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Thursday, July 1, 2021

| July 1, 2021

TALKERS 2021 Conference Video Posted – “Programming News/Talk Radio in the ‘20s.” The fourth video, under the direction of Art Vuolo, from the TALKERS 2021 Conference that took place at Hofstra University on June 11, is posted. This installment explores the main challenges facing spoken-word commercial radio’s largest and most influential format as we move into the highly unpredictable third decade of 21st century. Introduced and sponsored by Doug Stephan of the “DJV Show” and moderated by Mike McVay, CEO of McVay Media Consulting, the panel includes Phil Boyce, senior VP/spoken word format, Salem Media Group/Salem Radio Network and VP/operations New York region; Michael Czarnecki, PD, WONK-FM, Washington, DC/iHeart Podcast ChannelDave LaBrozzi, SVP/programming, Red Apple MediaJosh Leng, CEO, Talk Media NetworkGreg Stocker, executive producer, Rich Zeoli Show and APD, WPHT, Philadelphia; and Joe Thomas, morning show host/PD, WCHV, Charlottesville, VA. TALKERS will be posting a new video from TALKERS 2021 each business day until all 10 are archived and available for on-demand viewing.

WFAN, New York Programmer Mark Chernoff Honored with Studio Naming. Yesterday (6/30) was Mark Chernoff’s last day on the job at Audacy’s WFAN, New York and the CBS Sports Radio Network. Chernoff retired from the company after an illustrious career in which he served as program director for legendary sports talk outlet WFAN for 28 years. In honor of his service, the company dedicated the sports newsroom as “The Mark Chernoff WFAN Newsroom.” Pictured above are (top l-r): Craig Carton, Chernoff, Al Dukes, and Eddie Scozzare and (bottom l-r): Boomer Esiason, Jerry Recco, and Chris Oliviero. The plaque reads: “Program Director 1993-2021. Influenced the sound of New York sports over four decades while nurturing the careers of many who traveled this space. Dedicated June 30th, 2021.” (Photo: Audacy)

WSB, Atlanta Meteorologist Kirk Mellish to Retire; Christina Edwards to Join the Station. A meteorologist dedicated just to a radio station is indeed a rare thing in today’s media landscape and Cox Media Group’s WSB Radio (WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta) has enjoyed the service of “first and only radio-only” meteorologist Kirk Mellish for 34 years. Mellish will retire at the end of July and transition into a consultant role through the end of the year. However, the station will not be without a meteorologist as Christina Edwards will assume the role. Mellish says, “When I joined WSB in Atlanta in July 1987 just three years after graduation, I never would have thought I’d stay this long. It has been a blessing to turn my childhood hobby into a career and to serve most of these decades as the first radio-only, full-time meteorologist in the country. This is the type of broadcasting innovation typical of WSB and CMG leadership in the industry. It has been an honor and privilege to work with so many great colleagues and big names in our business in management, on-air and behind the scenes. I look forward to the next chapter in my life and am excited to pass the baton, or should I say barometer, to Christina Edwards who will be a great fit for the tradition of weather coverage on 95.5 WSB.” About her new position, Edwards says, “I am thrilled to be joining the legendary 95.5 WSB Radio! I grew up in metro Atlanta, listening to Kirk Mellish’s weather reports during my family’s daily commute, and I continue to listen even today. I appreciate Kirk’s ability to break down complex weather forecasts in a way listeners can understand. And, of course, diving into the details online in his weather blog. I am thankful for Kirk’s service and weather forecasts. It is an honor to join 95.5 WSB Radio and continue in the footsteps of Kirk’s legacy.”

iHeartMedia and Audacy Honored by Philly Civic Organization. The Philadelphia operations of iHeartMedia have been named a 2021 honoree of The Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia by Philadelphia Foundation, in partnership with Points of Light and other local partners. Modeled after Points of Light’s national program, The Civic 50 Greater Philadelphia provides a standard for corporate citizenship and showcases how employers use their time, skills and resources to drive social impact in their communities and company. iHeartMedia Philadelphia director of news and community affairs Loraine Ballard Morrill says, “iHeartMedia Philadelphia’s six stations have a long history of community service, especially critical during this pandemic. We are deeply honored to receive this recognition. To quote President Barack Obama, ‘If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope.’” Audacy vice president of social impact Sarah Harris says, “We are honored to be recognized as one of the region’s most community-minded companies. And I am thrilled to share our national impact and commitment to supporting sound communities in our inaugural social impact report. Thank you to our employees, partners and neighbors for the incredible work you do to move people to action within our markets.” Pictured below at a ceremony for the honor are (from l-r): Michael Nutter, former Mayor of Philadelphia; Natalye Paquin, president & CEO, Points of Light Foundation; Sarah Harris, VP social impact, Audacy; David Yadgaroff, SVP / market manager, Audacy Philadelphia; Diane Melley, Points of Light board member & executive director, Philadelphia Foundation; Pedro Ramos, president & CEO, Philadelphia Foundation.

