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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

| January 19, 2021

Brian Shactman Joins WTIC-AM, Hartford for Mornings. Television news personality Brian Shactman is named the new morning drive co-host at Entercom’s WTIC-AM, Hartford, joining Ray Dunaway for the “Mornings with Ray and Brian” program. Shactman assumes the role beside Dunaway left open after former morning co-host Joe D’Ambrosio and Entercom agreed to negotiate an early exit from his contract. Prior to joining WTIC, Shactman had been serving as an anchor for WBTS-TV, Boston NBC10 and New England Cable News. He most recently created and hosted “Primary Source,” a nightly political show focusing on the presidential primary and has also anchored weekend evenings on NBC10 Boston since the onset of the pandemic. Entercom Connecticut SVP and market manager Stephanie Perl says, “I’m excited to welcome Brian back to Connecticut to join our morning show program alongside Ray Dunaway. He has a proven track record of entertaining and capturing his audience, and his energy will be a great addition to our show.” Shactman comments, “I have been listening to Ray for years, and WTIC is always my first stop when I get in the car. To now be a part of the WTIC team is an absolute thrill. Connecticut – the whole state – is a community. WTIC is a huge part of that community, and I am excited to help people start their day in this great state.”

Townsquare Media Creates Texas Network Featuring Chad Hasty Show. Following the departure of the Robert Pratt-hosted “Pratt on Texas” program from Townsquare Media’s talk stations KFYO, Lubbock “Newstalk 790”; KYYW, Abilene; and KWFS-AM, Wichita Falls, the company is adding a two-hour version of “The Chad Hasty Show” (5:00 pm to 7:00 pm) to those stations’ program schedules. This move also marks the creation of the Texas Townsquare Media Network that will function on those three stations, with more affiliates expected to be announced later this year. Hasty is the first host to operate under this banner, with more programs anticipated to join it. Hasty has been hosting his eponymous 8:30 am to 11:00 am program on KFYO since the fall of 2012 and he’ll continue that Lubbock-focused program in addition to the new afternoon drive show.

Former Sports Talker Marty Tirrell to Be Sentenced Wednesday. The Des Moines Register reports that former Des Moines sports talk host Marty Tirrell will be sentenced in federal court tomorrow (1/20) after pleading guilty in December of 2019 to one count of mail fraud. Prosecutors are seeking a five-year sentence combined with an order to pay $1.46 million in restitution to American Express, Wells Fargo, Bank of the West and five individuals. Prosecutors say Tirrell defrauded investors of more than $1.5 million in a sporting events tickets resale venture. However, Tirrell didn’t acquire tickets and instead used the cash to “finance a lavish lifestyle and to spend on online gambling.” Prosecutors are seeking the five-year sentence because “the defendant has been defrauding businesses and individuals with his lies for years, with little to no consequences. Defendant continued to lie after he was under investigation in this matter, and the government is concerned he won’t ever stop lying.”

Salem Media Group’s Regnery to Publish Josh Hawley’s Book. After Simon & Schuster decided to cancel its publication of Senator Josh Hawley’s new book, The Tyranny of Big Tech, in the aftermath of the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, Hawley has found a new publisher in Salem Media Group’s Regnery Publishing. Simon & Schuster said in a statement, “We did not come to this decision lightly. As a publisher it will always be our mission to amplify a variety of voices and viewpoints: At the same time we take seriously our larger public responsibility as citizens, and cannot support Senator Hawley after his role in what became a dangerous threat.” The Salem press release says, “Despite Senator Hawley’s immediate and forceful condemnation of the violent incursion, social media teemed with calls for retribution for his objection to the certification of the electoral vote. The next day, citing his purported ‘role in what became a dangerous threat to our democracy and freedom,’ Simon & Schuster announced that it was dropping Hawley’s book, scheduled for publication in June. Responding to the impulsive decision, Hawley stated on Twitter, ‘Simon & Schuster is canceling my contract because I was representing my constituents, leading a debate on the Senate floor on voter integrity, which they have now decided to redefine as sedition.’” The press release goes on to state: “Senator Hawley is an authority on the legal and constitutional implications of Big Tech’s growing power. While the attorney general of Missouri, he investigated how the most powerful company in the world – Google – uses citizens’ private information. In The Tyranny of Big Tech, he shows how Facebook, Amazon, Google, Twitter, and other digital giants have abused their enormous market power and political influence, silencing their competition. Explaining why current policies fail us, he identifies alternatives that will break Big Tech’s control over our liberties.”

High-Profile Guests to Take Part in 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. On Thursday (1/21), the 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will take place in a virtual format and is being recorded from multiple locations. Just-announced special guests will include: Aaron Mahnke, Hillary Clinton, Holly Frey, Laverne Cox, Questlove, Roy Wood Jr., Will Ferrell, and more. The awards span 30 categories and you can see all of the finalists here. The event will exclusively video stream on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages on Thursday at 9:00 pm ET and will broadcast across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio App at 9:00 pm local time.

