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Friday, January 28, 2022

| January 28, 2022

NOW POSTED: This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the 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, “Back in the USSR,” looks back at this past week of 1/24 to 1/28. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, TALKERS executive editor, John Batchelor, talk show host, CBS RadioHarry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Victoria Jones, executive director/commentator, DC Radio CompanyJosh Hammer, opinion editor/podcaster, Newsweek; and Nanette Holt, reporter, The Epoch Times. The show airs weekends on WONK-FM, Washington, DC; WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; KTLK-FM, St. Louis; WPG, Atlantic City, NJ; SuperTalk 99.7 WTN, Nashville; KMZQ, Las Vegas; 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; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA; WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; KQEN, Roseburg, OR; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio NetworkPodcast 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.

Bonneville Names Sean Thompson PD for ‘Arizona Sports.’ Sports radio pro Sean Thompson is named program director for Bonneville’s Phoenix sports talk properties, KMVP-FM “98.7 FM Arizona Sports” and KTAR-AM “ESPN 620 Phoenix.” Thompson comes to Bonneville from his most recent position as assistant brand manager for Audacy’s WZGC-FM, Atlanta “92.9 FM The Game.” Thompson comments, “It was going to need to be the ultimate opportunity for me to leave ‘The Game’ and I’ve found it. With the talented talk shows, flagship relationships with all the local teams and full commitment to digital content, the potential for the ‘Arizona Sports’ super brand is limitless.” Bonneville Phoenix SVP and market manager Ryan Hatch adds, “Sean is the perfect person to lead ‘Arizona’s Sports Station’ to new heights. He is strategic, creative, collaborative and we can’t wait to see what he will do to continue to grow the ‘Arizona Sports’ brand on all channels.” Thompson takes over for Rod Lakin, who assumed the brand manager post with Audacy’s sports talk WIP, Philadelphia in October.

KFI-AM Launches Weekly Show with LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. Los Angeles news/talk KFI-AM announces the return of the weekly radio program, “Live and Unscripted with LA County Sheriff Alex Villanueva.” The iHeartMedia station will air the program on Sundays from 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm from its studios in Burbank. The station says, “The new weekly program is back by popular demand and is hosted by Alex Villanueva, who runs the country’s largest sheriff’s department. Every Sunday, listeners can join the show to hear the hottest topics on the mind of LA County residents: homelessness, crime, corruption and politics. Villanueva will also feature guests who will explain the inner workings of the various bureaus in his department.” Station program director Robin Bertolucci says, “Sheriff Alex Villanueva is a straight talker and KFI has always welcomed bold talk.”

Round Three of Holiday PPMs Released. The third of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s Holiday 2021 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets including: Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Kansas City, and Columbus. Nielsen’s Holiday 2021 sweep covered December 9 – January 5. Today, TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents his Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets. Radio listening patterns change during this period due to the seasonal implementation of Christmas music but some spoken-word stations were able to buck that trend. Audacy’s news/talk KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh tacked on seven-tenths for a 4.4 share (weekly, 6+ AQH share) and rose to the #8 rank. iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAM, Cleveland was up four-tenths for a 4.4 share and climbed to the #7 rank. In Kansas City, Audacy’s KMBZ-FM rose four-tenths for a 5.0 share finish good for the #5 rank in the market. You can see Mike Kinosian’s complete Ratings Takeaways from this group of markets (as well and the first two rounds) here.

Audacy Partners with Podchaser for Podcasting Insight. A new partnership between Audacy and Podchaser will allow Audacy to use Podchaser’s metadata and podcast technology capabilities to gain insight into the performance and influence of podcasts across the entire industry, enhancing Audacy’s value proposition for agencies and clients. Audacy EVP of digital sales Ken Lagana says, “As Audacy continues to build out our industry leading, measurement and attribution suite, we are excited to partner with Podchaser to help our client and agency partners continue to make smart decisions routed in data when placing their podcast buys with Audacy.”

WABC, New York Honors Memory of Fallen NYPD Officer Jason Rivera. New York City news/talk “77 WABC Radio” is honoring fallen New York City Police Officer Jason Rivera today (1/28), the day of his funeral. The station is asking its listeners to recognize Rivera’s service. “On behalf of John Catsimatidis, chairman and chief executive officer of The Red Apple Group and subsidiary Red Apple Media and the entire staff of 77 WABC, we encourage you to join us and support a hometown hero at the NYPD by ‘standing with us’ on Friday, January 28 at 9:00 am EST to honor the life of Jason Rivera. 77 WABC will pause the airwaves and take a moment of silence to show support and ask ALL of New York City and America to STAND, outside your home, inside your home, place of work or school. All of our communities are deeply saddened and affected, and we are asking to show your support.” 77 WABC and One Times Square have collaborated to display the image of Jason Rivera on the side of their building at 8:58 am, 9:15 am, 9:30 am, 9:45 am. The station is also distributing free “Back The Blue” pins to wear to show support for police officers via its website.

TALKERS News Notes. Seattle’s all-news KOMO-AM/FM “KOMO News” is losing its heritage call letters and the “KOMO News” slogan as part of the deal that transferred the station from Sinclair Broadcast Group to Lotus Broadcasting. The Seattle Times reports that since the deal allows Sinclair to keep the KOMO calls off the stations, it will take up the new calls KNWN for “Northwest News.” Station PD and afternoon personality Rick Van Cise tells the paper, “There won’t be any difference in the sound of the radio station. The personalities, the reporters are all staying the same.”…..Austin public radio outlet KUT-FM names Jerry Quijano permanent host of the “All Things Considered” host seat at the NPR member station. Quijano began his career with KUT in 2017 as a weekend local host. After graduating from Texas A&M University-San Antonio and participating in NPR’s Next-Generation Radio project, he started full-time the following year…..“Radiolab” founder Jad Abumrad announces he’s leaving the podcast he founded almost 20 years ago and to honor and celebrate him, WNYC is releasing the very first episode of the show that was broadcast only once on WNYC’s AM station in 2002 and then locked away in the vault. WNYC says it had to literally digitize the show from several CDs to get it on air. Speaking about his departure, Abumrad says, “For the last few years – since 2016 really – I’ve told myself that there’d come a point when the team would be ‘ready’ for me to leave. When they might even need me to. I wasn’t sure when that would be or how I’d know, but I made a pact with myself to stay watchful, to create space rather than filling it, and to listen rather than talk. We’re at that point.”