HOLIDAY DOUBLE HEADER: Mandy Connell and Vince Benedetto Are This Week’s Guests on Harrison Podcast. KOA, Denver 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm personality Mandy Connell and Bold Gold Media Group founder/CEO Vince Benedetto are this week’s guests on a special Independence Week edition of the PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Harrison states, “We wanted to do a short-but-sweet salute to the nation’s 245th birthday and the selection of Mandy Connell and Vince Benedetto really fits the bill. Mandy is a refreshingly objective conservative commentator and rising star in news/talk radio armed with facts, wit and goodwill. She articulates the subjective nature of today’s media and the role that it plays in perpetuating the wave of polarization gripping our republic. Vince Benedetto is a former Air Force pilot and U.S. intelligence agent with a remarkable wealth of scholarly knowledge about the founding fathers and the formative years of America’s development from Thomas Jefferson all the way through the mega-challenges faced by Abraham Lincoln. Together, but separately, Mandy and Vince present an informative and thought-provoking tribute to our nation’s past, present and future. Happy Birthday, America!” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here

iHeartMedia Unveils ‘NextUp’ Podcasting Initiative. The iHeartPodcast Network is launching an initiative called “NextUp” that takes up-and-coming and underrepresented diverse creators and gives them a chance to learn all about the world of podcasting from iHeartMedia. This initiative is being led by iHeartPodcast Network executive producer Anna Hossnieh and executive podcast producer Joelle Smith. Hossnieh says, “I’m excited to help launch ‘NextUp’ with the iHeartPodcast Network, an initiative that takes underrepresented diverse creators and gives them a chance to learn all about the world of podcasting from one of the largest global podcasting networks. Led by myself and fellow executive podcast producer Joelle Smith, the program will mentor two people in each of iHeart’s three major podcasting hubs: Los Angeles, New York, and Atlanta. We believe by helping to elevate the voices of underrepresented storytellers and providing an incredible opportunity to be heard, iHeart will become the epicenter of compelling podcast talent and an industry leader in helping to address the market inefficiencies among underrepresented audio creators. The program will take place over five months and include a monthly stipend. ‘NextUp’ aims to empower participants by giving them the tools to succeed in the podcast industry – from developing and marketing a podcast to using industry-leading software. Participants in ‘NextUp’ will learn from some of iHeartRadio’s top creators and leave the program with at least three finished episodes and a polished pitch for their podcast. Submissions to apply for the program open July 5 – July 9 and can be found here.

Trump Org CFO Surrenders, COVID-19, Tucker Carlson NSA Allegations, Condo Collapse, Big City Violent Crime, Cosby Released, House January 6 Investigation, CCP Anniversary, Heatwaves, and Donald Rumsfeld Dies Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (6/30). Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg surrenders to authorities after being indicted by a grand jury; concerns about the COVID-19 Delta variant and the slowing rate of vaccinations in the U.S.; FOX News host Tucker Carlson claims he’s being surveilled by the NSA on the Biden administration’s orders; the continuing rescue efforts at the collapsed condo in Florida; the soaring rate of violent crime in America’s large cities; Bill Cosby is released from prison after a PA court overturned his conviction; the U.S. House plan to investigate the January 6 Capitol attack; the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party and Xi Jinping’s warning to the West; the record-setting heatwaves in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeast; and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld dies were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Monday, November 23, 2020

| November 23, 2020

Monday Memo: Blue Christmas, Bleak January, Big Opportunity. As every metric tells us this pandemic will worsen, consultant Holland Cooke describes how “smart stations will survive, even thrive.” Read it here.

COVID-19 Stats & Projections/Vaccines, Trump’s Election Results Challenges, Biden Transition, Georgia Runoff Elections, Thanksgiving Travel Warnings, and Israel-Saudi Arabia Relations Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend. The fast-rising number of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and abroad, the projections for winter cases, and the vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna; Donald Trump’s refusal to concede the election and the legal challenges to the results in several states; Joe Biden’s transition process; the January runoff elections for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats; the Thanksgiving holiday and warnings about traveling; and reports of the first-ever diplomatic meeting between Israel and Saudi Arabia were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: This Time Next Year. Sales and marketing pro Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications Corp, offers a five-step plan for radio sellers to evaluate their performance in order to help them get closer to their income goals. Read it here.

John B. Wells’ ‘Caravan to Midnight’ Enters Nightly Syndication Via Talk Media Network. The “Caravan to Midnight” program hosted by John B. Wells debuts as a live two-hour weeknight show beginning on December 1. Wells says, “The nightly show launch is like coming home in a way. Over-the-air radio is where I started. It’s my first love. It’s immediate, demanding, and therefore really exciting. Every show is a canvas waiting for the oil. Great radio is art, and I treat every episode as such.” Wells has been hosting his live Saturday night program “Ark Midnight” since April 2016. He adds, “One night a week on radio with ‘Ark Midnight’ was just the beginning of something much bigger. Our fans can’t get enough, our affiliates want more, and quite frankly, talk radio needs this program to thrive at night in the New Year and beyond.” Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng remarks, “In just over seven months, 50 radio stations have signed on as ‘Ark Midnight’ affiliates. The demand for John B. Wells-hosted programming by radio stations is undeniable. ‘Caravan to Midnight’ with John B. Wells will be a destination program in weeknights.” The show will air live from 10:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. Find more information at Talk Media Network here.

Three Let Go as Entercom Begins Operating WTEM, Washington Today. Ahead of today’s start of the LMA operation of sports talk WTEM-AM, Washington “Team 980” by Entercom, hosts Rick “Doc” Walker and Scott Linn, as well as program director Chris Johnson have exited the station. The Washington Post reports that the three were cut from the station on Friday (11/20). Entercom’s operation of and eventual acquisition of WTEM is part of a swap with Urban One which bought the station from Washington Football Team owner Dan Synder in 2018. Walker co-hosted the “Doc & Galdi” show with Al Galdi, who will continue as solo host of the late morning show. Linn was part of both afternoon programs, working alongside with Brian Mitchell in the early afternoon and with Steve Czaban in afternoon drive. The report indicated that Johnson will continue to produce Washington Football Team game broadcasts. He’s been doing so as an independent contractor for the last three seasons.

