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Wednesday, March 17, 2021

| March 17, 2021

Saga Adds New Talk Station to Clarksville, Tennessee Cluster. The Saga Communications station group in Clarksville, Tennessee – known as 5 Star Media Group – has acquired WNZE-AM and translator W288DQ from Consolidated Media (the AM’s previous calls were WJZM). According to the report at Clarksville Now, the news/talk station – called “NewZee 105.5 FM and 1400 AM” is airing a slate of nationally syndicated talk programming including: Compass Media Networks’ “This Morning with Gordon Deal,” Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt and Dennis Prager, Premiere NetworksSean Hannity, Westwood One’s Mark Levin, and more. Speaking about the acquisition, 5 Star Media Group general manager Katie Gambill says, “When this station became available, we saw it as a golden opportunity to round out our portfolio with radio talk while also expanding what we can do with local news. And it gives our business partners new ways to reach more customers.”

KTRS, St. Louis to Celebrate 25 Years Next Month. The CH Holdings-owned news/talk outlet KTRS-AM is preparing to celebrate its 25th anniversary next month. Current KTRS morning host and program director McGraw Milhaven says, “It was April 1996, when 550 KTRS radio signed on in St. Louis. At the time, the St. Louis business community, upset that corporate radio was gutting the fabric of St. Louis, started KTRS with the idea of bringing local back to local. The corporate radio reaction? ‘Local talk? All day long? With no syndication? We give it six months.’ Well 25 years later KTRS is celebrating 25 years of local talk radio. Some changes along the way. The general manager who put the deal together, longtime St. Louis radio executive Tim Dorsey, retired and was replaced by his brother Mark Dorsey, but the mission continues. Local talk, all day long. With great support from the local St. Louis community and local businesses, KTRS has only grown stronger over the years. Now, 25 years later, local talk is more important than ever and KTRS is here to prove once and for all that local radio can not only survive but thrive.”

Westwood One Blog: Podcasting Data from ‘Infinite Dial’ Most Compelling. Calling two of the slides from Edison Research’s and Triton Digital’s “Infinite Dial 2021” “the most compelling aspect of the study,” Westwood One’s Pierre Bouvard says in this week’s WWO blog that they’ve summarized “the most crucial data on the U.S. podcast audience.” Bouvard cites the following data as important to viewing the changes in the U.S. podcasting audience over the past five years: Nearly eight in ten 12+ Americans are familiar with the term podcasting, up from 60% in 2017; 57% of Americans have ever listened to a podcast, a near 50% increase since 2017 (40%); 41% of Americans have listened to a podcast in the last month, a 71% increase versus 2017 (24%); among persons 12-34, podcast usage has crashed through the 50% barrier with a monthly reach of 56%; The weekly podcast audience (28%) has nearly doubled over the same period from 15% in 2017; and podcast habituation is up with 68% of the monthly podcast audience having also listened in the past week, an 8% increase from 2017. Looking back 10 years, the study shows that 10 years ago, the podcast audience was 58% male and 42% female while today the monthly podcast audience is more evenly split between men and women. Over the past 10 years, the audience is diversifying as the persons 55+ proportion of the monthly podcast audience has grown from 14% to 21%; the persons 12-34 audience composition has increased from 46% to 50%; and the persons 35-54 audience composition has dropped from 40% to 29%. Also, the podcast audience is more diverse: The ethnic audience composition of monthly podcast listeners is up from 32% in 2011 to 43% in 2021. The Hispanic audience composition has surged from 11% to 16% over the 10-year period. See more here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that WGN-AM morning drive personality Bob Sirott is being honored by the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois with the 2021 Diogenes Award for Excellence in Media. Sirott will receive the honor at the organization’s March 25 annual meeting…..iHeartMedia announces a new iHeartRadio Original Podcast hosted by actress and singer-songwriter Minnie Driver called, “Minnie Questions with Minnie Driver. ” iHeartMedia says in the intimate talk show-style podcast, Driver will ask a wide-range of celebrity guests the same seven “mini” questions to uncover larger truths and help us better understand ourselves and the world around us. Driver says, “I have wanted to share this crazy idea for a podcast for such a long time. I question everything about the world around me, and I’m so excited to share these questions I’ve discovered and host these conversations that can help other people find happiness, self-love and belonging, too.”…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One – as the official network radio partner of the NCAA – begins its presentation of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship tomorrow (3/18) at 5:00 pm ET. WWO will present play-by-play from all 67 games, including eight first-round and second-round games, plus regional semifinals and finals. Games will air on more than 400 affiliate stations across the country and via SiriusXM…..Entercom’s Pittsburgh radio stations – including news/talk KDKA-AM and sports talk KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan” – raised funds to provide more than 650,000 meals for people in need through the “Giant Eagle Feed the Need Radiothon” that took place yesterday (3/16). Entercom Pittsburgh SVP and market manager Michael Spacciapolli says, “This is a great example of Pittsburghers taking care of each other and using the power of radio to spread the message of the need in our region. Helping the community is part of the fabric of what we do. On behalf of our amazing team at Entercom Pittsburgh, I want to once again thank our listeners for stepping up to help our neighbors in need.”

Atlanta Spa Slayings, Migrant Border Crisis, Cuomo Allegations, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Dems Attack on the Filibuster, Newsom Recall Effort, U.S. Sanctions 24 Chinese and Hong Kong Officials, and the Oscar Nominations Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/16). The shooting deaths of  eight Asians at several spas in the Atlanta area by a white suspect; the Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; Democrats fight with Republicans over the former’s attempt to kill the Senate filibuster; California Governor Gavin Newsom battles the recall effort against him; the U.S. sanctions 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials under the Hong Kong Autonomy Act; and the unveiling of this year’s Oscar nominations were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pictured above is Michael Harrison contemplating lyrics to “I Know You’re Real” while walking in the woods that surround his Western Massachusetts home searching for The Tree Of To Be.

Calling All Animals! TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has put out an open “casting call” to the talk media industry readers of this publication to submit royalty free original photos of animals that are, as he puts it, “special in their lives.” Some of the photos submitted will be used in a music video project Harrison is developing for release next month about the animal welfare movement of which he is a longtime advocate. Harrison has co-written a song about the relationship between human beings and other species titled, “I Know You’re Real,” which addresses the subject of animal welfare in what he describes as an “inspirationally spiritual manner.” It has been recorded by the legendary rock band Gunhill Road of which Harrison is now an official member and will appear on the storied 50-year-old ensemble’s forthcoming 13-song album, What Year Is This! scheduled for release in April. Harrison says, “We are looking for photos of people’s domestic pets, farm animals or personal wildlife photography subjects to use in the video.” Please send JPG photo files of animals that are royalty free to Harrison at michael@talkers.com. Include the name of the animal (if it is a pet) and a statement that the photo and rights to its use are being donated to the Gunhill Road Video Project without expectation of payment or credit. (Attempts will be made to properly credit the animals and photographers if and where possible.) Two versions of the song will appear on the album. One will feature Harrison delivering the lyrics in spoken word fashion and the other will be a fully sung version featuring lead vocals by Gunhill Road member (and highly accomplished Broadway musician) Brian Koonin. The 2021 incarnation of Gunhill Road consists of founding members Steve Goldrich and Glenn Leopold, longtime member Paul Reisch, and recently added members Harrison and Koonin. Harrison and the other band members will be available for talk media interviews upon the release of the album. Stay tuned to TALKERS for more information about this project coming in early April.