COVID-19 Vaccines, Masks & Mandates Top News/Talk Story for Week of January 24-28. Controversy surrounding COVID-19 vaccine and mask mandates and the rate of infection from the Omicron variant in the U.S. and around the world came together as the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, landing atop the Talkers TenTM. At #2 this week was the global tensions over the Russian military build-up at the Ukraine border, tied with relations between the U.S. and China. Coming in at #3 this week was the announced retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer and speculation about President Joe Biden’s potential nominee. 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.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

| October 28, 2021

iHeartMedia Adds ‘Jim Polito Show’ to WXKS-AM, Boston. Boston news/talk outlet WXKS-AM “Talk 1200” is adding “The Jim Polito Show” to the morning drive daypart, replacing the FOX Sports Radio programming currently airing there. Jim Polito’s morning show launched on iHeartMedia’s news/talk WTAG-AM, Worcester and was eventually rolled out to news/talk WHYN-AM, Springfield and news/talk WHJJ-AM, Providence, replacing the local morning shows on those stations. iHeartMedia president of the New England area community markets Sean Davey says, “I am proud of Jim and his growth. More than anyone I know, Jim loves politics and the ‘give and take’ that goes with it. For him to be heard in Boston is so exciting and the natural next step in Jim’s growth.” Polito comments, “Boston is the next stop for making serious talk fun. I do battle with the political establishment and succeed where others fail by changing minds and waking people up on the ‘right’ side of the bed.”

John Batchelor Returns to New York Airwaves on WOR. Nationally syndicated nighttime radio personality John Batchelor returns to the New York City air on November 1 as iHeartMedia’s news/talk 710 WOR, The Voice of New York adds his program, “Eye on the World with John Batchelor,” to the schedule in the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight daypart. WOR program director Tom Cuddy says, “I have been a fan of John’s for almost two decades and the dedication he consistently displays in tracking down the details behind the important stories anywhere in the world and then sorting them out for listeners.” Batchelor says, “I am astounded to be invited to join the legendary WOR at this promising time, when the listeners of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut begin the hard work to recover from these last rough years. This is a privilege.” Batchelor’s program broadcasts nightly from New York and is syndicated by CBS Audio.

iHeartMedia Spends $64 Million to Repurchase All Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock. The company announces that it has – via its subsidiary iHeart Operations, Inc., repurchased and cancelled all of its 60,000 outstanding shares of Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock, paying for it with cash on hand. The cash repurchase price for each Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock is $1,000, plus a premium equal to the remaining dividends required to be paid through the optional redemption date of May 1, 2022 discounted at a negotiated rate. This results in an aggregate redemption amount of $64.35 million to be paid to the holders of the $60 million Series A Perpetual Preferred Stock. iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman comments, “We are pleased to have voluntarily repurchased the full balance of our $60 million preferred stock, demonstrating our commitment to strengthening our balance sheet and increasing free cash flow, while still maintaining ample liquidity. Repurchasing early allows us to realize interest savings, exit the most restrictive instrument on our balance sheet, and continue to reinforce iHeart’s commitment to improving our capital structure. This action continues to demonstrate our confidence in our business moving forward.”

Armstrong & Getty Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. The long-running, highly successful, West Coast-based news/talk radio duo Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty are this week’s guests on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” They started out as DJs in music radio in the early 90s but transitioned to all-talk and landed a big-time slot in 1998 as the morning team on news/talk station KSTE in Sacramento, California where they developed a reputation throughout the radio industry for their freshness and youthful dynamics. They’ve remained a huge attraction on that station to this very day but their reputation and reach has spread and continues to grow far beyond the Golden State’s capital. They are now a morning powerhouse in California’s major cities including KABC, Los Angeles; KSFO, San Francisco; and KGB-AM, San Diego and are heard throughout the West as well as on an increasing number of stations spreading East via their own independent syndication. “When I first heard them years ago, they sounded to me more like the kind of talk show hosts one would expect to hear on a rock station than on a serious news outlet. They were funny and irreverent and surrounded with a cast of characters that gave their show more of the feeling of a morning zoo than a round table of stuffy panelists,” says TALKERS founder Michael Harrison. “But even though they were zany and played the goofball roll to a certain degree, their antics were offset by obvious intelligence, keen insight, excellent interviewing skills and a ton of information about what was happening in the news.” Today, this compelling act – though still first and foremost entertaining and full of engaging pop culture – has matured and is a perfect fit for news/talk stations looking to cover the news and maintain a conservative orientation, but without the pedantic posture that can sacrifice a more eclectic audience. Even more important,” says Harrison, “Jack and Joe remain irreverent and are not rigidly beholden to any singular ideology or political personality. They present their opinions issue by issue. As we approach 2022, the show is uniquely positioned to be a major element in the unfolding news/talk radio universe.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

iHeartMedia Swipes Green Bay Packers Football from Good Karma Brands. The business relationships between radio stations and sports franchises are not immune to change but iHeartMedia’s new deal with the NFL’s Green Bay Packers that moves play-by-play broadcast rights in the state’s largest market from Good Karma Brands’ news/talk WTMJ, Milwaukee to its own crosstown sports talk WRNW-FM “97.3 The Game” beginning in 2022 is huge because WTMJ has enjoyed broadcasting Packers games since 1929. The team announced the news yesterday (10/27) and clarifies that this change only affects the Milwaukee affiliate as the team brought the Packers Radio Network in house in 2018. Packers VP of sales and business development Craig Benzel says, “iHeartMedia enthusiastically pursued the opportunity that being part of the network creates, and we are looking forward to how their innovative approach will appeal to Packers fans in southeastern Wisconsin. The Packers have greatly appreciated the partnership with WTMJ over the years and will always respect the history they have with the franchise.” The press release says, “‘97.3 The Game’ WRNW and iHeartMedia Milwaukee will offer an attractive demographic opportunity to reach new listeners with a growing sports talk radio segment and other programming formats in the Milwaukee area. Additionally, the partnership offers a variety of new platforms that will support key Packers initiatives, including iHeartMedia’s new audio partnership with the NFL which features podcast distribution.” The most recent Nielsen PPM numbers (6+, weekly AQH share) from the September 2021 survey show WTMJ ranked #1 in the market with a 9.1 share and WRNW-FM ranked #15 with a 1.3 share.

Charlie Sislen to Retire from Research Director; Karen Morriss Joins as Director of Client Services. Radio pro Charlie Sislen is retiring from his role at Research Director, Inc after 24 years with the company as a partner. His last day will be December 31, 2021. Sislen says, “It has been a pleasure being part of Research Director, Inc. for the past 24 years. I woke up every day excited not only about what would come next, but also more importantly the people I would interact with. I enjoyed every conversation with Research Director, Inc.’s amazing team, our tremendous clients, and everyone who makes our industry great. I want to especially thank my partner, Marc Greenspan, who had the vision to bring me into this company and partnered with me to build a truly remarkable organization. I am leaving a phenomenal team, whose hard work made my role as the face of the company easy. They made the difference for every one of our clients. Now is the time of my life where I must shift my focus from my career, which I love, to my family and my community. Research Director, Inc. and the radio industry will always be in my heart. My thanks to all who were such an integral part of this life‐changing journey.” As a part of the transition, Karen Morriss joins the team as the director of client services. She says, “I’m excited to be joining the Research Director, Inc. team. I’ve known Marc and Charlie for over 30 years and have great respect for both of them. I look forward to working with their wonderful clients.”