‘The Small Business Advocate’ Host Jim Blasingame Celebrates 23rd Anniversary. Last week, nationally syndicated talk host Jim Blasingame celebrated 23 years on the air. On November 17, 1997, Blasingame launched “The Small Business Advocate Show.” He says, “When we began, we wanted to provide Main Street entrepreneurs with the information, resources, and inspiration they need to start, run, and grow a small business. Thanks to the support of our audience, Brain Trust members, and corporate partners, we’ve accomplished that goal and continue to deliver multi-media content and resources for small businesses, including a mobile site and a video series.” Blasingame says he conducts more than 1,000 live interviews annually with his Brain Trust. From these live interviews, more than 2,600 podcasts are produced annually, resulting in a library of more than 50,000 podcasts available on-demand, without cost, to small businesses. Chuck Duncan, general manager of WCGO Radio, SmartTalk Radio Network, and the GAB Radio Network (which has produced Blasingame’s show since 2001) says, “Jim Blasingame is a true professional and one of the most dedicated talk show hosts I’ve seen in my more than 30 years in radio. Congratulations to Jim and his team on another awesome milestone.”

TALKERS News Notes. Seattle sports talker KIRO-AM “710 ESPN” announces that Pro Football Hall of Fame writer and longtime NFL analyst and radio host John Clayton will continue to have a presence on the station several weeks after he and hosts Jim Moore and Tom Wassell were let go as part of budget-related moves at the Bonneville station. Clayton’s weekday show is not returning by he is resuming his regular, daily appearances on the morning and afternoon drive shows. He’ll host his own show that will air Saturdays from 8:00 am to 11:00 am. Clayton also is maintaining his role as a sideline reporter on broadcasts by the Seahawks Radio Network, of which “710 ESPN Seattle” is the flagship station…..SiriusXM announces “Howard Stern’s Comics on Comics,” a new video special that will be available over Thanksgiving week. The video series showcases legendary comedian guests sharing stories about their fellow comedians. Some of the comedians featured include Jim Carrey on Rodney Dangerfield, Tommy Chong on Redd Foxx and George Carlin, and Marc Maron on Sam Kinison.

Entercom and Ad Council Partner for COPING-19 Mental Health Campaign. An audio public service campaign aimed at raising awareness of mental health challenges is being produced by Entercom in partnership with the Ad Council, as well as the CDC, the CDC Foundation, The HHS, and the White House. The campaign is called COPING-19 and as part of it, Entercom will develop and provide bilingual audio PSAs that help Americans address mental health, as well as donate time and space to support the campaign across its broadcast, digital, and social media assets. The campaign will also see the launch of the Coping-19.org website that will serve as a central hub where visitors will be able to access over 100 vetted resources in English and Spanish to help with their mental health needs. Coping-19.org will also feature a set of self-care best practices and principles in accordance with CDC and leading scientists, as well as links to more in-depth information by category. Entercom VP, social impact Sarah Harris says, “Entercom is dedicated to supporting the health and success of the communities that are the heart of our business. With so many Americans struggling with mental health, we are delighted to use the reach of our platform to share helpful self-care and coping tips with our 170 million listeners and so many more in partnership with the Ad Council. We know talk is a powerful tool in the struggle for mental health and are committed to using our voice to break the stigma and help people find the resources they need to thrive.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. On-air pro Vanessa Hale joins Entercom’s hot AC KLLC-FM, San Francisco “Alice @ 97.3” as host of the midday show. Entercom San Francisco SVP and market manager Greg Nemitz says, “I’m happy to welcome Vanessa Hale back to the airwaves to join Alice’s impressive slate of on-air talent. Her passion for her craft and willingness to engage with her audience will translate to a dynamic midday program for our listeners as they move through their days.” Hale was most recently afternoon drive host for the company’s former WODS-FM, Boston…..A deal between Alpha Media and Skyview Networks will put “Nick Cannon Radio” and “The Dana Cortez Show” on Alpha’s WE format stations in San Antonio; Amarillo, Texas; and Portland, Oregon. The shows will air in middays and afternoons. Alpha Media EVP of content Phil Becker says, “Our relationship with both ‘The Dana Cortez Show’ and ‘Nick Cannon Radio’ has always been a good one. I’m excited to lengthen our partnership as well as welcome them to some new stations. The work intensity, customization and team mentality of both ‘The Dana Cortez Show’ and ‘Nick Cannon Radio’ continue to impress me. Their expansion onto our WE stations is well deserved and I’m confident both shows will have a banner 2021.”

Monday, March 30, 2020

| March 30, 2020

Monday Memo: Smart Advertisers Relate. While many radio sales reps are in pandemic panic mode, smart sellers are helping nimble advertisers do what radio does best: tell a lot of people something useful quickly.  In this week’s column, consultant Holland Cooke lists commercial copy points he’s hearing.  See them here.

