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Thursday, August 20, 2020

| August 20, 2020

Cincinnati Reds Broadcaster Thom Brennaman Suspended For Gay Slur. Cincinnati Reds play-by-play broadcaster Thom Brennaman – son of National Radio Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman – has been suspended for his using a gay slur during Wednesday night’s Reds-Royals broadcast. Apparently, Brennaman thought he was not on the air when he said, referencing and unknown place, that it is “one of the fag capitals of the world.” Brennaman apologized and left the broadcast before the completion of the double-header. The Reds issued the following statement. “The Cincinnati Reds organization is devastated by the horrific, homophobic remark made this evening by broadcaster Thom Brennaman. He was pulled off the air, and effective immediately was suspended from doing Reds broadcasts.” During his apology, Brennaman implied that he realizes this may cost him his job. “I can’t begin to tell you how deeply sorry I am. That is not who I am. It never has been. And I’d like to think maybe I could have some people that could back that up. I am very, very sorry and I beg for your forgiveness.” Brennaman is part of the broadcast team for the Reds Radio Network and television’s FOX Sports Ohio.

Entercom Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Detroit’s WWJ-AM. Detroit all-news outlet WWJ-AM is celebrating 100 years on the air today (8/20). Entercom says it’s proud to honor “Detroit’s news leader and America’s first continuous broadcasting commercial radio station.” Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “WWJ has served as an important news source for Detroiters for 100 years and continues to provide the most credible and comprehensive multiplatform news coverage relevant to our city. We look forward to honoring our station’s rich history by reflecting on key moments with integral talent and welcoming distinguished guests to celebrate with us. I congratulate and thank the hardworking staff of WWJ and look forward to another 100 years as Detroit’s go-to news source.” Today WWJ will air special programming, including clips of major news stories the station has covered over the past 100 years and interviews with politicians and business leaders including Entercom president and CEO David Field, FCC chairman Ajit Pai, and former Detroit police chief Ike McKinnon. Highlighted in the programming will be on-air pros who have been with the station for over 25 years, including morning anchor Roberta Jasina, auto reporter Jeff Gilbert, city beat reporter Vickie Thomas and business reporter Murray Feldman. There’s a nice piece in the Detroit News accompanied by lots of vintage photos of the station from the paper’s files. It also delves into the hotly contested debate over which was the first commercial radio station in the U.S., KDKA in Pittsburgh, KCBS in San Francisco or WWJ? The Detroit NewsMichael H. Hodges writes that WWJ being the first is disputed by KDKA and KCBS, but “it mostly comes down to a matter of technical definition. KDKA got its federal license a few months before WWJ in 1921, and that’s its line in the sand. But 8MK, as WWJ was known in 1920, was on the air with an amateur license well before Pittsburgh.” Entercom says WWJ is “America’s first continuous broadcasting commercial radio station” and boasts such accomplishments as “being the first radio station to broadcast election returns on August 31, 1920, the first sportscast on September 1, 1920, the first missing person report on March 15, 1922, the first Detroit Tigers play-by-play broadcast on April 19, 1927, and more.”

TALKERS News Notes. The New York Post is reporting that former Howard Stern show cast member “Stuttering” John Melendez is suing SiriusXM for “using his name, likeness and voice without permission on channels dedicated to Stern.” Melendez left the Stern program in 2004 – prior to Stern joining SiriusXM in 2005 – to become the announcer on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” The suit was filed in federal court in New York complaining that the airing of old Stern programs violates California law and “his right of publicity.”…..Westwood One and PodcastOne founder Norm Pattiz is featured in the August-October issue of the investor-targeted magazine Luckbox. The theme of the issue is “Podcasts Rising” and in the interview piece, Pattiz discusses his building of Westwood One in the late 1970s and how in 2011 he began using what he’d learned running WWO to launch PodcastOne for the soon-to-be-burgeoning podcasting industry. You can read the piece here…..Newsmax TV announces that it has entered into a deal with Cox Media Group to air WOKV-FM, Jacksonville’s Mark Kaye program. Kaye’s program airs daily on WOKV-FM from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon. The Newsmax TV show will air weekly – Saturdays at 3:30 pm – and will feature “funny and informative clips from Mark Kaye’s radio broadcasts, as well as behind-the-scenes ‘vlog-style’ content that is exclusive to Newsmax.”…..Hearst’s Baltimore radio duo news/talk WBAL-AM and rock WIYY-FM – along with the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens – announce the radio broadcast team for the 2020 NFL season. Former Ravens players Dennis Pitta and Obafemi “Femi” Ayanbadejo are joining Ravens play-by-play announcer Gerry Sandusky to handle color and analysis. WBAL and WIYY president and general Manager Cary Pahigian says, “We are pleased to offer Baltimore Ravens fans an exceptional broadcast team. As a former Raven, Dennis has always provided astute analysis to our broadcast. Femi’s extensive NFL experience will add keen insight, and there is no better play-by-play announcer than Gerry Sandusky.”

Stephen K. Bannon Charged with Fraud in ‘We Build the Wall’ Effort. Former Donald Trump adviser, former Breitbart executive, and podcast/talk radio host Stephen K. Bannon is being charged in New York with fraud in what U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss says is his role in a scheme related to the “We Build the Wall” online fundraising effort. The New York Times reports that Bannon is one of four defendants who allegedly “defrauded hundreds of thousands of donors, capitalizing on their interest in funding a border wall to raise millions of dollars, under the false pretense that all of that money would be spent on construction.” Bannon has not commented publicly.

Presidential Race/Democratic National Convention, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, Fall School Plans/College Outbreaks, USPS Funding/Vote-By-Mail Debate, Putin Critic Poisoned, and California Wildfires Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/19). The November presidential election and Wednesday evening’s Democratic National Convention; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the debate over opening schools in September and the COVID-19 outbreaks at several college campuses; the controversy over funding the U.S. Postal Service and the related debate over mail-in voting; Vladimir Putin critic Alexey Navalny in a coma after allegedly being poisoned; and the California wildfires were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