Triton Digital and Signal Hill Insights Collaborate to Create Demos+ Podcast Metrics Service. This collaborative effort between Triton Digital and audio research firm Signal Hill Insights results in the enhancement to Triton’s Podcast Metrics that provides audience demographic and socio-demographic data on podcast listeners and downloads in the United States. Triton Digital says the new Demos+ solution is “the first-ever integration of census and survey-based research podcast measurement methodologies. Through this collaboration, podcast publishers, advertisers, and agencies will be able to leverage podcast download metrics by person-level demographic, socio-demographic, media behavior and purchase intent propensities.” The two firms say they’ve “launched a large, year-round survey that is representative of the population of podcast listeners in the United States. Demos+ utilizes the Podcast Metrics measurement census-level data to identify listener overlap to scale the podcast survey-based insights. This unique approach enables Triton to project the audience composition for virtually all size podcasts – a capability previously hindered by podcast survey sample-size limitations. With this insight, podcasters will see a clear view of their audience, and marketers can more easily identify the podcasts which best reach their target audience.”

TALKERS News Notes. Promotions and marketing pro Sandy Corcoran joins Summit Media as promotions director for the company’s Omaha station group that includes sports talk KXSP “AM 590 ESPN” and four music brands. Corcoran served for 10 years with Audacy where she was the assistant director of marketing and promotions for the Phoenix cluster, including KOOL-FM, KALV-FM, and KMLE-FM. She says, “I’m excited for the opportunity to join SummitMedia and their heritage brands in Omaha. Radio and music are my biggest passions. I couldn’t be happier to oversee promotions and events for this cluster.”.…..Podcast firm PodcastOne extends its podcast production partnership with REELZ to launch “Sex, Lies & Murder,” the latest true crime podcast in a series of shows co-produced by the two media companies. “Sex, Lies & Murder” episodes feature the real stories of sex-driven crimes that have rocked communities. These are the stories of a suburban housewife who becomes a killer. A church pastor who has extramarital sex then his wife joins the dearly departed. It’s a soccer mom who is found dead and police uncover her double life as a midnight escort. PodcastOne president Kit Gray states, “We couldn’t be more thrilled to continue our long standing relationship with REELZ through our latest podcast “Sex, Lies & Murder.” Listeners and advertisers alike know that our REELZ-branded programming is edge-of-your-seat content that the podcast world is hungry for and we are excited to deliver.”…..ABC News is covering the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow with correspondent Karen Travers reporting from Glasgow. She’ll file regular reports for newscasts, “Perspective” and other audio platforms. ABC Audio will also release a five-part climate report series examining the consequences of climate change and issues the conference is planning to address. Additionally, ABC News’ flagship daily podcast “Start Here,” hosted by Brad Mielke, will dedicate multiple segments to the effects of climate change and how Americans are addressing the problem.

Biden’s Infrastructure and Social Spending Bills, COVID-19, Virginia Governor’s Race, Petroleum Industry Testimony/Climate Change, Supply Chain Woes/Inflation, Migrant Caravan/Immigration Policy, China’s Taiwan Aggression, and Rust Set Shooting Investigation Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (10/27). The state of President Joe Biden’s infrastructure and social spending bills as Democratic factions battle over where to spend; the rate of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., vaccine approved for kids, and mask & vaccine mandates; the tight race between Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Republican challenger Glenn Youngkin; today’s testimony before Congress from petroleum industry CEOs about climate change; the ongoing supply chain breakdown and soaring retail prices; a migrant caravan in Mexico approaches the U.S. border and the Biden administration’s border and immigration policies; China’s continuing military aggression toward Taiwan; and the investigation into the deadly shooting on the Santa Fe set of Alec Baldwin’s Rust film were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, March 15, 2021

| March 15, 2021

Monday Memo: Radio Has a 100-Year Head Start. Who ISN’T doing a podcast? “Your advertisers,” who consultant Holland Cooke notes, “are, increasingly, diverting radio dollars to digital shiny objects much less productive than assets stations can craft.” In this week’s column, HC outlines a strategy. Read it here.

Pending Business: Attitude Is Everything. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa writes in today’s column that a seller’s attitude is even more important now. “Negotiating any deal to a win-win can be delicate surgery. The economic variables, personalities, and now the lack of body language feedback can make the process frustrating.  As we move to a hybrid sales-work environment of online, in-person, Zoom, and mobile, negotiating takes on a new dimension.” Read his piece here.

Rita Cosby Returns to WABC, New York for Late Night Show. Talk and news media pro Rita Cosby makes a return to the WABC, New York airwaves as host of the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show, effective tonight. She fills the slot that opened when Red Apple Media recently dropped the “John Batchelor Show” from the late-night slot. Red Apple CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Rita Cosby is the best in the business, with a tremendous following and incredible background. ‘The Rita Cosby Show’ will bring a new and exciting dynamic to our important evening programming, with Rita’s top-notch interviewing skills, impeccable record in journalism, and deep ability to connect with our listeners. We are proud to welcome such a respected host to 77 WABC Radio and anticipate big success for ‘The Rita Cosby Show.’” Cosby – an Emmy-winning TV host who’s anchored programs on FOX News Channel and MSNBC – previously served with WABC from 2014-18 as a host and political editor. She says, “I am honored to be joining 77 WABC’s terrific lineup and working with legendary New York icon John Catsimatidis and his team. During this pivotal and unpredictable moment in our nation and communities, 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight will be a nonstop voice of reason and truth you will not want to miss.”

WEEI Officially Names Andy Gresh Midday Co-Host. As TALKERS reported last week, longtime Boston sports media personality Dale Arnold’s replacement on the midday show at Entercom’s sports talk WEEI-FM is Andy Gresh, the company announces. Arnold left the station after Friday’s program, capping a 30-year career on WEEI. Gresh partners with Rich Keefe for the 10:00 am to 2:00 pm “Gresh & Keefe” show, starting today (3/15). Entercom Boston regional president Mark Hannon says, “Andy Gresh has a vast amount of experience covering the Boston sports scene, making him a perfect addition to our midday programming. We’re excited to team him up with WEEI’s Rich Keefe to bring listeners a dynamic midday show that will reflect what sports fans are talking about day in and day out.” Gresh, who exited Cumulus Media’s WPRO-AM/WEAN-FM, Providence earlier this year, says, “I’m excited to be back on the radio in Boston. I think people know I’m pretty familiar with this time slot, but it’s time to present something new and fresh, with energy, focus and fun. Rich Keefe and I have always had a cool relationship that I truly believe will translate through the speakers.” During his career, Gresh has hosted at “790 The Score” in Providence; WFAN, New York; ESPN Radio; SiriusXM; WTIC-AM, Hartford; and WBZ-FM, Boston “98.5 The Sports Hub.”