Anny Mansfield Named Corporate Research Director for Gen Media Partners. The company says that in order to meet the growing demands of its expanding portfolio of radio rep firms and networks, Anny Mansfield has been appointed to the newly created position of corporate research director. Mansfield has been with Gen Media Partners since its inception and in this new role will build out a company-wide research department and work closely with the company’s sales departments to serve the needs of network and national advertisers. Gen Media Partners CEO Kevin Garrity says, “I am very pleased that we already had the right person on our team to lead research across Gen Media Partners. Anny is exceptional at finding the data to develop marketing strategies that help our account executives deliver compelling stories and solutions about the power of radio to advertisers and their agencies, especially for new business development.”

U.S. Agency for Global Media Names Board of Directors; Blanquita Cullum Appointed Chair. New boards of directors have been appointed for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio Free Asia, and Middle East Broadcasting Networks by CEO Michael Pack. The USAGM says the diverse boards “bring exceptional skill in the fields of journalism, language, technology, broadcasting, and diplomacy that are essential to the work of the three surrogate broadcast networks, which provide a lifeline of factual news for those living in places where a free press is denied to them by repressive government.” Blanquita Cullum — host, producer, and writer for “The Hard Question” — is named chairwoman of the three boards. She comments, “From my previous service on the Broadcasting Board of Governors, I understand the importance of delivering objective, accurate news about America and the world to combat our adversaries’ misinformation campaigns and to shine the light of truth into those dark corners where access to a free press is denied. The other board members and I will fight to ensure these networks and their journalists have the tools and support they need to perform their difficult but essential work, which itself is crucial for our national interest.” Serving on the board with Cullum as directors are: Jonathan Alexander, Amanda Milius, Roger Simon, and Christian Whiton.

TALKERS News Notes. This Thursday (1/21) at 7:00 pm, Townsquare Media’s WKXW-FM, Trenton “New Jersey 101.5” is presenting the latest in a series of Town Hall broadcasts to help New Jersey deal with the mental stresses of the pandemic. The station’s Eric Scott leads the news and digital departments in bringing mental health experts together to talk about these stressors and help residents access help. He says, “The toll this pandemic has taken on our overall mental wellness has been huge. This program seeks to de-stigmatize seeking help and connect our listeners to the many resources available.”…..Beasley Broadcast Group announces that subsidiary, Beasley Mezzanine Holdings, LLC intends to offer $280 million in aggregate principal amount of senior secured notes to persons reasonably believed to be qualified institutional buyers…..In Abilene, Texas, Cumulus Media drops the sports talk format on KTLT-FM and flips to rock as “98.1 The Phantom.”…..iHeartMedia New York’s iHeartRadio Broadway and D’Marie Productions announce that the LGBTQ+ comedy podcast “Slumber Party with Tim Murray” is joining the iHeartPodcast Network, beginning January 20…..The GCN-syndicated “Dr. Daliah Wachs Show” adds new affiliates: WWPR-AM, Bradenton/Tampa; KNET, Palestine, Texas; WNRI ,Woonsocket, Rhode Island; WTBG-FM, Brownsville, Tennessee; and WVEL, Peoria, Illinois.

Trump’s Final Day/Pardons Commutations, Inauguration Prep, Capitol Attack Investigation and Arrests, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, China and WHO Failures, Social Media and Free Speech, New Migrant Caravan, and Australian Open Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/18). Today’s final day in office for President Donald Trump and the pardons and commutations expected to be issued; the preparation and security for Wednesday’s inauguration for Joe Biden; the ongoing investigation into the Capitol attack and related arrests; the fast-rising number of COVID cases and deaths in the U.S. and the rollout of vaccines; the Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response report indicating China and the WHO failed to act quickly at the beginning of the pandemic; the move by social media platforms to suspend purveyors of extremist content; the caravan of Hondurans heading for the U.S.; and positive COVID tests hamper the Australian Open were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

| December 9, 2020

‘106.3 WORD’ Talk Host Bob McLain to Retire from Entercom News/Talker. Fifty-seven-year radio pro Bob McLain is retiring from the business and his current position as afternoon talk host on Entercom’s WYRD-FM, Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina “106.3 WORD” after his December 22 program. However, he’ll continue to be heard on the station as the host of “The Bob McLain Minute” that airs weekday afternoons as well as serving as a fill-in host. He’ll also continue to be a spokesman and endorser for some of the station’s clients.  McClain says, “June of 2020 marked 57 years since my introduction to the business that would become my life’s work: broadcasting. It’s been an amazing journey that has taken me from playing 45 RPM records on turntables to covering two Super Bowls to the last nearly 20 years in the place I love most – the Upstate of South Carolina. I have been blessed to have had many different careers – disc jockey, TV sportscaster, meteorologist, news anchor, and finally talk show host. No one does this by themselves. I have had so much help and guidance along the way and have been privileged to learn from and work with the best.” Entercom Greenville-Spartanburg market manager Steve Sinicropi says, “Since 2006, Bob has led the conversation every afternoon, providing our listeners with stimulating talk and crucial breaking news. His influential opinions and locally focused on-air style have positioned him as a staple in Greenville’s media landscape and a key part of our audience’s daily habits. I’ll miss listening to the ‘bonus hour,’ famously named by Bob when his show was extended to 7:00 pm. His undeniable talent and connection to our community has translated to success outside of the studio, too. Throughout his career, Bob has worked with countless ‘106.3 WORD’ clients, helping them grow their businesses exponentially and playing a key role in making ‘106.3 WORD’ the highest revenue-grossing station in the market. Bob’s commitment to excellence and dedication to our business will forever be appreciated. We’re very excited for Bob as he enters his next chapter with ‘106.3 WORD.’ He has been a consummate professional and I wish him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.”