Thursday, January 21, 2021

| January 21, 2021

KMBZ, Kansas City Names Amy Anderson AM Drive Co-Host. Kansas City news/talk outlet KMBZ-FM and KMBZ-AM bring Amy Anderson aboard to serve as a member of the news team and as co-host of the “Kansas City’s Morning News” program. The Entercom station says, “Amy is a familiar face and is well-known in her hometown of Kansas City, spending nearly 18 years working as a television news anchor and reporter for KCTV-5… Amy brings strong news ‘chops’ and news sense to the KMBZ newsroom, and will form a power team with Will Sterrett, building on KMBZ’s tradition of delivering credible, factual news to listeners in Kansas City and beyond. Amy says she is excited to make the transition from TV to radio! And thrilled she gets to continue to work in Kansas City.” The “Kansas City’s Morning News” show airs on KMBZ-FM and is simulcast on KMBZ-AM “Talk980am.”

Wendy Bell Returns to the Air in Pittsburgh Market. In Western Pennsylvania, Patch.com reports that former KDKA-AM talk show host Wendy Bell is launching a new talk program on St. Barnabas Broadcasting’s WJAS-AM on Monday (1/25). Her program will air from 11:00 am to 12:00 noon Monday through Thursday and from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon on Fridays. Bell was taken off the air at Entercom’s KDKA-AM back in September and a month later it was announced the two sides had mutually agreed to part company. This came as the result of Bell stating on air that park rangers should shoot anyone attempting to vandalize monuments of historical figures. Numerous statues and monuments across the country had been vandalized during Black Lives Matter protests over the summer. Bell posted on her Facebook page, “America needs common sense conservatism. Let’s roll!”

Salem Radio Network Unveils ‘Rebuilding the Right’ Program. This new, weekly special program from Salem Radio Network is titled, “Rebuilding The Right,” and premieres on Wednesday, January 27 at 4:00 pm ET. SRN says the program is “designed as a freewheeling roundtable and exchange of ideas hosted by former White House national security strategist and SRN talk host Dr. Sebastian Gorka.” The press release adds, “With Joe Biden now inaugurated as our 46th president and Democrats in control of both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, conservative voices may literally encounter difficulty even being heard… How do conservatives nationally recover from this and rebuild…even as the Left tries to silence us all? ‘Rebuilding The Right’ will harness the combined input of nationally syndicated SRN talk hosts Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Charlie Kirk, Larry Elder, and Eric Metaxas on a rotating basis each week…as well as voices of groundbreaking conservative podcasters like Dinesh D’Souza.” Salem Media Group SVP of spoken word formats Phil Boyce says, “Our SRN hosts on ‘Rebuilding The Right’ will represent the best way forward for America. Their ideas and intellect will help conservatives avoid any sadness over recent events and create positive, actionable steps for crafting a new direction for the nation.” The program will also be repurposed as videos on YouTube and Rumble and a podcast version will also be made available after each weekly broadcast.

Ashes of Late CBS Reporter Dave Barrett to Launch into Space. Late, longtime CBS News Radio correspondent Dave Barrett will have his wishes honored as his cremains will be launched into space on Friday (1/22), assuming the weather is suitable for the 9:24 am launch of the Space X Falcon. Barrett is pictured here in 2011 covering the final Space Shuttle launch from Kennedy Space Center. Barrett, who died suddenly in 2018 at the age of 63, was a lifelong space enthusiast and dreamed of traveling into space. Friday’s launch will contain a payload of private and government satellites as well as the cremains of not only Barrett but a number of other people. CBS News’ Peter King will report on the launch.

WABC, New York Extends Clint Arthur Program. New York news/talk outlet “TALKRADIO 77 WABC” announces it has extended its deal with celebrity entrepreneur Clint Arthur to continue airing his program, “The Greatest Show of All Time.” Arthur says, “The mission of this show is a personal, professional, and spiritual transformation for entrepreneurs, business owners, CEOs and anyone responsible for improving their own life and who wants to be more, do more, and have more. As a native New Yorker, I am thrilled by this opportunity to give back to the city that made me who I am today.”

Tom Goslowski Exits Townsquare’s Sports Talk WTMM, Albany. According to a report in The Daily Gazette, Tom Goslowski has been let go from Townsquare Media’s sports talk outlet WTMM, Albany “104.5 The Team” where he was brand manager and co-host of the “Levack and Goz” program with Jeff Levack. At the time of his Monday dismissal, Goslowski told The Daily Gazette, “I can’t say I was too shocked. It’s been a tough year, a tough stretch for radio companies. I wasn’t too shocked by it because it’s been a brutal year for the sports media business.” But Townsquare Media Albany market president Kevin Rich later explained to the paper via email, “While we do not comment on any particular person’s situation or performance, what I can share is that the decision was specific to Goz and not related to COVID nor any economic backdrop. To that point, we have already been recruiting for a replacement and we are already receiving strong interest in the opportunity to serve the local sports community in the Capital Region. ‘104.5 The Team’ is the only Albany radio station with great daily local sports content, rather than just being fully syndicated.” That’s not sitting well with Goslowski, who tweeted the following: “The unnecessary and intentionally vague comments have sadly put my character, performance as a brand manager/host, and employee into question.” He’s launching a podcast titled “Getting There with Goz” and promises to talk about his exit from the station on the first episode on Monday (1/25). Meanwhile, the station has partnered Charlie Voelker with Jeff Levack in afternoon drive in the interim.

Former Sports Talker Marty Tirrell Sentenced to 41 Months for Mail Fraud. According to a story in the Des Moines Register, former sports talk host Marty Tirrell was sentenced to 41 months in prison with three years of supervised release to follow after he pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud. Tirrell is also ordered to pay $1.46 million in restitution to those he defraud – including American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of the West, and five individuals, although it doesn’t appear Tirrell has the assets to pay restitution any time soon.  Prosecutors had sought a five-year sentence instead of the almost three-and-a-half he received. The FBI’s investigation revealed that Tirrell’s scheme revolved around buying luxury ticket packages to sporting events and re-selling them at a profit. But investors’ money never went into buying tickets. Instead, Tirrell spent the cash on a luxurious lifestyle and to pay off gambling debts. When he could no longer find new investors, he stole credit cards, kited checks, and lied to banks to get more money.

Changes in Cumulus Media’s Sales Leadership Announced. With the departure of Bryan Forbes from his Westwood One president of sales position for another opportunity, Cumulus Media makes changes to its sales leadership structure. Ron Russo is appointed to the president, sales post at Westwood One. He was most recently Westwood One’s EVP of sales for the Northeast region. At the same time, Rafe D’Amico is promoted to SVP, president of national sales in which he’ll be responsible for leading the Cumulus Radio Station Group’s national spot team and managing the relationship with Katz Radio Group. D’Amico joins Cumulus from Beasley Media Group where he was VP of strategic partnerships and national sales. Brandon Berman, EVP sales and sports partnerships at Westwood One, adds responsibility for the Northeast region to his current oversight of the Midwest region and Westwood One sports sales. Kim Bryant, EVP of sales for the West and Southwest regions at Westwood One, picks up responsibility for the Southeast region. And Adam Shifrin is promoted to VP, sports sales and marketing at Westwood One. Westwood One president Suzanne Grimes says, “Westwood One is extremely fortunate to have a group of sales executives poised to lead the team forward seamlessly. I’m thrilled to announce these well-deserved promotions that will enable us to manage through this challenging pandemic with confidence, commitment, resilience and results.”

