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Wednesday, August 3, 2022

| August 3, 2022

Testimony in Damages Phase of Alex Jones Sandy Hook Case in Texas Wraps. Plaintiffs in the Texas suit against InfoWars chief Alex Jones had won their defamation case and yesterday testimony in the damages phase of the trial wrapped up. They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages of $150 million for Jones’ false claims that the Sandy Hook school massacre was a staged event and their children were “crisis actors.” Plaintiffs testified that they have been threatened and harassed for years by Jones’ followers. The case, reported here by CNN, is being complicated by Jones’ attempt to file for bankruptcy for his Free Speech Systems (parent of InfoWars) which plaintiff attorneys claim is an attempt to hide his money from the courts. Plaintiff attorneys also say that Jones has drawn $62 million in assets from Free Speech Systems over the past two years in an attempt to hide assets from the courts. Jones was also found liable for damages in a Connecticut court and jury selection for the damages phase of that trial began yesterday.

Wayne Allyn Root Expands Television Presence. Las Vegas-based talk host Wayne Allyn Root, host of the “Wayne Allyn Root: Raw & Unfiltered” program syndicated by USA Radio, announces he’s launching a new, daily video program on the Mike Lindell TV platform. The program is to broadcast at 7:00 pm ET and is tentatively set to start on August 15. Root also promises another new show – a video and audio podcast – to be announced in the near future. He comments, “Why is my brand exploding? The American people have woken up. They want real news and raw truth. I hold nothing back. I just give my opinions and tell raw truth. I don’t sugar coat it or worry about who I offend. Truth is truth. That’s the only way we’re going to save the greatest nation in world history, ever blessed by God. With truth, action and courage.”

TALKERS News Notes. The Newsmax-syndicated “Rob Carson Show” adds new affiliates as WJFN-AM, Norfolk, Virginia (part of the John Fredericks Radio Network) puts the program in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm daypart. Also, Lotus Communications KVI, Seattle adds “The Rob Carson Show Weekend” program to its Sunday schedule. Newsmax launched the program into syndication 10 months ago and it is now heard in 19 markets across the country…..Milwaukee talk radio host Dr. Ken Harris is of three radio personalities among the numerous journalists and broadcasters who will serve as a members of the broadcast team for the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association’s debates for the state’s gubernatorial and senate races. The organization has been producing the debates for the past 32 years. Dr. Harris is the afternoon host at Good Karma Brands’ talk WGKB-AM/W269DL, Milwaukee. Also on the team is Brad Williams, anchor/reporter at Mid-West Family’s news/talk WIZM-AM, La Crosse and Jonathan Krause, director of multimedia journalism at Woodward Radio Group in Appleton.

INTERESTING – A Talk Radio Listener Wrote to TALKERS on Facebook: “Can I give your industry a clue? Lots of people still listen to the radio every day at work. You think because nobody calls the station anymore that you have no listeners. Businesses nowadays have all their employees under video surveillance and if they see you on the phone you are subject to disciplinary action. We still hear you, but we can no longer interact with you.”

RIP Vin Scully. In recognizing the passing of the legendary Dodgers play-by-play man, consultant Holland Cooke writes: “He was the voice of the Dodgers, from Jackie Robinson to Clayton Kershaw. Though LA listeners knew him best, fans everywhere remember his historic World Series calls. 1988 Game 1 was one for the ages. Working solo for decades as two- or three-voice broadcast teams became the norm, Vin Scully sounded like he was watching the game sitting next to you. The Athletic called him ‘the solitary voice emanating over the airwaves. He was renowned for his spellbinding monologues, his folksy wisdom and his sense of the moment — some of Scully’s most famous calls revolved around silence, his usage of the crowd to tell a story that words could not justify.’”