Longtime WCTC, New Brunswick Talk Host Jack Ellery Dies at 86Bridgewater Courier News reporter Greg Tufaro reports the death of Central New Jersey talk radio pioneer Jack Ellery, who died yesterday (12/8) at a Bergen County health facility at the age of 86. Tufaro’s obit notes that Ellery began his radio career in 1950 and he retired in 2013. He spent most of his career at WCTC-AM, New Bruswick, New Jersey – a total of 44 years – punctuated by stints in Philadelphia and in Tampa. WCTC colleague Bruce Johnson called him a pioneer of talk radio. “He was somebody that I grew up listening to. I thought, who is this guy with this beautiful baritone voice on my local radio station playing Beatles records or whatever songs were popular at the time and also giving me the news.” Ellery was inducted into the New Jersey Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame in 2012. He is survived by his wife Shelby and their daughter Amy Strobel.

Beasley Names Brian Schneekloth Director of Sales for Boston. The five-station Beasley Media Group Boston cluster that includes sports talk WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub” and four music brands names Brian Schneekloth director of sales. He rises from his most recent position as general sales manager for “98.5 The Sports Hub” and rock WBOS-FM that included leading the sales efforts of the New England Patriots Radio Network, the Boston Bruins Radio Network and the Boston Celtics Radio Network. He takes over for Tina Murley who was recently promoted to VP of corporate sales for Beasley. Beasley Boston VP and market manager Mary Menna comments, “Brian has been a driving force of our success for years. He is the most creative and passionate manager that I have had the privilege of working with. An innovative and collaborative partner, Brian is a solutions-oriented manager who works tirelessly to create winning strategies for our partners. We are thrilled to be able to promote him to director of sales.”

James Incorvaia Promoted at WABC, New York. Sales pro James Incorvaia is promoted to local sales manager for Red Apple Media’s news/talk WABC, New York “TALKRADIO 77 WABC.” In this role, Incorvaia will oversee and lead a team of account executives for WABC and sister station “Talk Radio 107.1” on Long Island, focusing on the development and growth of new and existing direct accounts. Incorvaia reports to VP of sales Glen Tacinelli, who says, “James’s incredible work ethic and his ability to uncover tremendous opportunities for Red Apple Media makes him the perfect person to take our local sales effort to the next level. His success with our advertisers has contributed to our revenue growth, and his insights will be an asset to our sales team as we continue to build out Red Apple Media.”

Why Advertisers LOVE Podcasts. Consultant Holland Cooke summarizes compelling data from “Super Listeners 2020: Podcasting’s Best Customers,” the second annual survey by Edison Research, partnered with PodcastOne and Ad Reach Media. Read his report here.

iHeartRadio Podcast Awards to Stream on January 21. The third annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will stream live on January 21, 2021. In making the announcement, iHeartMedia says that since nominees will be unable to attend the awards in person given the limitations on live events during the pandemic, “this year’s virtual event will be recorded from multiple locations, span 30 categories and honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2020, celebrating the incredible talent and wide variety of leaders across the booming podcasting industry.” The virtual awards event will exclusively video stream on iHeartRadio’s YouTube and Facebook pages and broadcast across iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app. This year’s “Podcast of the Year” nominees include “Bunga Bunga,” “Dolly Parton’s America,” “Nice White Parents,” “Office Ladies,” “Reply All,” “Stuff You Should Know,”  “The Breakfast Club,” “The Daily,” “The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos” and “Wind of Change.” You can see all the nominees in all categories here. iHeartPodcast Network president Conal Byrne says, “We’re thrilled by the opportunity to recognize today’s most talented podcast creators for the third straight year at the 2021 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. Today, Americans are consuming more podcasts than ever before, across an increasingly broad array of subjects including business, entertainment, education, news and more as a result of how COVID-19 has affected our daily lives. And although we all won’t be in the same room this year, we’ll still be able to celebrate the best of the best in the podcast medium.”