WPHT’s Giordano Is on a Documentary-Special Roll. WPHT, Philadelphia’s legendary mid-morning host Dom Giordano has written, produced, and hosted the third in a dynamic series of two-hour specials tapping into his background as a teacher and one of talk radio’s most astute observers of education. The first two specials focused on issues surrounding COVID-19 and kids returning to school as well as a July 4th weekend special celebrating America.  The new show airing this week titled, “The Case for Civics: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Reason,” explores the need for civics to be taught in schools and how important it is to the future of America to raise knowledgeable citizens. Like all of Giordano’s productions, it is bi-partisan and features prominent figures including former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Governor Ed RendellSara HarrisEntercom VP for social impact is featured and details the radio company’s major commitment to promote civics education. The program is airing on WPHT tonight (8/20) from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm and Saturday (8/22) from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Beijing’s Persecution of Chinese Spiritual Movement Falun Gong Is Focus of This Week’s Harrison Podcast.  While Americans continue to be preoccupied with COVID-19, a faltering economy and racial strife, the strained relationship between the United States and China intensifies with each passing day. America is confronted with the CCP’s unfair trade practices, subversive cyber warfare against US interests, intellectual property theft, military aggression in the South China Sea, strangling democracy in Hong Kong, and covered up misdeeds in the origins and spread of COVID-19. Add to that disturbing list the CCP’s heinous abuse of the human rights of its own citizens as evidenced by Uyghur labor camps and the imprisonment, torture, and organ-harvesting of innocent practitioners of a burgeoning spiritual movement based in peaceful Buddhist principles called Falun Gong. Levi Browde is the executive director of the New York-based Falun Dafa Information Center, an organization working to end the human rights abuses against people who practice Falun Gong in China. He is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  In discussing this podcast Harrison states, “The CCP views the growing practice of Falun Gong among Chinese people both home and abroad as a threat to the State’s core position as the ultimate authority. They not only commit atrocities against its participants, they wage a war of toxic propaganda against the spiritual practice portraying it as a subversive cult – a view that has been unwittingly absorbed and perpetuated by the American media. It is my hope that this deep-dive conversation will clear up these misconceptions as well as shed light on the Beijing regime and the dangers its complex relationship with the United States presents going forward into the uncharted, turbulent waters of the 21st century. This is not a left versus right issue but one that I believe should be of great concern to all American talk media hosts and commentators interested in a secure America, freedom of religion, and human decency.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Las Vegas’ KWNR “95.5 The Bull” has a new program director as Mojoe Roberts assumes the reins. iHeartMedia says Roberts joins the country station after most recently serving as country format captain for Alpha Media and PD for KUPL, Portland. SVP of programming for iHeartMedia Las Vegas Tony Matteo says, “MoJoe brings a wealth of format knowledge and expertise. We’re thrilled to have him joining our iHeartMedia Las Vegas team.”…..Seattle CHR KBKS is re-branded “HITS 106.1” The New Home of the Jubal Show and Commercial Free Weekends. The iHeartMedia station is programmed by Jared Fallon who says, “From the moment we launched ‘Jubal 106.1’ the reception from the entire city and across the country has been massive. Today we are thrilled to unveil ‘HITS 106.1,’ the new home of the Jubal Show!”…..Pittsburgh morning radio personality Cris Winter exits Renda Broadcasting’s adult contemporary WWSH “WISH 99.7” as the result of budget-related cuts. She tells the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, “When you look at covid-19, it’s a situation where everyone is making cuts. It is such a bizarre time, and everybody is struggling right now. It’s just an unprecedented time for everyone. We are all just trying to keep our heads above water.”…..Programming pro Don Jarrett is named PD at Rich Broadcasting’s country simulcast KWFI-FM and KWFO-FM “The Wolf” in Idaho Falls. Jarrett was most recently programming Riverbend Communications’ crosstown country KTHK-FM “105.5 The Hawk.” Rich Broadcasting operations manager Josh Tielor says, “We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to add Don to our team. He’s well known in the community and well connected in the industry. He brings a new level of excitement and energy to our station family.”…..The photo below published at LARadio.com is not from a time capsule. That KMET billboard is currently up and it put the folks at LARadio.com into investigative mode. The picture was snapped by Los Angeles publicist Hal Lifson who set the investigative wheels in motion. It appears the billboards are up for a movie shoot for a film that takes place in the 1970s. TALKERS magazine publisher and former KMET program director Michael Harrison says, “Seeing the billboard is a rush. I still find it hard to imagine L.A. without KMET. It would be like Brooklyn not having Coney Island.”

Friday, May 15, 2020

| May 15, 2020

NOW POSTED:  New Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.”   The vibrant, 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.  The new episode titled, “Skating Away on the Thin Ice of a New Day!” looks back at this past week of May 11-15, 2020 and features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS;  Brian Kilmeade, talk show host, FOX News Channel / FOX News RadioIan Anderson, musician, Jethro Tull, UK; Ken Matthews, talk show host, WHP, Harrisburg, PA; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company. This acclaimed news/talk radio 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 WRKO, Boston; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7”; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE,  Mankato, MN, the Virginia Talk Radio Network, Pioneer Valley Radio in Springfield, MA, Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode (and the program’s complete archives), 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.

Round Four of April 2020 PPM Data Released. Ratings information from the fourth and final round of Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Austin, Raleigh, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Nashville, Providence, Norfolk, Jacksonville, West Palm Beach, Greensboro, Memphis, and Hartford. Nielsen’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets and some movement of note among spoken-word stations includes: Waterloo Media Group’s news/talk KLBJ-AM, Austin adds 1.4 shares in April to finish with a 6.4 share good for the #3 rank in the market; Emmis Communications’ news/talk WIBC-FM, Indianapolis continues its upward trend with the addition of 1.5 shares to move into the #1 position with a 10.3 share; iHeartMedia’s news/talk WISN-AM, Milwaukee takes the #1 rank after adding a whopping 3.5 shares to leap from fourth to first with a 9.3 share while Good Karma Brands’ crosstown WTMJ adds six-tenths to finish at #3 on the strength of a 6.3 share; Cumulus Media’s Providence news/talker WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM shoots up 2.3 shares to a 6.1 share good for the #5 rank; and Cox Media Group’s WOKV-FM, Jacksonville tacks 1.6 shares on in April to remain at #1 with a 13.4 share. You can check out all of Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways here.

Michael Medved Show and CRN Partner to Expand Distribution. A partnership between CRN Digital Talk Radio and Medved Communications includes the launch of “The Michael Medved Show” on CRN 1 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET.  As part of the deal, CRN will distribute and provide marketing, ad sales, production, social media, and promotional support for Medved Communications. CRN Digital Talk Radio president and CEO Michael Horn says, “I am thrilled to help expand the Michael Medved show. Michael is one of radio’s best storytellers. He provides knowledge, a unique perspective, and truly entertains his listeners every single day.” CRN will distribute “The Michael Medved Show” and the “Medved Entertainment Minute” with Genesis Communications Network on their XDS Satellite.

Josh Innes to Join ‘ESPN 97.5’ Houston. The Houston Chronicle’s David Barron reports that sports talk personality Josh Innes is joining Gow Media’s KGOW-FM “ESPN 97.5” to host the 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm show, effective Monday (5/18). He’ll replace ESPN Radio’s Will Cain on the station’s program schedule. Innes has been hosting a podcast since he exited iHeartMedia’s crosstown sports talker KBME in March of 2019.