WPHT, Philadelphia Mainstay Dom Giordano Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Described by TALKERS founder Michael Harrison as “American talk radio’s leading advocate for education renewal,” Philadelphia broadcasting icon Dom Giordano is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Giordano has been a mainstay of local Philadelphia talk radio since 1987, where he has developed a national reputation in the media industry for his intelligence and even-handedness. He offers a dependable “guy next door” sensibility that’s as comfortable as your favorite chair. Born and raised in South Philly, his local flavor makes him one of the region’s best-connected media personalities. His mix of compelling topics, great local callers, and provocative guests produces fascinating talk radio. He has also written and hosted several critically acclaimed exclusive WPHT talk radio specials this past year addressing hot topics such as COVID-19, the national mood, and the economy. But there’s even more to this perennial member of the TALKERS Heavy Hundred than just the fact that he’s a dependable survivor of decades of broadcasting and is regularly turned to by major networks as a reliable substitute for several national hosts such as Jim Bohannon and Michael Savage. He’s an expert on one of the hottest topics in the national conversation and one that promises to be around for a long time to come – the education crisis that has been brewing in America for years and has now been terribly exacerbated by the COVID-19 disruption of our schools and learning processes. Giordano began his unique path to broadcasting as a high school teacher in the Delaware Valley where he received widespread media coverage for his innovative teaching and motivational techniques. He was hired at WWDB-FM, Philadelphia in 1987, becoming the country’s first high-profile teacher-turned-talk show host. In 2000 he joined then-CBS owned-and-operated WPHT (now owned by Entercom) where he has been ever since. He currently is heard weekdays between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon. And now, as part of his call to duty to address the education crisis at hand, WPHT is launching an ambitious weekly podcast hosted by Giordano totally dedicated to the subject of education in America with commentary, news reports, and interviews with experts and leaders in the field representing a variety of viewpoints. The podcast is titled “Readin’ Writin’ and Reason.” On this week’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Interview,” Harrison and Giordano take a deep dive into the education crisis that promises to challenge the United States for years to come and threaten its standing among nations as an economic, scientific, and cultural world leader. Don’t miss this! 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.

TALKERS News Notes. Central New Jersey news/talk WCTC-AM, New Brunswick is being credited with helping the City of New Brunswick with receiving a special award from the NJ State League of Municipalities, the NJ Municipal Management Association, and the Rutgers University Center for Government Studies for outstanding coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Former WCTC-AM program director and morning host Bert Baron – now serving as public information officer for the city – says, “Our coverage of the pandemic was, and continues to be, multi-faceted. The city’s existing communication platforms all provided high engagement levels. What helped us to directly reach the community with the messaging was a 30-minute update aired weekdays on WCTC.” The “New Brunswick COVID-19 Report” aired each weekday morning on the Beasley Media Group station from March through September and was hosted by Baron and City of New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill…..SiriusXM and Bare Knuckle Fighting Championship are teaming up to launch a new show hosted by Bare Knuckle FC’s newest star, Paige VanZant. Yesterday (1/20) at 5:00 pm ET VanZant debuted as the host of a new four-episode SiriusXM show, “Knuckle Up Radio with Paige VanZant,” that will chronicle her journey from the MMA octagon to the BKFC “Squared Circle.”…..PodcastOne secures the distribution and advertising sales rights to Todd and Julie Chrisley’s “Chrisley Confessions” podcast. The “Chrisley Confessions” podcast launched in 2018 with hosts Todd and Julie Chrisley. In each episode, the duo play audience voicemails and offer advice, suggestions and opinions on all things faith, family, food and just about everything else. Todd Chrisley says, “Julie and I are looking forward to being part of the long tradition of outspoken and irreverent hosts in the PodcastOne family. And anyone who knows me knows that family means more to me than anything.”

Biden Inauguration, Biden Executive Orders, Trump Farewell/Impeachment, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Social Media and Censorship, and Capitol Attack Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/20). The inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden; Biden signs 17 executive orders intending to undo Trump administration projects including the Mexico border wall and the Keystone XL pipeline; Donald Trump’s farewell address from Andrews Air Force Base and the article of impeachment against him; the stabilizing number of COVID cases in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the suspension and banning of some by social media platforms and cries of censorship; and the investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Friday, October 2, 2020

| October 2, 2020

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of 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. This new episode titled “Shut Up and Keep Talking!” looks back at this past week of September 28th – October 2nd, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS; Kevin Miller, talk show host, KIDO, Boise; Hugh Hewitt, talk show host, Salem Radio NetworkAndy Bloom, CEO, Andy Bloom Communications / contributor, Newsmax.com; John Catsimatidis, CEO, Red Apple Media / syndicated talk show host; “Cousin” Bruce Morrow, program host, WABC, New York; 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 WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week ’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here  or call 616-884-8616.

Michael Savage Announces He’ll Exit Radio in January to Focus on Podcasting. The talk radio star told his listeners on Wednesday (9/30) that he’ll be leaving his radio program effective in January. Michael Savage posted a Breitbart story about his announcement to his website and that piece says Savage will be heard exclusively on his “Savage Nation Podcast” on the Westwood One Podcast Network. However, other sources are reporting he’s splitting from Cumulus Media and Westwood One. Savage said on his radio show, “I cannot give you the reasons. I am constrained for legal reasons. You will no longer hear Michael Savage on radio anywhere in America.” Starting in 2019, Savage’s radio show was reduced from three hours to one – airing live from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET. He also began his podcast that some radio stations aired as a radio show.

WXYT-FM, Detroit Adds Jon Jansen to Morning Show. The new morning drive show at Entercom’s sports talk WXYT-FM, Detroit is “Stoney and Jansen,” starring Mike Stone and Jon Jansen and featuring Heather Parks. Jamie Samuelsen co-hosted the morning show with Stone from August 2016 until his death on August 1. Jansen is a former University of Michigan and Detroit Lions football player and has been a frequent guest host on WXYT-FM as well as a personality on the station’s “Gameday Uncensored” weekly football show. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “As Detroit’s number one sports talk station, we are excited to add Jon’s vast NFL knowledge to our incredible team. A native Detroiter who played for the University of Michigan and the Lions, Jon has distinct passion for the city’s football scene. Detroiters are really going to enjoy the chemistry that Jon has with Stoney as they tackle the biggest storylines in the Motor City and beyond.”

