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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

| December 8, 2021

Jim Bohannon to Be Inducted into NAB’s Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Nationally syndicated late-night talk host Jim Bohannon is being inducted into the National Association of Broadcasters Broadcasting Hall of Fame at the Achievement in Broadcasting event at NAB Show scheduled for April 23–27, 2022 in Las Vegas. Bohannon’s eponymous Westwood One program is heard on some 300 affiliate stations across the country. Bohannon spent more than 31 years as host of the early morning weekday news magazine, “America in the Morning,” for which he still provides interviews and his feature “The Offbeat.” He previously hosted the weekend news magazine “America This Week.” Bohannon began his radio career in 1960 at KLWT-AM in his hometown of Lebanon, Missouri. Following college and military service during the Vietnam War, he returned to radio in the Washington, D.C. market, covering news at both WTOP-AM and WWRC-AM. He later worked as a morning anchor at WCFL-FM in Chicago and as a freelance reporter for CNN. Bohannon hosted his own Saturday night call-in program starting in 1984 and served as the principal back-up for Larry King on the “Larry King Show.” In February of 1993, Bohannon assumed the full-time role of the late night radio show that was launched by King. Bohannon’s relationship with Westwood One goes back to 1983. He’s anchored newscasts, political conventions and election night coverage in addition to his weekday programs. Bohannon is a recipient of a Special Recognition First Amendment Award from the Radio Television Digital News Association and was named by TALKERS magazine’s editorial board as the 2013 recipient of the publication’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2003, and into the Missouri Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2020. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “Jim encompasses the spirit of radio. His distinct voice, humor and engaging programs have informed and entertained listeners for 50 years, while addressing historic milestones affecting our nation. I am grateful for his friendship and the opportunities I have had to be a guest on his show. We congratulate Jim on this befitting honor.”

Audacy Launches Sports Betting Station on WMC-AM, Memphis. Heritage Memphis AM signal WMC is being flipped to a sports talk and sports betting format as Audacy unveils “The Bet 790 AM” using content from the BetQL Network and CBS Sports Radio. The changes take place tomorrow (12/9). In addition to sports betting shows, the station will air CBS Sports Radio’s “The Jim Rome Show,” “Andy Gresh” and “Amy Lawrence.” Audacy Memphis SVP and market manager Dan Barron says, “Since launching in January 2020, the BetQL Network has given listeners a destination to obtain quality sports betting information and entertainment, while making them smarter, more well-equipped bettors in the process. We’re thrilled to add that rolodex of content to our portfolio here in Memphis and deliver that one-stop-shop that millions of listeners are enjoying to our local audience.”

iHeartMedia Names Daniel Lenz to SVP of Sales for Milwaukee and Madison. Radio sales pro Daniel Lenz is promoted to senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s Milwaukee and Madison station groups. The markets include news/talk juggernaut WISN-AM, Milwaukee and WIBA-AM, Madison plus sports talk outlets WRNW-FM, Milwaukee and WTSO, Madison. Lenz was most recently VP of sales for iHM Milwaukee. iHeartMedia area president Jeff Tyler says, “We are thrilled to have a leader with Dan’s knowledge, leadership and credentials to lead the iHeartMedia sales organizations in both Milwaukee and Madison. Dan’s knowledge of the company will provide strong strategic thinking and results for our advertisers.” Lenz comments, “I’ve had a rewarding career in Milwaukee working alongside some really great media professionals and I am excited to take on this new role with iHeartMedia Milwaukee and Madison. I look forward to continuing the success we have established while contributing new ideas and leadership to the team.”

WGN, Chicago Announces Christmas and New Year’s Specialty Programming. WGN Radio announces it will broadcast special holiday programming on Christmas with 27-hours of “Christmas Radio Theatre” hosted by Carl Amari and a New Year’s Eve Extravaganza with hosts Steve [King] and Johnnie [Putman] and John Landecker. “Christmas Radio Theatre” is curated by Amari who has selected half-hour holiday-themed selections from old-time radio programs including “Miracle on 34th Street,” “A Christmas Carol,” “The Bing Crosby Show,” “The Burns & Allen Show,” “Gunsmoke,” “Our Miss Brooks,” “The Great Gildersleeve,” “Sherlock Holmes,” “Nero Wolfe,” and more. In addition to the 27-hour marathon, WGN Radio has added “WGN Radio Theatre with Carl Amari” to its weekend program schedule, airing Sundays 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm beginning December 12. The show will feature programs from radio’s golden age. In the first few weeks, episodes from “The Jack Benny Program,” “Gunsmoke,” “My Favorite Husband” starring Lucille Ball, “Suspense,” and “Fibber McGee and Molly” will be featured. Amari has spent decades licensing and preserving classic radio broadcasts from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, is the curator of the Classic Radio Club, and board member of the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago. On New Year’s Eve, Steve and Johnnie will host from 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm, followed by John Landecker, who will lead the countdown to 2022. Steve and Johnnie were heard overnights on WGN Radio for 27 years before signing off in 2011. Landecker is currently heard Mondays through Thursdays, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm on WGN Radio.