’97.1 The Ticket’ Extends Deals with Red Wings and Tigers. Detroit sports talk outlet WXYT-FM “97.1 The Ticket” announces an exclusive multiyear radio broadcast partnership extension with the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Tigers. “97.1 The Ticket” will remain the flagship station of both teams, airing play-by-play for all regular season and postseason games. Entercom Detroit SVP and market manager Debbie Kenyon says, “The Tigers and Red Wings are two of the best sports partners in the business, and the Ilitch family and their organization have been a major part of the comeback of Detroit. We’re thrilled to continue our relationship with these two local powerhouses and remain as the go-to home for both franchises’ fanbases, delivering year-round content that our listeners crave.”

AdLarge Media and Warner Chappell Production Music Expand Relationship. The expanded relationship between AdLarge Media and Warner Chappell Production Music now includes affiliate representation for WCPM’s large and varied production music catalog. As a result of the deal, AdLarge, a longtime, exclusive network radio ad sales partner for WCPM, is taking over the production music company’s exclusive radio station affiliate sales. This comes as WCPM opens two new studios in Nashville and Los Angeles and welcomes a new leadership team. AdLarge VP of affiliate marketing Jessica Sherman says, “Warner Chappell Production Music is well-known for the breadth and diversity of its catalog. In today’s competitive media landscape, radio stations need quick access to a wide range of music choices for their production needs. And WCPM’s expansive catalog and music supervision team make it easy to source sound swiftly to keep up with production demands.”

TALKERS News Notes. There’s a new pandemic-related podcast called “Track the Vax” that “explores every angle of a COVID-19 vaccine, focusing on the science, from development to distribution and disease prevention” hosted by medical journalist Serena Marshall and executive produced by health journalist Lara Salahi.  The podcast is a collaboration with MedPage Today and Everyday Health. The podcast is produced by Andrew Kalb and Blue Desk Productions…..Nexstar Media Group‘s WGN-AM, Chicago is airing three hours of classic Roy Leonard shows on Christmas Eve (beginning at 4:00 pm) followed by 27 hours of “Christmas Radio Theatre,” hosted by Carl Amari. In a career that spanned 31 years at WGN Radio and ended in 1998, Roy Leonard treated listeners to in-depth conversations with the biggest names in entertainment and introduced the audience to new talent. “Christmas Radio Theatre” will feature some of the greatest Christmas programs from radio’s golden age including: “Miracle On 34th Street” starring Edmund GwennLucille Ball in “My Favorite Husband”; Dennis DayRaymond BurrGreer GarsonKeenan Wynn and Hume Cronyn in “Tales of Suspense”; and more…..Now through December 18, the SiriusXM NBA Radio channel presenting a series of exclusive season-preview shows dedicated to every NBA team leading up to the start of the 2020-21 NBA season. Each weeknight will feature three new shows airing at 7:00 pm ET, 8:00 pm ET, and 9:00 pm ET, with each episode focused on a different NBA franchise.

COVID-19 Stats/Vaccines, Holiday Travel/Get-Togethers, Trump Election Challenges, Biden Transition, Stimulus Negotiations, Rebekah Jones Raid, Presidential Pardons, and the NFL’s COVID Season Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/8). The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths, and the hope for effective vaccines; CDC warnings about holiday travel and family get-togethers; Donald Trump’s continuing challenge of the election results; Joe Biden continues his administration’s transition; the negotiations in Congress over a new pandemic stimulus package; Florida authorities raid the home of former state health official Rebekah Jones alleging she illegally accessed the state’s COVID reporting system; speculation about President Trump’s plans for issuing pardons; and the NFL deals with positive COVID tests were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Some special guests have been announced for this year’s annual iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Presented by Capital One. iHeartMedia announces that BTS, Lil Nas X, and Mariah Carey will make guest appearances during the holiday music event. This year’s event will feature already announced performances from Billie Eilish, Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, Sam Smith, Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd and more. This year’s iHeartRadio Jingle Ball will broadcast across more than 95 iHeartMedia CHR radio stations nationwide and on the iHeartRadio app and will also stream on The CW App and CWTV.com on Thursday, December 10 at 9:00 pm ET. The CW Network will broadcast the event as an exclusive nationwide television special on Monday, December 14 at 8:00 pm ET.

Monday, December 23, 2019

| December 23, 2019

Entercom Hacked Again? Media industry insider and reporter Jerry Del Colliano reports this morning (12/23) that some of Entercom’s IT systems have been compromised by a “more sophisticated attack” than the one the company suffered in September of this year.  Del Colliano’s report states that the attacks happened early Sunday morning as hackers gained access to encrypted servers thought to be located in Philadelphia.  The report says the attack seems “aimed at the critical Entercom all-news stations” and that KYW, Philadelphia was “playing back recorded segments from the overnight into the day (on Sunday).”  TALKERS magazine has reached out to Entercom for comment about the matter.  Obviously, at this point the scope of the alleged attack is impossible to determine.  As of this morning, KYW appears to be functioning normally.