Adams Radio Group Transitioning Back to Offices. In all of the market in which Adams Radio Group operates, staffers are beginning to return to their offices and studios. Company CEO Ron Stone says employees have been working from home for the past nine weeks. He says, “Adams markets have begun the transition of returning to normal operations at our offices and studios. Each market is staging the return of employees in phases, beginning with on-air staff. We will have 100% of our employees back on all sites by July 15, which allows time needed for some employees that have requested additional time to transition. Our employees have done an incredible job keeping our stations live and local during this health scare. Listening to our stations, one would never have known our people were not in our studios. I can never say enough about our news staff and the incredible job they have done keeping our communities up to date with local information. We have amazing teams and I am extremely proud of every person on our staff. What radio has done all over the country over the past nine weeks certainly proves the value of live and local radio and why it is so important to every community.”

Health & Medicine Top News/Talk Story for Week of May 11-15. The medical aspects of COVID-19, including the drive to develop a vaccine, the push for more testing, and the treatment for infected patients combined for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the statistics on confirmed COVID-19 cases, the death toll, and projections for future cases. Coming in at #3 was the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, followed by the debate over ‘lives vs livelihood’ and concern about the erosion of civil liberties at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com and you can see this week’s complete chart here.

NRG Media Omaha Offices Re-Opening with the Help of Plexiglass and Shower Curtains. Pictured above is Studio 1 at NRG Media Omaha as the company prepares to bring staffers back into the facility. As with many radio stations across the country, on-air personalities have been working remotely or in separate studios. The company says no studio was occupied with more than one on-air personality at any given time in an effort to keep everyone safe.  Now that some of the restrictions are being lifted, NRG Omaha is starting to bring back all on-air personalities and staffers. As you can see in the photo, they are using plexiglass and shower curtains to mitigate movement of airborne particles. General manager Mark Shecterle states, “COVID-19 has challenged every business and made us all stop and think about how we operate. My number one priority during these challenging times has been and will continue to be keeping all of our employees safe. Therefore, we had to get creative and shower curtains are a perfect and safe barrier for our talent, sellers, and employees who share an office. Moreover, during the holidays we can have some fun with it. My promotions department already ordered a Freddy Krueger one for Halloween.” KOZN-AM “1620 The ZONE” personality Damon Benning commens, “I am so ready to get back into the building and work alongside my co-host Mike’l Severe even though there will be a clear shower curtain between us. We have not missed a beat, but nothing beats being in the same studio with your producer and co-host. I’m ready.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. The nationally syndicated “Nights with Elaina” program will feature special guest hosts all next week (5/18-22). The ladies are taking over Westwood One Nashville’s “Nights with Elaina” as Gabby Barrett, Ingrid Andress, Ashley McBryde, Carly Pearce, and Lindsay Ell will each guest host an evening from home and provide their fans an update on what they’ve been doing during quarantine. Host Elaina Smith says, “Spending time away from listeners is always difficult, especially in these times. But I am so thrilled that these strong, powerful, talented women will be keeping everyone company while I’m gone! I know they’re gonna crush it and continue spreading positivity all throughout the country! Lord knows we need it.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

| May 13, 2020

Dimick Promoted to VP, Programming Operations, Cumulus Radio Station Group. Programming pro John Dimick is upped from his VP, programming operations position with Cumulus Media to the newly created position of senior vice president, programming operations, Cumulus Radio Station Group. In his new role, Atlanta-based Dimick will lead Cumulus’ team of vice presidents, programming operations, and 11 format specialists across the company. He will continue to report to Cumulus EVP, Content and Audience Brian Philips, who says, “In my first year, John has proven himself to be an indispensable partner in the leadership of this programming group. He is gifted with the intuition, pragmatism, and patience to see us to greatness. This move validates the hard-earned trust and confidence John enjoys within our entire company.” Dimick comments, “Cumulus programming professionals are passionate about radio and understand the value of locally programmed and community involved stations. I am honored to assist Brian Philips in leading our team in this new position while continuing to learn from the best minds in our industry. I’m pleased to work with Mary Berner, Dave Milner, Bob Walker, and especially Brian Philips as Cumulus continues to reinvent the audio entertainment landscape.” Dimick joined the company in 2016.

WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago’s Felicia Middlebrooks to Leave All-News Outlet; Will Launch New Multimedia Platform. Morning drive news co-anchor Felicia Middlebrooks announces via a Facebook post that she is leaving Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago on May 29 after almost 36 years in the morning drive position. She says she’s “not retiring, I’m rewiring” and will focus full time on her Saltshaker Productions company developing a multimedia platform that will include “documentaries and feature films, audiobooks and other projects.” Her first project is a podcast titled, “She Matters,” that focuses on empowering women. She says her exit from WBBM is completely her decision and, in fact, is something she’s been planning for “nearly a decade.” She concludes her post saying, “I also could not have imagined announcing this life change in the midst of a global pandemic. That said, I can tell you that I believe newsradio will always be relevant, dependable and necessary as we all navigate what’s next. Those in medicine are at the forefront of battling COVID-19 and journalists are on the frontlines, disseminating vital information to the public. In a constantly changing world, I can promise you I’ll still be telling stories — stories that heal, elevate, enlighten and connect us. Truth matters. Always has, always will.”

Round Two of April PPM Ratings Released. The second of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 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 April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here. The COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to more listening for news/talk – both commercial and non-commercial – and all-news stations and that trend continued during the April survey. In Washington, DC, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WMAL-FM rockets to #1 on the strength of a 2.2 share increase giving it a 10 share. It bested Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, which backslid to a 7.7 share and the #3 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WRKO, Boston adds 2.5 shares for a 5.3 share finish and the #5 rank while sister all-news WBZ-AM, Boston dips one-tenth to a 6.3 share and the #4 rank. Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle adds nine-tenths to rise to a 6.9 share and repeating at #1. In Detroit, Cumulus Media’s news/talk WJR-AM jumps 1.9 shares for a 4.8 share and the #4 rank and Entercom’s all-news WWJ-AM tacks on six-tenths to remain at #1 with a 6.4 share. Bonneville’s KTAR-FM, Phoenix moves to #3 on the strength of a 1.5 share increase that gives it a 6.1 share. And in Baltimore, Hearst’s WBAL-AM rises to #3 after a nine-tenths jump to a 6.0 share. You can see all of TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian’s Ratings Takeaways from the April PPM survey here.

