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Tuesday, August 10, 2021

| August 10, 2021

WNDB, Daytona Beach Host Marc Bernier Hospitalized with COVID-19. The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that WNDB, Daytona Beach talk show host Marc Bernier is in the hospital being treated for COVID-19. Like some other conservative talk radio hosts, Bernier has been a vocal critic of the vaccines, although station officials tell the paper they do not know Bernier’s vaccination status for certain. The report indicates that Bernier missed last week’s programs while home sick. He was diagnosed on Friday and was hospitalized on Saturday (8/7). WNDB operations manager Mark McKinney tells the paper, “I don’t have an update on him at this point, other than he has been hospitalized.” McKinney later added, “We will be airing announcements several times an hour (during Bernier’s program) that he is recovering from COVID-induced pneumonia and that we hope to have him back on the air soon.”

WSPD, Todelo’s Scott Sands Dealing with Breakthrough COVID-19 Case. Toledo talk host Scott Sands tells his story of contracting a breakthrough case of COVID-19 to WTOL-TV. Sands – who hosts the afternoon drive daypart on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WSPD-AM – says that he was vaccinated in April and is well enough to broadcast from home for the next two weeks. Sands tells WTOL-TV that he believes if he had not been vaccinated his symptoms would have been worse and he is encouraging his listeners to get vaccinated. “Even if it doesn’t protect you from getting COVID-19 at some point, I truly believe at some point it will mitigate the symptoms and help you recover much faster and if nothing else help slow the spread.”

Round One of July PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen’s July 2021 sweep covered June 24 – July 21. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets. In New York, Audacy’s all-news WINS picks up one-tenth for a 2.7 share (weekly 6+ AQH share) good for the #12 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s news/talk KFI, Los Angeles sheds four-tenths to finish the survey with a 4.0 share and falls to the #6 rank. In Chicago, Audacy’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM takes back the #1 rank from urban AC WVAZ after adding seven-tenths for a 6.7 share finish. Cox Media Group’s news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta remains ranked #1 in the market after adding two-tenths and wrapping the survey with an 8.3 share. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this round of markets here.

1010 WINS Launches Spanish Audio Companion. The New York all-news outlet announces the launch of 1010 WINS Noticias.com, “a multiplatform, Spanish digital audio offering for 1010 WINS (WINS-AM), the most listened-to news station in the country.” Audacy says Audacy.com/1010WINSNoticias “will deliver the same energy, resources, and trusted content for news as 1010 WINS, providing original content, audio and video podcasts and a daily newscast for download – all in Spanish. Podcasts at launch include a rare sit-down conversation with Venezuela’s acting president Juan Guaido.”  WINS brand manager Ben Mevorach adds, “We could not be more excited about this new venture. No news brand is more respected or more New York than 1010 WINS. To be able to now share what we do with the Spanish-speaking news consumer represents an extraordinary opportunity for them, for us, and for advertisers.” Audacy says that 1010 WINS Noticias will also aim to create a unique value proposition for advertisers through multiple opportunities to reach consumers, included co-branded targeted social media posts, mobile app display ads and custom email newsletters, as well as homepage takeovers.

Gow Media’s ‘ESPN Houston’ Announces New Program Lineup. Houston sports talk outlet KFNC-FM/K223CW “ESPN 97.5 and 92.5 FM” unveils its new lineup. Gow Media says the new program schedule will take effect on August 16 and will “showcase a new direction, featuring new voices, and new shows with an emphasis on covering the teams and storylines that Houston sports fans care about. The all-local weekday lineup will continue to boast veteran hosts John Granato, Lance Zierlein, Charlie Pallilo and Joel Blank. New additions to the roster include Jeremy Branham, Jake Asman, Cody Stoots and Brad Kellner.” The lineup is as follows: 7:00 am to 10:00 am – “The Bench with John Granato & Lance Zierlein”; 10:00 am to 12:00 noon – “The Charlie Pallilo Show”; 12:noon to 3:00 pm – “The Killer B’s with Joel Blank & Jeremy Branham”; and 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm – “The Wheelhouse with Jake Asman, Cody Stoots & Brad Kellner.” Additionally, longtime station host Fred Faour will continue to be part of the on-air team, joining shows throughout the week in a new role as the station’s sports betting analyst. CEO David Gow says, “Fred has a deep connection with our listeners, and will continue to be an important part of our on-air team. He will also lead the development of a new online offering that we’ll be launching soon.”

Libby Nolan Named SVP of Sales for iHeartMedia St. Louis. Radio sales pro Libby Nolan is named SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s St. Louis market. The company’s St. Louis outlets include BIN: Black Information Network’s BIN103.7 plus four music brands. Nolan joins iHeartMedia St. Louis from Zimmer Radio in Springfield, Missouri, where she served as vice president and director of sales. Prior to that, Nolan acted as market president and chief revenue officer for Townsquare Media’s Quincy-Hannibal radio cluster. She spent almost 10 years of her career at Emmis St. Louis serving in several leadership positions. She also held leadership positions at Audacy-owned news/talk KFTK-FM. iHeartMedia St. Louis president John R. Beck, Jr. says, “I am very excited to have Libby on our team. Her diverse background and leadership skills are a perfect match for the amazing things we have to look forward to at iHeart St. Louis.”