Round Three of September PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s September 2020 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s September 2020 survey period covered August 13 – September 9. You can see all the weekly, 6+ AHQ share data from subscribing stations here. Meanwhile, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways for this group of markets. In Portland, Alpha Media’s news/talk KXL-FM “FM News 101” adds one-tenth to finish the survey with a 6.0 share good for the #3 rank in the market. Entercom’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte also tacks on one-tenth to finish with a 6.0 share and rises to the #4 rank. iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento was up one-tenth to an 8.1 share and that was good enough to push it into the #1 spot. After four straight down surveys, Bonneville’s KSL-AM/FM, Salt Lake City finished the September survey up one full share to post a 6.1 share and jumps into the #5 spot. Across town, iHeartMedia’s KNRS-FM adds 1.2 shares to finish with a 7.3 share and climbs into the #2 spot. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaway report here.

PodcastOne Beefs Up Sports Content. The PodcastOne SportsNet announces new and upcoming programming that includes a weekly podcast hosted by NFL great Michael Irvin and a new daily show called, “All Balls, All Sports” starring Adam Carolla and Jeff Cesario. Sports media personality Chris Myers recently debuted his “CMI: The Chris Myers Interview.” PodcastOne CEO Peter Morris says, “Sports-related programming has done remarkably well on our network and this slate of premium sports shows from some of the greatest sports and comedic talent will serve both our audience and our advertisers.” The company says listenership to its sports-related programming has increased 14% in Q3 since the end of Q2 in calendar year 2020.

The Presidential Race, Tuesday’s Debate, and Mail-In Voting Tie for Top News/Talk Stories This Week. The November presidential election, Tuesday’s debate between President Trump and Joe Biden, and the debate over mail-in voting tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio for the week of September 28 – October 2, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court and the issue of court-packing. Coming in at #3 was President Trump and Melania Trump testing positive for COVID-19 along with statistics about current infections and projections for future cases. 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. See this week’s complete chart here.

TALKERS News Notes. Next Wednesday (10/7) is the lone 2020 Vice Presidential Debate between Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City and Salem Radio Network is presenting live coverage. The debate will be moderated by USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page. SRN’s coverage begins at 8:06 pm ET with a special “SRN Debate Preview” hosted by nationally syndicated SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt who will be joined by special guests and feature an update from SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston. After the debate, SRN will present a 30-minute wrap-up program…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and Foxtopus Ink partner for Westwood One to distribute, market, and monetize Foxtopus’ existing and future podcasts. As part of the deal, popular science podcast “Wild Thing” moves to the Westwood One Podcast Network. “Wild Thing” – hosted by Laura Kratz – turns its gaze skyward in this second season. In “Wild Thing: Space Invaders,” Krantz examines the science, culture, and philosophy of a universe where we’re not alone and why the idea of alien life has abducted our imaginations…..Podcast network Ramble (a division of Cadence13 and part of Entercom’s Podcast Network) launches “Charli and Dixie: TWO CHIX,” a new weekly podcast hosted by sisters TikTok stars Charli and Dixie D’Amelio. The sisters have a combined social following of nearly 200 million and tens of billions of views on leading social media platforms…..Skyview Networks wrapped its third annual upfront this week – a celebration built on a virtual stage for an audience of top media agencies and network buyers. The theme of this year’s event was “Unrivaled Momentum” in which Skyview underscored its strong focus on growth and new initiatives saying, “Despite the economic and industry effects of the pandemic, Skyview continued to increase the strength of its sales portfolio, building its affiliate relationships from 5,700 to over 9,000 and reaching more than half of American listeners weekly. Loaded with some of the biggest names in entertainment, music and news, Skyview has set the tone for a powerful year ahead.”…..HealthyLife.net Radio Network is extending the reach of its programs by launching HRNradio.com – a platform “designed to be the place where positive people and podcasts unite with more than 2,400 timeless, entertaining talk programs curated from HealthyLife.net Radio’s cadre of seasoned hosts like Dr. Bernie Siegel, Golden Globe winner Sally Kirkland and more.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves.

Programming pro Tricia “TJ” Jenkins is named assistant brand and content director for Hubbard Radio’s hot AC KSTP-FM “KS95.” Station brand and content director Mat Mitchell says as part of her duties TJ will host the midday show and handle the traditional music director and APD roles. TJ was most recently co-host of Westwood One’s “Ty Bentli Show.” Previously she worked in the Twin Cities at Entercom’s KMNB-FM. Mitchell says, “There is a massive interest in this role at ‘KS95,’ and we talked to many talented people to champion the legacy of this brand. TJ immediately stood out to me as a personality who understands how to build companionship with the ‘KS95’ audience on-air, online, and in the Twin Cities community. TJ has the unique skills to collaborate with our record label partners, key clients, and I’m excited for her to join the Hubbard radio family!”…..Today, iHeartMedia’s KRRL, Los Angeles “REAL 92.3” will present Big Boy and J Cruz hosting “A REAL Town Hall Meeting” for “serious conversations about issues that are important to the future of the Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles.” KRRL says, “The special town hall meeting will be a no-holds-barred, unfiltered discussion on a variety of significant topics including the importance of voting in the upcoming election and the relationship between the police and the Black and Brown communities in Los Angeles.” Also appearing on the show will be Van Jones, rapper Saweetie, attorney Benjamin Crump, sheriff Alex Villanueva, and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia…..iHeartMedia Chicago’s WGRB “Inspiration 1390 Music of Power and Praise” is presenting “Praise In Place,” a virtual concert and celebration featuring gospel artists Fred Hammond, Marvin Sapp, Jekalyn Carr, Melvin Crispell III, LeNasia Tyson and Selah Youth Choir of Saint Sabina via livestream on the station’s Facebook page tonight at 7:00 pm. The event is being hosted by WGRB personalities Sonya Blakey, Marcella Jones, Willie Moore Jr. and DeAndre Patterson. The station will also honor local nonprofits and community and faith leaders who have provided much-needed services to the Chicagoland community during the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

| September 15, 2020

Van Harden Announces Retirement from WHO-AM, Des Moines in January. Thirty-four-year WHO, Des Moines morning personality Van Harden announced he’s retiring from the station on January 8, 2021, capping a 50-year radio career. In a public statement, iHeartMedia notes that during Van Harden’s time at WHO, he’s won five Marconi awards for his work as the host of the morning show and has been inducted along with co-host Bonnie Lucas into the Iowa Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Harden says, “I know people will ask why I am retiring. My answer is, after 50 years, why not? For years people have asked me if I ever think about retirement and I have told them, ‘Yes, at 2:45 weekday mornings.’ Getting up has been the biggest challenge of the job and it has gotten more difficult as time has gone on, but I wouldn’t trade any of those past mornings for anything. I want to deeply thank my past co-hosts and good friends, Patti Christensen, Connie Murad, and Bonnie Lucas, especially Bonnie, after putting in 25 years of her own, for being such fabulous on-air partners. I could make a huge list of incredible co-workers from the past 50 years that have made this an amazing ride. Besides the on-air shows it was a great honor to be the program director of WHO for 30 years and of KXNO from the day we put it on the air as a sports station. It has been a privilege to have hired and worked with so many talented people on both stations.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. In today’s report from TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian, he notes that news/talk stations in PPM markets have been remarkably consistent in their 6+ AQH share increases this year over last. Based on Nielsen Audio’s data, 64% of news/talk outlets in PPM markets were up August 2019 – August 2020. For the two previous surveys, growth was very similar as is evidenced by the 65% up from July 2019 – July 2020 and the 68% up from June 2019 – June 2020. Returning to the August data, 55% of news/talk stations were up from July 2020 to August 2020 with iHeartMedia’s WLW, Cincinnati (+2.3), WTAM, Cleveland (+2.0), and WISN, Milwaukee (+1.8) leading gainers. Joining WLW and WISN as #1-ranked stations in their respective markets in August were Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta and Bonneville’s KIRO-FM, Seattle. Mike Kinosian also provides cume data in this report and notes that 54% of news/talk stations in PPM markets showed improved cume from the July 2020 survey to August 2020 with Nexstar Media Group’s WGN, Chicago leading the gainers. See his complete report here.