Winners of Regional Murrow Awards Named. Yesterday, TALKERS featured some of the stations that won honors in the Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio Television Digital News Association. Here are some more stations that were recognized: Sinclair Broadcast Group’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM, Seattle won three regional Murrow awards including: Best Newscast (Morning Drive) with Gregg Hersholt & Manda Factor; Breaking News (Lake City Shooting, Afternoon Drive) with Rick Van Cise & Elisa Jaffe; and Best Continuing Coverage (Boeing, Year of Crisis). KOMO-AM/FM program director Rick Van Cise says, “KOMO Newsradio has once again been honored with one of the most prestigious prizes in journalism which is a testament to our news team’s great work every day.” Entercom all-news and news/talk stations won 23 Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards in nine markets: WBEN-AM, Buffalo wins for Overall Excellence, Multimedia, and Newscast (September 5, 2019); WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM, Chicago wins for Breaking News Coverage (Chicago Teachers Strike), and Newscast (July 16, 2019); KRLD-AM, Dallas wins for Overall Excellence and Newscast; KNX-AM, Los Angeles wins Overall Excellence; WCCO-AM, Minneapolis wins Excellence in Sound (The Power of Music); WCBS-AM, New York wins Overall Excellence and Excellence in Video (The Sweet Spot: Carmine Street Guitars); WINS-AM wins Breaking News Coverage (Jersey City Shootout), Excellence in Social Media (PRIDE), and Newscast; KYW-AM, Philadelphia wins Excellence in Sound (Gone Cold: Jennifer Tong), Multimedia, and Sports Reporting (Living with epilepsy doesn’t slow down Temple lacrosse star Maddie Gebert); KCBS-AM, San Franciso wins Hard News (The High Price Of Housing) and Newscast (9am, 10/24/19); and KMOX, St. Louis wins Excellence in Sound (It’s Your Birthday!), Hard News (Xavier Usanga Has a Name) and Newscast (8:00 am 4/30/19). Hearst Radio’s WBAL, Baltimore wins Breaking News and Excellence in Writing (Josh Spiegel).

EMF Launches Podcast Initiative. Religious broadcaster Educational Media Foundation – parent of K-LOVE, Air1, and WTA Media – is preparing to launch a new podcasting platform called Accessmore that features a growing library of on-demand, faith-based podcasts. It will feature nationally known Christian teachers, authors, speakers, and entertainers sharing content designed to inform and inspire. Some of the podcasts include: “Dare to Be” with Grammy-nominated singer Natalie Grant and Charlotte Gambill; “Equip and Empower” from Christine Caine; “Hey, It’s the Luskos with Levi and Jennie Lusko”; Rebecca St. James Family & Friends; and “Into the Portal” from Elevation eKids. EMF CEO Bill Reeves says, “Since joining EMF last year, we’ve been developing opportunities in new media to reach more people with quality, faith-based content. We were already among the top 10 U.S.-based audio streaming companies. Accessmore is the next major step into that burgeoning segment.”

Statistics and Projections, Re-Opening Controversy/Fauci Warning, $3 Trillion House Aid Bill, Michael Flynn Case, SCOTUS Trump Taxes Arguments, U.S.-China Relations, and MLB Play Plans Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/12). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections about future infections; concerns about the gradual re-openings taking place in some states and Dr. Tony Fauci’s warning that cases will likely spike; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi files a $3 trillion air bill; a Superior Court judge mulls whether the DOJ can drop the Michael Flynn charges plus allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; the Supreme Court arguments over President Trump’s efforts to block disclosure of his tax returns; accusations by China and the U.S. that the other is responsible for the coronavirus pandemic; and Major League Baseball announces plans to start season in July were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

45th Annual Gracie Award Winners Announced. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces the winners of the 45th annual Gracie Awards. The Gracies recognize exemplary programming created by, for and about women in radio, television, and interactive media. Honorees are selected in national, local and student markets, including both commercial and non-commercial outlets. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “Our leadership is proud to honor the best of the best who embody the spirit and intention of the Alliance for Women in Media Foundation’s Gracie Awards. We want to thank those on the front lines telling the important stories still impacting our world. It is our distinguished honor to recognize the reporters, hosts, producers and media executives who are working to ensure the public is informed. We know everyone in media has been impacted in some way, and we continue to salute this outstanding list of honorees for their award-winning passion, energy and perseverance.” Radio National Honorees from commercial outlets include: Carla Ferrell, “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” Premiere Networks; Elaina Smith, “Nights with Elaina” Westwood One; Jayde Donovan, “The Jayde Donovan Show” Westwood One; Liana Huth, “I’m Listening” Entercom Communications; Michelle Collins, “The Michelle Collins Show” SiriusXM; and Michelle Franzen, “The NICU Cuddler” ABC News.  Radio Local Honorees from commercial outlets include: Angela Martinez, “The Angie Martinez Show” WWPR, New York; Brigitte Quinn, WINS, New York; Carla Rea, “The Mike and Carla Morning Show” Beasley Media Group; Chris Rollins, WPST, Trenton, New Jersey; Cooper Lawrence, “WOR Tonight,” WOR, New York; Deborah Honeycutt, “Jim, Deb & Kevin” Cumulus Media; Heather Hunter, “Mornings on the Mall,” WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; Jenn Hobby, “Jenn & Friends,” WSTR, Atlanta; Katie Neal, WNSH, New York; Mary Walter, WMAL-AM/FM, Washington; Meghan Lane, “The Big Ape Morning Mess,” WAPE, Jacksonville; Nancy Wilson, WHKO-FM, Dayton; Rebekah Maroun, “Matty In The Morning,” WXKS-FM, Boston; and Shannon Farren, “Gary and Shannon Show,” KFI, Los Angeles.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Radio broadcasters Cox Media Group, Alpha Media, Beasley Media Group, Hubbard Radio, Neuhoff Media, and Townsquare Media are joining BMI and some of country music’s top songwriters to present, “A Salute to Songwriters,” a radio concert to benefit the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief fund this Saturday, May 16, at 7:00 pm. The three-hour, commercial free benefit concert will be co-hosted by country superstar Luke Bryan and feature some of the songwriters behind country music’s biggest hits straight from their living rooms and home studios. The lineup includes Dallas Davidson and Rhett Akins, Jon Randall and Jessi Alexander, Luke Dick and Jeff Hyde, Brandon Kinney and Clint Daniels, Barry Dean and Natalie Hemby as well as Dylan Altman and Wynn Varble. Proceeds will benefit songwriters who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic through the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund. The concert will be broadcast on more than 100 country radio stations across the six media groups…..The SupeRadio syndicated “Most Requested Live with Romeo” program celebrates its 10th anniversary. The Saturday evening live program is hosted by Tim “Romeo” Herbster. SupeRadio president Eric Faison says, “From the very beginning, ‘MRL’ has been one of SupeRadio’s elite programs, and we’re excited to continue to partner with the most interactive and social media-driven radio show in the world for the next 10 years.”