Rhode Island Talk Host John DePetro Offers $100,000 Reward in Providence Murder Case. According to a story in the Providence Journal, WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro is offering a $100,000 reward to anyone who can provide “accurate and  direct” information that is deemed “crucial” to finding the person or persons responsible for the drive-by shooting death of 24-year-old Miya Brophy-Baermann that happened on August 1 of this year. The money is not coming from DePetro himself or the radio station, but apparently from anonymous donors. The Providence Journal piece states, “The situation raises lots of questions that DePetro didn’t answer thoroughly during a brief email exchange. Where exactly is the money? Is the money donated or pledged? If the case goes unsolved for say, 20 years, how would the money be disbursed if someone provides the information and breaks the case? ‘Twenty years from now?’ DePetro said in an email. ‘I admittedly am in new territory here. I will tell you the reward is very real.’ The donors ‘are real and have been vetted,’ he said.”

TALKERS News Notes. The podcast production and distribution deal between Audacy’s Cadence13, and Cosgrove/Meurer Productions – the creators and producers of the Emmy-nominated series “Unsolved Mysteries” is extended. Season two of the “Unsolved Mysteries” podcast, based on the long-running hit television and popular Netflix streaming series, will come back next spring with 40 new episodes. The podcast is narrated by award-winning voice actor Steve French and presents all-new unsolved cases from the vast “Unsolved Mysteries” database – including unsolved crimes, missing persons, fugitives, mysterious creatures, and the paranormal – with each episode taking a deep dive into one specific mystery. Cadence 13 chief content officer Chris Corcoran says, “We’re extremely proud of our partnership with Cosgrove/Meurer and the ‘Unsolved Mysteries’ podcast, which became an instant fan favorite with a devoted following of listeners around the world. We’re thrilled to expand our partnership with this iconic show, and look forward to this new season.”…..Premiere Networks and Amy Brown, co-host of iHeartMedia’s “The Bobby Bones Show” and host of the popular “4 Things with Amy Brown” podcast, announce the addition of “Here After with Megan Devine” to The Amy Brown Podcast Network. “Here After with Megan Devine” is a weekly podcast guiding listeners through one of the trickiest parts of being human: what to do when life goes horribly wrong. In each episode, best-selling author, psychotherapist, and grief advocate Devine shares her inclusive and realistic approach to grief. Devine says, “Grief is the foundation of being human: from the big losses to the everyday stressors, it’s hard to be here sometimes. I’m excited to use my experience as both a grieving person and a clinician to explore new ways to respond – and survive – when life goes horribly wrong.”

COVID-19 Omicron Variant, Biden-Putin Meeting, January 6 Investigation, Jussie Smollett Trial, the GOP and the 2022 Mid-Terms, Kim Potter Trial, Youth Mental Illness Crisis, and FOX Christmas Tree Torched Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/7). The threat of the new Omicron coronavirus variant and the issue of vaccine mandates; President Joe Biden’s meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin over Russia’s military buildup at the Ukraine border; the House investigation into the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol and Donald Trump loyalists who are refusing to cooperate; the trial of actor Jussie Smollett who’s accused of staging an attack on himself and blaming homophobia; Republicans, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley via her new book, promoting the party in advance of the 2022 mid-term elections; the manslaughter trial of former cop Kim Potter who killed black motorist Daunte Wright after mistaking her gun for a taser; Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy’s report on the pandemic-influenced rise in mental health issues among the nation’s youths; and authorities arrest a suspect in the burning of FOX News’ Christmas tree in Midtown Manhattan were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

| September 30, 2021

Broadcast Journalism Historian Joe Garner is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. Longtime radio broadcasting executive, journalism historian, and six-time New York Times best-selling author Joe Garner is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Garner is the author and creator of a classic multimedia book released at the dawn of the 21st century that combined print, photos, and audio CDs tucked into its jacket sleeves – titled, We Interrupt this Broadcast. It covered the major “where were you when” moments of history that many of us experienced in the real time of spontaneous broadcasting. These run the gamut between such unforgettable events as the assassination of JFK, the landing of men on the moon, and, of course, 9/11. It sold more than one million copies and has for two decades served as a go-to chronicle of America’s broadcast history. It has now been adapted into a 12-part docuseries podcast titled, “We Interrupt This Broadcast: Before it Was History it Was News,” hosted by Bill Kurtis and narrated by Brian Williams. It is a journey through the history of both broadcast journalism and America itself, by revisiting the dramatic moments seared into our collective consciousness and told exclusively from the perspective of the broadcasters and TV journalists who reported them. Harrison and Garner take a deep-dive into the past, present and future of journalism as we move deeper into the digital age of social media, 24/7 cable news networks, and the targeting of audiences based on political affirmation. Don’t miss this! To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here.