Growing Coronavirus U.S. Death Toll, Trump Extends Social Distancing Through April, Criticism of Trump Administration, Financial Markets Activity, Celebs with COVID-19, Lawmakers’ Stock Trades Controversy, and Presidential Race Among Top News/Talk Stories Over the Weekend.  The rising U.S. death toll from COVID-19; President Trump extends the nation’s social distancing policy through April 30; criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic; the pandemic’s effect on the world’s financial markets; celebrities who’ve tested positive for COVID-19; the investigation into U.S. lawmakers who sold stocks ahead of the global sell-off; and the November presidential election were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio over the weekend, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Pending Business: The Vice President’s Lead List. Sales and marketing consultant Steve Lapa, president of Lapcom Communications, writes in today’s Pending Business column that smart salespeople should take a cue from Vice President Mike Pence’s Presidential Task Force press conference last week in which he named the three biggest companies hiring – today.  Read Lapa’s tips for smart marketing in a new normal environment here.

Forever Media Cuts Staff at News/Talk WDEL, Wilmington and Elsewhere. The Wilmington News Journal reports that Forever Media has taken the drastic step of laying off “more than 10 people” from its radio properties as the result of a revenue hit from the coronavirus pandemic.  Included in the layoffs are WDEL talk personalities Allan Loudell and Robin Bryson.  Forever Media closed on its $18.5 million purchase of Delmarva Broadcasting’s 10-station radio portfolio last May.  Bryson is quoted telling the News Journal that the mandated closure of non-essential businesses hit business hard.  “That’s a good portion of who our advertisers are.  So, you know they’re not open, they can’t afford to advertise so they cancel their contracts and then we don’t have any commercials to run and we’re not getting any revenue.”

WGAN-AM, Portland Drops Morning Drive Co-Host Ken Altshuler. In Portland, Maine, Saga Communications drops morning drive co-host Ken Altshuler – the left-leaning half of the show – as part of a restructuring move.  Altshuler has been co-host of the morning show since 2002.  The change leaves conservative Matthew Gagnon hosting solo.  Altshuler tells the Portland Press Herald that over the past few months, the station has been moving to a single-host format in other dayparts.  Altshuler says he plans to continue in the media, either with another radio station or with a blog and podcast.  Sixty-seven-year-old Altshuler is a family law attorney who practices in Portland.

Ramsey’s ‘Message of Hope’ Becomes Regular Podcast. The Ramsey Solutions organization announces that a new podcast from the Ramsey Network called, “A Message of Hope” is launching.  The Ramsey Network says, “There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in our country right now.  Let’s change that. Ramsey Network hosts Dave Ramsey, Ken Coleman, and Rachel Cruze share practical money and career advice through the ‘Message of Hope’ series.  This brand-new podcast also features episodes from Chris Hogan, Christy Wright, Anthony O’Neal, and Dr. John Deloney to encourage you in every area of life.”

‘Ark Midnight with John B. Wells’ Partners with Talk Media Network. The weekly, three-hour radio show “Ark Midnight with John B. Wells” is partnering with Talk Media Network for marketing and affiliate relations.  Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “John B. Wells is an expert in weaving stories, news, and interviews together with an artful thread and his instantly recognizable voice.  ‘Ark Midnight’ is a destination nighttime show.”  Wells comments, “It’s great to be working with Talk Media Network.  They understand the program and have added new affiliate stations before we could even make this announcement.”  The show recently was added to the program schedule at WNTW-AM Richmond and KLKS-FM in Brainerd, Minnesota and soon joins KYAH-AM in Delta, Utah and WIOS-AM, Tawas City, Michigan.

Tony Bruno to Reunite with Harry Mayes on SiriusXM. Sports talk pro Tony Bruno – via SiriusXM and JAKIB Media Partners – is returning to a daily sports talk radio show after five years away from the format.  He’s being joined on the new “Tony Bruno Show” by former WPEN-FM, Philadelphia “The Fanatic” partner Harry Mayes.  The show launches on SiriusXM’s Dan Patrick Radio channel on April 6.  Bruno says, “I want to thank all of my fans who have followed and supported me through the years.  I am grateful to everyone who has encouraged me to return and who still wants to hear my daily fun approach to sports and current affairs, which has been my forte’ for over four decades in broadcasting.  I can’t think of a better platform than SiriusXM and reuniting with my former ESPN colleague on the Dan Patrick Radio channel, and I am thrilled to be able to return to the airwaves with my good friend and co-host Harry Mayes.  There is no doubt that we will provide an exciting, fun, sports talk radio program that joins a sea of great content on SiriusXM.”

PPM Analysis: News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on news/talk-formatted stations. Fifty-three percent of the news/talk stations on our panel were up (weekly, 6+ AQH share) over the January 2020 survey with just 27% seeing a ratings decline. Leaders in the improved column include Cox Media Group’s WSB-AM/WSBB-FM, Atlanta (+1.4) and iHeartMedia’s WISN, Milwaukee (+1.0). Comparing February 2019 to February 2020, WSB-AM/WSBB-FM is again the leader, posting an increase of 4.4 shares. iHeartMedia’s WTVN, Columbus adds 2.7 shares year-over-year, and Entercom’s KFTK-FM St. Louis is up 2.1 shares. Just two news/talk stations ranked #1 in their markets in February – CMG’s WSB, Atlanta (11.4 share) and iHeartMedia’s KFBK, Sacramento (8.4 share). However, five news/talk outlets ranked #2 in their respective markets.  Find out which ones, here.