Thursday, April 9, 2020

| April 9, 2020

JVC Media Giving Away Free Airtime. The company that operates stations in New York and Florida is announcing it is opening the airwaves of all of its stations to help promote local essential businesses and services that are still open and still serving the community.  JVC Media’s Florida stations include talk outlet WDYZ-AM/W288CJ “Florida Man Radio.”  Its Long Island group includes news/talk WRCN “LI News Radio 103.9.”  The company says the message is simple: “In Florida call the Quarantine Speed Advertising line at 407-647-5332, in NY call 631-542-5441, and leave a 30 second voicemail showcasing your business.  The JVC team will produce your message and play it on the appropriate radio station free of charge.”  JVC president and CEO John Caracciolo says, “This is the time for radio to shine.  We are not closed, we are not automated, we are live, local, and serving our local communities.  I don’t see the streaming or satellite services offering something like that.”

Neuhoff Media Using Radio to Connect Teachers and Students. In an effort to ameliorate the disconnect between teachers and students in Central Illinois, Neuhoff Media announces the Louise Neuhoff Educational Access Project initiative.  The project is named in honor of the Neuhoff Media co-founder.  The company will make available specific periods of time each day for public school teachers to present lessons, read books, and review specific material on air.  These programs will ensure educators are readily accessible to all students and their parents while under stay-at-home orders.  Neuhoff Media president and CEO Beth Neuhoff comments, “We have the ability for teachers to talk directly to students each day regardless of technology.  We wanted to find some small way to help bridge the gap between teachers and primary students.  We are simply providing local educational leadership the opportunity to use our most popular radio stations to connect with students and their parents.”

Bonneville Outlines Coronavirus Initiatives. Company president Darrell Brown issued a press release outlining Bonneville International’s plans to ramp up its coronavirus crisis efforts.  Brown says, “Bonneville has always prioritized our purpose above our profits.  Our mission and the reason our company was created was to be a trusted voice that builds up, informs, connects and celebrates the families and communities we serve, and there is a great need right now for all of those things.”  Some of the company’s initiatives include: News/talk KTAR-FM, Phoenix is providing statewide newscasts for other radio groups and supporting local businesses through an “Open for Business” campaign; in Salt Lake City, the cluster is operating the “Stronger Together Utah” campaign to promote local businesses while “Newsradio” KSL-AM/FM is hosting a daily coronavirus call-in show and a related podcast; and Seattle’s news/talk KIRO-FM is producing the podcast “COVID-19: Seattle” as the station’s “Gee and Ursula Show” started a “Letters of Hope” project to send messages of encouragement to the elderly.

TALKERS News Notes. Pittsburgh talk show host Wendy Bell is trending on Twitter for stating on the air that she’s “on the fence” about the conundrum of saving lives versus protecting people’s livelihoods.  According to a piece in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the KDKA-AM personality said, “We’re told that we need to shut down the economy.  There’s a cost.  Everything shuts down, but to what end?  Yes, every life lost is one too many.  Yes, that’s the talking point.  That’s what we’re going to say.  But ultimately dollars and cents boil down to, ‘Are you going to bankrupt America and the future for less than 1% of our population?’ Many of whom are already ill or aged.  I’m on a fence.”…..The nationally syndicated “Small Business Advocate” program hosted by Jim Blasingame adds new affiliate stations KFAQ, Tulsa and KSHP, North Las Vegas, Nevada.  The program is syndicated by Skip Joeckel’s Talk Shows USA.  Joeckel says, “Small businesses need all the help they can get and Jim’s program has been dedicated to helping them since 1997!”…..This year’s National Headliner Awards – bestowed since 1934 by the Press Club of Atlantic City – have been announced and in the radio division, Cumulus Media’s Westwood One News wins first place for “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” for coverage of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio last year.  Entercom’s all-news KCBS-AM, San Francisco took home the first-place honor for “Radio Stations Newscast (all markets)” category for its morning news coverage of the Kincade Fire on October 24, 2019.  Hearst’s WBAL-AM, Baltimore won first place for “Breaking News or Continuing Coverage of a Single News Event” for “FBI Raids Mayor Pugh’s Home” by reporter Scott Wykoff and the station’s news staff.  Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington won first place in the “Radio Stations Feature and Human Interest Story” category for “Rock Creek Rescue” in which reporter Megan Cloherty recounted the “riveting and fascinating story about a WTOP staffer who becomes a hero after saving a woman who had fallen into an icy, life-threatening Rock Creek.”  See all awards here…..Entercom reports that according to data from Podtrac, Triton, and Apple Podcast Top Charts, it is experiencing “blockbuster audience growth across its Podcast Network, which includes Cadence13 and Pineapple Street Studios, outperforming recent softness in listening reported among other leading podcasters.”  Entercom says it hit new record listenership of 28 million listeners worldwide during the month of March.

WCCO, Minneapolis Meteorologist Mike Lynch Retires. After a 40-year career with Entercom’s WCCO-AM, Minneapolis, meteorologist Mike Lynch is retiring from the station.  In a Facebook post, Lynch says, “It’s been an incredible run that I have been so blessed to have the privilege of doing.  I grew up in Richfield, Minnesota and WCCO Radio has been part of my life from the get-go.  I can picture in my mind my parent’s kitchen radio on corner shelf at 6617 Lakeshore Dr.  I remember hearing greats like big Bob De Haven, Howard Viken, Joyce Lamont, Randy Merriman, and others.  When I was delivering morning newspapers, I loved to listen with a transistor radio and laugh out loud at 5:00 am with Roger Erickson and Maynard Speece.  When I came home every day from Holy Angels High School the ‘Cannon Mess’ was on in our kitchen… It was Steve Cannon though who took me under his wing and launched my career.  I couldn’t have done it without his kind heart.  I’ve had so many wonderful experiences at WCCO Radio.”

Glenn Beck Publishes New Book, Arguing with Socialists. Nationally syndicated talk host Glenn Beck releases his latest book, Arguing with Socialists (2020, Threshold Editions).  According to the publisher, the Premiere Networks personality’s new book “arms readers to the teeth with information necessary to debunk the socialist arguments that have once again become popular and proves that the free market is the only way to go.”