Salem Media Group’s Russ Hauth to Retire; Nic Anderson to Head Up Government Relations. Thirty-four-year Salem Media Group executive Russ Hauth will retire from the company on October 22 after serving in numerous posts, including SVP, heading up national news and public affairs, executive director of the National Religious Broadcasters music license committee, and most recently, as director of Salem’s office of government relations. Current Salem Media Group Minneapolis general manager Nic Anderson will add government relations duties in addition to his current role. The company says Anderson is active with Minnesota Broadcasters Association, is an active participant in the state leadership conference and in July of this year was hand-selected by the MBA to travel to Washington DC as part of a fly-in where he represented the MBA, Salem, and the National Association of Broadcasters. Salem says, “Nic has a deep passion and talent in this area, and he understands the unique aspects of Salem which impact our strategies and how we communicate inside and outside of the beltway.” Salem president of broadcast media David Santrella adds, “It’s always good to reward talented people inside the company when new opportunities arise.”

Chicago Public Media and Chicago Sun-Times to Explore Joining Forces as Local, Non-Profit News Organization. The two organizations announce they have signed a non-binding letter of intent to explore joining together as one organization to grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago. Chicago Public Media – operator of WBEZ-FM – and newspaper the Chicago Sun-Times says that “upon reaching a final agreement, Chicago Sun-Times would become a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media, to create one of the largest local nonprofit news organizations in the nation and be a national model for the future of local journalism.” Chicago Public Media interim CEO Matt Moog says, “This opportunity arrives at an urgent time for local journalism, as newsrooms across the country and in our own region are being diminished or disappearing altogether amid significant disruption in traditional news business models. Local journalism has never been more important, nor has it ever been at greater peril, and this has the potential to be both a light and a hope for Chicago news. Community-centered, independent, inclusive and representative, fact-based journalism is a public good that contributes to a healthy democracy and stronger communities.” The two companies say they are “exploring this opportunity with a shared vision of making a deeper impact on millions of Chicagoans by investing in local journalism. This combination would create and secure growth opportunities for journalists and staff.” CPM chief content officer Tracy Brown adds, “Chicago Public Media’s mission is ‘to serve and inform the public and connect diverse audiences by telling stories that matter, that provoke thought, entertain, capture emotion and inspire action.’ Together we will better serve our mission with journalism that is human-centered, solutions-oriented and transformational, but reach more people whose lives our work greatly impacts. We talk a lot about building a more empathetic Chicago. This is an opportunity to do just that.” The press release states that in addition to Sun-Times investor Michael Sacks, other organizations who have stepped forward with early and enthusiastic support are the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation. As part of this news, the Chicago Public Media board of directors is naming Moog as CEO of Chicago Public Media, effective immediately, and Nykia Wright will remain CEO of the Chicago Sun-Times.

14th Annual ‘Hold Their Feet to the Fire’ Radio Row Taking Place in Washington. The 14th annual “Hold Their Feet to the Fire” radio row event, produced by Federation for American Immigration Reform, kicked off yesterday and is based at the Phoenix Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC but is taking place under a tent on the rooftop of the adjacent office building to provide outdoor COVID-19 protection. More than 75 talk hosts are attending the event discussing issues surrounding American immigration policy with legislators and experts. Pictured above is WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk host John DePetro (right) with U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (left).

KYW, Philadelphia Honors Three with Induction into Station Hall of Fame. Philadelphia all-news outlet KYW-AM/WPHI-FM “KYW Newsradio” inducts three members into its Hall of Fame. Nominated and elected by current KYW Newsradio staff are former director of news & programming Steve Butler, longtime morning news anchor Harry Donahue, and longtime afternoon anchor Steve Nikazy. Audacy Philadelphia SVP and market manager David Yadgaroff says, “These three inductees dedicated their long, storied careers to informing the Philadelphia region. They helped build the legacy of KYW Newsradio into what it is today and are incredibly deserving of this honor.” Butler spent decades leading the radio news team in Philadelphia. ​Steve’s connections date back to 1974 when he was a participant in the station’s annual Newstudies program. He joined the staff in 1979 as a news writer and reporter. He covered the transportation and City Hall beats until 1985. He returned as news director and executive editor in 1986, then in 1989 stepped away to oversee editorial operations at Inside Radio, where he helped launch the first daily trade publication for the US radio industry. In 1997 Butler returned to KYW Newsradio to supervise all on-air production and content of the station, a position he held until his retirement in 2018. Donahue joined KYW Newsradio in 1974 as a freelance reporter and anchor. In 1979 he started a 35-year run as KYW’s morning drive news and sports anchor. Nikazy spent 29 years behind the mic at KYW Newsradio. He was on the air during historic events such as the Persian Gulf War, the John Heinz plane crash, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the 9/11 attacks, and was the longtime voice of “Reporters’ Roundup.”