Sponsored Story: Take The Work Out Of Creating Sponsor Recaps And Airchecks. Leading networks and syndicated hosts effortlessly track key sponsor and advertiser campaigns. You can do so too by providing recaps that highlight in-show integrations, sponsorships and endorsements. Share detailed reports of when and where sponsors’ messages are delivered, complete with airchecks. Show off your talent and take your advertiser relationships to the next level.  Level Up My Insights

TALKERS News Notes. In celebration of the 10th anniversary of Stephanie Miller’s first Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour show in Madison, Wisconsin, the entire cast is getting together on April 10 at 8:00 pm ET for an online Sexy Liberal Comedy Tour show featuring a look back at the last 10 years (plus all-new comedy just for the occasion). Joining Miller on the live event will be John Fugelsang, Frangela, and Hal Sparks…..Skyview Networks – the exclusive radio network sales and affiliate sales partner of VSiN, the sports betting network, announces six new stations in Phoenix, Palm Springs, Jacksonville, and Toledo sign on for VSiN’s content…..Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants and Cumulus Media’s sports talk KNBR, San Francisco agree to a multi-year extension to keep Giants games on KNBR through 2025. Cumulus San Francisco VP and market manager Doug Harvill says, “We’re elated that Giants baseball and KNBR will continue to be the Bay Area’s favorite summer soundtrack for years to come. Between KNBR’s powerful AM/FM signals and our streaming platforms, we look forward to providing fans with multiple options to enjoy every Giants game.”

Migrant Crisis at the Border, Cuomo on the Ropes, Stimulus Package, COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Breonna Taylor Marches, Voting Bills, Georgia’s Trump Investigation, Everard Vigil Arrests, Deadly Myanmar Violence, and the Grammy Awards Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The Biden administration’s immigrant problem as thousands of parentless children amass at the U.S.-Mexico border; the sexual harassment allegations against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the fellow Democrats calling for his resignation; Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package becomes law; the number of COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, the removal of mask mandates in some states, and the rollout of vaccines; the protests in Louisville and other cities on the one-year anniversary of Breonna Taylor’s slaying; the voting bills in various states critics say will making voting more difficult; the investigation into Donald Trump’s call to the Georgia Secretary of State asking for more votes; the violence at the UK vigil for Sarah Everard; the deadly violence in Myanmar; and Sunday night’s Grammy awards were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

| March 10, 2021

Entercom Renews with Bloomberg News for Service to All-News and News/Talk Stations. The extension of this companywide deal between syndicator Key Networks, business news provider Bloomberg Radio and Entercom Communications keeps Bloomberg Radio’s business and consumer news on the majority of Entercom’s 26 all-news and news/talk stations, including 1010 WINS in New York, KNX-AM in Los Angeles, WBBM Newsradio in Chicago, and more. Under the new agreement, Bloomberg Radio will continue to provide Entercom stations with access to its world-class news content, including live, customized reports, “Bloomberg Money Minutes,” and Bloomberg specialty features including: “Bloomberg Business of Sports,” “Green Report,” “Small Business Report,” “Real Estate Report,” and more. Entercom vice president of news Bill Smee says, “As the unrivaled leader in local news radio, powered by some of the most iconic brands across the country, we’re proud to extend our partnership with Bloomberg Radio. Our news stations are committed to serving as a trusted source of vital information for our millions of listeners, and this partnership will continue to enhance the content they turn to on a daily basis.” Key Networks chief revenue officer Dennis Green adds, “It is a privilege to bring the most in-depth business and financial news reports to Entercom stations that are best in class from coast to coast. This partnership brings Bloomberg-created content to listeners and advertisers and we look forward to building on this successful partnership with Entercom.”

Townsquare Media Repurchases Oaktree Capital Management’s Stake in Company. Spending $80.4 million in cash, Townsquare Media, Inc repurchases the entirety of Oaktree Capital Management L.P.’s 12.6 million shares and warrants of the company at $6.40 per security and retires those securities. Townsquare repurchases 100% of Oaktree’s 12.6 million shares and warrants, comprising 1.6 million shares of Class A common stock, 2.2 million shares of Class B common stock, and 8.8 million warrants. The purchase price of $6.40 per security reflects a 39% discount to the closing price of the Class A common stock on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, and a 19% discount to the pre-announcement share price. In addition, Townsquare will pay Oaktree a $4.5 million consent fee related to the transaction in four installments, the first of which is due on April 1, 2021. Following the repurchase, Townsquare has approximately 16 million securities outstanding, inclusive of common stock and warrants. Townsquare CEO Bill Wilson says, “We could not be more pleased to share that given our strong cash position, we were able to repurchase 100% of Oaktree’s ownership interests in Townsquare, capturing a strong return for our shareholders. This is a beneficial transaction for our investors and the company. The Oaktree share repurchase is significantly accretive on an earnings per share and free cash flow per share basis in 2021, and entirely eliminates Oaktree’s ownership overhang for current and potential shareholders. We thank Oaktree for their long-term support of our company. We look forward to discussing our fourth quarter and year-end 2020 results as well as our first quarter 2021 outlook on our earnings call next week.”

Appleton Rock Station Fires Host for Limbaugh Comments. Rock WAPL-FM, Appleton, Wisconsin has fired longtime morning drive co-host Len Nelson, two weeks after it suspended him for a social media post in which, after opining about Rush Limbaugh’s effect on conservative politics, he closed with the statement “the world is a better place without Rush Limbaugh.” Nelson announced his dismissal with the following Facebook post: “My longtime WAPL radio partner, Rick McNeal, posted some nice words which I’m sharing here regarding my firing today and about our years together. I could not have asked for a better person, nor one more funny than he to have worked with. I am sad that it ends this way and that it puts so much pressure on Rick and the rest of my coworkers. But Rick is resilient, and our fans should rally to him as so many of you have rallied to me. Like I said in my previous post here, none of the air and sales staffs should be blamed for any of this. I put them in this situation, and I will regret that forever. As listeners and advertisers, you can make your own decisions but, in the end, WAPL and Woodward Radio Group are made up of lots of fine people with whom I shared decades of fun and profit. That hasn’t changed. Give them the respect they deserve and give Rick and Carol and whomever else will comprise the new morning crew a chance to entertain you and to serve you as clients. I know Rick is up to the challenge as is the rest of the WAPL team. Very little individual success ever happens without a team effort and I was fortunate to have a great team on which to play. I sincerely thank each of them for that.”

WABC, New York Officially Announces Greg Kelly Joins Station. In a move that was first revealed in the New York Post, Red Apple Media’s news/talk WABC, New York brings Greg Kelly aboard to host the station’s 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm program. Kelly is also host of the 7:00 pm ET “Greg Kelly Reports” program on Newsmax TV.  Kelly is a former U.S. Marine who has served with television outlets NY1 and WNYW-TV “Fox 5 News” in New York. Red Apple Media CEO John Catsimatidis says, “Greg Kelly is a broadcast veteran with a tremendous portfolio of experience in media. He is dynamic on the air, entertaining, and will bring listeners what they want to hear in a style that is uniquely his own. Greg Kelly is a terrific addition to our daytime radio programming and will bring along with him a loyal audience who appreciates his perspective on the political current events. We are happy to have him aboard.” Kelly is filling in for Curtis Sliwa, who is running for mayor of New York. Regarding Sliwa’s status with WABC, the station previously said, “77 WABC celebrates what is great about America. We support our democracy and our right to vote, fair elections, and the American process. It is with that in mind that, while Curtis Sliwa is a candidate for the Office of the Mayor of New York City, his radio show, podcast, and all related contributions to 77 WABC Radio are on hiatus.” Catsimatidis added, “WABC recently received notice that a longtime member of our WABC family, Curtis Sliwa, is officially running for mayor. Therefore, Curtis is currently on leave pending his mayoral bid. We wish him and all of the candidates good luck in the upcoming race. If Curtis is not successful, we look forward to him rejoining the WABC family.”