Brenda Franco Named GM for JVC Media’s Fort Walton Beach Cluster. Radio sales and management pro Brenda Franco is named general manager for JVC Media of Florida’s Fort Walton Beach station group that includes WZLB-FM “Florida Man Radio 103.1” and three music brands. Franco was most recently key account manager and senior marketing consultant for Cumulus Media in the Fort Walton Beach/Destin market. JVC executive Shane Reeve comments, “JVC’s commitment to the Emerald Coast and all of our markets is to grow our culture of great LOCAL radio for our listeners and clients. The addition of Brenda as our general manager for JVC Fort Walton Beach is a win for everyone in the market. Brenda’s success in sales management up and down the Emerald Coast is due to her incredible knowledge and passion for her clients, listeners, and the industry. I was always so impressed with Brenda during my earlier tenure in Fort Walton Beach and I am thrilled to have someone of her caliber on board with the JVC family.”

TALKERS News Notes. According to a report by The Count, KFI, Los Angeles morning host Bill Handel is to undergo heart surgery. The Count says Handel called into the station last Thursday while hospitalized, saying he is to undergo heart valve replacement surgery, telling his fill-in, “Now they have to crack my chest. The valve is definitely infected.” Handel underwent surgery to replace the same aortic valve in 2011…..Cumulus Media’s Westwood One and the NCAA agree to a multi-year renewal, maintaining Westwood One’s place as the official network audio broadcast partner of the NCAA for many years to come. Westwood One has broadcast the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament since 1982 and every game of NCAA March Madness on multiple platforms since 2005. Under the terms of the deal, Westwood One retains exclusive broadcast radio, digital audio, distribution, and licensing rights for all 90 NCAA Championships, including the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments and the Final Fours…..WGN, Chicago reports that the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks released a medical update on Blackhawks radio color analyst Troy Murray, who says, “I want to let everyone know of the challenge that I’m currently facing. I have been diagnosed with cancer. With the love and support of my family, friends, the Wirtz family, the Chicago Blackhawks organization and WGN Radio I’m confident that together, we will beat this.” WGN vice president and general manager Mary Sandberg Boyle says, “Troy is beloved by all our listeners and is a significant member of the WGN Radio family. It goes without saying that Troy and his family have our love and support as he begins his treatments. We are cheering for him and wish him well. Along with the Blackhawks, we ask that you respect his privacy during this time.”…..VSiN, The Sports Betting Network, announces that former NFLquarterback Shaun King is joining the network as co-host of “The Night Cap” in which he’ll co-host with Tim Murray to cover sports betting markets around the country each weeknight from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET. VSiN CEO Brian Musberger comments, “Shaun is an incredible talent, and we’re thrilled to add his unique perspective as a player to our sports betting content as we continue to expand VSiN’s programming and reach. His experience as an NFL quarterback coupled with the skills he honed as a former ESPN and NBC Sports analyst will be an incredibly valuable addition to our evening lineup.”…..Pictured below is Westwood One late night talk radio star Jim Bohannon (right) being inducted into the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame at the organization’s annual gathering in Branson, Missouri.

COVID-19 Delta Variant & Masks Debate, Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, Infrastructure Bill, Climate Change/Wildfires, Prince Andrew Sexual Abuse Suit, Capitol Riot Investigation, and Obama Party Backlash Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/9). The rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and the controversy over mask mandates for school children; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo digs in as sexual harassment allegations put pressure on him to resign; the U.S. Senate prepares to vote on the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill; the UN’s IPCC-authored climate report and the wildfires devastating California and Greece; American Virginia Giuffre sues Prince Andrew for sexual abuse; the investigation into the January 6 Capitol riot; and criticism of former President Barack Obama’s birthday bash for flouting COVID-19 guidelines were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

| July 8, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Panel Discussion, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” The seventh video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the panel discussion, “Strategizing a Talk Show Hosting Career.” Moderated by Kevin Casey, VP/executive editor, TALKERS; introduced by Dick Morris, talk show host, Newsmax TV/WABC, New York; and sponsored by the Michael Berry Show, the panel features (in alphabetical order): Rob Carson, talk show host, Newsmax TV; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss AgencyGrace Curley, talk show host, Howie Carr Radio NetworkErick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta/Cox Media GroupDom Giordano, talk show host, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. The stars of Premiere Networks’ recently launched Clay Travis & Buck Sexton Show are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” The program serves as the official Premiere Networks replacement for the historic 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm ET Rush Limbaugh Show. It launched on June 21, 2021 on some 400-plus affiliates in all 50 states making it the largest rollout of a syndicated news/talk show in modern talk radio history. Travis has a background in leading edge sports talk commentary developed on both the Internet and terrestrial radio. Sexton has a background in political news/talk radio and served a number of years as a counter-terrorism expert for the CIA and the NYPD. They discuss their brand of conservative broadcasting and the strategy steering their course to effectively serve the existing fans and affiliates of Rush Limbaugh while building upon that base to grow the show going forward. Don’t miss this timely, fascinating conversation. To listen to the podcast in its entirety please click here.