TALKERS News Notes. The KSTE, Sacramento-based “Armstrong & Getty Show” starring Jack Armstrong and Joe Getty adds new affiliate WGOW-FM, Chattanooga, starting today (3/30).  Earlier this year, the program was added to other Cumulus Media talk stations including KABC-AM, Los Angeles and KSFO, San Francisco…..The nationally syndicated “Free Talk Live” program – led by show founders Ian Freeman and Mark Edge – adds new affiliate stations: KGGF-AM, Coffeyville, Kansas; WTSN-AM/FM, Dover, New Hampshire; WNTW-AM/FM, Richmond; WAIM-AM, Anderson, South Carolina; and WCSI-AM/FM, Columbus, Indiana to put its total affiliate roster at 209 stations…..ESPN’s “Paul Finebaum Show” makes its return to the cable TV SEC Network with an audio-only format at 3:00 pm ET.  Although Finebaum has been doing the show for ESPN Radio for the past two weeks, it has not aired on the SEC Network.  Finebaum comments, “Despite all of us adjusting to this new normal and distancing ourselves from each other, we’re probably more connected right now than we’ve been in a long time.  I’m really proud of the conversations and discussions we’ve had on the show, especially over these past few weeks, and look forward to returning to television and continuing to support and uplift one another during such an uncertain time.”

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Last night’s “FOX Presents the iHeart Living Room Concert for America” event aired on FOX Television as artists including host Elton John and guests Alicia Keys, Backstreet Boys, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes, Dave Grohl, H.E.R., Mariah Carey, Sam Smith,Tim McGraw and more performed from their own homes.  The program was also aired live on iHeartMedia radio stations and the iHeartRadio app.  Pictured below is Tim McGraw (upper left) singing “Something Like That” while three of his band members accompany him from their homes.  The event encouraged viewers and listeners to support charities Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

| March 26, 2020

Ramsey Network to Host ‘Message of Hope’ Live Stream. Tonight’s free, live stream is being produced by Ramsey Solutions and is being call “A Message of Hope.”  Ramsey Solutions says, “There’s a lot of fear in our country right now.  Ramsey Network hosts Dave Ramsey, Ken Coleman, and Rachel Cruze will share practical money and career advice to spread hope in the middle of national uncertainty through the Message of Hope livestream at 8:00 pm EST.  No matter what’s happening on Wall Street or in the White House, you need to focus on what’s happening in YOUR house.  In a time of great unknowns, we are here to help.”  The program is being made available for free on Daveramsey.com, on The Dave Ramsey Show YouTube page, or Dave’s Facebook page.  It will also be broadcast live on SiriusXM ch. 111 and ch. 132 and AM/FM radio stations across the country.  It will also be made available as a podcast.

Noory and Listeners to Engage the Power of Prayer on ‘Coast to Coast AM.’ Overnight talk radio star George Noory will focus his show’s regular Friday Night Prayer this week on the COVID-19 pandemic.  For more than a decade on Premiere Networks’ “Coast to Coast AM,” the show has featured the special segment where listeners submit their names or those of their loved ones to the show and the audience collectively prays for them.  During the first segment of Friday’s show (1:00 am EST), Noory is inviting people worldwide to join in prayer to help end the spread of COVID-19.  Participants will also be encouraged to dedicate their prayers to healing those who have been affected, easing the pain and sorrow of those who have lost loved ones, and supporting the medical care professionals on the front lines.  Noory says, “I have always believed in the power of prayer and the existence of a higher power.  For years now, I have witnessed the positive effect of our Friday Night Prayer on ‘Coast to Coast AM’ and I’m therefore asking that on March 27, people across the globe take a few moments to pray for the eradication of this deadly coronavirus.”

Bonneville and Hubbard Enter Unusual News Partnership in Seattle. In a rare move brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, Bonneville Seattle’s news/talk KIRO-FM and Hubbard Radio Seattle’s CHR KQMV 92.5 FM “Movin’,” adult contemporary KRWM “Warm,” and country KNUC “The Bull” are announcing a partnership in which the three music stations will broadcast hourly local news updates from the KIRO Radio newsroom in order to give their listeners the latest information on COVID-19.  In return, KIRO Radio will encourage listeners to pause from the news and listen to the music stations as a source of encouragement and relaxation in this extraordinary time.  The collaboration begins tomorrow (3/27).  Bonneville Seattle director of programming Mike Salk says, “We are thrilled to partner with the Hubbard stations.  To have KIRO Radio news played on three excellent music stations is an opportunity for us to help our community stay informed in this unique time.  And we can understand the need to take a break and listen to music to avoid feeling overwhelmed.”  Hubbard Radio Seattle market manager Scott Mahalick adds, “Music is a mood elevator and a source of inspiration for people when times are tough.  We’re proud to partner with Bonneville’s news, talk, and sports radio stations in Seattle.  Combined, we are able to offer the perfect balance of information and entertainment.”

PPM Analysis: Public Radio News/Talk. TALKERS magazine managing editor Mike Kinosian presents a look at the performances of radio stations based on data from Nielsen Audio’s February 2020 PPM survey, today focusing on public radio news/talk.  KNOW, Minneapolis; KUT, Austin; and WAMU, Washington led the 39% of stations that gained weekly, 6+ AQH share from the January to February surveys.  KNOW also was the leader comparing year-over-year data, adding 2.7 shares and jumping from #10 to #3 in the market rank.  Close behind is WHYY, Philadelphia, which posted a 1.9 share gain good for a climb from #13 to #7.  WAMU, Washington and KUT, Austin were the only public radio news/talk stations to rank #1 in their respective markets in February.  See Mike Kinosian’s entire report here.