Entercom Announces Acquisition of Podcorn. This transaction puts the value of Podcorn at $22.5 million with an upfront cash payment of $14.6 million and a performance-based earnout over the next three years. Podcorn is a self-service marketplace that allows podcasters to connect with advertisers for native sponsorships. Entercom chairman, president, and CEO David Field says, “The acquisition of Podcorn expands Entercom’s product offering for advertisers and builds on our position as one of the country’s three largest podcast publishers and the #1 creator of original, premium audio content. By making it easier for brands to collaborate with targeted podcast creators of all sizes, we are addressing an important market opportunity in the fastest growing segment of media.” Podcorn’s marketplace includes nearly 40,000 creators and has facilitated thousands of podcast ad campaigns. Podcorn creates an infrastructure for enabling direct podcaster and advertiser relationships, surfacing the most relevant matches to scale native branded content, drive higher ROI for brands, and enhance how podcast creators monetize their content. Podcorn was founded by Agnes Kozera and David Kierzkowski following the successful acquisition by Google of their previous company FameBit, a marketplace for video influencers where brands and YouTube stars collaborated for branded content. Kozera and Kierzkowski will continue to lead Podcorn, joining Entercom’s leadership team. Kozera says, “Given the success that podcasters and brands have seen on Podcorn, we’re excited to join Entercom’s growing audio platform to accelerate our vision and help brands and podcasters succeed in an even bigger way. Together, we hope to provide the most effective podcast influencer marketing solution for brands and become the largest driver of brand deals for podcasters of all sizes.” Entercom chief digital officer J.D. Crowley adds, “Remarkably, only a fraction of podcasts generate revenue. We want to change that. Bringing together independent creators, chart-topping talent, and advertisers under one roof – and providing the tools to streamline collaboration, transparency and efficiency – provides greater value for advertisers, creators and listeners alike.”

TALKERS News Notes. The nationally syndicated “John Batchelor Show,” emanating from Red Apple Media’s WABC, New York, leaves Westwood One and is now being syndicated by CBS News. There’s not much information available as this was done quietly, but Batchelor affiliate stations tell TALKERS magazine the change happened earlier this week…..Twin Cities radio personality, sports writer and producer Dana Wessel is joining Cumulus Media’s active rock KXXR “93X” as executive producer of the “Half-Assed Morning Show.” Wessel previously served with iHeartMedia’s sports talk KXFN-FM “K-FAN,” and Hubbard Radio’s KSTP-AM…..SiriusXM announces that “Information Overload with Vernon Reid” launches on Friday (3/12) on the Volume channel. On the monthly program, musician and Living Colour guitarist Reid sits down with artists, authors, and celebrities to explore how the power of music can help in healing and creating change. Reid will explore topics from racism and social unrest to cultural moments and the onslaught of information and misinformation in social media.

COVID-19 Stats & Vaccines, Relaxed Mandates & School Openings, Stimulus Package, Andrew Cuomo Sexual Harassment Allegations, U.S. Border Chaos, Newsom Recall, and British Royals Interview Aftermath Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/9). The number of positive COVID cases in the U.S., concerns about variants, and the rollout of vaccines; the several states relaxing mask and occupancy mandates and the push for full school openings; Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package goes back to the House; the growing number of allegations of sexual harassment against New York Governor Andrew Cuomo; the growing migrant chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border; the recall effort against California Governor Gavin Newsom; and the aftermath of Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan’s interview with Oprah were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

| August 11, 2020

O’Reilly Set To Land at WABC? It certainly looks as though former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly could soon be in-place to join Red Apple Media New York City’s WABC “Talk Radio 77.” O’Reilly’s attorney, Fred Newman – through his assistant – tells CNBC, “We are in the final stages of a contract and a program should be on in the fall.” O’Reilly’s representative also confirmed the talks were being held with WABC, which New York businessman John Catsimatidis acquired from Cumulus Media in June 2019. Catsimatidis tells CNBC, “I will confirm that; I think he is one common-sense American.” The 70-year-old O’Reilly has been accused by multiple former Fox News employees of sexual harassment. The network ended his “O’Reilly Factor” show three years ago, after the revelation of several costly settlements for the alleged harassment. His follow-up “No Spin News” airs on his website; YouTube; and The First, a conservative streaming channel. O’Reilly has been maintaining a strong radio presence on Key Networks’ syndicated daily feature “The O’Reilly Update,” which has roughly 225 affiliates. WABC’s current weekday lineup consists of: “Red Eye Radio” (1:00 am – 5:00 am); “Fox News Run Down” (5:00 am – 6:00 am); “Bernie & Sid” (6:00 am – 10:00 am); Brian Kilmeade (10:00 am – 12:00 noon); “Curtis & Juliet” (12:00 noon – 3:00 pm); Rudy Giuliani (3:00 pm – 4:00 pm); Ben Shapiro (4:00 pm – 6:00 pm); Mark Levin (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm); and John Batchelor (9:00 pm – 1:00 am).

WBT, Charlotte Morning Host Pat McCrory is this Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  Former North Carolina governor turned WBT, Charlotte talk show host Pat McCrory is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  McCrory is heard weekday mornings on the Entercom-owned heritage station with co-host, newsman Bo Thompson, 8:00 – 10:00 am on a highly-rated show that addresses local, regional and national topics along with a blend of pop culture items and a heavy dose of “fun.”  He has successfully held that position since 2017 after serving a four-year term as the Republican governor of North Carolina.  His gubernatorial service was a wild ride during which he garnered a tremendous amount of national attention, both positive and negative, due to the controversy surrounding his signing of the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act – also referred to as”HB2″ – and became embroiled in the issue of transgender use of public rest rooms.  There was a political backlash against that move which resulted in North Carolina being the target of numerous economic boycotts that resulted in the loss of revenue and jobs for the state.  McCrory, who refers to himself as one of the first victims of the “cancel culture,” lost his bid for re-election following that episode by a razor thin margin.  Prior to that, he had a long track record of being one of North Carolina’s most popular political figures.  Before being elected Governor, he served seven consecutive terms as mayor of Charlotte and presided over the Queen City’s notable growth as a business and cultural center during that period.  Harrison and McCrory candidly discuss a variety of topics from the impact of hyper political correctness on public discourse to current political issues.  Don’t miss this!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Wrap” located in the right-hand corner on every page of Talkers.com.

