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Monday, January 18, 2021

| January 18, 2021

Monday Memo: We Are Changed. “New Year, new challenges…AND opportunities!” consultant Holland Cooke reckons. In this week’s column, HC lists “10 Fresh Insights into People’s Changing Behaviors,” based on “billions of tweets (yes, with a B).” Read it here.

Wednesday’s Biden Inauguration Preparation, Capitol Assault Investigation, Impeachment, Trump Pardons and Commutations, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccinations, Social Media and Free Speech, Migrant Caravan, Navalny Arrested, and Martin Luther King Jr. Day Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The preparation for Wednesday’s inauguration ceremonies for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris; the ongoing investigation into the assault on Capitol Hill; the House’s vote to impeach Donald Trump again; speculation about the coming pardons and commutations from President Trump; the fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the U.S. and criticism of vaccine rollout problems; social media’s banning “spreaders of misinformation” and the issue of free speech; a new migrant caravan from Honduras crosses Mexico for the U.S.; Putin opposition figure Alexei Navalny returns to Russia and is detained; and today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend.

Pending Business: How Do You Like to Be Coached? Sales and marketing pro, and Lapcom Communications Corp president, Steve Lapa says he recently worked with two top 20 market radio stations with no formal system for sellers to give feedback to air talent handling live reads. “The pattern is predictable. The seller sells, the host does the endorsement read, and results are disappointing. The host reads are off target and the dance begins. No one has taken the time to adjust the feedback system.” Read his column here.

Joe Zarbano Exits WEEI, Program Director Role. The Boston Globe reports that Joe Zarbano has left his PD role with Entercom sports talk station WEEI, Boston. Zarbano first joined WEEI in 2007 as an intern and rose through the ranks to become program director in 2016. He stated in a company-wide memo, “After careful thought and consideration, the time has come for me to pursue new challenges and step away from WEEI. In May of 2007, I walked into 20 Guest St. to begin an internship that I was so excited about I couldn’t sleep the night before. Little did I know, it was the beginning of a 14-year journey that would lead me to some of the most challenging but rewarding years of my life.” The Globe says that while WEEI won a Marconi for Sports Station of the Year in 2018, the Nielsen ratings have been kinder to crosstown competitor WBZ-FM “98.5 The Sports Hub.” The paper notes that in the fall ratings period, WBZ-FM “was first in the market in the men 25-54 demographic, while WEEI was a distant fourth.”

WGFX-FM, Nashville Midday Trio Exits for Outkick Gig. According to a piece in the Nashville Post, the trio of Johnathan Hutton, Paul Kuharsky, and Chad Withrow – hosts of the “Midday 180” show on Cumulus Media’s sports talk WGFX-FM, Nashville “104.5 The Zone” – are leaving the station for a new role with Clay TravisOutkick. Travis is building a new Outkick OTT Network that will launch later this year. The Post says Travis’ new venture intends to air from 6:00 am to 7:00 pm ET with live audio and video plus a podcast network. Hutton tweeted, “We’re parting ways with the station, but ‘We’re Not Leaving.’ We remain in the business to win. A priority for each of us was to ensure we’d continue to work with one another, as we are the closest of friends, and we will continue to raise the bar.”

Emily Pankow Named General Counsel for Red Apple Media. Longtime Red Apple Group counsel Emily Pankow is appointed to the general counsel role for Red Apple Media, owner of WABC, New York and operator of WLIR-FM, Long Island. Pankow launched her legal career with Red Apple Group as an associate. CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Red Apple Media and WABC Radio will be well served by Emily’s legal insight. She has proven herself time and time again as an asset to our company over the past 15 years. Since the acquisition of WABC, Emily has been instrumental in the day-to-day legal work and has earned this title. I have every confidence that Emily will succeed in the new position and is destined for great things in the future.” Pankow comments, “I’m honored and delighted to join the Red Apple Media team at this exciting phase of the company’s growth under John Catsimatidis’ leadership. I look forward to helping build upon Red Apple Media’s success. Red Apple Group is continuously expanding its horizons and it has been a pleasure and honor to learn and grow with the company.”

