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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 Radio; Harry Hurley, talk show host, WPG, Atlantic City; Victoria Jones, executive director/commentator, DC Radio Company; Josh 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 Network; CRN Digital Talk Radio Network; Podcast Radio, UK and many more. To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here. “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.
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.
Dennis Green Promoted to COO for Sun & Fun Media and Key Networks. Chief revenue officer Dennis Green is promoted to chief operating officer for Sun & Fun Media and affiliated radio syndication company Key Networks. He’ll continue to report to founder and CEO Rob Koblasz. Green joined Sun & Fun Media as CRO in May 2018 after serving for 22 years with Westwood One and added CRO responsibilities for Key Networks upon the network’s launch in March 2019. In his new role, Green will oversee operations for Sun & Fun Media’s products and services for barter to radio and for Key Networks’ portfolio of nationally syndicated programming and services. Koblasz says, “Dennis is one of the hardest working people in radio, and we are very pleased to reward his efforts with this much-deserved promotion to the chief operating officer of both Sun & Fun Media and Key Networks. As chief revenue officer since 2018, Dennis has been central to the continued growth of Sun & Fun Media and the successful launch and growth of Key Networks. His leadership and deep experience in network radio are tremendous assets for us.” Green comments, “I’m delighted to assume the role of COO for Sun & Fun Media and Key Networks. I’ve been fortunate in my career to work with amazing talent and provide programming and services for stations. Rob Koblasz gave me an opportunity to build upon the success at Sun & Fun and to start Key Networks, which is fast developing into a ‘key’ player in network radio. Thank you to the best-in-class staff we have assembled to help lead the charge to provide best-in-class products and services to affiliates around the country. The best is yet to come!”
Beasley Media Group Names Pat Eastburn VP of Digital Sales. Digital media sales pro Pat Eastburn joins Beasley Media Group as vice president of digital sales. Eastburn was most recently vice president and general manager at Flypaper Digital Marketing, the internal digital agency of WEHCO Media. In his new role, Eastburn will report to Beasley chief digital officer Todd Handy and focus on leveraging his experience across the entire digital sales team as well as be focused on new products, services and key verticals. Handy says, “Pat was the consensus choice as the top candidate for this role given his extensive background in leading digital agency sales teams and disrupting traditional media channels.” Eastburn comments, “I’m very excited to join Beasley Media Group. It’s so well-respected and I’ve been thoroughly impressed by the entire team. I believe that digital marketing has significant potential as an industry relative to current and future opportunity. Combine that opportunity with top level talent and the sky is the limit.”
Banyan Software Acquires Mr. Master Inc. Today Banyan Software, Inc. Enterprise software firm Banyan Software acquires compliance and content distribution software Mr. Master Inc. Banyan, self-described as a firm that “focuses on a buy and hold for life strategy for growing software companies that serve specialized markets,” says the Mr. Master acquisition joins its growing portfolio of media companies which includes vCreative and Counterpoint Software. Banyan says it employs a decentralized management philosophy, allowing Mr. Master to operate independently and continue the successful practices that led to its acquisition interest. Banyan CEO David Berkal says, “The Mr. Master team has deep, network radio software expertise and has spent over two decades developing market leading products that serve the unique needs of its long-standing customers. We are excited to welcome Mr. Master into the Banyan family of companies and look forward to supporting the company’s future growth in the coming years.” Mr. Master president and founder Stu Jacobs comments, “We have a great team and product that radio has embraced as its go-to traffic and production workflow solution and partnering with Banyan marks an exciting new chapter in our journey. I am thrilled to stay on as CEO and work alongside Banyan as we continue to build on the foundation of client-centered innovation and services that has made Mr. Master so exceptional. Equally important is the opportunity to leverage additional resources, fueling our continued growth.”
Neal Boortz to Do Commentaries for ‘Xtra 106.3,’ Atlanta. Retired talk radio legend Neal Boortz will start doing daily commentaries for Dickey Broadcasting’s WFOM-AM/W292EV, Atlanta “Xtra 106.3/1230,” effective January 31. The Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho reports that Boortz will provide daily, two-minute commentaries. Station owner David Dickey tells the AJC, “I told Neal I figured he didn’t want to do a long-form show and we couldn’t afford that anyway. Our goal is to give him a forum for a station that is growing quickly and to fill a niche. He’ll be a great addition to our brand.” In a statement, Boortz says, “The opportunity to be stridently un-WOKE and to stir things up during a crucial election year just couldn’t be passed up. Let’s have some fun.” One fallout from the new deal is that Cox Media Group’s crosstown news/talk WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is not allowing Boortz’s voice on endorsement spots he’s been cutting for a number of clients that air on the station.
Alan Peterson Sets March Retirement Date. Writer, air personality and veteran radio/podcast production pro “The Other” Alan Peterson announces he’s retiring from his position with Radio America and the business, effective March 11. Peterson has served with Radio America for the past 18 years engineering or producing weekend programs including, “The Pet Show with Warren Eckstein,” “Intelligent Medicine with Dr. Ronald Hoffman,” “Liberty Nation,” “Tech It Out,” and “Eat Drink Smoke,” among many others. Peterson is the co-creator of the comedy jingle collection, “Dork-a-Pellas,” now produced and distributed by Dan O’Day’s L.A. Air Force. From 1989 to 2004 he wrote for Radio World and served as technical editor. He hosted radio shows in Syracuse; Springfield, MA; Danbury, CT; and Washington DC.
TALKERS News Notes. Imaging, voiceover, and jingle firm Benztown is partnering with P1 Media Group to present a free webinar for radio professionals called, “Stop Using Best Practices and Try Something New.” This 18th in the “Global Radio Ideas” webinar series is being hosted by Benztown CEO Andreas Sannemann and P1 Media Group partner Ken Benson and will feature Alpha Media EVP of content Phil Becker who will share his insights into what stations should be doing in 2022 to drive the growth of their brands. The webinar takes place on Thursday (1/27) at 1:00 pm ET. You can register for the webinar here…..PodcastOne teams with MotorTrend Group to produce and distribute “The InEVitable,” the limited-run podcast and vodcast series hosted by Ed Loh, MotorTrend head of editorial, and MotorTrend editor and automotive personality Jonny Lieberman. On the program, Loh and Lieberman will provide lively in-depth discussion on the greatest challenges and changes coming for the future of transportation. In the premiere episode, Reggie Watts, actor, comedian and band leader for “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” sits down with Loh and Lieberman for an engrossing conversation about how Watts thinks about artificial intelligence and consciousness, and what that might mean for the automotive world. As an owner of both gas-powered and electric-powered vehicles, Watts also talks about the dichotomy of owning both plus his love of Porsche cars…..SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio is broadcasting live from this year’s PGA Show today through Friday (1/25-28). SiriusXM hosts including Robert Gamez, Carl Paulson, Brian Katrek, Jason Sobel and Taylor Zarzour will broadcast on location from PGA Show Demo & Fitting Day at the Orange County National Golf Center, as well as the 2022 PGA Show at the Orange County Convention Center.
Ukraine Tensions, Financial Markets/Inflation, Biden-Doocy Incident, COVID-19, Urban Crime & Violence, and Boris Johnson Troubles Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (1/24). Concerns about Russia’s military build-up at the Ukraine border; the week-long selloff on the world’s financial markets that’s worrying investors and record-high retail and oil prices; President Joe Biden curses at FOX News reporter Peter Doocy after being asked a question about inflation affecting the midterm elections; the high rate of COVID infections in the U.S. and abroad and the legal challenges to vaccine and mask mandates; the spike in urban crime and violence; and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s sinking popularity after being photographed violating COVID protocols were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.