FOX Sports Radio Adds New Shows to iHeartPodcast Network. Three new podcasts are joining the iHeartPodcast Network. FOX Sports Radio weekend personality George Wrighster’s “Wrighster or Wrong” and “Pac-12 Apostles” – both produced by his UnafraidShow.com – as well as the Wrighster and Doug Gottlieb produced “KJ Live,” hosted by Kris Johnson join the network. “Wrighster or Wrong” is hosted by George Wrighster and sportswriter Ralph Amsden.  “Pac-12 Apostles” features the two focusing on Pac-12 football, basketball and more. Wrighster says, “I’m extremely excited and blessed to be joining the iHeartPodcast Network. Our family of podcasts will add fearless, quality content and entertainment for the listeners. Buckle up. The ride will be fun.”

Debt Ceiling/Government Shutdown, Biden Spending Plans, COVID-19, Milley Afghanistan Testimony, Border Crisis, YouTube Bans Anti-Vax Content, China’s Power-Industrial Woes, Animal Extinctions, and Postal Service Slowdown Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/29). The congressional battle over the raising of the debt ceiling and the threat of a government shutdown; the politics of President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan and his $3.5 trillion long-term spending plan; the number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S., overcrowded ERs, boosters, and mask & vaccine mandates; Gen. Mark Milley’s testimony before a House Committee about the Taliban and al Qaeda ongoing threats; the crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Haitian migrant problem; YouTube says it will ban all anti-vaxxer content from now on; China faces problems as power shortages hinder its already hampered industrial output; U.S. scientists declare 22 animal species extinct with more threatened; and the U.S. Postal Service warns of new, slowed service through the holidays.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

| September 17, 2020

‘Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth’ Hits HBO on October 7. The film that documents the rise and fall of former WFAN, New York radio star Craig Carton premiers on HBO on October 7 at 9:00 pm ET. HBO released a trailer on YouTube today (9/17) for the film “Wild Card: The Downfall of a Radio Loudmouth” that you can see here. The film documents Carton’s rise to the morning drive show on New York City’s WFAN, his 10-year reign of success, and subsequent downfall brought about by a fraud scheme perpetrated to pay off enormous gambling debts. It contains candid interviews with Carton himself, former partner Boomer Esiason, and more. Carton was released early from his three-and-a-half-year prison sentence for fraud in June of this year and is finishing his sentence in home confinement. HBO Sports VP Peter Nelson says, “Craig Carton’s radio persona gained him a public following, while his private struggles lost him everything one casino run at a time. Many knew Carton, but never knew his secrets, as we learn from Carton himself in this documentary about success, self-destruction, lies and blackjack.”

White House Nominates Nathan Simington for FCC Post. The Trump Administration is nominating Nathan A. Simington to become a member of the Federal Communications Commission, replacing Michael O’Rielly, who is not being renominated. Simington is a Republican and is currently a senior advisor in the National Telecommunications and Information Administration specializing in network and telecommunications policy. The White House says that among his many responsibilities across the telecommunications industry, he works on 5G security and secure supply chains, the American Broadband Initiative, and is NTIA’s representative to the Government Advisory Committee of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers. Prior to his appointment at NTIA, Simington was senior counsel to Brightstar Corporation, a leading international company in the wireless industry. In this role, he negotiated deals with companies across the spectrum of the telecommunications and internet industry, including most of the world’s leading wireless carriers. As the head lawyer on the advanced mobility products team, he spearheaded numerous international transactions in the devices, towers and services fields and forged strong relationships with leading telecom equipment manufacturers.

Graduate Student Scholarship Applications Due October 15. The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation, in collaboration with the Broadcast Education Association, announces the details for the 2021-2022 Library of American Broadcasting Foundation Scholarship award for graduate students. The Library of American Broadcasting Foundation Scholarship will award one graduate student $3,000 in the Fall to support the student’s continuing studies and dissertation in broadcast history. BEA’s Scholarship Committee, consisting of academics and industry professionals, will conduct the selection process of the award. Upon completion of the dissertation, the award recipient will donate copies to the Library of American Broadcasting to retain as part of its collection. Deadline for submissions is October 15, 2020. Ginny Morris, co-chair of the Library of American Broadcasting Foundation and CEO of Hubbard Radio, says, “It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to partner with BEA to underwrite this exciting opportunity that support’s the LABF’s mission of preserving the past, reflecting the present and informing the future of the American broadcasting industry. We look forward to supporting this outstanding initiative for years to come.” Learn more here.