Jordy Culotta Exits WNXX, Baton Rouge. Co-host of the “Off the Bench” program (7:00 am to 10:00 am) Jordy Culotta exits the Guaranty Media spors talk station. Culotta co-hosted the program with T-Bob Hebert and it’s unclear at this time if the company will replace Culotta or continue with Hebert hosting solo.

Retired Wisconsin Radio Personality John Moser Dead. WTMJ, Milwaukee reports that longtime WBEV-AM, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin radio personality John Moser has died, just two weeks after delivering his final broadcast for Good Karma Brands’ WBEV-AM. The details surrounding Moser’s passing are not clear. His family says he went into the woods near Mount Horeb, Wisconsin to hunt coyote and did not return. Authorities later found his body and the cause of death is under investigation. Moser began his career in Beaver Dam in 1973. During his time there, he served as a news announcer, disc jockey, marketing consultant and general manager.

TALKERS News Notes. There’s not a lot of detail on this but Townsquare Media is dropping the Robert Pratt-hosted “Pratt on Texas” program from its talk stations KFYO, Lubbock “Newstalk 790”; KYYW, Abilene; and KWFS-AM, Wichita Falls. The company posted the following to its websites: “As of January 18, 2021 the show ‘Pratt on Texas’ will no longer be heard on Townsquare Media radio stations in Lubbock, Abilene, and Wichita Falls, Texas. Townsquare Media thanks Mr. Pratt for his years of service hosting ‘Pratt on Texas,’ and wishes Mr. Pratt the best in his future endeavors. An additional announcement will be forthcoming concerning future programming on KFYO, KYYW, and KWFS-AM.” Pratt posts on his website that the move is the result of “cancel culture,” apparently implying that his show has been pulled because of his conservatism. Pratt says his ratings “are as great as ever.”…..All day today (1/18), SiriusXM’s Urban View channel and the Joe Madison show are honoring the legacy and celebrating the influence of Martin Luther King Jr. Madison is hosting a special edition of his morning show featuring speeches, sermons, and never-before-heard interviews. Madison is sharing his address to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on King’s legacy, King’s “Give Us the Ballot” speech and “Why Jesus Called A Man A Fool” sermon, Rev. C.L. Franklin’s “The Eagle Stirreth the Nest,” and exclusive new interviews with Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, attorney Raymond C. Pierce of the Southern Education Foundation, former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, and journalist Joan Walsh. Topics will include the 13th Amendment, supporting Black colleges and Black youth in the South, health equity, and white supremacy…..ABC News Radio is offering extensive live anchored coverage of the inauguration events, starting with the COVID-19 memorial ceremony on Tuesday, January 19. On Wednesday, January 20 ABC News Radio will offer a primetime special report that includes coverage of the planned celebration at the Lincoln Memorial. Correspondent Aaron Katersky will anchor from the Capitol with reporting by correspondent Karen Travers, correspondents Alex Stone and Mark Remillard, and multi-platform reporter Ines de La Cuetara. Coverage will also include reporting and analysis by former White House correspondent Ann Compton, political analyst Steve Roberts, and ABC News’ political team and security experts. ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will post a special edition on Wednesday featuring the latest reporting on the Inauguration.

Friday, January 8, 2021

| January 8, 2021

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, “Responsibility, Integrity, and Credibility,” looks back at this past week of January 4-8, 2021. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/medical doctor; Erick Erickson, talk show host, WSB, Atlanta / talk show host, regional syndication; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioAnne Eller, talk show host / station owner, WCRS, Greenwood, SC; 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; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; 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.

KMJ, Fresno’s Ray Appleton Under Scrutiny for “Hanging” Comment. Fresno talk radio host Ray Appleton – heard daily from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on Cumulus Media’s news/talk KMJ-AM/FM – is being taken to task, at least by the Fresno Bee, for saying on his program that “certain news editors should be hanged… maybe.” Appleton’s comment came during a monologue in which he complained about the media’s coverage of the attack on the U.S. Capitol compared to coverage of protests and riots in Portland and other cities, implying that reporting on those events was more sympathetic. He posted a clarification to his Facebook page that was later removed. In it, he says the comment was “clearly tongue in cheek.” On his program Thursday, he said, “So if you were upset by that, I didn’t mean it. I humbly apologize. I’m not talking about taking every news editor and hanging them. I mean, come on. Get with it.” The Bee reports that a call to KMJ for comment on Appleton’s comment was not returned.