Tavis Smiley’s KBLA, Los Angeles Names Otis Warren VP of Sales. The new Los Angeles talk station launched by Tavis Smiley’s Smiley Audio Media – KBLA “Talk 1580” announces radio executive and sales pro Otis Warren is named vice president of sales. The company says that it is “building a sales team that is dynamic in understanding the changing market demographic and the economic power of its targeted audience,” and adds that during his career, “Warren has built a successful track record in client development and expanding station growth and marketability.” During his career, Warren has served as the national sales manager for American General Media, overseeing 12 stations in two markets – Bakersfield and Albuquerque. He began his radio career with Buckley Broadcasting and served with the company for more than 16 years, rising to VP of sales. Warren says, “I’m a radio guy and I am looking forward to being a part of the KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ family. I respect what Tavis is trying to accomplish with KBLA ‘Talk 1580’ as a Black-owned and operated radio station for the sophisticated African American listening audience. I think it is something that is long overdue.”

Stitcher’s 2021 Podcast Report Reveals Changes in Growing Media Platform. Based on data from its listener base, Stitcher unveils its second annual Stitcher Podcasting Report that it calls “a comprehensive look at who and where these listeners are, behavioral patterns, trends shaping the medium and the factors contributing to its growth.” Chief marketing officer Amy Fitzgibbons says, “Podcasting is a powerful medium that has not only prevailed, but thrived, in the midst of a global pandemic, as people sought a sense of connection during periods of isolation.” Some of the findings of the study: 1) Pre-pandemic, top listening hours aligned with peak commuting times, which have been replaced by a shift to lunchtime/early afternoon (11:00 am – 2:00 pm); 2) Similarly, household chores and gardening have replaced commuting as the primary activity that listeners do while listening to podcasts; 3) Based on user “favorite” activity, younger generations gravitated to comedy and talk content (age 13-34), while news and politics did better with older generations (age 35+); 4) Median monthly hours per listener per month rose from 7.5 in 2019 to nearly 8 in 2020; 5) Pandemic and COVID-19 searches were the top most searched terms for the year (2020), with listeners turning to podcasts for the latest on major global events; 6) “NFL” was the second highest cultural search term in 2020 – despite a shortened season and inability to attend games, fans still wanted to get involved and turned to podcasting to do so; 7) Some states are more dedicated: Washington, Minnesota, Oregon, Wisconsin, Utah, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Montana, Vermont, North Dakota and Alaska all rank higher in listening hours than they do in the total number of listeners; and 8) Habits differ by gender: Men have a slight edge in the average number of shows listened to and hours listened per week, whereas women continue to have more favorites. Women are also more likely to listen to podcasts for entertainment, while men tend to seek news/information. See more about the study here. Stitcher was acquired by SiriusXM in July 0f 2020.

Jim Bohannon Recognized as 2020 Inductee into the Missouri Broadcasters Hall of Fame. The 2020 induction ceremony for the Missouri Broadcasters Association’s Hall of Fame didn’t take place due to the pandemic, so the 2020 inductees will be honored as part of this year’s ceremony on August 7 at the Branson Hilton Convention Center in Branson, Missouri. The induction ceremony is part of the 2021 Awards Banquet at the MBA’s annual convention. Westwood One nationally syndicated talk host Jim Bohannon will be among those honored as a 2020 inductee.

Longtime WVMT, Burlington Host Ernie Farrar Dies at 78. Burlington, Vermont broadcasting legend Ernie Farrar passed away recently at age 78. Farrar retired from Sisson Broadcasting’s news/talk WVMT-AM/W242BK in 2018 after more than 50 years with the station. WCAX-TV reports that Farrar was inducted into both the Vermont Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Vermont Sports Hall of Fame. Farrar’s son, Tony Farrar, tells WCAX News,“All of the practical jokes and laughter will be greatly missed! All I can say is that I hope heaven is ready for one heck of a show!”