The Status of COVID-19 in the U.S., Death Tolls Across the Globe, Senate Approves Relief Package, Financial Markets Activity, Presidential Race/‘Draft Cuomo’ Movement, and Prince Charles Tests Positive for Coronavirus Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/25). The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and the death toll across the U.S.; authorities in Spain and Italy report overwhelming conditions at hospitals there; the U.S. Senate passes the $2 trillion relief package and sends it to the House; the world’s financial markets react to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic; the presidential race and the cries for “drafting” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for the Democratic nomination; and Britain’s Prince Charles tests positive for the coronavirus were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Ron Ananian ‘The Car Doctor’ to Celebrate 1,500th Episode. This Saturday (3/28), Ron Ananian will host the 1,500thedition of “The Car Doctor Radio Show.”  The program began in January of 1991 on WFAS, White Plains, New York and aired there through 1997.  It moved to WOR, New York in 1998 and went into syndication via the WOR Radio Network in September of 1999.  The program is currently syndicated by Talk Media Network.  Ananian draws upon his 45 years of repair experience to help listeners with their car issues.  Talk Media Network CEO Josh Leng says, “If you’ve ever met him… you know that God broke the mold when he made Ron Ananian.  No, it’s not just the Jersey in him, it’s his witty personality combined with his unending commitment to doing the right things right, every time… whether he’s in his shop, working with advertisers, or assisting his listeners and fans with their car care questions, radio is a profoundly better place with Ron Ananian The Car Doctor behind the microphone.  Ron’s dedication to his craft and his show is one that is nearly three decades in the making.  Take a victory lap Ron Ananian, you most certainly deserve it.”  The program is heard on almost 100 affiliate stations across the country and airs live from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm ET on Saturdays.

TALKERS News Notes. There are two programs being offered to stations from CBS News Radio this weekend focused on the COVID-19 pandemic: “Coronavirus: Changed Forever,” features interviews with experts from various fields hosted by Gil Gross; and “CBS Weekend Roundup Special Report on the Coronavirus” is hosted by correspondent Allison Keyes with reports and discussions from CBS reporters, correspondents, and newsmakers across the country and around the globe…..The Hill reports that Seattle public radio station KUOW is not going to air President Trump’s coronavirus press conferences live because of what it calls “a pattern of false or misleading information provided that cannot be fact checked in real time.”  The station made the announcement via Twitter and added, “KUOW is monitoring White House briefings for the latest news on the coronavirus – and we will continue to share all news relevant to Washington State with our listeners.”.….MyPillow founder and CEO Mike Lindell revealed that his company – whose ads are practically ubiquitous on talk media – is going to be helping in the effort to supply America’s health professionals with surgical masks by manufacturing them.  Lindell made the announcement on Salem Radio Network’s Mike Gallagher program.  The N95 respirator mask is the most sought-after though it’s unclear which type of mask MyPillow will be making…..NRG Media’s news/talk KXEL, Cedar Rapids, Iowa is ending the “On Press Row” sports show hosted by Gary Rima for the past 14 years as of tomorrow (3/28).  The Courier reports that Rima was told in late February of management’s decision and, although he’s upset the show is ending, he holds no grudge against the station or the company…..TransMedia Group is collaborating with Anita Finley, president and publisher of Boomer Times & Senior Life, to produce “Boomer Times Radio” with Finley as host.  The program is now airing Sundays from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on Beasley Media Group’s financial talk WWNN, Pompano Beach, Florida “South Florida’s Money Talk Network.”…..Condolences to the family and friends of Michigan broadcasting legend Bob Allison, who passed away at age 87.   “Radio’s Best Friend” Art Vuolo tips TALKERS to Allison’s passing and writes: “Bob lasted nearly 60 years on radio and TV in Detroit.  A lot of people don’t last 60 days, and a few have flamed out in less than 60 minutes!  Many radio fans surely know who he was and have loved his caring disposition on the ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ program.  Even those who hadn’t heard him lately on WNZK, Detroit, ALL remember him for those legendary ‘Bowling for Dollars’ shows on Channel 4.  He was an iconic member of the broadcasting fraternity and in August of 2018 was inducted into the Michigan Broadcasting Hall of Fame.  He was still on the air regularly on WNZK until about three weeks ago.  He began on WWJ, Detroit back in 1962 with ‘Ask Your Neighbor.’  He worked at a number of Detroit area stations including: WIID, WEXL, WLQV and even WJR.”

Australian Radio Legend Trevor Smith Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast.  One of the leading content providers in Australian radio and the legendary former PD of such stations as Triple-M in Sydney, Trevor Smith, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.”  Harrison caught up with Smith via Skype at his home/studio in the beautiful coastal town of Byron Bay, located north of Sydney where, like so many Americans, he is practicing social distancing.  Smith discusses how the epidemic is being handled in the “land down under,” including the health, politics, economics, and social aspects of the crisis.  It’s a fascinating look at just how truly small the world is revealed to be as it battles a common enemy that respects no borders, barriers, or distance.  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. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, iHeartMedia’s CHR KIIS-FM, Los Angeles is cancelling the June 6, 2020 edition of the Wango Tango concert.  The station issued the following statement: “Due to the uncertainty regarding COVID-19 and for the health and safety of our guests, employees, artists and partners, we have decided to cancel this year’s iHeartRadio Wango Tango. Refunds are being issued to ticketed guests.  If you purchased your tickets via AXS online, a refund will automatically be issued to the credit card you used to purchase within 30 business days.”