U.S. Coronavirus Infections/Deaths/Projection, Sanders Drops Out, Vote-By-Mail Debate, Trump WHO Criticism, Financial Markets Activity, and Linda Tripp Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (4/8). The tally of confirmed U.S. coronavirus cases, the death toll, and the death projection; Bernie Sanders drops out of the Democratic race for the nomination; the debate over the potential for the November election to be handled by mail; President Trump’s criticism of the World Health Organization, claiming it acquiesced to China in downplaying Covid-19 early on; the world’s financial markets react to the coronavirus pandemic; and Clinton whistleblower Linda Tripp dies among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Red Apple Media President Chad Lopez Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The president of Red Apple Media, the New York City-based firm that recently acquired heritage radio outlet 77WABC from Cumulus MediaChad Lopez, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Red Apple Media is a division of the Red Apple Group – a multi-billion-dollar company in the energy and supermarket businesses owned by its CEO and founder, John Catsimatidis.  Catsimatidis, in addition to being a self-made business mogul and a former top-tier NYC Republican mayoral candidate, is a talk show host in his own right with a syndicated weekly show, “The Cats’ Roundtable,” that emanates from friendly cross-town talk rival WNYM “AM 970 The Answer”.  He is also a lover of radio and has an extremely warm spot in his heart for WABC and its legacy.  Chad Lopez comes to the position of president of this new endeavor with an extraordinary background in New York City radio management and sales.  He was a kid from Queens who grew up listening to NYC radio and, after attending college in the area and serving four years in the Navy as a petty officer on the aircraft carrier USS Independence, worked his way up through the ranks of Big Apple radio that included 16 years in sales managing at CBS Radio – including such giant outlets as WFAN, WINS, WCBS AM/FM and the New York Yankees Radio Network.  He stepped up the corporate ladder after his time with CBS and became VP/market manager for the New York cluster of Cumulus Media which involved overseeing hot AC WPLJ, urban WNBM, country WNSH “NASH-FM” and news/talker 77WABC.  When Red Apple Media acquired 77WABC, Lopez was promoted to president of the company.  Commenting on the purchase of WABC by Catsimatidis, Michael Harrison recently stated, “This is quite possibly the most important radio ownership transaction of the past several years. A local businessperson with significant assets who has demonstrated a lifetime love for radio acquires a major market heritage station with the promise of strengthening its service. This could be just the model that sets the stage for radio’s next renaissance! The industry’s eyes and ears will be on this one.”  Harrison and Lopez discuss Red Apple’s plans for 77WABC along with the state of radio in this extraordinarily transitional year for New York City, the nation, the world and the American broadcasting industry.  This is a deep-dive conversation about the business that professional radio broadcasters should not miss!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Non-commercial triple A WYMS-FM, Milwaukee “88Nine Radio Milwaukee” names Kevin Sucher executive director.  Milwaukee native Sucher worked as a professional musician for several years, teaching himself recording and sound engineering skills that eventually led to a career as a music producer.  Through his producing work, he built relationships with artists and influential professionals in the entertainment industry and that led to a national career in artist management in which he worked with artists, including: Eric Benét, David Foster, Train, The Tenors, and Michelle Branch.  Radio Milwaukee board president Juli Kaufmann comments, “While rooted in Milwaukee, Kevin brings connections and innovative ideas drawn from his national music industry experience.  He is an inclusive leader who brings fresh perspective to enhance our already exceptional team.  We are thrilled to advance our mission under Kevin’s leadership.”

Thursday, March 19, 2020

| March 19, 2020

WGN, Chicago Parts Company with Evening Personality Justin Kaufmann.  As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, evening talk host Justin Kaufmann leaves Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM after the company elected not to renew his contract.  Kaufmann joined WGN in 2015 after spending 21 years as a show producer at Chicago Public Media’s WBEZ-FM.  Feder says his sources expect Ji Suk Yi to move from her position as host of the “Wintrust Business Lunch” noontime program to host of the evening show.  Since Nexstar took over operation of the station from Tribune Media, on-air changes have included the exit of morning host Steve Cochran – replaced by Bob Sirott – and midday duo Bill Leff and Wendy Snyder – whose former daypart was filled with a combination of the move of John Williams’ show to late mornings and Anna Davlantes leaving the Roe Conn afternoon drive show to host her own early afternoon program.

WNIR-FM, Akron Host Jim Isabella Out with Coronavirus. According to a report at CantonRep.com, WNIR, Akron evening talk show host Jim Isabella is off the air after contracting COVID-19.  Isabella tells the news organization he had flu-like symptoms last week and was hospitalized for pneumonia.  It was there he was tested for coronavirus and two days later learned the test was positive. He’s quoted saying, “Obey what the people are telling you.  I don’t know where the hell I got it.  You have to be smart… this is not a drill.”  Isabella says he has a cough and a rattle in his chest that makes it hard to talk for very long.

The Coronavirus Pandemic, Financial Markets Activity/Recession Fears, Coronavirus Relief Package, and Democratic Primary/Presidential Race, Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/18).  The status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.S and across the globe; the world’s financial markets endure another sell-off on Wednesday and economists express fear of a global recession as a result of the coronavirus; the coronavirus relief package and potential stimulus packages being considered by the Trump administration; and Joe Biden’s growing lead over Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary race were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Round Three of Nielsen’s February PPM’s Posted. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey is released for 12 markets, including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus.  The February PPM survey covered January 30 through February 26.  You can see all the weekly, 6+ AQH share numbers from subscribing stations here.  Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian posts his Ratings Takeaways from the second round.  Positive movement from these markets include: Cumulus Media’s WMAL-FM, Washington adds four-tenths to finish the ratings period at a 7.3 share and the #3 rank in the market; Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington also added four tenths to wrap the month at a 7.8 share and tied for the #1 rank; Entercom’s all-news WWJ, Detroit tacks a half share onto January’s four-tenths to finish the February survey at a 4.8 share and the #6 rank; iHeartMedia’s conservative talk KDFD, Denver “Freedom 93.7” adds another three-tenths, posting a 3.6 share and the #13 rank; and Hearst’s WBAL, Baltimore puts another half share on top of seven consecutive ratings gains for a 4.4 share and the #8 rank in the market.  See all of Mike Kinosian’s Takeaways here.

New York Festivals Radio Awards Announces 2020 Finalists. The 2020 New York Festivals Radio Awards International Grand Jury has selected the finalists in this year’s competition.  All finalists move on to the medal round of judging.  New York Festivals Radio Awards will announce the 2020 award winners on Tuesday, April 21.  The Grand Jury selected the finalists based on the following criteria: production values, organization, presentation of information, creativity, and use of the medium. New York Festivals says prominent broadcasters that took the lead include: RTÉ Ireland, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, CBS News Radio, and Radio New Zealand. You can see the complete list of finalists here. Meanwhile, other U.S. broadcasters of note to make the medal round include: in the Podcast category – “30 for 30 Podcasts: Season 6,” ESPN Films, “Amy Schumer Presents: 3 Girls, 1 Keith” Spotify; “Dolly Parton’s America,” OSM Audio/ WNYC Studios; and “Sleepwalkers,” iHeartMedia.  In the Breaking News, Feature and Investigative categories: “75th Anniversary of D-Day,” Westwood One; “Protests Grip Hong Kong,” Bloomberg LP; “CBS World News Roundup” and “Notre Dame,” CBS News Radio.