Bubba Launches New Podcast – Inks with Crossover Media Group Sales for Ad Representation.  One of the most colorful and, at times, controversial personalities in the talk radio industry, Tampa-based Bubba Clem, is on a positive roll with a revamped nationally syndicated show, “The Bubba Army,” and a brand new podcast titled “The Bubba Army Podcast.”  One of the industry’s fasted rising rep firms, NYC and LA-based Crossover Media Group Sales, has announced signing the podcast to its growing roster of programs. Dropping his longtime “Love Sponge” moniker, Clem now goes by the mononymous handle “Bubba” and has evolved into a more “polished” performer on both his syndicated show and new daily podcast focusing on top-tier guests and pertinent commentary.  The radio show and new podcast are produced and syndicated by his in-house Bubba Radio Network.  Bubba tells TALKERS, “We’re looking forward to delivering a guest-driven podcast that is fresh, current, relevant and that will become a daily destination for folks who want to have a little fun.” Commenting on his new podcast sales deal, Bubba adds, “The Crossover Media team has a great track record; they know the advertising marketplace and they’ve assembled a powerful portfolio of programs.  It’s great to be working with them.” Bubba’s daily morning show is carried on radio stations in Tampa, Orlando, Gainesville, Charleston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Phoenix and more.  It has a significant social media presence and is carried as an audio and video program on Twitch which confirms it is that platform’s number one radio show.  “Over his decades on air, Bubba has regularly shaken up the audio landscape and, along the way, he has attracted a massive and loyal listenership and high-profile celebrity guests who understand the power of his platforms,” says Sue Freund, Crossover Media Group Sales managing member. “And now Bubba brings that loyal audience to an entirely new, highly polished and potentially game-changing podcast that promises to take him to new heights.  Whether they’re fans or not, people are talking about Bubba – and we expect they’ll be talking about him even more once they hear the new podcast.”

Hewitt Lands Presidential Interview. It happened this morning (Tuesday, 8/11) as Salem Radio Network’s Hugh Hewitt scored an exclusive on-air interview with president Donald Trump. Salem Radio Network vice president/news & talk programming Tom Tradup remarks, “We are thrilled that Hugh Hewitt got to share President Trump’s views on breaking news with our nationwide affiliates today. In the 2016 election cycle, Hugh interviewed Donald Trump 16 times. With today’s interview completed, he only has 15 more to execute between now and November to tie his record.” Among other things, the wide-ranging discussion between Hewitt and Trump covered presidential politics; a potential Supreme Court vacancy; and international relations.

Miraldi Boosted to iHM’s EVP/Digital Content Strategy. Relocating to Nashville where he will oversee iHeartMedia’s new digital content hub, senior vice president of digital content strategy Paul Miraldi is promoted to executive vice president of digital content strategy. “During Paul’s time overseeing the national editorial, social & photo team, our monthly digital audience has enjoyed record growth, hitting a new all-time high last month,” notes iHeartMedia Networks group president Darren Davis. “Under his direction, the iHeart daily newsletter program has grown from four to eight daily mailings, most recently with the launch of the ‘Coronavirus Update,’ which has become our most successful newsletter. Paul will continue to lead the national editorial/social/photo team. The digital content hub will improve the efficiency and quality of our digital and social content across all of our local markets, as well as increase digital audience and social engagement.” Miraldi previously was vice president of editorial operations in New York and Clear Channel’s senior VP/digital programming & marketing. Eight years ago, he and Don MacLeod teamed to create full-service marketing agency Miraldi & MacLeod. The former director of marketing for Clear Channel (now iHeartMedia) New York CHR WHTZ “Z-100” and classic rock WAXQ “Q-04.3,” Miraldi was executive producer of several major station events. His resume also includes stops at New York City’s WPLJ and WCBS-FM; Minneapolis’ KDWB and KEEY; and KSAN, San Francisco.

Entercom Division Cadence13 Launches “Pod Is A Woman.” Three former officials in the Barack Obama administration have initiated “Pod Is A Woman.” The weekly Cadence13 political podcast featuring former White House deputy director of Hispanic Media, Alejandra Campoverdi; ex White House director of press advance, Darienne Page; and former White House director of veterans outreach, Johanna Maska, started yesterday (Monday, 8/10) with Dr. Jill Biden as the first guest. According to Cadence13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran, “Campoverdi, Page, and Maska’s powerful and diverse voices couldn’t be more important to bring to the larger political conversation as we enter the home stretch to the 2020 presidential election and look ahead to the next four years. With their singular White House and campaign experiences, they will inform and engage listeners with wit, wisdom, and candor; we are thrilled to partner with them for this one-of-a-kind show.” In a joint-quote press release, the hosts state, “Throughout our years working in the White House for President Obama, we saw just what was possible when people of all backgrounds come together under a common mission of equality and opportunity. We also experienced firsthand the leadership role women played in getting the job done. This moment will be no different. At this pivotal time for our country, we’re thrilled to partner with Cadence13 to create space for honest, unapologetic, and representative conversations that will cut through the political noise and bring the focus back to the issues that really matter.”

NAB Show’s “Collectively Speaking” Kicks Off Next Month. The NAB online forum will look at issues facing the media and entertainment industries in the pandemic. NAB executive vice president/conventions and business operations Chris Brown comments, “‘Collectively Speaking’ will provide our global community new opportunities to collaborate, explore, and learn about trends and innovations as they develop. We look forward to the conversations that emerge and are committed to making the series an immersive and educational experience for all participants.” The series will debut September 2 with “Collectively Speaking: Production During a Pandemic.” It will feature USC Entertainment Technology Center‘s Erik Weaver discussing the use of advanced technology to re-open television and film sets and implement virtual sets. The series will include pre-recorded and live material in each session with audience questions.

Edison Research Ranks Top 30 Q3 2019 – Q2 2020 Podcasts. As it has been since Edison Research’s “Podcast Consumer Tracker” (PCT) was established last summer, “The Joe Rogan Experience” continues to be America’s number one podcast. The podcasts are ranked by reach – not downloads – among weekly podcast consumers. “Reach” is the percentage of weekly podcast listeners who say they have listened to any one of these shows in the last week. Edison Research senior vice president Tom Webster states, “Even with the work and life disruptions caused by COVID-19, people did continue listening to their favorite podcasts. We ultimately saw little to no reduction in reach among weekly podcast listeners.” The PCT Top 30 ranker is based on 8,080 online interviews with weekly podcast consumers (18+) in the United States. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish. Sampling was conducted continuously from July 7, 2019 to June 24, 2020.The top five podcasts include: “The Joe Rogan Experience”; “The Daily”; “This American Life”; “My Favorite Murder”; and “Crime Junkie.” All respondents were instructed to enter the names of all podcasts they listened to the week before the interview into an online diary and were provided instructions to obtain that information from their podcast client/player of choice.