Thursday, February 27, 2020

| February 27, 2020

Jack Sunday Retires from Full-Time KFGO, Fargo Role. Longtime Fargo talk radio personality Jack Sunday has retired from his full-time role as an on-air talk host on Midwest Communications’ news/talk KFGO-AM.  Sunday had been co-hosting the late morning show with Amy Iler, who wrote a nice piece about Sunday that you can see here.  Iler is now partnered with JJ Gordon on the “It Takes Two” program.  Sunday acknowledged his decision to leave the position was difficult and noted that he is caring for his wife who suffers from a rare neurological condition.  Sunday first joined KFGO in 1989 and over the course of 30 years served as program director, afternoon host, and midday personality.  He tells KFGO’s Joel Heitcamp, “I am convinced that there is probably no other radio station in the country like KFGO… we have 17 or 20 people who are on the air live as personalities for extended periods of time… a four-person news team, a meteorologist and sports.  We have two great sportscasters here, plus on-air personalities with producers that become personalities themselves.”  Sunday will develop a podcast to be part of the station’s podcast offerings.

Appeals Court Tosses Prager’s YouTube Lawsuit. The suit by Salem Radio Network talk host Dennis Prager’s non-profit educational organization, Prager University, against Google’s YouTube platform was shot down by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday (2/26).  Prager University had sued YouTube claiming it had violated its First Amendment rights and the Lanham Act (false advertising), but the District Court dismissed the suit.  PragerU appealed and the Appeals Court agreed with the lower court.  At issue here was PragerU’s claim that YouTube’s Restricted Mode violated the conservative educational organization’s First Amendment rights by making certain of its video unviewable for those under a certain age due to its Restricted Mode guidelines.  It also claimed that YouTube’s promotional language touting the importance of people being able to “speak freely” while putting certain videos in Restricted Mode violated the Lanham Act.  Judge M. Margaret McKeown writes in the decision, “The panel held that despite YouTube’s ubiquity and its role as a public-facing platform, it remains a private forum, not a public forum subject to judicial scrutiny under the First Amendment.  The panel noted that just last year, the Supreme Court held that ‘merely hosting speech by others is not a traditional, exclusive public function and does not alone transform private entities into state actors subject to First Amendment constraints.’  The panel held that the Internet does not alter this state action requirement of the First Amendment.  The panel therefore rejected plaintiff’s assertion that YouTube is a state actor because it performs a public function.  Addressing the false advertising claim under the Lanham Act, the panel held that YouTube’s statements concerning its content moderation policies do not constitute ‘commercial advertising or promotion’ as the Lanham Act requires.  Nor was YouTube’s designation of certain of plaintiff’s videos for Restricted Mode part of an advertising or promotion or a misrepresentation as to the videos.  Finally, the panel held that YouTube’s braggadocio about its commitment to free speech constituted opinions that are not subject to the Lanham Act.”

Former News Staffer Sues Entercom’s KCBS-AM, San Francisco.  A lawsuit filed in California Superior Court by former KCBS-AM, San Francisco news staffer Sheryl Raines accuses the station of retaliation, failure to prevent harassment, unlawful termination and more.  The complaint centers around allegations of inappropriate behavior and sexual harassment on the part of engineer Dan Denton.  Raines says she reported Denton’s alleged behavior to superiors, but it continued.  She was terminated in May of 2019 and was told that the station wanted “a different sound.”  In her complaint, she states her replacement was a woman of similar demographic makeup with a “startlingly similar” on-air voice to her own.  She is seeking unspecified damages.

ABC Audio Appoints Lakeia Brown to Senior Producer, Race & Culture Audio Insights Post. The senior producer, race & culture audio insights position is a newly created one at ABC Audio and Lakeia Brown will assume that post on March 9.  She has been serving in the ABC News research department.  She has more than 15 years of experience in consumer insights and analytics for television networks including: ABC, Disney, Comedy Central, Nick @ Nite, TV Land and BET.  She starts with ABC Audio on March 9.  ABC Audio vice president and general manager Stacia Philips Deshishku says that in this position Brown will “act as a storyteller, researcher, and social connector all rolled into one.  She’ll work closely with our amazing team to create and deliver new radio news products and podcasts, maximize sponsorship opportunities and participate in editorial story development, all while focusing on expanding Audio’s reach with multicultural audiences. Lakeia will also serve as ABC Audio’s in-house expert on all things research, connecting insights to actionable strategies that help drive reach and revenue for ABC Audio.”