Del Colliano: Cumulus Corporate Flips on Election Talk Mandate. According to InsideMusicMedia publisher Jerry Del Colliano, who cites an internal memo from Cumulus Media EVP of content Brian Philips, the company did an about-face on Wednesday as the assault on the Capitol building was taking place in Washington, DC. Del Colliano says that contrary to what many of the company’s talk hosts were saying up to that point about the legitimacy of the election results, Philips’ memo ordered all Cumulus and Westwood One personalities not to continue presenting any illegitimacy claim. He wrote, “We need to help induce national calm NOW. Cumulus and Westwood One will not tolerate any suggestion that the election has not ended. The election has been resolved and there are no alternate acceptable ‘paths.’” He adds, “If you transgress this policy, you can expect to separate from the company immediately.” Del Colliano writes, “Some employees felt the sudden change in direction was so onerous that it in effect dictated what air talent could not broach on the air even after many years of tolerating if not encouraging controversial political talk for the purpose of increasing ratings.”

WFAN, New York Debuts Craig Carton-Hosted Gambling Addiction Program. The program is titled, “Hello, My Name is Craig,” and will air on WFAN-AM/FM, New York on Saturday mornings at 9:30. The 30-minute program is being hosted by Craig Carton and is being presented by 1-800-GAMBLER. In the program, Carton will “drive candid conversations with listeners about different aspects of gambling and provide resources and outlets to those seeking help or looking for ways to help their loved ones.” Former New Jersey governor Chris Christie will be a regular contributor and the program will feature various guests to share stories of indulgence, falls from grace, and the fight to overcome gambling addiction. Guests will include medical and therapy experts, members of the 1-800-GAMBLER team, founders of rehabilitation treatment centers, and more. Entercom New York SVP and market manager Chris Oliviero says, “Legalized gambling is a growing part of the modern sports experience and the everyday fans’ conversations. Our obligation and commitment are to serve not only the audience that can responsibly enjoy these gaming elements, but also in a meaningful way help those, like Craig, who have an addiction. With Craig’s voice and unique perspective, along with outstanding partners and the influence of the WFAN platform, we will do just that.” Carton adds, “Each week, we will tackle different aspects of what for some is a fun recreation but for others is an addiction that forever alters and sometimes ends lives. The show will be a raw and revealing look into the fastest-growing vice in the country and I look forward to providing my first-hand perspective for both those dealing with the grip of their gambling compulsions as well as the loved ones in their lives.” Carton, who hosted mornings on WFAN with Boomer Esiason from 2007 to 2017, was convicted of fraud he perpetrated in order to pay off gambling debts. He served a year of a three-year sentence in prison. He returned to WFAN this fall to host the WFAN afternoon show with Evan Roberts.

WCCO-AM, Minneapolis Talk Host Dave Lee Announces Retirement. WCCO-AM, Minneapolis morning drive personality Dave Lee announces he’ll retire from the Entercom news/talk station at the end of April. Lee joined the station in September of 1989 from KFGO, Fargo where he was program director and afternoon drive personality. He first joined the station as a weekend and fill-in host and gradually became part of the Charlie Boone and Roger Erickson morning show. Lee took over sole hosting duties of the morning show in 1997. During his career he’s also done play-by-play for the Minnesota Gophers and he filled in as a Minnesota Twins announcer from 1991 to 1996. He continues to do play-by-play for the television broadcasts of the Minnesota State High School Boys and Girls basketball tournaments, while serving as the radio voice of the University of St. Thomas football on WCCO. He’s been named Minnesota’s Sportscaster of the Year six times and has won three Emmys for his television work.