Public Radio Syndication Pioneer Larry Josephson Dies at 83. The Washington Post has the obituary here for longtime public radio personality, producer and syndicator Larry Josephson, who passed away on July 27 at age 83. A computer engineer by trade, he joined the volunteer staff at fledgling public radio outlet WBAI, New York in the mid-1960s. He quickly transitioned to the morning drive host. As the Post notes, Josephson “went on to create five decades of public radio programs, reviving the popular and influential “Bob & Ray” comedy team for a new generation of fans, hosting a nationally syndicated series of discussions between conservative thinkers and an argumentative but charming liberal (himself), and producing marathon readings of James Joyce’s Ulysses and a documentary history of the Jews.” He built a radio studio in a bedroom of his Upper West Side apartment from which he would produce his own shows and a number of other public radio programs.

Pelosi Taiwan Visit, Midterms/2024 Presidential Race, Abortion Laws, The Economy, Russia-Ukraine War, and Vin Scully Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/2). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan and China’s reaction; the primary races for the November midterm elections and speculation over the nominees for president in the 2024 race; the abortion laws being enacted in various states in the aftermath of the overturning of Roe v Wade; the high price of gasoline and food and the ManchinSchumer authored Inflation Reduction Act; Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine and the global economic impact; and legendary Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.  

Monday, February 18, 2019

| February 18, 2019

Hannity and Limbaugh Cited as Talk Media’s Political Influence Gains Attention. Multi-media news/talk superstar Sean Hannity is often said by some Trump administration critics to be an unofficial member of the president’s cabinet.  However one feels about that sentiment, it is clear that the conservative news/talk media has some degree of influence in Trump administration policy.  That becomes more evident when President Trump says such things as, “Sean Hannity has been a terrific, terrific supporter of what I do.”  And about Rush Limbaugh: “He can speak for three hours without a phone call.  Try doing that sometime.  For three hours he speaks.  He’s got one of the biggest audiences in the history of the world.  I mean, this guy is unbelievable.”  Those quotes come from a New York Times piece covering the president’s Rose Garden press event on Friday (2/15).  Although Trump also said, “They don’t decide policy,” there’s a general sentiment among political and media types that the president looks to conservative talk media to understand what his base is thinking.  At this morning’s meeting of the TALKERS editorial staff, publisher Michael Harrison stated, “One of the most significant yardsticks in determining a communication platform’s success is influence.  How much of a difference does it make in the scheme of things?  Does it move the needle?  Since the modern era of talk radio began with the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, the medium and its hosts have been judged heavily by the level of influence they wield in their communities and markets. Taking this into account, the influence Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh and others maintain in the Age of Trump is remarkable and certainly a boon to talk media of all political flavors.”

New Evening Lineup at KNBR, San Francisco. Bay Area sports talk outlet KNBR announces changes to its evening “KNBR Tonight” programming that airs from 7:00 pm to 12:00 midnight.  The Cumulus Media station bring Bay Area native Mark Willard aboard to host the 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm portion of the show and moves current evening personality Drew Hoffar to the 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight portion.  KNBR program director Jeremiah Crowe states, “I’m extremely excited to welcome Mark back to the Bay Area and into our KNBR family.  ‘KNBR Tonight’ is about connecting with fans as the games are being played and Mark will excel in that arena across all KNBR platforms.  Listeners now also get to hear Drew shine as a solo host in his own time slot.  ‘KNBR Tonight’ will continue to serve as THE nightly destination for local sports talk and I can’t wait to hear these two dynamic personalities back-to-back on ‘The Sports Leader!’”  Willard comes to KNBR from his most recent gig with iHeartMedia’s KLSD, San Diego “XTRA Sports” where he was midday host.  He’s also served with FOX Sports Radio Network; KSPN, Los Angeles “710 ESPN”; and ESPN’s SportsNation based in LA.

Woodward Makes Programming Moves at WHBY and WSCO in Green Bay/Appleton, Wisconsin. The news/talk and sports talk stations in the Green Bay-Appleton market operated by Woodward Radio Group have a new brand manager as Jonathan Krause assumes the role.  Krause comes to news/talk WHBY and sports talk WSCO “The Score” from his most recent position with Cumulus Media’s news/talk WOSH, Oshkosh.  Krause says, “I look forward to continuing the traditions of WHBY and WSCO providing high-quality information and entertainment for the Fox Valley.  And I hope to expand our community involvement throughout the region.”  At the same time, the company welcomes Appleton native Brian Butch to WSCO as a member of the “B.J. and The Bear” morning drive show with host B.J. DeGroot.  Butch will also serve as a part-time sales executive for WHBY and WSCO.