TALKERS News Notes. Actress and New York Times best-selling children’s book author Jamie Lee Curtis and iHeartMedia collaborate to produce a new weekly iHeartRadio Original Podcast called, “Good Friend.” Premiering July 15, the podcast addresses the good, the bad and the ugly of friendships through both intimate and candid unscripted conversations. Throughout the 15-episode season, Curtis has unscripted, relatable conversations with celebrity friends and public figures such as Senator Amy Klobuchar, Michelle Williams, Robin Wright, Niecy Nash and Jessica Betts, Michelle Yeoh and Maria Shriver, among others, about conflict resolution, making new friends and keeping friendships alive during difficult times like the pandemic.  On the premiere episode of “Good Friend,” Curtis sits down with her new friend Lena Dunham…..Full-service sound agency TM Studios inks a deal with Greau Creative to serve as its agency of record to handle all national creative design, event production, communications, and branding. Greau, the marketing company led by former Sun Broadcast Group CEO Jason Bailey, will lead creative and branding efforts to further expand TM’s presence across all platforms including the launch of several new products in the coming weeks. TM Studios co-owner Dave Bethell says, “After looking at numerous companies to partner with, we are excited to be working with Greau. We’ve been fans of Jay Bailey’s work for some time now. He and his team are smart, passionate, understand our clients’ needs and daily challenges, and that badass attitude will help us get the message to our clients, partners and potential future clients.”

COVID-19 Delta Variant, Trump Social Media Lawsuits, House January 6 Investigation, Critical Race Theory, Economy/Labor Shortage, Haitian President Assassinated, Florida Condo Demolition, Tucker Carlson NSA Claims, and Tokyo Olympics Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/7). The spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the rate of vaccinations in the U.S.; former President Donald Trump files suits against Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube alleging violation of his First Amendment rights; the House panel to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack; criticism of the teaching of critical race theory in U.S. schools; the booming U.S. economy and employers’ staffing challenges; the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise; the recovery efforts at the Surfside condo in Florida; Tucker Carlson’s claim that the NSA hacked his email account and distributed some to reporters; and the Tokyo Olympics to be held under state of emergency among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

| July 7, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – Brian Kilmeade Keynote Address. The sixth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment features the conference’s Keynote Address delivered by FOX News Radio/FOX News Channel talk media star Brian Kilmeade. The introduction is provided by talk show host Frank MacKay of “Long Island News Radio” WRCN-FM, Riverhead, NY. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

Audacy to Hire 50-Plus Journalists as Part of Multiplatform Transformation. In a move it calls “a multiplatform transformation for its news brands,” Audacy says the transformation will allow it to “offer more original digital news content as well as in-depth reporting to complement breaking news broadcast coverage.” The company says it will launch a new centralized digital team dedicated to news and add over 50 journalists in eight of its newsrooms across the country. “This coordinated, multi-platform focus will allow the company to produce an array of fresh audio and local reporting that will be distributed across the Audacy network. The new resources will enable the creation of original podcasts and other specialty digital content that will add to the body of trusted local reporting that Audacy news and news/talk brands deliver to millions of listeners daily.” Audacy EVP of programming Jeff Sottolano comments, “The past year has underscored the crucial role of journalism and the demand for trusted quality content has never been higher. Audacy’s local news brands have been delivering on-demand news and information for decades and are now poised to build on that foundation. While other news organizations are downsizing, this further investment will allow us to leverage the credibility of our news brands to expand our reach and engagement while continuing to deliver the premier coverage our audience is accustomed to and relies on.” The company adds that the multiplatform transformation will also see the launch of original longform podcasts from local news brands; an original national weekly podcast that highlights the most pressing story of the week and draws on reporting and interview content from across the Audacy network of news brands; daily in-depth podcasts and on-demand audio that explore local stories and issues that most affect listeners’ lives; as well as custom newsletters and in-app experiences that offer audiences a chance to explore areas of interest and interact directly with Audacy brands.

Dom Giordano Moves to Rush’s Old Slot on WPHT, Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Business Journal (7/6) reports Audacy has made a major move to turn WPHT’s 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot, held for years by Rush Limbaugh, into a local program showcasing the talents of market mainstay Dom Giordano. Thirty-year veteran of the Philly airwaves, Giordano, is rightly considered by many to be “the dean of Philadelphia talk radio.” A former high-profile schoolteacher, he is one of American news/talk radio’s leading advocates for education reform, not to mention a household name in the City of Brotherly Love where he is plugged-in to the full spectrum of local issues. (He’s also quite astute about national issues as evidenced by his being the longtime go-to guy to sit in for Jim Bohannon on that legend’s Westwood One show.) Giordano moves to his new noon start from WPHT’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Morning host Rich Zeoli has taken over an extra hour until 10:00 am and WPHT has been utilizing the services of several locally known talents in the still open 10:00 am to 12:00 noon position.