“Free Talk Live” to Migrate from GCN to Talk Media Network. “Free Talk Live” co-founder Ian Freeman announces that his New Hampshire-based, nationally syndicated program will move from current syndicator Genesis Communications Network to Talk Media Network, effective January 18. Freeman says that while GCN has been “a great radio syndication partner” since 2004, for a few reasons (some of them technical) he’s made the hard decision to sign up with TMN. He says, “Talk Media Network is, like GCN, an affiliate-focused network. They don’t have makegoods or cramdowns or other undesirable, unfriendly corporate syndication crap. TMN’s CEO Josh Leng came up through the industry and has himself been a successful talk radio programmer.  He knows what it’s like in the trenches and has built his company with the desires of radio stations and programmers in mind. Over the years, we’ve gotten to know Josh and I appreciate his passion for radio.” Freeman continues, “TMN’s also an interesting new take on a syndicate – they don’t have a network studio. Their shows feed directly to Westwood One’s uplink facility. That means that TMN’s overhead is reduced and the potential for failures is lower. It also means we had to start producing our show 100% from the FTL studio, which was no problem, since I’ve had that capability here for years but never used it until now. Since we’re now fully in charge of our program content, phones sound better and our feed on XDS should be a little higher quality as the audio won’t be re-encoded and re-processed at the network studio, since there isn’t one… We will stay on GCN for some time in order to give our stations plenty of time to make the jump. I’m grateful to the crew at GCN for their professionalism and support over the years and especially now. I don’t ever want to burn a bridge and I have nothing but respect and appreciation for Ted, George, Adam, and the rest of the crew there and wish them only the best.”

SportsGrid Content to Air on SiriusXM. There’s a new sports betting-oriented channel on SiriusXM as the satellite broadcaster inks a deal with SportsGrid. The new SportsGrid Radio channel will feature personalities including Scott Ferrall, Gabe Morency, Ariel Epstein, and Jared Smith plus expert contributors and guest analysts. The channel streams live from its production facilities adjacent to New York’s Madison Square Garden and at the Meadowlands inside the FanDuel Sportsbook. SportsGrid says its real-time reporting includes the daily odds, lines, matchups, injury reports, news and more across pro football, basketball, baseball, hockey, college sports, golf, tennis, and soccer.

iHeartMedia Completes Warrant Exchange for Stocks. The company announces that it has completed an exchange of iHeartMedia Warrants (financial instruments that give the holder the right to buy underlying shares at a specific price on or before a specified date) into shares of iHeartMedia Class A Common Stock, the Company’s publicly traded equity, or Class B Common Stock. The company reports that as of December 31, 2020, there were approximately 65 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 7 million shares of Class B Common Stock, and  75 million Warrants outstanding. Following the exchange, there will be approximately 110 million shares of Class A Common Stock, 29 million shares of Class B Common Stock, and 7 million Warrants outstanding. The exchange was authorized by a previously issued Declaratory Ruling from the Federal Communications Commission approving an increase in iHeartMedia’s authorized aggregate foreign ownership from 25% to 100%. Certain shares of Class B Common Stock and Warrants were not converted into Class A Common Stock due to current regulatory restrictions applicable to certain shareholders. iHeartMedia expects additional conversions of Class B Common Stock and Warrants into Class A Common Stock.

Attack on Capitol Building Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 4-8, 2021. Wednesday’s assault on the Capitol Building in Washington by hundreds of Donald Trump supporters was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was Donald Trump’s continuing denial of the election results combined with his phone call to the Georgia Secretary of State seeking to overturn his loss there. Coming in at #3 was Tuesday’s Georgia runoff election that saw both Democrats beat their Republican opponents. 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.

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.”

Monday, September 21, 2020

| September 21, 2020

Monday Memo: Attention Is Not for Sale. What’s for sale? Clicks, on Facebook and Twitter and Google. And broadcasters and podcasters are buying. And as consultant Holland Cooke warns, “If you’re broadcasting and not also podcasting, you’re late.” In this week’s column HC offers 7 tips “before you spend a dime on social media ads.” Read it here.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies/Supreme Court Justice Battle, the Presidential Race, COVID-19 Stats & Projections, Western Wildfires, the TikTok Deal, Tropical Storm Beta, and the Emmy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the battle over the nomination for her seat; the November presidential election; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and projections for future cases; the wildfires burning in California, Oregon, and Washington; the deal to allow Oracle to acquire the U.S. version of TikTok; Tropical Storm Beta bears down on the Gulf Coast; and Sunday night’s Emmy Awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: What’s That Computer Doing? Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes today about what radio sales people have to offer that programmatic sales cannot. Read more here.