TALKERS News Notes. The Hollywood Reporter says FOX News Media will lay off less than 3% of its staff in a restructuring move. The company issued the following statement: “As FOX News Media has evolved into a streamlined multi-platform organization, we are realigning several functions and restructuring various divisions in order to position all of our businesses for ongoing success.” The change is not expected to affect any on-air personnel…..Podcast ad sales network Lipstick & Vinyl – dedicated to underrepresented voices with a concentration on female voices – adds two new shows to its roster. “Amended,” hosted by Dr. Laura Free, “shines a spotlight on many of the lesser known but courageous women who led the struggle to win equal voting rights for women in America.” “Gatekeepers” is hosted by the publishers of DAME magazine and “reveals the ugly truth about who controls access to public spaces across America, and how white privilege has often wielded its power to keep out blacks and people of color. Gatekeepers digs deep to uncover the motivations behind these events, past and present, and features interviews with scholars, citizens, and experts, together with archival audio, immersing listeners in a truly illuminating audio experience.”…..WRNI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro is pictured below with his award for Best Radio Talk Show Host from Rhode Island Monthly’s annual Best of Rhode Island 2020 reader’s poll.

The Presidential Race/Biden CNN Town Hall, COVID-19 Stats-Vaccine Controversy, Michael Caputo Leave, Barr-Durkan Report, Hurricane Sally Drenches South, Western Wildfires Burn, and Big 10 Reverses No Football Decision Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (9/16). The November presidential election and Thursday evening’s CNN Town Hall with Joe Biden; the rise in positive COVID-19 cases around the world and in the U.S. and the controversy over the potentially speedy development of a vaccine; HHS spokesman Michael Caputo takes a leave after conspiracy-laden Facebook rant; the New York Times report that U.S. Attorney General William Barr suggested prosecutors charge Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan for her handling of protests; Hurricane Sally dumps floodwaters on Alabama and Florida; the wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington continue to burn; and the Big 10 reverses its decision not to play football this year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TWO FIRES:  Iconoclastic KSCO, Santa Cruz Owner Michael Zwerling Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  The longtime owner of fiercely independent news/talk outlet KSCO, Santa Cruz (1080 AM/104.1 FM), Michael Zwerling, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  The conversation focuses on what Harrison describes as “two fires – one literal and one figurative… both out of control.” The former refers to KSCO’s physical location directly in the midst of California’s devastating blazes and the latter represents the station’s powerful new locally produced weekly two-hour radio program, “China Uber Alles.” The show takes a highly critical look at a growing “wildfire” of a different sort – the hegemonic global threat that the Chinese Communist Party poses to the US.  It is hosted by Nan Su, a senior reporter at The Epoch Times; Amy Hao, a former Chinese prison camp internee; and local KSCO personality Bill Graff.  Zwerling presents a compelling ground-level view of the impact the wildfires are having on the Santa Cruz, Salinas, Monterey, Silicon Valley, and San Jose markets covered by his station as well as neighboring San Francisco to the north. In addition, he and Harrison discuss the evolution of his experiences having traveled to China that led him to a new awareness about the CCP that ultimately inspired the show. Don’t miss this fascinating podcast!  To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. A new iHeartRadio Original Podcast titled “Too Much To Say with Kalie Shorr” is being launched via Bobby Bones’ Nashville Podcast Network. The program features the country singer and songwriter Shorr “as she shares, and mostly overshares, her thoughts on everything from music to martinis, social media to social anxiety, regrets to risky texts, and much more. Shorr will also reveal diary entries and feature interviews with her crazy group of friends.” Shorr says, “When Bobby had the idea to start this podcast, I was so excited. Hosting my own show has been a goal of mine for a long time and I can’t think of a better team to be working on it with. It’s great to be given this platform and I really look forward to sharing my story candidly in a new format.”…..The Johnjay & Rich #LoveUp Foundation is hosting a Food Truck Tour to provide nearly 5,000 free lunches to COVID-19 frontline workers across the Phoenix market. The 7-Day Food Truck Tour will visit seven different Banner Health hospitals through September 22. Johnjay Van Es says, “We created the #LoveUp Food Truck Tour to show appreciation for the dedicated frontline hospital workers who have been tirelessly helping patients fight COVID-19 over the last six months and to support our local food truck community that has been financially hurt by this pandemic. Thank you to the Johnjay & Rich listeners and #LoveUp supporters who responsibly purchased #LoveUp masks in effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 – we now get to use that money to help pay it forward.”

Monday, June 8, 2020

| June 8, 2020

Monday Memo: New Normal HR? If you’ve been broadcasting remotely during the shutdown, and you’re daydreaming about getting back to what was left of radio station camaraderie, consultant Holland Cooke quotes Cher from “Moonstruck:” “SNAP OUT OF IT!” In this week’s column: Why telecommuting is GOOD news for you; and an HR expert explains how listeners’ lives are changed. Read it here.

George Floyd Protests, De-Funding Police, Re-Opening Across America, COVID-19 Statistics & Projections, U.S.-China Relations, and Tropical Storm Cristobal Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The racism and police brutality protests that took place all over the world; the prospect of de-funding the police department in Minneapolis and in other cities; states across the nation continue to re-open their economies; the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the death toll, and projections about future cases; tense relations between China and the U.S. over the coronavirus pandemic; and tropical storm Cristobal hits the Gulf Coast were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Sales: Clients (As Well as Listeners) Seek Connection. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s column that the on-air team at your news/talk station “is working hard to deliver the storylines driving the news cycle and talk the talk the listener expects every day… And THAT is the light in the darkness. That critical expectation of the listener attracted to the content of your news/talk programming is your start point. The reason your listener is engaged is your path to a cohesive sales flow that can resonate with potential sponsors.” Read his column here.