Monday Memo: YOUR Four?  Consultant Holland Cooke’s Monday Memo offers up a call-in topic for today’s President’s Day holiday.  There are four (generally) revered U.S. presidents depicted on Mt. Rushmore – Washington, Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Lincoln. What if your listeners could vote for their four favorite presidents to be immortalized in stone?  Read Cooke’s Monday Memo column here.

WPHT Radiothon Raises $151,000 for Liberty USO. Friday’s second annual WPHT Radiothon to benefit Liberty USO – an organization that provides active, Guard, and Reserve military and their families with programs and services at the United Service Organization of Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey – raised $151,535.  Air personalities from Entercom’s news/talk WPHT are pictured above taking part in the daylong broadcast.  They are (from l-r): afternoon drive host Rich Zeoli, late morning personality Dom Giordano, and morning talk host Chris Stigall.

TALKERS News Notes. As reported by Chicago media writer Robert Feder, WGN-AM weekend radio personality Amy Guth is embarking on a daily podcast project for Crain’s Chicago Business.  The show is called “The Daily Gist” and will consist of “a mix of the day’s top stories and an in-depth segment in which Guth will interview a Crain’s reporter or columnist.”…..Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics are announcing they have radio broadcast deals for the 2019 season.  The team has a three-company deal that will see games air on Salem Media Group’s news/talk KTRB-AM, San Francisco “The Answer,” Bonneville’s sports talk KHTK, Sacramento, and digital platform Tune In.  In the broadcast booth will be play-by-play team Ken Korach and Vince CotroneoChris Townsend is serving as studio host with Ray Fosse making guest appearances…..In Baltimore, longtime Baltimore Orioles play-by-play voice Joe Angel is retiring after 19 years with the team (and 42 years in the business).  Games are broadcast on Entercom’s WJZ-FM “The Fan.”…..The MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates have a new broadcast team for games that air on Entercom’s KDKA-FM “93.7 The Fan.”  The station says Dan Zangrilli will return to host the station’s pregame and postgame broadcasts, a role he held from 2012 to 2016.  Jack Zduriencik will return for his fourth season as an analyst.  Station veteran Kraig Riley, who has been with “93.7 The Fan” since 2010 as a producer, will join the broadcast team for the first time alongside Zangrilli and Zduriencik.

Border Wall Emergency Declaration, Trump-vs ‘SNL,’ McCabe on ’60 Minutes,’ 2020 Presidential Hopefuls, Fatal Chicago Workplace Shooting, Amazon/NYC Breakup, Jussie Smollett Case, Payless Shutters U.S. Stores, and NBA/NHL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The aftermath of President Trump’s emergency declaration to use Pentagon funds for the U.S.-Mexico wall project; President Trump’s attack on “Saturday Night Live” for its parody of his emergency declaration presser; former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s interview on Sunday’s “60 Minutes”; the Democrats lining up to challenge President Trump in 2020 and former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld considers challenging Trump in the Republican primary; the workplace shooting in Aurora, Illinois that took the lives of five; Amazon’s decision to back out of its proposed Queens operations after political pressure from Democrats; the controversy surrounding actor Jussie Smollett’s assault accusations; retail icon Payless Shoes to close U.S. stores; and NBA and NHL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Dallas programming and on-air pro Jesse Salazar adds assistant program director duties to his afternoon on-air role and music director responsibilities at Radio One’s rhythmic CHR KBFB “97.9 The Beat.”  Radio One Dallas vice president of programming operations Mark McCray says, “Jesse has the experience, attitude, and work ethic that makes his graduation to APD an easy decision.”…..On-air pro Chris Payne joins Evans Broadcasting’s alternative KRAT, Reno, “ALT 92.9” to host the morning drive program.  Payne was most recently in an on-air role with Shamrock Communications’ crosstown KRZQ prior to it flipping from alternative to adult contemporary in July of 2017.