio Naming. Yesterday (6/30) was Mark Chernoff’s last day on the job at Audacy’s WFAN, New York and the CBS Sports Radio Network. Chernoff retired from the company after an illustrious career in which he served as program director for legendary sports talk outlet WFAN for 28 years. In honor of his service, the company dedicated the sports newsroom as “The Mark Chernoff WFAN Newsroom.” Pictured above are (top l-r): Craig Carton, Chernoff, Al Dukes, and Eddie Scozzare and (bottom l-r): Boomer Esiason, Jerry Recco, and Chris Oliviero. The plaque reads: “Program Director 1993-2021. Influenced the sound of New York sports over four decades while nurturing the careers of many who traveled this space. Dedicated June 30th, 2021.” (Photo: Audacy)

WSB, Atlanta Meteorologist Kirk Mellish to Retire; Christina Edwards to Join the Station. A meteorologist dedicated just to a radio station is indeed a rare thing in today’s media landscape and Cox Media Group’s WSB Radio (WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta) has enjoyed the service of “first and only radio-only” meteorologist Kirk Mellish for 34 years. Mellish will retire at the end of July and transition into a consultant role through the end of the year. However, the station will not be without a meteorologist as Christina Edwards will assume the role. Mellish says, “When I joined WSB in Atlanta in July 1987 just three years after graduation, I never would have thought I’d stay this long. It has been a blessing to turn my childhood hobby into a career and to serve most of these decades as the first radio-only, full-time meteorologist in the country. This is the type of broadcasting innovation typical of WSB and CMG leadership in the industry. It has been an honor and privilege to work with so many great colleagues and big names in our business in management, on-air and behind the scenes. I look forward to the next chapter in my life and am excited to pass the baton, or should I say barometer, to Christina Edwards who will be a great fit for the tradition of weather coverage on 95.5 WSB.” About her new position, Edwards says, “I am thrilled to be joining the legendary 95.5 WSB Radio! I grew up in metro Atlanta, listening to Kirk Mellish’s weather reports during my family’s daily commute, and I continue to listen even today. I appreciate Kirk’s ability to break down complex weather forecasts in a way listeners can understand. And, of course, diving into the details online in his weather blog. I am thankful for Kirk’s service and weather forecasts. It is an honor to join 95.5 WSB Radio and continue in the footsteps of Kirk’s legacy.”

iHeartMedia and Audacy Honored by Philly Civic Organization. The Philadelphia operations of iHeartMedia have been named a 2021 honoree of The Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia by Philadelphia Foundation, in partnership with Points of Light and other local partners. Modeled after Points of Light’s national program, The Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia provides a standard for corporate citizenship and showcases how employers use their time, skills and resources to drive social impact in their communities and company. iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of news and community affairs Loraine Ballard Morrill says, “iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s six stations have a long history of community service, especially critical during this pandemic. We are deeply honored to receive this recognition. To quote President Barack Obama, ‘If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope.’” Audacy vice president of social impact Sarah Harris says, “We are honored to be recognized as one of the region’s most community-minded companies. And I am thrilled to share our national impact and commitment to supporting sound communities in our inaugural social impact report. Thank you to our employees, partners and neighbors for the incredible work you do to move people to action within our markets.” Pictured below at a ceremony for the honor are (from l-r): Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia; Natalye Paquin, president & CEO, Points of Light Foundation; Sarah Harris, VP social impact, Audacy; David Yadgaroff, SVP / market manager, Audacy Philadelphia; Diane Melley, Points of Light board member & executive director, Philadelphia Foundation; Pedro Ramos, president & CEO, Philadelphia Foundation.

HOLIDAY DOUBLE HEADER: Mandy Connell and Vince Benedetto Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. KOA, Denver 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Mandy Connell and Bold Gold Media Group founder/CEO Vince Benedetto are this week’s guests on a special Independence Week edition of the PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison states, “We wanted to do a short-but-sweet salute to the nation’s 245th birthday and the selection of Mandy Connell and Vince Benedetto really fits the bill. Mandy is a refreshingly objective conservative commentator and rising star in news/talk radio armed with facts, wit and goodwill. She articulates the subjective nature of today’s media and the role that it plays in perpetuating the wave of polarization gripping our republic. Vince Benedetto is a former Air Force pilot and U.S. intelligence agent with a remarkable wealth of scholarly knowledge about the founding fathers and the formative years of America’s development from Thomas Jefferson all the way through the mega-challenges faced by Abraham Lincoln. Together, but separately, Mandy and Vince present an informative and thought-provoking tribute to our nation’s past, present and future. Happy Birthday, America!” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here