Protecting Your Company from Cyberattacks. TALKERS magazine legal editor Steven J.J. Weisman – who also publishes the website scamicide.com – offers some advice for media companies to help them avoid the debilitating and expensive effects of cyberattacks.  He writes, “A major reason for the increase in ransomware attacks is due to the new business model used by sophisticated cybercriminals who develop the intricate ransomware programs.  Instead of merely deploying the malware themselves, they are now selling or leasing the use of their malware, along with tech support, on the Dark Web to less sophisticated cybercriminals.  The Dark Web is a special part of the Internet where criminals buy and sell goods and services.  It is expected that ransomware attacks will continue to increase throughout 2020.”  For more on how to protect your IT infrastructure, read Weisman’s column here.

It’s Official: Bart Scott to Middays at ‘ESPN New York.’ The announcement comes from WEPN, New York owner ESPN that former New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott is returning to “98.7FM ESPN New York” on January 2 to join Alan Hahn as host of the “Bart & Hahn” show from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm.  Scott will also serve as a regular contributor to ESPN television’s “Get Up” and “First Take” programs.  Scott has been serving as co-host of the early afternoon show at Entercom’s crosstown WFAN with co-host Maggie Gray.  He was originally partnered with Gray and Chris Carlin in afternoon drive at WFAN.  The trio were bumped to late afternoons when Mike Francesa returned to WFAN four months after leaving at the end of 2018.  Carlin, who exited WFAN in early September, recently join WEPN as evening host.  ESPN New York VP/GM Tim McCarthy says, “We are so excited to have Bart back at ‘98.7 ESPN’ where we started his radio career.  The combination of Bart and Alan will add a unique perspective to New York sports talk in a very entertaining fashion.”  Scott worked as an NFL analyst for CBS from 2013 to 2017.  He joined ‘ESPN 98.7FM’ as a special guest for the 2017 NFL season on “The Michael Kay Show” and “Humpty & Canty.”  He also hosted “Inside The Jets.”

Brenda Egger Named Region President for iHeartMedia Denver. Management and sales pro Brenda Egger is the new region president for iHeartMedia’s Denver region.  Most recently, she was senior vice president and market manager for KSE Radio.  Prior to that she was market manager for Citadel Broadcasting in Colorado Springs.  She began her career in radio sales for KOA, Denver.  In her new role, she will work closely with the programming, business, and sales teams for all station brands in the Denver, Colorado Springs, and Fort Collins markets.  iHeartMedia Markets Group division president Jeff Tyler states, “I’m thrilled to have someone with Brenda’s experience and knowledge join the iHeartMedia Denver team.  We have a tremendous team and strong brands in the Denver region and I am confident that Brenda’s tenure in the state provides the leadership and excellence that our partners and our advertisers have come to expect.”

Monday Memo: Telephone. It’s For You.  Is radio surrendering to smartphones?  Or exploiting them?  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke shares an eerie warning.  Read it here.

TALKERS News Notes. Chicago media writer Robert Feder reports that Steve Ruxton is joining Cumulus Media’s news/talk WLS-AM as a part-time and fill-in news anchor.  Ruxton is an anchor and reporter for the Chicago-based, syndicated television financial news show.  Ruxton previously served as host of Weigel Broadcasting’s “Stock Market Observer” and “WebFN.”…..WHO, Des Moines “Newsradio 1040” afternoon drive talk show host Simon Conway is busy during this holiday season.  In addition to his PM drive show, he’s filling in on morning drive at WFLF, Orlando “News Radio WFLA” this week and next (except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day).  Next Monday, he’ll also be filling in for nationally syndicated talk host Joe “Pags” Pagliarulo…..Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, the San Francisco 49ers, and the 49ers Foundation announce that they raised more than $125,000 for local Bay Area youth sports initiatives as a result of the third annual 49ers Foundation Holiday Sports Auction.  The two-day charity auction was broadcast from the KNBR studios on Tuesday, December 3, and Wednesday, December 4.  KNBR has partnered with the 49ers Foundation on the auction for three consecutive years, raising more than $300,000 since its inception in 2017.

Impeachment, Financial Markets Activity/Economy, 2020 Presidential Race, India Protests, North Korea Threats, Virginia Car Pileup, and Eddie Murphy Returns to ‘SNL’ Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The articles of impeachment against President Trump and the Democrats’ strategy for the next step in the process; the positive activities in the financial markets and the state of the U.S. economy; the Democrats vying to challenge President Trump in 2020; the violent protests in India over the new citizenship law that excludes Muslims; North Korea’s threat of a “Christmas present” for the U.S.; the 69-car pileup in Virginia caused by ice and fog; and Eddie Murphy’s return to “Saturday Night Live” were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Announces Three Podcasters to Be Honored at January Podcast Awards. When next month’s 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards take place at the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles, three podcast producers will be honored with iHeartRadio Podcast Icon Awards.  The New York Times’ “1619” podcast will receive the Social Impact Award; NPR’s “Life Kit” podcast will get the Innovator Award Presented by Zoom; and Tenderfoot TV’s Payne Lindsey and Donald Albright with be honored with the Audible Audio Pioneer Award.  The awards show will stream live Friday, January 17 at 11:00 pm ET/8:00 pm PT via a LiveXLive stream and on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide. iHeartMedia says, “The iHeartRadio Podcast Icon Awards pay tribute to the creators, organizations, and podcasts that have made groundbreaking contributions to podcasting’s expanding role in today’s popular culture.”  The 2020 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards will “honor the most entertaining and innovative podcasts of 2019 and will span 30 categories, celebrating the incredible talent and wide variety of leaders across the booming podcasting industry.”  See more here.