WABC, New York Brings Constantine Maroulis Aboard for Dual Role. Tony-nominated Broadway singer and actor Constantine Maroulis is joining Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York to launch a new variety entertainment program called “The Constantine Maroulis Show – Cuz Saturday Night Rocks!” and airs Saturdays from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm beginning this Saturday (7/10). Additionally, Maroulis will serve as 77 WABC Radio’s entertainment reporter. Maroulis was a finalist on the fourth season of “American Idol.” He’s worked on Broadway and was twice nominated for Tony Awards – one for his leading role in Rock of Ages. His new program will feature music from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s plus interviews with some of the most noteworthy musicians, artists, and influencers. He says, “I will be bringing the high energy and music that fans enjoyed from my ‘American Idol’ performances and starring roles on Broadway. What will be new for fans are my interviews. I look forward to having artists on my show and sharing behind the scenes stories with the audience while I spin amazing songs.” On Mondays and Fridays, Maroulis’ entertainment reports will be heard on “Bernie & Sid In The Morning,” and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, he will deliver a weekend-focused segment titled, “Pop Rocks 60.” Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Constantine is an immense talent both as a performer and storyteller. 77 WABC has worked with him on several specials and charity events, so we are sure ‘The Constantine Maroulis Show — Cuz Saturday Night Rocks!’ will be a homerun with audiences in New York and around the world. We look forward to sharing this new show and his other contributions to our schedule all week long.”

News/Talk WINC-AM, Winchester, Virginia Changing Hands and Calls. According to a report in Northern Virginia Daily, heritage Winchester, Virginia radio station WINC-AM is in the process of being sold to by Centennial Broadcasting II to Colonial Radio Group for $25,000. The station is operating under new call letters WZFC. It will continue to operate as a news/talk outlet. Centennial previously sold WINC-FM, Berryville and WZFC-FM to Metro Radio and Centennial president and CEO Allen Shaw tells the paper it offered WINC-AM to Metro Radio for free as part of the deal, but that Metro didn’t want it. Shaw says Colonial managing member Todd Bartley has what it takes to make the standalone AM work. “He’s very dynamic and very smart. He believes in local programming and community involvement.” The report goes on to say that “the sale of Centennial’s Winchester-area stations doesn’t include the building on North Pleasant Valley Road that houses their operations. Centennial is allowing Colonial and Metro Radio to occupy the building temporarily. Both companies are seeking new locations for the stations, and Centennial is discussing with real estate brokers possibilities for the approximately 7,000-square-foot building,” according to Shaw. “Those possibilities include demolition, he said, if the building can’t be sold and redeveloped eventually. WINC-AM’s tower on the property will be taken down at some point.”

TALKERS News Notes. Tomorrow (7/8), the Key Networks nationally syndicated program “The O’Reilly Update” – starring Bill O’Reilly – will feature an interview with former President Donald Trump. O’Reilly says Trump will appear in the “Message of the Day” segment. “The 45th President of the United States will have the opportunity to comment on rising gas prices, rising violent crime, and a disintegrating southern border.”…..In the wake of recent attacks on journalists, National Association of Broadcasters president and CEO Gordon Smith issues the following statement: “NAB is gravely concerned by recent incidents of violence directed against broadcast journalists who are covering local news. A cornerstone of American democracy is the right of the free press to document the stories and events shaping our communities and our nation. Journalists should be afforded the respect to safely provide this valuable service to the community without fear of violence, intimidation or harassment.”…..PodcastOne signs a multi-year partnership with Empire Media Group chairman and CEO Dylan Howard to produce a slate of original scripted and non-scripted podcast and vodcast series. Some of the shows that have been green-lighted include: “The Firm: Blood, Lies & Royal Succession,” a multi-part historical non-scripted drama looking at the British royal family; “My Favorite Scandal,” a weekly series where nothing is NSFW when you work at one of the nation’s leading tabloid magazines; and “You’re Fired,” a weekly series, in which you find out what really happens when the axe falls in the media, Hollywood, politics, television, or off-stage? PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “PodcastOne is thrilled to build our relationship with the Empire Media Group team on their upcoming podcasts. Dylan Howard and Melissa Cronin have a proven track record of success in the space, and we are proud to join forces on their exciting new slate of shows.”…..iHeartMedia announces four new shows launching this month from My Cultura, its new podcast network dedicated to elevating Latinx voices and creators, while also sharing the Latinx experience with millions of listeners. The network’s initial lineup will include: “Essential Voices with Wilmer Valderrama,” “Exactly Amara,” “Transportista” (published in both English and Spanish) and “Life As a Gringo.” iHeartMedia says, “With a driven commitment to the creation of a platform that helps amplify the Latinx community, Coca-Cola, State Farm and Walgreens will be My Cultura’s inaugural sponsors, building connectivity amongst this growing audience.”…..The Nebraska Broadcasters Association announces this year’s inductees into its NBA Hall of Fame, and this year’s class includes longtime morning personalities Todd Brandt and Mike Tyler, a.k.a. Todd-N-Tyler. The nationally syndicated duo are based at SummitMedia’s rock KEZO, Omaha.