TALKERS News Notes. Nationally syndicated home improvement radio show, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” hits the 300-affiliate station mark as it celebrates its 10th year under the direction of Lipford.  Along with Lipford’s Emmy-nominated TV show, “Today’s Homeowner with Danny Lipford,” airing in 91% of the U.S., Lipford is a familiar figure in the home improvement industry.  “Today’s Homeowner” radio dates back to 2009 when Lipford took over a small radio show called “Homefront.”  He re-branded the program, officially launching “Today’s Homeowner” radio which began airing on 60 stations.  Over the past decade, Lipford and his team have strategically grown the show’s footprint by 200%.…..In Virginia Beach, Max Media names Tim Donnelly executive producer of the Nick Cattles show on sports talk WVSP “ESPN Radio 94.1.”  Donnelly was most recently with Monticello Media’s WRAD-AM, Blacksburg, Virginia where he hosted his own sports talk show.  Max Media VP of operations and programming Rusty James says, “Tim lives and breathes sports and we are so excited to have his passion on ‘ESPN Radio 94.1.’”…..Townsquare Media’s sports talk WTMM, Albany adds another hour to the “Big Board Sports” show.   The program, hosted by Rodger Wyland and Chris Onorato, now airs from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm…..Salem Radio Network assures us that nationally syndicated late morning talk host Mike Gallagher does not have the coronavirus, but he did test positive for influenza and has to miss the opening day of CPAC 2020 in Washington.  So, filling in for him is Kurt Schlichter (right) who is pictured below interviewing American Conservative Union president Matt Schlapp (left).

Lee Abrams Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most influential music radio programmers of the past 50 years, Lee Abrams, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” Abrams was the chief architect of an approach to FM album rock radio known back in the seventies as the “Superstars” format and, as a consultant, guided hundreds of stations across the country to commercial success utilizing its systems and techniques. He went on to be one of the original programming forces behind today’s satellite radio during the first decade of its development and then served a couple of years with the Tribune Company helping that organization revamp its newspapers and television stations for the 21st century. Today, Abrams is the head of a newly launched, Chicago-based consultancy, MediaVision, which is focused on radio (terrestrial and beyond) and music for 40-plus consumers as well as revolutionary approaches to video news and television. Harrison and Abrams take a deep dive into the past, present, and future of pop culture including a retrospective on the days they spent as two of the top thought-leaders in AOR (album oriented rock) radio. This program is a must-listen for anyone in the radio business. 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.

Talk Radio at CPAC. Numerous radio talk show hosts from around the nation are attending this year’s CPAC gathering in National Harbor, MD with many broadcasting from the conservative event’s radio row.  Pictured covering CPAC for her national commentary is Victoria Jones (l) executive director of DC Radio Company visiting the broadcast setup of John Fredericks (r) of the John Fredericks Radio Network.

Broadcasters Foundation of America Names FCC Chairman Ajit Pai Recipient of Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award. The recipient of this year’s Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the Broadcasters Foundation of America is Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai.  The honor will be presented at the Broadcasters Foundation Annual Breakfast on Wednesday, April 22 at the 2020 NAB Show in Las Vegas.  The Award is bestowed annually on an individual in broadcasting whose work exemplifies innovation, community service, advocacy, and entrepreneurship.  The Lowry Mays Excellence in Broadcasting Award salutes its namesake and is underwritten by The Mays Family Foundation.  Past recipients include Bill Clark, Eddie Fritts, Cathy Hughes, Mel Karmazin, Jeff Smulyan, Dick Wiley, and others.

Coronavirus Pandemic Fears, Presidential Race, Financial Markets Activity/China Productivity, Deadly Milwaukee Brewery Shooting, and India Violence Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (2/26). Concerns about Covid-19 developing into a global pandemic; the Democrats battling to face President Trump in the November election; the reaction of the world’s financial markets to the coronavirus and the virus’ effect on China’s productivity; a fired brewery worker returns to the plant in Milwaukee and kills five co-workers before killing himself; and the deadly sectarian violence in India were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Air personality Scotty Kay is adding midday hosting duties at Entercom’s St. Louis CHR KNOU “NOW 96.3” to his responsibilities.  Kay also serves as co-host of the morning show at country WUSN-FM, Chicago “US99.”  Entercom St. Louis SVP and market manager Becky Domyan says, “I’ve been a fan of Scotty and his unique ability to become one with his audience and we’re delighted to add him to our team.  Scotty will be a vital part of the puzzle as we continue to grow ‘NOW 96.3’ into the dominant contemporary hit radio brand in St. Louis.”…..iHeartMedia appoints Rex Long program director for Austin CHR KHFI “96.7 KISS FM.”  He was most recently with the company’s Salt Lake City cluster.  iHeartMedia Austin/San Antonio region president Matt Martin says, “Rex’s abundance of energy, his creative ideas to connect with listeners, combined with his strategic vison to be a fabric of Austin’s culture make Rex a perfect fit to continue building the ‘KISS’ brand.”…..Cumulus Media names Bev Rainey program director of country KRST, Albuquerque.  She’ll also host the late morning show.  Rainey served for the past 20 years with iHeartMedia’s crosstown country KBQI, the last seven as program director.  Cumulus Albuquerque VP and market manager Jeff Berry says, “KRST provides the very best in country music and entertainment for our listeners and unmatched results for our promotional partners.  I could not be happier to have Bev join this fantastic team.  She is known and loved by the audience and respected by the industry.  This is a great day for one of America’s great country brands.”…..Berkshire Broadcasting flips WAXB-AM/W233CF, Danbury, Connecticut “B945” from classic hits to classic rock as “945 The Hawk.”  Berkshire CEO Irv Goldstein says, “‘B945’ has been continuously evolving over the years.  Morphing from a traditional oldies station to an 80s based classic hits/classic rock mix.  We just felt that now was the right time to get off the fence and go all in.  ‘945 The Hawk’ is classic rock that really rocks.”