TALKERS News Notes. Last Thursday (8/6), Sinclair Broadcast Group Seattle’s KOMO “News Radio 1000 & FM 97.7,” news/talk KVI “Talk Radio 570,” hot AC KPLZ “Star 101.5,” and KOMO-TV held an all-day “Wishes in Flight” airline miles campaign for Make-A-Wish Alaska and Washington. In addition to $3,700 in cash, the effort brought in nearly ten million miles, which includes a 750,000 match from Alaska Airlines. One couple donated more than 200,000 miles that they were saving for a trip of their dreams, but decided the “wish kids” needed it more. After spending more than a year in isolation for treatment, “wish kid” Brianna visited Hawaii in 2018 with her family. She describes her wish as “a chance to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel, instead of the darkness that surrounds [kids facing critical illnesses].” Over the years, this annual drive has helped to raise over 1,700 plane tickets donated by listeners and partners; however, hundreds of wishes are on hold due to COVID-19. “Make-A-Wish” will book flights as soon as it’s safe for wish kid travel to resume. The local organization continues to grant “safe” wishes, including virtual meetings with celebrities, online shopping sprees, and items that can be delivered to a child’s home … Effective one week from this Thursday (8/24), Premiere Networks/Fox Sports Radio’s weekday, 9:00 am – 12:00 noon (ET) Dan Patrick Show” will begin to be streamed on NBCUniversal’s Peacock. The show’s current YouTube streaming will end coinciding with the Peacock simulcast. Peacock executive vice president/chief revenue officer Rick Cordella comments, “We are excited to welcome Dan and his devoted following to Peacock. Dan adds a distinctive voice to Peacock as we continue to build our live topical sports offering.” Patrick added, “I’m thrilled to be coming back home to the NBC family to continue the show with the ‘Danettes’ and the rest of my talented team. A huge factor in partnering with Peacock is that our loyal fans can watch us for free. Who doesn’t love free? We can’t wait to get started.” His simulcast on AT&T’s Audience Network ended earlier this year … The National Hockey League’s expansion team Seattle Kraken names its first broadcaster – Cincinnati Cyclones (East Coast Hockey League) voice/director of media relations & broadcasting Everett Fitzhugh. While the team says his precise radio and television role “will be crafted as he works for the franchise,” Fitzhugh begins with the Kraken in three weeks (9/1). Prior to his five-year Cyclones tenure, Fitzhugh called games for the United States Hockey League’s Youngstown Phantoms. According to The Kraken, he will be the first full-time black play-by-play announcer in NHL history … Former Denver Nuggets coach George Karl joins Bonneville Denver sports talk KKFN “104.3 The Fan” as a Nuggets analyst for the remainder of the regular- and post-season. KKFN program director Raj Sharan opines, “I’m not sure anyone in Denver was more excited about basketball restarting than Coach Karl. We’re thrilled to have him appearing on all of our shows to give his opinion on what he’s seeing from the Nuggets, delivering the honesty that he’s known for.” Karl previously worked as an analyst at ESPN and TNT … The revised lineup at Cumulus Media Nashville sports talk WGFX “104.5 The Zone” includes Jason Martin-hosted “The Wake-Up Zone” (6:00 am -9:00 am); Jonathan Hutton, Chad Withrow, and Paul Kuharsky “Midday 180” (9:00 am -1:00 pm); Blaine Bishop & Mickey Ryan (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm); and Brent Dougherty and Dawn Davenport (3:00 pm – 6:00 pm). The “Midday 180” returns from 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm for the “180 at 6.” Cumulus Nashville vice president/market manager Allison Warren remarks, “Since its inception, ‘104.5 The Zone’ has been a leader in live and local sports, and the appetite for sports programming keeps growing. With this lineup, ‘104.5 The Zone’ continues to offer the best and most comprehensive sports coverage and local play-by-play sports action to Middle Tennessee fans.” Program director Paul Mason notes, “I am excited that ‘104.5 The Zone’ now has four local shows for our listeners every Monday – Friday. The new lineup will give our on-air talent a larger spotlight to reach their full potential individually and as a team.” …  A central-Texas high school “Football Game of the Week” will air Friday nights on Entercom Austin news/talk KJCE “Talk Radio 1370.” Its partnership with high school sports media company Vype Media includes content sharing on websites and social media platforms and other year-round programming. Entercom Austin senior vice president/market manager Bob Mackay remarks, “High school sports have been a big part of our local programming for the past decade. We are proud to team up with Vype to expand our efforts and take our coverage to the next level. We look forward to bringing to life the stories behind the sports, shining a spotlight on exceptional student athletes across central-Texas and sharing high-quality high school sports coverage with our audience across all of our platforms.” Vype Austin editor Thomas Bingham adds, “[We are] heading into our third straight school year covering the Austin area and central-Texas. This opportunity allows our local web, digital and broadcasting coverage to reach new audiences and continue to promote local high schools, athletes, and coaches across the region.”

DuBois Debuts “Dead Life” Podcast. Medium Allison DuBois, whose aid to the Maricopa County (Arizona) district attorney’s office inspired the television series “Medium,” launches “The Dead Life,” a YEA Networks podcast. YEA Networks president Shawn Nunn notes, “We are so excited to welcome Allison DuBois to the YEA Networks family. Allison’s journey is quite unique and we are excited to bring her voice to a more intimate setting.” DuBois adds, “I wanted to start my podcast so I could reach more people and open people’s minds to life after death. My show will focus on teaching listeners everything I know about the dead, interviewing people who have insight into the afterlife, and our own soul’s journey.” The podcast began today (8/11) – with “Johnjay & Rich” co-host Rich Berra the first guest – and will post each Tuesday at 8:00 am (ET).

Coronavirus Radio Ideas Awards Nominees Announced. These awards will honor those in radio who used their brands and platforms in creative/innovative ways to better serve their listeners, partners, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sponsors Benztown, P1 Media Group, Radiodays Europe, Radiodays Asia, and RDE Podcast Day are asking radio and podcast individuals worldwide to vote for the best ideas presented by the nominees. Online voting began this morning (Tuesday, 8/11) at 9:30 am (ET) and continues through September 17. Benztown chief executive officer Andreas Sannemann comments, “To all the people who nominated their station, themselves or their ideas, we salute you and we are sorry we couldn’t have all of you as nominees, as the field was incredibly strong. As an industry, we can be proud of how we have supported people in this worldwide pandemic.” Roots of The Coronavirus Radio Ideas Awards can be traced to  Benztown and P1 Media Group’s Coronavirus Radio Ideas Facebook group, launched March 26. P1 Media Group partner Ken Benson remarks, “When we joined Benztown to open this page, we knew the world of radio and podcasting was full of innovative people with a special connection to their audiences and listeners. What has emerged from these awards is that radio is more than ever at the heart of communities and is a place in which listeners put their trust.” The Coronavirus Radio Ideas Awards will recognize the best ideas in ten categories: “Best Social Media Video Content”; “Best Virtual Event”; “Best Parody”; “Best Virtual Concert”; “Best On-Air Promo”; “Best Community Service”; “Best Social Media Visual”; “Best Community Spirit”; “Best Sales Promotion”; and “Best Mega Promotion.” Also part of the awards are “Best Podcast” and “Best Journalistic Content.” Nominees were selected from more than 300 ideas from industry professionals around the world. Awards will be presented in four months (12/14) at the Radiodays Europe conference in Lisbon. US nominees include: Cumulus Media Dallas country KPLX “99.5 The Wolf” (“Best Station Promo”); Entercom New York news WINS (“Best Station Promo”); Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle country KNUC “98.9 The Bull” (“Best Community Spirit”); Beasley Broadcast Group Fort Myers CHR WXKB “B-103.9” (“Best Community Spirit”); iHeartMedia Dallas (“Best Sales Promotion”); iHeartMedia New York City CHR WHTZ “Z-100” (“Best Mega Promotion”); and iHeartMedia Atlanta CHR WWPR “Power 96.1” (“Best Mega Promotion”).