iHeartMedia Unveils ‘NextUp’ Podcasting Initiative. The iHeartPodcast Network is launching an initiative called “NextUp” that takes up-and-coming and underrepresented diverse creators and gives them a chance to learn all about the world of podcasting from iHeartMedia. This initiative is being led by iHeartPodcast Network executive producer Anna Hossnieh and executive podcast producer Joelle Smith. Hossnieh says, “I’m excited to help launch ‘NextUp’ with the iHeartPodcast Network, an initiative that takes underrepresented diverse creators and gives them a chance to learn all about the world of podcasting from one of the largest global podcasting networks. Led by myself and fellow executive podcast producer Joelle Smith, the program will mentor two people in each of iHeart’s three major podcasting hubs: Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta. We believe by helping to elevate the voices of underrepresented storytellers and providing an incredible opportunity to be heard, iHeart will become the epicenter of compelling podcast talent and an industry leader in helping to address the market inefficiencies among underrepresented audio creators. The program will take place over five months and include a monthly stipend. ‘NextUp’ aims to empower participants by giving them the tools to succeed in the podcast industry – from developing and marketing a podcast to using industry-leading software. Participants in ‘NextUp’ will learn from some of iHeartRadio’s top creators and leave the program with at least three finished episodes and a polished pitch for their podcast. Submissions to apply for the program open July 5 – July 9 and can be found here.

Trump Org CFO Surrenders, COVID-19, Tucker Carlson NSA Allegations, Condo Collapse, Big City Violent Crime, Cosby Released, House January 6 Investigation, CCP Anniversary, Heatwaves, and Donald Rumsfeld Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg surrenders to authorities after being indicted by a grand jury; concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the slowing rate of vaccinations in the U.S.; FOX News host Tucker Carlson claims he’s being surveilled by the NSA on the Biden administration’s orders; the continuing rescue efforts at the collapsed condo in Florida; the soaring rate of violent crime in America’s large cities; Bill Cosby is released from prison after a PA court overturned his conviction; the U.S. House plan to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack; the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping’s warning to the West; the record-setting heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast; and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

| July 3, 2019

TALKERS magazine Offices Closed for Fourth of July Holiday Weekend. The offices of TALKERS magazine will be closed from July 4-7 in observance of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.  We’ll be back with regular news updates and delivery of our daily emailer on Monday, July 8.  However, should big industry news break over the four-day weekend, we’ll report it on Talkers.com.  TALKERS wishes all readers a safe and happy Fourth of July holiday.

Programmer Changes at WPHT, Philadelphia.  As TALKERS tipped yesterday, programming pro Jared Hart has exited Entercom’s news/talk WPHT, Philadelphia where he was program director.  The company confirms that sister sports talk WIP program director Spike Eskin is adding WPHT PD duties to his role with the Entercom cluster.  It says “SportsRadio 94WIP” has “evolved dramatically under Spike’s leadership” and the company is “excited to see his impact on WPHT.”  Additionally, the company is promoting WPHT executive producer Greg Stocker to assistant program director in recognition of his work on some of the station’s most successful shows.  Stocker will handle the day-to-day programming responsibilities for WPHT under Eskin.

Brubaker Joins KNBR as GSM and Director of Sports Marketing. Sports marketing pro Scott Brubaker is named general sales manager and director of sports marketing for Cumulus Media’s KNBR, San Francisco. He was most recently president of the Alliance of American Football’s Arizona Hotshots.  Prior to that, he was vice president, national sales – Southeast and Central Region for Learfield Sports.  He’s also served in sales positions with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Phoenix Suns.  Cumulus San Francisco VP/director of sales Scotty Bastable says, “We saw a fabulous fit when the opportunity arose for us to bring in a talent of Scott’s caliber.  He is a proven winner and leader in the sports world.  Having him at the helm of KNBR will allow us to continue to be ‘The Sports Leader’ for the Bay Area for many years to come.”

Jonathan Wier’s Evening Show Cancelled at KMBZ-FM, Kansas City. Talk show host Jonathan Wier announces via Facebook that his 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm program on KMBZ-FM, Kansas City has been cancelled by Entercom management.  Wier praises program director Alan Furst as “the best PD that any host could ever ask to have” and says the change was “purely about money.”  He’ll continue his program as a podcast.

Walton & Johnson’s John Walton Dies. One half of the regionally syndicated, KPRC, Houston-based “Walton & Johnson” morning show – John Walton – passed away late Monday night (7/1) at the age of 67. Partner Steve Johnson (right) stated in a post on the KPRC website: “It is with great shock and sadness that I inform the Walton & Johnson audience of the untimely and sudden passing of John Walton (left).  His medical issues were too numerous to overcome.  He had been receiving treatment over the last month but continued to suffer.  He made the decision to return home yesterday and spend his last hours with his family.  He went out on his own terms…I will always cherish John as not only a partner but a dear friend.  His wit and humor defined him as the unique individual we all knew him to be. He will never be replaced. He had a voice and he had something to say.”  Walton and Johnson first partnered as morning co-hosts in 1983.  They took the show into syndication a decade later.  Steve Johnson says the program will continue “as soon as possible.”