Cyberspace Law and Security Expert Steve Weisman Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The publisher of one of the nation’s leading sources of credible information about scams and fraud – Scamicide.com – is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  In addition to his work with Scamicide.com, Steven J.J. Weisman is a professor of law at Bentley University in Boston, a prolific best-selling author, a columnist for USA Today, a widely sought media commentator, and the legal editor of TALKERS.  Harrison and Weisman discuss a wide array of topics including the dramatic erosion of privacy that is threatening liberty and democracy in this new era.  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 and on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Via her Facebook page, on-air pro Fran Lane reveals that she’s the victim of budget cuts at Entercom’s adult contemporary WLIF, Baltimore.  Lane, who hosted the evening “Love Songs” show says, “It is with a very heavy heart that I share this news with you… I am no longer employed at ‘Today’s 101.9’ due to company-wide budget cuts.  I hosted the 7 to midnight ‘Love Songs’ show for nearly 26 years.  I am heartbroken.”

Monday, September 30, 2019

| September 30, 2019

FCC Grants Waiver of Ownership Regs for Sinclair Telecable in Austin. When Emmis Communications and Sinclair Telecable agreed to a $39.3 million deal for the latter to acquire full ownership of the Austin cluster that the two companies have been co-owners of since 2003, the result would have put Sinclair over the FCC’s ownership limit.  The companies applied for a waiver from the FCC and on Friday (9/27), the Commission granted the waiver.  Emmis owns 50.1% of the cluster and Sinclair owns 49.9%.  Emmis sought the waiver, calling the Austin co-ownership “unique” and the sale of its stake to the other “more akin to a corporate restructuring.”  FCC audio division chief Albert Shuldiner agreed, and in his ruling said that it’s obvious that Emmis and Sinclair are not trying to get around the ownership caps.  “In fact, it appears that this transaction is part of Emmis’ ongoing efforts to divest its radio stations.”  The Austin station group includes: news/talk KLBJ-AM, alternative KROX, adult contemporary KGSR, regional Mexican KLZT, and adult hits KBPA (as well as HD2 stations “Austin City Limits Radio” and “Latino 102.7”).

Monday Memo: Play the Hits. If you host an ask-the-expert show, you’re working “a sales funnel.”  This week, in part two of a series, consultant Holland Cooke explains how weekend talk radio hosts can borrow a success technique from music radio.  Read it here.

Impeachment Inquiry/Ukraine Aid Issue, Biden Campaign’s Giuliani Request, 2020 Presidential Race, MBS’ ‘60 Minutes’ Interview, Hong Kong Protests, Netanyahu’s Future, and Kanye’s ‘Jesus Is King’ Album Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The Democrat-led impeachment inquiry against President Trump and the related issue of the president’s withholding of approved aid for Ukraine; the Joe Biden campaign’s request of news organizations to stop giving Trump attorney/adviser Rudy Giuliani air time; the Democrats vying to challenge Trump in 2020; Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman denies ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi during “60 Minutes” interview; the continuing protests in Hong Kong as the 70th anniversary of the Communist Takeover approaches; the future of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he tries to build a coalition with his main rival; and the controversy over Kanye West’s Jesus Is King album that failed to be released were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

iHeartMedia Announces Second Annual iHeartRadio Podcast Awards. In a press release, iHeartMedia says that in celebration of International Podcast Day, it is announcing the return of the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards to the iHeartRadio Theater Los Angeles on Friday, January 17, 2020 at 8:00 pm PT.  It will be broadcast and streamed live across iHeartMedia stations nationwide.  The awards will cover 30 categories and the live event will feature appearances by award nominees, celebrity presenters, and other special guests.  iHeartPodcast president Conal Byrne says, “When we introduced the iHeartRadio Podcast Awards last year, we knew we wanted to celebrate the most talented podcast creators out there – the key reason that podcasting continues to grow exponentially.  The response to last year’s awards was amazing.  This is the one time of the year that all the most popular podcasters come together to celebrate the community of podcasting truly as colleagues, not competitors.  The iHeartRadio Podcast Awards bring everyone into one room – the biggest hosts, producers and distributors – all committed to this amazing podcast medium and to seeing its incredible growth continue.”