Minnesota Public Radio Reporter Quits in Solidarity with Victims of Air Personality. According to a report by WCCO-TV, Minneapolis, Minnesota Public Radio news reporter Marianne Combs resigned her position with the public media company after her editors did not run her investigative piece about the actions of an unnamed air personality at sister triple A station KCMP, Minneapolis “The Current.” Combs tells WCCO-TV that she spent two months speaking to eight women who were “sexually manipulated and psychologically abused” by the staffer. Combs says that she was told that although editors found the behavior “creepy,” it did not rise to the level of illegality and was therefore not worthy of news coverage. MPR president Duchesne Drew told WCCO-TV that they are “blindsided” by her resignation and believed she was continuing to work on it but that he stands by his editors’ decisions. He also adds that editors discussed with Combs how to strengthen the story to allow it to “meet our standards.”

Jim Meyer to Retire from SiriusXM CEO Position. After seven years as chief executive officer of SiriusXM, James E. Meyer announces he intends to retire on December 31, 2020. Meyer was named CEO in April of 2013 after serving as interim CEO since the previous December. Under his watch, revenue has more than doubled to an expected $7.7 billion and the number of subscribers has grown to 34.3 million. SiriusXM says that current president of sales, marketing and operations Jennifer C. Witz will become CEO. Meyer will remain on the company’s board of directors and will serve as vice chairman. Board chair Gregory Maffei says, “On behalf of the board of directors, I want to thank Jim for his outstanding service, helping to create the leader in audio entertainment in North America. During his tenure as CEO, SiriusXM has grown to become a diversified audio entertainment provider that is poised to reach more than 150 million people, the largest addressable digital audio audience in North America. We are a better company for his stewardship. We look forward to continuing to work with him on the board and to build on SiriusXM’s strong momentum.” At the same time, SiriusXM announces that David J. Frear will leave the EVP and chief financial officer position to pursue other opportunities and Sean S. Sullivan is appointed to that role. Sullivan has been serving in a similar capacity for AMC Networks since 2011.

Salem Radio Network News Presents September 29 Debate Coverage. When the first presidential debate takes place on Tuesday, September 29 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Salem Radio Network is presenting live coverage. SRN begins coverage with an hourlong “SRN Debate Preview” hosted by nationally syndicated SRN talk host Hugh Hewitt, joined by special guests and SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston. The debate itself runs with no commercial breaks from 9:00 pm to 10:30 pm and will be followed by a “SRN Debate Wrap-Up” at 10:30 hosted by Hewitt. SRN VP/News & Talk Programming Tom Tradup says, “Excitement in anticipation of this first 2020 debate has been building for months. With the polls tightening and no teleprompters on stage, our debate coverage promises to highlight the first gloves-off, no-holds-barred encounter between these two candidates for the highest office in America.”

Hurley in the Morning Charity Passes $1 Million Mark. With last Friday’s 13th Annual “Hurley in the Morning” Charity Golf Tournament at The Harbor Pines Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey in the books, the charity founded by WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley pushes the charity’s total funds raised since its inception past the $1 million mark. Hurley says, “The latest installment generated more than $50,000, which has enabled the ‘Hurley in the Morning’ Charity to surpass $1 million raised in our history. We are so grateful for the amazing support that we have received over the years. It’s also very gratifying that we have proven that you can safely and responsibly hold an outdoor event during the pandemic. The annual charity event was modified to respect social distancing and was made as contactless as is humanly possible.”

The Presidential Race, Western Wildfires/Climate Change Debate, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, PA Protests/BLM Movement, Facebook Whistleblower Memo, Iran Assassination Plot, and Hurricane Sally Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/14). The November presidential election; the wildfires raging in California, Oregon, and Washington and the debate over climate change and its effect on the wildfires; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the protests in Lancaster, Pennsylvania after police kill a knife-wielding man; a Facebook whistleblower’s memo about the company’s challenges dealing with voter manipulation; President Trump warns Iran after rumors of its intent to assassinate an American ambassador; and Hurricane Sally’s projected path into the Gulf Coast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Jim Richmond Named Director of Sales for Bonneville Seattle. Sales pro Jim Richmond is named director of sales for the Bonneville Seattle Media Group. Richmond was most recently general sales manager for Entercom San Francisco and assumes the role held by Cathy Cangiano prior to her promotion to SVP and market manager. She says, “I believe Jim Richmond’s experience, combined with his business acumen and strong leadership skills are well aligned to capitalize on opportunities that we have identified as integral to our success. In addition to his responsibilities leading the sales teams, he will be a key contributor to our Leadership Team and our constant efforts to align with Bonneville’s purpose.”