New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” for Week of July 1-5 Now Posted.  The recently launched, one-hour weekend radio show, “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation,” analyzing the hot talk media topics of this past week (July 1-5) is now posted on the website of its flagship station, iHeartMedia‘s WONK-FM, Washington, DC.  It currently airs on WONK-FM in the key position of Friday at 6:00 pm as a dynamic programming punctuation mark of the week’s conversation and is also heard on several other stations around the country.  Hosted by TALKERS magazine’s iconic publisher, this week’s installment (titled “Happy Birthday, America!”) features a lineup of guests that includes TALKERS executive editor Kevin Casey; radio talk show hosts Joyce Kaufman of WFTL, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and Brad Shepard of Pioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; and social/political observer Victoria Jones of the DC Radio Company. The non-partisan-but-hard-hitting program explores multiple opinions along the spectrum of contemporary American political and social thought.  This weekend’s installment is geared to the Independence Day holiday.  For more information about the program, call Barbara Kurland at 413-565-5413.  To listen to it in its entirety, please click here.

Talkers 2019: Telling the Story Videos Continues Posting Today with Keynote Chat Between Sean Hannity and Michael Harrison.  TALKERS is continuing to post key speeches, presentations and sessions from the recent 22nd annual edition of the talk media industry’s longest-running and most-important national convention – Talkers 2019: Telling the Story.  Today’s post presents the convention’s keynote chat in which TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison interviews Premiere Networks/Fox News Channel star Sean Hannity in a casual one-on-one conversation.  The two discuss a variety of topics including Hannity’s special relationship with President Donald J. Trump; what it takes to be successful on both radio and television talk media; the challenges facing talk radio in terms of ratings and marketing; Hannity’s feelings about his life and career; plus more.  The session is introduced by DC Radio Company executive director Victoria Jones.  Already posted on the page:  The official opening address titled, “Telling the Story,” delivered by one of the industry’s great storytellers, Lee Habeeb, host and producer of the tremendously successful syndicated program, “Our American Stories” as well as RAB president/CEO Erica Farber receiving the Woman of the Year award and SiriusXM Satellite Radio star “Cousin” Bruce Morrow receiving the Lifetime Achievement award. The convention took place in New York City on Friday, June 7 and was one of the most positively received in the event’s colorful history.  TALKERS plans to add one or two videos per day to those posted until all the major events of the conference are posted here at Talkers.com.  To see the videos and convention video page, please click here.

Covering the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship. Pictured above is Westwood One News New York bureau chief Steve Kastenbaum (left) interviewing Joey Chestnut (right) before he goes for his 12th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Championship title on July 4that Coney Island, New York.  Chestnut is also trying to break his record of eating 74 hot dogs in 10 minutes.

Washington DC Fourth of July Celebration, 2020 Census Citizenship Question, Immigration Reform-Detention Facility Conditions, 2020 Presidential Race, U.S.-EU Tariffs, and U.S. Women’s Soccer Team in World Cup Finals Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/2).  The controversy over President Trump’s plans for military equipment to be part of the Washington Fourth of July parade; the Trump Administration drops the fight to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census; the Trump Administration’s immigration reform policy and the conditions at border detention centers; the Democrats running for president in 2020; President Trump’s plans for tariffs on EU exports; and the U.S. Women’s Soccer team’s advancement to the World Cup Finals were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Seattle, iHeartMedia’s hip hop KUBE promotes APD/MD and afternoon personality Eric Rosado to program director.  iHeartMedia Seattle SVP of programming Rich Moore says, “I’m very excited for Eric and this opportunity.  The KUBE team and team of support have been working hard bringing KUBE back and now Eric will continue to lead us further down that path.”…..On-air pro Ralphie Marino is exiting his morning drive gig with Cape Cod Broadcasting Media’s hot AC WQRC, Cape Cod “99.9 The Q” to relocate to Florida to be near family.  He posted to Facebook, “I arrived on Cape Cod with two kids, not knowing a soul, but grateful to be back on the radio.  A lot has changed in the five years I have been here and a lot stayed the same.  I have learned so much about this wonderful community that spans from the bridge to P-Town.  I was a washed ashore when I arrived, and I leave a Cape Codder.”…..SiriusXM is broadcasting live from Willie Nelson’s annual Fourth of July picnic on the Willie’s Roadhouse channel.  The special live broadcast will feature live performances from Willie Nelson & Family, Luke Combs, and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, as well as Steve Earle & The Dukes, Hayes Carll, Ray Wylie Hubbard and more.