COVID-19 Delta Variant, Soaring Big City Crime and Gun Violence, House January 6 Investigation, Infrastructure Bill, Critical Race Theory, U.S. Withdrawal from Afghanistan, and Tropical Storm Elsa Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (7/6). Concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant spreading through the U.S. and the low rate of vaccination in some parts of the country; the skyrocketing rate of violence and gun crimes in America’s big cities; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to appoint Republicans to sit on House January 6 investigation panel; the status of President Joe Biden’s $970 billion infrastructure package; the war of words over the issue of teaching “critical race theory”; the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan; and Tropical Storm Elsa to hit Florida among top news/talk stories yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

| May 26, 2021

KFI, Los Angeles Suspends Tim Conway, Jr and Sheron Bellio for Racist Bit. According to a report in Deadline, iHeartMedia and KFI, Los Angeles have suspended evening talk host Tim Conway Jr. and executive producer Sheron Bellio after the two performed a bit in which Conway pretended to interview Yuko Sakamoto – the wife of sports talk personality Vic “The Brick” Jacobs and Bellio spoke in a stereotypical Japanese accent. The pair have issued on-air apologies and will serve a week’s unpaid suspension. KFI program director Robin Bertolucci issued the following statement to Deadline: “We of course take matters of this nature very seriously. Their failed attempt to what they thought would be a humorous shtick was thoughtless and unacceptable, and we apologize to anyone who was offended. They both have since apologized on air and I can assure you the situation is being handled appropriately internally. That said, we wanted to make things right with a plan that was not only deeply apologetic, but also educational, and focused on the community – taking further action to help combat racism against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.” Part of the station’s plan includes running PSAs addressing anti-Asian and Pacific Islander hate. The KFI news team is also set to produce a two-hour special designed to raise awareness of anti-Asian hate crimes in Southern California. That special will air on May 30 from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Cumulus Media Launches New Talker in Buffalo. Sports talk WHLD-AM, Niagara Falls, New York flipped to news/talk on Monday (5/24). Cumulus Media is branding the station “Talk 1270/WHLD-AM.” Vice president and market manager Jim Riley says, “We’re very excited to launch ‘Talk 1270’ this week in Buffalo as Dan Bongino launches his national radio show. Western New Yorkers can now enjoy daily radio shows on ‘Talk 1270’ from two of the most listened-to podcasters in America, Ben Shapiro and Dan Bongino, as well as other marquee talk radio favorites.” In addition to Bongino and Shapiro, the station is airing the “First Light” and “America In The Moring” shows from 5:00 am to 9:00 am, Chris Plante in late mornings, plus Michael Knowles from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Lars Larson in early evenings and Westwood One’s Jim Bohannon in late nights.

Greg Alexander Named Market President for iHeartMedia Minneapolis. Sales pro Greg Alexander is promoted from SVP of sales for iHeartMedia’s Western Great Lakes Region to market president for Minneapolis. Alexander will report to Scott Hopeck, division president for iHeartMedia. Hopeck says, “Greg’s extensive experience qualified him for this role, but more importantly his team lifted him into it, which is a testament to his leadership. I’m confident that Greg and his team will lead our Minneapolis operation to new heights.” The Minneapolis market includes news/talk KTLK, sports talk KFXN “K-FAN,” and four music brands. Alexander says, “This is an incredible opportunity to work with some of the country’s best brands and the industry’s brightest minds. I look forward to collaborating with the programming, advertising, and operations teams while helping elevate the Minneapolis market.”

Peter Rothfuss to Lead Audacy’s Gainesville/Ocala Market. Sales and management pro Peter Rothfuss is promoted from his general sales manager role to SVP and market manager for Audacy’s Gainesville/Ocala, Florida operations that includes news/talk WSKY, sports talk WRUF-AM/W237EJ, and two music brands. Rothfuss takes over for Dick O’Neil who is retiring from the company on May 31. Audacy regional president Claudia Menegus says, “Peter’s experience in this market, coupled with his proven track record of success leading sales efforts, will allow him to seamlessly expand his role and continue the momentum we have achieved. I look forward to watching our market reach new heights under his leadership.” Rothfuss served as general sales manager for Audacy Gainesville/Ocala since 2016. Prior to that, he had two stints with Audacy Wilkes-Barre in which he served as an integrated marketing specialist from 2014 to 2016 and director of sales from 2010 to 2013.

TALKERS News Notes. GRAMMY Award-winning singer, songwriter, and music producer T-Pain signs a deal with PodcastOne for an exclusive podcast and vodcast production and distribution deal. T-Pain will host the upcoming podcast and vodcast “Nappy Boy Radio with T-Pain, set to launch June 3. Upcoming guests on the podcast include Peyton List, Xolo Maridueña, Jacob Bertrand, and Joe Seo from Cobra Kai, Mike Tyson, Lil Jon, Steve-O, Jazzy Pha and Slim Jxmmi. PodcastOne president Kit Gray says, “At PodcastOne, we seek hosts who are charismatic and engaging with something to say that audiences want to hear. T-Pain is all that and more. His innate curiosity and interest in the world around him and the people who live in it offers up endless possibilities for show content  and we cannot wait to launch ‘Nappy Boy Radio with T-Pain.’”…..Audacy’s C13Originals reveals thatt the third season of “Gangster Capitalism” – the documentary podcast franchise that focuses on white collar corruption and the dark side of the American dream – will chart the rise and fall of Jerry Falwell Jr., and the damage left in his wake at Liberty University. The sex scandal that engulfed the largest evangelical Christian university in the world and Jerry and Becki Falwell is just the beginning. For the eight-episode new season, the Gangster Capitalism team spoke with more than eighty people — insiders, former and current Liberty students, faculty, staff, high-ranking administrators, and those with intimate knowledge of Falwell Jr., many going on the record to reveal their explosive stories for the first time, as well as authors, historians, journalists, and theologians.