Pandemic Forces Changes at Atlanta Sports Talk “680 The Fan.” As reported by the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho, Dickey Broadcasting Company-owned WCNN-AM “680 The Fan” has let a number of air staff go in a move forced by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on company revenue. Morning drive personality Stephen “Steak” Shapiro and early afternoon host John Kincade are both out, as is WFOM-AM/W292EV “Xtra 106.3” host Mark Zinno. The company has moved talent from “Xtra 106.3” to WCNN and will now simulcast all programs across all of the signals. Moving to mornings alongside Sandra Golden and Brian Finneran is John Michaels. “Hometeam” Brandon Leak and Joe Hamilton move to “The Fan” in the 9:00 am to 11:00 am slot, and Hutson Mason and Tug Cowart join Buck Belue for the 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm program. John Kincade had worked alongside Belue for the past 20 years.

WFLA, Tampa Morning Personality Jack Harris Celebrates 50 Years on Air. A piece in the Tampa Bay Times recognizes WFLA morning host Jack Harris’ celebration of 50 years in the radio biz, almost all of it spent in the Tampa Bay market. The 79-year-old Harris got his start in his native West Virginia while still in high school. He’s been hosting the “AM Tampa Bay” program on iHeartMedia’s WFLA-AM, Tampa Bay for the past 27 years.

Mary Sandberg Boyle Upped to Vice President and General Manager for WGN-AM, Chicago. Rising from her general manager role to vice president and general manager at Nexstar Media Group’s WGN Radio is Mary Sandberg Boyle. The company says, “She joined WGN Radio in 2015, where she was instrumental in the development and launch of ‘The Opening Bell,’ a weekday morning business show. She has held a variety of positions of increasing responsibility at WGN Radio, including executive producer, director of news and operations, and acting general manager. Sandberg Boyle was named WGN Radio’s general manager in December 2019 and has led the station through the current COVID-19 pandemic, initiating a series of new policies and procedures designed to improve workflow and keep the staff safe. She has also overseen a number of programming and personnel changes that have increased WGN Radio’s ratings, which are up 31% among adults 25 to 54 according to the latest available ratings.” Nexstar EVP Sean Compton says, “Mary has done an outstanding job under less than ideal circumstances. She is innovative, thoughtful and determined, and she has forged a great working relationship with the staff. She is a respected leader in Chicago media and this promotion is well-deserved. I look forward to WGN Radio’s continued growth under Mary’s guidance.”

TALKERS News Notes. WBAL-AM, Baltimore talk host Clarence Mitchell IV, a.k.a. C4, is named Best Radio Host by the readers of Baltimore Magazine in its 2020 Best of Baltimore Readers Poll. Mitchell had been serving as the Hearst Television station’s midday personality until this summer when he moved to morning drive as co-host alongside Bryan Nehman…..Sports media giant ESPN says that the unusual confluence of all major professional sports in August “heated up ESPN Podcast listenership, as ESPN posted its best month ever and grew 29% over August 2019.” ESPN Audio vice president, digital marketing and strategy Tom Ricks adds, “It is clear that when current events are on the mind of listeners – be it sports or politics – fans turn to our network of podcasts for the best in analysis, storytelling and discussion. As baseball heads towards the playoffs, the NFL starts up and the election comes closer, we are focused on delivering our best for fans in a time like no other.” ESPN says that according to the Podtrac Podcast Category Audience Rankings, in August ESPN was home to 13 of the top 30 podcasts, including five of the top 10. “The Dan LeBatard Show with Stugotz – which in August added two hours of podcast-exclusive content each weekday – ranked second with a unique audience of 1.282 million.”…..Westwood One’s “Dan Bongino Podcast” featured President Donald Trump speaking with host Dan Bongino in which the president shared his thoughts on polling accuracy, Twitter, Section 230, and other topics…..FOX Sports Radio’s new iHeartRadio original podcast, “Lights Out with Shawne Merriman,” launched on Friday (9/18) and featured Merriman speaking with two-time NFL Pro Bowler Quentin Jammer about athletes and depression, and how he nearly committed suicide.