Emmis Suspends Sports Talker Joe Staysniak After Race Discussion. Former Indianapolis Colts player and current WFNI, Indianapolis “1070 The Fan” morning drive co-host Joe Staysniak is serving a one week, no-pay suspension from his show after management deemed his remarks about the police and racism in America were insensitive. The Indianapolis Star reports that during a discussion about the protests taking place in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd, Staysniak said that Black people should say, “I’m going to stop being a victim,” and “Well, you know, get an education, you know, get a second job.” When co-host Jeff Rickards said that a Black driver is six times more likely to get pulled over than a white driver in some parts of Indiana, Staysniak responded, “OK and then you have to look at why. Is that racism or is that the time of day? Is that the car they’re driving? Are lights out? Are turn signals working?” He added, “It comes down to a cultural thing too. Are we putting ourselves in a situation where we don’t need to be? Again, when we have multiracial police officers…cell phones out…it just becomes harder and harder to believe you are being targeted like that.” Staysniak has apologized and Emmis CEO Jeff Smulyan said in a statement, “Emmis takes very seriously its commitment to the communities in which we proudly serve and reaffirms its dedication in rooting out injustices and oppression in any form.”

TALKERS News Notes. In Indianapolis, iHeartMedia debuts a new business talk outlet branded “Business News 97.5 FM” on translator W248AW, bumping the simulcast of alternative WOLT-FM. The station is airing almost exclusively content from Bloomberg Radio. iHeartMedia Indianapolis SVP of programming Mike Killabrew says, “This is a unique format for a unique time. As the Indianapolis market continues pushing forward in a responsible fashion, we want to provide sound financial and business content to consumers looking to rebuild their personal and professional portfolios.” The company has not indicated what the feeder station is for the FM translator…..The Nevada Talk Network – consisting of KELY-AM, Ely; KNNR-AM, Sparks; KNNT-FM, Battle Mountain; KAVB-FM, Hawthorne; and KPKK-FM Amargosa Valley – adds Starnes Media Group’s “The Todd Starnes Show” to its programming lineup for the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon daypart…..WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island talk show host John DePetro received a “thank you” from Black Lives Matter Rhode Island Gary Dantzler as Dantzler took part in a press conference with Governor Gina Raimondo in which the governor announced a state partnership with Black Lives Matter to improve race relations. DePetro tells TALKERS magazine that he often had Brother Gary (as he’s called) on his radio show as a guest and treated him fairly. “The moment he chose to acknowledge it is incredible and positive for talk radio, since he was always shunned by local TV.”…..The radio edition of the “Cigar Dave Show” will end on June 27 after 25 years as host Dave Zeplowitz transitions the content to “more timely, daily short to medium-form, unrestricted podcasts aligned with related new e-commerce initiatives.”…..Dr. David Samadi, M.D. is named lead medical contributor for Newsmax TV. Dr. Samadi currently serves as director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Roslyn, New York. Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy says, “Dr. Samadi is not only a brilliant surgeon, but also a great communicator who is able to explain complex medical issues clearly and concisely. During the coronavirus we have found him to be an invaluable resource for our viewers.”

Roger Neel Retiring from WNBF, Binghamton. After 42 years with the station, Roger Neel is retiring from his full-time position with Townsquare Media’s WNBF, Binghamton. Neel serves as morning show personality and brand manager for the news/talk station and for sister sports talker WYOS “CBS Sports Radio.” His last day will be June 19.  Neel joined the station in 1978 when he was hired as the play-by-play announcer for Binghamton’s minor league hockey franchise the Broome Dusters.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Tomorrow (6/9), Cumulus Media’s urban-formatted radio stations, along with Westwood One urban brands, will air an 8 minute and 46 second audio tribute to George Floyd at 1:00 pm ET. The nationwide tribute, titled “8:46-Remembering George Floyd,” will align with Floyd’s burial Tuesday. Cumulus VP, urban formats Kenny Smoov says, “People are tired. They want Change now. They want Peace now. It is a beautiful thing to see people from outside of the African American community and from all over the world coming together to say ENOUGH! Let’s be the living generation that ends systemic racism!”…..Programming and on-air pro “Big Rick” Daniels is named program director for Gulf South Communications’ country WTVY, Dothan, Alabama “95.5 Your Country.” Daniels was most recently morning personality at country WGCC-FM, Bowling Green, Kentucky. At Gulf South, Daniels will also serve as digital brand manager for classic country WDJR-FM and CHR WKMX-FM…..Condolences to the family and friends of triple A WWCD-FM, Columbus “CD 102.5” program director and afternoon personality Mason “Mase” Brazelle who died on Saturday (6/6) after a sudden illness at the age of 53. The station’s website says, “Mase to all was known for his deep knowledge and passion for music, his ability to make anyone feel welcome, staff and listeners alike. Mase was a staunch supporter of shopping local from his vast collection of vinyl records from local stores and live music dating back to his time as a drummer in a rock band. Mase will be deeply missed.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