TALKERS News Notes. Broadcaster and journalist Rita Cosby is named the chair of the Global Service Institute at Long Island University.  In this role, Cosby will lead the Institute’s “game-changing and innovative educational initiatives to inspire a timely commitment toward volunteerism and elevate the importance and power of service. During this unprecedented moment with the economic devastation caused by the virus, the need for volunteers to assist drastically depleted nonprofit organizations has never been greater.” LIU president Dr. Kimberly R. Cline says, “The Global Service Institute established LIU as a premier destination for developing values-driven global citizens who will impact their communities. With her global experience exploring critical headlines and lifelong dedication to service, Rita Cosby is an exemplary leader who will elevate the Institute to even higher levels.”…..This week’s Westwood One blog examines a number of Nielsen case studies that indicate AM/FM radio ad campaigns lift TV viewership. The studies compare those who had been exposed to AM/FM radio ads for TV tune-in with people who had not heard the ads. The studies show that while on-network promos and paid TV buys reach heavy TV viewers, AM/FM radio TV tune-in campaigns reach medium and light TV viewers. In one case, the returning season of a scripted cable drama ran an AM/FM radio campaign that represented only 5% of the media plan but generated 20% of the total campaign impressions. 70% of the AM/FM radio impressions were from persons 18-54, while half of the paid TV and TV promo impressions were from persons 55+…..iHeartRadio and Treefort Media announce a new docuseries podcast titled, “DRAFTED,” that follows top college football players as they prepare to enter the NFL Draft. The program is produced in association with Klutch Sports Group and is narrated by Emmy-winning actor Keegan-Michael Key. He says, “I’m excited to be part of this series because it gives mega fans like myself intimate access and insight into the world of these incredible athletes. It’s really special to be able to hear everything they’re going through, and experience their nerves, excitement and tension leading up to one of the biggest events of their lives. I look forward to every moment.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. An internal memo from Entercom chief operating officer Susan Larkin reveals the company’s “hub-and-spoke” programming philosophy for its alternative and country radio stations. As a reduction-in-force for air talent and programmers takes place, we learn that Entercom is creating national and regional program hosts for certain dayparts and is realigning its programming management. For country, Tim Roberts is named format captain/VP of country programming with John Foxx and Kevin Callahan serving as regional vice presidents. Marci Braun, Justin Cole, and Scott Roddy are named regional brand managers. On air, Katie Neal is the national midday host and “Rob and Holly” are national night hosts. In the alternative format, Mike Kaplan is format captain/SVP of alternative programming with Matt Malone, Christine Malovetz, and Leslie Scott serving as regional vice presidents of programming. Regional brand managers are Bailey and Bryce Segall. Kevan Kenney is the national night host and regional on-air personalities are: “Cane and Corey” for mornings, “Church of Lazlo” in afternoons, and morning shows “Dave and Mahoney,” “Gregr,” and “Stryker and Klein.”…..Country radio personality Shawn Parr begins hosting the Camping World Concert Series “Taking the Highways Across America” tonight, featuring the legendary country group Alabama. Parr hosts the Key Networkssyndicated “Shawn Parr’s Across the Country” program. He’ll host the 10-week virtual concert series that will feature such country acts as Martina McBride, Chris Young, Ricky Skaggs and Steven Curtis Chapman, Sugarland, Zac Brown Band, Lady A, Brett Young, Little Big Town, and Vince Gill and Amy Grant. Parr says, “I am SO excited to team up with Camping World and host their virtual concert series, ‘Taking the Highways Across America!’ We are having a ball bringing it to all of our affiliates and fans ‘Across The Country!’ Plus, we are hitting the road for some NEW adventures in the Parr-V very soon.”…..Beasley Media Group announces that Charlie Maxx is promoted to production director and assistant program director at country WXTU-FM, Philadelphia. She also hosts the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm show. Program director Mark Razz says, “Charlie has a depth of experience that will be so helpful in her expanded role her at 92.5XTU. I look forward to putting our heads together to move the station forward.” In addition, WXTU promotes Jennifer “JJ” Scordo to production staffer and weekend personality.

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

| August 12, 2020

Sumner Redstone Has Died. According to a statement from ViacomCBS, its chair emeritus and chief executive officer of controlling shareholder National Amusements, Sumner Redstone, has died. Redstone served as Viacom CEO from 1996 – 2005, and was executive chair of the Viacom and CBS boards from 2005 – 2016. He since was chair emeritus for both companies. A statement reads, “Sumner Redstone was a brilliant visionary, operator, and dealmaker, who single-handedly transformed a family-owned drive-in theater company into a global media portfolio. He was a force of nature and fierce competitor, who leaves behind a profound legacy in both business and philanthropy. ViacomCBS will remember Sumner for his unparalleled passion to win, his endless intellectual curiosity, and his complete dedication to the company. We extend our deepest sympathies to the Redstone family today.” Sumner Redstone was 97 years old.

Beasley Study: Boston Consumers Optimistic. Results of Beasley Media Group Boston-commissioned/ Strategic Solutions Research-conducted polling indicate the majority of Boston-area consumers remain optimistic even during the COVID-19 crisis. Furthermore, a large percentage feel their spending is – or will soon be – back to normal. Beasley Media Group Boston vice president/market manager Mary Menna comments, “The company’s study is meant to help guide marketing partners on how to craft the most effective messaging with their advertising and give Boston area businesses critical data as to local consumers’ current state-of-mind and planned future behaviors. It was important for us to conduct this research to get a pulse on Boston consumers for our clients. People in Boston are optimistic that we will make it through the pandemic. That optimism shows true ‘Boston Strong’ grit and determination. They also understand the seriousness of the situation: The great majority of listeners – nine of ten – support wearing a mask, and they expect others to do so as well.” Strategic Solutions Research partner Hal Rood notes that, while shopping patterns have had to shift online, “It does not spell the end of brick-and-mortar establishments. The overwhelming majority of listeners still plan on making in-person shopping part of their mix, and that includes people under 35.” The survey was conducted July 6 – 16 among 1,532 listeners of Beasley Media Group Boston’s five radio stations: sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub”; classic hits-oldies WROR “105.7 ’80s & More”; WKLB “Country 102.5”; WBOS “Boston’s Rock 92.9”; and rhythmic hot AC WBQT “Hot 96.9.”

Local Ad Revenue Estimates Lowered. Continuing economic fallout owing to the coronavirus crisis has led BIA Advisory Services to adjust its estimate for 2020’s total local advertising market to $140.4 billion, which is down from April’s $144.3 billion. Albeit with this year’s anticipated strong political advertising, BIA’s updated forecast estimate represents a 6.1% decline from 2019. BIA’s senior vice president/chief economist Mark Fratrik explains that, “To update our post-COVID forecast from April, we analyzed the continuing impact on local advertising by the weakened economy, continuing job loss reports, and the downturn in some key business verticals. We believe a realistic view of the economy overall and the advertising marketplace is that, after a dramatic decrease in the second-quarter and a bumpy start to the third, the remainder of the year will turn positive, but end up with an overall decline in local advertising for the year.” As political campaigns continue to drift to online rallies and events, presidential and down-ballot candidates are spending significant dollars in local broadcast and digital advertising. Ever since its April prediction, BIA increased the expected political ad spend from $7.1 billion to $7.3 billion. Distributed share to different media includes $5 million to terrestrial radio; $138 million to over-the-air TV; $40 million to cable TV; and $26 million to online/digital.

COVID-19 Concerns Cause BFA Golf Tourney Cancellation. Owing to coronavirus-related safety fears, the Broadcasters Foundation of America has scrubbed its celebrity golf tournament fundraiser. Another big BFA money driver – the Philip J. Lombardo Golf Tournament traditionally held in conjunction with the NAB Show in Las Vegas – was cancelled as well a few months ago. Broadcasters Foundation chair Scott Herman remarks, “Our colleagues who find themselves in acute need due to a debilitating illness or accident need our help. This year, we are helping more broadcasters than ever before, and it’s imperative that we continue to do so. We cannot turn our backs on our colleagues.” Broadcasters Foundation president Jim Thompson adds, “We have three major fundraisers a year, and the golf tournaments are two of them. Our grant recipients worked in radio or television stations in markets across America.” The two golf fundraisers, along with smaller events, generate over $450,000 a year. In hopes of negating the losses, the Broadcasters Foundation is launching a plea for donations. Personal contributions can be made to the Foundation’s Guardian Fund. Corporate offerings are accepted through the Angel Initiative, while bequests can be made through the Foundation’s Legacy Society.

Mr. Master Marks Milestone: Million Spots Per Week. The company behind Automation Import Manager (AIM) – Mr. Master – has processed and provided compliance for one million network spots per week nationwide. This coincides with Mr. Master announcing new AIM agreements with Neuhoff Communications (five markets/20 stations) and Forever Communications (three markets/26 stations). It has AIM renewal contracts with Entercom (44 markets/453 stations); Alpha Media (46 markets/226 stations); SummitMedia (nine markets/51 stations); and Forever Media (16 markets/63 stations). Mr. Master president Stu Jacobs states, “We are very proud that AIM has become such a widely accepted, and useful tool that helps networks, stations, and advertisers to quickly get the accurate information they need, whether they are working in-office or remotely. One million national network spots a week – 52 million spots a year – is a huge milestone for our company. We couldn’t have done it without our first-class team and the amazing clients who trust us with their accountability.”