TALKERS News Notes. The New Jersey Broadcasters Association announces it is canceling this year’s Annual Conference & Gala, originally scheduled for June 16 and 17 in Atlantic City.  President and CEO Paul Rotella says, “That’s not something we wanted to do, because we enjoy that event and we were very much looking forward to it.  Like you, we treasure the opportunity to shine a spotlight on our magnificent industry, especially this year when we were going to celebrate the century of service provided by broadcasters.  But our number-one priority at this time is health and safety, and the CDC’s guidelines make clear that gatherings over 50 people should be avoided for at least the next eight weeks, and of course that makes our planning futile. (It was going to be great too!) But, the show will go on my friends, if not this year, then next year.”…..John FredericksDisruptor Media LLC buys WNTW-AM, Chester, Virginia and translator W224EB, Chester at 92.7 FM in the Richmond market from Nancy A. Epperson’s Delmarva Educational Association for $240,000.  This pair will become part of the John Fredericks Radio Network based at his WJFN-FM, Goochland, Virginia…..Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois-based Big Radio is creating an online directory connecting consumers with the innovative ways that local businesses are continuing to serve them during the COVID-19 emergency.  The directory provides information on local restaurants, retailers, and other businesses that are offering services while still complying with the health emergency directives.  Listings are updated on a regular basis and are being provided free of charge to businesses in the Big Radio family of stations coverage area.  Big Radio co-owner Ben Thompson says, “Local businesses are the biggest supporters of our community and we wanted to find a way to help them publicize changes in their operations so that community residents could lend a hand by continuing to shop local.”  Big Radio is the business brand of Scott and Ben Thompson who own 10 stations and other businesses throughout Wisconsin and Illinois.

KMZQ, Las Vegas Morning Host Heidi Harris Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Although every corner of the nation and world have been hit hard by the coronavirus, Las Vegas has been particularly impacted due to the preponderance of hospitality and travel-oriented industries that make the market tick.  KMZQ, Las Vegas morning host Heidi Harris is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harris, a 22-year veteran of Las Vegas broadcasting, and Harrison take a conversational deep dive into the coronavirus-era machinations of the “gig economy” as well as state of the convention, travel, hospitality, and gambling industries in a fascinating, fast-paced program with lots of takeaways.  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of every page on Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In the New York market Mediaco Holdings appoints Jonathan Bates vice president of brand partnerships for hip hop WQHT “Hot 97” and urban contemporary WBLS.  Bates has been serving as executive vice president for The Shadow League, a “website dedicated to presenting journalistically sound sports coverage through the lens of culture.”  Mediaco SVP of revenue Victor Giacomelli says, “Jonathan is an exceptional digital sales and marketing leader whose 20 years of digital experience will enable us to accelerate opportunities for clients to benefit from the wide array of authentic ‘Hot 97’ digital content opportunities.  Jonathan is expected to recruit a team of multicultural digital marketing specialists to partner with clients on a variety of ‘Hot 97’ digital and social opportunities.”…..iHeartMedia’s WXKS-FM, Boston “Kiss 108” is presenting a Billie Eilish experience this evening to offer fans who would have attended Eilish’s canceled concert in town tonight (3/19).  At 7:30 pm, the station will play Eilish’s music, interview clips, and listeners sharing their Billie thoughts and stories.  Station PD Dylan Sprague states, “Since her show at the Garden has been postponed, it’s the best way for fans to join together in our love for Billie Eilish.  If we were at the show, we’d be all singing these songs together.  Why not belt ‘em out at home?”

Thursday, January 2, 2020

| January 2, 2020

WFAN, New York Officially Announces New Lineup. On New Year’s Eve, Entercom announced the new lineup for sports talk WFAN, New York “The Fan” that takes effect on Monday, January 6.  As had been reported in numerous New York media outlets, the station goes from four to three daytime shows with Joe Benigno and Evan Roberts moving from late mornings to the 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm slot, replacing Mike Francesa.  He will host the 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm “Mike’s On” program as well as “host special programs, remote broadcasts, and contribute to other shows on WFAN.”  Maggie Gray remains with the station in midday, reunited with longtime WFAN personality Marc “Moose” Malusis for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm “Moose and Maggie” show.  Prior to her joining WFAN in 2018 with co-hosts Bart Scott and Chris Carlin, she served with CBS Sports Radio co-hosting a Saturday morning show with Malusis.   Malusis currently serves as the host of “Football Sunday” on WFAN with former New York Giants player David Diehl.  The rest of the lineup remains the same, with “Boomer and Gio” in AM drive, Steve Sommers in evenings and John Jastremski in overnights.  Entercom New York SVP of programming Mark Chernoff says, “This is quite an impressive lineup of talent on WFAN as we remain the one and only place to talk New York sports all day, every day.  Combined with our play-by-play of New York Yankees baseball, New York Giants football, Brooklyn Nets basketball and New Jersey Devils hockey, as well as our slate of National Football League games, we look forward to expanding our position as the flagship station for New York sports fans.”

KABC, Los Angeles Adds Two Evening Shows to New Lineup. Los Angeles news/talk outlet KABC adds two one-hour programs to its evening lineup, effective today (1/2).  Former Secret Service Agent and NYPD officer and New York Times best-selling author Dan Bongino hosts his eponymous 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm show and Andrew Klavan brings his “distinctive brand of political satire, cultural commentary, interviews and more” to the 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm hour.  Both Bongino and Klavan host podcasts of the same name on the Westwood One Podcast NetworkCumulus Media’s KABC recently announced its daily lineup consisting of “Armstrong & Getty” in AM drive, Washington-based Larry O’Connor from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon, John Phillips from 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm, Ben Shapiro from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm and “The Savage Nation” with Michael Savage from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm.  KABC general manager Drew Hayes says, “We are thrilled to add Dan Bongino and Andrew Klavan to our built-for-election year lineup.  Both Dan and Andrew have strong, thoughtful opinions and huge followings that will make nights on KABC a real destination for common sense listeners in 2020 and beyond.”

Ratings Takeaways from December PPM Survey. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his “Ratings Takeaways” from Nielsen Audio’s December 2019 PPM survey that covered November 7 to December 4, 2019.  Some positive 6+ weekly AQH share ratings movement for spoken-word stations during the survey includes: Hearst’s news/talk WBAL-AM, Baltimore adds three-tenths to its five-survey uptick to finish at a 3.2 share and the #11 rank in the market; Entercom’s crosstown sports talker WJZ-FM, Baltimore rises six-tenths to a 4.9 share and #8 in the market; Alpha Media’s KXL-FM, Portland adds two-tenths to its fifth survey without a loss to stand at 5.4 share and the #4 rank in the market; and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis adds three-tenths to finish with a 6.7 share and the #4 rank in the market.  See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here and check out all of Mike Kinosian’s “Takeaways” from the December survey here.