| May 12, 2020

Cumulus Media Reports Net Revenue Decrease of 14.8% in Q1. Reporting financial data for the first quarter of 2020, Cumulus Media’s net revenue was $227.9 million, a decrease of 14.8% compared to Q1 of 2019. After reporting a profit of $451,000 in 2019, Cumulus ends Q1 2020 with a net loss of $7.4 million. Adjusted EBITDA was $27.7 million, a decrease of 33.7% from the first quarter of last year. On a same station basis, net revenue was $226.5 million, a decrease of 11.2%. On the positive side, digital revenue was up 30% to $21.8 million. But spot revenue was down 12.6% and network revenue was down 22.9%. Cumulus president and CEO Mary Berner states, “Regardless of the challenge, the Cumulus team has focused acutely on what matters most, moved decisively where it will make a difference, and executed every effort efficiently and with an eye toward creating value. Our reaction to this unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has been no different. We entered March with strong financial performance, a favorable capital structure and significant liquidity, and we’ve taken swift actions that we believe will help us weather the adverse impacts of the pandemic. Over the past few years, we have made meaningful shifts, both culturally and strategically, expanding from our on-air radio foundation to become a multi-platform audio-first media company, delivering premium content to over a quarter billion listeners each month whenever and however they want it. With our robust portfolio of broadcast, digital, mobile and voice-activated media solutions and integrated digital marketing services, we are very well-positioned to provide advertisers with the personal connections, local impact and massive national reach that will help them quickly reconnect with their customers as the crisis wanes.”

Michael Harrison Says the White House Is Now Obsolete.  TALKERS founder Michael Harrison says it is “insane” that no one is questioning the wisdom of continuing to use the White House as the office center for the administration’s upper management while they bemoan the fact that the architecture is dangerously out of step with the perils of COVID-19 transmission.  Harrison floated the concept on the latest installment of his podcast while musing with WHP afternoon drive host Ken Matthews about administration officials and employees suddenly testing positive for the virus. According to Harrison, “One of the many things that the coronavirus is exposing as being out of synch with the new reality is the quaint notion that the West Wing is a viable venue in which administration brass should operate.”  Harrison continues, “Okay, so we learn that the offices in which West Wing workers are squeezed are remarkably tiny and cramped.  So, what should we do?   Get them out of there as quickly as possible!  Surely the government has enough resources to find a modern office building in which the West Wing can be relocated so the administration upper management can stretch out in a workable facility. Perhaps the Executive Office Building can be a temporary space… I’m not sure.  But I do know they should also move the steerage-level White House press quarters into a more modern and healthier environment.  This should be done immediately.  Let the White House be a residence and a museum.  As far as I can tell, the West Wing is obsolete.”

Round One of April PPM Ratings Released. The first of four rounds of ratings data from Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 PPM survey have been released for 12 markets including: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Long Island (Nassau-Suffolk), Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union (New Jersey). Nielsen Audio’s April 2020 survey period covered March 26 – April 22. You can see all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to bring listeners to all-news and news/talk formatted stations. In New York, iHeartMedia’s WOR adds 1.1 shares to wrap the April survey with a 3.0 share. Entercom’s all-news WINS tacks on another full share to finish with a 5.7 share and the #3 rank in the market. iHeartMedia’s KFI, Los Angeles rises 1.3 shares for a 5.5 share and the #1 rank (its first #1 since March of 2011). Nexstar Media Group’s WGN-AM, Chicago adds another 1.1 share to finish April with a 5.6 share and the #3 rank, while Entercom’s all-news WBBM-AM/WCFS-FM adds seven-tenths for an 8.4 share and its third straight #1 finish. Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco stays steady with a 9.9 share to remain at #1. Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta tacks on another full share for a 13.9 share and its 10th straight #1 finish. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian has much more ratings analysis for you. Read his Ratings Takeaways here.

Brian Kilmeade to Celebrate Paperback Edition Publication Via KRMG, Tulsa. Nationally syndicated radio personality and FOX News Channel “Fox & Friends” morning host Brian Kilmeade is launching the paperback edition of his book Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers via a virtual release party today with affiliate station KRMG, Tulsa and local seller Magic City Books. Dan Potter is the morning host at the Cox Media Group station, and he’ll facilitate the virtual event and allow participants to ask Kilmeade questions. Participants will have access to an online room and will receive a paperback version of Sam Houston and the Alamo Avengers as part of their registration fee. Kilmeade’s radio show is syndicated by FOX News Radio and KRMG director of programming and branding Levi May states, “Brian is one of our most popular syndicated hosts and we are always so honored when he chooses KRMG to partner with him when he comes to Oklahoma.” Kilmeade came to Tulsa in November 2019 and broadcast his national show from the KRMG Performance Center when the hardcover book was originally released.