Joe Madison to Host ‘The Vote Must Go On’ Broadcast Special. Talk host Joe Madison will host a special program on SiriusXM’s Urban View channel titled, “The Vote Must Go On: In Person or By Mail,” that will air tomorrow (9/22) at 7:00 am ET. The program addresses issues such as how voters can safely and fairly cast their ballots amid the pandemic, the potential for voter suppression, voter fraud, and more. Madison will lead the discussion that will include top elected officials from several states – representing both parties – along with members of Congress including: Ellen L. Weintraub, Commissioner of the U.S. Federal Election Commission; Debra Cleaver, founder and CEO of VoteAmerica; Carolyn Maloney, Congresswoman and House Oversight Committee Chair; Scott T. Nago, Hawaii Chief Election Officer; Frank LaRose, Ohio Secretary of State, Tahesha Way, New Jersey Secretary of State; Kim Wyman, Secretary of State of Washington; and Bill Burgess, president of the Oregon Association of County Clerks.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Over the weekend, iHeartMedia presented the 10th edition of the iHeartRadio Music Festival with a virtual stream of performances on The CW App and CWTV.com, and a radio broadcast on iHeartMedia stations nationwide. The event featured performances from: Alicia Keys, Bon Jovi, BTS, Coldplay, Kane Brown with special guests Khalid & Swae Lee, Keith Urban, Migos, Miley Cyrus, Thomas Rhett with surprise guest Jon Pardi, Usher and more, recorded live on stages in Nashville and Los Angeles. The CW Network will also broadcast the two-night televised on Sunday, September 27 (8:00 pm to 10:00 pm ET) and Monday, September 28 (8:00pm to 10:00 pm ET)…..Broadcast Music Inc, Beasley Media Group, and Xperi’s HD Radio are launching a new radio program series titled “100 Years of Hit Makers.” Beasley says it’s part of a year-long campaign to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first commercial radio broadcast in the U.S., and to highlight the continuing importance of radio, especially in our current climate. The series will take acclaimed songwriters from the country, rock, and R&B/hip-hop genres and give music fans everywhere a behind the scenes glimpse into the writing of their hit songs. “100 Years of Hitmakers” will air on 33 Beasley Media Group radio stations, as well as on demand here.….Hubbard Radio’s alternative KDKB, Phoenix “ALT AZ 93-3” adds the Premiere Networks-syndicated morning program “The Woody Show” for the 5:00 am to 10:00 am daypart. As a result, “The Mo! Show” moves to the midday daypart.

Friday, August 28, 2020

| August 28, 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, “Another Week in the Year of Fear!” looks back at this past week of August 24-28, 2020.  The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERSDale Jackson, talk show host / program director, WVNN, Huntsville, AL; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioDr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications Network/physician; Walter Sterling, nationally syndicated talk show host / WABC, New York; and Michael Medved, talk show host, KTTH, Seattle/CRN Digital Talk Radio Network This acclaimed news/talk radio show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WRKO, Boston; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD (“Freedom 93.7”), Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED (“Connect FM”), DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkPioneer Valley Radio in 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.

Buck Sexton Show Expands on WOR, New York. The Premiere Networks-syndicated Buck Sexton show is growing from two to three hours on iHeartMedia’s “710 WOR, The Voice of New York.” The program begins airing from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Monday (8/31). Sexton says, “I’m thrilled to be extending my presence on the far-reaching airwaves of WOR. I look forward to expanding my nightly conversation with fellow New Yorkers and Tri-Staters about the issues that matter most to us.” WOR program director Tom Cuddy adds. “Since COVID-19 hit us, Buck has been broadcasting from his apartment in mid-town Manhattan and has never missed a day. He has done an outstanding job giving New Yorkers everything they need to know to survive this pandemic, along with his thoughts on the political stories of the day.”

Beasley Promotes Tee Gentry to Regional OM for Augusta and Fayetteville. Longtime company programmer Tee Gentry is promoted to regional operations manager for Beasley Media Group’s radio stations in Augusta, Georgia – including news/talk WGAC-AM/FM and five music brands – and Fayetteville, North Carolina’s six music brands. Gentry has been serving as operations manager for the Augusta cluster. Gentry has spent the majority of his 25-year radio career with Beasley Media Group, serving more than 20 years as operations manager and PD at country WKXC-FM, Augusta and three years in Tampa as operations manager and PD at country WQYK-FM. Beasley VP and general manager Kent Dunn says, “Tee has done a tremendous job over the past 20 years at Beasley Media Group. He has done a great job leading our Augusta team and we are thrilled to welcome him to the Fayetteville team.”