Albuquerque’s KQTM Aligns With Cage Side Seat MMA Media. The multi-layered broadcast relationship between Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” and Cage Side Seat MMA Media includes weekly Jim “Gries” Grieshaber-hosted longform programming; daily UFC/MMA commentaries/features; and weekly guest appearances on live programming. KQTM president Joe O’Neill comments, “It’s great to work with Jim. He’s a national-level talent connected to the pulse of UFC/MMA. We look forward to bringing “Gries” to New Mexico.” Grieshaber adds, “We’re so pumped to partner with our friends at ‘The Team’ and the great MMA fans of Albuquerque. Albuquerque is hallowed ground in our sport. It is home of the mecca of MMA gyms Jackson-Wink MMA, the GOAT Jon Jones, and legends like Holly Holm, Carlos Condit, Diego Sanchez, ‘The Karate Hottie’ Michelle Waterson, and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone. We’re coming strong with the best in MMA/UFC sports talk programming.”

Key Networks And Virtual Jock Partnering. In the barter basis arrangement, New Generation Radio product Virtual Jock will provide syndication company Key Networks access to its on-air talent and programming services. Virtual Jock founder/president/chief executive officer Jason Kidd explains that right before launching Virtual Jock five years ago, “Many stations were downsizing and losing strong local talent in the process. Fast forward to now and the need is greater than ever before. Teaming up with Key Networks will allow us to take things to an even higher level, expanding and offering our major market talent roster to radio stations across all formats. We couldn’t be more excited to partner with them.” Key Networks president and chief operating officer Jim Higgins comments, “The ongoing disruption from COVID-19 has severely impacted every radio company. All have eliminated some on-air positions and daypart shifts as cost-cutting moves in order to retain financial stability. Virtual Jock can now assist these groups and others by offering a no-cost barter option to fill some of these numerous holes and to also reconnect with those disenfranchised listeners. We want to work closely with stations to fill this void as radio is beginning to rebound.” Chief revenue officer Dennis Green notes, “Jason [Kidd] and his team have developed a concept that offers stations a chance to bring top-notch talent across all formats to markets from coast-to-coast. Key Networks is delighted to partner with Virtual Jock to provide a marketing opportunity that is cost-effective for stations both large and small to have dynamic and proven talent on their air.” In addition to 24/7 formats, Virtual Jock currently offers 40 full-time/in-house voice talents, as well as fully-produced audio programs and imaging. New York and Orlando-based Key Networks is a Sun & Fun Media-affiliated company.

Shondaland Audio, iHeartMedia Release Original Podcasts. As part of an arrangement between iHeartRadio and Shonda Rhimes’ Shondaland Audio, three podcasts will debut this month: “You Down?”; “Criminalia”; and “Go Ask Ali.” Future podcasts will include “#Matter,” “American Coup,” and “Black Girl Lost.” According to iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne, “Shonda Rhimes is an absolute creative powerhouse. Developing these first few shows together has indicated what a strong partnership iHeartMedia and Shondaland have formed with Shondaland Audio. The breadth and depth of content that’s in progress as part of this partnership is unparalleled. We’re thrilled to work beside the Shondaland team to bring Shonda’s unique storytelling magic to podcast listeners everywhere.” Shondaland Audio chief design and digital media officer Sandie Bailey states, “Podcasts allow for innovative and intimate storytelling and that’s exactly what this slate offers – deeply human stories through a range of genres and formats aimed to engage the varied and ever- growing podcast listenership. iHeartMedia has been an incredible partner in forming Shondaland Audio. I’m thrilled that audiences will soon hear more from our collaboration with this new offering of shows.” Rhimes oversees development of the slate; Bailey manages day-to-day operations. Previously launched “Katie’s Crib,” a bi-weekly podcast following “Scandal” and “Waitress” actress Katie Lowes joined the slate three months ago. It releases a new episode tomorrow (Thursday, 8/13) that features actress Gabrielle Union.

Veritone One Signs On With Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Audio advertising and media agency Veritone One is now subscribing to Nielsen’s Podcast Buying Power Service. Veritone One senior vice president of strategy and investment Conor Doyle comments, “As one of the largest podcast advertising agencies serving over 100 active clients across 15,000 podcasts, Nielsen’s research will help us refine our current placements and unlock market opportunities for new advertisers wanting to enter the medium. Access to consumption and audience data will attract brand advertisers who have been previously hesitant to enter the largely direct-to-consumer space. Integrating Nielsen’s unique insights along with our proprietary AI-based analytics and decades of experience will enable us to set a new industry standard in podcast advertising.” Nielsen Global Media executive vice president/managing director David Hohman notes, “Veritone One is an agency that is on the cutting-edge of advertising. We are excited to empower them as they turn their data into actionable intelligence with real-time campaign optimization. With more brand advertisers coming into the podcast medium, and Nielsen’s ability to analyze over 150 podcasts, Veritone One will be able to reach even greater success as an innovative industry leader.”