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Labor Day Weekend Marks Cousin Brucie’s WABC Homecoming. The words “icon” and “legend” are often overused; however, they definitely apply to Bruce Morrow, affectionately referred to by millions of fans as “Cousin Brucie.” The 2019 recipient of TALKERS’ “Lifetime Achievement Award” returns to New York’s WABC beginning September 5 for the weekly, three-hour “Cousin Brucie’s Saturday Night Rock & Roll Party.” Although now a Red Apple Media-owned news/talk outlet, WABC is where “Cousin Brucie” introduced listeners of the then Top 40 powerhouse to the Beatles, Motown, and surf music. Morrow’s Saturday night extravaganza will be simulcast in Hampton Bays, New York on WLIR-FM, as well as streaming nationwide on the WABC app. In typical exuberant style, Morrow proclaims, “Cousins, this is literally one of the most exciting projects of my life. It completes a circle – a career circle. It all started at WABC, and here we are all these years later, and the magic is still here. What magic we’re going to make.” According to Red Apple Media owner John Catsimatidis, “Brucie is a national treasure and talent. Listeners everywhere can now hear their favorite music from the early days of rock and roll on our radio stations and streaming on our digital platforms. Red Apple Media is about bringing the best in information and entertainment to New York and all of America however they want to listen – on their phone, radio, smart speaker or computer.” Catsimatidis is busy in securing another major broadcasting talent to WABC, Bill O’Reilly (see separate story above). Regarding Morrow, Red Apple Media and WABC president Chad Lopez comments, “It’s an honor to be part of these two legendary brands coming together and to welcome Cousin Brucie home to WABC.” Senior vice president of programming for Red Apple Media and WABC Dave LaBrozzi notes, “We’re excited to bring ‘Music Radio’ back to WABC every Saturday night with Cousin Brucie. Everyone across America can stream him.” The debut show will be replayed on Labor Day (Monday, 9/7) from 12:00 noon – 3:00 pm (ET). Most recently, “Cousin Brucie” was heard on SiriusXM satellite radio, where he hosted Wednesday and Saturday night programs since 2005. In the 1980s and 1990s, Morrow was a mainstay in New York City on WCBS-FM … The fifth installment of Entercom Los Angeles smooth AC KTWV’s social change “Justice Now! – Communities 2 Unity” (subtitled “Politics to Policy”) airs tomorrow night (Wednesday, 8/12) at 6:00 pm. In addition to being broadcast on “94.7 The Wave,” it will stream nationally via Radio.com and on the station’s website. This particular show will feature candidates for Los Angeles district attorney – incumbent Jackie Lacey and challenger/former San Francisco district attorney George Cascon. It’s expected the two will discuss the American legal system in the wake of George Floyd’s killing by a Minneapolis police officer … Hundreds of listeners to KRWM “Warm 106.9” who drove through the Coal Creek YMCA this past Saturday (8/8) were welcomed with “Warm” virtual bearhugs as the Hubbard Broadcasting Seattle adult contemporary station gave away sealed teddy bears from its “Teddy Bear Patrol.” A second such event – emceed by morning talent “Seth” – is scheduled for this Saturday (8/15) … Nineteen-year Cumulus Media Buffalo WHTT “Classic Hits 104.1” program director Joe Siragusa adds similar duties at co-owned alternative WEDG. Also at “103.3 The Edge,” afternoon drive talent/music director Tiffany Bentley takes on assistant program director duties. Cumulus Media Buffalo vice president/market manager Jim Riley remarks, “I’m thrilled to be able to announce that Joe Siragusa will be taking the reins at WEDG. Joe has been part of Buffalo’s programming leadership for most of [the station’s] 25-year history. His understanding of its heritage and the Buffalo market make him the perfect choice for this opportunity. With Tiffany Bentley as APD, I think we have a formidable team.” Siragusa comments, “‘The Edge’ is a heritage brand with a tremendously talented and passionate staff. I am thrilled to expand my role at Cumulus Buffalo and be part of the future of such a remarkable radio station.” Bentley adds, “I feel honored to work with such a great team and to be able to continue to contribute to and grow such a strong brand in this expanded role.” Siragusa previously programmed WRCL, Richmond; KGOR, Omaha; and WRQN, Toledo. Prior to joining “The Edge,” Bentley did mornings on crosstown alternative WLKK and has held programming and on-air positions in Syracuse and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania …Former morning talent at Radio One Dallas rhythmic CHR KBFB “97.9 The Beat,” Veda Loca, returns to the Radio One Dallas cluster to host “Veda Loca’s House Party” on urban AC KZMJ “Magic 94.5.” The six-hour Friday and Saturday night show will air 6:00 pm – 12:00 midnight …When the contract of morning co-host Brooks Williams expires early next year, he will not be returning to Griffin Communications-owned KVOO “98.5 Tulsa’s Country,” opting instead to pursue a real estate career. Griffin Communications director of radio operations and programming Steve Hunter notes, “We’re sad that Brooks will be leaving us, but we’re excited for him as he starts this new chapter in his life.” Shortly after joining KVOO four months ago to do afternoons, Williams segued to morning drive where he is teamed with Amber Glaze … An Albany, New York format flip finds Pamal Broadcasting hot AC WKBE “107.1 The Point” transitioning to classic country as “Big Country 107.1 – Country’s Biggest Legends.” Pamal Broadcasting general manager Tom Jacobsen remarks, “We are proud to bring these great country memories to the Capital region and north country on a great signal; we expect listeners to really love our new station.” WKBE’s lineup includes: Kevin Richards (mornings); Jacobsen under the air name Jake Thomas (middays); and Sean McMaster (afternoons) …  Work songs, summertime anthems, and current hits are part of Tim McGraw-hosted “Workin’ Hard Country,” a four-hour Labor Day special from Cumulus Media’s Westwood One Nashville. Among those sharing stories about jobs they had before they became successful playing music for a living are: Jason Aldean, Kelsea Ballerini, Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Luke Combs, Florida Georgia Line, and Carrie Underwood. Also featured are songs from McGraw’s “Here on Earth” album, and his recent single, “I Called Mama.” … Following a 49-year radio career – including 26 years at the same station – Forever Media Johnstown, Pennsylvania adult contemporary WKYE “Key 96.5” morning host Jack Michaels retired yesterday (8/10), owing to health issues. Forever Media Johnstown music director Brian Wolfe succeeds Michaels … Fishnet Syndication’s weekly “The Red Dirt Flirt” names Rita Ballou host. Afternoon co-host with Eric Raines on Genuine Austin Radio’s KOKE “Austin’s Country Alternative,” Ballou appears on KOKE’s morning show and manages the station’s social media and digital.