The RNC, Presidential Race, the USPS and Defunding Police Controversies Tie for Top Spot on Talkers TenTM. This week’s Republican National Convention, the presidential race and the controversies over the U.S. Postal Service and the move to defund police departments tied as the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio this week and landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was race relations, urban violence, the suburban housing controversy, and the NBA demonstration. Coming in at #3 was COVID-19 statistics and projections, followed by health care, meds, masks, and the CDC testing flap tied 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.

TALKERS News Notes. Dallas sports talk host Norm Hitzges revealed to listeners on Thursday that he is undergoing treatment for bladder cancer. The 76-year-old Hitzges – who co-hosts the “Norm and D Invasion” program on Cumulus Media’s KTCK-AM/FM “The Ticket” with Donovan Lewis – says he’ll continue to work while going through the treatment, according to a story in the Dallas News…..In Asheville, North Carolina, WISE-AM sports talk host Pat Ryan is battling a recurrence of colon cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy. WLOS-TV reports that Ryan was first diagnosed and treated in 2018. He learned last month that more chemotherapy is needed. But Ryan tells WLOS that doing his daily, afternoon drive show on the Saga Communications station rejuvenates him and helps with the cancer treatment…..Salem Radio Network says it will have a front row seat to President Trump’s first campaign stop after last night’s acceptance speech as SRN News White House correspondent Greg Clugston travels aboard Air Force One to Manchester, New Hampshire today (8/28). Clugston is also credentialed for all four debates (three presidential, one vice presidential) sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates this fall…..iHeartMedia, Inc chairman and CEO Bob Pittman and COO and CFO Rich Bressler are participating in a question-and-answer session during the BofA Securities 2020 Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference taking place on September 10 at 11:40 am ET. iHeartMedia says a live webcast of the session will be available to the general public through a link on the Investors homepage of its website (https://investors.iheartmedia.com/). A replay of the video webcast will be available in the Events & Presentation section of iHeartMedia’s Investors homepage.

45th Annual Gracie Awards to Stream Virtually on September 10. The Alliance for Women in Media Foundation announces that the 45th annual Gracie Awards program will air live on AWMF’s Facebook page on September 10 at 7:00 pm ET. The virtual event will recognize esteemed honoree Katy Perry, who will receive the Gracies Impact Award, presented to an artist who has made a positive impact on society through their music. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will deliver a special tribute to frontline journalists who covered breaking news regarding the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement, and women in television, radio, and digital media being honored for their contributions this year include: Naomi Watts, Michelle Williams, Natasha Lyonne, Amy Poehler, Tamron Hall, and Angela Yee. AWMF adds that Danai Gurira, Norah O’Donnell, Fiona Shaw, Andrea Mitchell and Gayle King will appear in the virtual show along with country artist Mickey Guyton who will perform twice throughout the night, and Grey’s Anatomy’s “Silent All These Years” episode will receive the Grand Award for the incredibly powerful episode which brought attention to sexual assault survivors. AWMF executive director Becky Brooks says, “There’s no doubt that this year has been indescribable – but one thing that has stayed consistent is the level of content that continues to be generated by and for women. We understand that people are going through unprecedented times and it’s our commitment to bring the world in for the first time and see the magic of the Gracie Awards as we celebrate some of the brave and poignant, storytellers of our time.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Flipping from Gospel to adult contemporary is Beasley Media Group’s WGUS-FM, Augusta, Georgia “Sunny 102.7.” Core artists include: Billy Joel, Hall & Oates, Whitney Houston, Journey, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Fleetwood Mac, Lionel Richie, Rod Stewart, and more…..Entercom is kicking off “DTS Sound Space Sundays” with a special broadcast of Foster the People’s performance at “KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas 2017.” The broadcast will air at 9:00 pm ET August 30 via RADIO.COM. An exclusive new interview with band frontman Mark Foster will follow the performance. Entercom regional president Jeff Federman says, “We’re looking forward to opening our archives and sharing this classic Foster the People performance with a national audience via RADIO.COM. HD Radio has served as a great partner over the years and we’re excited to spotlight their sister brand, DTS, through our Sound Space and Sound Space Sundays content.”