TALKERS News Notes. “Women To Watch” joins the lineup of Red Apple Media New York’s WABC “Talk Radio 77” this Saturday (8/15) at 8:30 am. It will commence as a 30-minute show, expanding to 60 minutes three weeks later (9/5) at a yet-to-be-determined time. The show’s founder/host Susan Rocco remarks, “I always wanted ‘Women to Watch’ to be the go-to media network for all stories related to women’s leadership and success. We are building a woman-owned, women-run media company to amplify the voices of women who are leading across all industries.” WABC’s senior vice president of programming Dave LaBrozzi notes his station, “is proud to support strong women by bringing this lively and inspiring weekly show to the NYC market.” The first guest featured on WABC will be The Weiss Agency executive vice president Heather Cohen, who comments, “‘Women To Watch’ is the place to go to hear inspiring stories by inspiring women. Susan [Rocco] is the consummate professional and her interviews are spot-on.  I’m honored to be the first guest in the NY market.” Rocco states, “Heather Cohen is an exciting first guest for our new market. She’s a New Yorker, has worked in the industry and was recently elected chair of The Alliance For Women in Media.” Originated and still heard on Entercom Philadelphia’s WPHT “Talk Radio 1210,” Women To Watch has expanded to a national podcast and digital platform … Separate from his duties as 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm host on Cox Media Group Atlanta news/talk WSB-AM & WSBB-FM, Erick Erickson today (Wednesday, 8/12) celebrates the one-year anniversary of doing self-syndication. His first affiliate was in Athens, Georgia (WGAU). Twelve months later, Erickson is on more than a dozen Georgia news/talk outlets. A one-man band, he does affiliate relations, and ad sales. Describing the experience as rewarding, Erickson explains, “Georgia’s swing state status makes a statewide program focused on the state a unique selling point. I try to be upfront, though, that I want to stretch outside the state after the election and keep growing nationwide.”  … As noted yesterday (TALKERS, 8/11), president Trump chatted on-air with Salem Media Networks host Hugh Hewitt. That wasn’t yesterday’s only radio stop for the chief executive though as he visited with Fox Sports Radio’s (6:00 am – 9:00 am, ET) “Outkick The Coverage” host Clay Travis. Regarding college football and the coronavirus, Trump told Travis, “People don’t realize it’s a tiny percentage of people that get sick and they’re old. It just attacks old people, especially old people with bad hearts, diabetes, some kind of a physical problem or a weight problem. These football players are very young, strong people. Physically, they’re in extraordinary shape, so they’re not going to have a problem. You’re not going to see people dying. You can’t have empty seats. I’m not sure college football can do it, but we’ll have to see.” On the return of the NFL and the NBA, he commented, “Well, they want to open and they want to open badly and they’ve been working with government. I would say this – if they don’t stand for the national anthem, I hope they don’t open. Other than that, I’d love to see them open and we’re doing everything possible to get them open. They can protest in other ways. I don’t think they should protest our flag or our country. Basketball ratings are down to very, very low numbers. People are angry about it. They have enough politics with guys like me. They don’t need more as they’re going up for the shot. There was a nastiness about the NBA and the way it was done. I think the NBA’s in big trouble — bigger trouble than they understand.” … Taking the place of annual in-person tours that SiriusXM’s “NFL Radio” channel usually conducts, it will present 32 virtual NFL training camp shows – one for each NFL franchise. Starting today (Wednesday, 8/12), “NFL Radio” channel hosts will interview players, coaches, and team executives via video conferencing. SiriusXM senior vice president of sports programming Steve Cohen states, “Like all NFL fans, we look excitedly ahead to the 2020 NFL season. Even amid these very unique circumstances in which teams are reporting to camp, we remain dedicated to giving our listeners the most in-depth and comprehensive preseason preview of their favorite teams. Our experts include some of the most knowledgeable and well-connected people covering the game today. They will deliver a level of analysis on teams and players that you can’t get anywhere else.” …  Numerous lineup changes next Monday (8/17) at Disney-owned/Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk WMVP will find “ESPN 1000 Chicago” airing two hours (5:00 am – 7:00 am) of ESPN Radio’s new national morning show with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams, and Zubin Mehenti. Shifting from 6:00 am – 9:00 am to 7:00 am – 10:00 am is David Kaplan. He will partner with Jonathan  Hood, who segues from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Meanwhile, Carmen DeFalco and John Jurkovic transition from 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm to 10:00 am – 12:00 noon, as ESPN Radio’s Mike Greenberg-hosted “Greeny” takes over the vacated 12:00 noon – 2:00 pm slot. Weekend hosts Chris Bleck and Adam Abdalla advance to 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm, while Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman remain in afternoon drive (2:00 pm – 6:00 pm) … Citing pandemic-caused budget issues, Team Broadcasting Albuquerque sports talk KQTM “ESPN 101.7 The Team” parts ways with morning host Jim Villanucci and producer/host Sam Hauser. The station’s afternoon program – “Team Talk” – is being handled by a revolving set of hosts. Formerly an on-air talent at Cumulus Media Albuquerque news/talk KKOB-AM, Villanucci joined KQTM two years ago. He previously worked at news/talk stations in Portland (KXL) and Las Vegas (KXNT). Before coming to “The Team” last year, Hauser served as sports director in Austin, Minnesota at KAUS and was a producer/board op in Miami at sports talk WAXY “790 The Ticket.”

Kamala Harris Receives VP Nod, Mail-In Voting Debate, School Opening Struggles, and Chicago Unrest Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/11).  The selection of U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) as Joe Biden’s running-mate topped the TALKERS list of most-discussed stories on news/talk radio across America yesterday (8/11).  It was followed by the debates over mail-in voting and the opening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Other major topics included Chicago unrest, Russia’s vaccine, stimulus relief, and the cancellation of Big 10 and Pac-12 college football according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. With Ryan Seacrest’s television partner Kelly Ripa taking yesterday (Tuesday, 8/10) and today (Wednesday, 8/11) off, his “Live With Kelly & Ryan” co-host those two days is Sisanie, his radio partner. The two work together  on Premiere Networks’ “On Air with Ryan Seacrest,” heard around the country from iHeartMedia Los Angeles CHR flagship KIIS “102.7 Kiss-FM.” Sisanie has filled in for Ripa several times the past few years … Last summer, Westwood One’s “Bob & Tom Show” asked David Rush, the world’s fastest juggler and breaker of over 150 Guinness World Records, to attempt shattering the record for most balloons popped in one minute using chopsticks. Rush established that mark in 2018 with 28 balloons, but that feat was subsequently broken. Rush set out to regain the title this past Sunday (8/9) – this time using hand pump-inflated, COVID-free balloon targets bearing “The Bob & Tom Show” logo. Halfway into the attempt, Rush recounts that he was “just barely on pace to beat the record,” but began throwing the chopsticks a little faster to pop 40 balloons in 60 seconds – a new world record. A big promoter of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education, Rush dedicates all his world records to that cause … WBVX “Classic Rock 92.1” names Dennis “Dead Air” Dillon program director/afternoon personality of the LM Communications Lexington (Kentucky) outlet. LM Communications owner/president Lynn Martin remarks, “We are pleased to welcome Dennis Dillon, who has a long history of presenting the very best classic rock music and now can present it to the best classic rock audience in Lexington. By introducing him to our locally-owned and operated radio group, we once again show that being a local voice rather than just a cog in a national wheel lets us provide something truly unique to the classic rock audience in Lexington. Dillon notes, “In a time when big corporations are moving away from local DJ’s in the community, I’m ecstatic to have found a home in the city I love with a locally-owned and operated company. I’ve always loved this genre and I’m already discovering that the ‘Classic Rock 92.1’ fans share that same passion.” Dillon previously worked in Cincinnati, Louisville, and Chattanooga … Former MusicMaster vice president of sales Jerry Butler joins Marc Radio Gainesville-Ocala as local sales manager for a cluster that includes alternative WHHZ “100.5 The Buzz”; country WPLL; rhythmic CHR WTGM “Magic 101.3”; classic hits-oldies WXJZ; and contemporary Christian WTMN & WRZN. Marc Radio general manager Dave Cobb comments, “Jerry brings the perfect mix of leadership, marketing, on-air personality, and programming savvy. He knows the radio industry inside and out. He is great at advising clients and introducing them to new products. He’s a great asset to our team.” Butler adds, “Our goal is to guide the local advertising community on how best to earn impressive returns on their investments in any, or all, of our radio station formats.” … After stunting by playing a weekend of all-Christmas music, Zimmer Midwest Communications Springfield, Missouri flips sports talk KWTO “The Jock” to adult contemporary “98.7 The Dove.” ZMC co-owner John Zimmer remarks, “It’s a great day for our company to enter the greater Springfield market with stations featuring the most powerful signals and largest coverage areas to serve the Ozark region. The greater Springfield region has been a great driver of growth in Missouri – we are proud to be of part of the expansion. We look forward to making a positive impact and difference for the community and businesses with our local solutions and stations to promote the economy of the Springfield region.” Kevin Howard and Liz Delany (“Kevin & Liz”) debut in morning drive next Monday (8/17). Core artists on “Lite Rock Favorites The Dove” include Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, Billy Joel, and Sting.