David Wood Promoted to VP of Programming for Emmis Indy. Programming pro David Wood rises from director of programming at Emmis Communications Indianapolis to vice president of programming. The 10-year Emmis veteran works with the program directors of Emmis-Indianapolis’ sports talk WFNI-AM “The Fan,” adult contemporary WYXB-FM “B105.7,” WLHK-FM “Hank FM,” and he’ll continue to serve as the head programmer for news/talk WIBC-FM and Network Indiana. Emmis Indianapolis SVP Bob Richards states, “David’s experience building legendary brands and coaching world-class talent is second to none. This promotion is well deserved recognition for the amazing work he has been doing leading our programming teams for the past 10-plus years.”

Statistics and Projections, States Begin Re-Opening, COVID-19 at the White House, Michael Flynn Case, Presidential Election/Biden Allegation, and Sports Leagues Plan Re-Opening Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (5/11). The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S., the number of deaths, and projections about future infections; the re-opening begins in numerous states across the country; the presence of confirmed cases among White House staffers; the DOJ drops the Michael Flynn case and allegations of the Obama administration’s role in implicating Flynn; the November presidential election and the allegation of sexual assault against Joe Biden; and MLB’s and the NFL’s plans to play games this year were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

TALKERS News Notes. This past weekend, Premiere Networks-syndicated personalities George Noory, host of “Coast to Coast AM” and sports talk host Colin Cowherd, host of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” appeared together on Cowherd’s Saturday podcast in which he often talks about issues outside the realm of sports. Noory chatted with Cowherd about the mysterious Navy pilot videos recently declassified by the Pentagon, the conspiracy theories around the origins of COVID-19, the unsolved case of the 1971 D.B. Cooper airplane hijacking, and more.  The two also traded stories about their personal experiences with UFOs…..Cumulus Media’s Dallas sports talker KTCK-AM/FM “Sportsradio 96.7 & 1310 The Ticket” adds several FOX Sports Radio programs to its weeknight and weekend roster. “The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon” and “The Ben Maller Show” are being added to the weekend program schedule along with various other FSR weekend programs…..ADX Communications’ news/talk WNRP-AM/W222BR “News Radio 92.3” is honored with five First Place awards from the Florida Association of Broadcast Journalists for coverage of the December 6 shooting at NAS Pensacola. The station won Best Radio Newscast (anchored by Mark Jacobs); Breaking News; Continuing Coverage; Team Coverage; and News Anchor/Anchor Team led by Andrew McKay…..Hubbard Radio’s WTOP-FM, Washington, DC was honored with six Regional Edward R. Murrow Awards today by the Radio Television Digital News Association. The station was recognized in the Overall Excellence category for the 9th time in the past 11 years for its coverage of the D.C. region on WTOP and WTOP.com. WTOP also received recognition in the Best Newscast category for coverage of the July 2019 severe floods in the DC region. Individual WTOP reporters were honored as follows: Feature Report: Mike Murillo – “Answering the Call”; Hard News Report: Megan Cloherty & Dave Dildine – “Rock Creek Rescue”; Podcast: Megan Cloherty & Jack Moore – “22 Hours: An American Nightmare”; and Excellence in Social Media: Tiffany Arnold and WTOP Staff…..Rhode Island talk radio host John DePetro wrote lyrics to a parody of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” about life in the time of coronavirus in the Ocean State. It was performed by local artists Nick Gosselin and Cat Carrick in a video produced by DePetro that you can see here…..Due to the uncertain economic environment as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Salem Media Group announces it is temporarily suspending the regular quarterly cash dividend on its common stock. The company will re-assess the dividend suspension throughout the year, in light of facts and circumstances at that time, whether and when to reinstate the dividend.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Colleen Carew is the new morning drive host at Shamrock Communications’ classic rock WZBA “100.7 The Bay,” taking over for Stash, a.k.a., Steve Ash, who recently exited. Carew was most recently PD at triple A WOCM, Ocean City, Maryland “Ocean 98.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of San Diego radio personality Steve West who passed away recently at age 68 after a long battle with cancer. Prior to his passing, he’d been handling weekend duties at Entercom’s alternative KBZT, San Diego “ALT 94.9.”…..In celebration of National Nurses Week, Brooke Fox (pictured below, at right), of Hubbard Radio’s CHR KQMV, Seattle “MOViN 92.5” and Famous Dave’s BBQ delivered food and beverages to the nursing and medical staff at Harborview Medical Center yesterday (5/11). Brooke, co-host of the syndicated “Brooke & Jeffery” show, says, “Thank you to all of the amazing nurses, doctors and medical staff. We are so proud of every member of our medical community who have gone above and beyond to keep our community safe during this time.”