A TRIBUTE TO DON IMUS Presented on This Week’s Harrison Podcast. This week’s installment of the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview” presents an uninterrupted reposting of a remarkably candid 2016 conversation between TALKERS founder Michael Harrison and the legendary talk media personality Don Imus who passed away this past Friday (12/27/19) at the age of 79. It was an illuminating conversation in which Imus candidly discussed the highlights as well as lowlights of his colorful life and career – including his rehabilitation from drugs and alcohol; his regret over the Rutgers incident and the lessons he learned from it; his opinion of Al Sharpton and certain radio management figures who played key roles in his career; his ability to generate radio ad revenue that dramatically exceeded ratings expectations; his deep love for his wife Deidre and the significant role she played in his life; his tremendous work in supporting kids with cancer; the handful of radio guests he found most interesting; his view (back then during the primaries) of the 2016 presidential race and for whom he intended to vote … plus a whole lot more. To listen to the entire podcast, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column of the TALKERS email newsletter and on every page of Talkers.com.

Tegna to Sell KFMB-AM and FM to Local Media San Diego. Television company Tegna is entering into a deal to sell its two San Diego radio stations – news/talk KFMB-AM and adult hits KFMB-FM – to Local Media San Diego for $5 million.  Tegna acquired the radio stations with its $325 million purchase of KFMB-TV from Midwest Television in February of last year.  Interestingly, a proviso of the pact with LMSD is that Tegna is keeping the KFMB-AM and FM call letters and the stations will have 30 days to wind down use of the call letters and a year to cease using the calls in relation to sales deals with agencies or local advertisers.  Local Media San Diego operates three Tijuana, Mexico signals in the San Diego market: CHR XHITZ, alternative rock XETRA, and rhythmic AC XHRM.  In February of last year, executives Norm McKee, Gregg Wolfson, and Steve McNeely led a management buyout of Local Media San Diego.

Donald Trump Impeachment, Attacks on U.S. Embassy in Iraq, 2020 Presidential Race, New Year/2019 Retrospectives, Hanukkah Attack, Texas Church Shooting, and North Korea Nuclear Ambitions Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/1). The articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump; the attacks on the U.S. embassy in Iraq and President Trump’s blaming Iran; the Democrats hoping to challenge President Trump in November; retrospectives of 2019 and the “teens” decade; five are wounded at a Hanukkah celebration in New York; the Sunday shooting at a Texas church that claimed the lives of two parishioners; and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Extends Deal with Alfred ‘Big Al’ Williams. Denver radio personality Alfred “Big Al” Williams and iHeartMedia sign a new, five-year deal for the former to serve as an air talent for news/talk KOA “850 AM & 94.1 FM.” Williams joined KOA in September of 2019 after a long career alongside Darren McKee on Bonneville’s crosstown sports talker KKFN “104.3 The Fan.”  iHeartMedia Denver president Tim Hagar comments, “Big Al has set the standard for afternoon drive radio.  This long-term renewal is a testament to Al’s impact and importance to iHeartMedia, KOA, our partners and his legion of fans throughout Colorado.  Not only is he a tremendous talent and a great man, but he is the type of guy who you want on your team no matter what you are doing and we are so glad he’s a part of our team.”

Paige Rockwell Named VP of Sales at iHeartMedia Binghamton.  Sales pro Paige Rockwell is named vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Binghamton, New York stations.  She was most recently director of digital strategy at Townsquare Media’s Utica cluster.  iHeartMedia area president Robert Morgan states, “I am thrilled to have Paige lead our sales organization in Binghamton.  I know she will bring her passion, tireless energy, creativity, and leadership talents to help us further grow our business and expand upon our partnerships.”

TALKERS News Notes. After a two-year absence, CBS News Radio is back providing news programming for Hubbard Radio’s all-news WTOP-FM, Washington.  The station had been using ABC Radio News since 2018.  WTOP director of news and programming Julia Ziegler says, “WTOP’s mission is to deliver news that matters to the people in our community, 24/7/365. It’s a mission we take very seriously.  Our partnership with CBS News and the talented journalists who work there helps us accomplish this goal.  We are thrilled to be working once again with the CBS team.”…..The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that evening host Jay Kanzler exits CH Holdings’ KTRS, St. Louis after more than two years as a full time host.  Kanzler is also a full-time practicing attorney.  He tells the Post-Dispatch, “I managed to do it for a couple of years, but it was just a tough schedule to keep.”…..Entercom names Alex Gold (right) and Cody Tapp (left) the new co-hosts of the midday show on KCSP-AM, Kansas City “610 Sports Radio.”  The “Cody & Gold” show takes over for the former “Show and Vern” program with Ron “Show” Hughley and Josh Vernier.  Hughley exited the station while Vernier moves to Royals insider and host of Royals pre- and post-game shows for the station…..Mary Zatina is named general manager of Wayne State University’s WDET, Detroit.  Zatina served as assistant GM for business and development for the station from 1985-88.  She says, “It’s been a while since I worked at WDET, but I have maintained my strong belief in the station’s mission and the critical role it plays to serve metro Detroiters.  I’ve never stopped listening to and supporting WDET.  I am excited to be coming home and am looking forward to working with this dedicated and dynamic team of professionals.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Programming pro Isaac “Brooks” Wenzel is named music director and afternoon drive host for country WFMS, Indianapolis.  Cumulus Media brings Wenzel to Indy from its Madison operations where he was midday host on country WMAD-FM and promotions director for the six-station group.  Wenzel says, “I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to join a station with such long-lasting success in an amazing city like WFMS in Indianapolis.  Thanks to Cumulus for giving me this incredible opportunity.”…..iHeartMedia announces former hot AC WMYI-FM, Greenville, South Carolina becomes adult hits “102.5 The Lake.”  Station PD and region SVP of programming A.J. says, “‘102.5 The Lake’ is going to bring listeners a variety of music from a diverse group of artists.  The philosophy of our programming is that we’ll play anything and you never know what you’ll hear next.”…..Westwood One’s “The BOB & TOM Show” moves from Townsquare Media’s rock WGBF to crosstown The Original Company’s classic hits WJPS-FM in the Evansville, Indiana market…..Flood Communications West closes on the purchase of adult contemporary KSID-FM and country KSID-AM, Sidney, Nebraska.  The company paid $300,000 to seller Dead-Short BroadcastingJason James of Patrick Communications was the exclusive broker…..Condolences to the family and friends of former country KVOO, TULSA morning drive host Andy Oatman, who passed away on December 30 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.  Oatman retired from KVOO in 2008.