TALKERS News Notes. From the Windy City, media writer Robert Feder reports two items of note.  First, Nexstar Media Group is making a change to news/talk WGN-AM, Chicago’s imaging.  Chicago media figure Bill Kurtis is no longer voicing the station’s imaging.  That is duty is now being handled by New York-based voiceover pro Steve Kamer.  Feder notes that new jingles for WGN-AM now use the familiar music from sister WGN-TV’s newscasts.  Feder quotes a Nexstar spokesman saying, “We are embracing our Midwest roots.  Going to bring back the warmness of WGN — a station for everyone.”  Second, Jennifer Weigel moves from serving as co-host of the “Mancow in the Morning” program on Cumulus Media’s WLS-AM to hosting her own program airing from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight on the station, replacing the syndicated John Batchelor program.  WLS-AM PD Stephanie Tichenor calls it “the only locally produced, female-hosted show in our market”…..SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio channel is presenting a special radio documentary celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 “Miracle Mets” World Series victory — the memorable first world championship in the young franchise’s history following seven consecutive losing seasons.  Titled, “Amazin’: A Celebration of the 1969 Mets,” it features new interviews with several members of the ’69 Mets including Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, Ed Kranepool, Cleon Jones, Ron Swoboda, Jerry Koosman, Jerry Grote, Duffy Dyer, Rod Gaspar, Wayne Garrett, J.C. Martin, Jim McAndrew, Bobby Pfeil, Art Shamsky and Al Weis, as well as manager Gil Hodges’ wife Joan and son Gil Jr., and Tommy Agee’s wife Maxcine. Listeners will also hear previously recorded memories from Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Seaver.  SiriusXM’s Ed Randall hosts the special…..Digital audio advertising firm DAX brings Chris Blackburn aboard to serve as EVP for sales and business development.  Blackburn was most recently with SoundCloud where he was responsible for overseeing and growing its worldwide ad-sales business…..Below, WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro (right) poses for a photo with Southeast Massachusetts Sheriff Tom Hodgson (left) on the White House lawn during a ceremony in which America’s Sheriffs and Angel Families presented President Trump with a plaque of appreciation for his work combating illegal immigration.

Music Radio News and Career Moves.   Programing pro Steven Lewis is named program director and afternoon drive host at Cumulus Media’s rock WNDX, Indianapolis “93.9X,” effective October 7.  He moves to Indy from Cincinnati where he was assistant director of custom/national programming for iHeartMedia.  WNDX operations manager Christopher “Boomer” Layfield says, “‘93.9X’ shot out of a cannon to incredible audience response when we launched back in May, thanks to Doug Hamand, Troy Hanson, Derek Madden, and Jim Kurdziel.  We’re now adding just the right mad rock programming genius to make us dangerous… in a good way.  Steven is ideally suited to lead this team.  I share his vision and look forward to working with him to firmly establish the ‘93.9X’ brand in Indy.”…..iHeartMedia’s alternative KTBZ, Houston “94.5 The Buzz” names Tessa Barrera co-host of “The Rod Ryan Morning Show” alongside Rod Ryan, Alex Middleton, and executive producer, Jose “The Chile” Santos.   Station PD Elliott Wood says, “Tessa brings an amazingly strong on-air presence along with an accomplished set of skills in radio, news, sports, and television.”  She comes to Houston from the company’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles where she served as a news anchor and executive producer…..It’s getting close to Jingle Ball season for the 12 iHeartMedia CHR stations that are hosting a Jingle Ball concert.  With Capital One again on board as the title sponsor, the company announces that some of the acts seen will include: Taylor Swift, Camila Cabello, Halsey, 5SOS, Lizzo, Dan + Shay, Monsta X, Fletcher, Jonas Brothers, NF, Niall Horan, French Montana, Why Don’t We, Zara Larsson, and Lewis Capaldi.

Monday, January 21, 2018

| January 21, 2019

Monday Memo: Carpe Trump. Consultant Holland Cooke writes in his weekly Monday Memo for TALKERS magazine that conservative news/talk stations should be working overtime to capitalize on the Trump presidency.  Cooke references a recent column in The New York Times by Frank Bruni in which he observes the president is covered by the media as “spectacle” and that makes Trump the “star” no matter what.  Cooke reasons that since the best way to increase ratings share with news/talk radio is to increase the TSL of its P1s, stations should “be to radio what Fox News Channel is to TV” – a safe space for like-minded conservatives. Read the Monday Memo here.

Entercom and DC’s ‘Sports Junkies’ Renew; Plan for Regional Distribution. The WJFK-FM, Washington, DC “106.7 The Fan” morning drive program “The Sports Junkies” and Entercom agree to a long-term extension of their contract.  “The Sports Junkies” are John Auville, Eric BickelJason Bishop and John-Paul Flaim.  Entercom DC SVP and market manager Phil Zachary states, “Since 1996, ‘The Sports Junkies’ have driven the sports conversation in Washington, DC and we couldn’t envision ‘The Fan’ without them. As the unrivaled leaders in local sports coverage, we are pleased to continue our relationship with the team.” The station says the program “is consistently rated number one among Washington, DC men aged 18-49, according to Nielsen 2018 ratings.”  It adds that “plans will be announced later this month for the program to be broadcast beyond Washington, DC to affiliates across the Mid-Atlantic region.”