COVID-19/China Lashes Out at Fauci, George Floyd Anniversary/Portland Riot, Inflation Fears, Gaza Cease-Fire/Anti-Semitic Violence, NYC Grand Jury Convened in Trump Org Investigation, Election Audits, Border Crisis, and Biden-Putin Meeting Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/25). The fast-falling rate of COVID cases in the U.S, vaccine hesitancy, and China’s state media criticizes Dr. Tony Fauci for admitting lab origin possibility; the one-year anniversary of the death of George Floyd and Portland breaks out in riots; skyrocketing consumer prices spark fears of inflation; the cease-fire in Gaza and the uptick in violent attacks on Jews; Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance, Jrconvenes a grand jury to hear indictment arguments in the Trump Organization case; the election audits taking place in New Hampshire, Arizona, and Georgia; the migrant crush at the U.S.-Mexico border; and the planned meeting between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, May 3, 2021

| May 3, 2021

Monday Memo: Meet Meg. While syndicated shows compete to fill former Rush Limbaugh hours, some stations are reverting to local hosts. In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke introduces you to “a radio newcomer who quickly clicked.” Read it here.

Pending Business: The Long and Winding Road. The seller who needs to provide metrics in a highly accountable media landscape and has no “numbers” to show could be at a competitive disadvantage. But sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa offers strategy for selling news/talk radio when your station doesn’t subscribe to a ratings service. Read it here.

Cardle and Woolley Join KJCE, Austin for Mornings. Austin news/talk KJCE “Talk 1370AM” announces the addition of the “Cardle and Woolley” morning news and talk program to its program schedule in the 7:00 am to 9:00 am slot. Jim Cardle (left) is publisher of the online political newsletter TexasInsider.org and has more than 30 years of connections and experience across the political spectrum, from his years on Capitol Hill and the George H.W. Bush administration, to years of working with elected officials from across the state. Lynn Woolley (right) brings more than 30 years of talk radio experience from markets across Texas, including more than 24 years as host of the syndicated “The Lynn Woolley Show,” heard in several Texas markets. He’s also worked as a radio news anchor in Dallas and Austin, a political writer for The Dallas Morning News and The Epoch Times and has worked on the ad agency side of the business in his native Temple and across much of Central Texas. Audacy Austin SVP and market manager Bob Mackay says, “We are excited to provide Austin and central Texas with a new local outlet to join the conversation on issues and concerns people have that affect our area. The combination of Jim’s and Lynn’s opinions and perspectives will be informative and entertaining as we aim to serve the community.”

Cumulus Media Bids Adieu to WTOD-FM, Toledo; Moves ‘The Ticket’ to WQQO-HD2. With Saturday’s closing on Cumulus Media’s sale of Toledo radio station WTOD-FM to Delmarva Educational, Cumulus announces that the sports talk format “The Ticket ESPN” moves to WQQO-HD2. Cumulus Toledo/Monroe VP and market manager Dana DiModica says, “We are sad to see a station like WTOD leave our cluster but are excited to move forward with the change on 100.7 to ESPN sports and to still carry our alternative rock format, now on 94.5’s HD signal. We were fortunate enough to keep all our employees, and that is always our ultimate goal while carrying great programming for our loyal listeners in Northwest Ohio.” “The Ticket ESPN” is home to Cleveland Browns pre-game and post-game shows, Bowling Green State University sports and Central Catholic sports.

iHeartMedia Dayton to Move to New Offices in Dayton Arcade. WDTN-TV, Dayton is reporting that iHeartMedia’s Dayton stations will move into the historic Dayton Arcade in downtown Dayton with the move-in date expected sometime in late September. The iHeartMedia Dayton cluster includes sports talk WONE-AM “980 FOX Sports,” WIZE “Black Information Network, and six music brands. Market president Dave Litteral says, “We are thrilled to be part of the transformation of this historic landmark and bring our broadcast and digital operations to the heart of our city. Connecting our influencers, marquee talent, and operation staff with the innovation Space and Arts Centers in the Arcade will cement our commitment to the Downtown Dayton Business District. It’s really the perfect location for iHeartMedia Dayton.”

