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Friday, December 4, 2020

| December 4, 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, “Hazy Shade of Winter, looks back at this past week of November 30 – December 4, 2020. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Jim Bohannon, talk show host, Westwood OneHeidi Harris, talk show host, KMZQ, Las Vegas; Stephanie Miller, talk show host, WYD Media ManagementAmy Hao, talk show host, KSCO, Santa Cruz; 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; WWTK, Sebring, FL; 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.

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s November 2020 PPM survey (October 8 – November 4), today focusing on the news/talk format. This survey leading up to the November 3 presidential election was, in general, a boon to the news/talk format. In fact, 78% of news/talk stations in PPM markets saw their weekly, 6+ AQH share increase from the November of 2019 survey to this November 2020 survey. Comparing the October 2020 survey to the November survey, 68% of news/talk stations’ ratings were up, with gainers led by iHeartMedia’s WKRC, Cincinnati (+2.3), KNRS-FM, Salt Lake City (+1.9), KFYI, Phoenix (+1.7), and Emmis Communications’ WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+1.7). Returning to year-over-year numbers, big gainers here included iHeartMedia’s WISN-AM, Milwaukee (+7.6), KFYI-AM, Phoenix (+5.0) and WIBC-FM, Indianapolis (+4.5). In what is a first, the top 10 news/talk stations by market rank were all #1 in their respective markets during the November 2020 survey. See which stations those were and a whole lot more in Mike Kinosian’s complete report here.

Dan Le Batard and ESPN Agree to Part Company. This is one of those separations that might have been termed a “shocker” simply because of the successful nature of the relationship between ESPN and Dan Le Batard. But as industry watchers are aware, the relationship has been contentious recently and Le Batard made no secret about his displeasure with ESPN’s directive during the summer to steer clear of politics. He was also not pleased that ESPN laid off his radio producer Chris Cote as part of its staff cutbacks (Le Batard brought Cote back by paying his salary out of his own pocket). Pile on top of that the fact that ESPN recently moved the video simulcast of his show from cable’s ESPNews to the subscription ESPN+ platform and reduced his radio show from three to two hours. Le Batard’s final programs will be on January 4. In a statement, ESPN EVP and executive editor Norby Williamson says, “It was mutually agreed that it was best for both sides to move on to new opportunities and we worked together closely to make that possible. We thank Dan for his many years and contributions to ESPN and wish him all the best going forward.” Le Batard’s official statement is as follows: “Gracias to ESPN for unleashing Papi and Stugotz upon an unsuspecting America, and for lending its substantive credibility to our careening clown car. Can’t believe Stugotz finally achieved his dream of becoming a high-priced free agent. I’m forever indebted to Erik Rydholm, Matt Kelliher and their vibrant team for providing a creative oasis across a decade, and for expanding the Le Batard family to include so many brilliant colleagues who have become forever friends, bonded eternally by laughter and love. Want to also extend my gratitude to Chuck Salituro, Jimmy Pitaro, Traug Keller, Marcia Keegan, Connor Schell, Juan Diaz, Mike Foss, Amanda Gifford, Liam Chapman, Megan Judge, Elizabeth Fierman, the Hialeah-soaked crew at Imagina …and when did this become a droning acceptance speech instead of a quick goodbye? In short, thank you, Disney and ESPN, for a quarter century of absurd blessings. To our loyal army of concerned fans, and to everyone who walked along and played an instrument in our Marching Band to Nowhere, know that it is a very exciting time for us, not a sad one. And that you’ll be hearing our laughter again soon enough.”

New ESPN Radio Schedule to Launch on January 5. With the departure of Dan Le Batard from the ESPN Radio and ESPN television schedules, ESPN announces the broadcast schedule for the radio network that begins effective on January 5. ESPN moves “Greeny,” with Mike Greenberg from the early afternoon slot to Le Batard’s current 10:00 am to 12:00 noon air time. It inserts the WEPN-FM, New York duo “Bart & Hahn” – Bart Scott and Alan Hahn – into the 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm daypart. As for the television program “Highly Questionable,” it will continue with a “contributing team” consisting of Elle Duncan, Domonique Foxworth, Israel Gutierrez, Bomani Jones, Mina Kimes, Katie Nolan, Sarah Spain, Pablo Torre, and Clinton Yates.

Joe Madison to Be Honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame. Talk radio pro Joe Madison is being honored by the National Black Radio Hall of Fame as a 2021 inductee for the “National Satellite Talk Radio Award.” Organization president Bernard Hayes says, “We as a board decided that it would be only fitting to continue the honoring of our leaders in Black Radio despite the current climate in our country and have thereby decided to continue honoring the legacy of those who have done so much to support our communities at large. We will fulfill this task by using the services of the Zoom application.” The National Black Radio Hall of Fame, whose main facility is located at Harris Stowe State University, will have its program hosted by its National Board Members and the local Atlanta Chapter on Saturday, February 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm ET.

WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia Talk Host Martha Zoller Recovering from Health Issue. Georgia talk radio host Martha Zoller is off of her regular talk show on Jacobs Media’s news/talk WDUN-AM, Gainesville, Georgia after having emergency surgery on a burst abscess on a lung that sent her to the hospital on November 21. She tells TALKERS magazine that she is recovering at home and will be away from her radio show for a couple of weeks and then expects to be hosting her program from home until she’s cleared to return to WDUN’s studios.

WAMU Staff Joins SAG-AFTRA. The content creation staff at American University’s public radio outlet WAMU-FM, Washington voted unanimously to recognize SAG-AFTRA as its union. The new bargaining unit will cover the public media professionals who create content for all areas of the station, including DCist.com, “The Kojo Nnamdi Show,” “1A,” “The Big Broadcast,” “Hot Jazz Saturday Night,” and the podcasts “Dish City,” “What’s With Washington,” and “Diane Rehm: On My Mind.” The newly formed bargaining unit will be made up of 80 employees, including hosts, reporters, producers, editors, and engineers who create content for the news, programming and digital units. WAMU “Morning Edition” host Esther Ciammachilli says, “WAMU’s content creators, as a collective bargaining unit represented by SAG-AFTRA, are thrilled to advance our shared beliefs in transparency, accountability, fairness and most importantly, the truth.”

Longtime Chicago Cubs TV Personality Len Kasper Joining WMVP Radio for White Sox Broadcasts. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, 16-year Chicago Cubs television play-by-play man Len Kasper is joining Good Karma Brands-operated sports talk outlet WMVP-AM as announcer for Chicago White Sox broadcasts. Feder says that Kasper – who replaces Andy Masur in the play-by-play role – will work alongside analyst Darrin Jackson.

COVID-19 Spike, Vaccines, and Prevention Tie for Top News/Talk Story of the Week. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the anticipated rollout of vaccines, and prescriptions for prevention of the disease tied for the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of November 30 to December 4, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing to claim election fraud. Coming in at #3 was the pardons granted by President Trump and the possibility he’ll grant pardons to his children and himself, followed by the Georgia Senate runoff elections at #4. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Las Vegas adult contemporary outlet KSNE-FM “Sunny 106.5” and KLAS-TV “8 News Now” is presenting a special broadcast titled “A Very Sunny Christmas” to benefit Opportunity Village in Southern Nevada – a nonprofit organization serving adults in the Southern Nevada community with intellectual and related disabilities. Airing on the iHeartMedia radio station and KLAS-TV on December 18 and 25, it will feature Sunny 106.5 morning hosts AJ and Joanna plus performances by Nevada-based entertainers including Wayne Newton, Little Big Town, Debbie Gibson, Darius Rucker, Mat Franco, Brian Newman, Russell Dickerson, Shin Lim, Daniel Emmet, Piff The Magic Dragon, Xavier Mortimer, and many more. AJ says, “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges to Opportunity Village and the people they serve, particularly with the upcoming event season as their normal holiday events like Magical Forest have been cancelled for the 2020 season.”

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

| February 3, 2016

harrisonUpCloseFarOutsmallMichael Harrison Interviews Television Historian Jim Benson, Host of Radio’s Syndicated ‘TV Time Machine.’  In a wide-ranging conversation that covers everything from “What’s My Line?” to the future of television and time travel, TALKERS magazine publisher Michael Harrison discusses the role and impact of television in our society with historianbensonjim Jim Benson.  Benson is the host of the long-running KCBQ, San Diego radio show “TV Time Machine” that has just gone into national syndication.  Since 2003, Benson has been exploring TV’s past, present and future on radio and has tremendous insights into how the medium has impacted generations of Americans and how each generation – from the Boomers to the Millennials – approach it differently.  To hear this conversation in its entirety, please click here or click on the “Up Close and Far Out” player box located in the right-hand column of every page of Talkers.com and RadioInfo.com.

siriusxm2015 a ‘Remarkable Year’ for SiriusXM.  Those were the words of SiriusXM CEO Jim Meyer from yesterday’s investor conference call on the satcaster’s fourth quarter financial report.  Meyer said, “2015 was an incredible year for SiriusXM.  We exceeded all of our original operational and financial goals, and we are predicting continued growth in subscribers and all of our financial metrics this year.  Last January, we told you to expect 1.2 million net new subscribers.  We actually delivered 2.3meyerjim million, taking our paying subscriber base to an all-time high of approximately 29.6 million.  Lower-than-expected churn and higher auto sales were the primary drivers, and both new and used car conversions set new records for the fourth quarter and the full year.  We told you that we would do approximately $4.4 billion of revenue in 2015, and we actually reached nearly $4.6 billion.  We told you we would attain $1.6 billion of adjusted EBITDA and our final result was $1.66 billion.  And we told you we would deliver $1.25 billion of free cash flow, and we exceeded that, too, with $1.3 billion.  Quite frankly, 2015 was a remarkable year, and we did what we said we would do and more.  And this year, you should expect more of the same.  We expect continued growth, even as we make substantial investments across many areas of our business.  We expect to end 2016 with about 31 million subscribers and about $4.9 billion of revenue.”  Though Meyer didn’t offer how much SiriusXM is paying for Howard Stern or the recently re-signed NFL deal, he noted that those – along with Major League Baseball, the NBA, and FOX News – are now secured at “a fixed rate” for years to come.  Meyer also talked up the company’s SiriusXM17 platform with investors.  “Some of you may have seen our demonstration in Las Vegas at CES…For those of you who don’t know, SiriusXM17 is our next-generation platform for audio services that combines the benefit of satellite radio with two-way LTE connectivity in future cars.  It enables the seamless mixing and matching of satellite and IP-delivered content.  It allows us to obtain usage data from the radio in the car and let the users have a more personalized experience, including search and recommendations.  All of this will make our world-class content more discoverable and accessible in the car while maintaining ease of use.  Today, we’re doing significant in-field user testing and working with the engineering teams at various OEMs to implement SiriusXM17.  Believe me, we know better than anyone the changes in the OEM world take a long, long time and to build up meaningful numbers in the fleet of enabled vehicles for SiriusXM17 will take many years.”