Harvey Wells Exits Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Illinois Cluster. As reported by Chicago media maven Robert Feder, radio sales and management pro Harvey Wells has resigned from his position as market manager for Mid-West Family Broadcasting’s Springfield, Illinois station group that includes news/talk WMAY-AM/FM and three music-formatted stations.  Wells served the Chicago market for years leading the then-CBS RADIO cluster of radio stations.  Wells is quoted saying, “I cannot say enough good things about Mid-West Family Broadcasting and feel fortunate to have spent two-plus years at an employee-owned company.  It truly makes a difference when you walk in the door and your fellow workers also have an ownership interest in the company.  However, the one family that has to come before the Mid-West Family is my own.”

Government Shutdown, Border Wall Issue, BuzzFeed Report-Mueller Statement, DC Students-Protestors Incident, 2020 Presidential Race, Deadly Mexico Pipeline Blast, Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, and NFL Championship Games Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The ongoing federal government shutdown; the battle over funding for President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall; BuzzFeed’s report that President Trump told Michael Cohen to lie to Congress and the special prosecutor’s statement calling that inaccurate; the case of the viral video of students and Native American protestors in Washington, DC; Democrats lining up to challenge President Trump in 2020; the gas pipeline explosion in Mexico that killed more than 85 people; today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday; and the NFL Conference Championships were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, sports talk WSCR “The Score” weekend and fill-in host Barry Rozner – who is also a sports columnist with the Daily Herald – is considering leaving the station before the next season of the baseball show “Hit & Run” begins this spring.  Feder says Rozner has been in communication with station operations manager Mitch Rosen saying, “We’re still communicating, and we’ll see what comes of it, but I don’t – at this moment – see a path to returning.  No hard feelings. No one to blame. There’s just no role there for me comparable to the last 10 years when I hosted nearly 1,400 shows. If it’s over, I will miss ‘Hit & Run’ more than I can properly express.  It was a great run and I’m grateful for the opportunity Mitch gave me.”…..The sports media 2019 BSM Summit is taking place at The Grammy Museum in Los Angeles February 21-22.   Barrett Sports Media president Jason Barrett says the event “will feature a star-studded lineup of guest speakers,” including CBS Sports personality Jim Rome, who will do a one-on-one with Barrett.  See more about the Summit here.….The NFL’s Indianapolis Colts officially name Matt Taylor the play-by-play voice for radio coverage of the team’s games.  Taylor has been part of the team’s broadcast operations since 2012.  He takes over the role handled by Bob Lamey, who exited the position after a controversial incident in which he used a racial slur off the air…..Binghamton market public broadcaster WSKG announces coming programming changes that will make it easier for listeners to find the programming they desire.  Currently, both WSKG-FM and WSQX-FM are airing programming consisting of news, conversation and music.  On February 3, the company will move all news and talk programming to WSKG-FM – its NPR member station – and WSQX will air classical, jazz and folk music programming…..Pictured below are the hosts of last Friday’s inaugural 2019 iHeartRadio Podcast Awards that took place at the iHeartRadio Theater LA in Burbank, California. You can see all the categories and winners here.  Below from left to right are: Holly Frey, Bobby Bones, Charlamagne tha God, and Mario Lopez(Photo: Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

WPGG, Atlantic City’s Harry Hurley Sponsors Broadcast Booth at Local Science Center. Through his “Hurley in the Morning” charity, WPGG, Atlantic City morning host Harry Hurley donated $3,500 to the Patcong Creek Foundation Science Center in Atlantic County, New Jersey on January 19.  The charity sponsors the “Harry Hurley Broadcast Booth” in which Hurley is pictured above.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In New York City, air personality Ralphie Aversa exits his evening show at Cumulus Media’s hot AC WPLJ, as well as the company’s WPRO-FM, Providence and WBHT, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton where the show also aired. WPLJ APD Mike Allen is now handling evenings…..Chicago market hot AC WXLC, Waukegan parts ways with morning show personality Jimmy Novak.  He posted on Facebook, “The old building and loan has decided to cut ties with me as morning show host.  It’s been a fun decade of shows and I feel lucky to have worked with some incredible people.  I’m truly blessed with great memories and I look forward to new challenges and staying up past 7:30.”…..The 2019 iHeartRadio ALTer Ego concert took place on Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood, California featuring: Twenty One PilotsRise Against, Muse, The Killers, Weezer, plus Bishop Briggs and The Revivalists.  Pictured below are The Revivalists with KYSR, Los Angeles midday personality Tamo Sein(Photo: Getty Images for iHeartMedia.)