TALKERS News Notes. The weekend program, “Cindy Stumpo is Tough as Nails,” launches its fourth season on iHeartMedia’s all-news WBZ-AM, Boston. Cindy Stumpo hosts the program that airs Saturday nights at 8:00 pm with her daughter Samantha. iHeartMedia says that on the program, “Cindy unpacks the world of construction, real estate, renovations, design and more with help of expert guests. Cindy is known for her raw and uncensored perspective on everything about being a woman who has been successful in the male dominated construction and development industry. Almost nothing is off limits: panic attacks, menopause, abuse, domestic violence, we never know what’s next. Cindy’s social media presence is unstoppable with over 75,000 followers on Instagram and videos on her YouTube Channel regularly garnering 100,000-plus views. Cindy has shown that she is a multimedia force.”…..The Independent Broadcasters Association’s IBA webinar series continues this week with “The FCC EEO Rules and How to Survive Them,” taking place Thursday (5/6) at 2:00 pm ET. Veteran telecom lawyer Gregg Skall will put owners and managers on the path to successful license renewal and FCC EEO audit survival, without FCC fines and sanctions. Most importantly, this one webinar will provide full credit for stations by training management on compliance with FCC EEO requirements. The webinar is for member stations only. See information about joining the IBA here…..This month is the fourth annual Maryland Podcast Month. Founded in 2018, Maryland Podcast Month brings together podcasts of all stripes to “cross-collaborate and cross-promote in order to create more opportunities for podcasts to get new listeners.” Maryland Podcast Month is non-partisan and non-ideological and consists of all sorts of locally produced conduct, including podcasts about news, politics, sports, life, culture, food, wrestling, and other shows. Founder Brian Griffiths says, “Maryland Podcast Month is all about shining a light on locally produced content. In this time of social distancing, there is no better way to connect to others and connect to our community and topics of interest than through podcasting. Maryland podcasters are still producing great content, and they deserve a bigger spotlight.” For the first time, Maryland Podcast Month is sponsoring the Maryland Podcast Awards. Winners will be announced on Wednesday (5/5).

Michael Harrison Embarks Upon Talk Media “Animal Tour.” TALKERS founder Michael Harrison has begun a series of talk media interviews on radio, TV, and in print in support of his new music album with the historic rock band Gunhill Road, What Year Is This! and the animal welfare anthem, “I Know You’re Real.” This past week, Harrison has appeared on the Jim Bohannon Show (Westwood One), the Harry Hurley Show (WPG, Atlantic City), “Sterling on Sunday” with Walter Sterling and “The Big Picture” with Holland Cooke on RT America (pictured above). Harrison and Cooke discussed animal welfare as well as the state of media and journalism in the digital era. To view the segment that ran this Friday evening (4/30) please click here. To view the music video version of “I Know You’re Real (spoken version)” featuring Harrison reciting the lyrics he wrote, please click here. Harrison will continue the tour into the spring. To book him on a talk show, please call Barbara Kurland at TALKERS at 413-565-5413.

Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Announces Non-Profit Status. The Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio, Inc. organization announces that it has officially achieved designation as a 501(c)(3) charitable entity. The volunteer organization, formerly known as the Mentoring and Inspiring Women in Radio Group, consists of top-level female radio professionals who use their experience, influence, and resources to help other women in radio develop management and leadership skills. The benefits of this IRS structure include additional sponsorship options that will aid in expanding MIW’s reach, enhance mentoring opportunities and magnify MIW’s mission of strengthening radio’s next generation of female leadership. The MIWs have dedicated the past 20 years to this vision. Since its inception, the organization has published an annual Gender Analysis Study that tracks percentages of women placed in senior management roles. Additionally, MIW presents educational panels and networking opportunities at radio broadcasting conferences and collaborates with other industry groups aligned with furthering women’s careers in radio. MIW board president Ruth Presslaff says, “Today’s announcement is the culmination of one of MIW’s most ambitious long-range goals. It could not have been done without the leadership of our board treasurer, Valerie Blackburn, and the pro bono work of Foster Garvey PC, we are indebted to them both. We are equally grateful to so many who volunteered their time and expertise to MIW, from the very beginning of the MIW Group in 2000, to those in subsequent years whose participation ensured the continuation of our organization. Each of these women, and men, along with our generous and loyal corporate sponsors, represents a unique and important brick in the MIW foundation.”

COVID-19, Border Crisis/Deadly San Diego Boat Accident, Biden’s ‘American Families Plan,’ Texas Special Congressional Election, Severe Weather in the South, and the NFL Draft Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The rate of COVID cases in the U.S., the vaccine rollout, and the skyrocketing death toll in India; the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the deadly boat accident near San Diego allegedly involving smuggling; President Joe Biden’s $1.8 trillion “American Families Plan”; two Republicans will face a runoff after beating the Democrat in the special election for Texas’ 6th Congressional District; severe weather in the South hits Tupelo, Mississippi and threatens more of the region today; and the 2021 NFL Draft were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.