The Iowa Caucus Results/Presidential Race, Zika Virus Threat, Low Oil Prices/Financial Markets Activity, European Refugee Troubles, and Run-Up to Super Bowl 50 Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/2).  The results of the Iowa Caucuses and the activities of the candidates for president; ongoing concerns about the potential spread of Zika virus; the low price of crude oil and the volatility of the world’s financial markets; the controversy over reports of violence perpetrated by Syrian refugees in European host nations; and the run-up to this Sunday’s Super Bowl 50 were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

bensonchadChad Benson Show Adds Hours for Primary and Debate Coverage.  The nationally syndicated Chad Benson show is adding two extra hours of live programming on three days this month for coverage of the upcoming Democratic debate and the New Hampshire primary.  Benson’s Radio America-syndicated program airs from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm ET daily, but on February 4, 9, and 11, the show will air live until 11:00 pm ET for expanded coverage of the debate and primary.  Radio America says stations that currently do not carry the show but would like to air debate or primary programming can reach out for information about carriage at 800-807-4703 ext. 250.

kbetNew Wayne Allyn Root Show Debuts on KBET, Las Vegas.  National talk media personality Wayne Allyn Root’s new daily radio show, “WAR Now: The Wayne Allyn Root Show,” premieres on Monday (2/8) on Silver State Broadcasting’s KBET, Lasrootwayneallyn Vegas “790 AM Talk Radio” at 6:00 pm.  Silver State CEO Ed Stolz comments, “2016 has become the year of the DC outsider and ‘power to the people.’  Wayne Allyn Root speaks to those trends.  He is the anti-politician, the anti-Obama and a champion of the forgotten middle class.  Wayne has enjoyed a remarkable career as a candidate, author, commentator, international business speaker and businessman, while arguing persuasively for a more limited federal government.  He is a perfect fiery, dynamic, charismatic and high-energy personality and patriot with a popular agenda for our country’s future.”

Odds & Sods.  Re-tooled evening shows launch on ESPN Radio next week.  The “Jorge & Izzy” will air from 9:00sedanojorge pm to 11:00 pm ET featuring Jorge Sedano and Israel Gutierrez.   Sedano’s been with ESPN hosting a solo show and co-hosting with Mark “Stink” Schlereth.  Gutierrez currently hosts a Sunday ESPN Radio show with fellow ESPN NBA reporter Amin El-Hassan.  Also on February 8, ESPN Radio reporter and host Ian Fitzsimmons will join the nightly Freddie Coleman show from 11:00 pm to 2:00 am…..Westwood One is presenting an exclusive simulcast of tonight’s “CNN Democratic Town Hall” from Derry, New Hampshire  with Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.  hardwickkishaCNN’s Anderson Cooper moderates the event that airs from 9:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET…..At the Athens, Georgia cluster of Cox Media Group’s radio properties, Kisha Hardwick is named the new digital sales manager.  The company says she’ll work with the leadership team to “deliver integrated marketing solutions to valued clients while developing new profitable revenue opportunities for the” cluster that includes CHR WPUP “Power 100.1,” adult hits WXKT “103.7 Chuck FM,” sports talk WRFC “960 AM Thehickcox Ref,” adult contemporary WGMG “Magic 102.1 FM,” news/talk WGAU, and country WNGC…..Beasley Media Group welcomes promotions pro Jeff Hickcox back to its Southwest Florida cluster where he is serving as director of promotions and special events.  Beasley Southwest Florida market manager Brad Beasley states, “With more than 25 years of radio experience in our dynamic Southwest Florida cluster, Jeff knows how to pitch, promote and host our events like a pro!”

wfas-amsportsCumulus Flips WFAS-AM, White Plains to Sports.  Using CBS Sports Radio content, the Cumulus Media news/talk station goes all-sports.  Exiting as a result of the change is morning drive personality Bob Marrone.  He writes on his NewRochelleTalk.com site that he plans to continue the program and expects to make an announcement about the show’s new home in the very near future.  There’s no comment from Cumulus on the change, but usually format flips such as this are budget related.